I was a Girl Guide, way back when. I was actually a Brownie Guide, a Girl Guide, and then a Ranger Guide, so I probably spent the best part of ten years of my life between the ages of seven and seventeen within the Guiding movement. I achieved my Queen’s Guide Award too, although in those days it was more to do with cumulating a particularly plentiful set of specific Interest Badges over the years than to complete the complex set of Duke of Edinburgh Award type challenges I understand is required now. Nevertheless it was a big thing to do, even then, it took a lot of hard work and dedication to achieve, and I was – still am – very proud of that achievement.
Interest Badges were such fun to do, as well as proving pretty useful in later life – I gained a lot of skills while being tested for my Interest Badges that I still use today. Some badges that spring to mind are Homemaker, Hostess, Child Care, Cook, Laundress, Flower Arranger, Thrift, Backwoodsman, Camper, Rambler, Map Reader, Pioneer, Scribe, Minstrel, Artist, Craft, Book Lover, Collector, to name just a few – and there was also a Challenge Badge, and a Commonwealth Knowledge Badge.
But unfortunately there are also some skills learned as a Guide I’ve not kept up to scratch. Once upon a time I knew all my knots and when best to use them, and my constellations, and could recognise trees from their bark and leaves. Today I can manage a reef knot, could probably point out Orion and the Plough, and I can tell an oak from a chestnut, but not much more.
Perhaps it’s time I re-found my dormant interest in such things, reclaimed the knowledge that must still be lodged inside somewhere, rusty and reclusive? Not necessarily because I need these skills in my everyday life – with all the light pollution, star-gazing in London is a bit of a non-starter, and with the invention of plastic cable ties and elasticated bungee ropes, there’s not much call for knots any more. And knowing which tree is which is not generally the main consideration of most Londoners, who are just happy to see trees in whatever shape or form they appear in.
But maybe I can set myself those kinds of challenges again, just for fun, and just see what happens? Hmmm… interesting idea… 🙂