Posted in Musings

Magpie tendencies

ballroom dance entertain gentle icon symbol
Image via Wikipedia

Nothing quite exemplifies magpie tendencies like the collecting of merit badges.

Imagine my joy then, as a self-confessed magpie, when ma and pa recently presented me with documentary evidence of childhood dalliances while a member of the village Brownie pack. It transpires that during the period in question I was decorated with the following Interest Badges:

  • Pony rider
  • Artist
  • Craft
  • Writer
  • House orderly
  • Safety in the home
  • Collector
  • Hostess
  • Jester (“Very nice dancing” the examiner remarks on the accompanying certificate)
  • Thrift
  • Accident prevention
  • Challenge

As well as the Brownie badges, other accomplishments of my youth were formally recorded among the pile of certificates that my parents had hoarded for so long. Apparently:

  • I can swim a length of the school swimming pool
  • I am proficient in the riding of a bicycle
  • I am a whiz at making prize-winning animals from pipe cleaners
  • I am a 4-star amateur athlete (scoring 120 points in the under 12 age group)

So, did these childhood achievements rub off into my adult life?

Years later, while at university, I took up dancing again. Our dance teacher was terribly old school and keen for his pupils to take the United Kingdom Alliance dancing examinations. I just did one: the bronze medal in Latin American. My rumba was marked a rather impressive 95 (“Very stylish, neat and confident display”, said the examiner), as was my samba (“Very good ‘bounce’ action”). Clearly, my “very nice” dancing as a Brownie had paved the way for the dizzy heights of “very stylish” dancing that I exhibited during the student years.

I wish I could say the same for my athletic prowess, however. By the age of 14, I had slipped from 4 stars to a measly 2 stars. I do hope the folk in charge of the London Olympics aren’t counting on me to go for gold next year.



Prone to magpie tendencies, I enjoy nothing more than musing – in pictures and in words – on a few of my favourite things.

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