Oh it was cold when we got up that day, but no time to try and light the fire, just jump into clothes, go for a cig up the end of the field, brush my teeth, be jealous of those who had got up early and were cooking bacon then off to meet the group.
We all had to do the Zumba dance they were so obsessed with (why? don’t ask me) then into the car to go over to the farm they tried to send us to the first day. We were put into yet more different groups and sent off to different areas and our first task: Horse whispering! I loved it frustrating but so much fun and spending time with those animals was the highlight of the day. I (being slightly strange) had brought carrots with me as a snack and well lets just say I didn’t eat much of them getting cuddles from the horses that weren’t being whispered as the others tackled the task was just….bliss. With the added bonus that I got to meet someone there who was of the same mind set as me (shame she wasn’t with our group but still Blessed Be) and suddenly in that environment, my mind settled and I was calm again.
The other tasks were interesting, they made me worried because some involved performing but I coped with them because I knew that soon I could go and say hello to the horses again and maybe even sneak a cig.
We did mini plays about good and bad practise in the care sector, we talked about people that inspire us and what we can take from the way they are for our jobs, we did more zumba, had lunch, and did a mini task about respect where the strange people that we are made a jingle for it and pretended to be on a bus where people were showing respect or being disrespectful and getting told off. It was actually pretty good for a weird thing put together by management. It left us all in a good mood and laughing most of the day! I think I laughed more that day than I have for a very long time, real belly laughs not just smiling and a little *hah* but *tears in my eyes I can’t stop* laughs.
Back again for tea time and a meal that was a little better but….still not exactly tasty (how I hate egg plant and courgettes) then we ended up hanging around. When I asked whether we could leave yet or if we needed to wait around, we were told to stay there had been a ‘technical hitch’ and we’d get finished soon. I had spotted a kids quiz the night before so I grabbed one and took it to my table to the confusion of the others though they joined in once I started
It turned out that the leaders had wanted to do a ‘nominations’ ceremony for people who had stood out through the day and as I listened to the first one I carried on doing my quiz.
‘This person has stood out for the leaders today as someone who we want to nominate as she could have come up with a hundred reasons not to come and yet here she is, she’s faced it all with a smile and a good sense of humour’ *I sat there thinking Ha well that’s not me then I’ve been grumpy from the start!*
‘She’s put effort into everything we’ve done today and has made the most of the experience.’
The other leader piped up ‘Even though she’s driven into ditches and had to be pulled out’ *My head came up.*
‘She’s walked into ditches and been stung by nettles and fallen down steps she’s faced it all with a smile on her face and laughed about it’ *my face must have been beetroot*
‘We want to give the first nomination to M, so come down and collect your award’
I walked down and was given a small teddy then told to nominate the next person. I thought for a minute but really only one person stood out for me, he was a service user who had had me in stitches all day with his comments and the way he’d been. I did the same as they had done, said why then gave him his teddy and almost ran back to my seat so embarrassed! They carried on that way until everyone had a teddy but I don’t think I’ve ever had someone give me an award like that, not one that had made me think twice about myself. Maybe I’m not as useless as I feel sometimes or come across as grumpy or anxious as I feel!
Once we were all done, we sorted out what time to get up etc then back to the yurt to make a fire a cuppa, get changed the same as the night before. But I had to go off with the leaders to do my injection at their cottage, it was freezing in that place because even they didn’t have heating , just electricity and an indoor loo. We chatted while I got it sorted and realised they’d had a hard time doing this course really and I had more in common with some of them than I thought. Once I got it sorted, did the injection and waited a few minutes to make sure I wasn’t going to feel too shit while we chatted about MS and how it affected me and the people they knew with it I got a lift back to the yurts.
I had managed to find a place to charge my phone so I went and collected it, thanked the people who had let me and went to get ready for bed. We had a late night that night 10.30pm Whoooo get us! It actually felt quite normal that night and though we struggled to get to sleep it was fine once we did. I woke up at 3.45am to go to the loo…why do I know so precisely? because I never went back to sleep! I got back into bed and tossed and turned for an hour before I gave up and tried to relight the fire that had gone out as it was sooooo cold I could see my breath. I know I kept the other girls awake as one of them talked at one point but all I could do was apologise because there was no where else I could go and I’m no good at lying in bed awake for too long in the dark.
I got the fire lit then went and sat outside to have a cig looking at the stars…my phone camera didn’t do them justice but it was astounding. I kept the fire alight sitting in front of it to keep warm then as the cockerels started to crow, partridges called and the owls gave one last hoot I went outside for the dawn.
It. Was. Astounding.
Again my poor little camera phone didn’t do it justice but this was something to remember.
People started to rise and eventually the alarm I had set the night before went off so I woke the girls while I stoked the fire to make sure they weren’t as cold as I had been! We packed up, stripped the beds and made a cuppa before we left those lovely little yurts and put our stuff in the cars ready to go back to the farm.
We did some last little exercises including yes you’ve guessed it some more Zumba and group work of different kinds then had a lovely surprise. All of the things we’d been presenting to the group had been filmed through our few days and they had a projector so we could watch them. Oh dear…that’s all I can say. I kept hiding my head in my hoodie and laughing at all the stupid things we’d done over the time we’d spent there. I hate watching and listening to myself on camera, some of them have been replaying in my head since then and I need to remind myself that I did the best I could, I didn’t do badly and we managed to finish early so can’t have been unsuccessful!
After one last group work exercise they told us what we’d all wanted to hear. We were going home! the taxi’s were here and we just needed to take everyone back to the start point if we’d given them lifts to the camp then we were free! but first…another ceremony…we all had to go up, say what we had learnt and get another little present before we went.
I managed to drive back without driving into any more ditches and only doing one U-turn
I dropped off my passengers all except one who was going my way and we went off chatting, we both knew someone I work with and were pretty similar bubbly people so it went quickly and before I knew it we were back in my home city, dropping her off and I went home.
It had been an experience I wasn’t looking forward to but I’m so glad I did it and I will actually be taking some of what I learnt back to work.