Wednesday, 21 September 2011

The Autumn Collection - Part I

In September, we invited a delightful bunch of friendly faces back to the bay for 'Bring A Mate' week. Ah, those rosy, la-di-da days at the end of summer: all homemade ginger beer, crumpets and a little jolly seafaring with Rob, Tom, Ash, Rosaidh, Nita, Baby Una, Amy and Robin. Look at them enjoying the fresh sea air. How wholesome!

...But, this being Camas, it wasn't quite so simple. The ginger beer was alarmingly fizzy and bottles of the stuff exploded at unexpected intervals all through the week. A bit like the aquatron which exploded with something far less appealing. Don't ask. Really. The warm and fuzzy feeling of Bring A Mate week also exploded into a formidable rap battle - Rachel Marshal vs. Hamish Macrae a.k.a. Rach Against the Macrae - a spewed out rhyme-strewn character assassination, most of which cannot be repeated here. Here’s a little taster (can you handle it?):

If you want to run and hide, you wouldn’t be blamed, yo

Cos you’re entering a dangerous zone where only the insane go

Is there anyone better than this rap game? No!

If we were cats I’d be Growler, chilled out in the kale

You’d be Boo, afraid of his own tail

If you’re feeling threatened better call the constabulary

I’m committing rhyme homicide with my formidable vocabulary

Ouch! Fiercesome stuff from MC Macrae. It is healthy to share you feelings afterall and once season's worth of pent-up rivalry had been vented through the medium of rap, Camas staff made-up and celebrated with the end of-season party. There was a feast of gourmet golden slice burgers under a candelabra lighting the banquet hall. Fancy stuff! Guests joining us from the local village and Iona for a bonfire, songs, balloons, dancing and merriment. How very, very fine.

Saturday, 10 September 2011

You're positivly GLOWING!

The new members programme was back again this past weekend for the equivalent of 3 jam packed days with their “alternative new members,” which (before you start asking yourself in your head) by NO MEANS means they are the second round draft pick for the community. We did our best to try to fit the full Camas experience into a weekend, but I think that everyone is hoping these lovely folks can clear their schedules for a whole week next year! What could have been SO amazing about the weekend that they would leave screaming, “MORE!” you ask?... Well, besides the joy of getting some much needed maintenance tasks done, we went kayaking nearly every day (with a friendly seal even on one occasion), played some music and sang together while being warmed by cups of hot chocolate and a warm fire in the common room, ate Hamish’s “Anzac Slice” during tea breaks that stretched for well over 30 minutes, and even left time enough for swims and hikes to Market Bay in their free time. The guests also seemed to enjoy some deep discussions during their sessions with Peter, and I know all of us staff appreciated having some bonding time over arts and crafts... including helping Rob create a drum kit out of recyclable tubs and tins.

Even though all those things were amazingly fun, I think everyone would agree that the true high point of the weekend is not listed above. On Sunday night everyone was on a night walk down by the bay, and thanks to a happy (not too painful) accident involving gravity and our dear Autumn, we discovered there was phosphorescence in the water of the bay. Sadly, no pictures could capture the beauty we saw, but those of you reading this that have ever been lucky enough to have experienced this wonder of nature in person will know what a magical experience it was. With a simple brush of a finger or raindrop on the smooth black surface of the water you could release a trail or pinprick of green light, and the splash of a rock turned into a natural firework explosion out in the bay. Some folks even ditched their wellies for wetsuits and went swimming, despite the cold, just to see the trails of light their strokes left in their wake.

There really isn’t much to say after that... just like the tides all too quickly took the phosphorescence out of the bay, Monday morning came and took the guests away too, but we still have some great memories, boxes of dried peat, bits of mended track, and woven plastic windscreens for the garden to remember them by... until they come back next year that is!

this blog post has been brought to you by the letter N

Sunday, 4 September 2011

You Can Leave Your Wetsuit On... Please.

Good day friends. I am afraid I must start this blog post with an unreserved apology to all members of a truly wonderful group, who graced us with their good company for a very special week. An unfortunate set of events lead to me writing most of the blog, and then going on holiday for a week with Josef. Sorry about that. But we did have a lovely holiday.

This week saw the return of a bunch of hardened Camas veterans, along with a few new faces, visiting our wee spot all the way from the midlands; somewhere between Birmingham and Stoke apparently. It was a delight to see their gleaming faces emerging from the bus at the end of the track, perhaps owing to the fact that Bowmans had not left them in Craignure this year, but I’m sure they were also looking forward to their walk to Camas. Much fun was had as old friendships were renewed and new acquaintances made.

Saturday and Sunday were straight down to business; making the most of the good weather and calm seas to get everyone out in the kayaks or over the edge of the abseil wall. The kayakers in particular were treated to some very memorable sights; the dramatic sinking of leader Ted’s kayak is bound to stick in the memory of those who witnessed it. One group were also treated to a demonstration of ‘Captain Adams Very Interesting Self-Rescue Techniques’ (which may have resembled yours truly flailing around in the water whilst trying to blow up an airbag and not let the kayak float away). Nonetheless, nobody drowned or fell to a horrible death.

Monday night saw the ever popular Camas invasion of Iona. The younger folk set up camp at the Macleod centre, whilst the older folk established their own camp a few miles away at the campsite where they even cooked their own dinner. Reports suggest that they can cook pasta. The two groups rejoined that evening to show Iona just how a Ceilidh is danced. Although I was not there in person, I have heard through a reliable source that everybody danced and got very sweaty. Well done Camas, that’s how it’s done.

After a slightly soggy journey home, the rest of the week seemed to swim by. Shelters were built, cricket played, treasure hunted, cricket played, rafts raced, art made and, well, more cricket played. Oh and also lots of Articulate! One highlight in particular was Thursdays boat trip on the B. Marie; with a beautiful sunny day and not a wave on the ocean, conditions were perfect for lazing and fishing (perhaps not so good for sailing though).

With literally a few mackerel caught, preparations were soon underway for the evenings Camas challenge. The decorations team ensured that the common room was looking very swanky indeed. The kitchen team excelled themselves to produce a choice of three beautifully cooked Curries from the hatch, with high praise going to the fish option I must say; all creating a rather memorable dinner.

After a very well planned reflection we all enjoyed (or at least watched) the evenings entertainment. Hosted by a dubious looking Jeremy Clarkson, Strictly Come Camas was packed with many memorable dance routines, all with helpful feedback from a select judging panel. In true showbiz fashion, the show was interjected with a commercial break and a news, sport and weather bulletin offering a helpful roundup of the week’s events and nearly resulting in a fire!

You may also be relieved to hear that after much anticipation, Robs mum visited at the end of the week, bringing with her two monkey suits. Now Josef and I can join Rob in pretending to be wild animals and behaving suitably disgracefully. Thanks Robs mum!

Overall I speak for all still at Camas in saying that this week was much fun, and shall be fondly remembered for some time. We are looking forward to seeing you all again!

Captain Adam.