Absurdly long day today starting with the total nightmare of hugely swollen knee joints – big ouch and very miserable…

limped down the stairs in the manner of a wounded bod and went to physio. The lovely Nick looked at me and said humph, we chatted (he also had big trip disrupted by the ash cloud) and he fiddled with my knees and then I went over to the Rheumatology clinic where a very nice nurse (under instruction from the even nicer Consultant) stuck a needle full of steroids into me … my Olympic dream ruined!!!! Steroids and an anti inflamatory called narproxin – both apparently rot your stomach in due course and one of them weakens your bones (not good in my case!!) – but if they get me through the next month I’m well chuffed.

However, I was assured later my own GP that it was a ‘vetinary’ dose and would render me cheerful for weeks and help allergic reactions to everything and help the knee issue in as far as anything could.

So – day finally started in ernest at nearly 3pm – frenetic fingers skimming over worn out keys, work done around 9pm and time to have a quick dinner with my brother – over from Hong Kong for one night only – checked in, printed off tickets, photocopied passports etc etc etc and now thougth I’d bid you good night this last night before the adventure begins.

I have a schedule which includes inaugurations of water treatment plants, opening of blocks in primary schools, assessing possible new projects and hopefully seeing a few leemurs – it is pretty relentless but very exciting. A challenge with sore knees but hey life’s too short not to embark on adventure.

One of the highlights of the day was being given my own #hastag on Twitter for the trip – thank you @willperrin for coming up with #MadasEllie … so if you want to follow the adventure on Twitter use that as a search term.

Busy morning tomorrow – hunting for suitcase, clothes, ribbon cutting type dress, spider proof outfits and of course nipping out to have legs waxed – a girl must look her best before a former Ambassador!!

Please click on http://www.justgiving.com/elliestoneley – it’s all in a hugely important casue as I hope to show over ocming weeks with this blog.

Night then … oh and thank you for all the phone calls and other messages of support on Twitter and Facebook and elsewhere hugely appreciated – now give some of your money!!


3 days this time and I’m on the plane to Antananarivo …

so much to get done in the meantime and not helped by the fact that my irritating auto immune system has caused my knee to swell up again – or was it the dancing in cowboy boots on Saturday night in Brixton, or falling over at Kings Cross running for the train last night. Humph- AND we’ve a new government in the UK to get my head around.

Anyway – looking forward to sitting back on the plane and breathing a big sigh of relief having crammed about a year’s work, a hair cut, packing, physio, knee inspection, lawn mowing, conference attending and so on before Saturday evening … am thinking that my case will have to be squashed shut rather than the neat flat packing we are all encouraged to do by those annoyingly perfect people on the TV.

Have given out millions of my little cards so far leading people to this page – so hello if that’s how you found me here – and don’t forget to click the big donate button on http://www.justgiving.com/elliestoneley … I’m going to raise awareness of the social issues in Madagascar and the immense poverty and the amazing work that the Kitchen Table Charities Trust have been able to support out there (mainly through the Madagascar Development Fund)

So – you just have to read and click donate and send words of encouragement – I have to get there, deal with it all, blog, tweet, facebook (yes there is a Kitchen Table Charities Trust page on Facebook) and shout all I can about what I find there AND try and deal with the 740 species of spider that will be waiting just behind Brian Donaldson to meet me off the plane on Sunday lunch time.

My pre election nerves are setting in …I really really hope that all who are elected in both the UK and Mauritian elections, will strive to improve conditions, not just locally, but in so many parts of the world where so little can help the lives of so many.

There are two things I would really like people to do on 6th May if they are UK (or Mauritian) voters…

but first an update on a revoltingly hectic whirl at Ellie HQ … Having failed to fly on the intended date due to interference from the volcano (Madagascar flight now rescheduled for 15th May – hurrah), I’ve been making full use of my time… list in no particular order;

– hen weekend in Birmingham (Janice)
– christening in Bexleyheath ( #babyJoe )
– floors sanded and first coat of varnish applied
– work work work (and looking for work from end June)
– gardening, picking up sticks and peering at tadpoles in Mother’s pond
– doing website for the Friends of Stourbridge Common
– taken to theatre for the Glass Menagerie
– took friend for her birthday trip to theatre for Guys and Dolls (surely an inspiration for Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus)
– trying to unswell my re-swollen knee (booooo)
– being elected onto the PCC at church
– walking on very ugly but wonderful MBT shoes to help flakey knees
– trying to get huge stain out of carpet
– drinking small lake of Margaritas
– finding lots of Malagasy twitterers
– team building with globaltolerance
– learning how to best use the Flip camera that wonderful Simon Berry from http://www.ColaLife.org lent me for the trip
– looking at old photos of my parents in a life long before I landed when they were black and white pictured and setting off on their own adventures in Africa
– considering social enterprise and government
– organising two conferences
– burning toast

ooohhhh and most importantly I have been busy FUNDRAISING … currently around £1200 raised for Kitchen Table Charities Trust – huge thanks to all who have helped so far, hugely hugely appreciated – but I want more – aiming to raise £5000
http://www.justgiving.com/elliestoneley please click donate and encourage everyone else to as well!!!

So – back to where I started… Two small things from which, as the song goes, big things will come…

If you only do two things on election day 6th May 2010 then make them these two:
VOTE – vote with pride, vote from your heart and vote for compassion (people fought and died for the right to vote)


CLICK DONATE http://www.justgiving.com/elliestoneley
– thank you – sorry to be cheeky – it’s all in an incredibly good cause as you will read on the just giving page.

Having done both of the above, the rest of the day is yours and you will feel so much happier!!

On tap

Just look at the expression on these children’s faces – the first time ever in their village that they had been able to access fresh water by turning on a tap and not walking for 2 hours to fetch it from a well in the hills above the village – all for the cost of £1,700.

Go on click donate and vote!

Thank you
Copyright © 2010 Ellie Stoneley