Quiet Days in Kandersteg
Time is running fast! In one month, Autumn at KISC will already be over and we'll welcome the new Winter Staff. It feels like yesterday showing the new Shorties around the Centre!
Moving further into the season means also that Autumn shows its rather boring side: Only a few guests, not much going on at the Centre which means a lot of time for deep cleaning! The House department seized this opportunity the entire last week as there were no guests around at all to wax and anti-wax the entire Dining Hall! On Sunday, 6th November, all the chairs and tables were moved out of the Dining Hall to prepare it for the anti-waxing process. This lead to one of the cosiest dinners of the entire season for our Staff as blankets we rolled out onto the floor and an inside picknick with Asian food and chopsticks was arranged, lit by some candles. From Monday onwards, the meals took place in the Main Hall in smaller and more familiar atmosphere while the Dining Hall was completely closed off. At the same time, Catering as well seized the opportunity of not having any guests around to move everything out of the kitchen for thorough deep cleaning of the entire cooking and food storage facilities. Meanwhile, cooking for Staff was done in the white guest kitchen, just outside the Main Hall. Probably the hardest change in all of this was the lack of a dishwasher which meant that all the dishes had to be done by hand!
After two days of anti-waxing, the time had come to put a new layer of wax onto the floor of the Dining Hall, which was sealed off by hazard tape, making it look like a crime scene. Unfortunately, Olave, the Centre's cat and secret ruler of the premises didn't really get this entire sealing-off thing, so on the evening after the first day of waxing, she snuck into the Hall, covered in a fresh layer of wax which lead to her partly being covered in wax as wall. But no worries, after a severe brushing and washing she is looking fine and cute again as usual. By now, the waxing is finished and the furniture has been moved back into the Dining Hall so it can fulfill its purpose of hosting hungry people again.
But not only the kitchen and Dining Hall were subject of thorough cleaning, Reception is looking as nice as ever after a profound cleaning with the carpet washing machine by the Reception Manager and Programme Team. But in an unlucky move the day after, to the horror of Jack (UK, Reception Manager, Jon (UK) our Programme Director spilled a cup of coffee onto the floor. This meant that Reception was cleaned a second time last week. And the fact that this story is newsworthy really shows how quiet it is at the Centre at the moment!
In a more newsworthy story, the weekend of the 4th - 6th November also saw the KISC Committee and Foundation meeting here at the Centre. This meant a lot of people from all over the world coming to KISC to have a look at statistics from the past few months and taking decisions for the future of the Centre. Quite some fruitful working groups and discussion also took place with Committee members on subjects that we deem important for the next few years. A favourite among Staff was most certainly the International Evening on Saturday night with the chance for everyone to present his own country to other scouts, be it on Staff, on the Committee or from the Foundation. It truly was crowded in the Main Hall, but everyone enjoyed the evening with Swiss sausages, cheese and chocolate, American candy, British tea, scones and crisps, Dutch cake, stroopwafels and herb liquor, Luxembourgish Kniddelen, Australian sweets, Irish salmon and Guinness, Swedish kanellbullar and knäckebröd and kaviar, Austrian Mozartkugeln, Mexican food and drinks flavoured with chili and lemon, Korean dessert, German white sausages, Leberkäse and drinks, as well as Danish Gammeldansk and rye bread with mackerel paste. Be assured that no one went to bed hungry that evening!
As for ongoing projects, Michael (DE) is still working on the renovation on the Irish Room, but because of his busy schedule and a lot of umplanned work the last days, the renovation has fallen slightly behind the time plan, but it is still going forward with all of the framework and hard walls done. Next up is work on the walls and the ceiling. At the moment we are waiting for the delivery of a new door for the room as well and work on the new beds will start soon.
In Grounds, Sam (UK) is preparing everything for Winter: Setting up snow poles, ski stands, readying the snow shovels and putting the snow blower in place. The only thing that's missing now is snow. But after a few days of Föhn (a special Alpine weather phenomenon funneling hot air and winds into the Kandervalley) which rose the temperatures up to 15°C, they are now quickly falling again, to some point around zero in the morning - snow can't be long anymore!
We also had quite some awesome Staff Nights Out the last couple of weeks, be it an evening at the ice rink playing curling, a sports evening at the local gym with villagers (which now seems to turn into some kind of regular event for Pinkies) or an amazing night at Schwingen, a kind of traditional Swiss wrestling, in Frutigen at which Matt (UK) was crowned the KISC King of Schwing, triumphing over all his other KISC opponents, only to lose against the president of the local Schwingen club!
Another exciting moment occured last Friday, when the phone in Reception rang with one of Bear Grylls's (the UK chief scout) mountain guides asking if the Centre had any sleeping bags to borrow them as they were filming an episode for his TV show high up on the other side of the mountains in the Wallis and had forgotten to pack their own. As one of the producers of the show rang again 30 minutes later, they really seemed to desperately need those sleeping bags for the film crew! Unfortunately we had to turn them down as the Staff sleeping bags we have in stock are not insulated enough for high alpine terrain and no one here wanted to risk having a frozen television crew on their conscience. Definitely a missed opportunity for KISC to venture into the showbiz, but definitely the better solution for the extremities of the crew! But of course Bear Grylls' and his entire crew are always welcome to visit the Centre on their trip back for their high alpine survival mission!
Please also make sure to check out our Photo Gallery for the last few weeks and have a look at the KISC photo competition - send us the photo of your best KISC memory and you might win a free overnight with full board for 2 people at the Centre!
Also, the deadline for applying to the New Year's International Rover Week is drawing closer, so if you're thinking of sending in an application, make sure to do so in the next days!
Pol Felten (LU)15.11.2011
PR & Marketing Assistant