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Scouting News from Gordon Park
Matopos, Matabeleland, Zimbabwe

Greetings From The Heart of Scouting!

My Visit To The Heart Of Scouting

Having been a regular contributor, albeit at several month intervals in that august Scouting publication, Pioneer Trail, the thrice yearly publication of the 1st Bulawayo (Pioneer) Scout Troop, I have been rather saddened at its disappearance on the web for a few years. I needed to find out about its disappearance and was indeed successful, however, I will not dwell on these reasons and will leave it at that. Then of course there was a weekly update, err newsletter on the goings on in that very special place, aptly referred to as "The Heart of Scouting". Having seen for myself that all is well, I can confirm that there is no reason to get concerned, as the Camp Commissioner is in good health but a tad busy, not only at the Park but in other spheres as well. I am sure he will sort his life out at some stage and get back to the keyboard; he also plays hard.


Hiking to Gordon Park - Imazi.

Now my contributions to Pioneer Trail always concentrated on Gordon Park and to this end I will continue in this vein in this article by bringing you up to date on what has been happening.

Far from being left to decay, each weekend the Camp Commissioner arrives at the Park on the Saturday morning, to get on with the tasks of keeping the Park operational and ready at all times for the Scouting activities that are still taking place there in. Always in jovial mood, most probably because he is in his element in the Matobo Hills, he just revels in undertaking the tasks big or small that need to be done to keep the Park in tip top condition.

Since the last newsletter he had published sometime at the beginning of this year, the redecoration of the 'Stables', the row of rooms at Park Headquarters, have been repainted.
Repainting does not translate in the Camp Commissioner's mind to a lick of paint. No, it means clearing the rooms of all furniture, wall fittings and then washing down the walls - even the ceiling if really dirty. You should have seen him on this task, covered from head to foot in a slushy mess as the soapy water did it's job of loosening the filth and grime of fifty years of accumulated soot on the ceilings from smoky hurricane lamp emissions, candles and other apparatus that had been taken into the rooms. No laughing matter on the part of said Commissioner. With better lighting now available, hopefully the ceilings will remain clean in future.

Then the walls had their turn at being washed down. Repair work included the filling in of cracks as the foundations have settled over the years and other chips in the plaster resulting from bumps and scrapes on the walls. Gaps between the walls and the ceilings had not been filled in when the rooms were constructed, so noticing this omission it could not be left; more time in sorting that out. No less than three coats of paint were required to leave him satisfied.

There is still work to be done, but other work in the Park was to take precedence, especially the Naomi Conoly Lodge, which is used for many scouting activities. The walls had become grubby and with the good rains last season, large areas of the wooden block floor had lifted. The re-laying of the floor has taken a great deal of time, with the loose blocks having to be taken home to remove the old glue and bits of cement floor in order to re-glue the blocks back in place. A tiring task worse than doing a jig-saw puzzle, which has taken many months.

The hall has now been repainted in a light green and skirting boards along two walls still need to be replaced owing to them having been destroyed by termites. The kitchen walls are also extremely soiled from years of use, so they need to be refurbished along with the one bedroom.

Then there is still plenty of restoration work to be done on all the other buildings, in between the normal weekly tasks such as the cleaning and resealing of all the water tanks, cutting the grass, repairing roads and the list goes on. Fortunately, none of the additional work being undertaken has had any affect on the running of the on-going scouting activities.

Well, despite the absence of news for several months now I am satisfied that all is under control in the Heart of Scouting. So, I folded up my deck chair - the one with the fading canvas that blends in with the fallen leaves of a winter past, but enough green to tone with the budding of a coming summer, however, I may add, no floral design; I left for home deeper in the fastness of the granite hills of the Matobo.

Well, until the next time we meet .....

The Silent G.P. Observer


Photo:- 27-imadzi-hiking-to-gordon-park (Imazi?)

The Matabeleland Scout Website has moved to an advert-free:-
It has over 10,000 photos & thousands of articles taking 250mb. Next week 8000 brandnew photos of old documents/magazines will be added to the website - if you want a copy for your pc - just send me a 500mb SD-card or USB-Memory stick and I'll copy the entire website on for you.


"The Boys of Bulawayo" - by Barry Knight

The story of the 1st Bulawayo (Pioneer) Scout Group 1909 - 2009 traces the history of Scouting of the 1st Matabeleland Scout Group, from the time when the village of Bulawayo was just a few years old, through the turmoil of Rhodesia, to the current activities of the Troop in Zimbabwe.

Barry Knights book "The Boys of Bulawayo" is now available for $2 on Amazon at http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00N53IT7U for the "kindle" (electronic-book reader). For those of you who dont have a "Kindle", I think a "Kindle App" is available for all tablets, computers and those things kids use in Kindergarden called apples/ipads - so everyone can read this brilliant book. You can pick up the actual paper book from Barry or Norman; or for $5+postage let me or Barry know and Donald Heath has kindly offered to post them from Sweden. If you attended the 1st or 1st/12th Bulawayo, you may be mentioned or have your photo in the book...


This past week...(after January's Expedition to Kilimanjaro)

8 Jan
Hi There,
Congratulations on a great expedition that has kept me entertained during the last weeks. Well done.
John Warr. UK

8 Jan
Well done Scouts.
Norm, I think you should start a tour company I have a line of Aussies who are willing to pay hard cash for your expertise, knowledge and guidance on a road trip like this that we have been reading about here.
When can I send the first batch over?
Great adventure
Dave Davies
Perth Australia

14 Jan
Well done guys! Norm is still making dreams come true and creating memories more valuable than any currency available. Thank you for the interesting updates and the link to Mrs. Carlisle's photo album. Those were such precious days. I will always remember and be proud of our history and the experiences we shared together.
Vaughn Brown

13 Jan
To Gordon Park
Dear Norman,
Very many thanks for the Gordon Park Newsletter 2013-14 East Africa Expedition-Part 2 (l have not received Part 1, and no other Newsletters for many months!), and l have read it with enjoyment and interest. Apart from the repeated vehicle breakdowns, it appears to have been a great and most enjoyable trip.
I also look forward to hopefully seeing you in the not too distant future, after all too long.
Very best regards, and best wishes for 2014.
Eric Bloch
(from the Ed - I forwarded the 3 part Expedition log to Eric on the 21st Jan.
Sadly Doctor Eric Bloch passed away in Bulawayo on 20 September 2014. Eric had been a Scout, Patrol Leader, Akela, Scoutmaster and Group Scoutmaster of the 1st Bulawayo, and recently wrote the Foreward to Barry's book "The Boys of Bulawayo". Our sincere condolences to his family.)

11 Jan
hi Norman
thanks for all the reports about your traveling with the old landy and your scouts---what a expedition.
jorg trummler
Cape Town

"Thought for The Week" (with thanks to Gwyn Erasmus' facebook)

If you are depressed,
   you are living in the past.
If you are anxious,
   you are living in the future.
If you are at peace,
   you are living in the present.
--Lao Tzu--


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Please note that our next outing will be held on 26 October and not 2 November as advised in the last newsletter (#88) http://www.matobo.org/docs/mcsnews88.pdf. The reason for this change is to allow us to take advantage of having well known tree authority Meg Coates Pulgrave with us on the outing.

Details of the venue for the outing and arrangements for the day will be forwarded to you soon but in the meanwhile please keep this date free. Luckily at this time of year many of the trees will have flowers and / or pods which should make the task of identifying trees a little easier for those of you who like me find this a real challenge!

Adele Edwards
Matobo Conservation Society

Matabeleland Scout Website (advert free) http://matabele.altervista.org/

Bulawayo, 29th Sept 2014

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