Across Continents

Ken's Blog

London callings

February 5th, 2012

Layer Cake. Quite sure. Sat enjoying a mug of tea in Westminster’s Regency Cafe, I’d soon realised it’d been the film setting for a rather violent altercation. The plain, functional interior felt too perfect, too neat, to be real. But it was. Told it’d made the Telegraph’s Top Ten for places to breakfast. But with a very down-to-earth clientele.

My request for Eggs Benedict twice had been greeted with a friendly acknowledgement that it was simple order. I took this to mean quick. Which would be good. Much needed sustenance to alleviate baggy heads after an evening with friends. One of whom, and on who’s sofa I’d spent the night, had taken me the short distance to the cafe.

I’d headed into London for a couple of days. Few calls to make. Royal Geographical Society. The Outward Bound Trust. Discussing what happens next. Reports to be written. Funds to be raised. Finding myself ever more comfortable living out of a small rucksack. Settled into a transitory existence. For now at least.

When it came, our breakfast order was announced with a clarity, a diction any Shakespearean actor would have been justly proud of. And not too soon. Earlier recollections of empty wine bottles and the few remaining dregs of a decent port needing to be expunged.

[With especial thanks to friends Mark, John and Dan, plus Shane and Amy at the Royal Geographical Society, and Kristina and the team at The Outward Bound Trust]

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Outward Bound in Hong Kong

January 14th, 2011

Rations - web

Around the centre a few groups. One readying to depart on expedition. Sorting out rations. Another raft building. Others cleaning up after journeying by kayak. The remainder out trekking or on the water.

Raft - web

I’d come to Outward Bound Hong Kong’s centre on the eastern side of the New Territories. Met with Safety Manager Aaron for a quick introduction before setting off to explore the site. Although independent, both the UK Trust and the Hong Kong charity share very similar philosophies towards helping young people discover their true potential. What they’re really capable of.

Elements of the UK centres. The relative seclusion of Loch Eil. The waterfront facilities of Aberdovey. The tranquility of Ullswater. A confidence building high wire course. Variety of boats, including an ocean going yacht.

Tom - web

And a few overseas instructors. Brian from Minnesotta. And Tom. Whom I’d met well over a year previously. Back in The Outward Bound Trust’s Aberdovey centre. And then there was local instructor Morris. Accomplished touring cyclist with plans to ride from Hong Kong to England. We agreed Somerset might be a good spot to finish. Small world.

[With particular thanks to Laura, Tom (pictured), Lars and Aaron for making the visit possible]

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