Monday, May 21, 2007

Busy busy busy.....Birmingham

I think the house is sold and I may have to be out of here by 14 June - argghhh!!! I don't wanna go really, I love this house, but pastures green (and dry and red) beckon.
I'm snowed under with work (at work) at the moment, including having to give two presentations in the next 2 weeks, trying to plan everything for Oz (losing the battle!), and I'm just back from Birmingham after what actually was a terrific few daysin England. I attended WaterAid speaker training in Brum last Thursday (I plan to give some talks about WaterAid and my trip and hopefully raise more than £10,000 for the charity when in Oz) which was excellent; I now know I've chosen a charity that suits me after a lot of thinking - WaterAid aims to provide clean water and sanitation, plus health education, for as many people as possible in disadvantaged countries; they spend £26M / year on this but there's much more that can be done. One staggering fact we learnt was that in a year there are 41 billion hours wasted carrying water long distances - usually by women - who could more gainfully spend their time growing veg or making a little money, so paying for their children's education and suchlike, WaterAid tries to provide water more locally, and in a sustainable way using local materials such as rope and wood.
The projects are planned, built and maintained by local people so they have ownership of the systems - I like that touch. And there's no need to worry about trying to obtain expensive foreign machinery parts.
On the way back from Brum I called on my friend Rob Gray at Quorn, near Loughborough, and spend the night at his house. I met Rob in the Alps last July and he inspired me to take this big trip to Oz, and I had a great night with him and his parents, they really looked after me well. I came home via a days shopping in Derby, where I found an excellent pub in Derby where the 'real ale' was brewed on the premises:, and had a good natter with two new interesting aquaintances, Barry and Robert. Next day I caught the train back to Edinburgh and Inverness, where Lyn met me. We had a lovely evening with a good Italian dinner in a very crowded Bella Italia restaurant and arrived home late Saturday. Sunday morn my car wouldn't start though, and I had to call the breakdown service out to get me going - knackered battery. Back to reality.