by Paul Alford, Inclusion Ireland


I went to Australia by myself on 5 November 2010- I got help in the airport getting on and off the planes. I had to fly into London from Dublin and from London to Hong Kong and from Hong Kong to Sydney. There I met Ray and he took me to the hotel. The next day I met Patrice and Ray and we went to a museum, and then they took me to Mathew Persons’ house and, after that, to his office. I gave a talk to some staff from his place. I went off on a lot of trips around Sydney and I had more time to myself.

When I finished in Sydney I went to Melbourne for two weeks and I had a ball of a time with Stephen Curtis. The two of us went on visits to Reinforce, Saur and Valid. It was most enjoyable. I gave a speech on advocacy and about Inclusion Ireland. And I answered a lot of questions. The most important thing I liked was giving speeches to the Advocacy people. Stephen helped me with my speeches. He showed me how to use the trams and how to use a weekly transport ticket. After that I went around by myself and found my own way around Melbourne.

I went on lots of trips in Melbourne. Some of the places I went to were the zoo and museums, and to the markets. I always made my own way back to the place where I was staying.

Stephen took me to his house and we had a barbecue in his back garden and we also had dinner at his house. I found my own way to his house—it only took ten minutes to get to it from where I was staying. I also saw the penguins on Philips Island and I paid the price in for the two of us and to get a photo taken of the two of us on the way out. He brought me there, and that was my treat to him.

We stayed with a friend of his for two nights. We also went to the gold rush city of Balart and spent the day at Sovereign Hill open air museum. Stephen got a bit of gold out of a stream for me. Seeing is believing.
I got to know two of Stephen’s daughters while I was in Melbourne for the two weeks. When I was coming home I was upset leaving him and he said if he stayed any longer with me he would do the same, because I loved his company for the two weeks I was with him. Stephen said he would like to have me come again soon and I said I would like go back sometime for the mass and new year.

Top: Paul poses in an Australian vineyard. Above and left: Paul outside the world.famous Sydney Opera House, Australia.