Tuesday, 4 March 2014

Woodstock and Dampers (3rd March 2014)

This was our first time at the Green since last year. It was a boggy welcome back to our spiritual home! The bottom half was awash with marshy pools but fortunately the top half nearer to the firepit was merely very muddy indeed. Congratulations to all parents who managed to deliver their children across the morass!

Since we were last there the firepit itself has acquired a standing army of silent sentinels - tiny chestnut trees wrapped in coccoons of white plastic. One day they will form a copse at the north end of the Green around the clearing where any walker along the woodland trail would happen upon our firepit - but that's a couple of years away. In the meantime we told all the children to take care of the baby trees - and weaving crazily in and out - they did.

We started later than normal at 17:30 because this was our second hook up with Woodstock Elfins

They came with four fantastic lanterns made from willow and many-coloured tissue paper - hung on sticks planted behind the pit - they were the four turrets of light framing our beacon fire guiding people across the Green as darkness fell.

We kicked off the session with the Name Train game. Everyone mills around until they bump into a partner when they play Rock, Paper, Scissors (have you noticed how many of our games start this way?). The loser grabs on behind the winner conga style and they both chuff around chanting the winner's name until they bump into another player's train when they play Rock, Paper, Scissors again - the losing train joins on behind the winning one and they all move off chanting the new winner's name. Eventually there are only two trains left - and the winner takes all. We followed this up with the ever popular I Am the One and Only

Then everyone set to making dampers

 - first rolling out bread dough with optional white and milk chocolate buttons or raisins

 - then wrapping the dough sausage around a stick 

- before holding it over the fire to cook. 

Once again the dampers took longer than we imagined to cook through - but that didn't seem to bother anyone. Some people stayed cooking them for most of the evening while others went off into the dark of the Green with Alison to play torch lit games...

We started with Torch Statues where one person is 'it' and the rest strike a pose and pretend that they are statues. The person who is 'it' walks up to each statue one at a time, shines a torch on them and tries to make them laugh without touching them. The first statue to laugh is the next person to be 'it'. Funny faces and strange warbling noises seemed to work best.

Searchlight followed. One person is 'it' - they turn their back - the rest go and stand on the other side of the field. Then they all try to creep up and tag the person who's 'it'. The 'it' person turns round randomly and shines their torch at the creepers to try and catch them moving. If they're caught moving in the torch beam, they're out.

Lastly, we played Story Torchlit Tag - one person is a storyteller and chooses a word as their 'trigger'. The other players all stand around the storyteller with one finger touching them. The storyteller has a torch. As soon as the storyteller uses their 'trigger' word in the story, the rest of the players have to run away and the storyteller runs to try and catch them.

Then there were flasks of steaming hot chocolate for all and marshmallows on sticks for those that wanted them. Finally it was back to standing around the firepit to sing Bog in the Valley, Campfire's Burning and The Woodcraft Folk song.

A big thank you to Woodstock Elfins for helping us with the spring awakening of the Green - we're hoping to see many of you again at the Hostel in a couple of weeks' time.

We left the firepit surrounded by its chestnut saplings and tiny earth mountains moved by mining moles - they've even popped up inside the circle of stones. It was good to see the changes the seasons are bringing to our nook - we're looking forward to spending as much time as we can there as the weather improves - and to blue skies and blossom walks in a couple of months.

Session leader: Alison
Leaders: Ian, Penny, Barry, John, Catrin, Lucy, Debbie
Helpers: Nick, Claire

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