Saturday, 31 August 2013

Progress - or lack of it - report.

Hello again. Still waiting for the Co-op Bank to get round to customer support! Ten days after informing them that my bank card was missing I still don't have a replacement! This is the Charity account and I can't get money out of it ... the GOES system is that when we receive an appeal for help, and approve it, I potter along to any UK bank, pop my card into the slot, key in the code and amount required and take the cash to Bayba via Barclay's Bank. With luck the money is available in The Gambia the same day and I'm informed when the collection has been safely made.  Sadly, the system fails because the Co-op is working so slowly. At least, I suppose they're working - I've no evidence to show that they are.
 However, there is a little more money waiting for us - the pretty little Victorian table I mentioned a couple of weeks ago has now sold (for £26 ) on EBay and is ready for the buyer to pick up.
 I'm faced with filling in a lot of information for the American tax authorities, who want a slice of the 'profits' from the sale of the 'Malinding' series of books - it won't pay the National Debt off! I've put 'Stories for Gambian Children' on free offer next week (4th - 8th August) if you're interested. It's a short book of short stories I've told in various Gambian schools - well worth the offer price of £0 !
Thanks for reading so far.

Tuesday, 27 August 2013

Back to work!

Finally sorted out the Gift Aid claim for GOES. I really don't like trying to do important work on line, especially with a dodgy PC. J was away last week on a course and I'd promised myself to do the claim and then to relax with a few trips to local places I'd not visited for a long time. Not to be! I discovered that my wallet was missing; in it was the money for my car repairs and all my bits of plastic - bank cards, bus pass, driving licence, membership cards and , worst of all, a really nice picture of J; all were missing. So my time became very occupied. Nat West Bank very helpful - I could access my account two days later. Other institutions weren't so helpful - the Co-opBank least of all. I did manage a good day writing at Gladstone's Library (and a very nice cake ..!) but it was a very frustrating time.
 I suppose the good bit is that nobody tried to steal my identity (who would want to impersonate an absent-minded 77 year old?) but I do rather resent the theft of my time.
 Fingers crossed and hoping the Gift Aid claim goes through without too much bother; there are a number of good causes needing a helping hand. There are times when I feel that I'm too old for all this hassle and maybe I should finally retire and riot around a bit while I still can (total lie - I was never much good at rioting!)
 Sorry to moan but it's been one of those weeks!

Friday, 23 August 2013

Head scratching time ...

Suppose for a moment that you're the head of a small family living in sub-Saharan Africa. A few months ago you lost your job and there doesn't seem much chance of getting any form of paid work, even though you've tried and tried and tried. You're a single parent mother, with no support from your ex-husband for your two children. An English couple you met, back in the days when you were working, offered to support the education of your daughter (she's your eldest child, a very bright girl.) Someone else helps with the school fees of your boy. Now, as I said, you're out of work. The person who was helping with your son's fees hasn't been in touch for a year or more. Your daughter has finished school and wants to go to college, and has been accepted on the course which will lead to a good qualification. The money for her college fees, quite a lot of money, arrives. There is no food in the house, the rent is greatly overdue and your son cannot complete his education. The bills are mounting up.
 What do you decide to use this gift of money for? It's enough to pay off the rent arrears and to buy food, and perhaps pay your son's fees for another term.
What would you do, and how would you explain your decision to the couple who sent the money for your girl's education? What would you expect the reaction of the sponsors to be?
This is a real situation.

Thanks for reading this.

Saturday, 17 August 2013

Book table?

Progress report: The tilt-top table is now for sale on EBay. I'm asking £25 as a starting price - it should be worth at least twice that - and mentioned that all the selling price will go directly to GOES.

Work on the next book progresses; it's one of the Malinding series and Ed-Lamin (Ed's eldest son) is the main character. It begins in England, but a very different England. Voter apathy has enabled a racist minority party to take control and young Ed is caught up in the killing that results. I need to enable him to escape and flee to freedom - not easy in a totalitarian regime! At least it's fiction ... hope to have it out in time for Christmas.

Wednesday, 14 August 2013

Help GOES - help The Gambia!

Posted by PicasaGood things happen out of the blue! On Sunday we went up to Blackpool to meet Stuart (a friend we first met a few years ago in Kotu) and had a wonderful day during the course of which he presented us with a bag containing a host of colourful knitted baby clothes, donated by Elizabeth. They will be in The Gambia before Christmas, cheering up a good few babies and their mums!
Then, on Tuesday we collected some chairs which had been repaired by Patrick, a furniture restorer in Frodsham. You can see one of the chairs in the top photo - it's good to be able to sit down again while we eat! What is even better that he presented us with the pretty little tilt-top table with instructions to sell it and give the money to GOES! The table is late Victorian/early Edwardian and is in excellent condition (well, it is now that Patrick has worked his magic on it!)
People are so kind. Thanks to all the people I've mentioned here, and thaks to all those who have been buying the 'Malinding' books - I have no idea who you are but thanks - all proceeds go directly into the Charity Co-op bank account. Again, thanks to Stuart who has been gently persuading some of his friends to buy the books! (Hope those people are still his friends!) Thanks also to whoever you are in Japan who bought a copy of Mussukunda the other day!
I was back at Gladstone's Library at Hawarden today and yet another chapter of the latest book is down on paper. Well, to be honest, it's not down on paper - it's down on what ever the computer puts it!
Thanks for reading this - more soon.

Sunday, 4 August 2013

One of those weeks!

Well, it has been. The GOES bank balance was looking quite healthy for a while so we sent it out to work! We've made sure a bright young girl can continue her education, repaired the doors of a house to keep the snakes out, helped the family of a young man who has just lost his job - the sort of things GOES does. The support given by Vale Royal Writers and Liverpool's Dead Good Poets has been put to good use.
 I thought I had better do my bit and so I trooped off to Gladstone's Library to put in a hard day working on the new book. Found I'd arrived with a computer with a flat battery and without the mains lead to charge it. Drat, bother and trudget! Managed to get a little done in longhand but the arthritis which has nested in my hands limited that! Drat, etc. again! Still, the cake was good (coconut and chocolate, if you must know ...)
However, we've found a furniture restorer who can mend our wobbly chairs - but he's gone on holiday.
 Another worry is the rumour that Barclays Bank is giving up on money transfers is a bit worrying. We use BAYBA, which has been excellent over the years; quite low charges, good exchange rate and same day service if we pay in early enough. The paying in bit has been through Barclays Bank, here in Stockton Heath and Warrington, and we have used it for years without a single problem. Fingers crossed that it continues to work.
 Oh - nearly forgot; we get lots of requests for help towards buying a sheep from families who want to celebrate the end of Ramadan in style. Sorry, we can't help with this. I realise the importance of celebration after a long period of fasting but we just do not have the money to pay for highly priced sheep.
 The week ended sadly for us, attending the funeral  of a good man. I wished I had known him better, but I liked and enjoyed his company on the few occasions when I had the good fortune to share it. There's no tomorrow in this life.
 Sorry, sad note to end on - keep buying the Malinding ebooks and help build up GOES bank account again! 'Empty Bananas' is the first and the worst but I'm told the others are worth a read for $1 or 77p ...