Let the festivities begin!

The Centinary Celebrations have been commenced. On Thursday a group of industrious leaders built the exhibition in the Town Hall and on Saturday we had fires going outside, selling hotdogs and giving out Billberry soup to passing shoppers in the biting cold. It was nice to stand by the fires in the crisp winter sun, and in spite of the thermometer showing almost -10 we kept warm all morning. And we had the moving pictures to look forward to.
It was so cold when we arrived after having picked the gear up in the Hut, that the electronic locks on the Town Hall had frozen and we couldn’t get in to start the exhibition video projector up. As it had been down into the -20ies in some places, the security company had loads on their hands, going around to check alarms and water pipes in village halls and old people’s homes around the council, and it wasn’t until 11 we got into the hall. By then the fires were lit, the first sausages were nicely charring away on the grid and the first pot of bilberry soup was heating up.
A few children took the offer of grilling their own, while most hot dog buyers made do with the ready grilled ones. Surprisingly enough we didn’t have any mishaps with sausages falling into the fire, and the blackened, cauldron like pot of bilberry soup bubbled away nicely and it’s content spread warmth, not only to us, but to quite a few of the passing Saturday shoppers.
A steady trickle of interested people went through the exhibition; curious parents with small children, ex-members of various ages and a few people who just wanted to get in from the cold for a spell. All in all it was a great success.
Just after three I hurried into the old cinema, that is as old as the group and some, and now, rumour has it, holds one of the best photographic museums in Europe. The audience this afternoon consisted of scouts, active ones and former members, who were hoping, or dreading, to catch a glimpse of themselves in old films that had been dug out of cupboards and drawers for the occasion.
First we got treated to a rare cartoon with Woody Woodpecker to get us into the mood. It was a nice reminiscence! Then an old film from the 50ies, when the group had a small hut in the woods by a nearby lake. Ladies with big handbags and small hats were chatting, while serious looking men with trench coats and hats were exchanging pleasantries, while stylishly dressed scout leaders served coffee and cakes and Scouts, Cubs, Brownies and Guides were trying to behave in front of the camera. Then films from the 60ies: An international scout camp at Stegeborg, near Stockholm, where exotic looking scouts from all over the world had been caught on camera and smiling faces that we recognised. Comments about how exiting it had all been, in spite of the mud, the rain and the mosquitoes were heard around the room from slightly greyer haired ladies and gentlemen, still very much recognisable from the silver screen images.
Then videos from the early 90ies, where leaders who are still active, looking so much younger then, were singing the same songs to kids that are now grown up and some sitting in the room with their own children, who are now ready to join. The birch woods around our cottage were as intensly green back then, but less dense.

Two hours flew by, and we all felt that we could have watched a little bit more. We also heard from the audience that there are more films out there, and more people who would have come if the roads hadn't been so icy. So we're hoping for a new screening in the summer.

Unfortunately I hadn't time to stay around to chat, as I had a birthday celebration to attend (not mine). I spent a good part of the rest of the evening in a wooden hot tub in a neighbour's garden, in the moonlight and -12, with ice in my hair and stars in my eyes as well as in the sky. But that is a totally different story.


Nick Wood said...

Can you pass on the congratulations of the 1st Stoke-on-Trent & Newcastle St. Andrews Porthill Scout Group to Flakenberg Scouts on reaching their 100th Birthday?

LoveCat said...

I will indeed!

Nick Wood said...

Doh! Forgot to add that it's from one Centenarian Group to another!