I'm going to tell you about a significant memory creator in my life......
My mate Chris lives in a 22 acre wood with a meadow in the middle of it near Bury St Edmunds and for seven years since the year 2000 (we had a couple of years off for recuperation) we have thrown a weekend party in it. Over the years it has produced some of the most bizarre and wonderful happenings. Chris, Andy (my chap) and I enjoy putting weeks of preparation into the event.
No two years have been the same (however one thing we could always sadly guarantee was rain. In fact in one of the years we had off, a friend of mine rang us up to ask, 'If you had had Christock this year, which weekend would it have been? I need to know because I will avoid a holiday in the UK then.')
The weekends have mostly been about a bunch of like-minded people coming together, to camp, play music round a camp fire, eat food we prepare and laugh to the point of pain. To give you a flavour here is a list of some of the things we have laid on and some of the things that have just spontaneously happened:
• Treasure hunt – so much has gone into the treasure hunt each year that I will probably blog about it separately but it’s the result of Chris and my creative inner brain wiring – and that says something to those that know us!
• A majorette twirl off – Higham Hilos versus Witney Whirlers. It got ugly.
• Decorate a dad/dude – I find many men need little excuse to dress up
•Things hidden for the kids to find – home made top trump cards, trolls
• A wish tree
• I decorate the wood with potty road signs and huge papier mache bees, flowers, butterflies etc
• Secret missions - an admin nightmare - I set secret missions for everyone to 'do' on a named person - someone they did or did not know. e.g. Find **** and casually drop into the conversation the fact you know David and Victoria Beckham, get *** to hold one end of a piece of string while you run off into the wood without them commenting, make a posy of flowers and lay it on ***'s pillow etc (I did about 80 different missions repeated once)
• An afternoon of tea and cake. Chris served tea and cake from fancy plates and doilies on Saturday afternoon. People always queued up nicely.
• A wizard tree - Chris and my chap held kids captivated while they concocted magical potions dressed as wizards - top notch improvised theatre
• A sculpture trail – that some people added to over the course of the weekend
• A boudoir – where people could go to ‘do themselves up’
• Fire twirling – a couple of show offs on stilts nearly killed us all
• An aerial runway, a rope bridge, fire balloons curtesy of Dr. Bob's endless energy.
• Puppet shows
• A fairy procession - with a unicorn!
• A huge tarpaulin laid out and covered with water and soap suds for the kids to skid across
• Den building
• A tree house
Upon arrival everyone is issued with a 'brochure' telling them what's on. I really enjoy putting this together although, truth be known, very little of it is actually informative. The following snippets were what I received when I asked people to send me their memories of Chris -stock for a page in the next brochure...
Clearly people engage with Chris-stock at their own level. Here are some fond memories of Chris-stock people have shared – only just hinting at the wonderful, secure, safe, sane and relaxing experience Chris-stock truly is.
DaynaThe Twirl-Off between the Higham Hilos and the Witney Whirlers.. I am the Higham Hi-Los' biggest fan. What about haircuts in the flood? Toilet repair? Travelling puppet shows? Various fire activities Ollie's vote is the bass player / peripatetic vet. Where's me jumper?
Pyromania, in all its wonderful forms? Filling potholes in the rain? Molly, on Sunday morning (well, it was Sunday morning to some of us, but Molly was in another time-dimension by then........Morgi trying to build a geodesic dome whilst suffering extreme sleep deprivation. Ha - just remembered that one!!! Me helping to push a car out of the mud whilst standing directly behind the rear wheel. Duh! Guess what happened next, folks......?
Learning how a sugar refinery works.
And trying to keep up with Molly and co long after bedtime, drenched in whisky and wine. Oh - and digging a s**thole with Andy.
Sliding on a wet tarpaulin, (would be better bear or dipped in honey if we dare). Relishing over Chris's special tea and cakes being so civilised on sofas in the sun. Trepidation with excitement before someone sang. Falling over with laughter over the decorating a Dad session and admiring the kids creativity and freedom. Watching men work, with chopping and carrying wood and being manly (prize giving and forfeits should be on the agenda for that). Sharing stories while cooking together. Grinning over the kids hunting for Molly's special cards. Admiring creativity on a sculpture trail. Having a whale of a time on a treasure hunt, (bonding occasion).Warming up around the fire together.
HenryThe creation of the first lagerphone!
many excellent photos of the event can be accessed if you are on Facebook:
Did any of that make sense? To be honest, it's all a bit of a blur now.