On Friday, the elder of The Boys went off to camp with The Scouts. A small troop of Scouts have come over from Belgium and are spending the weekend with our troop, which will include games, an English High Tea and camping in the field behind the Scout hut. The following day they were hiking in The Peak District . Many of these children have met before and a good relationship is building between them.
My sons are not sporty. They are tall, thin people with vivid imaginations and a passion for books; they do not excel on the football or the rugby field and they are not competitive. Boy the Elder once took 10 minutes to run a 50yard fancy dress relay because he felt the clothes in his lane didn’t suit him, so decided to try on those of his competitors instead. But put them in a field with trees, bits of wood, mud and unsavoury things in hedgerows and they are quite happily occupied for long periods of time, with only a portion of their day dedicated to fighting each other with sticks or heavy objects.
Boy the Elder joined the Cubs and then graduated to Scouts and it is the activity he cares about more than anything else. We are blessed with unbelievably dedicated Leaders, who give an astonishing amount of their free time to The Scouts, taking them climbing, hiking, swimming, making up games, teaching them practical skills and teamwork and all done in an atmosphere of support, encouragement, humour and no nonsense.
It seems to be one of the few organisations left for young people where, although every care is taken over their safety and happiness, they are pushed to achieve; not in a horrid aggressive way, but for themselves, to find the best in themselves. The values inherent in Scouting are about respect, kindness, loyalty, independence and self reliance, good behaviour, courtesy, structure and tolerance, things that seem regrettably lacking in many areas of modern life.
In the past year, scores of new Cub, Scout and Explorer troops have been set up all over the countryto cope with the increasing demand from parents who are becoming aware of the value and impact of Scouting for their children. You may not know that most Scout troops now have equal numbers of boys and girls and this creates a very healthy and jolly atmosphere. Boy the Younger can’t wait.
So last week, to give the Belgian Scouts the experience of a good English High Tea, the Wartime Housewife volunteered to make a big batch of scones to be eaten with my sister’s home made jam and thick cream. The Belgian’s defected on the spot.
Here is the recipe which is made of storecupboard ingredients.
Large mixing bowl
2 x 12×8″ baking trays – greased and floured
2 ½ ” cutter
15 oz / 450g white self-raising flour
½ tsp salt
2 tsp baking powder
4oz / 120g butter
4oz / 120g white sugar
4oz / 120g raisins or sultanas
9floz / 280ml milk or half milk/half yoghurt
Pre-heat the oven to 230 / 450 / 8
Sift the flour, salt and baking powder into a bowl
Cut the butter into little pieces and rub into the flour until it is no longer visible
Stir in the sugar and dried fruit
Mix the milk into the mixture a little at a time, either with a palette knife or your hands, until a loose, sticky dough is formed (this may take less milk than you’ve measured out)
Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and roll gently to about 1″ / 2.5cm thick
Dip the cutter into some flour and cut out the scones.
Gently roll remaining dough into a ball, roll it out again and keep cutting
It should make about 17 scones
Brush the tops with a little milk to glaze
Place the scones on the greased and floured baking trays
Bake for 10-12 minutes or until golden brown
Remove from the oven and place on a cooling rack.