After months of planning we are finally on our way! Our travels will take us to Singapore; Cambodia to visit the charity where I am a trustee, United World Schools, and the school we sponsored; to the Solomon Islands to dive for two weeks (via Singapore and Brisbane briefly); then to New Zealand for 5 weeks, joined by Tommy, to see all our old ‘nannies’ now married with children; next to French Polynesia for more diving and some island-hopping, including to the Cook Islands before crossing the date line to LA for one night and three weeks in Colombia. Phew! Continue reading →
This week I have been rushing around preparing for the visit of our CEO, Tim Howarth, and our schools networking evening. The aim is to introduce affluent Singapore international schools to our school partnership scheme and encourage them to build a long-lasting relationship with one of our rural schools in Cambodia, Myanmar and, soon, Nepal. It only costs £16,000 (S$30,000) to build a school and £6000 (S$10,000) to maintain it annually, equivalent to US$1 per child per week. Talk about value for money! Continue reading →
On 12 September 1945, Admiral Lord Louis Mountbatten, Supreme Allied Commander of the SE Asia Command, accepted the unconditional surrender of all occupying Japanese forces in SE Asia from Gen. Itagaki, on behalf of the Supreme Commander Field Marshall Terauchi, who had suffered a stroke. Although the war had officially ended on 2 September, when the Japanese surrendered to Gen MacArthur on board the battleship Missouri, for those still interned in the noxious POW camps in Singapore the end only came on September 12th. Continue reading →
It’s Chinese New Year next week – these jolly mandarins are everywhere; a taxi driver gave me the big one!
Have spent the past few days making the long-awaited photo book for Louise. I felt compelled after reading my friend Sarah Helm’s harrowing account of the Ravensbrück women’s death camp, If This Is a Woman. It’s one of the real horror stories of the Second World War and was buried behind the Iron Curtain, with the Communists only commemorating their own, and not the thousands – maybe as many as 60,000 (not only Jews, but French, Czechs, Germans -asocials – Poles, English and American SOE agents) – who were murdered there. There was a strong link between the two camps to Auschwitz where all my Czech family, apart from my father, his mother, two uncles and two cousins (who were kindertransport) perished. I will never buy a Siemens product again. You’ll have to read the book to find out why. Continue reading →
I was visiting a dear friend who has just been diagnosed with leukaemia and was chatting to him about why some people get cancer and some don’t. I expounded my theory that I am convinced that both Ross and I both became ill after the great grief we experienced when we lost our darling Louise. My friend was also trying to make sense of his illness, coming hot on the heels of his wife’s breast cancer (as couples we are members of our special cancer couples club, but we won’t invite you to join it, it’s terribly exclusive) and was able to contextualise their respective illnesses within a bereavement framework. It was he who pointed me in the direction of Prof Janet Lord’s research on how age alters our immune response to bereavement.
The change of pace has been noticeable. Whisked away from London in some style on BA ( a windfall trip first class), I find Singapore surprisingly cool and pleasant. There’s a stiff breeze on our 11th floor balcony, and my plants are swishing and swooshing while the sunbirds chirp a merry greeting several times a day. The orchids have sprouted great long flower stems and I can admire them as I sit on my chaise longue, reading my friend Sarah Helm’s harrowing story of Ravensbruck death camp, If This Is A Woman. At times I weep from the gratuitous cruelty of this untold story. Continue reading →
WordPress.com prepared a 2014 annual report for my blog. In sheer size of viewing numbers they surmise that the concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people; vickygoestravelling was viewed about 18,000 times in 2014. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 7 sold-out performances for that many people to see it. That’s quite a good feeling! Keep clicking please…
Here are the most viewed blogs, illustrating the ups and downs of the year – which has ended nevertheless on a high! Clear health, on my skis again, despite being taken out TWICE in one week by beginners, and now having a duvet day to try and rest my poor old back, bum and shoulder, which are all covered in bruises! But I will not be deterred and will venture out when it’s quieter tomorrow, New Year’s Day, when everyone is hung-over! Continue reading →
On Monday 15 December I had my check up with the Prof. I had flown in the day before and had spent the day with Tommy, first at the Bench, with a late birthday tribute to Louise (always in our thoughts), and then in the pub with some of Louise’s friends watching the football. Consequently felt not only anxious about Monday’s appointment but also rather hung-over! Continue reading →