Saturday, 4 September 2010

Sunday 29th Evening

Sunday and we decide to invite some influential people to dinner in the hope that they can help smooth the passage of our precious cargo from the docks when it eventually does arrive, as it looks that we may not be still here to do it ourselves.

We speak to Rick Shearn fro the British High Commission and ask him to invite the right people. I have been made aware that a guy called Ray Anderson is in the country working within the High Commission. Ray and I go back more than 20 years and he is a good old Manchester boy with a passion for football (trouble is he follows the reds-still we’ll put up with that to get him on board)

Anyway we invite Ray to a Hotel / Restaurant called The Country Lodge which is high on a mountain above Freetown. He’s up for it, great. So the six of us plus our Canadian friend Professor Annie Bunting from our hotel cram into our car, and when I say cram I mean cram, it’s a shame that the Guinness Book of Records people were not on hand. As we approach the Country Lodge I thought that I had best warn everyone that the last 200 meters of the road were a bit hairy with sheer drops to our right. Some decided to close their eyes, no names. When we got there the guys were a bit shocked by its opulence, as was I when I first saw it in 2003. In fact it was used as the British Army Base for a short time when the UN troops came to assist the government troops during the Civil War. Before we sit down we went to look at the views of Freetown at night and they are spectacular. The first thing that I noticed is that when I have been up there in the past I have looked down on the City and seen the electricity rationed with lights only on in certain sections of the city at any one time, this time the whole city was lit. It was pleasing to see the progress on the power front. Anyway sat down with Ray and Rick to a very nice meal. We told the guys about our problems and Ray assured us that he would get onto the case straight away by contacting people he knew connected to the docks.

We ate well and chilled out over a beer but I have to say that there is something rather uncomfortable about eating in such a grand setting whilst knowing about the abject poverty that the people below us are living in. The only time I have been to the Country Lodge is to show visitors who have not been there before as it is an experience. I have never chosen to eat there regularly and whilst it was an option for us to stay at we were aware of the purpose of our mission and were aware that it was not a jolly for us so we stayed at our more modest, but perfectly acceptable, hotel.

Before leaving Rick Shearn was presented with the new City home shirt by Lakey, Rick prommised to treasure "this wonderful gift"

Meal over we drive back to our place, much to the relief of our driver Ibrahim who had had a tiring day and now its finger’s crossed that Ray can come up trumps.

Tony Griffiths

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