Friday, 2 March 2018

New president for Liberia

On 22nd January 2018, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf handed over presidency of the Republic of Liberia to President George Weah. May God bless him as he continues the good work of the land we love. And may God bless Ma Ellen as she enjoys her well earned retirement.


The inauguration was historic: it was the first time power had been passed peacefully and democratically from one Liberian president to another since 1948.

A new school for Libby

Libby started a new school last week - the one I work at! A small independent Christian school, hopefully she will thrive in the small sized classes, and with well behaved kids as her classmates. She loves her new school uniform, so different from her old one, which includes a kilt, a blazer and a tie.
Good luck Libby.


Snow at last

We finally got some proper snow yesterday, the first proper snow since we returned to the UK in 2011. After days of freezing temperatures, we had a six hour blizzard, followed by an ice storm. Our Land Rover came into it's own, and I enjoyed driving the streets of Sherborne and Yeovil en route to sledging hills, and I even managed a rescue mission when the A30 snowed over and nothing could move. School has been cancelled, and nearly every business is shut. As I write, the snow has just started again. And I barbecued bacon outside for lunch. Olly


Wednesday, 27 December 2017

President Sirleaf opens new airport building in Liberia

Last week, President Sirleaf opened the new airport terminal building at Robertsfield.

Many of you will remember flying in and out of the old airport building, below, which was little more than a shed:


and will remember seeing the "new" terminal building which was destroyed during fighting in 1996:


And here's the new terminal building. Wow! Built by the Chinese I believe. 


Olly

Christmas miscellaneous

I guess food is an important part of Christmas, no matter what or where your culture is. Below, our Christmas table with the traditional British Christmas Day meal:


When Henry VIII seized Hampton Court Palace from Cardinal Wolsey in 1529, little did he know that 488 years later its grounds would host a seasonal outdoor ice rink, visited by Anna, Libby, Cousin Grace and Noah, in realistic 4 degrees C weather complete with sleet. Another great British tradition since, well, 1529 I suppose.


And I fell asleep on the sofa, whist trying to thaw out from the 4 degrees C...another great British tradition, before the ridiculously slow journey home.


Hope you all had a great Christmas too, dear reader. Olly

Sunday, 24 December 2017

Merry Christmas Part 2

Anna just asked if Reindeer are real. Huh. Olly

Merry Christmas

Every Christmas Eve I barbecue bacon outside, whatever the weather. Maybe it’s a nod to our tropical Christmas barbecues in Liberia and South Africa. Passing dog walkers and people in the allotments behind must wonder what the smoke and smell is all about. But who cares. It’s our daft Christmas tradition. Olly 
                                         

Friday, 22 December 2017

She swims

Video clip of Libby swimming butterfly 50 meters recently. She's the one in the pink cap. Olly


Monday, 11 December 2017

2017


The year in photos:

In February, Hannah from Florida came to live with us for 6 months, whilst volunteering with Oddments Theatre Co in Yeovil. She was (is) great fun and the girls loved her. 


We were visited by ship friends: below, us and the Samaraweera family (en route to Texas from the Africa Mercy), and Jesse with malaria (en route to Canada from the Congo):


and more ship friends - the Yangas family:


Libby had her ears pierced:


We attended New Wine - Britain's leading week-long Christian camp/conference thing - which is always awesome - but unfortunately it was the wettest week in the organisations 28 year history:


And we were blessed with 2 amazing holidays overseas, the first in Spanish Minorca, in the Med:


...where Anna spent a lot of time leaping off high cliffs!


and the second in Tenerife, with Olly's parents and brother's family:


Libby continues to swim, and is progressing through the ranks. Here she is, doing the butterfly. She trains 7 or 8 times a week.


And Noah had his 18th birthday.


Olly's job has changed a bit - the school he works for has taken over another school, just outside Yeovil, so he spends his time between the two sites. The new site is in beautiful countryside, and includes a magnificent stately home in 28 acres of land. 

Sally continues to work as a Speech Therapist and Teaching Assistant, and is making a real difference in children's lives! I am constantly in awe of how she juggles work life, with our 3 kids!

Monday, 10 July 2017

Happy Fathers Day (to me)

Child #2 gave me an awesome chocolate & confectionery bar Fathers Day card, which says:



Dad, I hope your Fathers day makes you Snicker(s)!!! I was in a bit of a time Crunch(ie), and, at the moment, living on Buttons. Otherwise I would buy you an Aeroplane to go to New York(ie) or maybe even take a trip around the Galaxy and the Milky Way. But for now I just want to Wispa that I LOVE YOU!!! and tell you that you are my Star(burst). Enjoy your Munch(ies) but don't eat them all at once or you might Rolo-ver and get very sick! Love your Smartie(s)-pants daughter, Anna. 

Wednesday, 12 April 2017

Well done Noah

Congrats to my son and heir for passing his driving test last Tuesday. Unfortunately, car insurance for him on either of our cars will cost too much - we've had quotes between £2,000 to £7,000 on Sally's Passat - so he won't be driving for the foreseeable future. Huh. 



Sunday, 26 March 2017

Yeovil Half Marathon

I've just run the Yeovil Half Marathon with 8 friends from church: 



and Mr Gates and Mr Kane from school: 


Another personal best for us all! Lovely day, great weather and great atmosphere.

Injuries: no toe-nail damage this time, but I have gathered a few blisters. Olly

Monday, 20 March 2017

Toe

Toe still looks sore but doesn't hurt. 

She Runs

My lovely wife Sally ran the Weymouth Bay 10K Run yesterday with our good friends the Braziers. Left to right: Rob, Ali, Sally & Jacob. Sally & Ali ran together, so they quite enjoyed the event this year I think...


Tuesday, 14 March 2017

T.I.A.

50 years ago, a coal mine's spoil-heap collapsed on the Welsh village of Aberfan, killing 116 children and 28 adults. We learnt from that, and spoil-heaps no longer tower over Welsh villages.

50 years later, a rubbish heap has collapsed outside Addis Ababa, killing 150 people whose houses were built there, and leaving another 230 homeless.

How disappointing, that after billions and billions of pounds in aid, plus all the money produced by the county's own economy and thus tax income to the government, this has still happened. This Is Africa. Olly

Another Half Marathon

I ran the Bath Half Marathon on Sunday with Mr Gates and Mr Kane. It was a brilliant day, with good weather, 15,000 runners and huge crowds of spectators. Mr Gates and I beat our personal best by 2 minutes to 1:50:24, and better still we thrashed Mr Kane by 2 minutes, who is half our age and teaches and plays sports full time!


Injuries: lost 2 toe nails, rubbed skin off left inner thigh, and got joggers nipple, left nipple only. How weird. Olly

Letter from the President

Just after Christmas, Anna wrote to the President of Liberia, telling how much Anna admired Ma Ellen and how much Anna loved her time in Liberia...and Ma Ellen replied, firstly via the Liberian Embassy in London, who printed out an emailed letter from Liberia, and then the original letter arrived in the post, which still smelt of Liberia! Brilliant.



What a great woman! Ma Ellen, not Anna. Olly

Wednesday, 18 January 2017

Sherborne Girl Cuts Hair for Cancer Charity

Last night Anna had her hair trimmed in support of The Little Princess Trust. Her 12 inch long pigtails will be sent to the Trust, who will use the hair to make wigs for young cancer sufferers. Anna also raised £143 through sponsorship, which will also be sent to the Trust. 



Good job Anna! We are so proud of you!

Thanks also to Sophie for the hairdressing, and Lydia for the driving/entertainment.

Saturday, 14 January 2017

Africa

I love stumbling upon photos of everyday life in Africa. Brings back memories. Here's a ridiculously overloaded truck in Somalia:


And here's a photo of a pig being transported on a motorbike in the DRC:


C'est Afrique. Photos courtesy of BBC.

Saturday, 31 December 2016

Blog Entry #1367: A New Hope

I tried to put this blog into retirement, but received a deluge of comments asking me not to (mostly from Anna). So I'm playing with the Blogger app on my phone, which is a work in process I admit, to  hopefully start mobile blogging.

In the meantime, here's a photo of one of my very cool Christmas presents - a long-handled wire-brush scraper for removing the moss and weeds from block paving.  I did the whole drive in a couple of hours today. Brill. Thanks Noah and Anna!

Testing of photo uploaded via Blogger app: can't centralise this photo. Huh. Olly

Tuesday, 20 December 2016

Liberia's Mount Coffee Hydro-Electric Plant Reopens!

We join the Liberian people in celebrating the re-opening of Liberia's Mount Coffee hydro-electric plant, and re-commissioning of the distribution network.

The plant was built in the early 1960s and generated 64 megawatts, but was damaged in 1990 during a period of fighting, when the river overflowed and washed away one of the dams thus rendering the plant useless. The generation house was then systematically looted for scrap metal until it was secured in 2007, when I visited, by which time there was nothing left except the concrete structure. Meanwhile, most of the pylons, cable, transformers - in fact the whole distribution system into Monrovia - was also looted, and any remaining parts of the system became overgrown with foliage.

Rehabilitation of the plant began in May 2012, and suffered an 8 month delay during the Ebola crises, but the plant came on-line on 15th December 2016, and will eventually generate 88 megawatts.

Watch a very cool video on the rehabilitation here:


or click on https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IdDcZUy-RlA or visit the project's website at
http://mtcoffeeliberia.com




Sunday, 1 May 2016

Another 10k run

Today, 1st May 2016, My-Mate-Rick-At-Work and I ran in another road race - the Glastonbury "Round The Tor" race. It was a very well organised run, with a fun-run for the tiny kids, a 3k run and a 5k  run for the less adventurous, and the big 10k run in which there were over 2000 entrants.

The finish point was just outside Glastonbury Town Hall, which was also the meeting point of the local Morris Men and a bunch of Druids who were celebrating something May 1st-ish - the festival of Beltane I believe they call it. So Glastonbury was a busy place full of people in all kinds of dress...



Above, Rick and I with tow kids from our school and their mum...

Olly