I am following, and enjoying greatly, Jon Boden's project A Folk Song a Day. What I did not know, until reading the blog that accompanies the songs, was that Boden and others came to many of these songs through Forest School Camps.
The torrential rain of recent days reminds me of my stay in an FSC camp, at the age of 11. It was near Machynlleth, on the side of a hill. I was transported there by train. I had little idea of what to expect. My sole previous camping experience had been in my great-aunt Ruthy's orchard, in Bathford. Here I could, when I woke early, creep into her house and occupy myself with the volumes of the Waverley novels in her drawing room, until she rose and found me there. (Her father, Charles Tillard, was a cricketer of considerable skill, who once clean-bowled W.G. Grace)
There were no outdoor latrines at Bathford. Conventional lavatories had always been places of terror in my infancy, so imagine my reaction to the communal trench at Machynlleth. I remained constipated for the entire fortnight. My tent, made of canvas, and with no fly sheet, leaked like a sieve and my sleeping bag and all my clothes became and remained saturated for the entire fortnight. My mother kept till she died a letter I wrote pleading to be taken home.
Though we had no one as talented as Boden, the camp had a thriving musical life. We were woken in the morning by a reveille sung by the camp chief, a short, unshaven man named Bob, as far as I recall. After the evening meal, cooked by a team drawn from all the age-based groups in the camp, we would sing round a fire, and drink cocoa. I don't recall the music-making being of any great standard, but perhaps the constipation got in the way.
All this is described much more eloquently by Will Self, also an FSC veteran, in the FSC in the News section of their site, and there is also a reply from the FSC correcting some of his misapprehensions. Both are pdfs.