Long term readers may remember the freak floods that struck Heathrow 2 years ago, when Hattie Gandhi was heading off on her gap year travels to Thailand.
May I just recommend that you suspend any travel plans for tomorrow, as now it's Hugger Steward's turn...only this time rather than going to work in a school, with an address and an internet connection, he is heading off into the wilds of Tanzania to work with Village Africa.
He will be helping to build a school (or maybe a health centre) in one of two remote villages, where there is no electricity, no cell phone reception and definitely no internet - so basically, when he leaves here tomorrow that's it in terms of regular communication until he gets home. Volunteers are bussed into the nearest town every couple of weeks, so I should hear something along the way, and having belatedly visited the Village Africa website I'm hugely excited that he will be involved in work that will make such a difference.
The pictures are enticing, and he's full of common sense, though he's short on experience of the big wide world (well, who isn't at 18?) so I don't think I'm actually that fearful for his safety (though if you thought about praying, that would certainly be welcome...) - but oh my goodness, I will miss him!
He finished his temporary job in Cheltenham at the beginning of April, to help us with the move here, and has since then been at home, unpacking boxes, preparing for his trip and listening to his mother's tales of joy and woe as I've hurtled into the vicarage en route from one encounter to the next. He has been the person with whom I've done such processing as there has been time for (he usually is) and, of course, the source of many and many a trade-mark hug. Just imagining life without those hugs available on a daily basis makes me feel distinctly tearful...and of course, this is simply the first stage in the serial letting-go - a road that leads through Africa, to Cambridge and then...who knows?