23/04/07

Leon,

I just wanted to say a big thank you for the Survival Weekend. Recently, I'd allowed myself to be brought down by all the mundane worries of finding work and somewhere to live, and to do something so completely different, meet new people, experience new things and have a really good time was exactly what I needed.

I'd had no idea what to expect and was very nervous, but it was all so relaxed and friendly, yourself and Mick so patient and approachable that I felt able to really get involved and give everything a go, whereas ordinarily with situations like that and with groups of strangers I'd have hung back and done my best to be invisible. It was great to learn about the various trees and plants and particularly their practical uses and identification, as my keen interest in horticulture is let down by my poor plant knowledge. Skinning a rabbit was a definite highlight, and it was very satisfying to finally light a fire by bow-drilling after being so rubbish and taking about an hour longer than everyone else! (Thanks for your patience when I was starting to get despondent; I didn't realise how much my stamina had nose-dived after a couple of days of not eating or drinking very much.) It would be nice to come back some time and have another go to see if I could drill a hole from scratch, maybe even have a go at making the bows and the other bits as well.

As nice as it was to sleep in my own bed again I did groan with disappointment this morning when I didn't wake to a bright, crisp woodland morning. And the longer I sat at my desk today at work the more I appreciated what a fantastic experience it had been. I hope you don't think me too pretentious by saying that it's a really great thing you've started there; I wish you all the best for the future.

Many thanks again, and do extend my gratitude to Mick next time you see him. I'm sure I'll return some time to practice my bushcraft skills - and learn some new ones.

Rob