Thursday, 27 July 2017

The Team thanks

This could be the longest post of all because our thanks are due to so many people from individuals who have supported us and given vital funds to the charity, to companies who have sponsored the car and the boat, to people along the way who have donated and to others who, for no reason other than personal generosity, provided us with the random acts of kindness that have kept our spirits up.

To start with those individuals it isn't possible to thank each in person became there have been so many but our sincere thanks are given to all who have gone to the trouble to either give us cash or to log on to the Just Giving page at

Then, of course, there have been the companies who have supported the challenge and made the car and the boat look very special into the bargain.

The Gofer's Support car pictured on the day the vinyls were fitted

Carrs Windows
La Stazioni
Glovers Autocare
The Loafer
Dacre, Son & Hartley
Angus Roberts
Buckle Barton
Martinez Wines
Master Plan Systems
Acorn Villas Dental Practice
Killips Carpets
Airedale Cooling Systems
Nicholson's Jewellers
The Pentelow Practice
The Alternative Board
Tax Assist Accountants
The Little Tea House
Maureen Williams School of Dance
The Black Hat

The other organisation that has been instrumental in both the raising of funds and raising the event's awareness has been the Masons' West Yorkshire Province, with various fundraising initiatives and also the Masonic quarterly magazine and website publicising the journey. So far, in excess of £2,000 has been raised through Masonic avenues for the charity and our thanks are extended to them for their  considerable efforts on behalf of our venture and the charity. This fundraising has also included members' wives who presented a cheque to Caroline of the charity at the Woolly Sheep Inn event on 12th July.

It would be remiss if we also didn't thank Alan Strachan of Logo Promotional Merchandise who kindly provided the shirts, jackets and base ball caps, thanks Alan, our "corporate" look helped us to stand out with the people we met along the way. (We also had good use of those jackets on our third day as we paddled through rain of Biblical proportions).

The corporate look provided by Logo Promotional Merchandise

Then of course we must not forget the places en route who were kind enough to support us by allowing us to stay with them. Thanks to the following:
The Red Lion, Newburgh
The Holiday Inn Express, Burnley
The Woolly Sheep Inn, Skipton
The Holiday Inn Express, Leeds Armouries
The Wheldale Hotel, Castleford

Particular thanks are due to the Starboard Hotels Group that runs the two Holiday Inns for they also brought on board their PR company, Flex Media, to help raise the profile of our trip and to secure important media exposure.

A big thanks is also due to Andy Goodall, manager at the Woolly Sheep Inn and to Timothy Taylors brewery for hosting the brilliant evening on 12th July with the beer and food match event where over £400 was raised, many thanks; I am sure people who were there for the amazing food & beer will certainly be returning.

Andy Goodall from the Timothy Taylor Woolly Sheep Inn at the event 12th July

The other thanks are to those folk who provided us with what we experienced as random acts of kindness:
The Marina Cafe at White Bear Marina for the free tea and cakes.
Angie and partner on day 6 for giving the boat a lift down Bulholme Lock.
The family just before we finished when they shouted us over to give us a donation.
The Canal and River Trust worker on day 7 for opening the cabin at Pollington to allow us to eat lunch in comfort - he didn't need to do that, it was appreciated, thanks.

One of our greatest thanks must go to Tim and Bernie whose impromptu arrival boosted us just at a time when our spirits were flagging whilst we made our way from Shipley to Leeds. They negotiated all the locks for us and did the donkey-work in transferring the boat from the canal to the Aire & Calder in Leeds. They helped turn a day that could have been a disastrous flop into a massive success.

Tim and Bernie, whose help on day 5 was immeasurable 

Our fifth day was also notable for the help of Rob and Vicky at the Marina Cafe at Apperley Bridge, their hospitality was fantastic, especially as they stayed open just to ply us with cups of tea and chilled Mars Bars (and they also were happy to take a CSY collection-tin and then made a donation themselves). Thanks for just being really nice people.

We are also grateful for the press coverage we have received over the previous months with particular thanks to Stuart Thompson, reporter at the Craven Herald. Their coverage has helped raise the profile of the event and hopefully of the work of the charity.

Finally, last but by no means least, out thanks to Caroline Lewis of Cancer Support Yorkshire whose infectious enthusiasm is enough to keep anyone spurred on (we were very glad to have her with us on that very hard day from Skipton to Leeds). Without Caroline there probably wouldn't have been a challenge in the first place.

Come one can be that excited!

On a personal note, I must thank my team members; David for his offer to act as support, without which we would have struggled; Andrew for suggesting he went with me after I had had the idea back in late 2016. Originally a solo plan it would have been very much more difficult alone. It also wouldn't have been anything like as much fun and the poems would have been a lot less. Also, I feel that have learned a little about cricket...

We had a great times and have left ourselves with memories that will last a lifetime. Hopefully anyone reading this will have got a small taste of what it was like for us. Thanks for reading....

Here's to the next challenge..... (any ideas?)....

Thank you for your support

Wednesday, 26 July 2017

Day 7 - to Goole 15th July

While we were very pleased to have the end in sight the morning was tinged with some sadness that our adventure was nearing its end, no more training sessions, no more being attacked by swans and no more drinking a beer or two at Andrew's house after we arrived back from training. Life would return to normal....of course, that is until we think of the next challenge that we could take on for 2018!

There is little to say about the seventh day other than the residing memory is of great long, wide and straight stretches of water - 2 miles on a dead straight waterway seems like a long way with the distant view taking forever to get any nearer. It anyone else is thinking of taking on the trail then be ready for these long passages, very much different to the winding route of the L&L.

The final stretch was the longest of all at 4 miles, we could see shapes ahead - another boater who we had seen over the past two days encouraged us by confirming that the shapes were Goole, but to us they looked like a mirage that seemed to remain miles away.

Arriving in Goole

We finally could see the Waterways Museum and the marina which we knew marked the end of our journey and then, almost before we saw them, we heard the whooping of the gathered people who had come to welcome us.

Mission accomplished with a handshake

England may have performed badly at cricket but we had played a blinder, arriving at Goole just 10 minutes behind our schedule (and achieving our fastest ever mile-time just a couple of miles before the finish, not quite sure how as we were may have been the promise of a beer when we reached our Goole goal). 

Always time for a drink

As we arrived we were greeted by family and friends and also a reporter from the Goole Times who had been sent to write an article about our trip - we think they thought we were from Goole, this may explain why we have never seen the article. Perhaps when they realised that we weren't locals the story lost its interest. Anyway, we didn't care, we had finished and had finished in some style.

As Andrew said to the reporter we had paddled for seven days and never fell out - I'm not sure whether he was referring to us falling out with one another or of falling out of the boat.

We were glad that our boat wasn't this big

164 miles was our total distance (not quite sure why we had done 2 miles more than the trail's length of 162 miles), with about 55 hours of total length over the seven days. According to the app that we were using we had burned 35,000 calories.

The welcoming party and pleased we were to see them

If you are looking for an adventure we can recommend the Trail but it is not to be taken lightly; without the training that we had put in it would very likely have been too much of a challenge. As it was we had completed it and allowing for donations and pledges we had amassed somewhere in the order of £8,500 for Cancer Support Yorkshire. More about this in my final blog.

It had become apparent that I don't readily smile and that I seem to look happier without my glasses, so, in librarian style, I posed with our celebratory balloons trying my best to give a broad beam.

The blogger plus balloons

The Waterways Museum at Goole marks the end of the Trail so our final pic along the way had the Team posing at the Museum sign - we had to pose outside the grounds as the museum closes at 4.00pm, just a word of warning to any future intrepid kayakers who might fancy a repeat of our journey.

The end of the line at the Goole Waterways Museum

Day 6 - To Castleford 14th July

At 33 miles in total over 2 days we could maintain a very much more relaxed pace than days 4 and 5, and we would not be in a rush to be away. This was fortunate as we were yet again to have the opportunity of getting some exposure with a return appointment with "Made in Leeds". A follow-up interview from our earlier meeting with them had been arranged with a reporter at 10.00am.

We also had agreed to give the hotel's General Manager, Tata, a quick ride in the kayak before setting off bound for our final overnight stopover in Castleford (Cass to the locals apparently).

The Team with some of the hotel staff 

Interview done, Tata happily and safely back on dry land, we were ready for the off just as the cricket started at 11.00am, which pleased Andrew as we paddled downstream with him listening to England perform less than brilliantly against South Africa. Sitting in the rear cockpit I couldn't hear the general commentary but was brought up to speed by Andrew as and when anything of note occurred (which seemed to me to be fairly infrequent in cricket).

After the many locks of yesterday today would only see us having to negotiate five but each one brought its own problems. No chance today of any towpath help for the greater part there is no towpath alongside the full length of the Aire & Calder Navigation which we would follow all the way to Goole. The first 3 presented little difficulty - all the locks on the A&C are single locks but very much bigger than the canal had been as they were designed to allow very much larger boats to pass.

We discovered our first major problem at Lemonroyd lock where the wash wall east of the lock was a huge concrete structure giving no chance of accessing the canal below the lock, or at least no chance without a severe risk of getting wet! In the event, after much searching for an alternative, we found we could get the boat to the adjacent river through some woodland and relaunch just below the weir (which the lock bypassed). Although something akin to quicksand we managed to get the boat back on water and continued eastwards.

Lemonroyd Lock with the huge washwalls
(pic courtesy of Pennine Waterways)

Even with our difficulties at Lemonroyd good progress was made and we decided to carry on beyond Castleford looking to reach Knottingley by the end of the day, with David then picking us up and running us back to the Wheldale Hotel, our stay for the evening. We arranged to meet David at Bulholme Lock just east of "Cass" and were pleased that we did for he was able to recci it and tell us that it would be nigh-on impossible to get the boat down the lock without learning how to fly. A scaffolding set of steps had been installed and trying to get a 16' kayak down them would have proved very tricky.

Once again, and we were getting used to this by now, we received one of those random acts of kindness when Angie and her partner in their narrow boat, having seen our plight offered to take the boat down the lock on the roof of their boat and drop it off at the pontoon below the lock.

Yet another random act as our boat is giving a lift down Bulholme Lock

Beyond Bulhome we were left with a straight paddle for a further 5 miles to Knottingley where, as planned, David was there to meet us and take up to the hotel in Castleford.

The Wheldale, positioned directly opposite the Castleford Tigers RL ground, was likely to be very much busier than we had anticipated because their fixtures schedule had been changed at short notice (Sky Sports hold a lot of power) and they were to play host to Salford Reds this evening. With kick off at 8.00pm our host, Donna, warned us it would be busy. Busy is not the word, it was heaving and how the fans drink that much then stand for best part of 2 hours is utterly beyond me (but then again I am 61, perhaps my bladder has seen better days).

If they drank a lot before the match that was a mere mouthwash to what was supped afterwards! These people, though, were the salt of the earth and fantastically generous when Andrew braved to mingle with his collection bucket before the match. David and I, being very much more plummy of voice, decided to stay at our table (well...someone had to look after the drinks).

We left the fans drinking, singing and drinking more and sloped off to bed fairly early to be refreshed in the morning for our 7th and final day. So far we had managed to keep to schedule and with just 17 miles still to paddle we aimed to reach our goal by 3.00pm.

Monday, 24 July 2017

Day 5 - To Leeds 13 July

Waking up with a groggy head caused me to think that perhaps my restraint had been a tad lacking. I didn't want to let on but I was tired and not looking forward to day 5, our longest day at 29 miles from Skipton to Leeds (then a bit more as we would have to paddle the first part of the Aire & Calder to reach the Leeds Marina, adjacent to the Royal Armouries).

There's nothing like a fried breakfast to help clear the head and if the fried breakfast is one from the Woolly Sheep Inn then all to the good. The pub had done us around the evening before and their breakfast was of a similar pedigree with a slight wait while everything was cooked to order. We all recommend the pub very highly.

The plan had been to be away by 8.00am but we confidently thought that if we were a bit late setting-out we would make up time en route and get back onto schedule (generally we were able to cover the distances faster than our timing-schedule allowed).

In the event we were ready for off by 9.00am and we prepared for launch under the Swadford Road Bridge in Skipton watched keenly by a family of swans. It may be that they had heard that Andrew had exhausted our supply of swan food (see FB vid or it may be they got bored as we got ready. Whatever the reason they swam off and left us unmolested.

This, as previous viewers will know, has not always been the case with us having been attacked on a number of occasions, especially by the grump swan at Silsden and the equally grump Skipton swan. These attacks had subsided in recent weeks and this had perhaps lulled us into a sense of false security as we paddled away from Skipton heading toward Bradley. We had not gone very far when a large swan glided towards us, head and neck tucked within arched wings, looking decidedly narked at us using his/her bit of canal.We paddled by and it dropped back and whilst it would be possible to think the bird had called off any engagement the creatures do this before entering into a lumbering take off to see the kayak off their territory.

We are unable to turn round far enough to see the animal, the first we hear is the wings beating slowly on the surface of the water as it starts its crash-course. Having passed by the swan, a few seconds later we heard the sound of wing-beating and a moment or two later the bird arched into my back and left arm. (No vid of this but once you've seen one swan attack then others are all similar). Thankfully, it didn't try again and we saw no sign of the Silsden grump. This was to be our only attack of the entire journey with the majority leaving us in peace as we paddled by them.

There are very few pics of the first half of our fifth day. The reason for this is primarily the fact that we were concentrating on pressing on, trying to catch up with the fact that we were chasing the schedule to arrive at 5-Rise Locks at noon. Also we were struggling, for some inexplicable reason, to keep the boat in a straight line, it being prone to veering off one way or the other which become very frustrating after it has done it for the umpteenth time.

We finally paddled toward the 5-Rise Locks an hour behind schedule so we had caught up no time and were tired, very tired. After a lunch stop we set off again, having largely given up on any idea of keeping to schedule and just hoping we could get to Leeds. We did have a Plan B which was to get David to collect the boat some way short of Leeds and then make up the distance on Day 6. We didn't relish this plan as it would seem as though we had "failed" to achieve our goal but it was looking very likely until the cavalry arrived.

Even meeting Caroline from the charity and her ever present enthusiasm was struggling to lift our spirits  but that fact that she was planning to be with us for the rest of the day would give us a spur to carry on, after all it was she who essentially the driving force behind our wish to raise funds for the charity.

Caroline, always enthusiastic and rarely stops smiling (I must take lessons)

We persevered to Dowley Gap Locks and my phone rang - the cavalry were on the phone in the shape of Tim Heaton and Bernie Connor, old friends of mine who had, some days earlier, said they might be able to come to assist and would tied it in with a bike-based-beer-crawl. They turned up and proceeded to help us through every lock from Shipley right through to Leeds. Although they may not have realised they were are saviours during the afternoon with their lifting the boat around each lock.

Our enthusiasm was rejuvinated by them providing yet another random act, and we pressed on to arrive at Apperley Bridge Marina Cafe where, although now 2 hours behind schedule, friends had waited patiently for our arrival, with cafe owners Vicky and Rob who had opened their cafe especially for us. Even though it was now after 4.00pm their presence on the wharf, and the cups of tea and Mars Bars, strengthened our resolve to get to Leeds without using Plan B.

Thank you Tim and Bernie and Rob and Vicky, without your support it would have been likely that our fifth day would have had a different outcome.

The cavalry, Tim and Bernie helping at Newlay Locks

Whilst our venture may have seemed like hardworking, even foolhardy, it paled when compared to the guy we met who was pulling his canal boat by hand from Liverpool to Leeds as part of his overall aim to get to London. He was 2 miles short of his destination for the day when we met him and if he was still smiling then so could we. His exploits can be followed on FB - the Piano Raft.

The Piano Raft with our reflection in the craft's mirrors.

Not only did Tim and Bernie stay with us to the end of the L&L Canal but they also helped with the very delicate manoeuvre of transferring the boat from the canal to the Aire & Calder Navigation, a tricky portage that had us struggling some weeks earlier when we were fresher and hadn't just paddled 127 miles and had a very long and tiring day.

The difficult task of transferring the boast from the L&L Canal to the Aire & Calder

Once in the Aire & Calder it was plain sailing to get to the Leeds Marina where once again Tim and Bernie were with us to port the boat to the steps of the hotel. We unceremoniously left the boat on the steps while we adjourned to the bar to buy own new team team members a beer (or two) before they cycled off to the station to get the train back to Ilkley.

After our rewarding sit we finally thought we had better put the boat away until morning, an action which also required some deft footwork to get round reception and down the corridor to where the boat could be stored overnight. (Just a word of warning if you are ever checking in a 16' kayak).

An awkward check-in at Leeds Armouries HI Express

There was one final act of kindness left waiting for us as we made our way to put bags in the room. The hotel staff had gone to the trouble of writing a personal card to each of us welcoming us to the hotel and leaving a carrier in which was a can of "Red Bull" and some protein biscuits. 

A wonderful end, to receive a welcome card from the HI Express, Leeds Armouries

On that Thursday we found ourselves surrounded by people who, perhaps without appreciating it, had given us the drive to be able to get to the end of the day. The day might have been very different without their input and our sincere and heartfelt thanks are due to all.

Thursday, 20 July 2017

Day 4 - to Skipton 12 July

This was to be the first of the two really hard days, at 26 miles and having to negotiate several locks, including the 7 at Barrowford and 6 at Bank Newton, and arrive at Skipton to be at the beer- and food-tasting event scheduled to start at 7 o'clock. We first had to have a 10-mile dash to get to the tunnel at Foulridge in time to get through it before lunchtime.

A fine morning outside the Holiday Inn Express, Burnley, better than yesterday

We weren't able to be away early as we had an appointment with BBC Radio Lancashire with Claire coming out to talk to us as part of a live broadcast for the Morning Program. Andrew by this stage is an old hand at media interviews and it is a surprise to me that his polished presentation didn't have the Beeb chasing after us for more. In the event they didn't (perhaps they couldn't keep up!) and we were left to be able to make our way northward towards God's Own County.

Andrew being interviewed by Claire from BBC Radio Lancashire  

We finally were away by 9.50am which would, we agreed, leave us enough time to get to the southern end of the tunnel for the 12.30 access (the tunnel has a traffic light system with a 10-minute window on the half-hour at the southern end - miss the window and you wait around for the best part of an hour). To get there involved an eight mile paddle followed by nigh-on a mile getting up the locks at Barrowford before a final paddle to the tunnel entrance. With David on hand to help wheel the kayak at the locks and aided by the fact that we were paddling at over 4 mph we reached the tunnel with a few minutes to spare.

Left, arrival at Foulridge Tunnel to be greeted by Monty and, right, exiting the tunnel

It was while having a break at the excellent Cafe Cargo at Foulridge Wharf that we experienced our  second random act of kindness (we were to receive several more before the end of our adventures). Whilst passing the time of day with the crew of a wide beam boat, letting them know what we were doing (they had politely queried whether kayaks are allowed through the tunnel - they are now as of June 2017) and a few moments later the crew were on their way for a walk but not before having had a whip-round for our collection bucket. Thanks, you know who you are, sorry I didn't take names. Within a couple of minutes a couple arriving at their car in the car park immediately dug into their pockets. Ahhh....we were getting near the good generous folk of Yorkshire!

We then began the 16 mile paddle to Skipton and now that we were on the highest part of the canal all future locks would be downhill which would make porting easier. The first port was at Greenberfield Locks where David was to meet us and where, as he waited in the sunshine, he enjoyed yet more random acts in people just showing an interest in what were we doing (until now there seemed to have generally been little interest shown from the towpath). We were, after all, now in Yorkshire proper having paddled over the county boundary somewhere near Barlick.

Five hours after setting out from Foulridge we arrived in Skipton at 6.45pm, just about in time to make ourselves beautiful for the evening event at the Woolly Sheep Inn.

Our arrival in Skipton

After a quick change it was down to join the 30 people who had paid good money to help the charity (thanks to all of them) to attend what proved to be an excellent evening. All who were there thought the Woolly Sheep Inn was a place they would return to, the food was brilliant and Andy, the manager, ran the evening with a friendly and informative delivery.

To be highly recommended, although be careful if you are canoeing next day!

Woolly Sheep Manager, Andy Goodall, with the Team

The only downside of the event revolved my well-known lack of willpower - if provided with "free" beer I tend to be unable to resist the temptation to drink it and the evening proved no exception. This was exacerbated by my liking for "Ram Tam" which is rather too strong to be drunk like pop. I assured the team that I would be fine on the morning and that I had exercised restraint during the evening.

A great day, the weather was good, we were in Yorkshire, we were well over halfway at nigh-on 100 miles covered, we were with good people, we had achieved out target, what could go wrong from here?

Wednesday, 19 July 2017

Day 3 - To Burnley

Day 3 began by being joined by Linda and members of staff from the company that owns the Holiday Inn Expresses that we are staying at in Burnley and Leeds. I am sure that they would rather not have joined us on such a foul morning with rain ranging from drizzle to deluge.

The Holiday Inn Express team with us at the start

Andrew was a bit quieter today, there having been no distractions by way of media interest, and we set off to walk to the top of the Johnsons Hillocks Locks before setting off in earnest toward Blackburn. For a short while the weather looked like it was going to be kind and we paddled north and east before we came upon a boat whose skipper seemed to need lessons in mooring!

Defo not the right way to moor a boat!

Shortly after encountering the boat we arrived at Riley Green Marina where we met Pam who confirmed that the boat had been manned by a guy who knew it was bit leaky but thought he would get back to the marina before it would need attention.....wrong! Now it stands as a memorial to over-optimism.

Pam on board her boat after giving details about the mystery boat

The weather proceeded to get worse...this is July with temperatures in single figures and the wind in double figures but we pressed on to meet David for our first stop of the day where we found him seeking shelter beneath the bridge waiting with our snacks...good man. He did have the gall to moan about the weather and the fact that he had just had to walk quite some distance to deliver our sandwiches. We resisted the desire to give him a sideswipe with a paddle as we would need him again later in the day.

It's no good waiting any ain't going to stop

Gradually, as forecast, the rain abated and we were left with a chill in the air, worsened by a breeze  where you could see your breath...this is July? Still, at least we could make progress without being soaked and we made good time to Hapton where we met with Steve and Lee from the HIEX from Burnley. They had offered to paddle the last few miles with us but soon discovered that inflatable kayaks, a breeze and no keels don't make good bedfellows and they spent much of their time and energies just trying to keep the boats going vaguely in a straight line.

We suddenly realised that we aren't half bad at this canoeing lark as we watched our temporary team members struggle over the last 2 miles of the day, the highlight of which was paddling through the 500m Gannow Tunnel. This was a foretaste of our passage through the Foulridge Tunnel which we would be doing tomorrow and which is over 3 times as long.

Arrival at the Holiday Inn Express, Burnley, meant that we had covered 72 miles of our journey at an average of 24 miles per day. The next 2 days were both longer and involved a lot more locks so we suspected our travels might take longer than these first three, easy, days.

The end of Day 3, 72 miles down

Monday, 10 July 2017

Day 2 - To Chorley

Day 2 started with Andrew (Cptn Mainwaring) Wellock being interviewed over the wireless with BBC Radio Leeds. Once they had rung be fair, all as arranged, he went into headless chicken mode and we (well, me actually) had to paddle round and round in circles to try to generate some genuine "splashing" sounds.

Andrew and I about to set off after "The Interview" (note the wide beam, no pun intended)

The other thing that I have to accept is that there may be a likeness to  "Gru" out of "Despicable Me"!

Surely not.

For the greater part of the rest of the day I had to then sit in the kayak with Andrew regaling me of his notoriety, fortunately being a bit deaf has its advantages, I could pretend not to hear him (even though I did really). Seriously, though, the day started well and proceeded to get even better by our appearance on "Made in Leeds TV" on the 6pm bulletin. For more about please visit Facebook.

We also were met at Wigan by Greg Brookes of the Canal and River Trust who called on us to say hello. Greg is the Project Manager for the Desmond Family Canoe Trail which is the route we are following and the Trust is helping to promote our journey.

Greg Brookes with Andrew at Wigan

When I think about it I have never been in a kayak with a celebrity and I can only assume it is as immensely boring as I experienced for the first few interminable hours. However, after the initial furore the rush receded and Andrew returned to earth and we maintained a normal conversation for most of the time. The only occasions when this was  disrupted might have been around our seeing a person with a personal transistor radio hugged to one ear with Andrew wondering whether they were listening on catch-up to his sage-like words from some hours earlier.

The Marina Cafe at Addlington, there is no better.

A great day, made even better by one of those random acts of generosity by a stranger. We called at the Marina Cafe at the Blue Bear Marina at Addlington  to arrive to a round of applause (they had heard about our venture). Whilst this surprised us their ensuing charity surprised us even more by refusing to take any money for our tea and cakes.

How strange it is that their "gift" of maybe just a couple of pounds left us with a feeling of having received an immense generosity of spirit.  I had called in the marina a few weeks ago and noted the benevolent atmosphere and wanted to return, You are very special people and I hope many other people will want to return. Here's to you Marina Cafe.

This, added to the generosity of our sponsors and to those who donate, is what helps to make the venture so worthwhile. We can press on and if a bit tired can be spurred on by those who are supporting us.