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Susan M Phillips

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Member Since: Dec, 2001

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Featured Book
Advent of Darkness
by Gary Caplan

When John Gideon is transported to the extraordinary world of Illúmaril, he’ll soon discover that his entire existence has been leading up to the shocking destiny he’ll s..  
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Susan M Phillips



Green Living, Sacred Life

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Spirit of the Runes

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The Book of Dowsing and Divining

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Real Wicca for Teens

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Terror Tales 1 Ed. John B. Ford & Paul Kane

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The Waldorf Street Paradox

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Blogs by Susan M Phillips

Frogs, Fireside Shrews and Earth Toilets at Warior Camp
6/10/2007 3:16:42 PM
Warriors can dig too

We recently got ourselves involved with the organisation of a Warrior Within Weekend in Shropshire (try saying that fast).

As my other half had volunteered to dig the earth toilet, we decided to get there a day early to make sure it was ready when everyone else got there. Of course, decisions, like plans, don't always work out quite as you expect. Because of electircal problems with the trailer (in England this means a small 2 wheeled cart connected to the rear of the car that can carry luggage, not a home on wheels). After an hour of cursing and fiddling with wires, we were on our way, but the delay had cost valuable tent pitching daylight and so the journey suddenly seemed rather less inviting. I rang our hosts, complete strangers at that time, to say we were running late and we were immediately invited to spend the night at the house. Real toilet, real showers, really couldn't say no.

Now, I suppose you may be wondering what an earth toilet is? Of course some people will already know, but if the term is new to you, I shall explain. It is, basically, a hole in the ground with some sort of support apparatus over it for people to sit on when they want to "go" - we had a commode minus its little bucket, supported on either side of the hole by two stout wooden planks. Privacy is provided in a variety of ways. In this case it was going to be sheets of canvas draped between surrounding shrubs, but finished up as a dome tent complete with vacant/engaged sign. Each time the toilet is used, a trowel full of dirt is thrown into the hole. This has two functions: firstly it covers up what has been deposited and secondly it prevents smells. Really, properly constructed earth toilets don't smell if dug on well drained ground. To assure hygeine, two bottles of waterfree hand cleanser were kept on a little table outside the tent for everyone to use - and they did.

Having explained all that, I have to admit we didn't get involved in the digging after all. There was confusion about where it was to be sited to avoid the contents encroaching into the river that formed a field boundary, and so my man got other jobs done, like mowing 2 years worth of grass and wild plants so there would be somewhere to pitch tents. The hero who actually did the digging was Daniel, a 19 year old boy who had never camped before in his life. He wasn't the fittest of people and surprised everyone by refusing to take a break during the work. He said, simply, that he knew himself well enough to know that if he stopped, he would find it hard to start again and so he gritted his teeth and got the job done. Kudos to him!

Pitching the tent was an adventure all its own. The place was alive with frogs, toads and things that go jump in the night. The owners were very protective of their wildlife, warning they wanted no little casualties and so we had to carefully comb the area for movement, ushering mice and frogs out of the way, before putting down the groundsheet. Once all that was done and the tent was up, camp commander Tye lit a fire in the open hearth nearby. The hearth was simple and friendly, consisting of a circular area of packed earth surrounded by a circle of housebrick sized stones from the river and a wrought iron pot hanger to hold a kettle over the flames. We didn't have one, but will know better next time. The fire was kept going throughout the weekend, being built up to a bright blaze for sitting round in the evenings and a lower, quieter cooking fire for daytime. To one side was a small hole, from which a little dark coated shrew would emerge now and again, scamper into the trees a few feet away and come back a little later.

People began to arrive and we helped out by telling them where they were allowed to pitch camp (anywhere they liked).

(more to follow)



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More Blogs by Susan M Phillips
• Interrogating Ali - an interview with percussionist Ali McMillan - Wednesday, September 21, 2011
• Change of continent? - Wednesday, August 03, 2011
• Book Launched - Saturday, July 02, 2011
• Green Living, Sacred Life launch Sat. 2nd July Nuneaton, UK - Monday, June 27, 2011
• Correction to last blog - Monday, March 21, 2011
• Nearly there - Saturday, March 12, 2011
• Happy New Year - Wednesday, December 29, 2010
• Lost a castle, found a forest - Friday, April 09, 2010
• I found my category! - Thursday, April 08, 2010
• New category needed - Wednesday, April 07, 2010
• Raising money to help the homeless and vulnerably housed - Saturday, January 30, 2010
• Happy New Year - Thursday, December 31, 2009
• Making History - Wednesday, December 23, 2009
• Change of direction - Thursday, December 17, 2009
• French sojurn - Monday, September 21, 2009
• My poem is going into print - Wednesday, September 02, 2009
• new profile, new photo - Thursday, August 27, 2009
• From sprinting to spinning - Thursday, August 20, 2009
• Sprinting to stand still - Friday, August 14, 2009
• The tortuous route from idea to bookshelf - Wednesday, July 29, 2009
• Terror Scibes Rise Again - Saturday, March 07, 2009
• Happy new year - Thursday, January 01, 2009
• Chritsmas Blog - where's the dictionary? - Monday, December 22, 2008
• Off to Oxford Dance Camp - Thursday, July 31, 2008
• Friends and Gravy - Saturday, July 19, 2008
• Phew - Thursday, May 08, 2008
• missing but still alive - Thursday, April 17, 2008
• Poetry to Form - Sunday, April 13, 2008
• So much to tell, so little time - Sunday, March 30, 2008
• Why the Shrew Had to be Tamed - Monday, March 24, 2008
• Happy Easter William Shakespeare - Saturday, March 22, 2008
• Rock 'n Roll and Education - Wednesday, March 19, 2008
• About that titling experiment...and the other surprise - Saturday, March 15, 2008
• Surprises just seem to happen - Friday, March 14, 2008
• A day in the life of a domestic goddess - Sunday, March 09, 2008
• Blogless - Saturday, March 08, 2008
• Rose Tinted Billows - Tuesday, March 04, 2008
• Aaaaaaaah! - Monday, March 03, 2008
• And today is....... - Thursday, February 28, 2008
• Chocolate Liquor - Thursday, February 21, 2008
• Dogs more interesting than cats? - Wednesday, February 13, 2008
• Titling Experiment - Monday, February 11, 2008
• phhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhew - Sunday, February 10, 2008
• head shock - Sunday, February 10, 2008
• Prosody and page stats - Tuesday, February 05, 2008
• Warrior Camp Episode 2 - Tuesday, August 07, 2007
•  Frogs, Fireside Shrews and Earth Toilets at Warior Camp - Sunday, June 10, 2007  
• New Computer, clean slate - Saturday, December 30, 2006
• Forgot to mention - Tuesday, November 28, 2006
• I'm Back - Monday, November 27, 2006
• Seasons Greetings - Saturday, December 24, 2005
• Fame is as fame does... - Tuesday, August 02, 2005
• Fame ? - Friday, January 14, 2005
• Sue Phillips Invites..... - Sunday, August 15, 2004
• Brainless but well booted - Friday, January 23, 2004
• Highs and Lows - Tuesday, January 06, 2004
• The Christmas Question Many Parents Dread - Monday, December 22, 2003
• Building blogs - Coventry revisited - Wednesday, December 17, 2003
• Blogged Down - Saturday, December 13, 2003
• Smoke Blog - Sunday, December 07, 2003
• Blogging on - Tuesday, November 25, 2003
• Tangled Webs - Sunday, November 16, 2003
• Dream Scenes revisited - Sunday, November 09, 2003
• Fire works - Saturday, November 01, 2003


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