Tuesday, 25 February 2014

Multiply Zambia 2014 - Day Minus One

Monday wasn't supposed to be like this!  We had a great time on Saturday at the national celebration in Birmingham's New Bingley Hall.  The Multiply team was commissioned on stage in the afternoon.  Len led much of the evening, and Matt from Kings Church Medway spoke, too.  Mary and I went on the stay the night in Coventry, at what has become known as '64' (Leamington Road) since the Bright Flame saints moved there earlier in the year.

 Loz - my sometime blog mentor - led the Sunday morning meeting.  We had an erudite menu, including a clip of Steven Fry and Bear Grhylls in dialogue, and several leaders boogying around to the Pharrell Williams 'Happiness' song.  Er, I forgot the exact point, but it was something like hope doesn't equal optimism: which is true.  Sigh: chapter two.

We'd had an invitation to lunch with Roanne, who lives with Neil and Claire.  She, with Mim, her partner in the venture, have set up a not-for-profit social enterprise to import and market crafts from micro finance projects in Bangladesh.  The set-up is called 'Glass Half Full', and they're seeking £35,000 of funding.  The aim is, if possible, to steer this towards Multiply, once there's an income stream.  It's very good.

On the way home to Sheffield, about 5.pm, Mick sent a text to confirm an early (and hasty) meeting first thing on Monday at the Farm Central Offices.  Packing would have to wait.  But mercifully I'd thrown a lot of things into the right piles on Friday night.

It was just as well that I turned up because we hadn't withdrawn any dollars and we also needed some more cash for the conference budget.  I was able to provide the reassuring hums as wads of notes went into my briefcase!  At the lunchtime Brotherhood, Hannah did a presentation on the trip, so it was time well spent.

I called in at Sainsbury's at Fosse Park, Leicester for some cheap petrol, and ventured into the store to get some shortbread biscuit.  This is a travellers friend, being high calorie, acceptable if you've got a funny tummy and compact for packing.  I seemed to walk through the vast building for a quarter of an hour before finding the three (not one) sizes and weight offered.  Then I thought I'd try the self serve check-out.  No, I wasn't motivated by the recent announcement that the main supermarkets record between 4.7% and 7.4% extra stock 'shrinkage' since they've trusted customer with this.

Though not having a clue what to do, I was happy to follow the lady on the video screen, and wafted my packet under the scanner just as she did.  Lights flashed and I got a screen full of asterisks telling me I'd used an invalid card.  Invalid card!?  A ruddy and juvenile customer service assistant duly arrived.  He muttered several sentences in consumerese - incomprehensible to me.  I shrugged and sloped off to wait in queue.  It would have been simpler to have had them delivered from Harrods. 

I felt queasy.  I think it's the side effects of the mozzi tablets.  I was at the wrong end of the store to find my car.  I think even the Lego man from Google Street View would have got lost.

Back home, I broke a fasting habit of 28 years and had tea with everyone.  I aimed to attack some last-minute emails, then the packing.  The broadband at home had choked up again owing to certain residents caning it with film watching.  I gave up on that - another little job to fit in tomorrow before I go - and got back to the cases.  10pm brought triumph: one 17kg and one 18kg.  It had been a long day!

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