This Blog serves as two things: a photo-diary of our lives between 2007 and mid 2011, when we saw some incredible things and met some amazing people; and a reflection of our more normal lives since then.

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 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


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


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 or visit the project's website at

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...


Saturday, 23 April 2016

Me, diving gain

Today, my new dive buddy and I partook in a shore dive from Chesil Cove, Dorsetshire. And oh my gosh, how hard it was. Forget 35 degrees C water, today it was 10 degrees. And diving in a drysuit with gloves and hood. With 42 pounds of weights (I know, I got this really wrong, should have been more like 20 pounds)...
And with a heavy steel cylinder.

So I came out of the sea after 40 minutes  with numb hands and a numb face, and couldn't even stand (wave/weight combination) and couldn't get my gear off to get out of the waves (numb hands/wave combination) and eventually, having being dragged out of the surf by my buddy, I didn't even have the energy to remove my gloves. Talk about exhausting, 

Note to self:

Dry suit leaks. Needs attention.
BCD doesn't inflate. Needs attention.
Too much weight. Needs attention. 
Too many under-layer? Needs attention.

Anyway, I didn't die. So, that's good. 


Sunday, 17 April 2016

Look at my shed!

This week I unpacked my tools for the first time since returning from Africa nearly 5 years ago. I found my tenon saw, which was the first tool I ever bought (1981, Southport), and I found a handful of tools from my first ever tool kit (Christmas, 1982, Menston).  I even found a tiny little hammer I think I inherited from Grandad Peet.

Anyway, to house all these tools I had to re-organise my shed, so here is the finished product:

I am very proud of it!

Surely, this wins the prise for the most boring blog entry I have evert made, eh? But I guess life just isn't as exciting as it once was...


Monday, 4 April 2016


For long enough, Libby was unable to say "swimming" and said "swumming" instead. 

Here she is swumming in a small pool, having just learnt tumble-turns.

She still wants to swim in the Olympics, either for Great Britain or Liberia.

Good job Libby. Olly


One of the delights of living in South West England is that we've got a few ancient historic monuments all within an hours drive. We've just spent the weekend at a holiday cottage with Sally's side of the family, all within site of Glastonbury Tor, which looks like this from about half a mile away:

...and like this from on top:

The pointy bit you can see for miles around is actually the remains of St Michaels Church, built in the 14th century and mostly destroyed during the reformation in 1539, and at that time the brutal execution place of the last Abbot of Glastonbury and two of his monks.

Recently, the whole of the Glastonbury area has been absorbed all year round by the festival's atmosphere, with a hefty number of purple shops in town staffed by people with purple hair, selling crystals, rain makers and dream catchers (etc etc). A lot of the people walking up the Tor wore unusual clothes and had purple hair too. Smashing. Olly

Thursday, 31 March 2016

Long Live B.S.T.

In the wee small hours of Sunday, our clocks moved forward an hour, signalling the beginning of British Summer Time! So what better way of celebrating than our first 'van trip of the year, in the freezing rain and howling winds. 

We went to Oathill Farm Holiday and Touring Park just outside Crewkerne - lovely little place - and had a brill time despite the weather. Only had 2 nights away instead of 3 - our first night away - originally at The Inside Park, was cancelled due to torrential rain flooding our pitch before we got there, so we had to sacrifice a night and find a new location on Easter Sunday morning. My favourite child (Anna) was amazing, as always! She helped out a lot and showed off her amazingness by helping people over the  cliffs on the amazingly wet walk. However much I write about her, you could never understand how much I truly do adore that child. She is more perfect than you (unless you are Jesus). 

Below, our two Hymers Swings:

Below: Noah and Dodge have their GCSE exams this coming May & June, so they had to spend many hours revising in the warmth of our 'van, poor chaps.

Below, West Bay from the gert big hill that Anna so helpfully wrote about earlier. Our walk to Burton Bradstock was cut short by horizontal, torrential rain. Lovely.

Well I guess the weather was to be expected; Easter is early this year. Lets hope it warms up soon so our next trips out are warm(er) and dry(er). Apparently Easter will be later next year, so maybe we'll have a warm start to 2017 'vanning.

Olly (with a little help from Anna, can you guess which bit she wrote?).

Thursday, 24 March 2016

It's Anna, but not as you know her.

A couple of weeks ago I took this photo of Anna at Illuminate, one of our church's Friday night youth clubs. Anna had her face covered in shaving foam, and then her team-mates had to throw Wotsits (like Cheetos) to stick onto the foam.  

I've never been so proud of her. Olly