Activities and thoughts outside of my work with Barnraiser. Read my CV for professional information.

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  • I got home last night to find an electrician in the apartment. The fuses had blown. This meant that I spent 3 hours in a cold dark room reading a book by candle light. I'm glad I've spent some time in Sweden. One of the things I have learnt is just how pleasurable candle light is compared to a bulb. At home I regularly read by candle light, so it was quite nice to actually being forced to do nothing for a change.

    The electricity came on at 10pm, so I cooked something and sat down to look at the latest war fiasco. The media are loving this and we just buy it. I fully recommend switching your TV off and doing something different.

    I got a taxi home the other night. This was a big mistake. I walked up to the taxi and realized that it did not have any door handles on it. The taxi driver opened the door from inside, so I climbed into the oldest shitiest car I've seen in a long while. Wanting to go home, I did not mind this too much. "Can you take me to Sunny hill?", I said. The driver just looked at me. After a moment I said "Sunny hill?". He continued his stare until he said "Pristina". "Yes", I said, "sunny hill, 2 minutes south east of here, past the library, then up the hill". "Pristina", he said. Ok, I thought, let's do this a bit at a time. It just so happens that Albanian for library is exactly the same as Swedish for library. "Bilbilotek" I said. Unexpectedly "Pristina" was the reply. "pom Pristina Bibliotek" (which is 100% ok Albanian as far as I know)". He just stared at me. 5 minutes had now passed, with is pretty devastating seeing as it's only a 20 minute walk to the apartment. Eventually I got him to start the car and follow my hand directions. This resulted in me virtually grabbing the wheel on two occasions. In fact on reflection, I should have just taken his car, but then it's the worst car in the world so I'm not sure what I would have gained by doing that.

    We arrived at the apartment at which point he held up 2 fingers followed by 5 which means 2.5 Euro, the standard fee for a taxi ride in Pristina. I said "no" and held up two fingers (felt so good). I then explained to him in polite English with appropriate smile, "Your clutch plate is slipping. At worst you need to replace it. I then explained that I once did this in a field on my trusty Series II Land Rover and it took 4 of us 2 hours. I then hinted to him that if he was going to drop the gearbox out, he may wish to consider replacing the first gear as it is clearly shod. I then started going through the basic principles of tappet adjustment, carburetor tuning and general servicing techniques. After this I explained that I would not normally give this kind of information for free, but I liked him. I said goodnight, gave him 2 Euro, got out of the taxi and walked to the front door with the knowledge that yet again I had done the world a good deed in true British colonial style.

    Ok, ok. This is not the taxi, but it's close.