Monday 22 November – Exploring our canals ..

This week we finished off the wonderful Canals & Rivers Challenge Badge. We’ve really enjoyed this badge learning about water safety, the history and traditions of the “boaters” who used to work and live on the narrow boats, trying traditional crafts and games, tasting boaters’ food, learning the language of the narrow boats, and looking at the wildlife that lives on the rivers and canals. We started off as usual with our welcome song (still being hummed by the Brownies but sung (behind masks) by the adults) and a quick pow wow before Daisy took our 3 new Tweenies: Anya, Emily and Sienna to start on their Becoming a Brownie books. The rest of us played games with Blue Cheese.

Our first activity was learning the language of the narrow boats. We had a picture of a traditional narrow boat all labelled up; the girls had a few minutes to try and remember as many parts of the boat as possible. Some were easy such as the handrail, hull, propeller etc. but some were more difficult such as the stern dolly, bow fender, gunwale etc..  Once they felt confident they had learnt most, we gave them another picture of a narrow boat but missing the labels. The girls had a few minutes to add the correct labels to the correct parts of the boats. The girls did really well and enjoyed this activity.

During break we tried some traditional boaters’ food.  Cooking aboard a narrow boat was a bit like cooking at camp. Meals had to be nutritious but made with the minimum of equipment. Oatcakes made from porridge oats and lard (which we replaced with Trex!) could be made on top of the tiny stove in the cabin. Buttercup made some of these for us to taste – they were very plain and the texture a bit weird. Most of us didn’t like these at all but a few did! Chocolate ‘crumb’ was imported by ship into Gloucester and Liverpool. From there is was transferred on to canal boats and delivered to Cadbury’s in Bourneville, Birmingham. Some seniors still remember that when they were young, passing boaters gave them chocolate crumb to eat! So, our second food activity was chocolate spiders made with shredded wheat and chocolate – everybody enjoyed these!

Our last activity for this challenge badge was to make a dragonfly.  Canals and rivers are great places to spot two of Britain’s most beautiful insects – dragonflies and damselflies. We made some gorgeous dragonflies out of a lollipop stick, ribbon and stick on gems. These were really simply to make but the girls had lots of different ribbons and gems to choose from resulting in 22 completely different dragonflies.

A few weeks ago, we all made a Hello card celebrating World Hello Day to pass on to another Girlguiding member within the District (all Bracebridge Heath and Waddington Rainbows, Brownies, Guides & Rangers). Anyway, we had a visit by Sarai our District Commissioner who dropped off our cards from other Units. This was a lovely surprise and the girls really enjoyed opening their cards and receiving a special Hello Day badge.

Sarai also congratulated Daffodil who received a very special Girlguiding Good Service brooch at the weekend. Daffodil was nominated for writing and sharing Brownie resources on this website and through various Facebook groups. These resources helped Brownie leaders across the UK to continue running a blend of virtual and remote meeting during the COVID-19 enforced suspension of indoor face to face meeting from March 2020 to September 2021. It was a lovely surprise for Daffodil.

A quick hoover and tidy up by the Leaders whilst the girls played some games then it was time for our awards. Tenth birthday badge to Kitty – happy belated birthday Kitty.  Neatest Necker was Emily H aka Harold. Weekly Best Brownie as nominated by Daisy was Florence. Well done girls who received a lovely pencil and certificate and took home one our mascots. We’ll not continue with the weekly Neatest Necker Award as the majority are now very smart; but Brownies have been advised that a return to scruffy neckers will mean deducted points from the Best Six league table! We finished by saying goodnight and singing our traditional song (again, the Brownies hummed whilst the leaders with masks sang).

That’s it for now. Next week we’ll be finishing off our Take Action theme with the UMA “The Great Chocolate Heist”.

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