Yesterday at Uni the lecture was all about 'Expedition Planning', such an exciting subject and so much to take in. Over the coming weeks we are having various skills days, which will include navigation, camouflage & stalking, then a few nights out in the countryside around the campfire practising bushcraft. I seem to have a problem with Navigation, even at places that I have been several times before. In the Army, I was usually chosen as back marker on patrol, because letting me lead was just a bad idea. It left me with an ability to walk backwards very fast, but I've never found the job in civilian life where that was deemed to be an advantage! Camouflage and stalking can be fun. In the Army, you had to beware of Shine, Shadow, Silhouette and Shape; or was there a 5th one? Again, not much use in civilian life as you stalk your way around the office, camouflaged as a filing cabinet. Then there's bushcraft, which I have always believed is driven by necessity. I was fined about a weeks wages in the Army because I wouldn't eat some big juicy live beetle larvae. I explained to the Sergeant that if I was out in the wilderness and starving, I would munch them like smarties; but not for his amusement.
This first year is all about the actual planning of the expedition, so by the end of the year we will be capable of doing exactly that. Then comes the best bit, when next year we have to plan and then execute our own expedition to anywhere in the world; though our tutor does have to approve it. I love how 24 of us, are just left to fall into natural groups over the coming months, and we have no idea who will be in what group at this stage or where we will be going. It could turn out to be 2 groups of 12, 5 groups of 3 and a 9, there are multiple permutations. Two people are already discussing Yellowstone Park, but Paul and I are being a bit more adventurous, and thinking maybe Madagascar!
'Biodiversity' was the subject this afternoon, and just as I thought that taking photos of Wildlife was the name of the game, today it was all about drawing plants. I thought my drawing days were over after last year, but as I sketched away at these little plants, Katie's voice was still there, egging me on. Plants are easier to draw than people, as long as you destroy the plant when you've finished, nobody is any the wiser. We have to be able to identify an array of animals and plants by the end of this year, and know a good deal about them. I shouldn't have wasted the last 50 years walking in the countryside, I should have looked at what I was walking past! I remember the plants that hurt me, like thistles and nettles, or plants that fed me, like blackberries and mushrooms, but the rest were just a sea of green, flecked with coloured bits. I thought, 'they don't know my name and I don't know theirs; we just had a respect for each other.
Thanks Sue for the 'NHS complaints procedure', but will probably give it a miss, I suspect it is designed to put us off and it sure worked on me; it's longer than Lord of the Rings! I have 'a secret daughter' coming up to see me on Saturday for a few days, so I am really looking forward to that. As I mentioned to Sasha earlier today, if you get the Blog by E Mail, you can't open any videos, and they just look like photos, so it's worth opening the Blog occasionally, and it boosts my hits :-)
Well I wanted to put a few photos on tonight but the downloading facility has decided to go to bed before me, sorry! I've got tomorrow off, ahhhh...................zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz