Sunday, 4 May 2014

Month in review: April 2014

Another busy month! I seem to keep saying that...

On 1st April we celebrated 2nd Peachcroft Brownies' Opening Party. We've been open since January but wanted to celebrate at the end of term, and all the girls plus Snowy Owl took their promises. Parents, siblings, grandparents, guiding friends and church representatives filled our venue, it was noisy! The girls all completed their hostess badge by acting as waitresses for tea, coffee and cakes.
 
 

 Speaking of Brownies, we've now completed a full term. This term we have learnt about Brownies and Girlguiding, had a Pantomime night, played board games, came to Brownies in our pyjamas, watched a DVD and made pizzas, did lots of craft, visited the Oxfordshire Gang Show, visited three countries in one night for Thinking Day and thought about International Women's Day. We've had a pow-wow, and met a live chicken!

The last time we saw the girls in the Spring term was the Big Brownie Birthday Circus Day for Abingdon Brownies. Over 200 girls in a local school learning how to balance, juggle, spin plates, make juggling balls and have their faces painted. It was a brilliant day and the girls received their Circus Performer badge. I was part of the organising committee for the day so I got flowers and a special badge too!



I've been having some back problems so I've started seeing an osteopath. Sophie (brilliant name!) basically pummels my back for 45 minutes every fortnight in a bid to make my spine and the attached muscles move. My brother-in-law is training to be an osteopath and while it would be great to get him to sort me out, he lives 150 miles away!

Our annual work Easter Quiz took place on the last day before our Easter break (Oxford employees get from Maundy Thursday to Easter Monday off). Lots of colleagues from the Exam Schools filled a room in the King's Arms... and the Student Financial Support/admin support team came LAST.

As we get so much time off for Easter, and Mr H had taken a week off work, we decided to head to Wales to try and find an aqueduct from his childhood memory. Well we found it in a border town called Chirk! It was such a lovely mini-break, we strolled over the aqueduct, and then headed underneath and took loads of photos. We also visited the station as his Dad used to live there and get the train to school everyday. We smelled the chocolate from the nearby Cadbury's factory, and paid a flying visit to Chirk Castle. The day ended with an adventure up a HUGE hill to Castell Dinas Bran and the Horseshoe Falls.




    National Trust in welsh is looonnnggg

(See that blue dot? That's our car!)



We stayed in a hotel nearby then got up early to drive across the country (see map) to Thetford in Norfolk to meet Mr H's family for our nephew's birthday present of Go Ape. This is the second time we've been (we've also been to the one in Bracknell) and it's half amazing to climb and go over crossings in the trees, and half terrifying for someone with mild vertigo like me!


The Big Brownie Birthday celebrations continued with a train journey to London. First Great Western offered a free train to Oxfordshire Brownies, so over 500 of us headed to Oxford station early on the last Saturday of April. We were encouraged to decorate our carriages which was a so much fun, and the girls met lots of other brownies.


Once we were in London we headed to the Diana Memorial Playground in Kensington Gardens (about a 15 minute walk from Paddington). This place was a mecca for kids, and so secure! They actually have the words 'no unaccompanied adult' on the website. We had a lovely picnic then the girls had about an hour to play. There's a giant pirate ship, a music playground, plenty of places for hide and seek, plus all the usual playground stuff. We bought ice creams for the girls for the walk back which definitely helped tired legs!

On the train back the girls got an activity sheet to fill, including getting signatures from as many people as possible, those leaflets were covered! We also received special badges to commemorate the day.


Trinity term at Oxford started again on 28 April and I held a training event for the Moritz-Heyman Scholars interested in teaching, tutoring, and volunteering in access and outreach activities. We had a small group of 20 attend to hear speakers from the Undergraduate Admissions office, University College, the Student Union, Teach First, Frontline, Oxford Hub and Schools Plus. I don't get to spend a great deal of time with individual Scholars as there's so many of them so this was a great opportunity to get to know better a few of them.


So that's April! May is definitely going to be busy as I turn THIRTY (did I mention that??), my little sister turns 16, and there's two bank holiday weekends!