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Today’s fiction is in honour of this


Emily stood at the top of the abseiling tower and peered over the edge.  She clutched at the rope running from her harness to the attachments in the roof and swallowed.  The ground seemed a long way down.  Why had she agreed to this?

She looked over at Susan.  The seven year old was grinning like a maniac, practically bouncing on her toes as she looked down at all of her friends.  Her harness, as tight and secure as Emily’s own, she was sure, was carefully arranged so that you could see her uniform beneath. 

“Are you ready?”

Emily and Susan looked at the instructors and then at each other.

“As I’ll ever be,” replied Emily.  She patted her pocket and winced as she pricked her finger on the open end of Susan’s new badge.  “Are you ready, Susan?”


Together, they backed up to the edge of the tower, leaned back, and let the ropes take their weight.  Emily swallowed again, suddenly aware of how thin the rope looked.  She began to shuffle her feet, walking backwards down the side of the tower.  Beside her, Susan was bouncing, bending her legs and jumping in giant steps.  Emily shuddered.  Half way down, they stopped.

Emily glanced up at the instructors and saw that they were tieing off the ropes.  Satisfied that they wouldn’t be plummeting to their doom in the middle of a sentence, she turned her attention to the girl beside her.

“Susan,” she began, “you’ve been coming to Brownies for a while now, and you’ve decided that you’re ready to make your Promise.  Do you understand that once you’ve made this Promise, you must do your best to keep it, everywhere, every day, for the rest of your life?”

As she spoke the familiar words, she felt herself calming.  As long as she focused on what they were doing, and not where they were, she thought she could do this.

Susan nodded.

“Ok, then please make the Brownie sign, and make your Promise.  Nice and loud,” she added, “so everyone can hear you!”

Emily pried her right hand from the rope and held it by her head, three fingers raised towards the sky.  Susan did the same.  The child took a deep breath, and then recited loudly.

“I Promise that I will do my best,
To be true to myself and develop my beliefs,
To serve the Queen and my community,
To help other people,
And to keep the Brownie Guide Law.”

Emily smiled widely.  “Well done!”  She carefully switched her hands on the rope and held out her left hand to her newest Brownie.  Susan grabbed her hand and dragged herself closer, then held on to Emily’s harness while she fished out the Promise badge and pinned it on to her uniform.

Once they were done, they separated again and Emily shouted up at the instructors to let them down.

As the ropes began flowing again, Emily started to lower herself down the tower.  She glanced down at Susan, bouncing again and now far below her.  Feeling slightly silly, she took a deep breath and bent her knees before jumping out into space.  Just a little.

At the bottom, she placed her feet on solid ground and took a moment to enjoy the feeling.  Unscrewing her carabiner with trembling fingers she left the rope to dangle and helped Susan with hers.  Susan grinned up at her.

“You’re the best, Brown Owl.  I’m going to remember this for ever!

Oh right, thought Emily, that’s why.


A few days ago, I went to London with my Brownies.

GirlguidingUK’s ICANDO centre is just around the corner from Buckingham Palace, and we took the girls up for a badge day to earn their Healthy Heart badge.  The day was full of exciting activities, involving running around carrying balloons pretending to be blood cells, poking fruit with sticks, putting on plays (about how to resist peer pressure and not start smoking, although you would hardly know that from the results), and so on.

So afterwards we asked them what they enjoyed.  Here’s a selection of the answers (suitably edited to provide context!):

“Going on the train.”

“Seeing the pelican in St James’ Park.”

“Seeing Prince Harry!” (For the record, we’re not certain – but how many other young men who look extremely similar to him would be driving a black range rover into the grounds of Buckingham Palace?)

“Seeing Paddington Bear!”

“Going to the shop.  I bought a teddy bear with a Brownie jumper on!”

“The underground.  Except there were two people snogging!

Hmmm.  No mention of the activities that we actually went there for?  Interesting. Next time, perhaps we could just take the train to London, hang around outside the palace for a while, and then go home.

I haven’t felt much like blogging recently.  I haven’t had much to say, which is odd considering all of the things I’ve been up to!

My Brownies had a Christmas Bazaar – lots of random stalls of interesting things, refreshments, even Santa was there.  My Brownies, though, are not your typical believe-in-everything girls.  We had a long debate just before the bazaar about Santa.  Does he live at the north pole?  In Lapland?  Somewhere else?  Was the Santa we were getting for the bazaar the real one?  A fake?  One of Santa’s actual helpers?  (I did have to admit in the end that he was a fake – because he was one of the girls’ grandfather!)

IMG_1466And then there was Christmas, and all that entails.  A mulled wine and mince pie party, in which the Christmas Tree was edible.  Travel, family, presents, food, walks in the semi-country (it was very wet, so we stuck to pavements), church, games, food, Doctor Who, and the (surprisingly disappointing) finale of Merlin.  I think my favourite present this year was actually one that I gave. Who knew contractual variations could be so fun?

New Year’s has mostly been concerned with Dave’s present.  More on that when the Grand Plan has been successfully executed.

So that was the last few weeks.  Hopefully a more normal schedule will resume shortly.


A little late today.  I blame the fact that I have a life…

Have you ever done something at what you assumed was the worst time, only to discover that it was actually really good?  I thought that sort of thing only happened in fiction, and it really annoys me when authors use it to get their characters out of a tight spot.

However, we took our Brownies to a theme park on Saturday.  We’d all been watching the weather forecast, and we knew that it was going to be horrible.  Constant downpour all day, low temperatures, wind, we had it all.

It was amazing.

Once we’d got over the fact that we had to sit on wet seats on the rides (and get wet bottoms, the horror!), we had so much fun.  The girls went on all the water rides about six times each (they were wet anyway, so who cares?) and best of all, there were no queues for any of the rides.

I’m rethinking my strong anti-coincidence stance.

What do you think?  How far can you stretch events before they start to seem unrealistic?  And do you care?

You may (or may not) have noticed that apart from the usual post per day, I have been quite quiet recently. No comments, no likes, no witty banter…

I’ve been camping with my Brownies.

We had a wonderful time playing in muddy puddles on the way to our abseiling, crate stacking, farm visit and crafts, but eventually the wind became too much for us and we had to come home early.

Striking tents in 40mph gusts of wind is Not Fun.

Anyway, there will now be a short pause while I catch up on all of the wonderful things people have written while I was gone. Hopefully I’ll have a proper post ready to go by tomorrow.

The Author

Nicola Higgins is a 30-something martial artist who runs two Brownie packs and works full time. She somehow still finds time to write.

Her favourite genres are near-future and alternate world science fiction and fantasy.

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