Day 14
BB arrived at the Hotel for our meeting during the mid-morning – we telephone her business advisor to see if she can see us?. BB runs a charity and I wonder whether we can assist? The day is filled with questions, ideas and proposals – all of which are really enjoyable to debate. We meet at the Business Advisor’s home – which is spacious and very pleasant.

During the afternoon I was able to do some last minute shopping before meeting BB and some of her professional friends for a last Dinner together. The food was exquisite, the company was amazing and it was an ideal last night – a mix of business and social – and with aome very nice people.

My flight left Chennai at about 2.00 in the morning – and I was soon en route home. The flight was comfortable and I was lucky to have slept most of the way! I arrived home feeling really good – – though the tiredness caught up with me in our early eveing…. so it was an early night – and then back to my routine.

I intend to write another page or two on my overall impressions. I only wrote this blog because some close friends wanted to see what i was doing and to check that I was not having a holiday. I hope that the basic information offered was of some interest and that I will never be required to write a blog again – ever ever ever!

Day 13 – 11 March 2009

I slept really well last night. I was in a deep sleep when my alarm call sounded at 0630 – I was straight out of bed into the shower and down to breakfast. It is so much easier getting out of bed in Tamil Nadu than on a cold March morning in Northern England. Today we are organising a morning of reflection – we are visiting the local Ashram for a contemplative hour of individual reflection. The building and grounds are quite stunning. Ironically this one hour session was one of my cherished moments in India. It crystallised the spiritual aspects of the Learning Journey. No wonder that George H and his cronies were inspired by the spirituality of this country. The group practiced three more individual group exercises – the three hours spent on reflection was a good idea and the process allowed for the dust to settle in my mind. Lunch followed with the inevitable walk along the beach – the street had been washed down by last night’s heavy rain. It was very humid and hot but I really loved it. My 20 pounds Panama Hat, purchased from Marks and Spencer prevented severe burning to my bald head – the best 20 quid I have spent in a long time.

Lunch was held in a restaurant around the corner – food looked delicious but I had a bowl of soup – probably wise to give my stomach a rest for a while. The off to look at some shops, change currency and back to the hotel to attend to my e-mails and blog. The air conditioning system is really efficient – It transforms the bedroom into a refrigerator – compared to the baking hot temperature outside including the main body of the Hotel.

I am more than ready to come home – my Journey has been positive – but for me two weeks is a long time to be away from home. It is our last Group Dinner this evening – I have a leisurely shower, pack my bags, pay my hotel bill. I will be driven back in Chennai later tonight for one more day of hard work. It is 2.00 when I arrive at the Green Park Hotel. I have a lovely suite here and after finishing off paperwork, making a few phone calls I am in bed asleep. I feel at ease here.

Day 12 – 10 March 2009

I crawled downstairs to breakfast at 8.00 – all this rich French food has given me a tummy ache – ironic really given that South Indian food has caused no reaction to my digestive system whatsover. I had a small breakfast and pondered on what this day would bring. I have decided to absent myself from an organised trip to the rain forest – BB and SB are due to arrive here at the Hotel at about 10.30. The weather is cool today – about 23 degrees with a cool breeze blowing off the sea. This is seriously cold for India – and rain as well was well times for the forest visit! It is a national holiday in Tamil Nadu – many of the City’s facilities will be closed today – our bar is closed because of Government regulations.

BB and SB arrived from their respective destinations on public transport from two separate destinations in yet another Pondicherry rain storm. My tummy is now very painful and I have had to use a couple of tablets that I have carrying around with me for the last ten days or so. This efficient concrete mix is possibly now working – but I will play on the safe side and starve myself for the rest of the day. No more French onion soup for me here – and the rum babas are definitely off the menu. I will try to use tonight’s dinner period in my hotel room for quiet reflection before the group’s last formal refection feedback tomorrow morning.

The hotel’s comfortable facilities make a perfect place to do our work. We discuss lots of exciting and interesting ideas – it is really exciting sharing working concepts and strategies in a culture so different to the UK. I will be joining BB again on Thursday at 1000 at the Chennai Green Park Hotel, who have given us “a good deal” for the last two days here.

We shall be holding more meetings then in Chennai. Our first meeting will be with a business consultant working with third sector agencies including social enterprises in Chennai. She has long experience in this field. It is not all work and no play on my last day – I am keeping some time free for getting my laundry done, do some shopping, have a swim / body massage at the Hotel and maybe do even more shopping. Being a shopaholic I cannot possibly face being deprived of this last minute luxury. Today none of the interesting shops are open because it is a Indian National holiday. My last meeting will be at the Chennai Hotel over Dinner with an auditor and lawyer at 1900 before jumping on an Air France plane at 0230 and heading back home. In truth I cannot wait to be in the comfort of my own home.

This week has gone quickly and I feel so much has been learned from both my fellow travellers and from people with whom we have been privileged to meet along the way. I will try and post details of the rural project which I sadly missed today to keep my record complete – I am sure that the “UnLtd designated blogger” will let me add her words onto the AUK site or if readers really want to read more about this ecology project in the rain forest then they can go to the UnLtd.org.uk web page that includes our daily journey. Some of the daily blogs are excellent – meatier than my own way of recording here.

I will miss the immaculate laundry service – I have always ridiculed friends who iron their boxer shorts and socks! I am old enough to have experienced this old way of life – before adulthood – and I seriously doubt if I will ever see these old fashioned ways of returning. Because of my dodgy tummy I am having an early night tonight – I will watch an exciting test match (cricket) and catch up on my sleeping. I am physically and emotionally shattered and readyfor my bed !

Day 11 – 9 March 2009 – It is my turn to write the daily blog for the UnLtd Learning Journey site:

It is an early start this morning – We are expected to arrive at the internationally acclaimed Avarind Eye Hospital at 0830 – and we need to allow enough time to negotiate our way through heavy traffic. It was our first breakfast at the L’Orient Hotel and we were all enjoying the best meal of the day before 0715. The food was excellent with a wide choice of European and South Indian cuisine. We sat in an open court-yard and the accompanying warm breeze made the surroundings special. Our Wi-Fi Internet connection at the Hotel was not working – which was frustrating – but not crucial to our survival. Internet connections are a bonus and not a necessity – who needs e-mails everyday anyway?

Our small convoy of cars arrived spot on time at the Avarind Eye Hospital. It was located in pleasant well kept grounds and it looked like a substantial Hospital with several interlinked buildings very much in the Indian style of construction. We were met by The Head of HR who kindly invited us to a smart Board Room, where we left our personal belongings before embarking on the tour of the main administrative block, outpatients’ area – treatment and waiting areas – and some of the hospital wards – both private and public.

The hospital was founded in 1976 and has now become one the largest Social Enterprises in the world. There were just 11 beds then– now there are 4000 – in Tamil Nadu alone – treating just under half a million people per year, operating on over 100,00 patients annually and holding nearly 1500 eye camps per year. These are staggering statistics by any standard.

The hospital’s mission is to “Eradicate needless blindness by providing appropriate compassion and quality eye care for all” Here they treat all aspects of eye problems from the most basic to the most complex eye surgery. In Tamil Nadu State they a cluster of five major managed hospitals in Theni, Tirunelveli, Madurai, Colmbalore and Pondicherry that support “eye camps” – i.e. taking treatment to the people of the local area. Every week fifteen separate eye camps are held – all seeing around 300 patients per session. Many people are treated in situ – others are taken to the nearest eye hospital for in- patient treatment.
India has the highest number of blind people in the world – much of the blindness is totally unnecessary – many of these cases can be cured. India’s blind population amounts to one fifth that of the whole world. Avarind Eye Hospital has reduced the cost of cataract surgery down from $80 to $4 per eye. Patient Care is the raison d’etre of the hospital’s best practice. Effectiveness, Value for Money, Financial Sustainability and Reaching people in need constitute the core aims that must be achieved.

The Hospital treats both self paying clients and those who cannot pay anything but a token contribution. 55% of out-patients pay – 45% do not. For surgery 43% pay but 57% do not. About 12 percent of patients are insured through a private or work place schemes – producing 20% of the income to the hospital. Other contributory income is produced from surplus income profits from the hospital’s five divisions that produce and manufacture: lenses, blades, sutures, instruments and pharmaceuticals. Other income is derived from the hospital selling assistance to other providers of in the form of teaching, training, consulting, research, publications and advocacy. There is a belief that “Sharing makes you stronger” – something which we all endorsed.. The Avarind Hospital Medical Research Council works in the areas of microbiology, community based research, epidemiological surveys, clinical trials and genetics. The Hospital is involved in managing four other major eye hospitals in Northern India which are large and substantial and adopt the same social entrepreneurial philosophy.

We visited the main open public wards – and typically 18 beds were in one very large room – less than two feet apart. The individual private rooms vary from a small single room at 250 rupees per day and increase to 450 / 600 / 1000 rupees a day according to the size and facilities of the room. A room costing1000 Rupees per day would include a small living room, separate bed room with two beds (one for support person) and an en suite toilet / washing facilities.

The methodology used in outreach work has been developed with creativity. Teachers have been trained to screen local problems, Satellite Medical Centres have been created, and WI-FI Centres have been constructed thanks to the help of University of Berkley in California. Vision Centres are located throughout the state and partnerships exist with local Physicians. Diabetes and Glaucoma awareness and treatment campaigns are co-ordinated throughout the year.

Extensive further information can be obtained from the Medical Directorate at the Avarind Hospital who will co-operate with anyone in the furtherance of their social and medical mission.

I was totally amazed by the scale of the operation. I felt privileged to be shown such amazing facilities. The care, support and technical competence of the staff was evident to be seen by all of us. The dedication of every one was a credit to the management of the services. It is their ambition to become the biggest provider of eye care in the world – and it will not be long before they reach their target. What is sure is that they are keeping to the principles of Dr G Venkataswamy, (1918 – 2006), the Founder of the Avarind Eye Hospital.

The Trustees of the Hospital delegate all day to day professional work to the Medical Directors and their staff. This is a model that works well and can be replicated elsewhere in other medical fields. From a personal point of view I liked the paying according to means practice and I wonder how this can be used elsewhere?

We spent about four hours on the site visit. A colleague who proposed a vote of thanks to the Medical Director and his senior staff said in her thank you speech that “Seeing is Believing”…. How I echo that phrase. I am grateful to the Learning Journey Team for facilitating this instructive visit – it was very valuable to me.

We arrived back at the Hotel L’Orient in Pondicherry just before 1.00 pm and in time for a tasty lunch. This is a hotel with a great record of cooking and serving delicious French food and I enjoyed a bowl of their French Onion soup with French bread.

My colleague who proposed a vote of thanks to the Medical Director and his senior staff said in her thank you speech that “Seeing is Believing”…. How I echo that phrase. I am grateful to the Learning Journey Team for facilitating this instructive visit – it was very valuable to me.
We arrived back at the Hotel L’Orient in Pondicherry just before 1.00 pm and in time for a tasty lunch. This is a hotel with a great record of cooking and serving delicious French food and I enjoyed a bowl of their French Onion soup with French bread.

Having a good walk after a plentiful lunch is good for me. Our next delight was a heritage walk of the French Quarter of the City. I was not long before the name of Robert Clive was mentioned – he raised Pondicherry to the ground in a war against the French – it seems the French and English fought over parts of India over the centuries. All the street names were in classic blue and white – this could have been any hamlet in France. We saw schools, libraries and other institutions which are managed by French people and there is a large French speaking population here. The area seemed so quiet – an oasis of relative calm surrounded by noise, crowds and managed anarchy that we have seen elsewhere. After the formal walk and guide was completed I went on an extended walk to post my postcards. Indian Post Offices make the UK model look streamlined … It took nearly twenty minutes to buy and dispatch these cards back to the UK.

I declined dinner with the group as I needed to complete my Blog entry on the UnLtd web site – and there was a great deal of preparation for me meeting with BB and SB tomorrow. Some of this work was completed in the Hotel’s dining room over a modest dinner. I was in bed after chatting on the phone to the UK for ages. I had a disastrous night’s sleep – I find that it is always a recipe for disaster trying to sleep at night without adequately “winding down”… Lack of sleep occasionally does no harm … especailly when you are enjoying the (Learning) Journey of a lifetime.

Day 10 – 8 March 2009

We move to Pondicherry.

With all my relaxation yesterday four hours sleep was enough. I was up and about by 0600 enjoying the first part of the day. This hotel creaks more than the Chennai equivalent – tepid water only was available though my shower – which was invigorating – it could almost have been piped through from the swimming pool. Later I was told much to my embarrassment that there is a switch for constant hot water in my room … duh!

Breakfast was at 0730 which was as good as ever. I walk with two colleagues to the local Roman Catholic Church for Mass at 8.30 – and true to his word the Priest finishes the service in less than fifty minutes. Men and women are separated and the service was in Tamil. It seems the Priest has four services over the Sunday period – and he is responsible for twenty one sub stations. He gives us loads of information about the work of the parish which will be of interest to other Catholics back home. There was time for a swim on my return – many of my colleagues have gone on a fishing trip out to sea. The clean warm and calm water of the hotel’s swimming pool was just a dream. I fear that this will be my last swim in India – the next hotel does not have a swimming pool.

We have a good lunch before departing for Pondicherry. It is a long drive in our trusty old coach. We watch a terrible film en route – it was so loud I could hardly hear myself think. The journey lasts just over four hours and we arrive in Pondicherry late in the afternoon – it is still light and very warm. I unpack my luggage in a small but basic bedroom – sadly no Internet connect is available – except on a wireless connection in the hotel lobby. The room is clean and safe – I am well pleased and grateful to be not sharing it with others. Dinner is at 1930 and it was delicious. The hotel reflected the French influence of Pondicherry. I retired to my room for reflection and to write up my notes. Tonight I need to catch up on my sleep again!

Day 8 – 6 March 2009

It was a later start than I am used to – Breakfast was at 9.30. I got up circa 8.00 a.m and I had a leisurely relaxing shower before breakfast – then went for a walk around the hotel and on the beach. It was here that I realised the error of my ways -many of my peers had been in the swimming pool from about 06.00 – I had missed the best part of the day -but I have to say that my sleep was enjoyable and my breakfast was even better.

After breakfast we left in our bus to visit The DROPSS Project – Development for Rural Depressed Peoples Service Society. This is a women’s Project headed by likeminded and socially concerned women who are working for the rights of women. In particular the organisation has been working with young Muslim women – albeit not exclusively; Christians and Hindus are also involved and included in the Project. I was stunned by the most positive vision of this project.. It was radical and successful. The project had fifteen paid staff and two volunteers. There are 300 beneficiaries – we saw a large group of adolescent girls training in sari making and literacy. The work of the sari-makers was outstanding – I will never look at a sari in the same way as before. Some of these garments take twenty days to produce – the needle work is painstakingly slow and detailed.

The activities carried out in the project include: Self Help Groups formation, Micro Credit linking, legal training, skill training for sustainable income generation, counselling, and marketing. Literacy is taught and the informal group work is very impressive. The achievements have increased the number of Muslim women and girls able to leave the home to work and to be educated – which is a huge achievement. In October of last year an UnLtd India Learning Journey Group visited this project and in the photographs recording that event all the girls hid their faces. Today they were completely open and relaxed.

After our visit we were given a lunch that could only be described as a banquet served on large banana leafs. The food was exquisite – why is it the poorest seem to be the most generous? We were then taken in an auto-rickshaw to the home of one of the leaders. An auto-rickshaw is a small vehicle with a small engine like a covered in motorcycle. The driver is in the front and two people can sit behind him in a semi open but roofed vehicle. I was terrified by this experience. Sitting in the back of a rickshaw racing another vehicle puts me in my “panic-zone” I survived – just!

The home of the community leader was lovely – we were given food and drink and I was deeply grateful for their most generous hospitality. It was now back to the Bungalow on the Beach Hotel – another two hour drive home- but it was really worth it – I would have almost walked here for the experience.

We arrived back at our hotel after dark – I noticed one of the Lutheran Churches in our street with a packed congregation and had its doors open so I walked back to that Church to observe the service. Once again women and men sat separately and the congregation enthusiastically sang hymns and listened to the sermon. I walked back t the Hotel in good time for our dinner which was delicious. I have eaten spicy (veggie) food now for over a week and I have not had any tummy problems whatsoever. This is testimony to the advice and preparation of the Learning Journey staff – both in the UK and here in India.

We have a day off tomorrow – we have decided not to go to the eye camp but to concentrate on reflection and relaxing after a busy schedule.

Day 7 – 5 March 2009

South India here we come – A stay by the sea-side

I was up really early today – I had to pack my baggage, have breakfast, pay my bill, say goodbye to some hotel staff that had been really nice to me and leave Chennai for our next destination. We have a seven hour drive – and we will be stopping en route at a project mid distance. I paid my bill to the hotel – which is higher than most people’s in our group – but then I started two days earlier and spent more money on entertaining and leisure pursuits. Every penny / rupee has been well spent and I am grateful to settle my account.

We left in a small coach – with good air conditioning – even if the suspension was hard and the seats lumpy. Two hours later we stopped at the Grassroots Project in Kancheepuram District. This is a post Tsunami Project aimed at the Fisher Folk that was badly affected by the disaster. The aims of the Project were to form a Labour Union / Trade body in this un-organised community; to offer awareness training, form co-op societies, form a Development Council for the village(s), Establish trading and marketing programmes – including pickle making, Developing children’s rights and activity centres, and to establish educational learning centres. There are now 21 staff members with 80 volunteers. Nearly 3000 beneficiaries have received help through the project’s programmes.

In a question and answer questions most of the questions to us from the local groups were about alcohol abuse and addiction to drugs and alcohol. Simply speaking this group were desperate for help and assistance in organising treatment and support systems. I am certain that BB will speak with their leaders and hopefully something positive can arise from our meeting.

We were back on the coach after about three hours – having had a thoroughly good lunch. The hospitality we have received at every project has been quite out of this world. People who have so little have given us so much. The journey to our next destination will take another three to four hours – a little longer than I had anticipated. But en route I saw my first Indian elephant. It seems it was a working animal – and it was bathing in a river – the driver did not stop – bit I was really grateful for this siting.

We stopped again two hours later to look at a small temple and a cuppa coffee (or in my case diet coke). Back on the bus for another two hours … Then our next hotel – The Bungalow on the Beach 31 Km from Nagapattinam.

This hotel was just full of style – quite opposite to the traditional business hotel we had occupied in Chennai. The influence of the Danes – who landed here in 1706 was apparent. The street in which we are located has about five churches and three teacher training colleges and one convent in addition to a couple of local schools.

I went for a quick walk prior to our late evening meal. The weather is still very hot – and I am so glad that my bedroom has air conditioning. Most of the public areas of the hotel do not have this amenity. There are regular power cuts (three times an hour – but they only last a few seconds. There is no Internet in the bedrooms – which means my ability to Skype has ceased. Thank heavens I can enjoy the independence of using my own mobile telephone. If I had been using my own UK phone I would probably have needed to take out another mortgage to meet the roaming charges. I was in bed by 11.00 pm and off to sleep – with the noisy air conditioning working all night – and I didn’t even notice it!

Day 6 – 4th March 2009

Our first full day of feedback was held this morning after a very pleasant and relaxed breakfast. This was facilitated by two members of our group. We shared our experiences and high-lights of the journey to date and considered the group experience. The meeting was a very useful reflection period and allowed me to consider all the points raised in the quiet and privacy of my own room – all very positive for my own personal and professional growth.

After lunch I am off to Chennai again – I book a massage in a reputable clinic and try a traditional Indian Body Massage. It was heaven for 60 minutes and worth the cost (about ?12). The owner of the centre tells me about numerology – an Indian tradition. It appears that my key numbers are lucky. My next stop is Higginbottoms’ Bookshop – the biggest bookshop in Chennai to buy a book on the subject. The subject is liked to Astrology – most disappointing – I have never been a fan of the stars. My last visit is a few shops that sell carved elephants – nothing was available that I liked – I will keep on looking during the rest of my stay here.
On my return I met up with BB again for more work and discussions. These were very constructive, detailed and worthwhile. We worked all afternoon and then went out for a superb South Indian meal at a top restaurant in Chennai – the cost of the meal was very low by UK standards – but the quality of the food was simply magnificent. I was back in the hotel by 9.30 pm

I have agreed with BB that she and her husband SB will be visiting me on the 10th March in Pondicherry and that we will spend the final day working together on the 12th March with some of her colleagues and some of the people we met at the VIP lunch during the early part of our trip. This trip has been even more valuable thanks to my chance meeting of BB at an Al-Anon meeting. I am so grateful.

I have been mostly in my comfort zone throughout the journey so far. All my fears have not come to fruition. I have dealt with the poverty and issues of gender, class, dowry and culture well. The country is amazing. Why has it taken so long for me to get here? I am falling in love with India.

Tomorrow we leave for Nagapattinam District.

Day 5 – 3 March 2009

Two more Social Projects – in rural locations in Tamil Nadu

We are all up early for breakfast this morning – my favourite meal of the day! We receive a briefing on today – and the agenda seems to be well planned and very interesting. We are to visit a rural tribal community affected by Tsunami – issues of caste and dowry will be discussed here – all the more interesting because the project is largely organised by women. We will then visit a crocodile park which has a strong social enterprise extracting snake venom from snakes – this sounds very interesting as it is profitable and very sustainable. The afternoon session allows us to have some free time – I have agreed with BB that we should continue or work related discussions.

A meeting with Dr Krishnan – Founder of Irula

Dr Krishnan kindly offered us a talk at the hotel prior to the visit to ITWWS. This was a wake-up call for me. He was very detailed and his talk was designed to prepare us. An hour of briefing first thing in the morning is hard to follow – but the effort was worthwhile. This man has established a brilliant organisation – all credit to him.

Our first visit to ITWWS (Irula Tribal Women’s” Project

This was situated in Chenelpattu. The main issues addressed by the project were tribal rights, women’s rights, health, education, housing, political participation livelihoods, and environmental conservation. Wow! What a list… The organisation was started in 1986 – initially with five villages but now works with over a hundred villages. It is one of the beacon projects in Tamil Nadu – and quite deservedly – it would win medals from me any day of the week! The concept of protecting rural resources, empowering women and using the tribe’s knowledge of forest resources for economic prosperity is just what is required. This is one of my favourite projects that we have visited so far – I am totally spellbound. We met in a small village. Less than 125 people live here. Many turned out for our visits – mainly women and children. We received a short briefing on their work – then lots of questions from us to them and vice versa. We were asked questions about marriage, love marriages, housing, alcohol, and education. We walked through the village and saw people’s houses, and facilities. There was a lovely atmosphere and the work which was being carried out was of the highest quality and the welcome and hospitality we received was simply humbling.

The work being carried out included education programmes, developing learning centres, scholarships for higher education, and teacher training; Health – awareness training in hygiene lifestyles and disease prevention, health care services and health camps, and workshops including alternative natural remedies. Livelihoods – microcredit and revolving funding, establishing self help schemes, self employment projects, sustainable economic and employment development and insurance for 1800 families. Ecology – forestry seed bank, medicinal plants nursery, tree planting rain water collection. Other work include civil rights development, human rights and identity on issues such as gender – how can you not fall in love with this project? I am fascinated!

This project is deservedly one of the beacon projects in Tamil Nadu. I was told their next priority is a holistic development of the poor and the most marginalised members of their tribe. Their total membership is 3500 families out of a population of 100,000 people.

Our group was appreciative – and thankful that we were allowed to see so much. This was one of the best educational experiences I have ever enjoyed and I am grateful to both the project for their kindness and to the Learning Journey staff who facilitated the visit.

The Crocodile Park was the next project that we visited. Hunting snakes (for skin and food) was made illegal some years ago and caused a loss of earning capacity to local people. Snakes are now still hunted for their venom (to be sold to drug companies) and they are then returned to their natural habitat. The Crocodile Park is the centre for the safe extraction of the venom. The visit allowed us to see the important environmental conservation work with crocodiles and other similar species – and with snakes. I am not a great fan of snakes so I passed on the visit to the extraction centre – and bought my postcards instead… There was one picture of an angry crocodile that reminded me of my mood first thing in the morning on a bad Monday morning!

We were all hungry and went to a local restaurant – opposite the Bay of Bengal, part of the beautiful Indian Ocean- for lunch. It was a picturesque location and the buffet meal was first class. The walk along the sandy and surprisingly clean beach was a perfect end to our work day. It was very hot but quite invigorating and satisfying.

We arrived back at the Hotel mid afternoon. My peers went shopping and site-seeing. I too went into Chennai for a quick look around. I was taken to a huge Indian shopping centre that was only used by locals – my taxi driver came with me into the centre and helped my buy a new watch, groceries etc. I saw the prices of men’s clothing – I could have bought three suitcases filled with goodies for pennies – but I exercised self discipline – Air France charges far too much excess baggage rates for my liking. I returned to the hotel for an Indian body massage – which was recommended by my friends. The hotel had a resident health spa and the skill of the masseur was amazing and very relaxing. I had a very late dinner – which was probably a mistake and then immediately off to bed! We are up early tomorrow for another busy day. It was nearly mid-night when I went to bed – I have to be up and about tomorrow by 7 am…. I Thought my days of burning the candle at both ends for extended periods were over!