Two decades ago I was a Brownie. I don’t know how widespread this is, but in the UK the Brownies are pretty popular and little girls from 5 – 10 dress up in mustard yellow and cowpat brown and trudge off once a week to a chilly church hall somewhere to do good. It wasn’t really a choice but something that everyone did. To not be one you were missing out on quite a social event every Friday night, so both me and Little Bean went off to slowly freeze in the hall.
“We’re Brownie Guides, we’re Brownie Guides we’re here to lend a hand. To love our God and serve our Queen and help our homes and land. We’ve Brownie friends, we’ve Brownie friends in North, South East and West. We’re joined together in our wish, to try to do our best!”
The reason I got thinking about the Brownies is I sat in traffic on my way to work this morning and I stopped outside a lovely old house. It cast my mind back to knocking on the door with my Mum a good twenty years ago, all excited to earn my reading badge. I had to visit this little old lady once a week and read to her, and after a certain amount of hours I got my badge, for my Mum to sew on my sash with all my other shiny ones. It made me a little sad as there was a shiny Audi on the drive, and she was frail twenty years ago so probably isn’t there anymore. She was such a nice old lady.
The Brownies seem to me to be one of these cons for young girls. The concept is quite competitive and therefore gets everyone interested; the more badges you get on your sash, the better than the next girl you become. The kids are divided into tribes (I was an elf with visions of being a pixie. No such luck) and therefore more competition is added, with prizes to winning teams in ‘fun’ games. Parents think it’s like church, when actually it’s more like dodgeball. Vicious. The con is that really you are just acting as unpaid help all over the place (I know, helping people out!) but the amount of cups of tea I had to make and ironing that I had to do for my Mum to earn one particular badge makes me think that actually I was doing a maid a disservice, as I was taking away valuable work! Not that we would ever have had a maid. My friend’s family had a cleaner once a week when I was a child, and her mum was always hilarious with it. The girls would have to clean their rooms and she would run the hoover round the morning before the maid came, so that she didn’t think they were messy. I think all the maid had to do was put some bleach down the loo, spray polish in the air so that it was fragrantly clean and then put her feet up on the coffee table and watch morning tv while dunking biscuits in her coffee. For ten pounds an hour.
Once a year, we went off to brownie camp. We were divided into different tribes and given different duties (cooking, cleaning, bed making etc). We went to a tiny village hall, in the little village where The Holiday was filmed, and for three nights we lived in a little community, trekking round the woods and building things in a wholesome and helpful fashion.
I don’t remember liking it very much.
On the fifth day of Christmas my true love gave to me:
Five Gold Rings! And Dazzle Rebel. His voice is so cool. Go forth, and listen!
My four calling birds favourite was: Go Guilty Pleasures.
My three french hens fav was: The Byronic Man
My two turtle doves were: Brooke and McKenzie
My partridge in a pear tree was: The Redneck Princess
The five gold rings post of mine is: Wanderlust and Itchy Feet ; a post on how my inbox tempts me with travel goodies!