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.


Lovely relaxing evening, happy sunny day, walk along the Cob (in Lyme Regis picking my mother up after her holiday down here), back to her hotel for dinner and I thought, as we ate scrumptious home made chocolate and drank mint tea, that  she would be interested in me reading to her about Madagascar and Antananarivo (the capital – also known as Tana) …

She wanted to know about flora and fauna … we got through flora well and then the first whole chapter of the Brandt guide on fauna was about spiders … instead of closing it quickly and reflecting on the lovely Lemon Posset I had just eaten,  I read it …

oh oh oh oh my word

web throwing spiders, giant golden orb spiders with webs stretching between lamp posts, jumping spiders … basically it says there are spiders pretty much everywhere.

I shall have to go around with my trousers tucked into my socks, my hair up and in a hat incase one gets into my hair, and … eeeeeeeeeekkkkkkkkkk

I can’t demonstrate my total wimpish phobia in the face of real issues like poverty, malaria, malnutrition and so on.

Tomorrow I must go to the Lyme book shop and buy a book on conquering your phobias …  I had convinced myself that the spiders would all live on the other side of the island to where I will be but oh no, blooming Hilary Bradt tells me that they are ubiquitous and that ‘spider spotting’ is one of the main reasons to go to Madagascar and they are everywhere and all you need to do to see them is ‘just look up’ and they will be hanging from the lamp-posts and rafters waving their hairy legs and laughing down at the poor petrified passers by …

I am not reading another word about wildlife before I go.

humph (and eeeeeeek)

However – the evening has ended up on a positive note … I just checked my JustGiving page http://www.justgiving.com/elliestoneley and due to the support of extremely generous friends, colleagues and a total stranger; £475 has already been raised for KTCT.

Fantastic – thank you so much …

and to those of you who haven’t yet please please consider pressing the Donate button – how ever small the donation it will make a huge difference – read what I wrote in the ‘About All This’ section of this blog and you’ll understand more about how a little helps alot… and it makes me feel better about going to the most spideriferous nation in the world!!