Thursday, August 28, 2003

Intro to D of E Diary

Evening People, Dont ask why I did this, I was in a "happy" state of mind ok? Perhaps under the influence of sugar. For those of you who read the demo, this is just a continuation. For those of you who havent read it-be warned.

Its rather long so you may want to print it off and read it offline or whatever. BTW it all happened- Just ask any member of Group 11.

Pray for our traumatised little souls

Chapter One- The day clown trousers and fireman boots (covered in cow crap) became the latest fashion.

The sun was high in the sky, the birds were singing and there was a light breeze that lifted the leaves and rustled through the trees. However, it was 8:30 in the morning. On a Saturday. And the “light breeze” was ruffling its way through my hair. Great. Why we were made to meet at this god-earthly hour, I don’t know, but it was obviously the creation of some sadistic person out there.
When we all met up, the morale was high. Sure the bags were heavy, but to us they seemed perfectly manageable. For the first few paces of course. Then, the sheer weight of the bags would kick in and the stabbing pains on the shoulders would start. However, with a positive attitude, one can achieve anything so we grimly bore our burdens quietly and waited for the instructor to arrive with Alexa.
As the car pulled up, Alexa got out of the car as quickly as possible having already met our instructor. Telling by the scowl on Alexa’s face, our day was becoming even more enjoyable with the addition of our “I'm-a-professional-walker-so-listen-to-me-state-the-obvious” assessor. As she strolled out the car to meet us all, she greeted us with a simple greeting that could only be described as “professional”. “Is anyone on their you-know-what?” So, the woman with whom we are spending the rest of the day with happens to be scared of the p-word. Also, she appears to be wearing some bizarre concoction that’s somewhere between Oxfam chic and potato-sack designer wear. Oh, the day was just getting better and better.
When we set off, we mutually decided to make the best of a bad situation. However, after walking for several minutes down the main road, we were stopped by the “professional walker” and were told that we were going in the wrong direction. And the reason why you didn’t tell us this before we wasted our energy was? After getting back on track and on the right track, we were well into our D of E practice expedition. We saw an unbelievably cute rabbit and shocked our assessor with our shrieks of delight that were apparently “not appropriate”. However, after being told that no, we could not take it with us, we left the rabbit to the mercy of the elements.
Trudging through the fields we were told to keep to the edge because the weeds and nettles that grew in the field may have been “crops”. Our feet were beginning to hurt and Zoë decided to start a song to get us in the “D of E mood”.
“My name is Zoë and I'm doing of D of E, In front of me, is Chrissy”
“My name is Chrissy Whitehead, I’d rather be in my bed” and so forth. It actually started to work and as Ents was beginning the next round, everyone fell silent as a man approached. Hmm, should we run and hide, or smile and pretend that we’re doing this voluntarily? Neither sounded appealing to us so we carried on silently. The man, oblivious to our torture stopped us to talk even though we all knew it was our assessor, Dr Wall that he really wanted to “talk” to. He began mindless conversation and even though we were glad of a rest, his god damn dog got some bizarre kick out of shoving its nose into our crotches.
The minutes passed and he asked us where we were from and where we were going. Strangely enough we all told him even though it’s common knowledge that you should NEVER give your details to strangers. He seemed to make little jokes that were apparently meant to be funny and we were on the verge of deserting Dr Wall and her new man-friend. However, the dog started the crotch-sniffing trick on Dr Wall, which lead to her deciding that we really had to go as we were “wasting valuable time”. Duh, I'm a “professional”, I really do state the obvious.
After walking for a while, we reached a field. The field was large, fresh, spacious, and picturesque. Oh and did I mention, filled with cows? Well, we weren’t exactly sure of what they were, as some of them appeared to have horns the size of tree-trunks attached to their heads. We held our breath and decided to quietly make for the corner of the field. However, halfway across, we realised that our rucksacks were red and in terror, we desperately tried to cover them. Hmmm, so much for the quiet and calm approach. Dithering amongst the grass we encountered yet another terror. Cow pats the size of dinner plates with the consistency of gloopy cement. Delightful. After reaching the other side and clambering over the stile we found ourselves in yet another field. This time cow-free but instead it was crammed full with long-grass. All of us were reminded of the spectacular scene from Jurassic Park II and Zoë took great pleasure in shouting, “Don’t go through the long grass!” in that bizarre Indian-Russian accent. However, that too was not ‘appropriate’. Walking through the field was not very entertaining but our hopes soared as we caught sight of civilisation again in the form of a golf course.
Going through the golf course, we received many glances from the golfers who were blatantly admiring our stunning DofE outfits, complete with fluorescent camping mats and sexy hiking boots. Trampling across the green was perilous as there were golf balls flying past from all angles. We hoped that Dr Wall would win the ‘first to get hit by a golf ball’ game but alas, she was rather agile for a woman her age. Walking past the ‘exclusive’ clubhouse the DofE song tried to make a comeback but we were told to “shush!” by some old ladies who were immediately proclaimed as *cough snobs cough* by Chrissy, who then realised that her Dad was also a member.
After surviving the perils of the golf course, we began the long and arduous trek up Coomb hill. We were silent as we trudged through the leaves, whoever’s idea it was to go up the steepest side of the hill was obviously desperately thinking of someone else to blame it on. As we got to the top, we experienced our first encounter with a kissing-gate. After many desperate attempts at trying to squeeze through with our bulky bags, we realised that the gap was too small for us to pass through. What were we going to do? Then, “the professional” said that we should remove our bags and proceed. Unwillingly, we took off our bags and slowly made our way through the gate one by one. However all hell broke out and our gate-crossing speed suddenly achieved an all new high when we realised that there were members of the male species approaching rapidly. It was ironic that we were running away from them when on a normal day we would be in fact chasing after them. Obviously not screaming “RUN AWAY! RUN AWAY!” madly like we were. We managed to press on and were a distance away from the male group when Dr Wall decided that it was time to stop for lunch. Now you’re talking our language.
The “picnic” was great as the food was given that extra countryside touch by the means of crawling and flying insects. Yum. After lunch we all realised that we needed to go to “go pee-pee” and we could choose out of the large variety of toilets. That prickly bush, that bush in the mud or that tiny bush that only came up to our knees. Hmm, choices. We all hoped that that male group which was not far behind would not make a guest appearance. After many amusing minutes of confusion, we each went into our cubicles and came out laughing and giggling insanely. Oh the delights of mooning at Mother Nature.
We set off again but the weight of the bags was taking its toll. During an enjoyable walk downhill, Zoë took a fall and after rolling a while, she ended up stuck on her back with her legs and arms flailing in the air like a turtle. After that incident, she was then used as an example of “teamwork” or something like that and even though none of us understood what Dr Wall was talking about we all smiled, nodded and just hoped that she’d be the next one to fall and roll down the hill.
After many hours of weary trudging we finally reached Green Park and we were all glad to see signs of civilisation. Surprisingly, according to Dr Wall we were the 3rd group there and the first girl group. Woo. We really didn’t care because all we wanted to do was shake off our assessor so we could rest. However, our dream of having that well deserved break was dashed, as we had to put up our tent instead. That was decidedly harder than we thought it would be seeing that our tent decided to blow away in the wind. Imagine a green tent blowing around a field with 7 small people running insanely after it screaming and cursing. No, apparently that was not “appropriate” either. That scene would have made a great picture, pity we “misplaced” the camera.
After our tent was up, the other groups had arrived. We ate dinner, which consisted of burnt yet uncooked rice, which actually turned out to be edible. Everyone was hungry and ate quite quickly apart from Zoë who appeared to inhale the contents of her bowl in seconds. I think you can guess who got to eat the rest of the meal. We all split up for the rest of the evening and went our own ways. Harriet, Alexa and Hollie went for walks. Ents and Chrissy went to play football/handball and Zoë went to join her fellow crazy people on the other side of the field. After an interesting evening we found our way to our tents in the darkness and fell asleep.

It was 4’o clock and everyone was woken by the sound of talking. In the green tent, Zoë who had been woken up by the talking, discovered that she could not feel her nose due to the intense cold and delightedly informed her tent-mates who buried their heads in their sleeping bags and tried to sleep. However, the talking did not stop and eventually there was a gradual build-up of cursing coming from Group 11. Still the talking carried on and Group 10 were woken up from their pleasant dreams into their worst nightmares. Imagine dreaming about being back at home on the sofa watching TV and then waking up in a freezing tent to a steady stream of swear words coming from all around and some lunatic shouting “I CANT FEEL MY NOSE!” at regular intervals. Not exactly the most courteous of awakenings.
Then Group 10 joined in the conflict and started shouting at Group 11 who were shouting at the people talking. This then woke up Groups 8 and 9 who then started shouting at Group 10 for shouting at Group 11 for shouting at the people who were talking. Just when things were about to get really heated, Zoë decided to put an end to this by defying the “freezignuss” and getting out of the tent. She was escorted by Christina and after they established the offending tent they randomly banged on the walls. Chrissy began with “Please can you be quiet” but was interrupted by Zoë who promptly threatened to come in there and make them shut up. This happened to work and suddenly the tent was quiet. As Chrissy and Zoë walked off, the tent then erupted into chatter again. This then led to Zoë running towards the tent with all the intentions of kicking it down and ripping it into shreds. However Chrissy managed to restrain her and they went back to the Group 11 sector and fell asleep again.

After a hearty breakfast of cereal bars and watery tea (avec bits of grass) Group 11 were packing and getting ready to go. This day looked to be better seeing that the “professional walker” would not accompany them. Group 11 had a quick kit check and then we were off into the wild. However, our enthusiasm for walking had long gone and we were now cursing the stupid inventor of the D of E award and it never occurred to us that it might actually be the Duke himself.
Later, after walking quite a while we heard some lame interpretation of Spandeau Ballet and were consequently joined by Group 1 who were in such a good mood that was not possible on D of E unless under the influence of alcohol. Their mood seemed to rub off on us but alas, we had to part and we turned into a field while they stopped for a break. Bad move. The field was full of cute little black cows with cute little noses and don’t forget the cute cow crap that they had kindly dumped in the footpath. Boy we were wrong. The cows appeared to have never seen walkers before and some started to follow us as we went up the field. We remembered the advice we were given and we all decided to stay still until they had lost interest. We would have been fine if the god dam cows hadn’t started to moo at us. This freaked out Harriet, Ents and Hollie who began to run towards the stile as fast as they could. So much for the “staying still”. This then led to the rest of the cows running after the three of them. The rest of us stood dead still and the cows ran straight past us tossing their heads and mooing like there was no tomorrow. Luckily the girls got to the stile in time and as they scrambled over, the cows all decided to crowd around the stile and watch them trying to communicate with the rest of the group who were now stranded in the middle of the field. Let’s just say that Alexa, Christina. Danielle and Zoë were not very happy bunnies.

D of E Diary : Chapter 2 - Concerning Cows, Shotgun Brandishing Farmers and the Mean-Fat-Duck

There was no way that they were going to go through the cows seeing that they were all packed tightly in front of the stile. Zoë decided that they were obviously plotting and deciding whether we would taste better trampled or not so Alexa, Christina, Danielle and Zoe decided to be clever and climb over the fence into the next field. This turned out to be a bad move seeing that after trudging through knee-deep grass we realised our only way out was to cross the overgrown ditch that separated us from our path. We were actually considering going back to see if the cows had gone but then we saw a man standing by the edge of the field and we heard warning shouts from our other group members that the farmer was “coming to get us.” When we heard this, we decided to cross the ditch because even though we were completely innocent, we all had the image of an angry farmer yelling after us waving his shotgun. However, a stroke of good luck came across us when Hollie shouted through the hedge that she had found a “safe” way to cross. The farmer-man had disappeared, presumably to go and get his gun so we scrambled over the electric fence and made our way precariously over the ditch. In a matter of minutes we were all across the ditch and suddenly we came face to face with a man. We all thought he was the landowner and put our grovelling “please-don’t-shoot-us” faces on but he was only a mere dog walker and he surprisingly agreed with our shotgun-brandishing-farmer ideas.
After abandoning the walker, we made our way back down the path towards our old route when we saw fellow young offenders in the scary cow field. We ran frantically to the stiles and shouted “Don’t run! Don’t run!” even though some of the members of Group 12 had looks of pure terror on their faces. We ran to their aid and after they all finally managed to scramble over the stile we all started to jeer and mock the cows. One of the members of Group 12 was so overheated in her scorn that she accidentally ended up throwing her map into the field where the cows immediately proceeded to drool over it. We left the enraged Group 12 cursing the stupid cows in a most Group 11 like manner and we walked on with a slight sense of achievement knowing that our language was being used to leave those cows traumatised and disturbed for the rest of their short lived life, before they were turned into burgers.
After that little episode, we walked on and following a passionate discussion of how to cook beef we all realised that we were very hungry. We stopped by a canal for lunch and were joined by some ducks that were blatantly trying to scab our food. After a few minutes of throwing stones and swearing at the ducks- in particular at the mean fat duck that kept bullying the other ones, we decided that if they wanted our food that much we’d give them some. That’s when Zoë came up with the idea of throwing her Peperami remains into the water, disguised as bits of pork-like bread. Sly. A whole assortment of crisps, cake and peanuts were thrown in soon after and the greedy ducks were fed our “highly nutritious” food. We were having fun throwing our lunch away until mean-fat-duck started quacking and waving its wings. We concluded that it was choking on a peanut. After the feeding we were busy stuffing ourselves when who should come along but a group of boys. Great timing. It was none other than Group 1, the group that reckoned they could give Spandeau Ballet a run for their money. There was a sudden silence and all that could be heard was mean-fat-duck choking and flapping about. It drew a lot of attention so we decided to smile angelically and pretend that it was a mating call of some kind.
When we had finished our lunch, we were well on our way again and we walked through more fields. Harriet who was in front suddenly stopped and went quiet, leaving Ents and Zoë singing the D of E song. This sudden halt was not very helpful seeing that we all carried heavy bags and were walking quite close together. Just picture seven dominoes in a row. After we had all regained our balance, we realised why Harriet had stopped so suddenly. We were in yet another field and but there was a group of cows in the corner. Now these were not small cows like before, these were big momma cows with huge rears that would probably squish all seven of us in one swift cow move. We were petrified and quaking in our huge clodhopper boots. As a group we came up with a plan that would make Dr Wall proud. For the first time on the expedition we were going to be quiet. Absolute dead silent. With no sudden moves and no loud swearing. Harriet, Ents and Hollie were reminded that there would be no screaming and running away and Zoë was reminded that there would be no bursting into song and dance. The whole concept was “Keep walking, stay on the footpath, stay quiet and keep going” Yes, this seemed quite an impossible task for Group 11 who were notorious for constant chatter but we all knew that whoever set the cows off would become very unpopular – assuming if we survived. When we all started walking again, all eyes were watching the cows. If there was any sign of them turning into ‘crazy-man-eating’ cow mode we would stay calm. About halfway through the field we were tired and wanted to stop. But in these conditions no one in their right mind stops for anything. Chrissy almost managed to step in the middle of some cow-crap that was pleasantly left in the middle of the path. Resisting the urge to go “EWW!” at the top of her voice they carried on.
Finally, Group 11 made it over the stile in one piece and as soon as the last member was safely over the stile, we exploded into chatter and started talking about the cows and the size of certain parts of their anatomy.
“Did you see that big male cow eh eh?”
“… massive cow-boobies! I should have taken a picture!”
“Cow pats the size of my head!! I almost….”
“It was giving us evils! No Joke!”
“Fat-ass cow bastard fuck face….” Etc
We walked away smiling to ourselves. Its amazing how fun it is to diss animals. Also, if you’re ever as bored as we were, impersonating cows is pretty funny too.
We continued our walk and after an hour of walking, numerous members of the group had important ‘business’ that they needed to attend to. However there were no bushes or trees in sight and the only shelter was behind a hedge. And that’s how Ents, Chrissy and Zoë ended up crouching at the edge of an open field trying to hide amongst the weeds. There were several encounters with minibeasts and other creatures that lurked in the hedge and a loud shriek from Zoë told everyone that she had been caught unaware by a sharp twig poking out of the hedge. After many outbursts of laughter, they all finished and left the hedge complaining about how easy it was for blokes.
We were about 2 hours away from our destination and were walking through the fields. Harriet stopped suddenly but this time the other group members had learnt from their last mistake and were spread out enough to stay on their feet. The reason why Harriet had stopped was because the stile we were meant to be heading to was in a different corner of the field with a huge tree planted right in front of it. We checked all the corners for stiles and this was the only stile present. Confusing. We would have attempted to climb over and around the tree but the stile was just a piece of wood with numerous wrappings of barbed wire around it. Group 11 were stumped. We were in the right field, the only difference was the fact that there was a bypass running next to where our stile was meant to have been. We would have gone down the bypass instead but we knew that Dr Wall’s cronies would be scouting the roads. We were planning on running down the road but considering that there were lorries going at the speed of light down the road and the fact that we could barely walk, made it clear that we should not even attempt it. So instead we decided to go into the next field and try to get to our next meeting point, SunnyBrook Farm by another route. We walked through the next field hoping to find a stile but to our dismay the only way out was through two barbed wire fences. We saw a canal on the other side and we found a suitable route from there. We’d walk along the canal and then down the main road. It sounded pretty simple. The tricky task however was getting over the barbed wire fences. Note the term fences, not fence. The gods were clearly punishing us for our earlier peanut and Peperami antics which probably lead to the end of mean-fat-duck.

Chapter 3: The Long Road to "Sunny-bloody-Brook Farm"

First of all, we knew that we would probably fall to our spiky, barbed doom if we carried the bags so we threw them all over the fence and hoped that no one would snatch them before we got over. Yes, because of course there’s a high demand in the market for bright yellow camping mats with holes randomly ripped out of the sides. We sent Harriet over the fence first by holding down the lethal points whilst she clambered over. This proved to be a success and soon we had a small yet effective system going as a team. Heh, suck on that Dr Wall! When we had got half of our group over, we realised that we were being watched by people sitting nearby, having a picnic. We looked at them with obvious looks of helplessness but they seemed perfectly happy just watching us amusedly whilst they chomped on lush looking ice cream. After it was clear that we were not even going to get a sympathetic glance from them let alone an offer from them to take us to Green Park in their car, we continued with our struggle whilst cursing them, hoping that they would choke on their ice creams.
Finally, after many tiring minutes of helping each other Group 11 made it over the fence with no fatal injuries or wounds. However, Zoë had to continue the walk with an attractive hole in the back of her trousers but it was decided that the hole was “meant to be there” In fact we realised that Nature had a way of altering all our trousers. We all now had appealing grass stains on our back pockets, wet patches in the most appropriate places and in one particular case, striking brown splotches for which the cows were thanked in a most gracious way.
“Oh. My. God. Look what the buggers left on my trousers. Ew. Ew. Ew. I hate cows. I hate walking. Stupid D of E. Stupid stupid stupid. I want to go home!”
We walked along the canal but unfortunately weren’t joined by any more ducks. It was a shame, seeing that there were plenty of Peperamis left. We came to the main road and found out that we needed to walk down it for 2km or so. 2 km would have been fine in the woods but out on the road there was no shade and the hot sun beat down on us like an invisible weight. We took a deep breath and started walking.
After a few minutes we were passed by a tractor that beeped at us in a most taunting manner. We all sighed wearily and then realised that it was pulling an open trailer behind it. A trailer that could easily fit us all in and could carry us down the road in 10 minutes. As the idea formed in our heads we began to frantically chase the tractor with the intention of throwing our bags on first. However, no matter how much we shouted and waved our hands, the tractor driver ignored us and obviously had no intention of slowing down for us. Our waves and signals suddenly turned into very rude ones and some members of Group 11 took delight in sticking their middle fingers up and shouting after the tractor which slowly disappeared out of sight.
“OY TRACTOR MAN! I HOPE YOU CRASH AND BURN! YOU HEAR ME? CRASH AND BURN!” In reply, the tractor picked up speed and became a small dot on the horizon. There went our free ride. We weren’t even sure if we were on the right lane so we asked a lorry driver who replied with “Sorry, I don’t speak English” in an unconvincing Spanish accent.
Positive that everyone was against us we stopped for a short break even though this was a bad idea seeing that we were along a narrow country lane with lorries rushing past every now and then. However Alexa, Zoë and Danielle wanted to stop for a break and with the most stubborn member, not to mention the most violent member of the group amongst the three (not mentioning any names) it was decided that they were going to stop, no matter what. In other words, the only thing that would make them move was either a passing ice-cream man giving out free samples or a passing ice cream man giving out free samples and money.
So that’s how Group 11 came to be sitting on the edge of the ditch looking very forlorn and helpless. Alexa was tired, we had been walking for a long while. Harriet looked perplexed as she studied the map with an expert air, wondering whether we were on the right road. Ents seemed drowsy, perhaps she hadn’t got much sleep (DOWN TO THE INCESSANT TALKING!) Chrissy had an annoyed look on her face, her hairbrush was somewhere in the depths of her bag and her hair was being ruffled by the wind. Hollie was smiling to herself, perhaps thinking of a certain someone whose name we shall not mention (heheh, sorry Hollie). Danielle was the most weary of us all and was drinking vast amounts of water, which was ironic, seeing that she hadn’t attended to the call of Nature even once. All six of them were sitting in line quietly apart from Zoë who was rummaging in her bag recklessly sprawled on the road. She was probably the only one out of Group 11 who wasn’t thinking about D of E. No, instead she had the most irrelevant intent in her head. Find Food. Eat Food. Be Happy.

Chapter 4- The Final Chapter- PART 1

After everyone had rested we were off again and as we continued we passed the place where we would have been 30 minutes ago if the stile had been where it was meant to be! After more minutes of exhausting torture, when our walk had become a mind-numbing march along the cracked road, we finally reached SunnyBrook Farm, which was promptly renamed as “Sunny-bloody-brook Farm”
We had to write a short message of the group’s status and estimate a time of when we would get back. Hmm, was that with or without shortcuts? We were already an hour behind schedule so it was decided that we must be ‘forced’ to take a shorter route. Now, which one to take without being noticed, that was the question. A question that could easily be answered by one member of the group- the Slacker.
“Zoë, we need a route that will cut at least a kilometre off of our route and we can’t be seen. Any ideas?”
The expert then rapidly formed a woodland route that was complete with excuses if we were caught. We then wrote our note for Dr Wall and tacked it around a lamppost with enough cello-tape wrapped around it to hold a car to the post.

As we walked along the road we took a left onto a woodland path that appeared to take us in a circle and we ended up only a few feet away from where we had started. Not very helpful. We carried on walking and reached a large field. Our map said that we needed to walk through the metal gate that was in front of us and walk another hour to get to Green Park. However the keen eyes in our group noticed a few familiar sights nearby. Very nearby. Two white poles in the shape of an H stuck out from behind some trees and then after looking again, we recognised certain large white tents. It was Green Park!!! We were then faced with a choice. Should we go down the long way or take a shortcut through the fields to get there in 10 minutes? Yes, we were stressed, sleepy and a teensy bit sweaty (God bless the inventor of anti-perspirant) but we were not stupid. We all made our way across the field, amidst a football match and towards the rugby H that seemed to shine like a holy cross… only, in the shape of an H…

It was quiet apart from the passing cars and the cow-field adjacent to the main camping area was completely still. The trees swayed slightly in the breeze but the field was empty. Then, suddenly, a figure dashed from behind one of the trees with its arms and legs flapping around as it struggled to run. It reached the next tree and tried to hide behind it which proved not to be successful seeing that the large bulk on its back stuck out from behind the tree like a sore thumb. It cautiously peered out from behind the branches to observe the people in the main camping field before signalling to the others to continue.
Yes, this was actually Group 11 doing their famous Chameleon impression also known as Of-Course-We’re-Not-Taking-A-Shortcut act. After we had crossed the football field safely we realised that we were in the cow field next to Green Park and we could clearly see several groups collapsed on the grass in the main field. That when the thought struck us. If we could see them, they could see us. And with our bright yellow camping mats and bright hats, we would hardly become one with Nature’s colour scheme. So that’s how we ended up making our way through the field, running from tree to tree as fast as our heavy bags and baggy trousers would allow us whilst humming the Mission Impossible theme tune. In fact some may say that we were like streaks of lightning… only with baseball caps.

We knew that it would hardly look natural to just appear magically out of the cow field so we decided to be clever and make our way round the slightly longer way so it looked like we were coming from the back entrance. That appeared to be the first, last and only time Group 11 took the longer route voluntarily. As we walked up the last path the D of E song was shouted –Bob the Builder Style
“Group 11! Will we walk it?”
“Group 11! No we won’t!”
“Group 11! Can we walk it?”
“Group 11! No we can’t!” etc

As we entered the field a weird, happy feeling went through us all. Was it was self-satisfaction? Knowing that as a group we had worked together and completed our expedition? No, it was simply the fact that we would be going home soon to sit in front of the T.V and feel whole again. We had our bags checked and surprisingly our emergency rations were untouched. This was possibly due to the fact that they were things that we had found at the very back of the kitchen cupboard such as crisps which were so old that to any unsuspecting individual, they would pass off as dried leaves.
We were given the all clear and then were told that we could now go home. The relief that flooded through us when we heard those words was absolutely unexplainable. It was a feeling that only someone who had slogged over 25 km, got chased by cows, destroyed natural habitats and ripped their trousers over barbed wire, could understand.

CHAPTER 5: The Final Chapter- Part 2- The End of the D of E Experience

The other day, I was looking at my D of E folder and I noticed a copy of “The Country Code” The remarkable thing is, we managed to break practically all of them.

 Enjoy the countryside and respect its life and work – it was kind of impossible to ‘enjoy’ having to walk for two days whilst carrying a bag 1/3 of your own weight.
 Guard against all risk of fire- Anti Perspirant and body sprays = flammable but necessary
 Fasten all gates- Ha, like the farmer-men are kind enough to leave them open for us. But oh no, we have to go OVER… and fall off the other side…
 Keep to public footpaths across farmland- *Cough cough cough*, who remembers a certain member trying to force a way through the bean field and the potato field? Hmmm? Ok, I admit, I was right behind her, but hey.
 Leave livestock, crops and machinery alone- Hey, only if they leave us alone first! Crazy cows, taunting tractors included! And on that hot day, those nice cold bean plants were just shouting at us to hug them. Honest.
 Protect wildlife, plants and trees- Ptsch, that’ll teach Nature to poke me when I'm not looking.
 Make no unnecessary noise- No Comment… DON’T GO THROUGH THE LONG GRASS… ahem

After we bid our farewells, we all went our separate ways and that was the end of our Duke Of Edinburgh practice expedition. It goes down in history as the most gruelling two days of our lives and it will stay in our memories for evermore, or at least until we can get a hypnotist to erase it from our memories. However the thought remains with me, if this was only a practice, how much worse would the real thing be?


Alexa- Alexa had a blast on the next expedition falling over and ripping her trousers in the first 30 seconds, which I do believe, is a record.
Chrissy- Treasures her hairbrush now after having it stolen and thrown into a bush whilst she was in her tent. Hmmm, who could that have been? *cough cough cough*
Danielle- Still surviving and drinking a huge bottle of water a day even at school. Heh, no wonder she doesn’t get any spots, dam her.
Eleanor- Took great delight in shouting “Hi BOYS!” when members of Group 11 were … taken short. Bless her.
Harriet- As professional as ever, Harriet went on to lead Group 11 on the real expedition and thanks to her we survived!
Hollie- Well, I could comment on her relationship with a certain somebody right now but somehow I doubt she would approve of that.
Zoë- Still eating. Now hates Nature with a passion because a passing bird released its waste on her leaving her with some very suspicious stains on her skirt.

Group 11 went on to complete their D of E expedition and did NOT get chased by cows again. They even handed their report on “Farms” in on time complete with attractive group pictures and interesting crop samples (meaning the beans and flowers we had "accidentally" ripped off the crops in the fields)
Honestly,those beans just fell into my hand and then this freak gust of wind blew them away into the air so that they flew into the trees. Ok ok, it was fun throwing beans around, so sue me.

Thank you for reading people, who ever you are. I hope you read our tale and learnt the morals behind all of our mistakes. DON’T TRUST COWS! No matter how cute and little they are, one day, they’ll just bite you in the butt like the little buggers they are. (Or they may just chase you)

So Ladies and Gentlemen, we have come to the end of the D of E Experience. Also known as the highest form of torture known to man. And here's my final final thought, Can you believe its legal?

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Quotable Quotes about the site from the DOEDiary readers

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