Yes the adventure has begun!
I am seated in the departure lounge at Heathrow Airport after a uneventful trip from Cheltenham. My laptop did fall off the luggage rack on the coach. The driver announced 5 mins from Heathrow that we were due to arrive in an hour and five minutes then immediately tried to crash into the back of a lorry – hard braking just avoided a collision. The only other incident was dropping my Mars bar at security!!
I decided to take a coach to Heathrow bus station instead of booking to terminal 4. (Dilys has a broken toe so isn't up to driving.) This proved to be a good move. I re-sorted my bags at the bus station where I picked up a trolley – moving pavements made the journey to the train easy and a free shuttle took me to terminal 4 without hassle, and probably a lot quicker than if I waited for another coach to transfer me.
John donated a couple of notebooks and lent me a larger case, which I had no problem filling. I am just about on the limit of 2x23kg cases and backpack and laptop weighing close to the 12kg limit! It's not that I have a lot of clothes for my trip – in fact most of the clothes are donations for friends. I have a few footballs, a solar mobile phone charger, a few solar lights, what seems to be a hundred small knitted hats for the children, knitted blankets, a good quantity of clove oil and of course a few bars of Jennipher's favourite soap! I also have plenty of books to read and leave with avid Zambian readers.
After all the rushing around over the past few days it is good to wind down a little. After all there is nothing I can do now. If I have forgotten something it is too late.
Raymond rang yesterday to tell me to call him when I am in Lusaka and he will meet me in Monze with the key to my house. I doubt if I will have time to tell you Raymond's story here before boarding my flight, but I might try a very short précis. Raymond also mentioned that another of his clients has just died – he will be the third in the past couple of weeks.
I met Raymond at the end of my stay in 2003, but it was in 2004 that we came to know each other better. Raymond attends the Catholic Church and is involved with an organisation – The Society of St. Vincent de Paul – which supports those who are poor worldwide. He is also involved in another organisation PEASSA which is not connected to the church. With Charles he has been trying to support some elderly and disabled people in Monze. PEASSA has always struggled and at the moment all the projects, which were designed to generate income have folded or are dormant.
Raymond over the past few years has run around Monze trying to find me accommodation for which I am grateful.
I will let you know how I find Monze – and my accommodation!! With my next blog posting.