Friday, 27 February 2015


Why do we sometimes refuse a request? It's a fair question. 'Will you buy me a taxi?' Sorry - we just don't have that sort of money. Perhaps we don't know you? Perhaps we have given you help and you let us down? Did the money we gave you for your brother's school fees find its way into your pocket and not into your brother's school?
 Perhaps the undertaking is just too much - we are a 'micro charity'. We help in small ways: we help children attend school - we have helped about a hundred, mainly girls. Education is one of the areas we have to prove that we are reliable. Let's say we're helping Awa. Awa is five years old when we meet her. She's very bright, very lively and longing for education. her big brothers go to school but the family just can't find the money for Awa.
 But Awa doesn't want to go to school just for one day, or one week or one month or one year. Awa wants an education, and an education make take years and years. If she's going to be a nurse or a teacher or whatever, her education may last until she's 21 years old. So our funding must be reliable.
Little Awa too must be reliable - she must attend school and work hard. We need to see receipts for her school fees and we must see her reports every year. We will try to visit her school - and that can lead to expense too!
 Why am I thinking about reliability at the moment?
Joyce and I are not the youngest people on the planet so, although we have been cyclists for 60+ years we found that we would like a little help from our bikes in the form of small electric motors.
We saved up and bought one each. The shop we bought them from has proved very reliable - they gave us good advice, they let us ride round the town (Buxton - a very hilly place!) and they have serviced and repaired them ever since. They have been reliable - and that's what we try to be too.
http://www.JuicyB  collected two of our bikes today to service them and prepare them for another beautiful British summer.
 And because the people who run the shop are really great they have given us things which we sold to raise money. And that money has gone towards helping children go to school.
Thanks for your patience!
Did I mention you can buy travel adventure stories - the Malinding village series, from Amazon ebooks? That money too goes to help people in need in The Gambia too! Ah, yes - I did mention it!
Best wishes,
P.S. Joyce has ridden her Juicy Bike in two sponsored bike rides to raise money for GOES - I may have mentioned that as well!

Tuesday, 24 February 2015

Cover for Empty Bananas!

Ed's new cover - thanks to Adam Vickerstaff, designer. Hopefully this will shortly appear on the Amazon listing of the Malinding village series of E-books. All income from the sales of the books goes (!) directly into GOES' bank account (and alsmost immediately afterwards straight out again to help needy people in The Gambia).

Monday, 23 February 2015

A mixed bag!

It's been a funny sort of day. Started off by getting a clean bill of health from the clinic - they manage my asthma and angina.  Sun has shone all day!
 Thought I would admire the nice new cover for Empty Bananas (designed by Adam Vickerstaff) - it wasn't on the book. Drat! bother! Trudget!  I was certain I'd installed it last week. Checked with KDP - I had managed to download it but I hadn't pressed the 'save & publish' button. I have now - Empty Bananas has a gleaming new cover illustrating Ed's* progress from a small boat to a Gambian village (Malinding). You can even see his motor bike basking in the shade ...
 Nearly forgot - the nurse, Joanne, at the clinic this morning was interested in the work GOES does and offered to donate some equipment when we next travel out to the Gambia.
 To offset all this good news we still have no word that the parcel containing more ECG paper for Banjul Hospital has arrived. Fingers crossed - I can't see that the contents would be on any use to anyone else.

*Ed is the anti-hero chap who ... well, you could just read the books and sponsor GOES which helps real people!

Thursday, 19 February 2015

Best wishes to the world!

Yesterday was the 50th anniversary of Gambian independence. I wish this tiny African country, inhabited by some of the most wonderful, kind, caring and generous people on the planet, a long and happy future.
Today is the Chinese New Year. One of the tiniest and one of the largest civilisations - how much can one learn from the other?
And here's me, 79 years old, still muddling along, creaking a little (on a good day), surviving due to parental genes and the NHS, ready to face my 80th year with another book to finish, more poetry to write, more friendships to celebrate.
May I wish everyone good health, long life, love and happiness - best wishes to you all. It's raining here today but the sun still shines.

Wednesday, 18 February 2015

Gambian 50th Independence Day

We wish all Gambians a very happy day. We are proud and happy to be associated with this small country with such a big heart. We have met so many kind, caring and generous people over the years that we feel very much at home on the smiling coast of Africa!
Wish you all good health, long life and happiness!

Monday, 16 February 2015

Good news Monday!

Good news and back to beginnings! 'Empty Bananas', the first of the Malinding Village e-books has a new cover! This time it's a proper one designed by a proper cover design artist and it's better than anything I could even imagine.
 Adam Vickerstaff, an artist who specialises in 3D design, has worked hard to provide a new cover behind which Ed and Sira and Binta wait to amuse or shock you. As soon as I remember how I'll load the new cover into Kindle Publishing - I know I've managed to download it onto the PC ...
 You can visit Adam's website at
He's also a writer - 'All For Socks' is on Amazon.
Thanks again, Adam.

Thursday, 5 February 2015

More bits of paper!

The trial pack of paper for the ECG machine in Banjul Hospital arrived safely in just under a week. It is the correct size and the ECG machine car whurr or wizz into action again. So we sent more paper - ten packs this time, 3oo z-fold sheets to a pack. One little snag: because 10 packs of ECG paper, carefully packed, weighs just over 2kg, and because the Post Office charges a huge amount to send anything heavier than 2kg to The Gambia the cost of the exercise seemed enormous. But there's good news too. At a meeting of the Vale Royal Writers' Group on Monday night a good fairy writer slipped us a generous donation - so we could pay the postage! Things often work out nicely.
 We'll be away from home for a few days; we need a little R & R. Sadly, it won't be a trip to Africa - funds are a little low at the moment but as one of my favourite Dickens character said 'Something will turn up' and it did - just like it did last Monday!
 Still, please don't stop buying the Malinding books - the latest, the final (probably) one is selling well. I said something will turn up ...