A Day in the Life
What a busy week! Almost five weeks into our stay here, and we all just feel so at home. We’ve all adjusted so well to the routine here, and I, for one, am loving it! I’m a Rover Scout and Scout Leader from Australia, but have arrived here via the UK where I spent four months studying in Edinburgh (and assisting at a Scout Troop there!) and two months travelling around before I made my way here – so finally being able to stay in the one place is very relaxing, no matter how many toilets I have to clean!
But back to last week – for the first time since my arrival here, we experienced a full chalet, as people descended upon us for the Easter weekend. Lucky for me though, I got a special pass on duties, as I was selected to represent KISC at a forum for Goose Network Scout Centre Camp Staff from across Europe. Having not really come across the Goose Network before – it’s a European network, after all – it was a great opportunity for me to learn more about Scouting in different European countries (apparently burning your marshmallows over the fire is a really big no-no here…). But if you’re interested in that, there’s already a blow-by-blow account of the camp on the Goose Network blog here: https://goosenetwork.wordpress.com/. Instead, I thought I’d tell you a little about a more typical day here.
So, let’s take Tuesday last gone. As a Spring staff member, we usually get allocated to House (cleaning, laundry, and some guest relations) or Catering (feeding staff and sometimes guests, and cleaning up afterwards!), as well as occasionally Grounds (maintaining the campsite), Maintenance (maintaining the buildings), Programme (running programme for guests and looking after programme equipment), PR (helping out the PR department), or Campsite (helping out around the Campsite). On Tuesday, I was in Catering with fellow shortie Sara (SE) and one of our two Catering Assistants, Mark (DK).
0650 Alarm goes off. In Catering, we start work at 0715, so I have to be dressed and ready to go in the kitchen by then. I check my phone, but with the internet not working today there’s no point trying to check emails. I grab the Pinks (our uniform) that I collected from the laundry the night before and throw them on (while trying to avoid waking up my room mates, Anna (DK) and Manu (IT), of course).
0712 Arrive in kitchen. Remember to remove my watch (we can’t wear anything on our wrists in kitchen) and start setting up for breakfast. Jugs out, meat trays and cheese trays out, tables ready, milk out.
0725 Thanks to our super efficiency, we’re ready by 0725, so sit down to an early breakfast. Others begin to join us at 0730, a slow procession of tired Pinkies.
0750 After checking on everything in the kitchen, I race back up the stairs to the Staff Room. Thought for the Day (TFTD) – our daily staff meeting – starts at 0800 on the dot, and the work day starts (or continues, for us in kitchen) straight after that. I forgot my name badge in the morning, so I grab that and race for the comfy sofa in the staff room.
0800 The radio announces it’s 8am, and TFTD starts. Diogo (PT) is on Duty, and he tells us a short story to start the day. We’re updated on everything that’s happening today around the Centre.
0810 TFTD’s over and we head back down to kitchen. First thing’s first – clean up breakfast! We have some guests eating with us today who’ve still not eaten, so we leave everything out for them but clear away all the dishes.
0830 Time for Daily Cleaning. Every day certain parts of the kitchen have to be cleaned. Today I’m cleaning the non-slip mats we put in front of the dishwasher – by the time I’m done, they’re clean, but the floor’s incredibly wet! The guests finally arrive and we finish clearing up breakfast.
1000 Coffee break! A chance to enjoy leftover cake, fruit, and a few Easter eggs.
1015 Break over. Time to start cooking! For lunch today we’re doing Pork Stroganoff, with soup as a starter. I’m on a veggie side dish, as well as getting the room ready. The onions are over-powering though!
1200 Lunch time. We’ve laid everything out on the buffet, and staff members come in and help themselves.
1230 Pretty much everyone’s finished up now, so we start packing up. As part of his duty, Diogo comes and helps us get everything cleaned up. We get a longer lunch break than him as we’re in catering, though, so we send him away before too long.
1315 And we’re done! Leftovers are in the fridge, the dishes are all cleaned, the dishwasher is cleaned, the floors are cleaned… the kitchen goes into shutdown mode as we are dismissed for our lunch break. No more work till 1620! After heading out into the Coffee Bar, I find Diogo and Alex (UK), one of our Programme Assistants, mucking around with an exercise ball. Before long we’re outside in the beautiful Spring sunshine, making up some strange game involving the ball, the fountain, the snow, and trying to not end up in the river.
1400 Everyone suddenly disappears – they have to get back to work. I still have another couple of hours though, and with the sun still incredible, I find a spot by the river to sit and just enjoy the alps and the warmth. It only gets better when I discover I can connect to the (much better) internet from one of our other buildings on the other side of the river – email checking time!
1600 Everyone else goes on coffee break now, so I head back to join them.
1620 We’re back on in the kitchen, and it’s time to make dinner. Pasta Bolognese is on the menu now, but this time I’m on dessert. We have leftover custard, and fruit salad is suggested, but suddenly inspiration hits – and I get to experiment with poached apples! A bit of this, a bit of that… we’ll see how it turns out.
1710 The apples are coming along nicely, but they just need to boil now. We need another side dish of veggies, so I throw something together, before helping to get the room set up again for dinner. I also throw the leftover apple peel in the oven, just to see if we can make it crispy.
1800 Dinner is served, once more on the dot. I’m happy with how the apples turned out, although I think a few others are suspicious of them when they see them on the buffet. Feedback’s good from those who dare to try them though. The apple peel’s pretty good too.
1830 Time to clean up. Diogo’s back with us, and we turn the music up while we work. We’re all going a little crazy as it gets later and later – I end up having to handwash a heap of big pots, which takes much longer than I’d like. After we send Diogo off, we get the floors done and everything back in order. As Sara and I both have a day in the kitchen later in the week without either Mark or Jesper, the other catering assistant, we get a quick lesson in how to clean the coffee machine, as we’ll have to do it by ourselves.
1945 Finally we get back up to the Staff Room. There had been a plan to watch a film tonight, but no one can quite decide on what to do. Eventually we settle on a game instead, which then requires more decisions – not easy with a dozen staff members in the room. Finally Pictionary is chosen, but getting it requires a quick trip downstairs. I volunteer, and grab some firewood while I’m there. It’s probably a little too warm for a fire, but it’s so nice to have one going.
2130 Pictionary went well, but eventually we all began to drift off into groups and chat. A few of us are planning trips around Europe on our days off; others watching films on their phones.
2300 We’re all heading to bed now, but not before a quick clean of the Staff Room. I race through the shower, do my teeth, and do a round of good nights. Yet another amazing day at KISC.