Top 5 Top Gear Specials

31 12 2013

It is Christmas time once again (Yes I Know It Was Last Week), and it is the year for terrible TV. It is no mystery that TV at Christmas is bad. There may be a Doctor Who Special for Christmas, but given what those specials have been like since that Cybermen one (or that boring one with the fish), I might not bother. There are of course some Films to be watched, but given this time of year it is usually a good idea to avoid any films related to Christmas (so avoid Movies 24 (or Christmas 24 as it is known this time of year) in that case).

While most of TV is bound to be bad, let us not forget that there is one show that says ‘NO’ to bad TV at Christmas; Top Gear. For the last few years they have produced a wide and enjoyable selection of specials where the trio travel to a different country and look around and get up to some funny japes in a bunch of cars. So in celebration to these great men, here are my Top 5 Top Gear Specials.

Top Gear Botswana Special

5. Botswana Special – The Botswana special set up the core format for how all the future specials would turn out. While there had been previous specials, this one did the opposite of going somewhere other than America. It starts off nice and simple with the trio showing off the cars they bought (which were not allowed to off-road vehicles) and start the journey off with James May accidently driving into Zimbabwe. Over the course of the episode Richard Hammond grows rather fond of his Opel Cadet (even naming it Oliver) and becomes a bit too overly attached with it. One of the shows main points saw them driving through the Makgadikgadi Pan with some heavy modifications to Jeremy’s Lancia Beta Coupe and James’s Mercedes-Benz 230E. Another point of the show was that of the trio driving through the Okavango Delta, after modifying their cars again. Throughout the whole program all three cars had major (but also very funny) problems and were also followed round what would be a standard for all future specials, the backup car, in this case The VW Beetle.

Top Gear Vietnam Special

4. Vietnam Special – A very interesting episode as well as entertaining. The show began with them getting a lot of money to buy wheels, but discovered that despite having 15 Million Dong (The Vietnam Currency), it was not enough to buy wheels with, until they realized they could, but the form they did get, did not please Jeremy all that much, they bought bikes. This is an episode that I think about every now and again. I am not fond of Bikes also, and I try to think about what I would do in that position.  The early stages of the episode sees Jeremy struggle greatly with Richard and James drive off and not see him again until lunch and supper of the first day. As the episode progresses, they buy suits, buy ridiculous presents over and over again, fail a driving test, paint Richard’s bike pink, catch a train and turn their bikes into jet skis. They are also followed by a backup bike, but on this occasion it is not a great idea because it has an American Flag and American Flag decor and plays the Bruce Springsteen classic ‘Born in the U.S.A.’, not a great idea to do while in Vietnam. One of the more enjoyable bits though is when they go in search of their cars and discover how hard it was going to be and what they would go through in the hope of buying a car. But despite all the comedy and silliness involved, the whole episode is overshadowed by the Amazing country that it is set in. The shots of the cities, countryside as well as the weather is incredible to watch.

Bolivia

3. Bolivia Special – Simple plan initially, buy 3 off-road vehicles and travel to the Pacific Ocean, the start point however is in the middle of a jungle. The Bolivia Special has one if not the best opening for a top gear special. It initially starts out with the trio waiting for their vehicles, point out everything that is wrong with the vehicles and then try to get them off a raft. Jeremy goes for a Range Rover which is consistently referenced as the most unreliable car in the world, which throughout the episode turns out to be the most reliable car of the three. James buys a Suzuki SJ413 which was apparently blue in the catalogue he ordered it from, but turned out to be red. Richard meanwhile lands for a Toyota Land Cruiser which in the end does not make it. Much like the Vietnam special, part of this episode features an interesting country as well as journey which starts in the jungle and ends up in a desert where there is no life at all. The jungle section is really good and even as that part goes, the episode does not let up, even when driving on the most dangerous road in the world on one of the highest roads in the world to the eventual end of driving the two remaining cars down some dunes. The trios experience through these points is brilliant also such as how much they suffered at high altitudes, and Hammond’s experience at taking caramelized drugs. Very enjoyable and memorable episode, definitely a highlight for the show.

Africa

2. Africa Special – The first Two Part special, the trio go in search of the true source of the River Nile. Travelling in Estate cars, the trio are trying to be explorers to look for the real source of the river Nile, something that has been queried and argued for a long time (apparently). The episodes start off as normal but as the first episode goes on, they discover more and more of the country and for a time it turns in similar fashion to the Vietnam Special. As it progresses they boys modify their cars to sleep inside them instead of Richard’s Favourite past time and drive through a town named Jezza. As it becomes clear they have been going in the wrong direction, and become rather despondent, they go in a different direction which leads to them sailing across Lake Victoria in a short, but rather interesting few moments which leads to Hammond losing a lot of food from his car, even though he can only cook baked beans. In the second episode they get closer to their destination, after stealing bits and bobs off each other’s cars they build a car ferry to get across a river. They then arrive on a very perilous road which causes them nothing but problems before a mad dash finish to find the source which James does. While these Episodes are great, I do feel like the second episode lets the first one down, especially with the whole car ferry moment, if that was shorter, and had more stuff on where they were as well as what they got up to, it would be number 1. But I do wait with much anticipation towards any future double episodes, it works, it really does.

India

1. India Special – The India Special had it all, Good Cars, Great Challenges, Silly Incidents and an Amazing Country. Thinking it would be a great idea to get some trade going for the UK by visiting India, the trio go there on a trade mission in a Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow, Jaguar XJS and Mini Cooper. They try to use their cars in a way that might be able to get India to trade with England such as delivering hot food instead of the train, hosting Motorsport and decorating them in an Indian way including a painted flag that is not Indian. The trio do other things also such as putting banners on the side of trains which in the end leave rude messages, host a trade reception which ends with an accident with a homemade firework as well as a runaway Lawn Mower. The trio also improve a couple of British Made products also by making a far better version of the pointless Paul McCartney Song ‘Hey Jude’ and greatly improve the most boring sport in the world; Cricket. The episode is also filled with funny incidents including James taking revenge on Jeremy and Richard for messing with his car, and repeated fun at Richard’s expense by playing a Genesis song over and over again. Much like the Vietnam episode also, it is a great representation of an amazing country and culture revealed as the show goes on. Even after the great African Special, this remains my Favourite Top Gear Special.

GENEPOOL





My Week: 30/08/2013 – 31/08/2013

13 09 2013

My Week

Friday: With the week feeling that it is going quickly (or that could be me getting older), but not as quickly as it is taking to write this. But yes the week was quickly coming to an end, even quicker for some as they had either already left or were about to leave. But still, it’s important to get the most out of the week. I began by writing my Sketch/Monologue thing for the camp concert during breakfast, remembering to wake up first. I had ingested a lot of serial during the week, something I don’t normally do, but I liked ingesting cereal. On from this was the last word on Philippians from David before having a quick word from Jim about what I wanted to do that evening for the concert and ask for his assistance with it. Me, Hannah, Beth, Josh and Matt then had a game of Alhambra before lunch. It was in some way a fun game despite how annoying the currency was, but still somewhat fun. Other campers played Football before Lunchtime.

Because we were sitting outside I was able to retain my big comfy chair for Lunch. This is usually the day that I go somewhat mad after not having Red Meat for a while, this time I was able to keep calm. Shortly after lunch John M left so we all said goodbye, much like we did for Phil on Thursday just this time round we did not have the group hug. The afternoon was made up of more game time as some of us played King of Tokyo before finally having a game of Dixit Odyssey followed by Coup before a brief tea time.

During tea which took the form of Corn on the Cob so we did not spoil our stomachs for the BBQ, we took possession of our own copies of the camp photo and started to pass them around so we could have them signed and while I had them signed by my close friends and other long-term friends, I also had them signed by those who I had hoped I became friends with. Something I stated in a video interview, I made so many amazing new friends and hope that they feel the same way. Following on from tea we had a brief (late) talk from Adam who did his talk in two parts, one involved discussion, the other was a general talk. Then it was time to get ready for the concert.

The concert was one of the best years to date. Several exhibitions of music, a camp variation of Les Misérables which was amazing due to the size, scale and planning of it all, a barber shop quartet (and keyboard player), some Jazz and other forms of music too. My monologue went ok, bit shorter than previous years, I talked about how people should make a cup of tea, and there were some bits of comedy also from Kiran and Simon doing puns and the Cinderella which was very funny. An Amazing concert overall, absolutely amazing. I have already started planning what I hope to do for next year after being inspired by the performances.

Then we went down to the Bonfire for a BBQ (and people singing songs from Disney films). There was also some great Chicken soup, have not had that for years, but it was lovely nonetheless. Some people then went for the Midnight Walk while others decide to play Carcassonne. I decided to go to bed as the next day I would have a long distance to travel. On the way back to the tent I could see the blazing fire still going and in the woods and eventually near the road I could hear the midnight walkers.

Saturday: Camp eventually reached its climax on the Saturday. When I reached the barn after I woke up I could see some people were awake while others were sleeping on the sofas with blankets draped over them. While I would’ve happily stayed up all night, I probably would not have been in good form to go round London. Breakfast was 30 minutes later due to the hijinks and japes people got up to the previous night. People were still waking up and we had another go at the Superman themed song.

Following on from this was the morning share time, a time for people to share what they enjoyed and what lies ahead for them. Even I for the first time went up and talked. I mentioned how this was one of the best if not the best camp to date while trying to hold back the nervousness of presenting this. I mentioned how it was a great camp to make new friends but also how the camp had brought me closer to God. Some people cried while presenting while others were able to hold them back. After this we split up into different groups and did some more sharing before a quick round of prayer. Following on from this I packed my stuff up, said my goodbyes and went back to Dorking train station for my lift home.

The train home was generally ok. I managed to read some more of HUNGER before I arrived in London Victoria, got a Wasabi for lunch (something I always try to get while in London) before going on a relatively short journey back to Euston, found out my train times, got a Milkshake, got on the Pendolino and started the journey home. I was able to continue reading HUNGER for most of the journey and had a quick 30 minute nap before arriving in Lancaster.

I did of course have to carry all the heavy bags I had across the bridge to get some money out of the cash point before crossing the bridge again to get a Taxi. I then arrived home safe and sound, texted family and friends to let them know I got back OK, played with the cats for a bit before going online, onto Facebook to upload my Photos from the week.

This year’s Camp was Amazing. To begin with it was hard not having my close and long-time friends around, like Josh and Hannah, but in a way this allowed me the opportunity to make new friends, something I generally find hard to do due to my extreme shyness, but in the end I was able to pluck up the courage to talk to new people and make new friends. Friends who I have either not met before or have but did not know them all that well; and this made me very happy and I hope that these people who I now think of as friends consider me also (as stated on a video interview by Rebecka). While there were still some I did not get a chance to meet, that gives future opportunities to make more friends. While camp has ended and that is sad, it is a sign of how great and enjoyable a year it was and while in many cases I may not see many people until next year, there are opportunities to meet up between now and then, and I look forward to those opportunities.

GENEPOOL





My Week: 28/08/2013 – 29/08/2013

12 09 2013

My Week

Wednesday: After being worried all around the clock the previous night if I was going to be able to continue with camp on note of the event of my sore throat coming back, I woke up absolutely fine except for the continuing cough I have had for the last few days. Anyway another early morning (and I think the Eric Clapton Song Layla going through my head, but only the rocky start as I don’t like the pleasant final half of it all that much), I did consider using the time to read more of HUNGER but I enjoy being in the company of those at camp. So came Breakfast followed by the continued series of Philippians.

Today was of course the Annual (many things at camp are annual but Leith Hill was different to previous years) trip up Box Hill 3 miles from camp. The main way to get there for many on camp is to walk (others run, or drive part way there…..or drive straight to the top). So I with many more walked there. Megumi and James had arrived earlier in the day despite the program stating that Megumi was not coming, but it was great to see her. Wednesday was also the Day Josh, Hannah and the rest of the gang were supposed to come, but we did not know when. Due to me going to the toilet, I started right at the back (until Jim, Emily and Victoria left) of the group and had a long catch up ahead. Most of the walk was uneventful, I noticed Tiger Hill for the first time, so named due to the rock face looking like a white tiger, I walked in an unusual way in front of a tractor to prove a point that Matt had plenty of time to get out of the way of it, I caught up and overtook most of the group pretty quickly, Matt continued to wonder why I was taking photos of Road Signs, and I was able to direct most of the group which direction to take thanks to my years of experience. I also did some skipping with Matt, Phil and Megumi, very tiring but very fun and I was able to continue walking pretty much straight away.

The ascent up the hill is very tiring in itself but I was able to stay ahead for a while, but then the hill goes from hill climb to the second most demanding hill in the UK and I had to take several rests, then when I got to the main climb, the most demanding hill in the UK. At most it is no more than a 30-50 metre walk, but it is so step that it takes it out of you, and I lost sight of the group. When I finally reached the top, I was the last one remaining and everyone had already sat down. Well lunch was nice at least, Tuna sandwiches made at camp by me, no salad, did not like the look of it (as always the case no matter where I am). Following this I made a quick visit to the shop on top of the hill and met up with Adam and Christina and had a look round and saw a small beehive in the shop (closed off from public obviously). From this went back to everyone else who were either playing football or chatting and I sat down to play a game of Martian Dice before having to head off back down the hill in time for the next discussion meeting. While the opportunity for a lift was available, I decided to walk down; you’d think that after 5 years I would have learned not to choose that option.

Before I began the long journey back I went to grab an Ice-Cream (with monkey’s blood; better known as raspberry sauce). I then followed a short path next to the road where I saw a rabbit before I began the decent. On the way down I did have to side step briefly as Jim was attempting to take a photograph which while it would look interesting was being defeated by the laws of gravity due to Emily’s hair. However after reaching the bottom of both hard parts I quickly overtook everyone but had to stop at the garden centre car park to take a breather. After falling way behind everyone else due to my short breather I was able to catch up thanks to a very level area of land, blank thinking, and the shade from the sun, but after drinking some spare water from Christina, I fell way back again the rest of the distance. When we reached the bottom of the steep road (final hurdle) I was very kindly offered a lift by someone who had nothing to do with camp, I took the lift which lasted no more than a minute when I reached the camp site entrance. He was one of the nicest men in the south of England, did not know him or had met him before but he was kind enough to give me a lift to the campsite. However Matt was very confused when he returned to camp wondering how I got back there before everyone else. While the walking to and from camp is agonizing, it is always fun, the chat, the small talk and new friends to make.

But despite how tired I was we still had the second discussion to go to. This one was led by Daryl (men’s group) from GBM whose subject was on being Men of God. While I did find some of it helpful I was heavily distracted by the sun beaming onto my face and the arrival of Hannah and Beth. After the group had finished I went to meet Hannah (met Beth late) who said that Esther decided not to come and that Josh was coming later. So we had tea before Josh arrived and for that evening meeting we had an Envision session with people talking about what they had been up to as part of Envision.

Emily and Victoria’s talk was very nicely done, very confidently presented and gave an insight into what they had been up to. It was here also that I realised that I miss-heard them the day before when I thought they said they had been to South Africa for 5 years when they had actually been away for only 5 weeks, but it was still very good, really enjoyed it. When Ruth began to speak she showed some sign language but before I could see any more I got distracted by a nose bleed. Now for people who don’t know about this, when I get a nose bleed, I really get them and as such, after 5 minutes of it starting (and using my jumper as I did not have my Nose Bleed towel with me) I had to bolt from the room, go to the toilet and use roughly half the bog roll to wipe it away which took about 10 minutes if not more. I returned after it had subsided. My nose felt raw for the rest of the night but I did make sure that I apologised to Ruth for bolting. Beth was up next who had seemingly changed her clothing. Her presentation was interesting, talking about her two weeks in India; she did also tell me beforehand that they once listened to one of my dad’s sermons while there. After this, it was Phil’s talk about his time in China and what it was like and where he lived, and his bike. It was a nice wrap up to a great day and evening.

After the meeting, me and Matt helped Josh to get his tent up in the dark before having another evening of socializing (and a raw nose) with people playing yet another game of resistance. I meanwhile in a similar fashion to the previous night sat down with a group playing Pit, while they had already started, I stayed because I liked the company. After this I observed the still going game of resistance (even though it appeared to be that they were playing something different than what Resistance actually is) before going to bed.

Thursday: My favourite day of the camp, particularly when it is a nine-day camp. Thursday is the trip out to Littlehampton. Once again, same routine now, Woke up (and in similar fashion to yesterday, I had Thunderstruck by AC/DC going through my head), had breakfast before having the evening meeting, and also sent a Text to my friend Ruth because it was her Birthday. During the morning meeting I decided to do what Matt did on Tuesday and take a more proactive approach. So after the morning meeting I went straight to Emily to see if I could have a lift, luckily she still had a place left. I did wonder what Matt was going to do but I sort of knew (from experience) that Hannah would probably have room.

So, once everyone had gathered we set out for Littlehampton. Unlike other car journeys I have had to and from Littlehampton, this one was quite silent as everyone did not really talk except for Victoria giving directions to Emily. I was able to stay awake for a while but eventually (after the Noble garage) I fell asleep and did not really wake up until the amazing hay bale view, which is amazing. Pointed out the Body Shop World HQ, received and sent another text from and to Ruth and very soon we arrived. Parking was free that day which was nice for everyone, but I split from my car group (finding out the time we had to be back for the car) and waited for Matt. This year we did something a bit different for food, we went to a noodle bar in the town that I and Tim spotted the previous year instead of the usual Fish and Chips. It was a long trip, along the pier, through the town and briefly got lost (as well as came up with a script idea) but we got there in the end. I had beef with teriyaki and Matt had Chicken (they had run out of Pork) Sweet and Sour. While nice I was a bit annoyed that the teriyaki sauce went into the bag due to the bad packing, so it was dryer than it should have been. But it was still nice and interesting to hear people ask “Where did you get Chinese from?” Following on from this it was time to have a chocolate covered Ice-Cream before heading over to the fair for a round of Crazy Golf, where I won in my group by 2, followed by a round on the Dodgems and Waltzer where I was able to stay quite relaxed, while Hannah lost her glasses.

Finally we headed down to the beach where we ate some donuts before heading back for the cars. I did get badly sun burned from the day but it is getting now. I had another quick nap before Emily suddenly handed the car over to Victoria to drive the last few 10 minutes or so. Once returned to camp, I and a few others were introduced by Victoria to Irish Snap, which after several goes completely wrecked my hand. Following from this it was tea time, which was amazing, it was possibly the nicest Roast Beef I have had. Then came the evening meeting conducted by John M. While it was originally meant to be conducted by James H, I was glad it was done by John as it was an amazingly brilliant talk. After the meeting, Me, Tania, Hannah, Adam, Christina and Matt (I think) played a large game of Carcassonne……….which I lost. Then it was bed time again.

GENEPOOL





My Week: 26/08/2013 – 27/08/2013

10 09 2013

My Week

Monday: After sorting my tent out the previous night by shifting my things to the other side of the tent so that there wasn’t 5 people squashed in, I woke up a bit too early and so went back to sleep but by the time I woke up I almost missed breakfast, but thankfully did not. For today’s grace song for breakfast someone had the bright idea of using the superman theme, which was agonising, even more so due to the theme not really fitting in. At least we had Fish Fingers for breakfast, but sadly I did not break my record for number of Fish Fingers in one sitting which I did a few camps previously (19). After breakfast it was the first part of the morning talks for the week which were presented by David S who did his talks on Philippians.

After our morning meeting we had some time to ourselves, but first we had to take the camp photo. I made the great decision of wearing a t-shirt bearing the quote “You have just lost the game” and knowing that only people in the south take much interest in THE GAME it was a great chance to have a bit of fun with the photo. It was also nice to have several nice shots taken before the silly ones, silly ones are all in good fun, but a nice photo looks better on the shelf than posing as Mo Farah. With that done, we had time to ourselves.  Reeling from the fun japes of playing Resistance the previous night, some wanted to play it again while me and Matt and Christina just played Zombie Dice, which the others eventually joined in even though Suzie also did a crossword at the same time. Following on from lunch which consisted of making sandwiches, it was time for a walk up Leith Hill, first we had to drive there. Once getting there, me along with a few others took the climb up instead of the walk up, which I did struggle with. But upon reaching the top I took the opportunity to take some photos, buy some ice-cream and go up the tower. When we all arrived back at the camp site it was time for the first bible discussion. Unlike previous years when this was in separate groups, this one was altogether but still in groups. Questions ranged from “It was a lot safer when I was young” (Which is correct) to “Japan is the greatest country in the world” (Correct again). While fun in some way I did feel like it could have been better.

The evening meeting was much shorter due to the use of the Discussion groups but we had an interesting talk on a trip to Brazil made by Jim to see a couple who are missionaries out there. Finally, I introduced Matt to Gloom and had a nice lovely chat with Enoch’s dad, David.

Tuesday: Had a much earlier start on Tuesday and sat down with some friends before breakfast. Bacon and Egg for breakfast and another talk from David S. Todays big journey was the annual trip to Horsham to the Laser quest. Laser quest if you are unsure of what it is, is basically an indoor shooting game where you shoot other people. For those living in most of Lancashire, Laser quest is basically the same thing as Megazone, but not as good. Matt had a more productive time of getting us a lift than we normally do by being proactive and getting us a lift quickly. The ride to Horsham was nice and just like on previous occasions, we passed the Noble Garage. Upon arriving I managed to get into the first Laser Quest game and while I went as animalistic as I usually go in laser shooting games, I only came 7th, well out of 19 it’s not too bad, at least this year I did not get a blister on my finger from repetitive pressing of the trigger. While unsure of doing a second game due to health reasons, I decided to follow through in the end. Between games I observed several other campers try their hand at arcade basketball while I had a go at arcade Hammer (test of strength thing from fun fair’s) and reached a score of 10 overall. The second Laser quest game pretty much broke me (with me doing badly score wise coming in 10th place) and I needed sustenance fast, something that isn’t easy in the world’s slowest and most badly designed Subway. Well at least it beats constantly complaining about the customer service at McDonalds from the previous year, that and going off to why their Chicken Legend sandwich does not count as a legend if no one has heard of it before, more like a chicken cadet.

Following from the prolonged lunch, Me, Matt, Kiran, Roshen, Simon and Adam and his son journeyed along a long street trying to find a board game shop, in the end we couldn’t find it as it had moved, so we had to walk all the way back. Coincidentally the shop was just across the road from where we had our subway. So, we went in and looked in awe at the amazing shop, soooo many board games. I felt that if I had a spare £1000, I would have a day trip there. I even found a Godzilla based board Game I had heard about, but did not have enough to pay for it. In the end I bought myself a copy of Dixit Odyssey. I left the shop of wonders and then had a simple look from town with Matt, recommended GONE to some people, met up with Sam B, got some sweets and then tried to look for everyone else who were residing in the park next to the car park, had a quick game of Pit before leaving.

Once again, we had Tea and our Evening talk this time led by Kiran’s dad; Sukesh which was quite interesting (really should have got a CD copy of that). But I did not play any games as I felt a bit more unwell than I currently was. Instead I just sat with some people playing a game just for company. But I did finally get round to meeting David S and informed him of who my dad was (which everyone at camp already knew) but I had a good chat and he helped me to realise in many ways where I have been going wrong in my path to God. He was very helpful in pointing these things out and it has put me on the right course.

GENEPOOL





My Week: 24/08/2013 – 25/08/2013

9 09 2013

My Week

During 24/08/2013 and 31/08/2013, I made my Annual trip down south to Roothill Christian Camp. But at the conclusion of the event I made the realisation that this year’s camp was one of the best if not the best camp to date (this being my sixth to date). So I thought I would revisit a post I did in April 2012 (one of my highest rated posts to date) and talk about the week that was Roothill Camp 2013.

Saturday: I had an early wake up due to me needing to get many things sorted before I left for the south of the United Kingdom. I finished off the bolognaise sauce I made the previous night by having it for breakfast in the form of what the Americans call sloppy Joe’s, or something along those lines. I had to get the house sorted before my lift to the train station arrived (Kindly done by my good friend Ruth). Had to make sure the cats were ok and that the washing up was done as well as closing up the house. This was done all in good time which was thanks mostly to me doing most of it the previous day. It was a good idea in many sense as I had also been recovering from a cold and sore throat and that had caused my time management to slip. Just before 11:00 Ruth arrived and I locked up the house ready to go to the train station.

After being at the train station for about 30 minutes, the train arrived and I went about getting sorted. By that I meant I couldn’t just sit down, first I had to find my reserved seat, then take off my big rucksack with all my things in it and put it into the overhead storage space once again forgetting that the luggage space is not adequate enough and so I had to (once again……….obviously) put it into the specially made luggage compartment thingy things that are provided. Then I could put my coat and day bag (containing medicine, nose bleed towel and a copy of the book I have been reading) into the above space for luggage. While I was able to get all this done relatively harmlessly, there was some confusion over whose reserved seat it was, but this was fixed after 5 minutes when I realized that the seat reservation was for the way back not the way there and so I found which seat was actually mine and was sorted (after placing my stuff above my new seat). Following this kerfuffle I went and bought some lunch in the form of a burger with a drink and crisps but no chocolate (I think) as I was still recovering from a sore throat and having chocolate with a sore throat is not a good idea. Once eating this got straight into reading more of HUNGER by Michael Grant (the book I was reading). I was able to get through several more chapters and in many sense did not want to stop reading as just like GONE (the previous book), once you get into it, you don’t want to stop.

I finally reach Euston train station and get off the train after doing a thorough search of my seat to make sure I have not left anything I make my way to the main concourse. Before I go to the Tube though I swing by Ed’s just outside Euston which I discovered the previous week (yes two visits to London in one week) and buy a quick Milkshake. It was nice but not as good as either the shake I got from Proper Hamburgers in-between Trafalgar Square and Piccadilly Circus and or the shakes they have at Juicafe in Lancaster, but still very tasty and nice. Then I made my way to the Tube which was very crowded but that wasn’t my immediate problem as I had some sort of memory blank and forget how the maps for the underground read and after some time particularly with the issues of the Northern Line I made my way through the underground system before getting off at Waterloo. However I had to make a quick detour through the Jubilee line which mostly consists of walking long distances before managing to get into Waterloo station itself. After having to wait almost 30 minutes I finally got onto a train to Dorking, along the way I was able to read some more of HUNGER. I finally arrived at Dorking I assumed I would have to phone someone at the camp to come and pick me up but I was fortunate enough not to wait long as John and Marion were waiting at the station for camp newcomer Rebecka to arrive. When she arrived we made our way to the camp site where I quickly said hello to most people I knew and got information on camp activities from David H while also having a brief chat with Jim and Adam. I then went to the tent with my friend Matt to get set up.

I had already known for a while that Josh, Hannah, Esther and Beth were not coming until I heard from Matt and looked in the back of the program that they would be coming after all. But for the time being my close friends at camp only consisted of Matt and some good friends I knew from previous years. After a quick catch and a quick discussion on why the camp program is the same one every year except for minor details as well as a nose bleed (not from the camp program, from me) we went up to the barn to wait for food. I had known for several days that Matt was not doing the camp video this year……….that duty eventually went to Rebecka. At tea me and Matt sat down at a table with a couple of girls (Elizabeth and Jennifer) who had been to camp before but who I had only really met at the Camp Reunion in December. The number of people there to begin with at least was smaller than on previous years and so it felt quite weird in many a sense. That was not the only difference however as for this camp we did not have to wash our own plates for a change and so the plates, cutlery and cups were taken from us when we were finished, like at a restaurant.

Once tea (provided by the cooking team of Barbara, Paul and Valrie who provided excellent meals all week-long) had wrapped up it was time for the afternoon meeting which was more of a welcome to camp thing than the type of meeting that we would have for the remainder of the week. There was also the annual thing of introducing yourself to people around you but this is quite tricky for a camp veteran as the age group you are put in is more or less made up of people you already know, but it was anyway, as nice in many a way as seeing Sam (Sam B to distinguish ourselves) at camp for the first time since 2010. Following this we had a somewhat brief message from speaker Daniel C before we all split up and got ready for supper and watched some of the other camp residents playing some sort of chicken goggle game. Then after more of catching up with others, we managed to go to bed.

Sunday: The Lord’s day, and as such it was the annual choice of 4 different churches to attend to. However for me the choice has always been simple, Dorking but I thought I would do something a bit different this year. After years of “Walking to Dorking” I was still going to do this but along a different route as I was once told by David that a different route did exist and so I thought I would experiment by walking along it and so dragged Matt into helping me. As he was the only person who agreed to come with me despite the number of people I told we went along the route with thanks to a Map from David. At first the undergrowth got a bit like Pan’s Labyrinth before we walked along part of a golf course (while wondering if we were going to get chased by a game keeper) before entering a clearing of woods which seemed to look like some tropical forest. This led to a stretch of an A Road I think to which we had to walk along (thankfully on a path) until we reached a traffic island before crossing into a nice park area with a brilliant view of the hills before making our way towards the main street, join it then get to church 3 minutes before the rest of the group. Theoretically the route was supposed to be 10 minutes quicker but we did have to stop and read the map a few times. The route (in our minds) was so good that we walked the same route the way back (even though I would have preferred a lift) but anyway me and Matt along with Roshen took this new route all the way back (even if I did walk bare foot for the last bit).

After a great lunch some of the campers me included went for a walk in the local woods. The group consisted mainly of me, Christina, Sam B, Sam C, Elizabeth, Simon, Kiran, Roshen, Tom, Jim and his wife and we walked through the woods at the bottom of the camp field before going through some more open areas and finally entering a corn field (which I don’t think was there in previous years) and then back onto the main road. Through most of the walk many a discussion was raised including what board games I play, which of Nolan’s Batman films are best and which way do we go now? The rest of the afternoon consisted of playing some wooden puck elastic game, a game of Coup and watching others play Martian Dice.

After a nice tea we had our evening meeting led by Daniel from the previous night and the week’s speaker David S before once again having supper and the hijinks of a game of Mafia (and like always I was not the Mafia and was once again found guilty of potentially being mafia and was discovered to not actually being one) even though it was sort of interesting how everyone seemed to go for all the people named Sam (me included) of being Mafia. It was also the fifth occasion where Matt had been the Mafia. After this we had a quick game of The Resistance which mainly ended with me walking off in dramatic fashion to the result of a vote (which ended with me making sure everyone knew that it was for dramatic purposes). Then it was bed time.

GENEPOOL








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