When I met Lady Baden Powell

When I met Lady Baden Powell
The recent Scout celebrations prompted me to remember when I met Lady Baden Powell in a similar celebration in Tasmania, many years ago.
I was a very young Brownie in those days and there were many preparations to greet the wife of the founder of the Scout Movement. A special costume was prepared weeks before and I was to be a duck-billed platypus. I was to lie on the ground with my plump little body covered in the costume and I was to stretch my hand forward to slip a letter of greeting through the bill of the platypus to present it to the good Lady.
The whole township was agog and the day finally arrived. I lay on the ground, my costume carefully pulled over me so that I was completely hidden. I waited patiently.I squinted through a little gap between the costume and me and could just see the steady approach of the feet of the Lady. When her sturdy shoes reached me, I pushed the letter through the bill. Mission accomplished and the costume still held in position. I was relieved.
The kind Lady laughed took the letter then, to my child’s mind, ruined it all by lifting the costume right up and exposing me in my Brownie Uniform lying flat out on the ground. Did I smile and say how pleased I was to meet her? Not me – I insisted on pulling the costume back into place saying crossly “I am a platypus!”
In spite of this rather dodgy start, I remained a Brownie and enjoyed many years a as Guide to learn survival techniques in the bush, making safe fires, finding and eating witchetty grubs under the bark of trees, learning how to deal with snake bite, finding south using the Southern Cross constellation of stars in the sky and ‘the usual’ activities of the Scouting and Guiding meetings that have continued to take place since.

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