Tag Archives: cadets

Oh Canada!

The first week of Argonaut 2012 has been pretty low-key in all fairness, lots of training etc in preparation for the Big One – Bravo Company Senior Expedition Leader’s Course 18 day expedition… This will see about 400km being covered over that time split between canoeing, mountain biking and hiking. With that in mind Wednesday saw 7 platoon head to the water site for a day of canoe training, all good fun – I like being on the water. After some dry training, and a demonstration of  a T rescue we were on the water (St John’s River) and paddling in pairs to Cow Island for our box lunches. I volunteered to demonstrate the t-rescue and was prepared for the water to be freezing but I was pleasantly surprised by how warm it was – quite a refreshing change from the UK.  I spotted a few mosquitos on my bare legs whilst eating lunch but thought I’d swatted them away in pretty good time… how wrong I was. I was in the rear of my canoe with my staff cadet up front, it was very windy and it was hard work to keep the canoe from being blown back to shore but we managed it. I’ve never canoed in weather like that before, so it was a good experience.

The St John River is pretty large, one of the biggest in Canada, and I was lucky enough to get a spin the in safety speedboat whilst the cadets were changing – much fun indeed. When we got back to camp following the 45 minute walk back on a trail, I noticed my bites were starting to look rather unattractive – nice and swollen and blistered.


I popped them all (yes, with clean hands) maybe I shouldn’t but hell, they were ridiculous. The one that looks the worst in the picture really was pretty bad, so I got some friendly advice from the guy who’d run our first aid training – he said to go get it checked out, so I did. The med centre, cleaned them all and covered me in plasters

They’ve gotten a bit better but are still not fixed, I popped back in today and was told to see the nurse practitioner for some anti-biotics tomorrow.It’s so dramatic. I know I would react badly to insect bites, I always do.

I had presumed that the camp was dry but I have been pleasantly surprised to discover a very active mess life here – I’ve popped in a few times and sampled some local beer. My favourite is called ‘Moosehead’ and I already have a glass to add to my collection from places I’ve visited. Friday night was karaoke night and I couldn’t resist…. I sang Hakuna Matata with an officer cadet before progressing onto Meredith Brooks ‘Bitch’ to a packed officer’s mess – hey, I like to get involved with the social side of life! I had a few of the officers from my platoon come and join me as backing vocals, it was really good fun but I still managed to get to bed by 1130.

Am impressed  with myself, though I did give the bar a miss on saturday for the ‘hawaiian night’ – turns out they were all up dancing til 4am. Sunday was a rest day but nevertheless, I can’t handle that: Hula skirts and bra tops are not my style.

So to summarize week one, I’d say it’s been good – the cadets haven’t really been a problem and they are doing well (for the most part). The Canadians are great and have made us all feel very welcome, I don’t have a bad word to say about them. There are obviously some differences in their ethos and training but nothing too massive and they’re certainly not divisive.

SIGG Alu Maxi

Hungry? SIGG Alu box Review

Given my ridiculous hobby and my unwillingness to buy food from the staff cafe,I spend rather a lot of time carrying my lunch around with me. Despite owning a myriad of outdoor gear I’d never purchased a specialist lunch box. Sure I’d seen them reviewed in magazines but somehow there was always something else I found to spend my cash on. Having now spent a few months using the SIGG Maxi Metallic Alu I can firmly say that I wish i’d owned one years ago!

The box itself was lightweight, cool to the touch and looked good – I wasn’t going to suffer the embarrassment of  carrying my lunch in something that looked like it belonged to a five year old! The box is well designed with a strong clip to keep the lid firmly attached to the box and a rubber lining on the part where the lid contacts the box.


Clip to close the lid

Rubber seal around the edge of the lid. This all has the effect of keeping the lid on nice and snug with no rattling (the last thing you want is your bag to be rattling with every step you take)

I am an adult volunteer in the Army Cadet Force and as such spend rather a lot of time away doing ‘this and that’. The MOD provides plenty of food to eat during the day but the packed lunches always arrive in a brown paper bag (hence the phrase ‘horror bag’ as slang for ‘packed lunch’). Before heading out into the hills for they day I transferred the contents of the Army issue lunch box to the SIGG Alu and was pleasantly surprised to see that all my food fitted inside. Another benefit was that the box was re-usable and didn’t fall to pieces as soon as it got the slightest bit damp…

SIGG Alu lunch box vs Army lunch box (bag)








I have taken the SIGG Alu with me whenever I have needed to carry my lunch and found that the lid doubles up as a plate when needed – pretty handy when you want to put your butty down if you need to go do something else! The SIGG Alu really does look the part – a colleague at work asked me about it and was very keen to go buy one himself. A big tick for the lunch box!

The lid doubles as a plate when needed







It’s all very well looking the part but how did it fare when used in anger? Well I dropped the box a fair few times and it survived with no visible damage. It seemed pretty water tight, keeping my lunch dry during a very rainy expedition. However, I did a submerge test at home on the SIGG Alu and I can confidently say that it is not a water tight box. For this reason I would not recommend it to take with you when paddling UNLESS it was inside a dry bag.

Overall I am extremely pleased with this product, the only draw back is that it isn’t water tight but that is a minor issue for what is other wise an excellent addition to my kit.

Would I recommend this to other people? Without a moment’s hesitation. Go buy one – it’s money well spent.

I was sent this product for the purpose of the review. Opinions are my own and unbiased.