Dangerous dog

Will someone put the bitch down at the earliest opportunity? There is a limit to what is acceptable in today’s society. The thing is an ugly brute too.

Content drought

Apologies for the continuing lack of content. I’ve been monumentally busy lately, as our social diaries seem to be just packed to the gunwhales with events involving friends, family and J Sainsbury.
Anyway, I promised a Christmas report. There isn’t much to say, to be honest, but highlights included dinner with Hels’s sister Lu, her husband Kevin and their friends Fiona and Kevin on Christmas Eve; Christmas Day with Hels’s family; Boxing Day with my family; a walk by Chichester canal; dinner with a friend from Hels’s office and her family; a burger in a bowling alley (don’t ask); drinks and dinner with some more of Hels’s friends.
The edge was partly taken off things as we were both ill, possibly as a result of exceeding the limits of food and drink consumption, and possibly as a result of a bug of some description. I suspect it was a combination of the two.
Tonight we shall be in Chichester for the annual New Year celebration at the Nag’s Head. This, by way of a change, shall involve consuming large quantities of food and drink, with the possible added complication of dancing.

Pity my liver and pass the Rennies please.

Not dead…

…though I’ve come pretty close to it through an excess of excess in the last few days. I think that most of my internal organs are about to pack in as a result of the strain of it all.
Coming up soon on grayblog…

  • the annual grayblog Review Of The Year
  • a Christmas report
  • um… stuff. and things.

Watch this space!

Season’s bleatings

Well, I’ve nearly finished wrapping the gifts – just the last few tags to write, then I have to bag everything up and decide which gifts Hels will have to wait until Boxing Day for (so she has some to open when we are at my parent’s house).
Then I’ll quickly tidy the flat, sort out a bit of laundry, deliver a couple of Christmas cards and then drive off to Tunbridge Wells for the start of the food and drink!

This will be the last update until after Christmas. Remember to keep an eye out for progress of Beagle 2. Aside from that, remember the true meaning of Christmas – a distorted winter solstice festival that was hijacked by Christianity in an attempt to win over pagan tribespeople in Europe, that is now the preserve of business and corporate policy. Enjoy!

May all your mince pies be well filled.

Beer with…

… Paul C, Greg, Kearn and Aris. Sightings of the Nags posse.

In a major development, tonight I possibly had my last ever haircut with Jo. She has cut my hair for eight years, and she and Andy have become good friends. Good luck to Jo in her future.
Paul R was also sighted at the salon. He was to travel onwards to a vet to get some water pills for his dog. Somehow, I know there is a joke in there somewhere….

Coach crash

I often travel the section of road that has seen a fatal accident today. It is very dangerous. The coach looks like it belongs to Richardsons, a company often used for school and college trips from Chichester.
Maybe this will lead to new safety measures on that road. They would be long overdue.

Final Penn update

I forgot to post Penn’s latest and final email from Nepal:

Hello to Everyone!

Well guys here is my last update to you before I start making my way home. As I am plagued with cold I have decided to head into the country tomorrow and away from Kathmandu in an attempt to relax and get rid of any last remaining germs and so this will be my last email to you all from Nepal and there is no Internet access in the countryside and my next email will be to my parents to say that i have arrived safely in Bangkok!

So this is a very odd time for me I am now up to the last few days of my trip and I do not feel how I thought would, though why this surprises me I am not sure as nothing here has been as I thought it would. I thought that I would be excited about leaving Thamel and excited about coming home, but also sad at leaving the last few other volunteers here, but I am not really any of these things. In fact I am damn right grumpy and niggled and I have no real concept of how I feel. I know that I want to come home and get on with my normal life, get back to a routine, a good job and my friends and family who I have missed desperately and will up until the second I see everyone, but aside from that it is hard to explain how I feel now and i am hoping that these last few days in the country will help me figure out a lot of this!

Let me start with the last day at the children’s home! Well I went in early having finished the kids room the night before and blew up a load of balloons so that they covered quite a bit of the floor and made sure that all the books and pens which I had brought over and begged borrowed and stolen from other people where put out and the room was presented well. I then went out and gave Mr. oli all of the food (ok food is a very lose description for the junk which I had brought them) and the cake, which I had made, he thought this was great and wanted to try the cake then and there. The only thing that managed to take the wind out of my sails was when he asked me to divide it equally amongst the children. So one hour later I had prepared 60 party food platters for the kids and was quite happy never to see another crisp or sweet again! I then preceded to give each child two balloons, a whistle and lolly, and this was quite amusing as apparently some of the children had not seen balloons before!! The only comparison I can draw to this is to put a puppy or a kitten out in the snow and watch how they react to the snow being on their feet!! So with Kids already hyper and all over the place we let them in for Tiffin – afternoon tea which of course was the party food. I do not think I have ever seen food go so quickly or a 5lb chocolate cake diminish so quickly but a good time was had by all. So I then presented the room to them and they really loved it and I am delighted to report that I am pleased with the way it came out (show you all pics when i come home). This was received with hugs and kisses from the teachers to me and a few tears here and there!! So After 6 weeks, a lot of heartache and one room later I went to say my good byes when mr.oli asked me if I would stay for another half an hour!! The kids had prepared some dancing for me to say thank you, which was really lovely – bless them all. So I then said my good byes which took another half an hour and left and whilst I was upset once I had left, I do not know how I feel about it all now and I hope that I will have a better understanding of what I think once I get home. All I know is that I already miss the kids and I will miss them even more once they are no longer up the road and that in leaving them I also leave a little bit of myself behind as I have fallen in love with them all!! Any further than that I could not tell you and I am afraid it will just have to be a case of watch this space!!

Now my time in Thamel is hollow and I suddenly realise how tired and fed up I am with all the noise, dirt and corruptness which exists within the country so I am headed back off into the countryside for some calm and peace and quiet before i head home properly. But I guess I have achieved what I set out to do and that was to help out and have some input into a children’s home. Whilst it was not the Julie Andrews experience I thought it would be (in fact more the Tarantino balls out blood and guts version!!) It has still be an emotional life changing experience and I hope in some ways there is a small happy ending for the kids there as well as me.

So my mind now returns to home…
Again I am nervous about this as home – the UK – now seems so foreign to me (whilst I know I will) I wonder how I will ever get used to the luxury which the U.K. is. I know for you at home this is an alien concept and you probably think I am nuts, but I have been paying an extra 100 rupees for a sandwich at a nice restaurant just so I can use their linen napkins and I have to say it is a real treat!! So to come home where people wish to know what Christmas presents I want is somewhat odd. For at the moment I feel I have no real needs and particularly when I think about all the nice things I will have access to when I get home – like English tea, real milk and HOT WATER !!! I just think it will be another culture shock and this is an odd feeling when after all I am coming home!

I sat last night is Sam’s bar (my favourite haunt) and tried to think how I felt about the whole experience and the conclusion I came to is at the moment there is no conclusion and maybe there never will be. Nepal is a country captured in beauty with perhaps some of the most ugly things I have ever seen. Two days ago I witnessed a man beat his wife (badly) in the street, Simon (one of the crew) stopped me from interceding and told me to look around at the locals – nobody even flinched!! He reminded me this is their world and not ours and sometimes you just have to accept that, to which my reply was a flood of tears. You see I do not understand how this country and its people can accept the way it exists. I wonder if maybe the fact they are surrounded by such beautiful scenery and exquisite nature means they are able to behave in a more despicable manner because it is soothed by their surroundings, or just simply they are ignorant to the fact that other human beings are beautiful too. I just know that as I write this to you all and try to explain it makes me cry and I am not sure if I cry for the children I have met, the people here or the conflicting warmth and coldness of the culture as a whole. But I know it will be a relief to come back amongst the people where good relationships are appreciated and the world is slightly more sympathetic to its weak. So have i had a good time in nepal – yes i have, have i liked everything – no, would i come back – i’ll get back to you on this – lets just see what conclusions i manage to draw….

So I will end my updates to you by saying thank you to you all. Thanks to all of you who helped in the fundraising that contributed to my getting here, thanks to those of you who have sent me fabulous emails (or two or three a day xxxxxxxxxxxxx) and thanks to you all for being my friends and making me realise what a lucky individual I am, I willing be thinking about you all over the next week or so as I am on my travels home to you all.

I love you all

Penn xxxxx

As a footnote, I’ve just had a conversation with Penn. She is tired but home, in pain from root canal surgery. She tells me that the parcel arrived on the morning that she left, so she didn’t get to give it to the children herself, but one of the other volunteers there promised to take it to the school on our behalf.
So it arrived safely and got to the people that will make best use of it. Excellent! Penn says a big thank you to those who helped with it.