Sunday, 17 January 2016

Diving the Mercy

I've just stumbled across a Vimeo video made by the current Dive Team on the Africa Mercy in Madagascar. Watch it here. Those lucky, lucky divers: they are diving in crystal clear water, with beautiful tropical fish and great visibility - a whole world apart from the sewers I used to dive in, in West Africa. So good luck, guys, when you arrive in Benin later this year and won't even be able to see your hands in front of your face in those filthy, polluted, garbage filled waters. Olly

The Dirty Devil Stampede

My first competitive race of 2016 was the BustinSkin Dirty Devil Stampede that Mr Gates and I ran today at Bovington Tank Range in Dorset. In f-f-f-freezing cold 4 degree weather we ran 10 kilometres in deep mud, freezing thigh-deep water, and up and down tank berms (I think thats what they are called).

Below, me running through the first wet bit:

Below, me running through...another...wet bit, with Mr Gates on the left in the grey t-shirt:

Below, some dude falling over in a muddy bit:

Below, some other dude falling over in a wet bit. Total wipeout:

Below, climbing a tank berm:

Below, more mud:

Below, at the end. Rick got a lot wetter than I did. 

Brilliant fun. Time 56 minutes and 30 seconds, in 62nd place and 63rd place (out of 322 runners - not bad eh). Olly

Sunday, 10 January 2016

2015 UN Human Development Index

The UN published it's 2015 Human Development Index in the last couple of weeks.

Interestingly, Liberia slipped from 175 out of 187 in 2014 to 177 out of 187 in 2015, whilst Sierra Leone climbed from 183/187 to 181/187. Huh.

Click here to get the full report. Olly

Reflections on 2015

So it's been 7 months since I last posted an entry. My bad. I doubt anyone reads this blog anyway, but as I've put thousands of hours into it, I may as well continue with the occasional blog post...

On reflection 2015 was a good year. Lets start with the latest family photo taken on Christmas day:

Meanwhile, the summer started early, and we managed two good caravan trips away before the Great Wet British Summer arrived, which then became the Great Wet British Autumn and is now the Great Wet British Winter.  We sold our old Adria caravan and bought a newer Hymer caravan for a bargain price, in excellent condition and with no leaks!

Our new caravan (14 years old instead of 22)
at it's storage site in Loughborough before we collected it

My running continued, and I ran the Lewiston 10k Cross Country in February, the Yeovil Half Marathon in March (with Barry who we met in 2008 in Liberia with Mercy Ships, below):

...the Martock 10k in May, and the Weymouth 10 Mile in October (with Rick, below):

Noah has followed the "Couch to 5k" programme and is now a good runner, and sometimes Sally, Noah and I all run at the same time. And Libby and Anna occasionally run around the block too.

Sally is brilliant, and still juggles the kid's after-school activities, homework, making packed lunches, cooking dinner whilst I'm at work. Love her to bits.

The kids are doing really well. Libby is 11, in the last year of Primary School, and loves life and is still a handfull. She loves swimming, and is great at the Butterfly, and her ambition is to be in the Olympics one day.

Libby waiting to swim at the Dorset School Games County Finals in Bournemouth.

On 11th November we celebrated 10 glorious years of her being part of our family.

Anna (14) is in year 9, and also full of life and loves singing and acting. She has been in a couple of school plays and musicals, and sings in the Youth Worship Band at church.

Noah (16) is taller than me. He is is the middle of his GCSE mocks right now (very stressful). He also plays keyboard in the Youth Worship Band at church, and is on the AV Team there, and works all-nighters with Revolution Audio in his spare time.

Our summer holidays consisted of a week at New Wine (where it rained, and where we received our spiritual top-up) and a week at a caravan club site in Devon (where it rained). But despite our unglamorous vacations, I am constantly aware that we are amongst the top 10% of the worlds wealthiest people because we live in the UK, and in fact we are amongst the top 5% of the world's wealthiest people because we are home owners.

And God has continued to bless us all, with good health, a great house, lovely friends and family, a beautiful place to live, food, a job for me and a job for Sally, great kids, and good church...we are indeed blessed! And we daily pray for our friends all over the world, especially those close to our hearts who we left behind in Liberia.

Maybe I'll be able to add some photos to this entry once my computer has stopped updating, stupid Apple Updates...