Dickinson College Humanities Program in Norwich

Scouting in the U.K. Part 3: Volunteering at Morrisons and “The Peg Game”

February 19th, 2010 · 2 Comments

This week I completed four more hours of the experiential component of my Humanities 310 project.

If you happened to be shopping at Morrison’s between the hours of 11.00 and 13.00 on Wednesday than you may have seen me in my scout uniform bagging groceries with the Explorer scout group I volunteer with… Yes that’s right, bagging groceries.  In the U.S. helping out at the local supermarket would never be considered community service since almost every store employs grocery baggers. In England however bagging groceries as community service makes a lot of sense.

Because you can take the 25 or 35 bus directly to and from Morrisons a lot of older people tend to shop there since there is less walking involved.  Often times these older people have difficulties bagging their own groceries. That’s where the scouts come in.  Although I found it a bit awkward at first asking people if they wanted their groceries bagged for them most people were quite happy to not have to do it themselves. Even many of the younger shoppers complied.  One young customer’s face lit up in a similar fashion to mine every time I go to a gas station in New Jersey.  Overall it was a good experience doing some community service in Norwich.  All of the scouts seemed to really enjoy themselves and Morrisons really appreciated our help. Ever since I stopped bagging groceries in high school I never thought I would have to do it again but this time it felt as though I was doing something worthwhile.

Tonight I attended another Explorer Scout meeting.  Lucky for me there was no twenty minute walk involved as we met in Earlham Park for a “Scoutwide Game Night”.  This meant that both the Cub Scouts (Ages 10-13) and Explorer Scouts (ages 14-18) were present. After distributing glow sticks to everyone we headed down towards the center of Earlham Park where we played two hours of “The Peg Game”.  I had never heard of this game before but it was actually pretty fun.  We were divided up into two teams.  One team was made up of “attackers” and the other team was “defenders”.  There was a clothesline strung between two trees about 4 feet off the ground.  The glow sticks were put in a circle surrounding the clothesline.  The “attackers” were given clothespins or “pegs” and the goal was to attach them to the clothesline without being tagged.  The “defenders” goal was to tag the “attackers” before they got inside the glow stick circle. If tagged the attacker would have to forfeit his/her peg to the defender.  Whichever team had more pegs at the end would win the round.

During the first round I was an attacker.  I managed to get a few pins on the line before the round was over and my team emerged victorious! Being a defender was not as fun. You had to be more stationary and it was difficult to spot the attackers running full speed through the woods.  We switched sides two more times and before I knew it it was almost 9:30.  My legs were quite tired from all the running by the end.  It had been awhile since I played a game like that but I really enjoyed it.  I even got told I was a fast runner by a ten year old.  Although I would beg to differ if that’s not a good compliment than I don’t know what is.

One thing i’ve begun to notice about scouting here compared to the U.S. is that it’s geared more towards the social aspects than the rank advancements. Although I have helped the Explorer Scouts work on their cooking badge, the other meeting I attended we made troop t-shirts and last week when I was in Denmark they went bowling.  Originally I thought it was odd that a scout meeting was scheduled on a Friday night from 7:30-9:30 but because of how social a group it is for these kids it now makes perfect sense.  All the scouts present really seem to enjoy themselves at meetings and everyone seems genuinely excited to be part of the group.  This is more than I can say about many scouts that I have encountered in the U.S.

Volunteer Hours: 4

Total: 9.5

Tags: Henry

“Wait, you get to go to pubs… for class?”

February 19th, 2010 · 2 Comments

A word of warning to all of those people who wish to do experiential learning whilst in Norwich – start early.  Like many of the other people in Dickinson Humanities 310, I have been having an issue with organizations responding to me, let along promptly responding.  So, with the clock ticking ominously in my ears, it was time to get a little bit creative.  Instead of volunteering my time and free labor to the local festivals of Norwich and Norfolk like I was counting on (honestly, who doesn’t like fifteen-plus hours of free paper pushing, stuffing envelopes, and filing?), I had to think a bit further outside of the box.  So far outside that it has pushed me into pubs… darn.

One of the festivals I am looking at for the research portion of the paper is the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) Norwich Beer Festival.  According to their website, this organization and festival promote “good-quality cask conditioned beers (commonly referred to as ‘real ale’), allied to traditional Brisith breweries and pubs.”   However, what really caught my eye was their goal to support local pubs that serve not only real ale, but also invoke a sense of community. 

Last night, I ventured out of my cosy flat and wandered the wet streets of Norwich.  I had four main questions that I wanted to answer; 1) Does this pub serve real ales, as defined by CAMRA?  2) What imported beers/ales does this pub serve?  3) How traditional is the pub in decor?  4) What atmosphere does this pub give off?  The three pubs I visited last night answered these questions very differently.

My first stop yesterday evening was to the Mischief Tavern.  Of the three pubs I went to, this one was the most traditional.  There were lit open fireplaces, a well-worn hard wooden floor, crooked staircases, and even a beautiful pressed tin roof with exposed roof timber beams running through it.  It was spacious, yet cozy, with both large and small tables that added to the comfortable sense of community.  Although there were a number of loud Americans running and dancing around the place, locals of all ages were enjoying a nice drink.

 This pub served real ales, and even had a couple of signs promoting it, but you had to look carefully in order to see them.  Much more obvious were the colorful and flashy logos of Budweiser, Heineken, and Tiger. 

The second pub I went to was Delaney’s Irish Pub.  Now, I know it seems slightly odd that in my quest for a traditional English pub serving traditional English ales, I went to an Irish pub.  However, in my defense, other than a couple of Irish proverbs on the walls and the fact that they sold Guinness and Jameson, there was nothing remotely Irish about it.  (In fact, I might even go so far as to say it was one of the least-Irish Irish pubs I have ever been to.  I am slightly confused as to what exactly “Irish Tapas” is…)  They did not sell any real ales and focused mainly on imports of Guinness, Fosters, and the like. 

 The pub did, however, have an odd sense of community about it.  They had pictures of people who had been there previously taped to the underside of the staircase and giant games of Connect-Four and Jenga for patrons to play with.  There were seperate high tables that could fit four or five chairs around them at most scattered just far enough away from each other to give the illusion of privacy, but still with the ability to draw another table into conversation.

The third and final pub from last night was the Belgian Monk.  The Monk is more high-end, with imported fruity beers and a wonderful sit-down restaurant.  The decor in the Monk includes posters in German, a library, and small tables with which to sip a frothy concoction of your choice.  A large portion of the indoor tables are taken up by the restaurant, as opposed to the pub, and tend to attract a clientele that has a bit more money than your average college student.

  The Belgian Monk is most certainly not a traditional English pub.  Much like with the Irish pub, it might seem slightly odd that I am including it at all in my blog post.  My reasoning is simple – all of the pubs I visited fill a niche in Norwich. The Belgian Monk is a restaurant, Delaney’s is an Irish pub, and the Mischief is a more traditional English pub.  I know that from three pubs, I can’t conclude anything about CAMRA’s presence in Norwich.  However, my next time out, I hope to come across more of the traditional English pubs in Norwich that CAMRA rightfully brags about.

Total time – 4 hours

Tags: Kelley · Pubs