Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Long weekend

My wife and I spent the weekend (from Friday, just after lunch, until lunchtime on Sunday) at our church's annual family camp.  There were a 170 happy campers, some not so happy because of the heavy rain that we had (especially on Friday). They had to set their tents up in the downpours.  Most people chose to be in 'cabins' - a bit of a misnomer in this particular place, since they're more like long buildings with small rooms in them.  Either way, those people didn't get quite so wet.  

We were privileged to be housed in one of the two motel units on the site, along with the other people running the kitchen for the weekend.  (That's what we were there for, too.)   Working in the kitchen was an interesting experience: I haven't done a lot of physical work ever in my working life, and even less over the last few years, so being on my feet for hours at a time, and keeping up with the punishing routine of a kitchen providing for that many people was quite exhausting.  I got to the point on several occasions where if I hadn't sat down I would have fallen over.

Not being a cook, except in my own kitchen at home, I helped with all sorts of lesser jobs, from peeling things to cutting up things, to stirring soups, to putting more flavours into the soups, to convincing people that one soup was called Moroccan Mystery (it had a cauliflower base, which the cook said wouldn't impress people, so we didn't tell them - just let them try to guess!); to serving 170 people and telling them the names of the soups over and over, or where to get the milk, or the plates or whatever; to washing up stuff, to cleaning floors, to wiping down benches, to helping with baking (my contribution to one lot of baking was to put the flour in, and the baking powder - after that I got sidetracked onto something else); to putting out dishes and taking back the empties again, and so on.  You name it, we did it.

We not only served full-scale main meals, but full-scale breakfasts (people seem to eat a lot more when they're at a camp) and morning and afternoon teas and suppers with baking that had been done in the hours since the last meal.  Some food was brought in ready to be cooked, but not much.  Most was done on site.

With the kitchen not being fully commercial a fair degree of improvising was required on the part of  two talented cooks: they were forever juggling ovens and hot plates and oven trays and the like in order to get everything done on time.  We had some help from some of the campers who'd been rostered on to do stuff at different times, but in general we had the place to ourselves.

By Sunday the sun had come out and improved the state of things, but by Sunday my wife and I were wiped out: we didn't even manage to make it home (only an hour and a half) before we felt we had to have a snooze.  The joys of old age....

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