Thursday, 23 June 2016

Day four in the Big Exmouth house - the colours of our camp ...

Camp is a plethora of colours, a rainbow all of its own, distilled and refracted through its participants, its moods and its outcomes.  Some colours spring to mind and intensify, but some reveal themselves only as you walk away, and realisation dawns on you as the sun light ebbs.

Yes, I am feeling a tad poetic as I reflect on a super week.

The colours change and intensify as we go though our adventures.  What begin as bright, vibrant, almost in your face blocks of energy and excitement diversify and present as huge swathes of boldness with depth and energy.

Alright, I'll be more specific.  And a bit less flowery.

Mud is one strong colour.  Both in the lake into which the children leap fearlessly, and the colour of the boys' toilet floors.  It is the colour beneath us on so many occasions, sometimes turning to clay as we walk along the magnificent cliffs of Orcombe point, and surrounding areas of this beautiful part of the world that always welcomes and hosts us so well.

Brown was the colour of this evening's chocolate cake competition.  Two and a half slices.  Get in.  Lost to a boy in year 5.

White is another one that's important.  In the million smiles we see, down to the crash and turn of the surf.  It is also, of course, the colour that many of the children's clothes begin the week, but never, ever aspire to again.

Black can be seen in the wetsuits that we pour them into, the colour of many of the children after the low ropes course, but never the colour of the night down here, where the skies are wonderful but hardly ever dark.

The irony is that within the heavy storm haven tents we occupy, colours are all over the shop.  I looked in my bag the other day and wondered where that purple shirt had come from, only to discover it was my red and blue t-shirt.  We searched for hours the other day for one boy's blue jacket, only to discover it was the brown / purple / indescribable affair laying at out feet all along.  I tell you, the balck and blue / gold and white dress would be every colour of the rainbow in these tents.

Of course, the colours then become more abstract, and I will not apologise for the vagueness or the floweriness.  There is the sunbeam shine of successes made, challenges overcome, ambitions fulfilled, Camps as good as this one are redolent with the glow of fun had, new experiences enjoyed and hitherto unexperienced pleasures devoured.  Too much that last one?  I agree.

Above all, camp at Exmouth is the green and blue of my memory.  Although we have been slightly too cloudy to see it this week, the Exmouth I always see in my mind's eye is a sea of green - the grass, the tents and the tress, beneath a vast sheet of blue uninhabited by clouds or mist, the two bisected by the beautiful estuary snaking into the distance.  Some people talk about the place of their dreams; I have no need, for when I see and think of Exmouth this is what I think of because I have been fortunate enough to experience it so often.

This camp will always in my mind be the colour of fun.  We haven't laughed so much at camp in years, haven't had so much to celebrate, or so many records broken.  It will be bright and warm, and a rainbow of memories to share.  I sincerely hope all of the children feel the same way, and look back on their week with us in the same colours and light.  If pride had a colour, if determination had a colour, if collaboration had a colour, they would contribute to the final picture.  And what a picture.

From the final cheese board, from behind a very cold can of diet coke, with a face tingling partially from sunburn but predominantly from happiness, that is all.

Except to say, very well done everyone.  It was awesome.