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During my travels newspaper columns were published weekly in the Dutch daily newspaper
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This project has been supported by these great and warmhearted companies:
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Reports

Wednesday, 25 July 2001
Cleadon Village --> Stockton-on-Tees (UK)

The child minder of the Lawson family dropped me off on the road towards my destination Stockton-On-Tees. Hitching did not become that necessary, as my new host Ian made an appointment for me to see a dentist and picked me up along the road...
Today the Lawson family let me sleep in, so after a shower I met Louise, the child minder, taking care of the children. After breakfast she took the children with me and dropped me of at a parking space along the A19 towards Sunderland.

Ready to hitch again.

But it wasn't easy. Cars and trucks past me in high speed and there was no chance I would get a fast lift at this spot.

Until I got a phonecall from Ian, the host of my destination in Stockton-On-Tees. He wondered where I was at this moment. He also read about my toothache on the message board. "Should I make an appointment with a dentist for you?" Oh please, yes!

When he called me back a couple of minutes later, he confirmed he made an urgency appointment at a dentist in Stockton-On-Tees. The main question was: would I make it on time?

"Well, Ian... I don't know that exactly..."
"If you tell me where you are, I will come over and pick you up," Ian said. "It's only an half an hour drive."
Wow. Well thank you!

So I settled down in the grass along the parking lane aka garbage dump and leaned on my backpack - enjoying the hot sun... Why did I hide my short trousers all the way in the bottom of my rucksack?

Exactly 30 minutes later I was awakened by the horn of this big Rover 75, with this big guy in it waving to me.

"Ian?"
"Yes, nice to meet you!"
I got into his car and we drove off to his place.

In the car I realized that the dentist's appointment came just in time. I am not someone who complains about pain that fast, I just become very silent and I apologized to Ian about that. It was bothering me very much.

Ian is a service manager of the catering kitchens at Hygena, the manufacturing arm of MFI. Hygena is a big factory complex, where kitchens and all kind of furniture are produced.

But he will quit the job next week, joining his partner Tony with his growing enterprise as translater for the deaf.

At their home in Stockton-On-Tees I met Tonie, in his office, very busy with phonecalls and appointments. He assists deaf people in all kinds of occasions, like with hospital visits and even police investigations.

I was amazed by their home. It wasn't an especially big house, but the internal design was just very beautiful. And they had a great flowering garden - I almost suspected they had a gardener, but they do everything themselves.

When I asked Ian how he knew about my project, he laughed. I said: "Oh no." He said: "Yes. Also." Steve Wright again...

Ian submitted his information spontaniously. "I just thought this was a great idea, so why not invite you over? Never knew you would really come over, haha."

I had to be at the Roseworth Dental Practice between 3 and 5, as they might fit me in their schedule. When Ian brought me up there, we arrived at a place that looked unpleasant from the outside, with metal bars on the windows. But inside it was the usual sterile look of a dentistry.

I had to fill out some forms and wait a few minutes, before the dentist called me in. He noticed a crushed filling, which caused the sensitive feelings on the nerve as all kind of dirt could enter the gap. So after he nombed the left side of my mouth with this curved needle (I just can't stand needles!!!), he removed the old filling and placed two layers of new fillings on it.

That should do it.

I hoped so, but I couldn't feel anything anymore at that moment. The bill of the consult would be paid by my insurrance company in The Netherlands. Thank God I am insurred all the way during my journey!

I found it very kind of Ian to stay with me all the time. He must have been waiting on me for over 90 minutes, but he wasn't really bothered with it. Very nice of him!

Back home, I browsed on Ian's cable internet connection (that is fasssst!) and actually waited until I would get some my feeling in my mouth back.

Ian and Tony decided to take me out on a dinner and Ian had already booked a table at the Three Tuns in Osmotherley.

And Osmotherley was quite a drive. On the way to the restaurant, we visited their friend Elaine, a dental nurse by coincidence.

She lives in a very small cottage, which was once built for the servants at the neighbouring pub.

She heard the story about my toothache and as she is a dental nurse, I asked her if she could scale my teeth (taking away scale off my teeth). "Yes, sit down, let me get my tools."

There I sat in her back yard on a bench with my mouth wide open while Elaine scaled my teeth. There wasn't much to scale, she said. And I had beautiful teeth, only: I shouldn't smoke. I know...

Elaine came with us to the restaurant, where we first had a drink outside on the terrace. The Three Tuns is a very nice restaurant amongst a row of solid stone 17th-century cottages. I mean: this is real old England!

And about the meal! Afterwards I heard that this restaurant has received two diamond stars and a Michelin-listing, but I think they deserve another more. Ooh, was this delicious.

When we were finished, we were the last people in the restaurant, so that was a sign that we enjoyed it in there pretty much. With a full stomach Tony drove us back home again, after dropping Elaine off at her home.

At home we all were ready to go to sleep, while it wasn't really that late. Probably it was the wine, the food, the pleasure...

But man, did I sleep bad this night! Unbelievable...

Good night Stockton-On-Tees!

Ramon.





HEATWAVE in Britain!
BBC News reports:
London, the South East and the Midlands will experience weather more akin to the Mediterranean, with temperatures of 31C and 32C.

These temperatures are considerably higher than the average for this time of the year, which is around 22-23C for the south.

British Weather Services expert Jim Dale said: "It`s going to be the hottest time of the year. In the last week of July and the first week in August, there will be a sustained heatwave. The UK will be sucking up tropical air from the south.
The temperatures in the surrounding seas are a Celsius degree warmer than they were this time last year."

There was an outside chance the previous record for the highest temperature in the UK could be broken, he said. That was recorded at Cheltenham, Glos on August 3 1990, when temperatures reached 37.1C (98.8F).




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