Wednesday, 27 August 2008

Intro and day one

Bob had off from work this Monday, making a 3-day weekend, so we decided to use it.

Saturday was Scott Kelby's Worldwide Photo Walk; a day when groups of people all over the globe met to walk around and take pictures to be uploaded onto Flickr for a contest hosted by Scott Kelby, author of some Photoshop books and president of National Association of Photoshop Professionals. Bob recently joined NAPP, and was eager to go on a photo walk. After a little work, he joined the walk in Cambridge, which was to go from 11-2. I figured that still gave us the afternoon, so we booked a hotel on RAF Croughton for Saturday and Sunday nights. (But more about that later)

So, Saturday we got up and ready, packed the van, and stopped by Tesco for bread. Then on to Cambridge, where we took the Park and Ride to a shopping center. I'd discovered that there is a free bus/shuttle service in the downtown area, and it stopped at this shopping center, too. Only not at the same place as the park & ride bus. So we went inside, and finally found the info desk, and the lady told us where to go. By the time we arrived at the meeting place the main group had already started off, but there were still 2 men there. Another came along, and he and one of the first guys went off, leaving us and one other guy. Turns out he wasn't from Cambridge, either, and we knew more about getting around than he did. It was a bit of "blind leading the blind" at times, as we wandered around town and the men took pictures. The children did pretty good at not whining, even when they had to eat lunch while walking.

At one place we stopped for a minute to listen to a street preacher, and then went on to the next corner, where the guys took pictures and decided which way to go. As we were about to step out again I did a headcount and we were one short. Azariah was nowhere in sight! The girls (and our friend) stayed with the stroller while Bob and I went looking. After a few breathless minutes I saw him, surrounded by concerned women, clearly upset and with dirty streaks down his cheeks from the tears, back in front of the preacher. The woman closest to him told me the facts she'd gathered from him "His name is Azariah, you are 13 years old, and his daddy is 14." :-) He was very glad to see us, and stayed close the rest of the day. Afterwards, Taryn said she'd heard the preacher shouting "Azariah was lost," but she didn't know it was "our" Azariah. All I'd heard was "we are all lost [without God]" and hadn't paid any attention.

So, 2pm finally came, and we met up with some other photogs at a pub. The children ran upstairs 3 or 4 times each to use the toilets, while I nursed William and Bob visited. Then we started back toward a bus pickup point, and I had the bright idea to pay my water bill if we found a "payzone" place. (Bills are weird over here!) We saw one, went in, but they said no, we had to go to a "pay point" place - maybe down the street. So we went in there, and they said to pay at a post office. Sigh. Anyway, we made it back to our car about 3:30.

I drove from there to RAF Croughton, about an hour and a half. The Commissary website said theirs was open until 6, but when we arrived at 5:30 it was locked up tight, not to reopen until Tuesday. So we stopped at the gas station for a jug of milk and some poptarts (for breakfast), and (with some difficulty) found the TLF (temporary living facility) where we were to stay. Croughton is a very small base, so the hotel wasn't staffed on weekends. To check in, we got our room key from the security forces office. TLF is actually in the housing area, and is just a regular base house (2 bedrooms), but furnished. So we quickly unpacked and went looking for supper. We ended up going to the motorway services, and eating at the Burger King there. $50something for fast food! But we got full. Then it was back to our room (we took a different route), and bed.

I feel like I'm leaving out details, but it has been a few days...

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