Site update

I doubt anyone is still reading this, but just in case…

Due to my host retiring PHP4 and pushing everyone onto PHP5.2 or 5.4, I had to upgrade this blog from WordPress 2.3.2 to something more recent.

As a result, there are a couple of little bogies. The heading doesn’t look too nice – for some reason I can’t get any colour in the background; and many of the tables don’t work. Most importantly, the one listing all the donations. This is due to the plug-in I used being discontinued some time ago and non-functional with anything past around WordPress 2.5.

The information is still there, though. I just need to get it into another format and restore it on the page.

More work over the holidays!

These Boots Were Made For Walking…

RIP BootsAnd walking they did. 1000 miles, plus being broken in, plus several years of selfless service afterwards. But today, they were consigned to the great rubbish tip in the sky when my lovely wife took pity on my feet and demanded they be replaced.

After all they (we!) went through, I thought the least I could do was to swipe the mothballs from this blog and make one last post in honour of their sacrifice. I was toying with auctioning them on eBay, but let’s be honest – who would want a pair of very wrecked old boots? If you’re interested in paying them tribute then please just go to and drop them a donation.

There’s a set of pictures on Flickr to go with the single one here.

Exclusive football shirt raffle!

[NOTE: Having WordPress issues uploading images at the moment, so I’ve posted pics of the shirt on Flickr]OK, folks. Here is a chance to own a very exclusive Real Betis Vietnam football shirt as worn by the amazing kids at the Blue Dragon Children’s Foundation. There were never many of these shirts and BDCF are looking for new sponsors so there simply will not be any more of this particular design.Featuring the Real Betis badge and name, BDCF logo and Catholic Relief Services on the sleeve, the shirt has a large number 7 on the back along with the charity URL. It’s lightweight material with “breathable” fabric under the arms and down the sides. It is brand new – I’ve worn it once to check it for size and fit.The size is “XL” and this is a western XL by my judgement, not a Vietnamese one. The V-collar means it hangs off me. I’m an average size for a 35 year-old white guy.So here’s how it works. I will cover all costs involved in this little raffle including postage to wherever the lucky winner resides. Hopefully we’ll raise more than the overheads! “Tickets” are one Australian Dollar each and you “buy” them by making a donation to Blue Dragon via PayPal. When you donate, please leave a comment here and tell me how much you donated and therefore how many times your name will be popped into the hat.

The donation page is here

We’ll say the deadline is October 15th 2009 which gives you the thick end of a month to save up. I’ll pick the winner at random then and get in touch with them via email, so please include a valid mail address on your comment. Don’t worry – nobody can see your email address except me and I promise with hand on heart that I will only use said address to let you know if you’ve won and to get a mailing address from you.So… what are you waiting for?

Dragon House

I’ll be cross-posting this to the other blogs shortly so apologies for duplication. I just heard from Mike at Blue Dragon about an author, John Shors, who’s written a novel based on street kids in Vietnam. Mike read the draft and has approved it – which is impressive given the usual stereotypes of street children. Apparently Shors has avoided all of these and Mike should know, given the fact he’s been working with these kids for so many years.The book, Dragon House, is published by Penguin and available pretty much anywhere. You can order an autographed copy direct from John at the official web site… or if you go to Blue Dragon’s page and donate upwards of $100, John will send you a free one! Either way, part of the proceeds from the novel will be wending their way to the kids in Vietnam.

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Rhino Car Hire – thank you!

Rhino Car Hire logoAnother huge thank you, this time to Scott and Julie at Rhino Car Hire. They’ve opted to give a regular donation to Blue Dragon in exchange for some advertising here and I can tell you that the money will be very well spent. There are a load of excellent projects taking place right now and they always require funding.

So if you’re in the market to hire a car in the UK, Europe – or anywhere else for that matter – drop by Rhino Car Hire first and check out their prices. I’ve had a gander myself and I can tell you they’re very competitive. Look at it this way – a portion of every rental they make goes to the kids in Vietnam. How could you pick anyone else now?

Buy a book!

BDCF Book coverNot one by me (yet!), but one that will benefit the Blue Dragon Children’s Foundation. Rather than just direct you over to Mike’s Blog post about it, I’ll repeat the details here:

Quotations for Positive People is a collection of inspiring quotes that has been compiled by Larry Welch – and he’s offered to donate all of the profits to Blue Dragon! Thanks, Larry!

We’re going to use the funds for some of our most positive work – providing homes to children who live on the streets. So, buy the book! Give it to your friends! Pay your staff in copies of the book rather than boring old cash!

Click here for more info: – thank you!

Cheap Ferry Tickets logoIt’s never too late to make a donation, as (SeaFrance Ferries) have just proved. A huge thank you to them for donating enough to put one of the kids through school in this new year. It’s never too late to make a donation. Please don’t think that just because the Walk is over that the cash should stop coming in. There will be a need for it – and it will be hugely appreciated – for much time to come!

Hugely belated "thanks"

I am a bad, bad man. I have been going over this web page (moving it to another server, and gradually mothballing it) when I noticed that I’d forgotten to thank someone hugely important. An unsung heroine, if you will.

Stand up and take a bow, Marina. She did a lot of letter-writing and sending on my behalf, bought me a copy of Lonely Planet’s Europe on a Shoestring, and ferried some of the supplies I needed from the UK into Europe when I met her for Graspop last year.

So I apologise for missing you off the Acknowledgements page, where you now have a rightful place!