Last Sunday 15th July, 5 of the original 6 Joneses took part in the British 10k in Central London.
We knew that these two weeks would be the first time that all of us would be in the country since Chris & Sophie got married three years ago, and started thinking of something fun to do... goodness knows how we came up with the idea of doing a 10k together! But we did, and we did it.
We trained in a few different countries... Anna in Macedonia, Chloe in Australia, Chris in America & France, Ally... didn't train, and Mum trained by playing tennis, but we all came together on Sunday, with the side-aim of raising money for Ally & Amy's upcoming service with Mercy Ships.
It was an incredibly hot day, peaking at 30 degrees Celsius, which made it difficult to break any PBs. I think we were all just pleased to finish to be honest. However, Anna posted a brilliant time of one hour, with Mum & a jet-lagged Chloe (she flew in from Australia 24 hours beforehand) finishing in under an hour and a half. We managed to catch the moment when Chloe & Mum finished together! (picture right).
It's worth a mention that Andy did his bit towards the occasion - although he couldn't take part in the race due to his recovery from a broken ankle, he did look after the grandchildren for over two hours in the hot sun, with not much else to do but watch 11,000 run past. I don't think any of us would have traded places with him!
As I sit here and write, it's 8 days until we leave for the Africa Mercy to start our second service.
We have the benefit of having already sold or passed on most of our stuff, so we're feeling well-prepared. A generous donor gave us money specifically for clothing, so we have managed to equip ourselves for the next couple of years with suitable attire. We will have a fairly strict dress code for our next host country, Guinea, so that we can be respectful of the culture we are soon to be exposed to.
We have a couple of family occasions this weekend, including celebrating Louis, and then it will be all about packing, and probably trying to return Amy's parents house to the state it was in before we moved in for these last three months! Again, thanks to them for having us stay. Hopefully there won't be too much redecorating to do...!
We will join the Africa Mercy in the Canary Islands, at the end of the annual maintenance period. The Technical teams have been working extremely hard to get the ship ready for the next season, for which we are very grateful.
It will be straight into work for Ally, and straight into unpacking for Amy, as we make our new cabin our home for the next couple of years. We won't have very long before we sail to Guinea, when it will be all systems go.
Thank you to everyone who has signed up to become a regular financial supporter. It does take a few weeks before we're notified of any new supporters, so forgive us if we haven't been in contact yet. Do let us know if you have signed up, so we can say a proper thank you.
We have worked out that if we have 20 supporters donating at least £20/month, that will cover most of our expenses. We have to pay Crew Fees, plus insurance, and have to consider flights there and back etc.
If you would like to be one of those 20, then you can sign up to do so here: www.mercyships.org.uk/donate/.
...and please let us know if you do, so we don't have to wait a few weeks to say thanks!
And thank you to everyone who supported our Family British 10k - we smashed the target, with donations still coming in! If you want to donate to that specifically, here's the link: www.justgiving.com/JonesFamily10k.
Thanks for reading - the next update will probably come from the ship!
Lots of love,
Ally, Amy & Louis Jones