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Is this really May because you could have fooled me. The weather’s been bloody awful. On Thursday I was freezing my tits off in London whilst dodging the rain. Since I’ve been back in West Yorkshire we’ve seen nothing but rain, OK, the mercury has risen a smidgeon, but seriously? The pair of us would have loved to have gone for a long walk today but with visibility down to a few hundred metres and the rain being constant you feel severely disinclined to venture out and concentrate on other things instead – which is what we’ve done after enjoying a lazy morning. There’s one bright spot. Last Saturday I spent an abortive night waiting for a Pacer train to be unloaded by crane in Huddersfield. There’d been a possibility it would be re-arranged for tonight but that’s not happening, so I’m not in for another soaking and long walk home as the jobs been postponed until June. Instead I’ll be able to have a lovely evening with Dawn and a sensible start tomorrow in order to crack on with some projects at home ready for a new week ahead.

My recent flurry of slide scanning has resulted in over 120 new pictures appearing in my 1991-92 travel gallery. The series has now moved on from Sumatra to Bali which is a little frustrating because it makes me realise what I’m missing – which is about a month’s worth of pictures. Let me explain…

When I returned to London from my trip at the end of 1992 I had 1000s of slides which were unmounted. I’d had many films developed as I’d travelled and posted the pictures back to the UK. Partly because it wasn’t worth the risk of carrying them with me and the possibility of them being stolen but also because of the amount of space they’d have taken in my rucsac. Sadly, some of them got damaged in transit and I’d kept them between sheets of paper in my flat in London which seemed like a great idea at the time – until (inadvertently) I threw the paper away, not realising what it contained. The frustrating thing now – 30 years later – is that I’m starting to remember some of those pictures, and there were some beautiful and unique shots amongst them. But, c’est la vie and all that…

I may have lost some images, but some of the ones I didn’t are still special. The memories they evoke will always stay with me, like the one that I’ve chosen as picture of the day…

I took this shot of a Indian tribal healer ready to go hunting on the island of Siberut in the Mentawai Islands on the 18th June 1992.

How I ended up here and what happened whilst I was is a long, long story that deserves a full blog of its own to do the trip justice. Whilst I’d been in Sumatra I’d heard from some of the more adventurous travellers about the chance to go jungle trekking on Siberut, one of the Mentawai islands off the West coast of Sumatra. I’d also heard about the importance of getting the right guide (one who spoke the local language) as you would end up relying on the hospitality of people like this as it would be their homes you’d be staying in. It really was the most amazing experience but I was lucky. Not only did we have an excellent guide (Joni) and team of helpers, the group I went with jelled very well. We were a mix of Brits, Aussies and Scandinavians from a range of ages but that was no problem. OK, in a longer blog I’ll explain why someone was nicknamed ‘Rambo’ and another the ‘Wingeing Pom’ (not me I hasten to add!). Groups dynamics can make or break experiences like this and they’re often the luck of the draw as you never know who you’ll be trekking with and as a solo traveller that’s really important. I once went camel trekking in India with a small (but mixed) group and had a fantastic experience. When I got back I met a lovely young German girl who’d gone on a similar trip where she found herself alone with five Israeli’s. You can perhaps guess how that went. Anyway, for now I’ll leave you with this image. There’s plenty more in the gallery I mentioned earlier. Please feel free to take a look.

I’ve a favour to ask…
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