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During my travels, my compensation for free accommodation for one night, was for me to write a daily travel diary. Of how I got to my next location, the people who would host me, the food I was offered and everything else. Below you find the archives of the highly extensive reports. Know that English is not my native language and most reports were written at high speed around midnight. Enjoy.

Sunday, 17 June 2001
Birmingham Airport --> Sheffield (UK)

I must say airport benches don't sleep that good, so I needed a better sleep at the house of my next hosts Wendy & Colin in Sheffield, who are now trying to learn Dutch... but...
When I finally drowsed off to sleep last night I woke up at 8.30 am in the morning. The Blues Bar was already running again and people were drinking their coffee and watching the planes outside.

When she noticed I had awaken, one waitress at the bar gave me a cup of double espresso (so I’d really wake up!) and she told me I could try to get a breakfast at the Burger King.

While listening to Michael Jackson singing ‘I wanna dance with you, all night’ I told my story to the manager and before I was finished he already pushed a package with a bacon and egg sandwich in my hands. ‘Er… Thank you!'

Yesterday I already had a conversation with my next hosts, which I would meet tonight. Just to make clear I wasn't wrong with this date again.

But this time Wendy Jervis was going to pick me up and take me back, all the way to Sheffield. That means a one hour drive to me and a one hour drive back! Just so I wouldn't have to hitchhike after such a horrible night!

I was really appreciative for that, that's for sure! She would pick me up around noon, so after my breakfast I had a walk around the fully functioning airport again, collected some leftover newspapers and got up-to-date with the latest news...

Worth mentioning while reading the thick Sunday newspapers in three hours:

- The average age of British fatherhood has passed 30 for the first time!

- Wembley Stadium could still be loosed out to Birmingham, according to the British Football Association.

- On a Texas' ranch Bush and Putin will be going horse-riding together.

- British largest main-street chain stores will start to accept the new EURO-currency, long before the referendum will be called. Oh, stop fussing about that! Just drop the Pound, it's just money....

- The weather: Generally cloudy with outbreaks of rain. They've must published that line more often before, this is England.

And I read some odd news:

- There has been an outbreak of crop circles appearing near Hampshire, Dorset and Wiltshire, just days after the foot-and-mouth restrictions were lifted. Decent chaps, these little green man...

Well, I won't bore you with more clippings, you want adventure!

Around 12.30 Wendy picked me up with her Volkswagen Convertible and after I got settled in the car, she said she'd try not to ask me the famous 20-most-asked-questions...

She did that actually quite good: after three hours she only asked 7 of them...

While driving to Sheffield we talked about the little differences in the Dutch language compared with English.

Wendy even tried to learn some Dutch, join her:
canal = kan allemaal; land = weiland; hamburger = broodje kroket; who = waarom; my name is = weet je wel wie ik ben; I am going for a walk = als jij niet ga, ga ik; I have to go to the toilet = ik ben pissig; etcetera.

That'd be enough, otherwise all my future hosts will try to speak Dutch with me...

When we arrived at the house of Wendy and her friend Collin Reynolds I got a excellent lunch to fill my stomach. I really couldn't ask for anything else than a afternoon nap, so I slept from 3 to 7pm, which was very very very relieving!

And Wendy had even offered me to stay another day in Sheffield, which would do me good after 6 days of steady travelling. Because I already thought about taking every Sunday off and stay an extra day with that host.

And this is a their romantic story: Wendy and Colin met each other through the internet. It was way back in 1994 that they had this chat-relation going on and after a few months they decided to meet each other in real life. No one could predict that they'd live together after another few months!

Currently they now run their own -pretty successful- internet company, called The Net Effect. And while I thought about the Dutch two-persons internet design and strategy company, they were intensively busy with it! By hearing them talk about their business, I could conclude they were doing well! They even have clients in the USA!

With her nickname Cassie, Wendy also publishes on her own personal website, The Igloo.

After I woke up from my nap I was totally present again, and unfortunately Wendy and Colin had quite some laughs about me during dinner (Dutch stupidity I guess?). Maybe it were my remarks on the 20 most-asked-questions or the Dutch course.

After dinner, around 9pm, Wendy came up with the idea to watch a DVD-movie. But I only had to write a report about yesterdays' adventure at the airport (I even wanted to call it "The Air Crash", ha.. ha.. ), so two hours later Wendy already got to bed and I watched "Billy Elliot" together with Colin.

And may I say that this is a great movie! Maybe you've heard about it: it's about The life of 11-year-old Billy Elliot, a coal-miner's son, and he's forever changed one day when he stumbles upon a ballet class during his weekly boxing lesson.
Before long, he finds himself demonstrating the kind of raw talent seldom seen by the class' exacting instructor.

And then it is about making choices in life and about giving each other what everybody deserves, you know, the moral stuff.

A very decent and good-acted (!) feel good movie which also gives a good view of life in England in the depressing 80's.

Thanks and good night, Sheffield!


"Don't let life discourage you; everyone who got where he is had to begin where he was."- Richard Paul Evans in the media today:

Der Schnorrer (in German)
"Schnorrend um die Welt"

Great Falls (English)
"Stranger stays for free; experts say it's not a bad idea!"

Ludo's map Where is Ramon? is now in English! Go check that out!