After some wine, a friend of mine decided we should do Wellies and Wristbands this year, and I did not need much convincing. I always wanted to go when I was in a Senior Section unit and staffing was the next best thing.
Leaving work early on the thursday of August bank holiday, I started the 2.5h drive to Foxlease at 6pm (I forgot it would get dark), arriving shortly before 9 in the pitch black. I found the person I was sharing a tent with and I promptly went to bed for a nice early breakfast and setup before the girls arrived.
I was working in the walled garden cafe, which meant no one needed us until tents were put up, so the afternoon started slowly, but it soon picked up and there was an immediate queue of girls waiting to go in the hot tubs. I jumped in one first with two others from the cafe team, whilst they were still clean (the guides don’t seem bothered about how dirty the water gets) and explored the rest of the site. We saw some of the acts, went on the ferris wheel, and went back to work.
The rest of the weekend was much the same, very busy as everyone needed their caffeine or hot chocolate fix, but I squeezed in the shop, the craft tent, henna, glitter tattoos, riding a segway and Foxlease’s geocaching trail. I must have drunk endless coffee, as our day started work at 6.30am and finished at 10.30pm, with about 4 hours and meals off each day. We did close the cafe for the UV party though, which was great fun. (see picture of the Walled Garden Cafe team ready to party!)
It was a very very busy weekend for everyone, and all of the volunteers who went there and gave up the bank holiday weekend for 3000 guides are to be applauded. Everyone has given such amazing feedback about the event, and I made some great friends. Paying £40 to work 12 hour days and not get paid for it? My family thought I was absolutely mad, but sign me up for next year. I had the time of my life, despite the exhaustion, and I would encourage everyone to do it. Yes, it is hard work, but like all guiding, it was so rewarding.