Away with the Opies

Our travel adventures……

Category: Travel

1 Day and counting…

Goodbyes Done…

On Friday 7th Oct 2016 we left Cornwall, on the 8th, 9th and 10th we said goodbye to our amazing families and on the 11th we leave Britain.

Our first stop (before leaving Britain) in the big wide world, was a fab little Croydon cafe called Byte Cafe imageand our carefully calculated daily budget for the next few months compromised in less than 10 minutes!

Underground negotiated, we headed to central London to watch our ‘new boss’ Doug Scott talk about his climbing adventures and charity organisation (who we’re soon to be working with) Community Action Nepal.

What an incredible man he is, brimming with unbelievable stories of mountain climbing madness and talking with utter passion and pride about his charity and it’s connection with the mountain people of Nepal. His infectious enthusiasm has whet our whistles well and truely for the work we’ll be doing over the next few months and we now can’t wait to get started.

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Steve – Doug – Me


Kathmandu here we come…

 

 

 

8 days and counting…

Chaos…

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I need a bigger bag!

23 days and counting…

Back to school

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A few weeks ago our son Jack, a primary school teacher tentatively asked if we would visit Huish Primary School in Yeovil (where he teaches) to take a short assembly about what we’ll be doing in Nepal over the next few months. 


Huish had already very generously decided on Community Action Nepal as their chosen charity for the upcoming school year so we decided it would be a good thing for us to do – after all, how hard could it be talking to a hall full of children, we like children. 
It turns out going back to school is terrifying… 

The day before our assembly appearance and a little muzzy headed from our daughter Meg’s birthday celebrations the night before, our previous solid convictions that we were doing the right thing started to evaporate – what had we agreed to?

Following a hearty breakfast at The River House cafe in Frome (thoroughly recommended) we felt prepared to tackle the day and knowing we couldn’t put it off any longer settled down to the task at hand.

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Jack very impressively whizzed off a 20 minute assembly plan and helped with techniques on how to present to numerous children – eek. James (Meg’s boyfriend) a seasoned pro at public speaking to groups of youngsters chipped in with a single word tip “chemistry!” Apparently it’s important to be an interacting, cohesive duo when on stage together – double eek. Amy (Jack’s wife and also a primary school teacher) gave the easiest advice to follow for the assembly with the youngest children which was to stick to simple vocabulary, use easy words and keep it brief – this we could do! Meg helped with the dreaded “does anyone have any questions” at the end bit so we could practise thinking on our feet. Her idea of aiding us in this matter was by asking such things as Mr Opie, how many bikinis is Mrs Opie taking with her? With everyone present knowing that I have 3 packed  (work in progress, see blog 52 days and counting) hilarity ensued and we called it a night.

Monday morning came, and feeling inadequately prepared, terrified at the prospect of going back to school and without any car keys to get there as Jack had inadvertently taken ours with him earlier that morning we set about our final preparations. We scrounged a car to get to Yeovil – thanks Meg, went through everything one last time and set off with anxious anticipation for the afternoon ahead.

Despite a heart stopping flashback when asked into the headmistress’s office we needn’t have worried.


img_1199The first school we visited was Preston Primary School. The school is a beautifully modern building – including Steve informed me state of the art plumbing! The staff were so welcoming and the pupils a joy. Nervously we delivered our carefully planned assembly which seemed enthusiastically received. The pupils listened to everything said and asked impressively relevant and well thought through questions with not one mention of bikinis!

Preston C of E Primary Scool website

 

img_2370Next to Huish Primary School and the same warm welcome by the staff followed by the eneviatable “Oh so you’re Mr Opie’s Mum and Dad!”It’s easy to see why Jack
likes working here so much, an infectious buzz surrounded the school and as with Preston it felt genuinely friendly and full of life. The children were brilliant, participating with interest and enthusiastic exuberance. Yet more challenging and intelligent questions came our way, with thankfully still no mention of bikinis…

Huish Primary School website

Our day was enormously rewarding and we would like to say a huge thank you to the staff and pupils of both schools for making us feel so welcome. We were so impressed with the youngsters we met and left with total respect for all the hard work and energy that goes into educating them.


Our special thanks goes to Huish Primary for choising Community Action Nepal for their charity this school year – we wish them lots of fundraising fun

x

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

31 days and counting…

Where’s the time going…

It’s been a dreary wet Sunday in Cornwall and so what best to do, we thought, than concentrate on our travelling to do list. Our early optimism about having everything under control soon dissipated when we started adding more to the list than we were ticking off it! As it happens we have huge amounts to do in the 4.5 weeks left before we head off. imageWe need to set our bubbling excitement aside and focus on the tasks at hand. A trip into town to buy merino wool underwear (apparently a serious travelers’ must have) was a good start to that process we thought… So we headed to Truro Cotswold Outdoor – our favourite outdoor apparel store in the area and went about looking for the intended items. Some time later and basket full of unintended items we proceeded to the checkout to come across this…

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It was both surreal and exciting seeing leaflets promoting the organisation we’ll soon be working with right there in front of us.

For anyone interested these are the dates/venues of up coming Community Action Nepal lectures by our future ‘boss’ Doug Scott who’ll be talking about of his Everest adventures and voluntary work. Steve and I are catching his London lecture on the 11th before boarding our plane to Kathmandu on the 12th…


Despite our distractions we completed all intended tasks for the day and first impressions from Steve are that his Merino boxers really are the bees knees!


 

52 days and counting…

Hi Everyone,

This is it, our first blog post – it’s all starting to feel very real for us now. For those of you who don’t already know, Steve and I are heading to Nepal on the 12th October for a few months of volunteering work with the UK based charity Community Action Nepal. We’ll be living and working in remote mountain communities, helping to re-build buildings and infrastructures devastated by the earthquakes last year. Steve will be putting his plumbing skills to good use and I’ll be helping in schools and health posts.

We’re very excited about the adventures that lie ahead, but have many other emotions attached to what we’re about to embark on. The distance from family and friends is going to be the hardest challenge for us to overcome. Being happiest surrounded by the people we love, living so far from home for such a long time will undoubtedly be tough. The lack of creature comforts such as toilet paper – a doddle!

We’ve started the process of tidying up loose ends – a bigger task than we’d anticipated. We’ve written and re-written copious lists of what we need, what we don’t need – sensible must haves, frivolous maybes. I’ve still to master the art of travelling light – a skill that seems completely beyond me. Steve on the other hand is struggling to fill his bag and that includes his plumbing tools! We’ve updated our passports, checked out insurances (a little tricky and somewhat expensive it turns out for high altitude travel). We’ve chosen our back packs, debated if/what sleeping bags to take, how many socks we need, what vaccinations to have, what medical equipment is necessary and so on. We’re getting there bit by bit and all of sudden it feels just around the corner.

Among our to do’s was a blog, this blog. Although a complete technophobe I’ve taken on the task of putting together something that resembles a working site – eek! I’ve had lots of frustrations finding my way around the web world, but also lots of fun. Name chosen – Away with the Opies, we’re hoping to keep everyone at home updated with what we’re getting up to during our travels (wifi willing!)

We’ve set up JustGiving pages where all donations received go directly to Community Action Nepal. There are also links to CAN so you can check out who we’ll be working with – it’ll give a little insight into what we’ll be doing during our time in Nepal.

Welcome to our adventures.

Kate and Steve x

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