There But for the Grace of God

Last time I made mention of Peter Gostelow, it was about a rather unfortunate incident in Africa, where he had been attacked with a machete, and sustained some nasty injuries. Well, over a year later, he’s still on the road in Africa, and had some more bad luck.

This time he wasn’t physically injured, but pretty much everything of value has been stolen, including his last 6 months of photos, stored on an external hard drive. He’s feeling pretty low about it, and trying to work out how to replace the laptop and camera. He doesn’t need much to pay for his day to day expenses, but a new camera and laptop is hard to manage.

Peter was one of the cyclists who inspired me, years ago. Reading his website when he was touring around Asia was one of the things that gave me impetus to make my own long haul trip. If you’ve come across his blogs, and maybe been a bit inspired, he’d probably appreciate it if you could send a few dollars his way.

I know what it’s like to lose stuff, and not just the expensive kit, but all your photos. Somehow I’m still not as disciplined as I should be with backups, but seriously, if you’re out on the road, take Pete’s advice: BACKUP BACKUP BACKUP

Social Co-ordination

Left to my own devices, I could probably be quite happy working, studying in the evening, going for a bike ride in the weekend, occasionally traveling around the world, basically keeping to myself.

Those that know my fiancé will of course realize that keeping to ones self is not Anna’s style at all. Although her social circle is not as out of control as it once was, she still works hard at maintaining contact with a wide group of people. One of the ways she does this through regular social events, of which the annual “Mid-winter Christmas” dinner. My northern hemisphere readers will wonder why I feel the need to specify mid-winter along with Christmas, but trust me, they don’t go together here.

Here, we use the theme of mid winter Christmas as an excuse for a party in the depths of winter. Brutal it is too, only 10 hours of sunlight a day, and temperatures almost down to single digits. We gather for a not quite informal seated dinner, for 20. Not many people could host a dinner party for 20, but with a bit of rearranging of the house, we somehow manage.

With a limit of 20 or so, competition is fierce for places, but Anna has her favourites. I must ask her why Arden is still on the list, since he doesn’t get cheap booze any more. Wouldn’t be the same without him of course.

So the usual suspects gathered for a huge meal and light entertainment. Luckily we had outsource the main meat cooking to two of the guests – no chance of fitting a leg of lamb and an enormous piece of pork in our oven. It was barely coping with all the vegetables.

Lots of hard work by Anna and the girls, and the party was the usual success. Every year, Anna declares that “this is the last one ever” – and yet the day after, while cleaning up, she says “well it wasn’t too bad, maybe we could have one more.”

just next year it will be just Anna and I, living in a small house. I have no idea how we’ll manage it again…

Dave didn’t like the little plastic hat, he thought it worked better as a tie: