Archive for May, 2010

JustGiving

Saturday, May 29th, 2010

I’ve set up another JustGiving page because I’m hoping to raise some money that can be used in Sri Lanka to help schools out there.

http://www.justgiving.com/Kath-McGuire

So if any of you fancy donating some money to help some schools in Sri Lanka then please go to my Just Giving page. Especially if you are a UK tax payer, because then through the magic of Gift Aid, the government will give some money too.

The cash will be used by me when I’m in SL to buy books and other teaching aids for some of the schools I’ll visit. Any leftover money will go to VESL to help them to keep doing wonderful things in Sri Lanka, India and Thailand.

Anyone who feels the need to give me birthday and Christmas presents (a bit early, I know) is encouraged to donate some money instead.

Thanks very much in anticipation!! From me, from VESL and from the Sri Lankan kids who get the real benefit of your generosity. 🙂

Packing

Saturday, May 29th, 2010

I know I’m not leaving for another 9 weeks. And I haven’t bought a rucksack. And I haven’t bought several other things that I need before I leave. But I have started packing.

Actually, part of the packing is required in advance of buying the rucksack. I’m hoping to take a rucksack that’s about 35 or 40 litres. The current rucksack that I carry around with me on a daily basis is 35 litres. The big one I brought with me from Australia that I took to Sri Lanka last time must be in excess of 70 litres.

So I’ve done a few test packs into my current 35 litre bag to see whether that is a big enough size. And I think it is. Though I need a new bag because my current one only opens through the top and I will need to be able to access stuff that’s in the bottom as well.

The reasons for wanting to carry a small bag are numerous. Here are some of them:

* It will be easier for me to get it on and off trains/buses etc.

* It will be easier to keep with me in restaurants/cafes etc.

* I will be able to keep it on my lap or tuck it under my seat.

* I will be able to walk around with it all day, every day for 2 months without providing a retirement plan for my favourite chiropracotor.

* I can (probably) take it with me into bathrooms meaning that I won’t have to find someone to look after it while I look after me.

* It’ll be less of a target for theives.

* It reinforces my general no-stuff policy.

The other rationale behind the test packing is just because I’m so dammed excited about my trip! 🙂

Bounce!! Bounce!! Bounce!! 🙂

Shopping

Saturday, May 29th, 2010

I’m guessing that anyone reading this actually knows me. Though you are very welcome to my blog even if we haven’t actually met yet.

But those who know me will probably have been subjected to one of my rants about how much I hate shopping (sorry). Which is a lot. Unless, it turns out, I have a good reason for shopping and something exciting to shop for.

My trip means I have lots of exciting things to shop for. And fortunately, or not, I walk past Moutain Warehouse, Blacks and Cotswolds on my way to (and from) work every day. I am now somewhat of a regular in all three shops. I seem to be visiting them several times a week at the moment. To look at rucksacks: still haven’t decided which one to get yet. To buy things: raincoat, trousers, micro fleece, etc. To ask for advice: Lifesystems sell a mosquito treatment for fabrics but their website actually advises not to use it on clothing.

In fact, I’m now such a regular, that last time in Mountain Warehouse (granted the 4th time I’ve been in there and bought stuff) they gave me a 10% discount. Now that’s the kind of being a regular that I like!

So who’d have thought it, but Kath seems to be a somewhat of a shopaholic! Well, for researching and (eventually) buying the things that are on my list and in my budget anyway. I suppose that still counts though. 🙂

An evening walk through Cambridge

Tuesday, May 11th, 2010

Last night I was over the other side of town (Newnham for those of you sufficiently familiar with Cambridge). And I left there about half past nine to walk home. It was a bit chilly – glad of my fleece and my woolly hat! But an incredible evening.

I walked home along the backs and over the river and past the colleges and through town and up the hill and then home.

The sky was a beautiful, subdued blue. The trees were shadows made corporeal. The streetlights threw orange highlights onto the chalk white paths. The river was a viscous, black ink with reflections sliding off it. The college windows were full of industrious students. The old, old stone was whispering conspiratorially. The chapels were singing. The candle light inside the chapel at John’s made the stained glass windows look amazing (from the outside!!).

And the town itself is just beautiful. Cobblestones. Cyclists. Buses. Tesco delivery vans! Joggers. Smokers huddled in doorways. Disgruntled people waiting for buses. All the standard high street shops. Plus the odd interesting Cambridge curiosity. Pubs with warm convivial people. Store windows with well-dressed manikins (hire four suits and the groom goes free – not sure if that’s exactly the marriage message they intended but I like it!!).

And I spent the time thinking about how lucky I am to live in such a beautiful city. And how I have the freedom and independence to walk through it alone after dark. And how lucky I am to be able to travel to lots of the other beautiful cities around the world. I miss Kandy!

But while I’m here I want to delight in being here. And since it’s such a delightful place to be, it isn’t difficult!

I hope all of you are reading this from an equally beautiful place! And wherever you are, please take the time to look at it. To breathe it in. To stop on a bridge across a river and just stand and stare and absorb the magic.

My New Trip

Sunday, May 2nd, 2010

I have started planning my next trip.

I am going back to Sri Lanka overland.

Yep, overland.

Through France, Belgium, Germany, Poland, Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, China, Nepal and India.

I think it will take me about 50 days. I’m planning on leaving the UK in July or August and should be in Sri Lanka by the end of September.

It’s all in the very early planning stages so it’s all subject to change.

But if any of you reading this have any advice, tips, hints etc about long train journeys, the countries I’ll be visiting etc. then please do let me know.

I’m planning on going on my own but that doesn’t mean I want to travel alone all the time so if you fancy joining me for any part of the trip, please let me know. 🙂

Exciting! Isn’t it?

Crazy! Aren’t I?

🙂