Rustic Furniture update-(job finished).

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Just an update to show some of the furniture I made for Glamping Site in L’Estartit, Costa Brava, Spain.

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Travel writing…How do you earn the big bucks?

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The disappearance of Mr. Tom Stewart.

How can we help? Can we help?

(Posted with the permission of Phyllis Stewart, Tom’s wife).

The Missing Person phenomena, so horrific for those involved, often having no clues whatsoever as to where the Missing may be. Often numerous scenarios as to what could have happened, often no ideas as to whether the Missing is still alive, or sadly passed away.

Surely The Missing Person Phenomena is one of the cruellest of human conditions, with family and friends in a state of utter turmoil, frantic to keep the search alive, with feelings of guilt when they stop searching, or when they simply pause for rest.

How can we help find the Missing? How can we help family and friends search? How can we help alleviate the horrors felt by family and friends whilst the Missing are missing? Or even, should we help, are we the right people to help? How can the Missing Persons Phenomena become a human condition of the past?

Take the true story of Mr Tom Stewart, missing in Malta since 20th May 2016.

The short story: Unbeknown to his wife, Phyllis, Tom had become increasingly anxious over some building work that had gone awry on their new build apartment. Tom and Phyllis had relocated to Malta after honeymooning there a number of years before. On top of Tom’s hidden building works anxiety, Phyllis then broke her shoulder. Tom had sought help from his doctor, but didn’t take the medication subscribed. It looks like things got on top of him and in his confused state Tom sought help from another doctor.

This resulted in the confusing, stressful, and seemingly inappropriate admission to the infamous psychiatric hospital of Mount Carmel. Both Tom and Phyllis thought they were being taken to the general hospital for help.

Tom was admitted as a voluntary admission. Yet two days after his admission, terrified of the situation he found himself in, and being told by someone in the hospital that he couldn’t leave, Tom took things into his own hands. Tom climbed an orange tree whilst in the garden with Phyllis, scaled the eight foot wall, and presumably, ran off immediately.

Sadly, having been admitted as a voluntary patient, doctors soon told Phyllis that he had always been free to go, free to walk out the front door. Tom was under a different impression though.

Tom is six foot five inches tall. He was wearing the clothes he stood in. He may have had up to seventy euros on him. He may well have been wearing an ICE wristwatch. Tom has type two diabetes and left Mount Carmel with no medication.

In the thirteen months since Tom left the hospital there have been several sightings which Phyllis deems either very possible, or definite. Ten days after Tom went missing, previous neighbours of theirs said they stopped to talk to Tom at a bus stop. They tried to keep him talking whilst they found help, but before help came, Tom was off.

There was a potential sighting in a local supermarket, a supermarket that Tom and Phyllis used to use regularly. Police looked at cctv and discounted the sighting. Phyllis has never seen the cctv footage.

And there was a potential sighting four or five weeks after Tom disappeared on June 27th outside the closed down Hotel Karrane where a lady reported a man sleeping rough outside its front doors. The lady reported this because the man, she said, was very tall. The Hotel Karrane is perhaps seven or eight miles North of Mount Carmel hospital, an easy bus ride, a possible walk. Tom was a keen walker and knew areas of Malta well.

Phyllis and her family have worked tirelessly searching for Tom, close relatives visiting on many occasions. Streets have been scoured, both day and night. Beaches have been searched, caves, abandoned buildings, farmland scoured, but no signs of Tom. Phyllis has a large network of friends in Malta, and they have been an amazing support for her, often taking Phyllis on searches when sightings reported. Phyllis doesn’t own a car.

Phyllis has been on television and has been interviewed for local newspapers many times. Google Tom Stewart Missing Malta and you can read numerous media reports of their true story.

Phyllis has put up a reward of one thousand euros, available to anyone who is able to reveal the whereabouts of Tom.

I met up with Phyllis on Thursday 15th June. I stayed until Saturday June 24th. She kindly put me up for my week’s search. She gave me breakfast and dinner too. She bought me a one week bus ticket that gave me unlimited travel, anywhere on the island. Malta is seventeen miles long and nine miles wide and has one of the highest population densities in the world, supporting around four hundred and fifty thousand people.

I took the search gently, my mantra being, ‘Am I the right person to help find Tom?’

I searched with my focus being that if Tom was still alive, where might he be, where could life support him. Was he living in an abandoned building? Was he able to find adequate medication for his type two diabetes? Was he able to find adequate food and water? And how, if still alive and on the island, was he able to avoid detection?

I gently and without rushing searched beaches and caves one day, farmland and outbuildings another. I hollered his name across valleys, hoping to reach the many abandoned farm buildings that lay on private land. I took a day trip to the small island of Gozo, a twenty minute ferry ride away, and did the same there. Every night Phyllis and I chatted, and over the week or so I was with her Phyllis gave me good insight into Tom’s story, and Tom’s character. As Phyllis said, “Tom is a shy man. He would not like the spotlight on himself”.

I didn’t speak to many people in my searching, but those that I did speak to, sometimes had useful things to say. Some people said they recognised the face, but I fear the timescales were wrong. They recognised seeing the face before the year that Tom had been away. But Phyllis did say that he used to visit the town of Buggiba quite often, on his walks, and this is where the people say they recognised him from.

My searching seemed to make some sense to me, and on my final day I went to the Qawra region of Malta, close to the hotel sighting where the lady said she had seen a tall man sleeping rough out front.

Not knowing the name of the hotel yet I asked a café owner for directions to an abandoned hotel. I was given directions to The Palm Court Hotel, a run down horrible dive of a place, (not the sighting hotel). There were obvious signs that people had used it as temporary accommodation. Windows were smashed, doors wrenched open, mattress’ on the floors, shoes, clothes, beer cans scattered about.

If anyone was seeking shelter, this was a definite choice. It wasn’t the Karrane Hotel though, that was twenty minutes walk away. The Karrane Hotel was closed down, yes, but it didn’t look an easy place to force entry. There was no such evidence.

Phyllis gave yet another interview to the Times of Malta. It was an excellent article where Phyllis was able to appeal directly to Tom, saying please come home, you’ll be safe, no need for Mount Carmel hospital anymore, and your brothers and sisters are desperate to find you. If Tom was alive and on the island and was able to read it this article gave Tom a good opportunity to reveal himself.

We asked the police to please thoroughly search The Palm Court Hotel. They searched it. How thoroughly though I don’t know. I wish I had done it myself. Maybe I will. Maybe I will go back to Malta, just to search that hotel.

Tom Stewart has been missing from his home in Malta for over thirteen months now.

How can we help Phyllis and her Family and Friends get off this conveyor belt of horror? How can we find Tom? Do we have the right to look for Tom? Does Tom want to be found? And Phyllis is under no illusion that Tom may have passed away some time ago.

Surely, as Human Beings, there must be some way of eradicating this cruel phenomena known as “Missing Persons”?

Can we help Phyllis, and all those other people, desperately searching for knowledge of what has happened to their loved ones and friends?

Surely there must be a way.

 

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Getting there…

Hallelujah, (complete with a few layout errors as my computer skills do not allow me to rectify them!) my second short e book is up for sale on Amazon kindle.

“The Briefcase” tells of Jenson’s trip to Turkey in 2016 when he followed his gut feeling that some sort of system could be set up to a) clear the world’s beaches of plastic and b) help give work to the many unemployed and disenfranchised people we have in our world.

If you fancy a read please follow this link.  Thank you.

On another note, Simon is still making rustic furniture for the campsite on the Costa Brava, and is still planning his Missing Persons project for July and August this year.  Cheers for now.

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Rustic Furniture and Missing Persons.

Rustic Furniture:

I found a place to download my photographs.  I made a similar table back in Crete about ten years ago.  The top of the table is made from old pallet wood, the rails from transport timber, 2 and a half inch by 2 and a half inch and the legs are from a single piece of driftwood cut into four.

Missing Persons:

The three gentlemen I am looking to see if I can help locate are listed on the Lucie Blackman Trust Website, http://www.lbtrust.org  The three people were out walking in known areas at the time of their disappearances.  Extensive searches have been done. Maybe we can do more.

These people are Roger Bainbridge, 67 years old when realised missing on September 24th 2013.  Roger was last known to be walking on the very small Greek island of Antipaxos.

David Manning, aged 84 years old at time of disappearance.  David was known to be walking in the hills on the Greek island of Ithaca. David has been missing since September 12th 2016.

David Wood, 61 years old at time of disappearance.  David was out walking a familiar trail to him in the Tinee Valley in the South of France.

It is horrific for the family and friends of those who go missing.  On one level it is as if the World is playing tricks on you.  Personally, I believe we have created a World that allows this horrendous feeling of being tricked to occur.  I wish to work with the notion that the World does not want to play tricks on us.

Beat the myth, and just perhaps some of the mysteries of disappearances will be revealed.

 

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Just write a bit.

Apologies for not updating for a while, not that anyone was waiting I’m sure!

Just to say I got the work on the campsite, and have completed one coffee table to go on the decking outside one of their new glamping pods, another one to make soon.

I have started the next piece of furniture which is a combined sofa/table, also to go on the decking, and yes, another one of those to make soon too.

No photographs at the moment as internet connections are not allowing.  I´ll finish the sofa and then make sure I get some photographs uploaded.

As far as the Missing People work goes, I am concentrating my thoughts and efforts on three people mentioned on the Lucie Blackman site.  They are all gentleman.  They were all out walking when they went missing, and they all went missing in a relatively small and known area.

I have contacted various people, and am coming up with a plan of sorts.  I think it would be good, families and friends allowing, to organise further longer term, unpanicked, meticulous searches of the areas again.

I have often thought of doing this, for walkers especially.  Many walkers are finally found, those that sadly have had accidents, by random people out walking themselves.  It often seems that when there is no intensive hugely stressed  searching, the innocence of passers by, no threat to any search, come up with the answers.

Am I the right, or one of the right people to do this sort of work? Unless I investigate that thought I’ll never know.

I was sat in a coffee house on the way to work today and I thought ‘well at least I am the right person, or one of the right people to spend time considering whether I am the right person’.  I cannot really get that bit wrong can I.

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Missing funds.

I had a feeling before booking into my latest campsite last Sunday that there would be work for me there. We had a meeting this morning. They want some smart, different, quirky pallet furniture to go with their two new smart ‘Glamping Pods’. Not a lot of time to do the work, but get some good designs together and my premonition of work ‘might’ come off. I get the idea though it is up to me to impress, and up to me to ‘know’ I can get the work done in the short time available.

I am camping up in the hills whilst I look for work. It’s really very pleasant.

The big stick in front of my tent is to ward of any unfriendly wild boars. I met one the other night, not close up thankfully. The bugger was the size of a small bull, (okay, a very small bull, but it was big all the same).

Some very pretty local beaches too. This one had absolutely zero litter on it. Bliss!

The local library, although small and only open four hours a day is a bit of an oasis. Free wifi, free phone charge up, free loo, and it’s quiet, even with Status Quo blasting through my headphones.

My project in the library has been to go through a list of UK Personal missing overseas. In the early 90’s I was going to Thailand. I was given a photograph of a young person who had been missing out there for nine months. I was asked if I could look out for that person. Of course I would.

I flew to Thailand, booked into a hostel, walked out on the street to get some food…and walked straight into the person. I hadn’t been in Bangkok for more than two or three hours. We talked. I phoned the person’s Mum, with the person’s permission.

I put the event down as a miracle meeting and it wasn’t until quite a few years later, after further travels, further meetings, further ‘coincidences’ that I thought, hey, maybe I have a bit of a knack for this.

Over the proceeding years I have helped sometimes, hindered other times, and in the past few years I have realised that if I am to be of any help with Missing Persons I have to listen very carefully to my intuition and to attempt to know when it is my position to act, and just as importantly, or maybe more importantly, ‘not’ to act.

The Lucie Blackman Trust has 64 people on its Missing Person list. I have written them all down, put them into categories, and am feeling my way through the list. I found out that one of the people on the list was actually no longer missing. I contacted the LBT and they took that person off the list after confirming it was true.

I am looking to see where I ‘might’ be of use in any other Missing Persons profiles.

Of the 64 people on the list, 54 are male, 10 female. There are also two additional children missing along with their mother, the mother being one of the 10 females listed.

The oldest person missing is about 84, the ‘about’ is because ages are listed as when they went missing. The youngest, apart from the two children is another child who went missing alone. I am not 100% sure of the child’s age.

The person missing the longest is from June 16th 1994. The most recent person listed as missing is from March 27th this year, 2017.

As for which countries these people went missing from:

Spain, (including Spanish Islands): 13 people.

France: 5 people.

Greece, UK to France ferry, 3 each and 3 people are missing from overdue sailboat trips, (Spain/Azores/Mauritius).

I person missing from a kayak trip, (Tunisia). I person missing from a Cruise Ship, (US/Mexico).

Germany, Thailand, Italy, Turkey, Nepal, Switzerland. Eurostar trip, 2 each.

1 person missing from each of the following countries, Panama, Costa Rica, Holland, Canada, Grand Cayman, India, Philippines, Kenya, Nigeria, Uruguay, Malta, Portugal, Dubai, Cyprus, US, South Africa, Hungary, Austria, 1 person could be in either UK, Nigeria or US, 1 between Mali and Nairobi, another, thought to be anywhere in Europe.

And in what circumstances did these people go missing:

2 on Eurostar trips, 3 were staying with friends, 5 were on walking trips, 4 were trekking, 3 were on UK ferries to France, 8 were on holiday, 10 went missing from their homes, 3 disappeared whilst sailing with their sailboats, 1 disappeared whilst on a kayak, one from a cruise liner, 8 were travelling, 10 were living abroad, 6 were abroad away working.

At present I get the impression I ‘might’ be able to help in a few cases…and I am looking for funds to further my work in the Missing Persons area. Yes I can make furniture and help fund it that way. I’m trying! But if there are organisations out there, individuals, business‘, newspapers, documentary makers that feel they might like to put some money into this venture-in return for what? Publicity? Satisfaction? Interest? Helping others? Please do get in touch.

I get the vision of perhaps getting a hire car and touring Europe for a couple of months. I will not dash here, dash there, try and help here, try and help there. I will do this methodically, listening to my intuition, feeling my way, attempting to work out who can be found now, and how, and with as little drama and outburst as possible.

Many missing people are found when people are not looking for them. It almost seems like when the pressure is off, the person is found. Easily said.

Any interest at all, please message me. Thank you.

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