25th February 2004 Heading to Mexico

After I got back to the UK I managed to do the things I planned, I visited
my Mum every day, which was nice, I went to France and saw my daughter
Eleanor. I had been having some problems with my French bank, they had made
some deductions of around $1000 from my account that I did not understand
and they would not respond to my emails asking for clarification. So I took
the opportunity whilst in France to hand out some pamphlets around the local
town explaining my position. Within 4 hours I received a response from the
head office!

Colin Butter asked me to visit for the Icicle Meet, I made a couple of
balloon flights with him then continued down to Romsey as planned. I had
intended to call and see Simon Faithfull on my way back to Hull but Helen
phoned to say Mum had another stroke so I went straight back. I got in to
see her, she died during the night. We were very sad, but she was 95, the
last 6 months or so she had not a high quality of life, she needed to be
lifted into a wheelchair to be moved, for example, it would have been worse
after this last stroke.

At the end of January I went again to France, to make annual inspections on
some half dozen French owned but UK registered balloons. Soon after
returning I headed away again to Cyprus for 10 days to visit with my son
Daniel and family, picture of self and granddaughter Charlotte attached.

Then on 18th February I left for Marshall, flying in to Dallas, to collect my van with the
idea to head off the Mexico. I finished the journey with a 3 hour Greyhound
bus trip, Micki's family met me at the bus stop with my RV, it was like
coming home!

After a few days at Micki's, getting my ducks in order, as she puts it, and
making a few running repairs to the van, I left for New Orleans, it's Mardi
Gras time. I hoped to make contact with Tom Donnelly but had trouble with
the phone. I noticed 3 buses leaving a an RV park and guessed they were
going to see a procession, so I followed. I parked the van right next to the
procession route, on a side street, it was raining so I settled down for
dinner while waiting for everything to start, which it eventually did,
around 3 hours late. I stayed there overnight so I was well placed for the
main processions which started around 9 am and were more or less continuous
until 4.30 pm. Lots of floats, lots of people, lots of beads (they throw
bead necklaces off the floats. I've got about 10 Kg of them!) Luckily the
rain held off.

I'm now heading along the coast towards Mexico. I suspect it will be harder
to send emails from there, in any case I will not be looking so hard for
places to send emails since the bad news I was half expecting but not
wanting about my Mum has been and gone. I've also no intention of trying to
compete with my own literary masterpieces (!) describing my last

If you are interested to receive spasmodic and maybe near illiterate reports
of my progress please hit reply to this email and I'll put you on the list.
Don't please hit "reply all", I'm sure no one else is interested to know
whether you want to read my notes. Do nothing and you'll get nothing else
except my best wishes for your future which I'll wish you right now. And
I'll look forward to being in contact again some time.

Remember, just hit reply if you'd like updates.

I've edited my last trip into a form that can be printed as a Word document
which is available on my web site. Take care, it's 100 pages long......

Best regards

David Barker

Hiding from the rain in a Kinko's in New Orleans

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