Tuesday, 27 October 2009


and ready to report.

The last week of term was brilliant, knackering, but brilliant! I managed it fueled on more than my normal intake of coffee, jaffa cakes and Frijj choc milkshakes. The resulting hyperactive state got me through 5 tricky days but generated so many positives.

Absolute number one was Alastair Humphries' visit to school. By random chance I picked up Alastair's first book (The Mood of Future Joys) in June, and being a sucker for stories of adventure and ever keen to embark on a bit of vicarious travelling I munched through it then chowed down on the sequel (Thunder and Sunshine).

Basically, round the world by bike, alone (most of the time), 46 000 miles, 4 years and £7000 quid. That makes him pretty unique.The best bits, in my mind, involve the excellent efforts Alastair went to make things hard (like the highest pass in S.America & Siberia in winter @ -40 C). It hit the spot for me as he does an great job of explaining why he felt it important to battle on and seek out 'not the easy way'.

So, having spent my summer reading and day dreaming about bike touring again I persuaded school to divert a bit of money to getting him in to speak to the students. Having done this, and despite having confidence in my assumption that someone who could do that and write two good books couldn't be a total muppet, I will happily admit to there being a significant amount of fear on the morning of his arrival. I'd spent ages and gone to a lot of effort to big up his visit, everyone knew he was coming and that I was responsbile... to make the potential disaster more interesting he was scheduled to speak 5 times, once to each yeargroup of 200 restless students... if he was crap, I was in trouble!

Fortunately crapness did not manifest itself and he was both inspired and inspiring. I lost count of the number of staff and students who made an effort to find me and say how great his talk was.

Double lucky was that he was also a really nice bloke (not necessarily a dead cert. if you imagine the type of person who might want to spend 4 years pedalling round the planet).

So... If you need someone to talk to your group or company look no further - great talk and great bloke. If you need a Christmas present then check out his books.

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