Bannock goes to camp

I’ve been back in Bangkok for almost 2 weeks now, but I hope you’ll humour me by reading one last post about Canada: I have some pictures of a miniature horse that I’ve been dying to share. After spending a few weeks in Calgary and Edmonton, I decided it was time to introduce Bannock to the joys of summer camp. My family has been volunteering at Pioneer Ranch Camp for a few generations,* and I usually get lured in at some point during the summer months. Plus, Bannock’s Auntie Sarah was directing camp, and she clearly needed our support. I never offer much in the way of practical support, but MAN am I good at planting myself on a couch and offering a little of the moral variety.

Meet Sarah. If you read my previous post, you may have wondered if every member of my family is overpoweringly unphotogenic. You would be correct, with one notable exception: Sarah somehow managed to absorb (by osmosis, or some other dirty trick) our entire family’s portion of photogenicness, leaving utter ruin in her wake. Here is an example:


Both of us giving the camera a little “attitude,” with mixed results

For an additional comparison, here is the woman who gave birth to Sarah:


I rest my case.

Bannock and I made ourselves useful at camp by helping to create a spa night for campers who had just returned from their multi-day outtrips (here I am using “spa” in the loosest sense of the word). I decided that mud masks were a necessary spa activity, so I had a bunch of mud dredged from the nasty/mucky/silt-y lake. When the campers asked me where the mud was from, I told them “it’s locally sourced and organic.” Apparently 11 year olds dig buzzwords, because this seemed to satisfy them.


The very essence of purity


Sarah applying pure organicness to an unsuspecting camper. The tarp just adds that certain somethin’ extra

After multiple requests, I finally visited the spa’s hair-braiding station, where a ten-year old camper eagerly manhandled my tresses. She asked me which style I wanted, and I told her to surprise me.


The only surprise is that I’m still awake after my 10 hour styling session

After the rigours of spa night, I decided that Bannock needed a break, so we went off to find Percy the Miniature Horse. I’ve seen some small horses in my day, but I think Percy might win the prize. I like all animals, but I have an almost magnetic attraction to anything resembling dogs (or crocodiles), so Percy had no hope of escape.


Although he gave it his best shot

We had to carefully plot our approach:


Camouflaging ourselves behind a clump of daisies…


Spotting our quarry


My slouchy posture is carefully calculated to make me appear less threatening


In Thailand, it would never be acceptable to greet someone by touching their head, but fortunately, Percy is unaware of Thai customs


Uh… if you’re trying to meet Bannock, you’re aiming about 6 inches too low


Showing Percy who’s BOSS


for all of 5 seconds


Why do my relationships with miniature horses never seem to work out?

Bannock and I also spent time transporting campers, filling water balloons, and playing the role of a pre-pregnant Virgin Mary in a skit. Not quite sure how we were chosen for this last one, but some questions are best left unasked. Before I knew it, it was time to head back to Calgary to prepare for another long flight to Bangkok. It’s good to be back in Asia, but there’s definitely a part of me that’s still roaming the Canadian pastures with Percy the Miniature Horse.


Good-bye camp. Good-bye Canada.

* Friends still remind me that my grandfather’s “prayer for the meal” at my wedding reception somehow morphed into a “soliloquy on the history/joys of camp.” Not sure where that came from, but it was memorable.