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Around The Sun: Bed And Breakfast

Steve Harrison and his team head off to India to do missionary work for six weeks - but there is a disasterous stop-over in London.

I guess you could sum me up by saying I have an impulsive personality. I jump into things wholeheartedly with little thought of the consequences.

I decided I wanted to be a missionary in India. I was halfway through my course at the Sunset School of Preaching. The thought of getting fat by sitting in a church in America was out of the question. I had been a visiting preacher at churches in Texas and Oklahoma, but that did not seem to be the way to go. I wanted to be a cutting-edge preacher, something of a Mother Theresa. I wanted to change the world.

I mustered a team of would-be missionaries to India, we found sponsorship, and off we went. There was Scott, Libby, Chris and another person that we met en route. We flew to London, then on to Delhi and Bombay, and finally to Bangalore, where we would be based for six weeks before returning to Lubbock to complete the preaching course.

I looked forwards to the overnight stay in London. The members of my team had not been outside America before. I was eager to introduce them to fish and chips and a full English breakfast. When we checked into a hotel in Paddington we were assured that there was running water in every bedroom and air conditioning. We found that a water pipe had burst and the carpets were soddened. And a cold wind blew in through a broken window.

When we went out to look for a fish and chip shop we couldn't find one. We finally settled for curry and chips in a very nasty fast-food place. Never mind. We could look forwards to the English breakfast.

We did not sleep soundly. When we got up we showered in cold water. Then down to breakfast. I told my companions what to expect. There as a glow of anticipation.

A waitress placed two pieces of toast before each one of us, along with some butter and jam. She asked if we wanted tea or coffee.

The toast was quickly devoured. We waited, salivating, for bacon, eggs, sausages...

Finally I called the waitress over. "Oh we just serve a continental breakfast,'' she said.

There were groans.

"Well could we have some more toast?'' I asked.

At that moment there was a shout from the kitchen. Voices were raised. There was the sound of breaking crockery. A woman came sobbing from the kitchen, passing by our table as she headed for the stairs. A large man emerged through the kitchen door and threw a handbag at the departing woman.

"I'll get you some more toast sir,'' said the waitress.

We collapsed in hysterics.

The words "I'll get you some more toast sir'' served to reduce us to hysterical laughter during the next six weeks in India.

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