14.8.05

A good day out

A good but challenging day yesterday.

The household was going on an outing, with more than enough teenagers to boot. All together there were more than 20 of us. I was in charge. Admittedly this was something I had longed to do, there's something about blessing your friends with an amazing or beautiful experience that appeals to me.

The place I had chosen was Wyre Forest and various brothers and sisters were in full-strength character flow: excited, stressed, helpful, rebellious, organised, lethargic, caring, late! We left the house leaving one brother behind who was slightly ill. The beauty-spot was only an hour away and one family were meeting us there after returning from seeing relatives up north.

Then the rain started and kept coming and coming and didn't stop! To add to that there was terrible traffic for the family coming down from up north.

I felt bad. We had encouraged the sick brother's wife to come along since he had said she could go, but she hadn't come prepared for the rain, a few of us hadn't. (I had checked the weather report and it had promised the rain would be over by midday. Honest.)

Impressively, upon our arrival, some of the brethren decided to string up a ground sheet as a canopy between the minibus and another car. A ramshackle job, it still gave us some cover for lunch but my head was whizzing. We were definitely going to have a walk in spite of the rain, but how to encourage the others into it? All the while the rain was bucketing down. I suggested we wait for a while, but people were getting restless and some wanted to get going. So, leaving a few reluctant brothers and sisters behind in the minibus we trekked off into the woods.

And well worth the effort it was too. Even in the wet the forest was stimulatingly gorgeous with it's shades of green and fresh natural scents. We journeyed through the glades trying unprofitably to follow the right paths. There was lots of conversation and several little games. But we did get very wet.

The rain was slowing up and about an hour later we returned to the cars for hot drinks. It was then that the family travelling from the north arrived. Bless them, they had been in traffic for four hours with two small kids! Considering the delay and the bad weather it would have been reasonable for them to have chosen to drive straight home but, like the rest of us, they were determined to have a good time. I think a lot of us felt blessed by their effort.

As they went off to taste the forest, several of us gathered to play a wide game. Contrary to popular opinion the rules had been decided before the games got going, they just, er... changed as we went along. It was a game of chase the flag and was a huge success, we must have played for the next hour and a half.

Five and a half hours later we returned home, some justifiably having left a little earlier. There was changing of clothes and showers and cups of tea and an excellent quick supper. For the rest of the evening we simply stayed together and enjoyed the shared company. The gas fire and t-shirts might have been a bit excessive but it suited the mood.

I think a lot of people had a good night's sleep and were very happy when their heads finally touched the pillow.