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Scouting News from Gordon Park
Matopos, Matabeleland, Zimbabwe

A Can of Worms

Greetings from The Heart of Scouting

The weekend started on the Friday evening when I took my Scouts out to Gordon Park in readiness for the annual William Arnold Carnegie Assegai Competition. This year we could only field four Scouts instead of a full Patrol of six. At least we would be supporting the organizer, our Provincial Scout Commissioner, Bekezela Ndebele who had taken on the task of organizing this year's competition. It was most disappointing to find that only five Troops in the entire Province had entered the Competition, where as in the past up to twenty-five Scout Troops would "battle it out" in the Scouting arena to win this prestigious event. The competition got under way on the Saturday morning and closed at 14.00 hours on the Sunday afternoon. All waited with bated breath as the positions were announced starting with the last place until finally the winning Troop became apparent as the second place was disclosed. The winning Troop, the 1st Bulawayo (Pioneer) Troop. We had last won the competition in 2005, and now in 2010, our Centenary year, our four Scouts, Patrol Leader Christopher Mackenzie, Declan FitzPatrick, Michael Dodds and Kevin FitzPatrick proudly held high, the coveted genuine Matabele Assegai. The competition will be reported upon in the next edition of Pioneer Trail.

Over the past few weeks, John FitzPatrick a parent of two of my Scouts, took on the task of having the few painted signs at Gordon Park, repainted. The first one to be repainted was the sign on the north facing wall of the headquarter pump house. This sign was designed and erected by Gordon Park Crew member Grant Dickinson in 1988. John and his team brought it back into prime condition and once again it sets a good impression of what lies ahead for visitors entering the Park. The next sign to be repainted was the old metal sign that had been erected on the main parade ground in 1973, at the time that the parade ground was named, The 'Skipper' Knapman Training Ground. This painted sign was replaced last year by a bronze plaque bolted to a large sheet of granite. The repainted sign will be re-erected at the other end of the parade ground near the Naomi Conolly Lodge. The sign "The Stables" has also been repainted as well as the supporting pole and weather vane on top. A big Thank You to John and his workers for undertaking the repainting of the signs as a good turn for Scouting. We have many unsung heroes helping us in our Scouting endeavours and to all of them a sincere Thank You.

Last week I mentioned that the lift pipe on the pump on the headquarter well had rotted through. During the week I purchased the necessary replacement fittings to replace those that had rotted. As My Troop was taking part in the Assegai competition, I was not permitted to enter the competition area. This was not a problem, for I had plenty to occupy my weekend at headquarters, starting off with the repairs to the pump. So, early on Saturday morning I set to in dismantling the pipe work on the pump. Taking this 'maze of spaghetti' apart took longer than I had thought, as it had been installed in 1940 and was firmly rusted together. Even with the thirty-six inch pipe wrenches I had brought from home, I still struggled to loosen the joints. As each joint was parted, so the extent of the rotting of the steel pipe began to become apparent. Practically all the piping, nipples, 'T' pieces and couplings had rotted through or were about to display holes. I had not come prepared to replace so many corroded fittings and even rummaging through my extensive "junk" pile of bits and bobs, I could not find enough pieces to complete putting the maze of piping back together. I had estimated that I would have the repairs done by lunch time, but I had only opened a can of worms. Just as well that the water storage tanks are full for it will be another week before I will have the opportunity of completing the rehabilitation of the 'spaghetti maze'.

I had help latter on in the day on Saturday when Brendan Mackenzie came out to the Park for the weekend. Brendan's eyes were firmly glued shut when I sallied forth on my early morning mission to scale the dizzy heights of our special kopje on Sunday morning. Latter on and back at the Park Brendan and I continued with a few small tasks to while away the time before the closing parade of the Assegai Competition. Then in the afternoon we sorted equipment used by the competing Patrols before putting everything back in the stores.



1st Pioneer Troops Calendar of forthcoming events:-


1 William Arnold Carnegie Assegai Competition
5 Schools close
6-10 Heroes’ Weekend: Monthly Hike.
8 Gordon Park service: 12.00 noon
20 Troop meeting: Mabukuwene
27 Troop meeting: Mabukuwene

culminating in December 2010 with an expedition to an exciting destination!


"A Thought For The Week"
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144 Berrymead Avenue,
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Email wanderer @yoafrica.com


Matabeleland Scout Website /

Bulawayo, Monday, August 2, 2010

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