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Retreat '05 - Friday 25 - Sunday 27
Written by Steve Poole - BANG! Chair 2004-2005
The weekend began for most with a high-speed walk up the steps at Bath Spa Station in pursuit of a high-speed train, which we managed to catch. The train itself was very full, forcing some brave folk to venture into a possible First Class carriage, while the more conscientious among us, such as oneself, hovered in the doorways.
At Swindon we were greeted by an evangelist who told us that Jesus had died to save our sins. Stephen P kindly pointed out that we were in fact a Christian group, to which the man looked slightly perplexed and boarded his train hastily.
On leaving the station we marched across town to the bus station, only to realise afterwards that the bus also stopped just outside. The bus driver himself strangely didn't seem to know where Wroughton was, and our only point of reference was unsurprisingly a pub. Fortunately (and again perhaps unsurprisingly) we managed to spot this. We then got some strange looks in Wroughton Co-op as some of us bought jay-cloths while the rest chatted about hot cross buns
After the climb up the hill, we reached Legge House a happy and relieved bunch. Steve R, who had arrived earlier with Claire, Angela and food, gave us a thorough tour of the place. The signs in the corridors were still entertaining ("Pease do not run"), though there was disappointment at the removal of the bizarre "Insect-o-cutor".
Coffee and cake were first on the agenda, while people sorted themselves out and discussed cuddly toys. Steve R slaved up sausage, chips and peas for us in the kitchen whilst everyone else relaxed a bit. The real treat at dinner was Laura's jelly baby cake (baked with those who were giving up chocolate in Lent in mind), which was quite something. It was very colourful creation, and definitely made the following session a lot more colourful as well! Toby's first session focused on the beginning the Lord's Prayer, looking at how we address God. We also looked at an interesting modern interpretation.
Following more cake and drinks, we ended the day with night prayers led by Sam. Several people decided to stay up a bit later than most, playing cards mainly and also filling up the quotes page. At least one cuddly toy was hidden by Ed, causing a backlash the next day with him losing Rudolf and Rudolph, his reindeer slippers.
Just a few hours after they departed to their beds, others (including Stephen P who had stayed up too) were getting up to take advantage of a sunrise walk arranged by Steve R. Despite not actually seeing any sun we did encounter snow, and a fox, as we crouched down in a field of ewes.
At breakfast, bets were taken as to when Ed and Laura would surface, both of whom had stayed up the night before. Following breakfast, Steve R led morning prayers. There was then an inevitable coffee and cake break before we began the next session. In this we looked at what the Kingdom of God was, and how we should deal with it. We also discussed what we meant by "daily bread", and how we would react to it differently if we were in a different part of the world.
Next came another cake break (okay you get the idea now!), which gave Steve R and Katie a chance to prepare a delightful salad lunch for us.
After lunch came the afternoon walk, led by Stephen P who broke all the rules by bringing a map! As a result we inevitably didn't get lost, although we had to stop Ed going through private land at one point. Steve R was up to his usual antics, usually involving gates, but was disappointed in other people not joining in the fun. There was also a game of I-spy, which threw up some controversial ones, though Ed's suggestions were clearly the most successful.
Once we had recovered from the trek (which I must add finished exactly on time!), with a little help from some cake, we began the final session. In this we looked at forgiveness and temptation, and summarised what we'd learnt over the course of the sessions.
It was Stephen P and Sam's turn to take control of the kitchen, and they prepared a ratatouille. Over dinner the pronunciation of the word "scone" developed into a full blown argument (started by Steve R) about "cones" being better than "Ron". Ed tried to introduce some sanity (if you can call it that) by trying to prove that microwaves were banned in Russia because they removed any goodness in food, which Alison seemed to disagree with most.
As darkness descended on Legge House, it was time for the traditional games to begin. First up was Sardines, which although started predictably, soon became more exciting as people found more ingenious places to hide and began to lead others astray. Ed's decision to sneak back into the entrance hall proved the most sophisticated. Mafia followed, which included some savage attacks on the current committee.
Stephen P closed the day with a Compline, although for most the fun and games went on well into the early morning, with the more complex Werewolf providing most of the entertainment. Pool and twister soon followed, before evolving into random chit-chat.
On Sunday, with many still weary from the night before, we enjoyed a cooked breakfast together. Steve R's method of scrambling eggs proved controversial, which involved using water instead of milk. The fine taste of the result silenced the critics, who also managed to devour his portion! This was later rectified at our AGM (See item 1 on the agenda.).
Following a little packing, we had a Communion Service led by Angela. This was followed by clearing up, while Steve R and Katie again prepared lunch, with some help from soup chefs Ed and Christine. The weekend closed with a group photo and traditional random shot, which involved everyone looking in the opposite direction to Steve R.
As we were shuttled across to Swindon Station by the kind warden,
we were left to reflect on the moments of the weekend. Unfortunately
not all of us reached the station before the first train arrived.
Those that did manage to get there in time left Swindon with Sam's
camera cruelly pointed towards the nearby stairwell, in case our associates
managed to reach the train in time to see it leave
Check out the Retreat photos.