It was one of those tortuous trains of thought understandable only to my subconscious mind, and probably not even that, that led me from the final two words of yesterday's blog - "straight five" - to a hotel outside Visegrad, formerly Yugoslavia and now Bosnia-Herzegovina, where I once spent a night. The hotel, we were told, had been constructed for the Sarajevo winter Olympics (1974?) but when I stayed there it appeared to have a different use. In the interest of full accuracy I should explain that I didn't so much stay in the hotel as at it: I spent the night in the car park. This was in 1996 and I was there with a group of fellow Lions taking aid to refugees after the civil war. Our Lions district had decided to organise a "shoebox appeal" inviting people, especially schoolchildren, to fill shoeboxes with presents for the refugees - food, toiletries, clothes, toys, stationery etc. These would be loaded onto an articulated lorry and driven to Bosnia where the Lions would distribute them to refugee camps. For some reason I can't remember, I volunteered to go along.
The trip lasted some ten days and involved two lorries and a motor caravan travelling in convoy. During the trip, most of us kept a journal of some sort and after we had returned to England, the scrappy jottings were amalgamated and transcribed into a souvenir diary. I have mine in front of me as I write and as it might prove of some passing interest, tomorrow I shall open the Secret Diary of the Sarajevo Seven and we can begin our journey from Sussex to Sarajevo.