I was a Girl Guide which will be of no surprise to anyone who knows me.
There are photographs existing somewhere of me in my blue blouse and skirt with my beret perched between my two pigtails and a solemn expression on my face.
This was in Penang in the 70s and the air was full of frangipani, satay smoke and the scent of joss sticks but in my private universe I was all about reef knots, square lashing and the trefoil badge. I was placed in the Kookaburra patrol and quite soon (due to the transitory nature of being a RAAF kid posted to Malaysia) I climbed the ranks to become seconder and then Patrol Leader.
Why did I love the Girl Guides?
It wasn't all jolly campfires and chocolate bananas in foil. There were monkey raids on our campsite (scary), and the time I cunningly created kitchen knife holders out of some sort of usefully large unidentified leaves which turned out to be the Malaysian version of Poison Ivy (itchy).
I could bag on about the cameraderie and the community spirit and the being allowed to play with matches but the truth is, I loved the badges best of all. These delightful brightly coloured embroidered discs could be awarded for everything from arts to ...well...crafts.
Yes, things needed to be done for them, basic tasks etc but once they were ticked off the Guide Leader (Monyet or possible Kuching) would send away to Australia and lo they would arrive months later just as you had forgotten you had earned them.
I started with the Hostess Badge (cup of tea, thankyou letter, plate of pikelets) and I never looked back. I also never learned how to properly stitch them onto my uniform and so after the first wash they shrank into thick saggy misshapen blobs dangling from my sleeves by the five or so frankenstein stitches I had managed to perform.
Needless to say, no Sewing Badge for me.
Recently Maggie May (click on the award to find her) awarded me one of these sturdy looking items and I thank her and my parents and the academy and Monyet and Kuching...
It is an E for Excellent award which is tops but even more tops is that I get to pass it on to TEN other blogs in much the same way that I passed on blisteringly itchy palms during that fateful camp.
Here, in no particular order, are my ten. Some are well known, some are not, all are excellent in their own way, for their own reasons.
Some are authors, some are playwrights, some are parents, some are trying to be parents, some are photographers, all are writers and interesting people with interesting points of view.
I hope you enjoy it and please, remember, careful tiny stitches to avoid disappointment.