The first week of my UK visit, our son and daughter-in-law were on vacation. I took time to adjust to Greenwich Mean Time (7 hours earlier than Mountain Time) as my wife and I cooked and shuttled the kids to school and I enjoyed exploring everything about son’s delightful home, Delves Ridge Lodge (pictured above and to the right).
Homes in the UK are often given names, so though it’s name says Lodge, this home is a barn conversion of the finest kind. The adjacent property is surrounded by old forest, fronted by yellow french iris and fox gloves—truly a charming cottage in the dales. With their landlord’s permission, for a few weeks before our arrival our son and the boys had worked to make a forest camp near their home.
I planned to work on that project our first Saturday there, but first we attended the LDS Harrogate Ward’s Summer Fayre (fair) and Barbeque. It was a sort of US / UK fellowship complete with old-fashioned games like sack races, milk bottle ball throwing and bouncy houses. The ward is split between permanent local Brits and US expatriates who speak foreign languages, many of whom are returned LDS missionaries. The composition of the ward prompted a very July 4th-like celebration on this last Saturday in June. Of course, with football (soccer) instead of baseball (mind you it is the UK and soccer is their national pastime along with cricket) it took on its own UK character.
Anyway, our grandsons really liked the hot dogs at the fair, which gave me the motivation to get back to that forest camp and build a safe campfire area so we could roast weenies. There were three tree stump seats in place, but not a fire pit.
When we began our work, I could see the duff was deep and felt sure that if we used Leave No Trace fire building techniques we would be safer. Nearby clay made an excellent base and there were just enough rocks to line the fire ring, which meant this would be safe but not temporary. My son asked that we mark the trail with fallen logs, so even the smallest grandson could find his way to the campfire area. To complete the campfire area, we rolled four more seats into place so all seven of us could sit. It was a lot of work, but great fun with the grandsons!
In the days that followed I worked with my oldest grandson—who turned 8 in February—to help him learn the Scout Law and Oath and the Cub Scout Sign and Handshake, all qualifiers for the Bobcat Award in the new program. When I left for the US he just needed his mom and dad to do the five exercises from “How to Protect Your Children from Child Abuse: A Parent’s Guide” to be a Bobcat.
Because of the forest camp, we were able to follow the June Theme: Campfire Programs. We also worked on the “Call of the Wild: Wolf Adventure.” During our holiday there, we had two family campfire programs and one day-long outdoor excursion. The first campfire was in our new camp. There was a little fire safety instruction and directions on how to make a fire The Trainer’s Edge way (demonstration/guiding). The climax of that evening was making s’mores over our new campfire ring.
This was a great first week of vacation, and sharing my passion for Scouting with our family’s next generation made it even better.
Read about our 4th of July celebration in Part 3.