Monthly Archives: July 2014

The Best Laid Plans

T Minus 22

It’s been a much tougher day than expected. So much so we have had to modify plans. The in-laws are back tomorrow, the kids are staying here tonight. There is still so much to do and we need to attack it head on.
Today we have cleared the kitchen and identified that which we’re giving / dumping taking. We did similar in the bathrooms. The kids are virtually packed but we haven’t really started on our own. One problem we knew we’d encounter was the sheer volume of stuff we want to take compared to what we can take. We might need an extra case!
A long day ahead but we’re worrying as to whether we’ll do it.

Another problem is the car. We own it but need to sell it. The only problem is that our dealer, Perrys want to give us a ridiculously low figure, so we’ll need to try and sell privately, but have lite time to do it. Another hurdle to clear.


T minus 22

So the last full day in MK has arrived – after nearly 26 years in the town and 17 years in the house things are coming to a close. Yesterday was a sad day as we said goodbye to the Guinea Pigs. These have been my daughter’s pets. Just over 2 years ago we gained Cinnamon and Muffin, then just over a year ago Biscuit, Saffron and Jellybean. Sadly two have died over the past 6 months but yesterday Muffin, Biscuit and Saffron were given to my daughter’s friend. It was she that gave us the original two so it’s full circle. My daughter was particularly affected but we all ( even I) are missing the little “furballs”.
Last night Anita’s Homegroup had a barbecue goodbye – and this was our last official contact with the church. Faces we have known – some as long as 26 years were there and though we had a great time there were more goodbyes.
Today we have another mammoth clear up ahead, at the end of the day the kids leave with their grandparents leaving Anita and I to do the final clear up. Then will end an epoch which has taken me from a single guy in his early 20’s to parent of teenagers in his late 40’s.



Temporary Tennants

T Minus 23

So here we are – temporary tenants in our old home. Yesterday we exchanged, however, our buyer is content for us to remain in situ until the weekend. So begins the last three days in MK and the final clear and pack. It’s a big job, but we’re glad to have Anita’s parents down to help out. Time is definitely against us and do much is now being tipped or given to charity including stuff we’d rather have sold but such is the way of things.
Difficult decisions lie ahead there is no way I can take all the clothing I want too!



Data Dilemmas – Media Matters and Digital Devices

T Minus 23

We live our technological western lives surrounded by data. Electronic binary crammed full of personality. The data itself is invisible taking up no volume. The media upon which it’s stored is heavy and takes up space, space we can’t necessarily afford.

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We are Complete!

T Minus 24

The house buying / selling process in England is more complex than in some other countries, we are led to believe. It is certainly a long winded process as we have found. We put our house on the market on April 2nd. This involved engaging an Estate Agent to market the property. After several weeks and lots of viewings without success we finally found out about the solar panels. Then out of the blue a buyer who was prepared to buy out the solar panels. Seemingly job done; on May 3rd we sold subject to completion.
We thought this was the end game, but we had not counted on the solicitors!. In England , you engage solicitors to undertake the legal aspects of the sale and to arrange the transfer of monies. In the over two months since we ‘sold’ the solicitors have had a plethora of questions and have taken an age to process our responses. Given there is no chain (i.e. one house being bought/ sold) and that we are selling to people we know, this has been a drawn out process. The has first involved signing of a contract by both parties (we signed on the 27th June), but further questions delayed and delayed this section of the sale. The second stage is completion when the house sale is finalised – and with a sense of relief this has happened today 🙂 we are no longer home owners which is scary but the way is fully open for our departure. 20140729-123302-45182716.jpg

Alton Towers

T Minus 25

Today we have had a great day out at Alton Towers, courtesy of Tesco Vouchers. The weather has been perfect and we took the opportunity to splash out on some Fast Track Tickets which cut out some queueing. Having said that it wasn’t incredibly busy. A great day out ahead of the last few days packing up20140728-182839-66519715.jpg




Weekly Photo Challenge: Summer Lovin’ at a Theme Park

A submission to this week’s photo challenge –
Summer Lovin’
taken today where we are at Alton Towers one of the top Theme Parks in the UK.20140728-104005-38405366.jpg




Home From Home

T Minus 26

A second day in Lincoln, at the home I grew up in from the age of 6. It’s strange to think by the end of the week this will be the only house in the UK with which I can call home (I know I don’t own it but 42 years down the line I think it is very much my second home – the place you grow up is always your home whilst it’s still in your parents possession). We will return here once more before we leave for a few days mid-August.
It’s been a relaxing couple of days with Mum and my brother and his wife. The gorgeous hot weather has allowed us to eat al fresco. This morning we went to St George’s (my very first church) and though there were very few folk who were from my era it was nice to see some familiar faces and we were prayed out. Amazingly one of the members of the church (Lyn) used to work at Isamilo as a year 6 teacher. It’s such a small world! It was good get some insight into Mwanza.




St George’s

T Minus 26

A week on from our final church service at St Mary’s we are here in Lincoln and today will attend St George’s Swallowbeck.
If St Mary’s had been my spiritual home for most of the past 26 years then St George’s has been my second home. In an earlier post I referred to my history with this, my first church. My association with stretches deep back into the ’70s where we used to attend the Christmas Carol Services as a family. This association meant that …

It is here I came back in May/June of 1982 – having been challenged about my faith (I thought I was a Christian – before I actually knew what that meant) – here I found out who Jesus was and what He means for me then and now 32 years later.

In the following months Mum and my brother Stephen became Christians too and we were all baptised in April of 1983.

There are people here I have known for over three decades. Anita has grown to know them too in the last two. Memories of being part of a youth group flood back, camping at the a Grapevine festival on the Showground and The Greenbelt Festival at Knebworth; Sunday night meetings at Steve’s (our youth leader’s) house, where I saw my first ever computer(home built); New Year’s Eve parties at the Poole’s, helping to decorate a friends new house. Later on being part of a Home Group.
I was only in regular attendance for two years and as a homecoming student for four more, but it holds a special place for me. Many faces have come and gone but others remain still. It will be another strange experience to leave this place at the end of morning service. Knowing we will not return for a few years, and yet unlike St Mary’s the link will remain through Mum and (as today) we will return as visitors when back in England.20140727-104044-38444692.jpg

Garden Chronicles – A Different Garden

T Minus 27

Here in Lincoln at Mum’s on a sweltering hot July afternoon.


























Nearing the Summit

T Minus 27

If the sheer enormity of moving our family overseas, selling our house and disposing of years of accumulated items were a
mountain then we are nearing the summit. Nonetheless like any good mountain as you near the top you encounter false summits, approaching you observe a higher peak beyond until eventually you spy the true summit and a steep climb to the top.
We have a week to be out and although we have made a lot of progress these past few days – we still have an incredible amount to do to reach our summit. Juxtaposed to this we have long term plans to visit Lincoln this weekend and a trip to Alton Towers on Monday. These will form a respite – a camp stop before the final ascent to the top. We are nearing the summit of the mountain but there’s a steep climb ahead.

None of the photos below are mine – they are of Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania a place we hope to visit whilst in country.




Weekly Photo Challenge: Summer Lovin’ (at the Beach)

This week’s new photo challenge on the theme of Summer Lovin’

One of the places I love in the summer is the beach.


Weekly Photo Challenge: Containers of People

A submission to this weeks challenge : containers.

Cambodia / Vietnam Border

Borders are the biggest containers of them all. Random lines on a map, the contours of mountains or rivers or a line drawn on a map by someone who has never been there.
This border post contains the Vietnamese or the Cambodians depending upon which side you are on. This also featured in Thresholds

Charitable Giving

T Minus 28

So this morning I have been to the charity shop (Cancer Research to be exact) in Bletchley. They took all the “Chaff-like Wheat
” – so a further dump trip this afternoon should leave us with only what we want in terms of things (“The Wheat”) we still have to through the clothes and in truth we’re gonna have to ditch some of the “wheat” – but we’re getting there.
On the good news front our buyers new tenant wants to buy some of our things especially our bed, conservatory furniture and dining room table – so this takes a lot of pressure off. 🙂 20140725-143515-52515906.jpg


Nina fahamu Kiswahili kidogo

T Minus 28

With 4 weeks to go it’s about time I made a start learning some Swahili. So I have embarked on a 30 day Pimsleur course. The dates don’t quite work but I’ll either do a couple of doubles or else stretch it across (there is a long flight at the end of August after all!)

Today was the rudiments of greeting and asking if you understand Swahili or English.

Hence the title translates as “I speak a little Swahili”.

Other phrases / words include

Samahani = Excuse Me

Hapana = no

Ndiyo = yes

Kiingereza = English

Kiswahili = Swahili

Una = you

Nina = I

Bwana = sir

Dada = miss (young)

Kidogo = a little

Fahamu = know / understand

So if you have followed this

Una fahamu Kiswahali kidogo

The wheat from the chaff ………… and the chaff-like wheat

T Minus 29

So today I have been a man on a mission. For too long the garage has remained stubbornly full.20140724-133258-48778025.jpg
But not any more! Today we have gone through with ruthlessness. Separating the contents into three parts.

The Chaff

In the garden those things which are going to the dump. These are things we have tried (and failed) to sell or give away or else have escaped previous dumping trips.



The Wheat

In the conservatory the stuff we are taking to Africa or else we still need to go on holiday. Also the stuff we are definitely giving to Family (note to family: don’t panic there is not that much!).


The Chaff-like Wheat

On the deck is the stuff we’re giving away. We tried and failed to sell it and it needs to go to a charity shop. Mostly books, DVDs and bric-à-brac.



This leaves the garage fairly bare – though some “chaff-like wheat” will go in pro tem. In truth there is already some shifting around between categories but we’re being ruthless.

As for bigger stuff it’s possible our buyers new tenant might want to buy some furnishings from us we’ll have to wait and see.

Elsewhere we have informed the phone and car companies about our intentions to leave.




A good read for anyone wondering about the country which will soon be our home, from a tourist perspective.

Indo Africa Times

74H0179If you are looking for a great African adventure, look no farther than Tanzania. The country pours with wildlife, it hosts fine safaris, and, of course, it owns an ornament in Mount Kilimanjaro.

The Kilimanjaro National Park tops the list of Tanzania’s astounding sites; there are also the Tarangire and Lake Manyara national parks, the latter of which firms the Tanzania Great Rift Valley; the Ngorongoro Conservation Area, acknowledged a World Heritage Site in 1978, and the Serengeti National Park, which brags the greatest concentration of wildlife, as more than 3 million large animals migrate to the area each year.

Tanzania also features a stunning shoreline. This country is a must whether you are of the adventurous type or just want to indulge in leisurely activities.

Tanzania is a land of contrasts and magnificence, Africa at its most wild and undiscovered. There is the snow-capped summit of Mount Kilimanjaro and…

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Backpacks, Racquets & Dried Shampoo

T Minus 30!

With less than a month to go (gulp!) we have been into town today buying things for the journey and the life beyond.

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Containers on the Road

A submission to this weeks challenge : containers.

This photo was taken exactly a year ago in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. One of many people we saw carrying ridiculous amounts of produce on tiny mopeds. This one had it’s own trailer. It must have been a heavy load for a little bike!20140723-112539-41139397.jpg

Summer of a Different Kind

T minus 30

Today is the first day of the Summer Holidays. Normally this would mark the start of a six week break. A chance to get off the hamster wheel which is work and rest for a little while before climbing back on in time for the exam results. Of course this is a different kind of summer. With contracts signed and exchanged and a completion date set for 29th we have lots to do. Thankfully our buyers are happy to allow us to remain until the 31st or 1st but even so a week and a bit to clear out. We still have things to sell and dump and give away and little time to do it. Even with a lot done there is a lot to do still. To add to the mix we have a series of injections over the next 4 days – for me not too many but plenty for the rest. Today is also Anita’s mum’s birthday and a chance to celebrate as a family. We’re juggling lots of priorities at the moment 🙂

A year ago today I was in Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam and down in the Mekong Delta. Here are a couple of reminders.20140723-095047-35447268.jpg