Me in Cricieth, Wales (taken by my aunt)

2001 - A Year in Review

2001 Country of Living: England

Well, looking back on it this year has been a very eventful one with my deciding my course for the next two years as well as entertaining a few visitors:

  • My mother and her husband visited early in the year on the way to/from South Africa. It was a good visit and we did manage to get to see a few things in the city and the country.
  • Mother later visited in the spring when we went skiing in Austria for a week. We were in the resort of St. Anton and, although the weather was bad, had a few good days of very challenging skiing (see my web page here for more information about St. Anton).
  • My friend Johnny, his wife, mother and child visited in early May and spent a few days looking around the country (they have never visited before). Unfortunately the weather was not all that pleasant but they had a good visit anyway.
  • My aunt Lois visited in October and we managed to get out to see a few things including a visit to North Wales (one of my personal favourites).

The defining event or series of events over this past year has been the decision to go to the Gambia with the VSO organization for the next two years (see here for more information about my decision and VSO in general). It was a difficult decision and has caused a few problems but I think it was a good decision though only time will tell! This has meant that the year has been filled with attending various training courses which are held just outside of Birmingham as well as getting various inoculations for my visit.

Along with the earth-shattering, I have also received a new car from work which I put 1,000 miles on in the first weekend (Ireland…). It is a Peugeot 206 GTI (2L) which replaces my Honda Civic V-Tech (1.8L). It is not as nice inside as the Honda but it is certainly very peppy and has enabled me to get out and about a lot.


Once again travelling has been high on my agenda with visits to no less than seven countries on two continents. Though not quite a record, I did rack up the miles…

In spring the skiing in St. Anton was not too bad though the temperature was quite warm. My mother and I had a great time as we stayed at a Chalet with a number of people from Ireland (celebrating St. Patrick's Day, oh dear!). At Easter, just two days after my new car had arrived I headed to south Wales to catch a ferry to the Republic of Ireland (the south) where I spent the weekend driving around, visiting Dublin, Limerick, and Watford (amongst other things – see here for my journal of my visit). Johnny and his family visited two weeks later, then the weekend after that I headed to Sheffield for the Snooker World Championship (see here for my journal of this visit). During this visit I was also able to get to a bit of Derbyshire and the Peak District (great views – bad weather).

I made a quick trip to Leeds to visit my work home office (first visit) for one day (by train).

August was the big trip of the year with my visiting New York, Philadelphia and Toronto in one trip over two weeks. I was in New York just prior to the terrorist act on the World Trade Centre (actually up in the towers on the Friday previous to the disaster). See here for my journal of this holiday.

December saw my mother visit me over the Christmas holidays. I had been told by VSO that I could not leave the country over the holidays in case they needed me to attend training so my mother thought it would be nice for her to visit during Christmas to avoid my being alone. We thought it would be a bit more interesting to instead of staying in Woking (where I live in the UK) we decided to go to Europe over the holidays, with a visit to Paris at Christmas itself followed by two days skiing in the French Alps and then a day in Luxembourg. See my journal here. We made it back to London just in time to catch the New Year in Trafalgar Square.


There were a number of interesting events throughout the year that I attended, including:


  • 23rd - London - Apollo Hammersmith - French & Saunders (Comedians)
  • 27th - London - Chicago (Musical)


  • 2nd - London - Tower of London Ceremony of the Keys
  • 5th - London Palladium - King & I (Musical)
  • 10th-11th - London - Wembley Conference Centre - B & H Masters (including the final)
  • 22nd - London - English National Opera (ENO) - Carmen (Opera)


  • 2nd - London - Royal Opera House (RAH) - Aida (Opera)
  • 9th - Woking - The Peacocks - Noises Off (Comedic Play)
  • 14th - London - Royal Opera House - Turandot (Opera)
  • 15th - London - Royal Albert Hall - Mahler Classical Concert


  • 24th - London - English National Opera (ENO) - Barber of Saville (Opera)
  • 28th - London - Witches of Eastwick (Musical)


  • 14th - London - Royal Courts of Justice (in the Strand) - Trial by Jury (Comedic Play)
  • 15th - London - Theatre Royal - Stars of the Bolshoi (Ballet)


  • 1st - London - Royal Albert Hall - Julian Webber birthday (Music) - With his brother Andrew Lloyd as guest


  • 4th - London - Earl's Court - Madonna (Pop Music)
  • 5th - London - Royal Albert Hall - B.B. King (Blues)
  • 14th - London - Hyde Park - Pavarotti in the Park (Classical Music)
  • 28th - London - Hyde Park - Sting (Pop Music)


  • 6th - Glyndebourne - Le Nozze Di Figaro (Opera)
  • 10th - Woking - Peacocks - Thunderbirds F.A.B. (Comedic Play)
  • 12th - London - Wembley Arena - Robot Wars: Live Event (Battle)




  • 7th - Brands Hatch - (TOCA) Touring Cars Final (Auto Racing)
  • 16th - London - Lyceum - Lion King
  • 21st - London - Piccadilly Theatre - Noises Off (Comedic Play)
  • 30th - Woking - Peacocks - Glyndebourne Touring Opera - Fidelio (Opera)


  • 5th - London - Arsenal Stadium - Arsenal v Manchester United (Football)


  • 17th - Woking - Peacocks - Aladdin (Pantomime)
  • 18th - London - Battersea Power Station (Tent) - Quidam (Circus)

Next Year

I leave for the Gambia on the 25th of January (at 9:00 from Gatwick) and I am looking forward to this trip not with a little trepidation. The whole experience will be a challenge both professionally and personally. All the things I have acquired here in the UK will be sent to Canada for storage so I will be able to just take the absolute essentials to me to the Gambia (with only 25 kg I think it will be a bit tight).

I must admit I think that I am really looking forward to the relaxation that I am hoping that this experience will afford, perhaps time to reflect on what I actually want to do with my life, where I am going, what I want to do…Never too late, I suppose.

During my time away I will be attempting to maintain my Internet access so I should be able to reply to any e-mails sent to me and I should also be able to maintain these pages, but we shall see.

Visit here for my review of 2000.