This is the tale of a hard earned piece of coursework, known as ‘the dissy’ (our third year dissertation assignment). A 30 day geological mapping project in the north of Wales. 6km squares had to be mapped with the addition of rock samples and notes. I couldn’t resist bringing a few crystals back with me however.
So who was there in the cottage for the month?
There was Jack, the youngest of all of us and therefore a ball of energy. Brodie, the Welsh guy who knows enough geology to set up his own mine. James, the sarcasm specialist and myself – the white boy who spent most of his evenings colouring a map.
Every morning we’d climb into the car ‘just’ after 9 to get to the field. What I liked about the road trips was that there was such a broad range of music to digest from everyone. Jack would honour his Irish roots by playing the Dropkick Murphys, whilst James hit a soft spot within Brodie and I by slipping in some Chopin, Frederick Chopin that is.
Expecting the unexpected whilst in the field was a necessity if we were to stay sane. Delayed lunch breaks and dense fog would dishearten our efforts but we knew we had to march on. “I’ll rest when I’m dead” was one of the cliches that came off the tongue by day 20. Brodie’s small legs would carry the group in the darkest hours. The banter was kept alive by James at the back of the line. Everyone had the roles in the field and in the cottage. Consistent team work was key. We’ve learnt about our weaknesses and strengths between each other. In fact, a lot of honest opinions were expressed which is always something to grow from, especially if there’s truth in them. Like when Jack told James how he felt about his complaints. James would later imitate his posh voice to his face with humourous effect.
We did have our days when we
almost went insane. It was inevitable when your entertainment for a month in the woods was from 3 other guys. Rounds of scrabble ended in water fights. Those silly moments ended up being hilarious and they will form the nucleus of conversations back in September.
I loved being in nature every day but I’ve learnt how important it is to mix up a routine. Repetition kills time. How do I know this? Those 30 days blurred into one day of laughter and pain. Growing pains, that is.