Running Away: My Retreat Diary.

Since I have been going through some tough times in my life and was lagging in the tasks I set forth for myself, I decided to take time out to re evaluate my life. I have always known that I have a lot of potential but potential must be converted to kinetic energy for it to be useful (Akpeks thanks for that yarn). I have not taken my school work as seriously as I should and I am very shamefully lagging in my project I thought I would have almost completed by now amongst many plans and projects occupying my little mind. Consequently, I decided to go on a retreat and I searched for places until I settled for Hartley Woods (they were kind enough to give me a discount).

Day One (15th April)

Being the Capricorn that I am, I sought to find the most economical way to get to Uttoxter (UTT). It was suppose to be cheaper by almost 30% if I connected through Wolverhampton that going to Uttoxter from Coventry directly. Well, the saying penny wise pound foolish (did using the actual currency play a role?) could not have been more on point.

First of all my ticket from Wolves to UTT turned out to be a one day return ticket instead of an open return as I tried to sort it out (by begging) I missed the train I was to take and that resulted in an extension of my journey by at least one hour.

The long and short of the story is that going to a place that is before derby which is 2hours away from Coventry, changed trains 3 times!! (B’ham, Wolves and Crewe). The London midland journey between Crewe an UTT was as comfortable and noiseless like the London underground trains. Well, I got to UTT after dark. This is summer in the UK which means around 10pm. All through the journey, the people who run the place I was to stay in kept calling. I called when I got to the station and they came to pick me up!!! I could not believe that people could be so kind. On the way Roger (the Baba’s name) told me of his brother who was a district officer in Nigeria (samanja I guess) and got to know the major company in UTT was JCB the truck makers). I got to Hartley woods and it looked like home to me. I was shown my room and given dinner which was extremely healthy and a home baked cake. I got to my room and unfortunately the TV was there and I could not help but watch the highlights of Chelsea vs. Liverpool. As I put on my computer to work I discovered that there was internet connection. I could not believe it! Temptation let me check an email before I put it off (NO INTERNET THIS PERIOD, PERIOD!!). I could not wait to take a stroll around the compound the next day.I went off to reading a book (Obamzi’s Dreams from my father).

My usual tidy room
My tidy room as usual.


Day Two

I slept like a baby and woke up by around 10 and got to reading Obamzi’s book. After a while went out and found breakfast had been waiting for me. Amongst other things, I had fruit salad that had strawberry and grapes in it (Yes! No pawpaw). Sumptuous is an understatement. The lazy ass got back to bed and was woken up by Roger saying Lunch was ready (I am living like a king). I said I’ll be ready in two hours and he smiled saying  it would be  tea time, then Ha! Tea time? I had to reconfirm the rates I was paying.

Lunch consisted of sandwiches, vegetables and pie. I would have preferred eba and egusi which is much heavier (Dimitri would testify) Lunch was capped up with Lick and potato soup. There is a huge difference in food cooked for a multitude and food cook for a very few. One reminds you of home!I slept again! Damn! I woke up and red a bit of self analysis then succumbed to checking out man u scores online. Thank God we won! Food was 3 courses, the main dish consisted of potatoes, sliced beef and about 7 other things. My people would call it medemede. I really liked the homemade ice cream and told Roger that and he pointed out it was trifle. Bush me! Well it was all good the same.

E no resemble cake?
E no resemble Ice Cream?

After awhile of reading I realized that I had to plan my retreat to achieve anything tangible. It occurred to me it was more than reading books therefore jotted down guiding thoughts. I deleted about 900 messages from my inbox got since Jan (approx 10 per day) and about a thousand sent since February (about 17 a day). I was awake till 3 writing My ‘Saving Facebook’ and ‘Cleaning Nigeria’s image on the web’ articles which I will post later. I went to bed even though I do not feel sleepy b’cos I need to rearrange my body clock.

Day 3

I woke up at ten and had a rumble in my stomach. It must have been the combination of red bulls and too much medemede. I had breakfast which was ok and similar to yesterday. The plan for today was to read a lil Obamzi then type till the sun comes out. I met a lady at the center who said her husband was from Nigeria. After much discussion she told me her dad was Nigerian. I just wondered how many of our own have gone, never to be counted as one of us. I went to see the deer in the field and although I snuck up on them (so I thought) they were all staring at me. I never knew their senses were so good. Nothing much happened, just supper and back to thinking. Something spoke to me and I decided to succumb to temptation and use the Internet (Damn! Why are you available)? I got a mail from my VouChaCha brethren ( that we have been accepted into mini seedcamp. In case you do not know the implication, it is the equivalent of an upcoming footballer being given the opportunity to play around in Carrington Road (Man U’s training ground). That’s not all, José, Wenger; Anchelotti would be spending their day there as well. So I pardoned myself for grabbing my phone and Sending a message to our rep the indomitable Ben Brown. Since it was 2am I did not get a reply so I slept, smiling. Not smiling because of Ben Brown, but Susan Boyle. Got to know of in my hibernation and luckily checked it out! Hers audition was a complete movie played out on stage. Ha! Keep judging a book by the cover you cynic!! If you have no idea what I am saying, watch this video watching it has given me renewed energy, it is NEVER too late and do not judge a book by its cover!

Day 4

Back to the Garfield me, I woke up late then Garfield around for a while. I was hoping to get a stroll but the beautiful British weather prevented it from happening. As usual, I got tempted by the internet again and had a look at my SAP mail. Going through, it all came together. I am officially 4KED!! 3 months to do 900 hours of project work i.e. 10 hours a day. The three months assumes I’ll magically finish my remaining PMA’s at the rate of one a week. I quickly drew up a time table and hopefully I’ll recover a bit. Meanwhile, I had been trying to get PayPal to explain a deduction from my account which they denied knowing anything about; only to receive a mail from ‘PayPal’ saying they deducted some money in error and would refund me. I leapt for joy and when I looked at the detail of the letter, I realized it was a scam. People NEVER send your pin number to any email address and be careful when making purchases online. Make sure the address says (https) the s means secured. Also ensure that the address is the same as what you typed.I had lunch and took a stroll. I saw scenery from little red riding hood and as I settled to capture the moment, some bad guy wolves began pursuing me. I could capture one with my camera from a distance. Abeg, I no come here die o!

The bloody wolf!
The bloody wolf!

In the evening after deciding I’ll be leaving on Saturday, I enquired about my bill so I would know if was going to have to wash some plates. Thereafter, I discussed the possibility of improving the Hartley Woods website because it does not reflect the hospitality of the hosts here. I had earlier spoken with my man JGazza about it. I hope to work something out; After all, what is my degree for if I can do some consultancy work. Roger told me how all his life, he sealed ALL deals with a handshake, no paper (they took no deposit when I arrived). He was let down only once. If only he knew the world we live in now. I got back to my room and wrote my Facebook article. It was so easy to write once I concentrated. I which I can get this level of concentration back in my dear Warwick.

Day 5

I did not look forward to today because I had to return to the real life. I had felt so comfotable and cared for like my grand ma would do. I took pictures with my very wonderful hosts (after a 100 attempts) and paid my bills. I did not want to be the second person to let Roger down. They made sure I finished eating my meals like loving grandparents. Afterwards, I was dropped off at the train station where I waited of the hourly train to wolves. Made calls to the world and found that I was not even missed (phew!). I Got back to school and missed a lot of stories on my dear TechCrunch. Spent 3 hours Facebooking then settled down to write this. You can see the hurry in this last post b’cos I am back to the normal life. Well, I had a great time this week and I hope I am ready for the last lap.

If you ever need a time out, or you want to be spoilt a little, vist HartleyWoods so Roger and Frances Delf  Will take care of you :-). Just as Susan Boyle, do not judge Hartley Woods  by the website!

That’s all folks!

My lovely HOSTST!
My lovely HOSTS!
I noticed too :-)
I noticed too 🙂

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