More slow progress being made.

I have had the feeling for a while that I am not really making any significant progress. But I have managed at last to finally make a couple of leaps forward this morning.

But there are still so many things unresolved at the moment, and I am feeling a bit like a plate spinning circus performer, rushing around between the various tasks I am trying to achieve, getting back to each just in the nick of time in order to prevent it all from coming crashing down.

My month in England has got off to a good start, with the fantastic day at the cheese rolling hill, followed by a great meeting with Richard Branson. I have a wingwalk booked on the wings of a biplane on Saturday 20th July, and hope to follow that up on the evening with a gathering of 5 Ian Ushers. But I am still struggling slightly with this one.

Despite several emails and phone calls to several London radio stations, I couldn’t even get a reply from one of them, so at the moment, have not managed to find any help in terms of travel or accomodation for the other Ians. I think I have three of them confirmed for the Saturday, and hope they can still make it if I can’t manage to organise any sponsorship! That would make a total of four of us, one more to convince to come along!

So for the last few days I pottered around London, and met with a few interesting people. I was very pleased to finally meet Adrian in London. Adrian, originally from Zimbabwe, used to live in Cannes, and put me in touch with Lao there who sorted out my luxurious Cannes accomodation. I met Adrian and Helen in London, and we had a fantastic Thai meal. We had a lot in common, and imagine we will share a few more beers together before I leave the UK.

I also had a meeting with a literary agent in the city, which was very positive. He seemed very interested in the idea of a book about my travels, and had many questions. He has given me a bit of “homework” to do, so that he can go and try to sell the project. I will keep you updated of course, on any significant developments there.

I also met with Jay and Rob from They contacted me while in France, and have a fantastic idea for a website they are developing. SweeMo is short for Sweet Moments, and the site is an auction site, much like eBay, but for unusual events and activities. I think it is a great idea, and listed the opportunity to join me for a night in an underwater hotel. I am very proud to find that I am now one of their “Featured Moments”. Take a look here:

What started out as a business meeting in a pub ended up in a full evening out, more than a few beers, a lovely Vietnamese meal, and a dash to catch the last tube home. Check out how busy London pubs get in the picture below – and that’s just on a Monday night.

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On Wednesday I decided it was time to head north and visit mum, and friends back in Darlington and Scarborough. On the way up I visited Colin, who I had contacted through YouTube. He has something in his mate’s field which may just help me achieve another of my goals. There is a picture below that might give you a little bit of a clue. More to follow later on the blog in about a week or so, quite possibly uploaded from a hospital bed!!

I have also been out into town to buy some items for a goal I have managed to schedule for late August, and which needs some advance preparation. The middle picture shows the items I have bought… can you tell what it is yet?

And finally, I have spent a significant part of the last two days organising the fundraising photographs. I got them all printed while down in London, and have been signing and numbering them. I have already had quite a few orders, and so far have raised $1500 from photo donations, which have now all been posted out. Huge thanks to all who have offered their support so far.

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I had thought I might manage to gather 5 Ian Ushers here near Darlington, as there are a couple of new Ian Ushers that have popped up on Facebook, and I have discovered that there are two in Newcastle, and two more in between Newcastle and Darlington. With me here in Darlington now, that means that there are five of us within a 40 mile radius!! I have only managed to contact one of the other four so far, and he is very busy this next week. This is proving to be one of the toughest goals so far!!

I have also been frustrated by flight prices to Florida from the UK. In mid July, when I have to fly, the price for a one-way ticket is outrageous. I could fly return to Australia for the same price. But today I made a great leap forward, when after much searching I found a one-week fly/drive holiday to Orlando, and it is about half the price of a one-way ticket! So I get to Florida, have a car for the time I am there, and can just abandon the return flight, and I save a heap of money. Fantastic!

Does anyone need a flight from Orlando to Gatwick on 23rd July? There is going to be a vacant seat, as I will already be in Mexico by then!

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