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What a Challenge

December 27, 2006

So good to have Anneka Rice and her be-lycra’d bottom back on our screens in Challenge Anneka on Boxing Day. I used to watch this as a kid and still get teary-eyed at the title music. The last one I remember is when they tried to re-pebble the White Horse near where I grew up. They didn’t quite manage it in the time allotted, but still came back and finished the job. Aw. Those were the days, before health and safety forms and minimum wages…

But, ten years on (and apparently 19 years after the first challenge, but I refuse to believe that – especially on the eve of my 26th birthday) her and Dave are set a huge challenge of fixing the Tsunami devastation in five days. Okay, not all of it. Even Anneka would need at least good five years to do that, but they were given an epic of a task. A maternity clinic, a children’s playing building and a cricket pitch all in five days. Not only that, but the labourers (who all volunteered after watching an appeal on TV) all had to work with local builders who didn’t speak English.

It was (as I’m sure you can imagine) a very touching programme with a few laughs too (watching a cockney roofer try and tell a Shri Lanken builder to move a bit of wood a tad to the right was rather mirthsome). A few of those who volunteered (including Anneka) were directly affected by the Tsunami and their stories were heartbreaking. As someone said, you can give as much money as you can, but actually physically doing something is different. They really humbled me.

Soundman Dave was back – yay! The blue and pink spandex wasn’t – boo! And isn’t it amazing how we take small things for granted now? Back then, Anneka phoned round her friends with a huge brick of a phone; now she has the internet, a tiny WAV phone and SAT NAV… Mind you, she still manages to get in the way of the challenge, accidentally trampling on a child’s sand castle, and bumping into some men trying to carry some cement into one of the buildings. I’m glad some things never change. The Challenge Anneka come back petition starts here…

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