Wednesday, 27 February 2013

What a difference 24hrs can make!

I hate the expression 'it was a roller coaster ride', but I can't think of another way of describing it.
It all started yesterday morning when I spoke to Swiss Air. They had originally quoted me £105 per suitcase for my excess weight due to all the percussion etc I was taking. Then they realised they'd done their sums wrong and it was actually £215 per case!
I was devastated. What a fool I felt for collecting together such varied donations of equipment from friends and strangers all over the place over the past few months, some of which had been money from those who wanted to contribute but had nothing physical to donate. I would now have to use that money to line the pockets of an airline rather than cover the original amount and have enough left over to use directly with the children in Tanzania, and in doing so help the economy there.
Chris immediately got on to Facebook. I have to admit at this time I didn't believe anything could be done.
How wrong I was!!!
The response was off the scale! I think Matt who runs the charity I'll be working with was astonished by the over whelming action from everyone. I tried to explain to him that historically musicians have struggled with global travel with their instruments, and although this was not a journey exclusively delivering instruments, it was still a musician trying to do her work.
There was a huge flurry of tweets, emails to the airline and Facebook postings. I have to give an extra special thank you to Norman Lebrecht who really took this on board for us. He asked us to right a price for his own blog page slipped disc, which has thousands of followers.
I think in the end it was a combination of all these things that started the ball rolling. There were also some household names, who I can't mention, who threw their weight at Swiss Air.
As a result, this morning I had call from the UK Director of Swiss Air. He told me that he was so sorry for what had happened and I would now have to pay just £115 for all the luggage!
Now, some say that maybe they should have ditched the fees altogether but the fact that he also said I can now take not 2 cases but 3! Well I'm over the moon. I of course burst into tears, which was embarrassing, but its massive success for everyone who cared enough to comment and then react in some way.
I have never felt so undeniably grateful to my friends, family and colleagues. It's touched both Chris and I beyond measure.
And as for Chris, well seriously what would I do without him.?.?.!..
Thank you Chris
And thank you for your support. I just hope now my time out there will do all of your hard work justice.
If I can ever help anyone of you in any way, just blooming ask!!!!

Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Swiss air

The whatsits did their sums wrong! And it's actually over double what they'd originally quoted for excess baggage. I really don't want to use every penny kindly donated by you all to pay for the excess, and as my sister said she'd hoped the money would be used directly with the children and nurses there.
But if we have to find more and this is the only way then so be it!
Facebook has been a buzz of activity today with people's ideas on this. None more so than Norman Lebrecht, who has included a piece in his blog. Amazing and thankyou for that.
Lets see what happens in the next couple if days.

Saturday, 23 February 2013

People are amazing!

People are amazing! I know I keep saying it, but every day I'm astounded by the generosity of everyone around me.
My luggage issue has been sorted just by the fact that people from all over the place have donated enough to cover the cost if the excess.
Any money over I will spend out there on the children and maybe even treat the nurses and carers to meal out.
I am eternally grateful. I really mean that!

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Luggage hell

Oh blimey, the suitcases are way over the weight limit! And I mean way over!!! There is no way I am leaving anything behind! It's been donated from far and wide and I'm getting it there some how!

Wednesday, 13 February 2013

Children's letters

Here are 2 letters written by my own children for the children I will meet. I hope I have a lot more.

Too excited to contain myself!

Today I spoke in Herbie's assembly about my trip and asked the children to write short letters with photos attached for me to take. I'm hoping to do the same when I'm out there to bring back. They had lots of questions to ask about my trip, and I found myself suddenly beyond excited and close to tears.
Children are so honest and blunt,and questions like 'what do the children look like?' And what are their names?' Not to mention one boy asking me who's going to look after Herbie and Maimi, will they be alright? Ooh that got me.....
It's becoming real now and what with my mum returning from her own African adventure next Monday I am beside myself with a plethora of emotions!

Sunday, 10 February 2013


What a brilliant idea! My own children's school have suggested setting up a penpal scheme with the children waiting for treatment in the hostel. This trip gets better and better every day!
I wanted to create a long term plan of some sort and to involve local British kids corresponding with the children in Tanzania is a brain wave an hugely beneficial for all. Well done Cypress primary!

Friday, 8 February 2013

Face painting

Just received a stack of face painting stuff in the post from complete strangers! Can't wait to up load the photos from that days workshop. I know the children will love learning to do a batman or butterfly on each other. Yeay!!!

Saturday, 2 February 2013

Face painters

I also have to thank a group of wonderful face painters who I've never met. These incredible people are going to donate old facepainting equipment for me to do workshops with the children.
Also did I mention my balloon modelling obsession now? I'm hooked and getting better by the day. I'm sure the kids will go mad for them X


Tonight I left the coliseum with 3 bin bags full of percussion to take with me. This is all thanks to Mick Doran. He emailed all the percussionists in the west end and asked them to donate and drop percussion in a bin at the coli. Wow what a response. Thankyou so much. It's incredible!