Grit Plus Day 1

I’m on day two of the Grit plus residential, or we’ve just finished day 2 but i’ll write it up soon. I just haven’t had a minute really to write it up before now.

Yesterday morning i came down from belfast on the train. I was being collected at 12 by one of the youth workers for the residential i mentioned in
My last post
We arrived in Ballontoy at about 1 o’clock. We were near enough the first ones there. I couldn’t believe how quiet it was when we first got there. We are pretty near Ballycastle. The sea is in front of us and we are surrounded by fields. Unfortunately this means there is absolutely no phone reception whatsoever. Apart from by one bush which we have nicknamed the 02/whatever network bush. You take a step away from that bush and you lose signal. That is how bad it is. But it is very peaceful. The hostel is called Sheep island view but i thought it was Ship instead of Sheep. That makes more sense since we are surrounded by sheep.

There were a few girls who had pulled out of coming to the residential, but most of the group i had met last week were there so that was good. We first of all went over to have soup and Sandwiches for lunch before exploring the hostel. The place where we eat is out of the building and has an upstairs part, but the bit we were staying in was a little bungalo. It is used for tourists and back packers and that kind of thing, so basically it is a place to get a hot meal, a shower and a place to lay your head. The room i am in is tiney. It has an onsuite and a set of bunk beds and a single bed. I am in a room of my own which is good. There is toilet roll and a towel for your feet when you come out of the shower but no soap or anything. It has a communal living room and kitchen though which has tea and coffee and that kind of thing so that’s good. The chairs in the living room aren’t like soafas or that. They are just soft chairs. There is a tv and DVD player in the living room and there is wifi which has a brilliant connection. It’s a good wee place but certainly not what you would be used to. It is run by a lovely couple called Seamus and Josie. All the meals are home cooked too which is fab.

After we explored our surroundings, we met the instructors for the week. They are from a company called Explore outdoors and they will be the ones running the activities. We started off the afternoon by doing team building games like joining hands in a circle and having to pass a hoop through without breaking the circle. We also had to skip over a rope in a big line joined together. We also had to stay on these blocks and you weren’t allowed to be off them so you had to get all your team to the other side just with the blocks. The last activity was that you were on these planks of wood and you have to slide them across but stay on them. They were set up like skees.

After that we played Archery for a bit. It was good fun.

We chilled for a while before going down to get some dinner. We had burger and chips, and hot chocolate fudge cake and ice cream for afters. It was lush.

When we came back we discussed our hopes and fears about the activities. The way Grit works is that you don’t know you are going to do the activity until about 10 minutes before you do it. This is so you don’t talk yourself out of it as the whole point of this residential is to push yourself beyond your comfert zone. We also drew up a contract that we had to sign.

Once that formality was taken care of we hopped in the bus to head off to the Jet centre for a game of bowling. Again it was great craic and we all enjoyed ourselves.

Ushi is loving it so far and has quickly made friends with everyone. Everyone loves her too and i’ve had plenty of questions which i don’t mind of course. She is eating and all okay and is going to the loo which is the most important thing of all. We thought we would have to go out to the fields to let her go but there is an enclosed yard off the main kitchen which she can use and is using which is brilliant. Everyone knows the no feeding rule too which is perfect. They are just treating us like any other person which is brilliant and just what we wanted.

I should go to bed but i might write up day two quickly.

The Angel Eyes Northern Ireland Christmas Party

yesterday was the
Angel eyes Northern ireland
christmas party. We were heading to a local ice bowl up in Belfast. We headed up there at about 3 o’clock. Unfortunately one of the parents thought it started at three but it could be rearranged. It actually started at 4.

There was a disco going on downstairs, so thankfully they moved us to the upstairs bit which was quieter. I braught Ushi with me and she loved seeing the balls going down the alley. Her tail never stopped wagging. Although there was one time when the chair person of the Angel eyes committee said i should swing my ball. I swung it quite high, so god knows where it ended up!

After the bowling, it was upstairs to eat. I was a bit worried about this, but to be honest all the kids were tucking in so i had nothing to worry about. It was chicken nuggets and that kind of thing for the kids and sandwiches and tea for us. We then sung jingle bells to make Santa come in. Of course Ushi had to say hi to him. We then got a photo taken with him and selection boxes. One of the chair persons kids was a little shy about going up to get one so i offered her mine but she said it was okay.

We were about to go when the chair persons kids asked if we could go ice skating. I said yes we could go if Ushi had a busy break, but she couldn’t go on the ice for obvious reasons. So the chair person kept a hold of her while i skated. I kept her harness on in case there were any problems and said i would come off the ice if she got stressed, but she was grand! After about an hour and a half she did start to get a little anxious, but they were about to clean the ice anyway so figured that we would head home.

I didn’t bring food with me as i didn’t know we were going ice skating. I should have though as when we got home about 9 o’clock she went straight to bed! I felt a bit bad not giving her her dinner, but she was out cold. i just love how adaptable she is. I still wouldn’t take her to a concert though.

Thanks again to the angel eyes chair person for inviting me and i really enjoyed it. I hope other people enjoyed it too!