Tuesday, 5 June 2018

Where there is unity there is always victory

Support man Carlton (pictured below) left Belgrade to return to the UK as planned today. It's safe to say that we have been through a lot together on the journey around the world so far. Our time in Belgrade has proved to be no different.

Despite not being able to see me off on the Road to Astana, his companionship and advice have been invaluable since we arrived here last Friday. Thanks Carlton for everything you've done.

Later this morning, Anna Foster from BBC Newcastle rang me for an interview (to be aired on Wednesday's breakfast show). I described to her yesterday's meeting with the Archbishop of Canterbury. While doing so, that famous scene from Forrest Gump randomly popped into my head. It's the one where he meets the President of the USA. 

Back to more pressing matters and I had a meeting with staff at the British Embassy early this afternoon. We are looking at a number of options, and one in particular that I suggested, to get Chappie handed over to me ASAP. 

They said that Serbian Customs were being very helpful and they had a good line of communication with them. I gather that discussions have already taken place at a very senior level. Everyone, including myself, wants a quick resolution to this problem within the required boundaries of customs legislation.  

I am now waiting to hear from the British Embassy with the option that we discussed. I will be able to talk more about that in due course.

I also had a meeting with staff from the Hotel Royal Inn in Belgrade who have been keeping an eye on my situation and have offered further accommodation at no cost. Their generosity is hugely appreciated despite offering to pay the cost of the room myself.

I've also kept my friend Branko updated with the situation. He is a policeman based 60 miles away from Belgrade in the town of Šid. Vladan from the Embassy and Vlad "the fixer" have also been in touch. 

I've talked through all of the scenarios, milestones, permutations, deadlines and options with my wife, Donna, back in the UK over the last 4 days. All in all, the support network that I have here in Belgrade is second to none. As soon as I can share any further updates I will.

I'll leave the final word today to The Gallowgate End at St. James Park - "Where there is unity, there is always victory".