Conclusion and Thanks

Thanks for reading our Blog. We appreciate the time you have spent reading about
our trip. We would like to thank CWB and Cricket Kenya for organising our trip
and many other erstwhile mentions are well deserved. Notably Aliya, the Heads
of all the schools especially Braeburn and Pangani, all the Chefs for making us
drink more beer by taking stupid amounts of time to cook meals, to Mr Macdonald
for inventing burgers otherwise Ghazi wouldnt have eaten, to the best driver
ever …. Mr TTP, and to every single one of the 1170 kids we worked with over
the 2 weeks. It was a huge experience and one that will never be forgotten.
Also, thanks to the 45 teachers and coaches around Nanyuki and Dol Dol who went
out of their way to take their coaching badge.
We have no idea  for sure if cricket will take hold at the lovely place at the
base of Mount Kenya, but we hope it will. There appears to be enough momentum
for there to be a major push and hopefully, if these kids can obtain even half
the enjoyment from cricket that we have, the trip will have been a success.
Once again, thanks to everyone who sponsored us and thats us done.

Stephen Green, Ghazi Zaki, Steve Adshead, Ed Alexander, Simon Mockford, Ben
Francis and Phil Cramp

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Day 15 – ‘and now the end is near’

We set alarms for the ridiculous hour of 5.40 am in order to have a quick bite to eat, then get on the road. We had been invited to free entry to the Sweetwater Game Reserve, about 20km from Nanyuki. TTP was , of course, driving us around the reserve, though to be honest this wasnt his finest hour. We had all become very fond of Pete and he had undoubtedly become one of the group. he was irrepressible, a rock. But , in his Matatu, coupled with some wet ground he was rubbish. And I say that advisedly. I don’t want to diss the Big Man, but he got stuck more times than a Chilean miner. The biggest problem was, half of our group had gone out to the Reserve in shorts and FlipFlops…and flipflops aren’t that good for getting grip on wet ground when you are pushing a van out of sh1t.
We saw zebra, buffalo, warthogs, giraffes, elephants, impala and then a cheetah stalking a kill. It was very memorable.

We stopped off for lunch at the wonderful restaurant set by a watering hole. It was brilliant, and ,it being a buffet we all tried to eat as much as possible and take the piss to the highest degree. Unfortunately , the real result of our over zealous eating was some very strange aromas when we embarked upon our return 4 hour journey from Nanyuki to Nairobi and those aromas got stronger the closer we got to Nairobi and the driving took on the guise of Wacky Races again. These people were imbeciles…total halfwits. Disgraceful human beings. It was only at that time that I thought of the most accurate word to describe their driving…anarchistic. It was, indeed , without law. And their ridiculous behaviour was made to look more ridiculous when contrasted to the fine people we had met in Nanyuki.

Still, TTP got us there and our time in Kenya was almost up. All we had to do was get through 4 hours in Nairobi Airport, which was going to be a test, but nothing we could not cope with.

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Day 14 – Warriors come out to play!

For the final day of cricket, the group split into 2. Group Captain Green, Steve And Ben had the dubious pleasure of heading back to Dol Dol to run a Continuous Cricket Tournament. They had 2 newly ordained coaches in tow, with Aliya and TTP looking to help out wherever possible.

Ghazi, Ed, Simon and Phil headed back to Braeburn where the Nanyuki session of this Continuous Cricket Festival took place. 8 teams turned up, including 2 from the orphanage. The games got underway at 10am and the sound of  over 80 kids having an absolute blast could be heard a good distance away. It was a pleasure to be there. Once again the teachers, most of whom had been ordained yesterday, were massively enthusiastic. They were running the runs with their charges, stopping the balls, taking diving catches….all from a technical area behind the Keeper. The will to win was  a tad too obvious, but we spoke to them afterwards and impressed on them the need to encourage rather than win at all costs. For good orders sake, one of the teams from St Christophers won the festival and were presented with a signed bat. a young lad named Michael from the orphanage won an Incrediball  for being the Best Fielder and the previously mention Brian won one as the Best Batsmen.There was one slight hiccup to report as a bus load of kids from Ol Jogi turned up at 12.30. They had been on their bus for the best part of 2 hours, and should have gone to Dol Dol, which would have meant a 30 min drive but a slight cock up on the communication front sent them in the wrong direction. It was too late for them to join in the festival, but the peerless Ed whipped up another pitch, got the kids into 2 teams

and started a 2 innings match amongst themselves. We then invited them to another extra coaching session in the afternoon in order to make their journey worthwhile.
Needless to say Braeburn laid on a fine lunch for the coaches and it was with a lump in the throat that we said farewell to the HeadMistress Eva, and the 2 members of their games staff, Evans and Millicent. What a fantastically generous and pleasant place.
We worked our way back to the Sportsmans Arms field to coach the Ol Jogi Massive. I say coach, but to be honest they just wanted to crack on with more games . This time we got half the group playing pairs cricket whilst the other half did some catching and throwing drills. The session was working itself to a finish just in time as the heavens opened around 3.45 pm. This seemed an opportune time for us to get the kids back on their bus and wish them a safe trip back to Ol Jogi. Great kids.

Meanwhile, the other coaches, mentioned above had set off on their bumpy, muscle twisting, bouncy trip to Dol Dol. When we left the 4 coaches plus TTP had lots of space on the minibus for the first time everbut this was soon to change. Aliya spent most of the journey checking that teams had remembered they were due to turn up in Dol Dol, or indeed at the tournament in Nanyuki. One of the teams needed a lift so we agreed to pick them up on route. This resulted in a full team of 8 kids hopping on the minibus and they were seeon joined by 2 teachers (coaches). Very shortly we came across 2 Maasai in full costume who also joined the bus trip so that by the time we arrived in Dol Dol, 2 hours after setting off, 17 people were on board the 11 seater!

As other teams started to arrive the two Maasai (brothers Jonathan and Francis) were taken through their Coaching assessment by Group Captain Green and both passed – nothing to do with the way they looked in full Maasai hunting regalia! The tournament then got under way with 8 teams from 4 schools with two groups of 4 teams. Each played each other and then 4th in each played each other, with 3rd in each and 2nd in each following suite. We then had a final to be played with all other players watching with 1st from each group playing each other – Dol Dol primary (all boys) against St Francis secondary (all girls). The boys expected to win, the girls got in a huddle and worked out tactics. in a low scoring game the final players for St Francis (with Girl power across her top) came to bat with 3 needed. No nerves as she firmly hit a straight drive passed all of the fielders and got the runs required. Great excitement for the team and a thrilling finale.

A signed bat was presented to the team and one young girl from the other St Francis team received a ball for her fantastic fielding during the tournament which included taking 4 catches in one game. CWB tee shirts (“Bowling Aids out of Africa”) were handed out and then all of the kit was split among the teams. We bid farewell but ensured we visited the Hotel Popular for a final exciting lunch extravaganza.

We headed off you a coaching session with the Maasai Warriors which was to be hard ball with a number of members of the Warriors team. This turned out to be great session with 8 Warriors turning out in full regalia with lots of other school kids watching the session. The two Steves plus Ben took them through Fielding, batting, wicket keeping and bowling sessions and enlisted Aliya for some help. Part way through Group Captain Green was asked for more media work by having to conduct another interview for KTN (Kenyan Television network) covering why we were in Kenya, the Aids/HIV message, and also how the work with the Maasai was going. This was to be aired over the weekend across Kenya. hard ball gear was then handed out to the Maasai and following a number of photos the Coaches finally bid farewell and headed back to Nanyuki to meet the rest of the team for a final meal and Tuskers together.

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Day 13….Group Captain Rubs Ring In Chopper’s Eye

Safe in the knowledge that the sit down facilities at Braeburn were in excellent working order, a full plate of sausages and baked beans were today’s modus operandi in the break fast m.. now without getting into too much detail , some of the odours and noises emanating from our 4 berth chalets have been getting progressively worse. So it was only good practice to check out the lavatorial facilities at each venue with the utmost care, just in case there was some urgent business that needed attending to.

Ghazi, ben and Phil worked on stoically as day 2 of the Coach Ed programme got up and running, whilst Ed , Steve , Simon and Stephen gave 35 kids from the excellently named Mary Immaculate School their first sighting of cricket. Group captain Green seemed more than comfortable in his media assignments during the morning as he gave an interview to Kenyan TV as to what we were about. To see the interview, which will be shown on World AIDS day, you can either move to Kenya or tune  Sky Receiver to Channel 4276 ( just after the  Needlework Channel).

Again these marvellous people from Braeburn laid on a cracking lunch for us, this time a spicy rice dish, with yoghurt and bananas for dessert. I totally love this school.

The team then had another 40 kids to coach in the afternoon from St Christophers School, and to be honest they were very good. One lad, Brian, in particular showed great potential.

The Coach ed boys were now on the assessment part of the 2 day course and all involved showed a great deal of enthusiasm and knowledge as they worked their magic. The coaching points had been learned and it was clear that they had even taken on board some of the piffle I had come up with the previous day. Obviously, TTP was a shoe in for a pass with distinction, and all 26 passed. I have to say that the momentum seemed to be building. you could feel it , and it bodes well for the future of cricket in the Nanyuki area.

One point that I have been remiss in mentioning, is that all of us are now pretty tired and we have had to make our own humour to stop it becoming a treadmill of coach, eat, coach, eat, sleep. For example Bern and Phil spent the 2 days of the Coach Ed course trying to see how many times a lovely young lady named Irene could be called Treacle, or the phrase ” Come on Irene” could be muttered. They awarded extra points if the words were spoken to the tune of the Dexys Midnight Runners 80s classic. Not very grown up, but very funny for the boys.

The day completed, we returned to base just after 4pm. There was time for either a gym session, a swim or just some down time. it was wonderful.

The evening dinners arrangement passed off without much fuss other than to report that the cook in this particular restaurant took only 45 mins to prepare dinner and we all froze our bits off as we ate outside, in the dak, and it went down to about -10. Not ideal as we all had shorts on.

For an explanation of today’s heading, please speak directly to either of the persons involved as discretion forbids anything else to be said in the public domain.

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Day 12…Anyone for Tea?

A veritable lie in this morning with alarms set for 8am as the sessions today were all within camels spitting distance of our hotel. The hotel breakfast has proved rather good (couldn’t have got much worse than last weeks to be fair), with sausages , eggs, and baked beans all gaining merit awards from the chaps. They even unearthed a bottle of HP sauce for us. Ding Dong. So, after completing the afore-mentioned feast at our leisure we headed for Braeburn Primary school. This proved to be a mini oasis in the middle of Nanyuki. Only a few months old and with mainly ExPat kids, it was very reminiscent of many an English Prep school. They even had a sit down khasi…sheer luxury.

Again, Ghazi and Phil were starting a 2 day Coach Eduction programme, with the famous 5 cracking on with coaching the kids. It soon became apparent however that there were more teachers on the Coach Ed  (25) than there were kids to coach ( 24) so Ben Chopper Francis was drafted in to help. There were teachers from 11 different schools and the Laikipia District Sports Development Officer, and TTP of course. This was  a serious group. We got under way on time, only for the Head Mistress to come and interrupt us an hour later to inform us that tea and biscuits were being served in the classroom that had been made available to us. How nice was that !! Then, would you Adam and Eve it they only provided lunch for everyone. Spag Bol…and a bloody good one at that. Now this was more like it. I believe they missed a trick by not opening a nice bottle of Barolo to go with the pasta,  but never mind.

The four coaches moved onto Brickwood Primary in Nanyuki for the afternoon session, whilst the Coach Ed group bashed on tirelessly with their goal of tutoring  the one handed pick and under arm throw. Much to everyone’s disappointment it then decided to rain…and rain…and rain. It didnt stop for 8 hours. and it was proper rain. Loads of the stuff. Obviously with the schedule being so tight, Ghazi soldiered on as you would expect from a mighty Level 3 coaching warrior. Phil and Ben, however made several excuses to keep returning to the comfort of class 2B.

The coaches got another 51 kids involved in their first cricket experience and explained to them that playing cricket in the rain was all part and parcel of the game. In a totally bizarre experience, all the group was back at base by 4.30 pm. This just didn’t seem right, but who were we to argue.

In a cunning ploy, we decided to return to the scene of last nights slow cooking, but put the order in for starters over the phone to be ready for our arrival at 7.30. This worked a dream, and we were tucking into our potato skins at the same time as ordering our main courses…..which tuned up 2 hours later. What the f***ing hell was the bloke in white in the kitchen doing? Because it certainly wasnt cooking. Was he engrossed on Coronation Street ? Was he knitting a new jumper perhaps? Who knows , but to be honest mate, shape up or ship out. You’re now getting on everyone’s t*ts.

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Day 11 – a fist full of shillings

Guess what? Yes, that’s right up before 7am to get some brekkie before we get into TTPs pleasure bus for the 2 hour to Dol Dol again.

Ghazi and Phil had to finish off their Tutors program and the other 5 batted on with introducing cricket to the area. They drove to a school where they were supposed to be coaching only to be greeted by a scene reminiscent of many a spaghetti western, complete with tumbleweed. Aliya made a few phone calls and the lads got back on board the Bump Wagon and made their way, via a few ditches and impromptu off roading, to a newly opened private school, Lentille Hills. There was a game of footy taking place on the chaps arrival, so Ben (an ardent Chelsea fan) joined in and immediately wiped out an 11 year old kid with a tackle that Chopper Harris would have been proud of. The teachers finally organised the 40 kids and the session got underway. What was remarkable about this sessions that the 5 teachers involved were slightly over enthusiastic. They were pushing in at the front of the queues and pushing kids out of the way to take catches in the outfield. But atleast they were there. Back at Dol Dol secondary, Ghazi and Phil were trying their best to work out which coaches were there from yesterday, which ones weren’t and which ones had changed their names overnight. It was quite bizarre.

Now, when you tell people the session starts at 10, it is generally good form to turn up just before. So when we had a head count of 8 out of 16 at 10:15 things weren’t looking too good. From 10:30 onwards there was a steady trickle of people turning up which was nice. Then at 12:30, the last 3 coaches turned up. They were just about to get on the wrong end of a proper south London verbal shoeing, when they informed us that they had walked from Ol Jogi, 18km away, as there bus had broken down. To be perfectly honest with you none of the 3 were brilliant coaches, but showing that type of committment far outweighs being able to cover drive like Michael Vaughan. We are pleased to inform that 17 new coaches were ordained into the world of cricket with certificates, handshakes and tee shirts all round. Good stuff.

The group got together again at the aptly named Hotel Popular once more then set off for Il Polei, a small school in the middle of a Maasai area. The headmaster greeted us with his trainers on and said he wanted to take a full part in the session. He seemed a good man and was extremely keen throughout the session. As we turned up there was a handful of kids already playing cricket complete with stumps, a bat, pads and gloves and a hard ball. One lad in particular looked decent. We got going coaching the rest of the group, which numbered 35, into our now well drilled system. It wasnt the best session to be totally honest as the kids did not seem as enthused by it all as most of the other groups, but there was definitely potential there. We got away at 5pm in order to complete the painful, bone shuddering part of the trip back in daylight. TTP was particularly happy about this, infact almost as happy as when we informed him he had been enrolled in the Coach Education group starting the next day.

As a group we took Dinner at the Kongoni Club. Now, I don’t know what it is about Kenyan Chefs but they seem incapable of preparing a meal in anything under an hour and a half. Its bloody ridiculous. An order of one fish, one burger (Ghazi obviously!), 3 steaks and 2 pork chops turned up just short of 2 hours after being ordered. Ludicrous behaviour I am sure you will agree. The food was very good and cooked to perfection but come on lads, sharpen up for pity’s sake.

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Day 10 – Welcome to Hotel Popular

TTP was waiting for us just after 7:30am to start the bumpy rude to Dol Dol. I still cannot find the words to explain the discomfort we went through, other than effing horrific. We arrived in Dol Dol 2 hours later where Ghazi and Phil split from the main group to take 16 teachers on an ICC backed coaching program.

Now Dol Dol announced itself as a serious town in the area purely by the fact that it has 2 road signs, an irrigation plant and a herd of 40 camels that roam wherever they please. It would have had 3 road signs but the sign for bumpy road ahead got laughed off its stand. The 5 chaps left were tasked with taking 3 sessions and in total coached 172 kids. That is a good effort. That is a seriously good effort. They started at Dol Dol primary, moved on to Dol Dol secondary and ended up at St Francis’ girls.

In between sessions all coaches met at Hotel Popular in down town Dol Dol. Basic would be one word to describe the establishment… in fact basic is the only word to describe the establishment. We were joined in there by several locals and 2 Maasai warriors complete with spears! But is was good value. If one were to choose off the ala carte menu a goat stew with chippati was yours for the princely sum of 85 pence – good value I am sure you would agree.

We left the town just after 5:20 and took a detour on the way back to ensure the next sessions were sorted. During this detour Aliya informed us that she lived near by and would love to pop in to pick up some stuff. Group Captain Green, in the broadest yorkshire accent heard since Firey Fred Trueman welcomed viewers to indoor league asked her ‘have you got toilet luv?’

This meant we arrived back in Nanyuki as just before 8pm with sore arses, stiff backs and a distinct lack of humour. It had been a very long day and one that, much to the chagrin of all involved would be repeated the next day.

As a group it was decided we would stay within the hotel tonight as we were all knackered and the thought of getting back in a vehicle of any sort was something that seemed as appealing as slamming your finger repeatedly in a car door. There was obviously a price to pay for staying at base camp though as the service was so slow in the restaurant. Infact, and we don’t know for sure, but we believe the food was ordered from the kitchen in Hotel Popular and the waiter had to go and get it…. on a bike! But we were all too knackered to complain. 2 Tuskers, half a chicken and off to bed.

At this point I want to make you aware that Ghazi has now had 9 burgers and chips out of a possible 10 evening meals. I have spoken to Norris McWhirter and Ghazi needs another 4 straight burger meals to squeeze into the Christmas edition of Norris’ book.

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Day 9 – ‘ooh, my jacobs’

Up early again, this time to take what we had been informed would be a 1 hour drive to Dol Dol. Let us inform you at this stage, that TTP drove us here and will be with us all week. Unfortunately TTP is in the same charabang that we had last week, the very same one that came unstuck at the roundabout. So imagine our joint delight and TTPs chagrin when we start going off road to get to the morning session. He ended up whipping the van around like Colin Macrae’s African cousin. TTP came into his own. Readers, it was like he had found his true vocation. I would say though that while TTP was having fun we were getting tossed around like wet fish at Billingsgate market. It really was not as comfortable as it may have been. But hey ho.

We headed for Ol Jogi, which is a privately owned game reserve. It has a school for the children of the people that work there. We were informed to drive to a certain gate but once we arrived there, we could see they really did not want us there. Whilst Aliya tried to work out what was going on we got out two sets of stumps, 2 bats and a ball, and started a game on the main road. To be honest it was not the greatest game but it was a game non the less.

Once the gateage issue had been sorted we drove for another 20 mins to find the Ol Jogi school and started to organise the 110 kids into groups. Yes 110!!! It was brilliant and once again the laughing and smiling display by the kids was something to behold.

After the session, as a mark of gratitude, the Head of the reserve and the trustee of the school named Kimani took us all for a private visit to the reserves animal sanctuary. We were escorted around to see some birds, to stroke a cheetah, to see lions and a Leopard, to see a black leopard, and spend time with sanctuaries 2 tame elephants. It was a brilliant time and a real mark of how much this man valued our efforts at his school. Quite fantastic.

We unfortunately had to leave the sanctuary and head back to Nanyuki where we had an afternoon session planned at a home for rehabilitated street kids. Once again, as it was at the orphanage yesterday, the 35 kids were remarkable in their enthusiasm and committment to try a new game.

After sampling the not so brilliant fayre on offer at our luxurious camp the night before, we blagged our way into the Nanyuki club for dinner. In this bastion of British imperial rule, we mingled with officers and gentlemen alike. The officers are part of the Batallion of British soldiers stationed in Nanyuki who use Kenya as a stepping stone from UK to Afghanistan. Most of them dont look old enough to drive let alone go into a battle zone.

It had been a really good day.

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Day 8 – ‘The big migration’

An early start as we prepared for the big migration and to ne honest we are all rather disappointed that David Attenborough is not around with a film crew. Ghazi is wedged in the back row of the bus behind 3 cricket bags, 4 suitcases and 3 ruck sacks. Luckily the amount of luggage around him stifled the moans and groans emitting from our Staffordshire rep so we pretended nothing was wrong and carried on. Needless to say the Nairobi traffic was awful, and the heavy overnight rain had meant driving conditions had changed from bloody awful to effing ridiculous according to the Kenyan Road and Automobile programme (KRAP for short).

It did not take much longer than an hour for us to rid ourselves of the sprawling Kenyan capital and we started seeing the real country. The landscape changed dramatically into rolling green hills, with busy farmers working their land. To make things better we met the lady who was in charge of cricket in the Nanyuki area in a restaurant called (very unimaginatively) ‘The Trout Tree Restaurant’. Basically its a trout farm and you eat in a tree. It does what it says on the tin, especially if you like trout. If you dont like trout, dont go! On the menu there is whole trout, masala trout, tandoori trout…. trout every which way you want. Though I thought it was going a bit far on the dessert menu with trout sorbet and trout cake with custard. Seriously though, highly recommended.

As stated we met Aliya, a South African lady who was here working in a baboon conservation project and missed cricket so much she made it her mission to introduce cricket to the area. Now, to start off with I thought she said Baboon conversation project which I thought was absurd and asking alot from the primates. Then she said she had introduced the Maasai and she won back our admiration immediately.

She direct us to our camp for the week in Nanyuki – The Sportsmans Arms. As we arrived we were greeted by ‘Big Dave’ who informed us he could organise anything for us. And he meant anything!!!

We had one session that afternoon, at the Tumaini Orphanage. Unfortunately if life is not tough enough for these kids they are all HIV+. Obviously, none had seen or heard of cricket before but we gave them a quick idea, went on to their field and set up 2 games of non stop cricket. What happened next was remarkable. We have never, without fear of contradiction, seen so many kids laughing and smiling for such a sustained period. We all, to a man, came away with such a feeling of delight that we had managed to help these kids have such a huge amount of fun. It was beyond a doubt one of the best experiences of our lives.

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Day 7 – musings from the boundary

Well, it had to happen. After sampling the madness of Nairobi drivers for nearly a week, we had a prang….. right in the middle of a roundabout on the way to the last session. Basically, what happened was TTP was on the outside lane trying to turn right and some nutter in a 4 x 4 was in the inside lane trying to turn left. Both drivers managed to avoid cars in lanes 2, 3 and 5 but there was a coming together in lane 4, which considering it was a 2 lane round I had to congratulate everyone concerned for making the road as wide as it had become.

So TTP had to get out and we believe money changed hands. We have yet to ascertain who paid who or how much. A menacing looking policeman turned up with a big stick, shouted and then walked off. Nice work Columbo!

We finally got back to the Pangani Primary school for our 2nd visit there. We had 55 kids at the start but it was anyones guess how many by the end. We did different drills from our last visit and ended up with 4 games of continuous cricket going on. Once again these kids were brilliant, as where the doughnuts and boiled eggs that the Head Mistress had waiting for us in her office. ben and the 2 Steves had 2 eggs each so they will be sitting next to each other on the bus tomorrow for our 4 hour drive to Nanyuki.

The afternoon was free so we were invited to the Nairobi club where Adshead took some aspiring young Kenyans for a batting masterclass. As the rest of us stood in peaceful reflection of a great weeks work, a cold Tusker in hand, Simon broke the peace with a non too often heard question – “I wonder if my pants are dry?” he mused. To this day we still have no idea.

The bus ride to Nanyuki was made even more potentially eventful as we met up with the Charities Trustees in the evening for a Curry. Not the best thinking considering what tomorrow brings, but then again as Jennifer Warnes said “Who knows what tomorrow brings”.

It was the Indian festival of Diwali aswell so Phil’s best laid plans of getting to bed early were scuppered by some lunatic setting off fireworks outside his bedroom window every 3 seconds. We have no idea what the festival means but it is rather coincidental that it is Guy Fawkes night aswell. Perhaps Mr Fawkes and Mr Diwali were in cahoots back in the day and these nutters, who now seem to be using surface to air missiles are celebrating the foiling of the gun powder plot!

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