Saturday, August 23, 2008

Survival!

Ever since we set the event up, I was unfeasibly excited about last Tuesday's "Survival" event with Kenn Griffiths. I'm pleased to say it met all my expectations - and more. A really great event. The shop still smells (faintly) of wood smoke, but the parachute-covered shelter is now down, and lots of children in and around Abingdon now have a better idea on a whole range of subjects - from knowing the best way to light a fire to concealing themselves in foliage - and even the dangers (and best way) of drinking your own wee.... Yes - this was "Survival" at Mostly Books! The weather on the day was suitably challenging, but our investment in some marquees last year paid dividends as we erected a 'roof' over the courtyard garden. It would have been somewhat ironic to have had to cancel a survival event due to bad weather... Suitably protected from the elements, the one bit of garden left exposed was enough to build a shelter from a parachute (kindly loaned to us by a skydiving customer), and the rain running off it could be collected for cooking on the wood fire. (BTW, if you smelled a strong smell of pine wood burning in Abingdon on Tuesday, chances are that was us) Kenn is a remarkable individual. I first met him at an event last year, but had the opportunity on Tuesday to talk to him at length about how he came to be teaching survival skills - something that has taken him from the army, via a number of "career changes" (which in this instance is highly euphemistic, given the higly dangerous nature of much of what he has done, and continues to do). He is very softly spoken, but the most remarkable aspect of his teaching is the way he engages kids totally - particularly boys - so that you just know they are taking onboard everything he's teaching them. He taught firelighting skills:

He taught ways of disguising yourself - Oliver here is being dressed in a 'Ghillie Suit'...

...his face camoflaged...
...and then he's sent to hide in the bush at the back of the garden:
We did three sessions and the kids sat rapt for the whole time:

...with Cailin doing an impromptu storytime for younger siblings who preferred to hear stories about rabbits, rather than find out the best way to eat them (and why you can't eat too many - vitamin A apparently)...

It was an incredible day, the shop was utterly trashed back and front, but we're definitely going to do it again in the future.

Thanks very much to Kenn (who travelled all the way down from the Peak District to be with us), to my two nephews who were willing volunteers for demonstrations, and our apologies to parents who may have suddenly been learning lots of interesting - and somewhat gruesome - survival 'facts' over the past few days...

No comments:

Post a Comment