Mindlovemisery’s prompt yesterday was a strange one at this season – to write about our experience of summer camp. Summer camp in the American sense is not a feature of British life. There are Girl Guide camps, where we learned to make ”gadgets” – tripods to hang cooking pots over the fire, or frames to keep our kitbags off the damp ground; screens for the latrine trench etc, etc, etc. but the most memorable part of GG camp was the singsongs round the fire at the end of each day.
A gaggle of girl guides
ging gang goolied
without a clue what it meant.
We came round the mountains
wearing pink pyjamas.
A big baboon by the light of the moon
combed his golden hair
while riding on a donkey.
We found a peanut, ate worms,
carried water in a holey bucket
to the quartermaster’s stores,
and sang of the explosion of Sambo
from too much fizzy pop.
We laughed with a Kookaburra up a gum tree
and finished the evening with Courtesy* –
our favourite campfire song.
We grew quietly sentimental
as the flames dwindled to a heap of ashes.
We sang Taps, hauled down the flag
and went to sleep on the hard ground.
* Of Courtesy, it is much less
Than Courage of Heart or Faithfulness,
Yet in my Walks it seems to me
That the Grace of God is in Courtesy.
On Monks I did at Storrington fall,
They took me straight into their Hall;
There were three pictures on the wall,
And Courtesy was in them all.
The first was of St. Gabriel;
On Wings a-flame from Heaven he fell;
And as he went upon one knee
He shone with Heavenly Courtesy.
Our Lady out of Nazareth rode –
It was Her month of heavy load;
Yet was her face both sweet and kind,
For Courtesy was in Her Mind.
The third it was our Little Lord,
Whom all the Kings in arms adored;
He was so small you could not see
His large intent of Courtesy.
Our Lord, that was Our Lady’s Son,
God bless you, People, one by one;
My Rhyme is written, my work is done.
(by Hilaire Belloc)