Category Archives: communication

You have to haggle!

Or: How I bartered my nice neighbour for laminated copies of dead currency

Scouts are an odd bunch. I speak from knowledge as I’ in my eight year as a scout, and that’s just counting my adult scout years.

So let me expound on odd: We pay good money just to be allowed to be with other peoples’ children in our spare time. Often as not away from our own families. We volunteer to stand post at night even in winter and rain. We think woodsmoke is the best perfume imaginable. We walk our feet sore beyond belief for a tiny badge to show off on our uniforms. And just to top it we know no greater joy than adhering to a concept for an entire week-end, using a story frame to play silly buggers.

So this week-end I spent with the scouts. Nothing we did was any surprise to me as I volunteered to help plan the whole thing.

We set the story frame to be ancient Rome: The rooms in the cabin were adorned with signs saying “culina”, “dormitorium”, “triclinium”, “vestibulum”, and “cubiculum”. Not one cub had a clue why. The older scouts either asked about is a dozen times – each – ¬†or overlooked it.

Friday evening the 10-12 YOs built role play weapons and shields while the 12-16 YOs built an acquaduct out of discarded plastic tubes from a carpet store.

Saturday saw the arrival of the cubs. They set to work adorning triclinium with columns (more tubes) and stick-on mosaics while the others practised weaponry / built a steam hut to double as a “caldarium”.

Saturday afternoon saw all scouts invade European regions to spread Roman civilisation. In Slavia they had to crawl belly-up, crab-style over odds and ends to feel for their patrol tote animal. They fired a catapult in Bohemia to get a very silly dining rule: “Always top your neighbour’s glass”, “Always stand while Ceasar sits”, “Make sure potatoes and meat DO NOT touch” etc. Had to give up conquering the Gauls. That kind of thing.

Saturday evening late saw the 10-16 YOs meet the red tape of Roman civilisation. The idea was to turn the rule democratic. My post was one as a slave keeper at the Colosseum. They had to haggle with me to buy free my enslaved neighbour, and I was tough on those scouts.

Yesterday I felt great again after a 12-hour night’s sleep. So now I’m ready to go again next Saturday.

Yes, we are an odd bunch. But the badges are neat!

The gentle art of plotting

I might have called it scheming. It’s a lot less sinister than it may look at first glance: I hope to finish some writing in time to join a competition to win publishing. And I have to hand in a plot outline.

I’m not always much of a plotter. This time I decided I would at least use the competition to practise making a plot instead of just plodding ahead as is my usual wont.

It took the physical form of pieces of paper. Plot outline on one, locations on another, characters on a third et c. And yes I know there are computer programs that let you do that on-screen. I don’t have those programs. Not one. And it just doesn’t really work in the programs I have and know.

Besides, there is something nice about long hand and tangible notes. This is (at least primarily) a crafts blog. Of course I like and often prefer to use my hands and fingers for something other than tapping at keys. And there is a joy in its own right to spreading out those notes on the table (amid pieces of a pair of short pants in the making) to get an overview.

There are no good snaps in such a process. All I can hope for is that it’ll turn out some really good words. Such as “you’ve won!”

 

Secret Service

I work three different part time jobs. All of them more or less invisible in one way or another. One is as a DPPA with a blind couple with a toddler. I do the things that require visuals for them, sort laundry, pair socks, clean, tidy and first and foremost keep an eye on the toddler to make sure there are limits to how much trouble he makes.

Another is delivering local papers and ads. Few people see me doing it, I know none of my colleagues.

And the third is taking out disabled and / or mentally handicapped people. And I mean taking them out: One needs airing, because she’s otherwise stuck in a wheelchair and lost speech. Another is also in a chair and needs me to take care of errands and airing out.

The last three are mentally handicapped. And need special attention from me to catch what they’re saying. In the case of the one I took to a concert yesterday what he mumbles or signals. He’s awfully discreet, prompting me by touch to say he was thirsty.

So this week’s craft is communication. If nothing else I learn all the time how diverse it is.