I’ve just come back from a sunny, exhilarating, relaxing, exhausting weekend in Margate with 19 active thoughtful, helpful, delightful young people who seem to have come from all over the South of England to enjoy themselves in the company of other young Quakers.
And enjoy ourselves we did. The hostel where we stayed faces the sea, so we spent lots of time on the beach, watching the sunset, in the dark, or in the sunshine. The weather was great, so we strolled into Margate and ate Saturday lunch on the beach just beyond the Turner Art gallery (what a cultured group we are!), had half our Saturday party playing games on the beach, and, after meeting on Sunday, ate our lunch at Broadstairs on the sands there, followed by an Italian ice cream. Despite the sea being somewhere between cold and freezing, many of us we had a paddle, and some even managed to fall over (twice), which is an excellent way to wake up.
Broadstairs meeting, especially Liz Cooper their clerk, were superb and welcomed us warmly for their meeting for worship, providing a both good space for us to leave our bags and great flapjacks.
I suspect everyone has their highlights, but some of mine were the game of ‘sofa coup’ – far too complex to explain here, and requiring fiendish cunning and a memory, both of which we have, but not enough, so it ended in an honourable draw. Another highlight was finishing off the ice cream for breakfast. Offering ice cream to not fully awake people gets a blank response – a human ‘404, page not found’ type of message.
All the adult helpers were great too, and I was particularly appreciative of the way they worked alongside the young people as equals, which helped build a very positive, cooperative ethos.
And the downside: buying rail tickets is complex: the man in Putney ticket office refused to sell them to us as he was not sure groupsave tickets would be valid (isn’t that his job to know or find out?), the Nationalrail helpline couldn’t help, and eventually I had to buy them in groups of 8 tickets on the internet using multiple credit cards. Future event organisers be warned!