England - Round The World Tour 2003 T-8

pre-departure

Basingstoke

Wednesday 5th March

Haven’t been keeping up with the daily journal too much over the past few days. We’ve really enjoyed our stay here at Annie’s house, especially the time we have spent with the kids. We had a lot of fun at David’s house a couple of days ago and played all sorts of games. Especially fun was the dance mats attached to the PlayStation, trying to tap on the mat in coordination with the arrows on the screen. We had so much fun, in fact, that we purchased a couple of the dance mats and the game for Kirsty & Louise and had a jolly good old time last night putting them to use. Yesterday we went swimming with Annie and the kids to one of the local indoor swimming pools. Apart from the fact that the two main pool were closed (swimming lessons), the main attraction slide was closed (was being re-lined), I was told I couldn’t take my camera inside (something to do with child protection) and Sandy was told that she couldn’t wear her T-shirt over her swimsuit, we had a really good time.

There seem to be so many more rules and regulations here in England now that it almost seems like a different country. Annie is making uniforms for Louise’s band and, for example, has to measure all the kids for their sizes. New rules mean that this can no longer be done without the supervision of another adult. Also, as Louise’s band rehearses their new show routine, the instructors like to videotape the whole thing so as to see where they are going wrong and where they are going right – as a learning aid. However, new rules mean that every child in the band must first provide written consent to being filmed! I understand the reasoning behind some of these new rules but I get the distinct impression that when standing back and looking at the way society has become as a whole, the cure is worse than the disease.

Today we are going to be picked up from Annie’s by Hazel and we will spend the rest of the afternoon in the company of Ellis and Yasmin – being the only two Nieces that we have not yet seen. Later this evening we are going home to Mum & Dad’s house to spend a couple of days there.

With just one week left to go, the trip to Africa has crept up on us pretty quickly. I thought I was prepared but I am still somewhat full of anxiety. I keep thinking of things like Malaria, accommodation problems, escalating costs and all things negative. I’ve concentrated so long on mitigating all the negatives that I’ve hardly had time to think about all the positives. We’ll just have to take it how it comes. Ready … jump!

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