Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Racing with the rain

So it's been quite an eventful few weeks since I last wrote. Our journey from Gaziantep to Albania was incredibly fast (for us) we got as far as Istanbul in about 18 hours. Greece was a little more tricky but we made across to macidonia in only 3 days. We would have gone all the way to Elbasan in Albania but we were invited to stay the night with one of our drivers with his family who live in Ohrid, so we had an unexpected stop in this beautiful town sat right on the edge of a vast lake and surrounded by mountains, where we were force fed home made Rakija for dinner and breakfast. After a morning of being tourists we made the last 50km in a very fast car on a very windey road to Elbasan... Patrick looked quite pale when we finally got out of the car.
We stayed in Elbasan for 6 days and we had a really great time making circus workshops with kids from the Roma gypsy area where the family we were staying had planted a church. We also made a couple of shows one in the gypsy area and one for a youth event at the church. The best part about our stay though was that we made some really great friends. And more importantly friends that make really good cakes!
We had planned to stay a little longer but after looking at the weather forecast we decided to make our way north before the rain caught us out. (hitchiking in the rain is no fun at all and nobody wants two soggy guys and wet bags in there car) So on Friday morning we made our way back up the windey road to macidonia (this time in a not so fast car, in fact 2 very slow lorries) it took us the whole day to get to the border of Serbia where we made camp for the night and felt for the first time the cold chill of winter approaching.
Now my advice for hitchiking in Serbia is quite straight forward... Don't do it!
Actually it wasn't so bad but with the cold wind and the rain getting closer the waiting seemed even longer. Somehow though we made it all the way up to the border of Hungary by nightfall where our driver dropped us off half asleep in the pouring rain. We had done really well so far to avoid the rain but now it was relentless. We walked in the dark, in the cold, and the pouring rain down the side of the motorway (don't tell my mum) hoping to find some shelter or someone kind enough to pick us up. (and pitch our tent was useless as we had lost the roof) The green lights of a petrol station have never looked so beautiful! We slept in the warm and dry on the shop floor with all our wet gear spread out to dry and it was amasing.
The next day we made our way through Hungary and Czech Republic and up to Poland really quite fast, and the rain held off too. The big shock to us though was to see snow on the sides of the road, as we were waiting for our last lift we were jumping about just to stay warm. We finally made it though on Sunday evening. I don't think either of us had quite realised just how tired we were.

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

New Shoes!

So our time here in Gaziantep is almost over - in fact we had planned to leave today but my stomach was playing loop the loop last night so we decided to take a day off and make our way north in the morning.
We have had an incredible time here working with a friend we met in Germany who is setting up a youth center in the city and staying with a wonderful family from the states.
It has been a busy but amazing week. Sabine had organised for us to run some circus workshops in two of the schools she has been connecting with since she's been here. It was really great to be working with kids again but very different from working in schools in the UK. We might as well have been pop stars for the reception we got from the kids. They all wanted us to sign there arms - and we really couldn't refuse - so in the end we exchanged signatures with them all and had kids writing all over our arms too.

On Friday we had the opportunity to visit one of the refugee camps on the Syrian border. If the schools in Gaziantep were crazy this place was something else - from the moment we arrived kids followed us everywhere. We arrived at the camp at 9am and had organised to run some workshops in the schools there. We had hoped to run workshops for groups of 30 but it seemed the teachers wanted all the kids (of which there are about 4000) to have a go. So our first workshop consisted of us holding a ring of over 200 kids, trying are very hardest not to get completely swamped as the circle got smaller and smaller around us. I lost count of how many workshops we did that day. In the evening we had organised to make a fire show for them. As it began to get dark and we started to set up a huge crowd started to gather, the kids were going wild, we were dancing together, playing games, singing songs, just to keep them at bay while we waited for the sound system to arrive. When an older group of boys picked Patrick up and carried him off i thought we'd lost it... Finally the sound system arrived and a crowd of nearly 2000 people watched the show. When we tried to share a few words at the end i could see the crowds pressing in on us and by the time i had said Jesus loves you we were mobbed by a crowd of excited children, literally climbing all over us.
It was a day that i will never forget. I was completely exhausted but blown away. After the show we were invited out for dinner by the camp manager and all the officials. Patrick and i sat in our scruffy smelly clothes dining with smart officials and a posh hotel - very very bizarre.

So of course the other important event of the week was the purchase of a new pair of shoes! My old red toms aren't quite dead yet. (they still just about stay on my feet) But i fell in love with the traditional Turkish leather shoes, although sadly they didn't have the red ones in my size.

This is the point in our tour when we turn around and start heading home. Tomorrow we make our way north to Albania to work with a YWAM group there for a few days and then it is all the way north to Germany. It feels quite strange to be hitting the road again, we have kind of cheated the last few weeks with taking buses, but tomorrow we go by our traditional method. Hopefully we'll be there by Saturday.

so signing out...



Sunday, 7 October 2012

'the freedom of self-forgetfulness'

So our time here in Istanbul has come to an end. I will be sad to wave good bye to this beautiful but crazy city. The last 10 days have flown by as we have found ourselves in a whirlwind of activity making shows out on the street with the group here. It's been a week of mixed feelings though. On one hand it is an incredible experience being able to travel like this, we have met some truly wonderful people and seen amasing things. But every so often I find myself asking why? What is this all about? Is what we are doing worth while ? Does it really change anything? Or are we just a couple of bums trekking about with seriously bad shoes? 

I guess everyone asks these kinds of questions about their lives from time to time. Sometimes there is so much pressure to 'arrive.' that the journey of searching and learning seems like a lame excuse for not having a clue.

I just finished reading a little book called 'the freedom of self-forgetfulness' by Tim Keller. He talks about the image the apostle paul had of himself. How he didn't trust even his own judgements about himself, let alone the judgements of others (although I think it's our own judgements that are most often the most critical) He only had ears for what God would say about him. He didn't need to puff up his own ego with good works or feel the crushing pain of the criticism of others. He only listened to the unchanging words of the father 'my son, in whom I am well pleased.'

So i am learning to think less about what I think about myself, and what I think others think about me. And think only on what my Father thinks. 
Maybe I am a 'bum' on a crazy journey lost in a sea of unanswered questions, but I am a loved 'bum' and that's all that counts... And He knows the plans he has for us for good and not for disaster. 

So tonight we head south to Gaziantep on the Siran border. We are visiting a friend there and her church. Not sue exactly what's in store for us but lots more shows, visiting some schools and possibly a refuge camp. Just got to sit on a bus for 15 hours to get there!

Saturday, 29 September 2012


We have arrived in Istambul! It was a very long journey hitching from Pula and icreadibly slow. We waited almost 20hours for a ride in one place. The highlight of the journey was walking through the boarder from Serbia into Bulgaria we lined up with a que of cars standing with our suitcases and rucksacks, we looked quite a sight. We made if as far as Sofia by hitching but need for speed (and the longing for a bed and shower) ment we decided to catchable bus for the last part of the journey. When we had made it into Istanbul at 2:30am we hadn't realised quite how big the city was and it took us another 2 hours to make our way over to the asian side and find the street where we were staying. I say street because it took us another 4hours after that to find the right flat!

We have been here now in this crazy but beautiful city for a couple of days now. And I am really enjoying experiencing Turkish culture from chi, sheesha, fresh mussels, crazy syrup pastes and amasing kababs!
To top it off we got the opportunity to go and see 'Aligria' from cirque du le at the theatre. It was the most amasing circus show I have ever seen, it completely blew me away.

Today we made our first show with the creative arts group we are staying with here. We performed at a local .street arts festival with our circus stuff there was also a couple of dancers, an increadible unicyclist and some great musicians too.  It was great to work with so many increasibly talented people who use their gifts to share the love of God with people. Tomorrow we meet again to rehearse and hopefully head out on the street again in the evening. I am really looking forward to this next week to see what happens. And to see how God guides and uses us.

Sunday, 23 September 2012

Beds! Beds! Beds!

So after a very long hitch hike from south France we arrived in pula in Croatia on thursday afternoon. It was quite an eventful journey with lots of unlikely sleeping places. One night we slept in a very full vw camper van with a guy who gave us a lift. The next was in the back of a truck parked so close to the motorway it shook every time a truck went past. We maneged to get within 50km of pula by Wednesday night but got stuck in a small town on small roads in the rain so we resorted to finding some shelter on the streets and resumed our journey in the morning. It took us most of the day to make the last few km but we made it. We have spent 3 nights here (and they have been the most increadible nights in soft warm beds.) and have had a really amasing time spending time with the church here that I visited in August. Yesterday we spent the afternoon at the beach remarkably for the first time on our journey. We were joined by some of young people here who then came back and made dinner for us! In the evening we made a show out in the city. But about an hour before I felt so strongly that we should not ask for money but instead share about the love of God with people. Maybe 30 people stayed to watch our show and listened to me speak about knowing who we really are and what we were made for. We spent time afterwards talking with people who had questions. It made me think this is what it's all about! Amazingly too the guys at the church here blessed us with some money for our trip, so God provided for us in his way. Today we wave goodbye to the guys here and make the last stage of our trip to Istanbul. It's the longest hitch hike either of us have ever done and through Serbia, Bulgaria and turkey too. So it will be vey different from travelling in the west. But God is with us so we are excited to see how he will provide this time. So untill Istanbul....

Friday, 14 September 2012

Grapes and Figs...

So we have stopped for a couple of days in a small village called rokerbruk (spelt wrong) in the south of France up in the mountains. We came here looking for work but as there isn't any at the moment we have a welcome few days off. So time to rest and pray, to rehearse and to catch up on my blog.
After we left Karlsruhe it took us 3 days to arrive in Montpellier a crazy city in the south of France full of travellers and people living on the streets. Many of the guys just sleep in the park in the middle of the city but Patrick knew a place by a swimming lake a bit further out so we set up our tent there and enjoyed the being it's of a warm lake to swim in, fresh grapes from the vines and fresh figs too!
We stayed in Montpellier for 4 nights heading into the city each day to make some shows on the streets with mixed success. Speaking no French at all really doesn't help when trying to gather a crowd and we are learning more and more that our show needs to be more theatrical and interactive. So lots of lessons learnt and sometimes the hard way. We made some great people though and had a great time chatting with 2 polish guys who are as I write making a 800km walk to Santiago carrying with them a book of prayers and whishes they collected from people on the way. We left Montpellier on Sunday and headed west along the coast the a small village called Fitou (spelt right). Patrick had worked at a small organic vineyard there 2 years ago and they had a couple of days work for us. It is hard work and not great for your back being bent over for hours picking grapes that are only a few feet off the ground but the views were amasing and the grapes delicious! I think I have eaten more grapes (and figs) in the last few weeks then I have in my entire life!
So that brings us back to here. We are camped along the side of the river with a group from Bellarus who are also looking for work. Among many others. Infancy there is a whole community camped by the river at this time of year all for the grapes. But our journey continues east now. We will stay here for a day or two to catch some rest and practice and then we make our long way east to istanbul. All 2600km! To be honest im a little neevous about it but  life's an adventure hey. So until I find wifi again...

Sunday, 2 September 2012

One moment at a time...

So we made to karlsruhe after a very long hitchhike and an overnight stay at a gas station near Frankfurt. When we woke up in the morning we discovered we had camped right next to what looked like the unofficial truckers toilet. But we made it. We have been here now since Thursday and have been staying with a friend of mine who lives just around the corner from a Christian community house called the 'schluse.' We have had a great time here hanging out with friends and practicing. We made our first busking show together on friday night which was probably the worst show we had made together all summer. But we had some good friends who watched and cheered for us. On Saturday after some rehearsing we made the show again but at a late night coffee night our friends from the community were hosting. It was a great night, we spilled out onto the street from the porch with sofas and carpet and invited people for free (and very good) coffee. We made the show at about 1am in the middle of the street (which was only problematic when cars wanted to drive past.) but the show was so much better and we had a really great and lively crowd.
Tomorrow we wave goodbye to our friends here and hit the road again for south France. It's scary to think that we have no idea where we'll be sleeping and even in wich cities for the next month. We are going to look for some grape picking work but failing that we will be making lots of shows to earn our keep. I was saying to a good friend of mine today how this has been a dream of mine for so many years and now that its starting to happen its like eveything is being challenged. But I know that God has a plan for us in france and for the rest of this journey. Exactly What that plan is I have know idea.. But I'm learning to trust hm one day and one moment at a time...

Monday, 27 August 2012

Back on the road...

...So its been a while.

The last couple of months have been so full in every way that it has been hard to make space in my mind and time in the day to write. But after many, many lectures, a week in Croatia working with a church and hanging out with punks, then coming back to help run a music and arts festival, the school (and the crazy busy summer) is finally over. It has been an amazing time, a time of change and a time for direction... But now its time for the next stage of my Journey.

After a 2 day hitch-hike back and forth from Padderbourn to take my sister to the airport (well closer to the airport at least) I returned to quiet Krogis for a few days of rest and to slowly pack my things and get ready to hit the road again.

My friend patrick arrived back from Poland today and tomorrow we hitch-hike south together for a 2month tour through South France and then on to Turkey. We have been making fire shows together throughout the summer and have decided to spend some time together living off the street and making shows. Then in October we head to Turkey to tour with a Christian street theatre group for a few weeks.

For me this is far more then just travelling. Its about following after the call of God, Seeking him and adventuring with him. He has called me on a wild adventure, but it's not for the sake of adventure its about knowing him. It seems like a life time ago that i set off from Calne in England on my tricycle, I had know idea what i was letting myself in for when i started out on those first few miles, but God has been so faithful and has provided for me at every stage...

So i look forward to the adventures that lie ahead...  

Sunday, 1 July 2012

Fires in the Dark...

Three weeks have rushed by since i arrived in Krogis, Germany. It seems like an age ago that walked through the gates after 24 hours of hitch-hiking with a rucksack full of art stuff, my suit case and my portfolio case. (i think my arms grew a few centimetres on that trip.) Living at an international Christian Missions centre is defiantly eventful. I arrived to discover i was the only English student at the base so i am surrounded by Brazilians, Ukrainians, Americans, Polish and the Occasional German. The people here are amazing though and i am loving being surrounded by so many different cultures.
The last 3 weeks have been intense but really incredible, i am learning so much everyday. Every friday we have a day alone just to find space to pray and seek God. So i have found myself going for very long walks exploring the beautiful countryside talking and listening to God - Amazing. Its a breath of fresh air in such a busy timetable.
There is so much to do living in such a large community and the buildings need a lot of work too. Cooking and cleaning up after a meal for 70 people is quite some task! I have found myself doing lots of painting and now i am working on preparing an art studio which i hope to finnish next week.

For me though the last few days have been the the most exiting of all. Every saturday we will be going into dresden which is our closest city to share with people about the love of God and invite people to a festival we are running in August. I am now leading a group of musicians, actors and circus people in preparing a piece of street theatre to perform in the city. The group are incredible, and i am really excited to see what will come out of it.

So this saturday was our first visit into Dresden. after lots of complications with trains will finally arrived at about 7pm. We spent most of the evening walking around the new city where there are lots of bars and cafes and quite a big punk scene. It was quite overwhelming and i suddenly felt very small, we just walked and prayed: "God, would you do something here this summer?" Our plan was to meet at 10pm outside the train station to do a fire show there but after discovering a park packed full of young people we decided this was a better spot. so we walked all the way back to the centre of the park to make the show. The show was just me spinning the fire staff and one girl who spat fire. So we made a half circle and then started to make a loud noise hoping the people would take notice. the drums started and i lit the staff and started to dance. i had planned to speak after the performance and my heart was pumping with fear and excitement. after i finished i was to scared to speak so i lit up again and danced some more. I shouted for people to come closer and danced away. When i stopped for the second time i shouted out "let me tell you about the man that changed my life" my heart pounding i shouted at the top of my voice to the people around us telling them how much God loved them. So people listened, some ignored and some shout back abuse. When i finished i invited people to come and speak to us if they wanted to know Jesus. None came but we went around handing out flyers anyway for the festival and promised people we would be back next week with more fire. It was a crazy night. I don't understand what God was doing, all i could do was speak the truth and let him do the rest.

So that was the first Chapter, We'll be back next week and who knows what will happen. I do know that God is good and the message of the cross is to important not to speak about it.

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

From the River to the Road... (Technically Lochs and Canals but River sounds better)

The last few weeks back at home have flown by. There were so many things I was going to get done and friends I wanted to visit but the time has gone and tomorrow I make my way back to Germany to be reunited with my beloved tricycle.
It was really wonderful to spend some time back at home catching up with my friends and family in Calne. It took a while getting used to being still again, but i soon got used to frequenting my local pubs going for walks and generally dossing around drinking tea with people.

Being back at my home church was so good too. Something I realised while I was away was how much I love church - I'm not talking about sunday services, but church life, family, community and all it's messiness - No community is quite like it. Being without my church family was like missing and eye (or I guess like being an eye and missing the rest of my body) When I walked into the room a few sundays ago  I was almost overwhelmed by the sense of love and family.

I hasn't all been lazing around though. Last week Me, my Brother and Sister and my friend Tim headed up to Scotland to Paddle through the Great Glen from Fort William to Inverness. (I decided after doing so much cycling it was time to give my legs a rest and arms a work out.) ... 2 open canoes, 4 friends, lots of Choritzo and 5 days paddling through incredible scenery. If it wasn't for the miggies, and the fact that i forgot my whisky flask, (which is considered a crime in Scotland) it could almost have been heaven.

So tomorrow morning I head back out to Germany, I was supposed to be getting a lift with a friend at 8 in the morning but I discovered some horrible paperwork that I forgot to do today so looks like it will be a later departure. The Bags are all packed though. I have a large rucksack full of essential art materials and a small suitcase with everything else!

This is the plan as it stands, i'm moving to Germany to go to a Christian Radical Missions School with a charity called Steiger International. The school lasts for 2 months and I really have no idea what to expect... I'm just trusting that this is the right thing for me to be doing right now and that God is in it.  But that's it... Next Chapter here we come...    


Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Home sweet home...

It is the strangest feeling to be sat back at home at my parents place after so many crazy experiences on the road... For the past 3 months the scenery has past by me every day, new people, new places and new experiences... And now everything is still...

The evening after I wrote last week on what I thought was my last day in Prague, we went out to an exhibition opening and on our way into town we saw a crazy group of cyclists riding up the hill towards us... They actually made it! I think I nearly cried when I saw them all again. So our plans of exhibitions were cancled and we lead the group back to the house where we were staying and spent the evening having out together in the garden. The next day Eva and i decided not to go to dresden but to make one last performance with the group and catch the train to the border in the morning and then cycle from there.

After a beuatiful day of rehersing and messing about in the garden we finally left for town made up and ready to perform at 6 pm. We found a great spot in the city centre and had huge crouds gathering as we set up for the show, but then moments before we were about to begin the sky turned grey, the rain began and our audience left... We then continued to play the worst show we ever played! It didnt matter though, we were together again making music and having fun, it was out of time, out of tune and completely disconected but after we had stopped cringing we laughed alot.

When the show was finnished Flo and I cycled off into the rain, away from our disaproving vegitarian freinds and found ourselves a great little resteraunt for steak, chips and good czech beer (which we promised our selves we would do if we ever made it to prague.) It was the perfect end to an amasing journey.

The next morning Eva and I woke the guys up at 7:30 by jumping into their tents like exited children on Christmas morning. We waved goodbye to the group for the sencond time as they sang 'We'll meet again, don't know where, don't know when...'  (A song i now know very well.)

So the journey home had begun, there were mild panics as we tried to get our bikes onto the train and couldn't find the right door but after bashing around alot a man came out and helped us get on. We took the train all the way to Decin on the Czech/German boarder and then cycled the remaining 70k to Dresden along the River Elbe. It was quite strange to pass so many places we had slept all in one day. In Dresden Eva and I parted ways and then I cycled another 30k to Krogis back to the Stieger base.

I left my beloved tricycle there the next day and my friend Daniel drove me to the motorway junction where i was to start my long hitch home. Last time I did the Journey it took me three days, but this time was a different story... After confusing an english trucker by speaking to him in bad German i discoverd he was driving all the way home to England. He couldn't take me the whole way as has had to make some long stops but he drove me all the way to the Netherlands boarder. Just as we drove into the service station we spotted a small van with an English number plate, so I ran over and spoke to the lady driving and she was going all the way to London. It turned out too that she could take me on the ferry for free. So at 4am the next morning we arrived back in the UK and she dropped me at the service station on the M25. I then waited 10mins and I met a guy who was going to southampton (which was where i needed to get to as i wanted to visit my nan.) Even more ridiculously he was even going to the same district! So i arrived at my nan's doorstep at 7:30 on friday morning (only 14hours after I left.) And she was quite shocked to see me.

So now I am Home... And trying to get my head around everything that has happened in the last few months, I haven't got very far with that other than that God is amasing! the rest i'm still working on...

Sunday, 13 May 2012

Final Destination... for the moment

I am sorry it has been so long since my last post. I am discovering it is quite difficlut to write an online blog when you are constantly on the road and camping in the wild...
So last time i wrote i was in dresden. Ok so alot happened since then, after heading to the factory chuch with Flo we cycled by night together to catch up with the group at a festival at an alternative community 30km East in a small town called Duttersbach - which i am sure i have spelt wrong. The festilval itself i still havent got my head around its called Walpurgisnacht and as far as i know its a whitches celebration for the coming of spring. I decided in the end not to take part in the performance of lighting the fire as i wasnt quite sure weather if it was a ritual or something, in the end it turned out to be more of an exscuse for a party not much different to our bombfire night. We ended up staying with the community for nearly a week which was a really great time. For the next leg of our journey we followed along the river Elbe through some of the most beautiful scenery i have ever seen. My faviroute night was spent sleeping in a hamok in the garden of an old cottage in the mountains overlooking the river. the guy who owned the place invited us to stay with him after saving my trike from falling over a log he was trying to move off the trail. The next morning a few of us headed out for a short hike into the maountains and climbed up to the Bastei - crazy bridges and rock formations, slighty spoilt by ¨the masses of tourists all parked at the car park at the top, but none the less, absolutley beautiful. and it is only a days ride from where i will be living in a few weeks. so come and visit! We played quite a few shows in small towns along the river over the following days and my skin is still a subtle tone of yellow from crazy body paint. We crossed the boarder into the Czech Republic a couple of days ago now and tarmac cycleways turned to dirt and stone as we headed east. I had told the group i would need to turn back by the 14th of May and as the days rolled by it became clear that the group wouldnt reach Prague before then so after a few days of battling in my mind me and one of the girls from the group decided we would say our good buys early and speed on to Prague. So yesterday morning after long farewells we cycled off on our own on what should have been a simple 60k ride. But after deciding to take the scenic route along the river we found our selves pushing our bikes along horribly bumpy and very thin tracks on the side of steep verges into the river. There were at least three occassions when me and my trike nearly fell in. after over an hour of crazy paths we finally made our way back onto decent roads and followed the rest of the way into Prague. We arrived at about 10pm at the house of some freinds of Evas who greated us with amasing food, fresh coffee, hot showers and warm beds. i cant tell you how good it feels! The sad part is that this is the end of the Journey for now. On tuesday morning we turn arround and make our way back to Germany and then i will head my way back to the UK. So i am coming home!... it feels strange to think that after such a long journey it should in theory take only a week to get home. So whos up for a a pint! ...Meet in the Talbot...

Sunday, 29 April 2012

Berlin to Dresden... 200k in 2 weeks?

... So I have sat down to write a dosen times in the last few days but I find myself staring at the screen not quite knowing how express in words what has been happening. The last few weeks have been totally mad, amasing and incredibly challenging. We left ruddersdorf over two weeks ago and have finally made our way to dresden last night. So yes the pace is a little slower than when I was on my own but with 12 people riding bikes of all sizes packed with all kinds of strange implements, some of which are breaking on a daily basis nothing is simple. The first few days were particularly slow as we got used to cycling as a group but we had great fun wild camping in forests and next to lakes. I organised for the group to stay at the Steiger missions base (where i'll be living in a month) near Meissen. I ended up cycling ahead of the group and arriving 2 days before. After Bering together 24/7 for 3 weeks it was really great to have some space to myself. The group finally arrived on Tuesday afternoon in Meissen and we played our first street show together in the market place. It was great to perform together and we made over 100 euros and got given pizza too. Staying with the group at the centre was great but also quite challenging. I found myself caught between too very different value systems which was intensified by misunderstanding. I actually spent 2 days feeling really quite stressed. It was a really good lesson though in communication. We talked afterwards as a group about what it means to respect and each other when we have disagreements and different values, I am reminded again that love is so much bigger than values and ideas. I waved goodbye to the guys at Steiger yesterday morning and rode together with stephano to join the others in Dresden, it was such a beautiful ride along the Elbe but being the first real day of summer it was completely packed, like a bicycle highway. We arrived in Dresden at 5pm and made another show on the street then we headed to the river to watch the sunset and then made fire shows with beepboxind under the bridge watching an incredible firework display. This morning me and Flo headed to church, I didn't understand a word but we had a great time chatting on our way home. Tonight we will go to an alternative church that meets in a factory and then make our way out of the city in the cool of night... so now to the river to enjoy the sun!

Saturday, 14 April 2012

We're on the Road!!!

So after 3 weeks in berlin we finally got all the bikes fixed and left the city on the next stage of our crazy adventure. the Last week or so has been really busy. We had a big going away party last thursday in the factory space we were staying in. It was a crazy night, there were about 200 people in total. We had loads of different bands playing, arial acrobatics, clowns, stiltwalkers, a dancing (and pooing and weeing) elephant, bicycles and musicians hanging from the ceiling, fire shows and a bizare walk through theatre peice in wich i was hiding as a 10ft high bird creature caught in a cage. The event finnished at about 6 in the morning! We had a day off on easter day so i found an english speaking church to go to, one of the guys came with me too which was cool, once we got over the high school musical style stage show it was really great fun... the rest of the week has been spent in the workshop (which is a steal container in an urbarn vegatable garden) mending and preparing our bikes. My tricycle has had a complete makover, and is now sporting a rainbow of yellow, orange, red black and blue! it also has a srtonger frame and a new front wheel so hopefully it will survive the journey: I am now also carrying a giant birds head and costume so the bike is even higher packed then before.

So on thursday at about 6pm we finaly set off from Berlin, we were quite a sight pedelling through the city on our crazy bikes full to overflowing, mine wasn't even the fullest! we cycled into the night and arrived at a circus caravan settlement in a small town called Rudersdorf just east of Berlin. The place is amasing there is a huge circus tent in the centre and it is surrounded by wagons and caravans and interesting woodend structures. This is where I am writing from now. I has been so beutifull being out of the ciry and back in nature again. yesterday we went for a walk to a big lake in the morning and had a 'swim' (run in run out as quickly as possible) we watched as a fisherman made a big catch who then gave us the fish to take back for dinner. i had the Job of hitting it on the head and gutting it. It was quite a humbling experience, so often what we eat is packaged and prepared so you can hardly tell it was a living thing. It was srangly sad and baeutiful to exerience the whole proccess. We then cooked the fish on the fire and ate it with vegatables and salad we found the night before in the supermarket rubbish containers... It was a Feast!

We will be here for the next few days and work on our show and should hopefully leave on monday morning and make 4 days ride south towards Dresden. And we should pick up a few newcomers on the way too.

I can't quite express how amasing it has been to adventure like this. I love it! There have been hard days and i'm sure there will be more to come, but what a joy it is to follow the dreams of your heart...    

Monday, 2 April 2012

From old school to old factory...

Yesterday we waved goodbye to our friends at 'kubiz' the old school we've been staying at the past week. It actually turned out not to a squat but just a very fluid community house project. After an action packed week learning clowning, physical theatre, juggling, dance and even quantum physics, it felt strangely good to be packing my bike up again this time with even more stuff including a giant paper mâché birds head. We were quite a sight as the 3 of us cycled across Berlin one tall one wide and one long all packed full of stuff. We arrived outside an old disused factory which we will be performing in at our going away party on Thursday night. This is also to be our home for the next week but amasingly we have been given a really nice studio apartment next door to stay in. So Last night I came home after an afternoon clowning and passing out flyers on stilts and had a long hot bath, I can't tell you how good that felt. To top it off too I got to sleep in a bed! (admittedly alongside 2 others but on an actual mattress!) So we have 4 days now to prepare and rehearse for out performance on Thursday, between now and then I have to Finnish building a giant bird costume to be warn on stilts. So I am feeling right back at home doing last minute crazy building!

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Squats, clowns and garbage bins...

It seems like an age ago that I was peddling my way through Germany but I have only been in berlin 4 days. so much has happened that it's difficult to tell it all. I have somehow found myself living in a squatted old school building that has been turned into an alternative community project inhabited by artists, gardeners, anarchists and clowns. I still haven't really worked out who actually lives here as people are coming and going all the time. It has been really good to be part of a community again though, even if it has been a bit of a culture shock and language is only part of it. I have been eating pretty much vegan scince i got here and 80% of all the food here is collected from supermarket garbage bins. I had my first experience of 'containering' last night when some of the guys took me out. We loaded our bikes up full of vegetables friut and bread, all slightly damaged or just past the sell by date, it really was quite a shock to realise how much good food is wasted everyday. I am really enjoying being here although it's challenging at times. I feel a bit like an alien in a foreign place and it's difficult to really get to know anyone as there are people everywhere. I am starting to get to know a few people though and I have found myself a quiet spot beside a nearby lake just to be still for a while each day. The theatre group is coming together well though nearly everyone is has arrived now and we have been working together on theatre techniques and clowning for the past few days. Still lots more to do and to get ready before we leave though. We spotted some cracks that are starting to spear on my frame so it looks like I'm going to need to learn to weld.

Friday, 23 March 2012

I made it to Berlin!!!!

So after 800miles and 21 days on the road, through England, France, Belgium, Holland and Germany I have finally arrived in Berlin! I set off from Hamm and waved goodbye to my last host Ossi 6 days ago now I think. From then on it was wild camping all the way (well except one night when I treated myself to a bed and breakfast.) I cycled for a few hours on the main roads and then joined up with the R1 bicycle route going to berlin. The first night out in the wild was the hardest. I found a great spot in a massive woodland, I set up my tent and even built a fire but it was hard being on my own again. I think one thing this trip has taught me is how important community is. We need each other, that's how we're made. I definately found this. To always be a passing stranger is hard work and very lonely at times. The next day I hit the hills and lots of them too. The route was really beautiful but the constant up and down was really tiring and demotivating. My pace slowed right down and to make things worse the roads were really windy. But that day was a turning point I had to stop counting miles like I was in a race. I knew the days on my own would be hard but I had to embrace them. After all had been praying a few days before "Jesus I just want to get to know you better..." And what better way than 5 days of wilderness. I camped that night beside a river (and I think just behind a sewage works or something, so decided not to drink the water.) The next day the hills got worse and as did the quality of the paths. My whole body was aching and decided I needed to stop short and that I needed avoid nights sleep in a bed. I found a great little guest house in a beautiful town called Goslar. I can't tell you how nice it was to have a shower, use a real toilet and sleep in a warm and comfortable bed! In the morning I had a very large German breakfast and then headed off on my way feeling refreshed and energised. I decided that the hills and cycle tracks were getting too bad and found a way to join up with my orriginal route and headed towards Magdeburg I covered nearly 100km that day and found a beautiful spot next to a lake. By now I had gotten my head around being in the wild and on my own and had a really nice evening beside the campfire reading and generally chatting with God. I had initially hoped I would find someone to stay with but i was glad to be here and I knew I wasn't on my own. The next day was another long ride and this time I stayed in another forest. It was with mixed feelings that I slept my last night out on my own, I was glad I was so close but also strangely sad that this part of my journey was coming to an end. I woke up to blue sky and sunshine and set off for the final 80km leg into Berlin. I had foggotern quite how much I hate cycling in cities but after many detours I finally found the old abandoned school which will be my home for the next 2 weeks. So the first part of my journey has ended, i still havn't got my head round it all yet. But what an experience, it's been a roller coaster of emotions and difficulties but I have been completely overwhelmed by God's goodness and care for me. Tomorrow we start running workshops and rehearsing music and theatre. I think I'm going to become a clown which should be fun! So now to explore Berlin!

Friday, 16 March 2012

Directions (and mechanics) from Heaven

My friend said to me before I left on this crazy adventure that I should "expect the unexpected." I don't think unexpected quite covers the events of the last few weeks. When I wrote last I had had some quite hard days, I had little idea before I left quite how lonely and stressful travelling alone can be. The past few days have been much better though, and really quite amasing at times. Before i left the guys in Hulshout I had managed to find places to stay for two nights so I set off on Tuesday morning towards Maaisk at the eastern edge of Belgium, there I stayed with a Dutch family. I actually slept in the wendy house in their back garden which was bezar but strangly cool. Everyday I am astounded by people's kindness and the provision of God - This was one of those moments... Jos, (the maker of the wendy house,)was planning a cycling trip to Berlin in four weeks time and had just that morning received in the post a detailed cycling map from Arnhiem to Berlin. I had been told about this map by lots of other cyclists on my route but had no idea how to get hold of it, and here it was! Jos let me buy it off him and so now I can follow small country roads and get off the big ones, I can't tell you how good that feels. Jos travelled with me for a while the next morning and sent me on my way to Wesel. I crossed from Belgium into Holland and then into Germany! There I stayed with another family in their beautiful home which was full of paintings and murals by paule who is an amasing artist. The next day on a beautiful days ride along the canal I was in high spirits, I was in awe of the way God had looked after me and lead me to amasing people but as I was riding I said to him "ok, I know you provide for me but I want to know you better not just for your provision..." and I think I even said something along the lines of "I don't care about provision anymore..." I carried on for the rest of the day enjoying the ride and the sunshine and looking forward to meeting my next host and then I took a sharp turn to fast and my back wheel literally folded underneath me. "shit!" I think was probably my first thought but remarkably it was only momanrty cursing. I was quickly laughing at myself thinking so ok maybe I shouldn't have said "I don't care about provision." I picked myself and my bike up and after asking for directions I wobbled my way to the nearest town to find a bike shop. Had this happened two days before I think I would have just burst into tears and given up but in my heart I new it would be fine, crazy I knew and I looked quite an odd side merrily wandering through town with my two wheeled trike. I managed to find a bike shop and the guy that ran it turned out to be a total legend. He couln't fix it that day as it was nearly 6 already. It he sent me on my way with fine German beer from his fridge. I left the bike with him and headed down to the canal to find a quiet spot to camp. And there I sat drinking good cold beer and eating German and honey, just me and Jesus! I was almost glad my wheel had broken although I think "surely there was a cheaper way of arranging this?" I woke up in the morning to find a policeman outside my tent, which was a bit of a shock but he was quite understanding when I explained what had happened. So now my trike has shiny new (and much stronger) back wheels and it turns out the funny noises I'd been hearing the past few days were my spokes slowly giving way. and it was a good job they broke when they did and not on the main road or in the middle of nowhere. So now I am staying in Hamm with a guy called Ossi who is an artist as well. He tried to feed me a whole chicken and we've had a great evening sharing stories and watching a film with his friends. Tomorrow I go on to join up with the route from my map for the last stretch of the journey.

Monday, 12 March 2012

In Brugge... and the crazy days after.

It seems i have lost track of all bearings... I started writing this 3 days ago sat in a quiet cafe in Brugge on my first proper day off since I started. its been a bit of a different story since then and my worry free days staying just out of brugge with an amasing couple called lucienne and chris seems like a world away now. Brugge its self was a bit of a let down. Its a beuatiful place but it has been completely taken over by tourism which is a real shame. I felt a bit dirty being there thinking I was another tourist polluting the true spirit of the place. I was really sad to leave Lucienne and Chris they had been really kind to me and it was good to feel 'at home' again for a while. I finally waved goodbye to them tho at the canal which would lead me onto Ghent (they had cycled with me for 10km so I wouldn't get lost.) The journey along the canal was really beutiful and it was great to get away from all the traffic but i was going to Ghent without any contact details for my next host. i spent most of my time in the city (which is actually really stunning) looking for WIFI but at 4pm I gave up and cycled out of town to find somewhere quiet to camp. It was actually quite hard to find somewhere but I finally found a spot by a lake to pitch my tent.
I woke up yesterday morning and finally the gnawing sensation of loneliness and isolation had set in. I had received a text from a potential host which lifted my spirits a bit, but I could still feel the stress of being on my own starting overwhelm me. It was actually a really beautiful day and most of my ride took me along the canal again which helped a lot, but I felt tired, not of cycling but tired of being alone, a passing stranger. I finnaly arrived in Hulshout at a factory where my host had told me he was staying. I was expecting a squat but it turned out to be a very cool factory 'conversion' rented by a group of belgium circus performers. I was warmly welcomed and greeted with offers of takeaway. These guys have been so amasing to me, I arrived quite stressed and generally low and to top it off my bike was broken and I had no more places to stay. But they really cheered me up with good beer, take away, fun stories and then we watched movies on the big screen. I had planned on heading off again today but they told me to stay the day and have given me tools to fix my bike and a computer to find places to stay and refine my route (to avoid cities which are not fun by bike)
Again and again i am blown over by the kindness of strangers and the faithfulness of God. We really are made in his image! I am still tired and a little stressed but I know God is good and he will not abandon me!
(and I actually fixed my bike! with tools and all!)      

Thursday, 8 March 2012

sorry its been so long...

Ok so a lot has happened since i arrived in London on Saturday evening... So here's the last ( days bullet point fasion...

  • Was finally found by Joe in starbucks and had a great evening hanging out.
  • May have broken spokes by pulling trike away whilest still locked up
  • Slept in
  • Went to apple store to get phone fixed
  • Went to bike shop for new spokes
  • Met up with my freind Luke for coffee
  • Visited a really cool squat my freind Bruno now lives in
  • Hung out with Joe and his brother Chris, drank whisky and watched 'Son of Rambo'
  • Said goodbye to Joe
  • wheeled trike to Bruno's place and he helped me change my spokes
  • New spokes didn't fit
  • Got more spokes - Bruno is a legend!
  • Convinced Bruno to come for a 'short' days ride
  • Follwed the Thames 'Cycle Route'
  • Carried bikes of lots of gates
  • Broke more spokes
  • Gave up on Cycyle route and headed for the Road
  • Carried bikes over more gates and got stuck in the mud
  • It got dark
  • It got hilly
  • finnally arrived in Gillingham at 9:30
  • Stayed with a cool guy called Sid from Inda who's a student there
  • Ate pizza
  • Said goodbye to Sid and Bruno at Midday
  • Right knee really painful
  • Lots of hills
  • Lots more hills
  • Prayed for knee
  • Knee alot better
  • More hills (Don't cycle in Kent)
  • Arived in Dover at 8pm
  • Stayed with a guy called Rob who lives at the top of the hill!
  • Gave up cycling and pushed
  • Rob cooked an amasing roast dinner and was forgiven for living at the top of the hill
  • Said goodbye to rob and headed for the ferry
  • Got ticket and qued up with cars
  • Statrted to rain very hard
  • Got soaked through and the hid inside a waiting bus for shelter
  • Hung clothes out to dry on the ferry which didn't work
  • Arrived in Calais!
  • Forgot which level I left my bike on so ran up and down lots of step trying to find it
  • Finally got off the ferry and onto dry (ish) land
  • No hills but lots of rain
  • Finally arrived in Dunkerque at 7pm and stayed with Zarko and his wife
Thursday (Today)
  • Got up at 7:30 and Zarko made an amasing breakfast
  • Set out at 9am with the sun shining and Zarko who is also a cyclist (not sure if i am one yet)
  • Had coffee and cake and Zarko had beer (was a bit early for me!)
  • Crossed the border into Belgium! and said goodbye to Zarko
  • Belgium is greqt for cycling, no hills and great roads
  • Had bread and honey curousy of Zarko for lunch sat on the side of a river
  • Got lost in a town i can't spell
  • Finnally found my way again and arived at Lucienne and Chris' House just south of Brugge
  • Talked Lots about Cycling and Cycling Maps
  • Had a wonderful Meal and was introduced to chicory
  • Talked more bicycles and about being oranised (or not)
  • Now writing my blog whilest Chris is looking up Tricycle mechanics for some repairs tomorrow
... So there you go i'll try and write more often now.   

Saturday, 3 March 2012

Day 2: Reading to London (44 miles)

So i have arrived in London! And my legs and unmensionables are still holding out! It feels like an age ago that I set out from Calne. Just watched a video my friend Jo took of me leaving the drive. It all feels quite unreal still, but it's actually happening! 100 miles down 700 to go! After quite a painful ride yesterday I have been trying to decide if I need to leave some things behind. Like my unicycle, because apparently it's not an essential item. But remarkably today was actually ok. So I think the unicycle will see another day! I have probably been lured into a false sense of security by sunshine and flat roads but hey optimism is a gift. I'm not sure if I have any great pearls of wisdom for today other than that London cycle lanes are a joke! And not a very funny one at that. So tomorrow is a day off I get to hang out with one of my best mates all day which I'm really looking forward to. And then on Monday on to Gillingham for my first couch surf!

Friday, 2 March 2012

Day 1: Calne to Reading (48 miles)

The journey has begun! After 2 weeks of crazy preparations At 10am this morning I set out from my home in Calne on my wonderful and very heavy Laiden tricycle complete with circus equipment (including a unicycle!) It was quite an emotional morning as many friends came to wave me off and some even brought some wheels and joined me for a few miles (thanks guys!) Today was the first time I had ridden with all my luggage packed up and I deffinatley felt the difference, I was ready to give up a couple of miles in when the first hill hit. Somehow tho I managed to push through and made it all the way to reading by 5pm. I've had a lovely evening spending time with some dear friends of mine sharing takeout and stories. So tomorrow is London and then a day off. Time for bed!

Thursday, 1 March 2012

Walking in the Mist

My clock says 00:10 which means it is officially Friday and the day of my departure. After a long, busy and challenging week all the preparations are made, the trike is packed and i'm ready to go... I think?! 
Ready or not, in just under 10 hours i will set off on the 800mile journey from Calne to Berlin. I don't really know quite how i feel right now - excited, terrified, nauseous, sad, tired, hysterical, hopeful... 

This morning I went for a walk with my friend Dave and his wonderfully scraggy dog Lily up on the Cherhill downs, as we have often done over the years. I love those rounding green hills and know them well. The mist was thick and we could only see 100 yards or so in front of us but we made our way up to the top almost feeling our way and then sat at the foot of the monument staring out into a vast whiteness. 
As we looked out into the mist we were reminded of the uncertain journeys that lay ahead of us. 
One of Dave's favourite sayings is "just keep putting one foot in front of the other..." (a saying that sometimes provokes me to throw pillows.) I have know idea what will happen tomorrow, or the day after. The mist is too thick... But i do know this - like i know the downs i've walked 100 times. I believe in a God that knows the way, He won't let me down and he won't leave me. Yes i'm terrified, but I have no need to be... One foot in front of the other... bring it on! 

Sunday, 26 February 2012

Loose Ends

I don't remember feeling quite like this about anything before. I think I've been aware of something strange creeping up on me for a while but i'm only just finding words that match... Its like my heart has just caught up with my head - or it's the other way around? I'm not sure.

My friend Phil was asking me on Saturday how I was feeling about heading off. I don't know if my answer to him made any sense but what I was trying to say was that I feel… Exposed. Over the past few weeks I have been slowly ‘tying up loose ends’ (for want of a better term) leaving my job, finishing off projects, closing accounts, packing up belongings, saying goodbyes… What I realized though is that life is full of ‘loose ends,’ they’re like a spaghetti junction of options that cover over all the gaps.  But when you tie them up it all stops. The normal daily activities cease to exist and you’re left… Just you. You and the one end that’s not tied up, which ironically feels like is the most fragile and uncertain of all.

This weekend I said goodbye to so many amazing friends (some I’ll be saying goodbye to everyday this week before I depart on Friday morning) but it only really hit me Today – as I was sat next to my friend Dave before church this morning – I’m actually going! Me, 3 wheels and a crazy dream. Exposure is a scary thing. Goodbye’s… closure… tied up end’s… are all far to real for my liking but I’m exited. Terrified but excited. 5 days to go!  

Friday, 17 February 2012

Wild Goose ARTventures: Two weeks to go!

Wild Goose ARTventures: Two weeks to go!: It seems a lot has happened since my last post. The last few weeks have been spent franticly finishing off sculptures firing endless amounts...

Two weeks to go!

It seems a lot has happened since my last post. The last few weeks have been spent franticly finishing off sculptures firing endless amounts of clay work, making lots of paper lanterns, packing my studio up into boxes and hanging a full sized willow horse from the ceiling! ...And on Friday the 10th of Feb I waved goodbye to the John Bentley School.

Monday this week i hitched hiked my way up to the lake district to see my sister, who is just setting up as a artist in residence at an outdoor pursuit centre near Kendal. Somehow my route took me via leeds which was a very bad idea so it took me over 12 hours to get there. We have spend the week erecting a giant living willow Spider - apparently called Arthur (photo's to follow). So i am now sat writing as my sister clears her studio.

In two weeks to the day i will set out on the 800 mile journey to Berlin. (a prospect that i still haven't got my head around.) There is still so much to do and to get before i go. My tricycle is in pieces waiting to be painted and serviced and i still need to get a decent saddle as mine is a little tender on the behind to say the least. So here it comes Two weeks of mad packing, gathering and clearing...

And suppose i should get on with a bit of training too!

Monday, 30 January 2012

Don't Panic!

Were the words my sister handed to me, written on a crumpled piece of paper, just as I was sat telling a friend how I was absolutely terrified about heading off in 5 weeks time... She looked slightly bemused as i burst out laughing when i saw it.

I love the bit in the book of Joshua where God says to him: "Be strong and courageous, don't be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God will be with you where ever you go." I'm not sure how he felt when he heard that and thought about what he was being asked to do; I would have have a whole list of "Yeah butt's!" up my sleeve... The thing is i have been doing all this training and preparation trying to make myself strong and i'm panicking because i think i'm not strong enough. I think actually i'm not sure if i can make it, i'm not ready for this. And it scares me. And thats just the cycling part, there are so many other things to panic about too (I have a list!).

On the back of the piece of paper charlotte handed me was written 'I am with you.' ... This is what i am trying to get into my think head. It's not about me being strong (mentally or physically) Its about Him isn't it? He's the one who's strong, not me.  Don't get me wrong i'm not going to stop going to the gym, but i'm learning to guard against those nagging doubts that make me want to give up before i've started. This whole thing has always been about trust. If God say's go, then it will be ok... surely!

So thank you Charlie and Anna for putting me straight. and thank you Father God for being the strong one.

Saturday, 21 January 2012

So the training starts...

Yes training.
I know i'm still quite shocked at the idea too. In my head this is all still just a big joke, i keep waiting for the punch line and it's not coming. It seems like this is all getting a bit serious. As i pondered the reality of what i am embarking on i decided that cycling 800miles on a whim without any training was perhaps a little foolish. So it's started!
I'm a week in and i'm still alive so i guess thats a start.

This is the plan...
Saturday mornings: Get on the trike and go for a ride. I'm trying to work my way up to a 50mile day so i started at 15 and am increasing by 5 miles each week. (Did 20miles today and a apart from jelly legs and a sore bum i'm doing ok. Next week 25!)
Week Days: Down to the gym. I'm trying to get down 4 days a week for an hour each week (I would have done 5 this week but i started getting changed on wednesday and realised i had forgotten my shorts, i decided it was best not to train in my boxers so i went to my mum's for a massive portion of steak and kidney pie.) To start with the whole gym thing was quite pleasant doodling about at my own pace but i have met with the gym manager now who's idea of a work out is considerably more intense than mine so next week might be more painful.

And just incase you didn't believe me... 

Sunday, 15 January 2012

Ok... So i'm cycling to Berlin... On a tricycle!

You know sometimes you have these crazy ideas in life and you joke about them with your friends like it's no big deal... Sometimes if you talk about things too much they actually start to happen.
And I have talked a lot, and for about 10 years about this (not the tricycle part, thats recent madness - I had initially thought i'd travel in the safe confines of a beautiful split screen VW camper van, preferably orange.) No what i mean by 'this' is travelling round Europe as an artist missionary, saving the world one painting at a time! Ok so the plan has changed a by bit more than just modes of transport. But the crazy aching in my heart; to hit the road, to share in creativity and life with people, hearing stories, sharing mine, maybe some how, somewhere making a difference, like poking little holes through a black canvas seeing little beams of light shine in otherwise grey places. That has remained... even if most of the 'grey places' that light up are in me. But hey, Light is light, wherever it shines.

So anyway about talking too much... Well I've talked myself into setting out on an adventure that i thought had passed me by. But somehow the little seed of 'I might just go off and do this one day' has grown into a reality. And now it's not even safely in the far off distance of the future, it's actually happening. The wheels (quite literally) are in motion. Don't get me wrong i'm exited, scared whit less, but so excited. 

So this is what i'm setting out to do... At the beginning of March me and my slightly ridiculous but much loved tricycle (I may not be speaking so tenderly of if in a few months time) set out, packed with all sorts of creative implements, from my home in Calne,Wiltshire on a 800mile ride to Berlin. From there i'll be meeting up with a travelling theatre group called 2wheels4change and Journeying through eastern Europe doing street theatre and running creative workshops with community groups and orphanages. In June my hope is to spend 2 months at a training school with a christian missions organisation and then in August set off on a pilot tour taking Wild Goose on the road. 

Over the next few months i will be documenting my journey through this blog. It's partly for my own benefit but if you want to stay in touch with what i'm up to, or if your encouraged (or amused) by my great pearls of wisdom (and probably great blunders too), or you have nothing better to do then please sign up to my posts. And let me know if your following too, it will be great to hear from you.