On 20th of July we took off and landed in Heathrow. I guess you already figured that much. After a quite smooth check in we had a even smoother luggage retrival. No fuss or problem at all.
Thanks to that we (still way behind schedule) made our way to a known car rental company and got one of our cars we rented for the Jamboree. Those cars actually suppose to help by making us more mobile during the camp.
The stall of said rental company was empty. A sign told us to wait outside at a specific bus station to get a shuttle to the car park. Well, the waiting game started to another level. The bus eventually arrived and brought us as well as our baggage to the car park where I could check out the car.
One of my contingent team members, one Swiss IST (IST stands for International Service Team and is supposed to mean excatly this…to serve) and me headed for the car. It was (please note the tense used in this sentence) a pretty much brand new car and clean outside as well as inside. Latter changed a bit during the few days, but that is another story.
After getting our stuff into the car we drove out to the M25.
Beside a few missed turns (which lead to a slight longer driving time) we were lucky and could drive to Chelmsford (actually Hylands Park Gate 8) quite easily. I made my frist longer trip on the “wrong” side of the road (and motorway) on a public road. I guess I did not that bad as we all arrived sound and safe, even though I still had some troubles with the roundabouts (read: I nearly panicked the first few times). Guess what…roundabouts are very very very very common in the UK….thank you.
As soon as we arrived I pitched up my tent in a square within the Adult Camp Site to make sure the Swiss Head of Contingent with nearly 40 people has enough space. To that time it was not really necessary as there were very few people (loads of Swiss among those few, though) on the site.
Unexpectedly our contingent stuff was delivered way ahead schedule and we had to sort out the issue at the very same time we arrive (the day after was planned for this).
Thanks to Sprudel and the wicked Swiss IST Team supporting our logistics team we got that covered very well and fast!
I do not want to waste more words on that day…it was a long day and I went to bed quite early.
The following days were quite okay. We tried to get our material from the warehouse to our contingent tent (where we suppose to have our office and work). This happend quite smoothly even though the british organisation was not very much involved in this process. To that time (well, somehow it still is) you needed to take your own actions to make things work. Not really how things should work. However, the circumstances did not allow us to hassle to much with the organisation.
The first real stressy moment was in the evening when I got a call telling me that there are nearly hundred Swiss IST stuck at Heathrow and there were no busses fetching them. I walked from office to office and tried to inform the people necessary. The first time (21th) it went quite smooth and they arrived at about midnight after a wait of about four or five hours at the airport. The day after (22th) it was even worse and they arrived somewhen in the morning (4am I have been told).
At first glance it seemed that the organisation was crappy, but actually there were more unexpected scouts at the airport who overrun the busses supposed to get the Swiss IST and therefore latter happend to be stuck at the airport.
Well, let me tell you…they all arrived sound and safe. So do not worry at all.
On 23th of July we finally managed to get power at our office to recharge our mobile phones and radios. I was actually getting worried about it. It only took 3 days, loads of people asking for power at our tent and a few bars of Swiss Chocolat to get things up and running. We now enjoy the luxury to use our mobile phones and notebooks without the fear of running out of power. Printers, copy machines, servers, coffe machines and the light are all operational..
The main arrival day for the IST was on 24th of July. Needless to say there were people again stuck at London as there were a few (non related) car accidents on the M25 which took a coach not 1,5 hours but 3 hours to reach its destination. Another group of Swiss arrived in the morning hours and it took over 10 ours to get here.
Fortunatly they did not need to build up their tents in the rain.
Today, it is the 26th of July and we are – at least I think so – fully operational. The troops are spread all over the UK in their Home Hospitality. So far we had no troubles with those, but let us knock on wood it stays like this. They will arrive tomorrow and join us at the camp site.
I will sleep much better knowing all my 1500 people are within the same four square kilometers.
Our mobile phones are charged (with powers and money) and we can again keep up with the pace.
The weather was nice to us so far. It rained quite hard one day and lighter on another day, but that is it so far. Hope it stays that “dry” and our participants can pitch up their tent without any rain. A Jamboree without rain (remember Chile and Thailand) is just the best thing that can happen.
On the other hand, what else than the weather to do you talk about in England…;)
I would like to thank my team. You all have no idea what they achieved and have done so far. It is incredible and if there was a Novel price to win for this they definitively would win it!
Thank you all ever so much! I am honoured to work with every single one of you.
P.S.: the flirting started all over and I must admit I got carried away a little as well. There are hundreds of very gorgeous ladies around. Trust me, their looks is not the only great thing about them. They are also funny and intelligent. Well, what shall I say? It is great to be a scout…;)