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"Smarter Aid, not more Aid!"

The Northumbrian Abroad

Well, here we are! I succumbed.  Rather than blogging on other people's sites, I have decided to have my own.  Why?  Well like most of us, I think I have something to say and some folks out there may be interested.  I quite often find especially with larger media, that they tend to want things expressed in their own way, imposing a kind of censorship.  Well this is the pure unadultered me!  As a person who comes from a distinct part of the world, betwixt the warring English and Scots, I think we have our special characteristics.  Those stand us in good stead when plodding around the world.  So I like to compare and contrast situations at home or in the past but within living memory, with those encountered in the developing world.  My blogs delve in to some intricate details as does my website.         
My "Alnwickdotes" are of course anecdotes, usually lighter stories of things that have happened over the years.  Please go to the link below for a quick-list. Most still have a development connection.  Over time, I will write up more of them, as well as blog on any subject in my areas of interest trending on social media.  I explain the term Alnwickdote in No 1 in the series. One clue is Alnwick may be the "most mispronounced place-name in the UK".
Alnwick Castle and the Lion Bridge                         
My life journey briefly has taken me far in to the distance from Alnwick Northumberland (and back)  to Leicester; Kingston-upon-Thames, Exeter, Dorchester, Saint Helena Island, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Malawi, Rwanda and Cambodia plus many stops on the way. You can access my latest CV hereI m I must warn you, and maybe apologize in advance? I do tend to rant; rave, groan and moan, perhaps a North-Eastern attribute, but then who would not want to associate with the High Level Ranters?  (For the uninitiated, this great band was called after one of the 5 Bridges now 7 that grace the River Tyne in Newcastle, made famous by the Nice.) Their equally talented and humorous peers, the band Lindisfarne, are more famous - lads I met in Kingston before they were rich and famous! (The Fog on the Thames was all wors!).

Actually, as my blogs show, there is not so much difference between life in cities like Newcastle and Phnom Penh, despite the passage of time and distance.  Listen to my chum Chris Minko and his great Cambodian girl singers in Sin City. Just like Eric Burdon and the Animals "We gotta get out of this place"?

You can go to my Google Drive for some of my Classic Photographs - this is a work-in-progress that I started in August 2017. Takhmau, Cambodia is now the place I have lived in longest, as you can see by the "Takhmau Girls" who have served my beer or over the years.

My background picture is of Longhoughton Quarry Pond.  I see it every day when I crank up the computer!  When we grew up, the pond was small but a constant source of fascination with the fishes, frogs, and newts. Apart from a few fishermen, few people seem to go to enjoy its beauty*.  Maybe that is because one thing has not changed.  There may be still explosive charges to extract the stone.  Many years later when in Malawi, Africa, I recalled instantly those days.  Young Pioneers.......

* PS - Well that was until Vera visited! (A TV detective show set in and around #northumberland Great Tweet of her in Amble here 15 June 2018.  I've taken the liberty of borrowing the photograph too.

About Me

The inaugural AGM of the new local NGO for indigenous people in Mondulkiri, Cambodia. I am a bit too centre-stage for my liking, but they like it!

I am of course a long-time worker in international community development and human rights, but have come a long way from my Northumbrian origins. In this blog, you'll find more stories and details than in my website.

Doing exactly what it says on the tin: #Foreign Aid amid #Covid19

TV advertisements for charities UK most March 2020
Doing exactly what it says on the tin."* Does Foreign Aid do exactly what is said or promised on TV advertisements?

Out-of-Town but not the Talk-of-the-Town

Takhmau lies just 11 kilometres to the South of Phnom Penh.  It is the provincial capital of Kandal and still has a provincial feel to it even though it is developing rapidly.  Takhmau has become a favourite play-ground, with a great variety of entertainments and eating/drinking venues. My earlier blog tells the history and ups-and-downs of many of them.

Last week I wrote about one of our newer restaurants. It still features below.

Today I am featuring our latest "Ice Box" restaurant bar, made from containers.

"Doing Good" not a God-given talent.

Leigh Matthews’ new podcast series on “Doing Good” gets off to a great start with Karen Flanagan, whose fascinating life-story is a worthwhile listen in its own right.

Something must be done about St Helena

In the ions of history, BREXIT is the mere bat of an eye-lid.   By contrast St Helena in UK politics is a chronic irritating case of myopia.  Originally I was just going to do a supplement to my most popular blog on St Helena, thanks to re-awakening by Mr Ken Westmoreland after we shared some insightful exchanges.  Instead I decided on a Sunday morning blog to help us recover from our UK-election hangover.  If BREXIT is almost done, "Let's now get St Helena done!"

United Kingdom First Impressions and No, Nos!

The following piece was written for Learning English Cambodia
"Why study in UK?

You’ve succeeded at last.  Your dream has come true and you’ve finally arrived to be a student in the United Kingdom. Well you will have had your first introduction to this quaint nation’s many peculiarities. You’ll face many more before you’re safely settled in to your new home for the next chapter in your life.

Yes that first introduction is to the queue, the orderly queue, that you went through at Border Control. Woe betide anyone who jumps the queue, any queue, in the UK. They are soon admonished.