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A Trip Down Under Part 1

Posted by Jim Humphries on 22nd, December, 2015
Relevant tags: IFCO

Jim Humphries, one of our foster carers who won a once in a lifetime trip to the IFCO Conference in Australia, tells us about his experiences down under.

After many trials and tribulations of organising the respite of one, and the moving on of another fostered boy, the day had finally come for our trip of a lifetime to Sydney, Australia.

Following a long and somewhat eventful trip, we arrived at the Star hotel where we would be staying for the week. Changed and a little refreshed we made our way up to the welcome reception which was being held on the terrace overlooking Darling Harbour. It was stunning, with bright sunshine, and lots of friendly people greeted us. We met an aborigine who was playing the didgeridoo and two game lads on stilts and dressed as kangaroos.

Foster carer Jim and Dawn Humpries visit the IFCO conference in Sydney, Australia

At the welcome reception we met people from many different countries. There were some very nice nibbles and drinks and there was a real buzz about the upcoming IFCO Conference. It all felt quite surreal as we had only arrived in Australia from rainy England that morning. When the free bar had closed we made our way back to our room and collapsed.

Jet lag is a strange thing. We were both wide awake at 6am and decided to go out for breakfast and have a look around before the Conference started at 8:30am. We walked down to Pyrmount Bridge and found a small kiosk selling coffee, croissants and yoghurt with berries and nuts in. We found a little table in the sunshine and sat with our breakfast watching the Aussies go to work.

There was a never ending stream of people coming in both directions across the bridge. Some were walking and others jogging. Every so often there were ten or more cyclists swooping through, with brightly coloured Lycra, like flocks of exotic feathered birds. All were travelling with speed and purpose and we seemed to be the only people to be just sitting and watching. To my amazement, a young lady went past on what I can only describe as a cross between a cross trainer and a scooter. It was all quite a sight and a colourful explosion on the senses. We were both glad we were up early enough to have witnessed this daily migration of the Sydney population.

After a while we made our way back to The Star for the start of the Conference…

Listen to Jim and Dawn Humphries being interviewed about their experience in Australia on BBC Radio Wiltshire

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