A catch up post

Days 249-251, Sunday – Tuesday, 09-12 September 2012, Bristol and Brentwood

Last night in Alcaucin was another restless one and I was up before 6:30 and out walking the dogs soon after. Ian arrived back from Jo’s place at 6:45 and we were on the road for the forty minute drive to Malaga airport by 7:00. As always with the budget airlines the check in queues were huge and slow and I seemed to end up in the slowest queue as is the norm !

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But I was in the departure lounge in time for coffee and a muffin before boarding the two half hour flight to Bristol – back to the good old UK. It was a good flight and we departed and arrived early which was great. I took the bus in the Bristol town and was met at the bus station by my daughter Meliesha and one of her kiwi friends Stacey.

It was great to see Mel again and after dropping my bags off and picking up Dicky and Michelle from Mel’s flat we were soon seated in the sun in The Farm pub for the vegetarian roast and a few pints of Bath Ales Gem, a very nice beer and a great change from lager which was the only choice in Alcaucin. From The Farm we went round the corner to the Duke of York hotel and had another beer or two and played a round of skittles which was quite good fun.

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Stacey left from there and after a wee break at Mel’s flat Mel, Dicky and I went into town and visited bar 51 and then Mr Wolfes the bar were Mel works weekend nights. At Mr Wolfes we had far too many 1 pound drinks – vodka and tonic in my case and shared a couple of bowls of very nice noodles before meandering slowly back home.

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Monday was a bit of a slow day, considering how much I drank and how badly I slept I felt reasonably OK. I walked to Bristol bus station and caught the 9:30 bus into London, then a tube and a train back out to my aunt and uncle’s house in Brentwood where I am staying for two nights. They were out when I arrived so I had lunch and a coffee at Starbucks and did a bit of shopping and that was pretty much it for the day. Back home I spent a bit of time organising all the stuff I have, I am going to take the DSLR away with me on Wednesday and also will lend Mel my big heavy Dell laptop while I am in Africa.(I also have a Acer Netbook I use when travelling), but it means humping the Dell to Brighton and Exeter and back up to Bristol.

On Tuesday I got my English bank stuff sorted out and went shopping for gear for the run. I needed new shoes and a decent jacket that I can also use in Africa. I took the train five stops up the line to Romford and visited Snow and Rock as they seemed to have most things I wanted on their web site. It was a great shop and the girl who served me was actually a runner and outdoor person and new her products. So much easier to buy technical gear from someone who knows what they are on about ! I ended up with a pair of Salomon XA3D Ultra trail shoes and a very expensive but very light Berghaus Goretex jacket – I was happy with my purchases.

Tuesday afternoon we went around to my cousin Paul and his partner Helene’s house for a family birthday dinner. I am off to Brighton tomorrow morning and won’t see Norman and June until I am back from Africa in November or December. Another uncle, Jim was also there for my first birthday dinner. First birthday is the start of my birthday week, a lot happening, Band tomorrow nights, run on Saturday and birthday proper on Monday with my daughter. A very exciting week ahead !

We had some great fish and chips from the local chippie and a couple of bottles of Shiraz and I was very surprised by a lovely cake, cards and a gift voucher I can use to purchase things I need for Africa. It was very nice and much appreciated !

Thanks family, for a nice start to my birthday ๐Ÿ™‚

A bit more London and a visit to my old stamping ground

Day 184 – 186, Friday 6 – Sunday 8 July 2012, London and Richmond

I was determined to get back up to date with the blogs, so not my best efforts, but then again I am not exactly a writer anyway. Hoping to get back into more regular posting now. I sort of have a semi finished plan in my head for the next wee while. Once I have confirmed a few things – and worked out what I can and cannot afford I will update “The Plan” page. I still have to work on a menu system for the blog, but have not had the head space to be able to do that in recent times. Maybe this coming week.

I am now back to some semblance of normality – though what that really means for me these days I am not too sure. While I was away on Coast Path Run I passed my six month on the road milestone, so my version of normal is living out of a back pack and staying in a different bed most nights.

I am fortunate (I think !) to have been born in England and brought up in New Zealand, I have the best thing in world – dual nationality and two passports. I am also extremely lucky to have family in England and after I returned from the south coast got spend a night or so with my cousin and his family in Upminister on the eastern out skirts of London.

The last few days have been a bit blur, I have not recovered from the massive sleep loss accrued over CPR, my cousin has twin two year olds who rise early, so long lie ins were never going to happen. On Thursday I drove the Spaceship back to its base close to Heathrow airport and met Mal and Sally who delivered the second one and we were all picked up by Mal’s sister who took us back to her house in Surrey for a end of run celebration. I stayed the night there and went up to London on Friday morning. I have again ditched the Canon 5d in favour of my Panasonic GF1 to save weight and space.

My first stop (in the damn rain) was the Imperial War Museum just outside Waterloo station. I used to love this place when I was a boy, and it has not changed that much, lots of appeal for boys with tanks and guns and planes on display. There was a very good holocaust exhibition on, hard to say I enjoyed it, but it was interesting.

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A piece of the Berlin Wall.

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I strolled on in the drizzle over the river and past the houses of parliament and Westminster Abbey.

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past the statue of Boadicea (look her up if you have not heard of her)

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and the London Eye.

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Through Smiths Square,

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And on to Tate Britain.

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I enjoyed the Tate, I paid the 15 quid to go and see the Picasso in Britain exhibition which I thoroughly enjoyed, the gallery is undergoing some renovation so some displays were not available, though I am sure I will be back.

You can tell I was on the last stop on the underground !

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On Saturday I caught the train back into Fenchurch St train station in London and did a walk by the Tower of London on the way to the tube.

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One side of the Thames is ultra modern

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And the other not….

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From London I jumped on the underground and headed to my old stamping ground of Richmond Upon Thames. From late 1985 – late 1987 I lived in Richmond, in fact I met and married Deana here in that time as well. I had arranged to catch up with some old friends, and was really looking forward to visiting. The town hasn’t changed that much, the core is the same though the shops and some of the pubs had changed. I was really pleased to see my old local, The Marlborough was still there, though it has been completely refitted in side – with the bar moving from one side to the other.

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It was also cool to see our old flat still looked the same from the outside, probably hadn’t been painted either !

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I spent a couple of hours aimlessly wandering the streets, it took me a while to find the Vineyard graveyard, i used to pass this every day on the way to the train station and grew to really love it. I have a number of photos taken during my time here and one of my favourites is of these two grave stones, though back then the small one had an “anarchy” symbol spray painted on it.

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I spent the evening in the company of old friends Simon and Franciose, it was so good to catch up, Simon has barely aged in the 15 years since I last popped into Richmond on a work trip to London. Simon and I went to see some young bands playing at a small club in town associated with the church he goes to. The musicians were great, great voices and good songs, but I found it all rather tedious – disappointed that so many young people were playing “old peoples” pop rock. It was good to see some live music though.

I stayed the night at Simon and Francioise’s and bade them farewell late morning and headed back into London. It was great to see them again and I really look forward to coming back to Richmond when I return from the next phase of my travels.

I took a walk up Regents St to have a look at Carnaby St.

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When I arrived here in 1985 I loved Carnaby St, I bought Doc Martins, some great brothel creepers and my first (and only) leather jacket there. Today it is just a plastic facade of what it used to be and i left in disgust, had a pint and caught the train back out to Upminster – where I finally accepted the weather and brought and umbrella. Which was fortunate as it pissed down on the walk back to my cousins !

Tomorrow, Monday – I am off to Paris !

Bon nuit, mon amis ๐Ÿ™‚

The Coast Path Run – in summary

Days 165 – 181, Sunday 17 June – Tuesday 3 July 2012, Somerset, Devon, Cornwall, Dorset

Coast Path Run (CPR) had been in the planning for quite some time and I was aware of it before I left NZ last December. The run was to raise awareness of mental health issues and raise funds for MIND in the UK and the Mental Health Foundation in NZ. The plan was to run the entire length of the 1014km South West Coast Path which runs through Somerset, Devon, Cornwall and Dorset in southern England – in 14 days ! The runners were Tom Bland from the UK and Malcolm Law who I know from NZ, until the start line Tom and Mal had not actually met face to face.

Before I left NZ I had suggested that if I happened to be in the UK at the time of the run I would come along and show some support on a couple of days. However, due to a conflict in exam schedules Mal’s wife was unable to come to the UK until half way through the run so Vicki, a mutual friend of Mal and Mine sent me a “can you help” email. As I was kinda getting over SE Asia I said yes and found myself in Minehead on the Dorset coast at 8.30 AM on Sunday June 17 for the start of this epic adventure.

My role in this craziness was to support Mal, Tom’s mum Sheila was supporting Tom for most of the event, with Tom’s brother Mike doing a few days in the middle. Supporting meant driving the “Spaceship” campervan, providing food and fluids, medications and ice as required at the rest stop, taking side trips to supermarkets when cravings come on, packing and unpacking the van, washing, cooking, cleaning etc etc so the guys can just focus on the run. It meant for a number of long days, 6 am to midnight was the norm for most of the run.

It is very hard to summarise such a long time in a short piece, if you have followed my blogs then you will know that I do tend to ramble on, so a summary post is going to be a struggle.

The start line – Mal and Tom

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The run started well, we had good weather for most of the first few days, the scenery was varied, the trail in good condition and Tom’s friends Garry and Chris took turns running with the guys. The days were long and Sheila and I did a fair bit of driving – done some spectacularly narrow and windy roads, on some roads the hedges were brushing both wing mirrors.

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As the run progresses injuries took there tool with both guys nursing strains to various parts of their legs. On day 7 Tom’s knee was too painful to run so a temporary halt was called to the run so a physio could be found in Penzance to make an assessment. Mal and I went and had lunch in a pub while Tom was assessed. The physio did a great job and the next day Tom was moving quite freely, though ended up running with walking poles the next day. IMG 1357

By this stage the pace had dropped and as they were already half a day down it was clear it was not going to be completed inside the planned 14 days. A new plan was drawn up to finish inside 17 days.

However, on day 10 Tom had some strange swelling and incredible pain in both shins and after some serious thought decided to stop and seek medical advice. This was a huge call as the run was Tom’s baby and he was utterly gutted to have to stop – medically it was the right one. Mal decided to go on with the run and his wife Sally and I did a few sections of running and walking with him over the remaining few days. There were a couple of close calls on day 13, Mal had been suffering from some serious twinges to the left shin, one being so bad a halt was almost called – but five minutes later it had settled and from then I knew he was going to finish on schedule on day 17 – even though it was down to a walking pace. The weather on the last couple of days was pretty awful, low low cloud, rain, wind and cold, just not pleasant at all, the second to last section round Portland was just dire, nothing to see due to the fog and we walked past prison walls, quarries, housing estates and wastelands, it was a real struggle. For the final section another NZ friend ran with Mal to the finish line and it was all over at 6.57 PM on Tuesday 3rd July. The record for completing the Coast Path thoroughly broken and close to $20,000 NZD raised for NZ Mental Health.

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From a support perspective the event was hugely challenging, the days were long and very tiring and as I got tired I started making small mistakes and got frustrated and on occasion grumpy.

There was an awful lot of driving, I did close to 2000 miles in the 17 days, in many places the coast path was he short option with the road significantly longer. I am pleased to say I only missed one check point over the 17 days and that was due to having almost a two hour drive to complete.
There seemed to be no time to do anything, yet at the same time lots of time was spent waiting, often standing in the rain gazing at the horizon, ready to spring into action with chairs and jackets, tea and snacks when the runners arrived.
One of the key frustrations for all of us was the lack of communications, lots of places had no cell reception so we could not easily get messages to or from the Mal and Tom to see where they were. Internet reception was almost non-existent, most of the hostels had no wifi, this made planning ahead harder and I was completely unable to blog, either for myself or for CPR. Whenever we had some mobile internet we would post an update to FaceBook, but some days we had none at all.

Highlights

Mal completing the run and Tom being there at the finish line
For most of the run the views were stunning, such an amazing variety of countryside, each day was different.
I got to do 100 or so km of walking and running in a wide variety of locations in a variety of conditions.
Driving round the weird and wonderful narrow lanes of Cornwall, especially when Sheila was leading!
Meeting the Blands – Tom, Mike and their parents Sheila and Richard.
Loads more wildlife than I expected to see – a badger, squirrels, rabbits, hawks, pheasants and other birds. The cows and sheep were remarkably unafraid of people, at one point we had to go around a couple of cows as they were not going to move off the track.
Local runners Garry and Chris helping out with the run legs, guiding and encouraging Mal.

Lowlights
Tom being injured and having to pull out
The weather really sucked at times.
Lack of internet access
Being too tired to sleep some nights
Not taking enough photos
Not getting enough time to spend looking around the villages and taking photos.
Getting stuck in one way systems !

The weather and the views, sun, rain, fog and wind.

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There were some great buildings – and many I did not get to see.

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some great views

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some fun times

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some tears (of joy)

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and some bad facial hair

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A walk to Porlock Weir

Day 163, Friday 15 June 2012, Porlock

After those wines last night and what has to be the softest and most enveloping bed ever I slept like a dead person until 6:30. I really seem to have sleep dialled at the moment, I hope I have not hexed it !

I had arranged a skype with a friend for the morning and had a few vacant moments trying to work out time zones (I have now set up dual clocks on my computer !) before realising I was not really late. I went down to the hotel restaurant and ate my body weight in fried food for breakfast, plus they added baked beans to the fired breakie as I have not had a good sausage, egg and bean breakfast yet !

Once everything was sorted I went for a walk to Porlock Weir, a smaller village about two miles away. I walked through some of England’s fabled bridal paths, which are tracks for horses and walkers and in many cases mountain bikers and are all over England linking country towns and villages. The path took me up some of Porlock hill and I really enjoyed being back in the countryside again.

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I constantly struggle with choosing between urban and rural when deciding where I should live when I next have to live somewhere for a longer period. I really enjoyed my time in Bristol, I liked the street art, the easy access to anything you need as malls are close and convenience stores are almost 24/7, the constant hum of people, access to public transport and gigs. And then I get out into the country and into the trees, and just relish the slower pace, the peace and quiet and the access to hill trails and mud. I love to take photos in both environments. Thank goodness I do not have to decide just yet !

Porlock Weir is a small fishing village on a minute harbour on the coast of the Bristol Channel.

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I was there for about twenty minutes before the rain started to come down. I took a few photos and today was one day I really regretted not having a tripod with me. Of course, yesterday when I was carrying my gear around I was very pleased to not be humping a tripod !

I just loved this old break water.

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Summer on the English coast !

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I huddled in a coffee shop for a while and then took a long walk back to the hotel in the drizzle, naturally I was wearing one pair of jeans and the others were being washed, so it was shorts for the rest of the day.

I didn’t go out much till 5:30 when I went to the pub and had a pub fish and chips, a couple of pints of Atlantic IPA (very nice) and watched the football, France v Ukraine and England v Sweden..

Cute English Villages – I guess the first of many

Day 162, Thursday 14 June 2012, Bristol – Porlock, Somerset.

Another great sleep, but no sleep in this morning, up at 7.30, coffee and finish packing up my stuff for the trip to Cornwall. The walk to Bristol station took about twenty minutes so I left nice and early and thankfully the morning was dry. The bus was half an hour late arriving and the guy who loads the bags into the bus was the grumpiest bugger I have met in England. Bus stations in the morning are an interesting place to people watch, lots of people moving through some happy, some sad, some completely nuts ! It was an interesting time.

I was going to be getting three buses today, the first two were booked, Bristol to Taunton and Taunton to Minehead, the third was going to winging it. At the station I found out I could get a bus directly to Minehead, frustratingly this was not an option available on the National Express website, oh well. The ride to Taunton in Somerset was pretty good, more in the country than the ride to Bristol so the view was interesting. We arrived in Taunton thirty minutes late which I was thankful for as I still had a thirty five minute wait for the next bus standing outside in what was quite a cold breeze, almost wished I had gloves and a beanie on!

The hour and a half ride to Minehead on the Somerset coast was great, a ‘normal’ sized bus going through these narrow, winding country lanes, numerous times we had to stop and wait as trucks or buses coming the other way completely filled the road. The bus terminated at Minehead Butlins – oh I so wanted to go in and have a look, maybe stay a few days : ) But, no, I humped my pack, my ludicrously heavy camera bag and my wheelie bag in to town and waited and waited and waited for a bus to Porlock – thirty minutes late. It was cold and drizzly and I had no where to dump my bags so I had some English chips – with salt and vinegar of course, but didn’t get my camera out. I will be back there of course for the start of Coast Path Run in three days time – plus I will be in a car then, such luxury!

The ride to Porlock was only a few minutes, through some really tight streets, Porlock main road was barely two cars wide. I am staying at the Lorna Doone hotel, where I am meeting Mal and Tom on Saturday. I will be sharing a room with someone, not sure who yet, so I will enjoy a couple of quiet nights on my own. After settling down (unpacking my bag and throwing my crap all over the room ! ) I went for a walk around town and snapped a couple of images. The town is oldish, the Top Ship pub was originally built in the thirteenth century, but I could not find any info on the church.

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the Top Ship

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The view from my window

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Some of the first leg of CPR !

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After walkabout I went to the pub next door for chicken and leak pie and three pints of Exmoor Ale. The pub was really quiet at 5:00, but I was there to watch some football and do some blog writing catch up. After the football I went back to the hotel and sat in the lounge and watched another game with a Geordie from Aussie and used the internet as it does not work in the room.

I got called into the restaurant by this rather drunk woman from Zimbabwe to have a couple of wines with her and her sister and the hotel owners, it was amusing and I got a wee bit pickled.

Three days to Coast Path Run and I am getting a bit nervous, I cannot image how Tom and Mal feel.

Bristol – one cool city

Day 159/160/161, Monday/Tuesday/Wednesday 11/12/13 June 2012, Bristol

I spent three full days staying with Mel in Bristol, Mel worked on the Tuesday and left for a festival late afternoon on Wednesday, but we had a day and a half together which was great. The weather was average for most of my time there, a touch of sun on Wednesday morning mean we got out to have a big breakie in a cafe in the sun, but most of the time it was cloudy and drizzly.

Everyone in Mels flat works so it was another big lie in for me as Mel is not exactly known for early starts. Mel’s Spanish flat mate Jess made us a great Spanish omelette for breakfast, and then Mel and I went walkies. I wanted to get a couple of clothing items and a hydration pack in case I decided to get in a longish run while Mal and Tom are out on the trail.

I must say, even though the weather was less than average – it was raining, that Bristol is still a nice city, even in the more run down sections like St Pauls where Mel lives. There is a good mix of new and old buildings and really old buildings, parts of the cathedral have been there since the 1100s ! But what I really liked about Bristol was the street art, the council have allowed artists to paint a number of walls and some of the work is massive and a lot of it is beautiful – I took loads of pictures over a couple of days. There is also some quite good graffiti and slogans as well, especially around the Stokes Croft area where the riots were last year – outside Mels old flat, in the BBC footage of the riots you can see Mel and her friends sitting on the roof of their house. I have posted seperately about the stree art, but here ar my two favourites. This one is massive, two-three stories high !IMG 0774

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Mel showed me all around the main parts of Bristol including the markets at St Nicholas’s I was tempted to buy a hoodie there, expensive and quite cool, but want something basic while I am in Cornwall anyway. There was an awesome record shop in the market – all it sold was punk and metal! And the coming gigs, awesome – and I am not going to be there for any of them. Next time I come to Bristol I will tie it in with a good show.

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We visited St Mary RedCliffe church, a sign inside the door said daily services had been held here for over 800 years. (I so LOVE this old stuff)

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An effigy of Sir Robert Berkely from the early 1200’s.

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For lunch on Monday we went to the Hatchet Inn, open since 1606 – wowsers. I had half a pint of Doom Bar ale – not bad…

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Bristol Alms houses, founded in 1483.

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We wandered back to Mels and then took a marathon walk up to the Sportsman Bar so I could watch England play France in the football, we got there just after kick off so there was no seating free. At half time we decided to go another of Mels old flats that was quite close by and watch the second half there with some of friends. We grabbed four assorted polish beers – the cheapest in Bristol and watched footie, ate curry and talked crap for a few hours. I met a load more of Mels friends, most of the DJ’s in the Jungle Syndicate – they are all into dance music here and Bristol has a big scene. It was a good night, a nice bunch of people, Mel has always made really good friends and they welcomed me into the group which was most cool.

Mel worked Tuesday so I got up late and just went on more walkabouts in Bristol, I took a lot more street art photos and walked up to the museum for lunch. I got a bit lost a couple of times and then remembered Google maps on my phone !!

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I had a walk around Bristol Cathedral, this chapel was built in 1220!

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Richard was making one his famous curries for dinner, so there was a very full flat at dinner time, another fun time with Mel and her friends. The large shared dinner seems to be the in thing here, which is great for an active social life, but I would not cope with all those late nights!

Wednesday Mel and Richard were off to work at a festival a few hours away so were leaving town mid afternoon. I was staying one more night which was cool. Mel and I were up and out the door for 9.00 and went for a walk in some glorious – though sporadic sun shine, we stopped up the Gloucester Rd for an expensive big breakie in the sun then shopped a bit before heading back to hers she could pack.

It was sad to see Mel and Richard leave, but I am so pleased to have been able to see her a few days and have some fun. Once they had gone I walked up to the Clifton Suspension Bridge about an hours walk away. The bridge is over the River Avon and was most impressive !

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This old uni building was for sale, I was quite tempted : ) If only, it is next to the bridge and would have a monster view over Bristol city.IMG 0886

I was very fortunate to get invited to one of Mel’s friends place for dinner with some other people, which was incredibly nice of them and again I had a good time, and couple of drinks : ) a couple of her friends worked in Chamonix in the French alps, (where in my fantasy world I will get a job doing something completely unrelated to computers.) they have given some contacts there, and one of their friends has said I can possibly stay at their place as well and I have his number – how cool is that !!! very cool I think.

My baby girl and I

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Yay yay yay – I get to see Mel : )

Day 158, Sunday 10 June 2012, St Johns Wood – Bristol

Off to see Meliesha – Triple yay’s, really excited to see her, meet Richard and hang out in Bristol. ย A photo in the next post – its all about context people!

I slept on the couch at Kate and Dave’s place, awesome couch, had a good sleep and a massive lie in as no one moved until well after nine when Trudi came out of her room and made some coffee. Dave meandered in a bit later on and made an unexpected but much appreciated breakfast – albeit just before I left at eleven !

I caught a couple of tubes to Victoria station, I was a wee bit concerned that on a sunny Sunday morning I would be trying to manoeuvre a pack, a wheelie bag and my very over loaded camera bag onto crowded tubes, but it was all fairly quiet. Victoria train station was still in a festive mood.IMG 0746

After a bit of vacant wandering around I found the coach station out the back of the train station. Meliesha had booked me on Megabus and there was one in the station, as I was so early I was not concerned there was no driver on the bus, or sign to say it was going to Bristol. I hung around until after the departure time and as there was still no driver I rang Megabus and found out I was in the wrong place – by about two hundred metres…. Once I found the real Victoria Coach Station, I found I had missed my bus, bugger !

Now I was in the right spot I realised how completely stupid I was waiting where I was, there are loads and loads of buses – and so few at the other place. I found myself another bus in an hours time and rang Mel to let her know…

The journey was Ok, it took a heck of long time to get out of London and from there we were pretty much on the motorway all the way to Bristol, so there was not huge amount to see. There were small touches of little villages and church spires in the distance and I was getting quite excited about what I was going to be able to see while I am in Cornwall later in the week.

I arrived in Bristol twenty minutes late at 4:30 and Meliesha and her partner Richard were there to meet me. So cool to see her again, I really miss my babies and being able to spend a few days in her town and meet all the friends, especially Richard, she has made was very exciting. We had a twenty minute walk from the bus station back to Mel’s place in St Pauls via Stokes Croft. St Pauls is one of the less “middle class” suburbs of Bristol city so it was an interesting walk, lots of street art to look at as we wandered though the constant drizzle to their shared house. The landlord and I are not entirely sure of how many people live in Mel’s house. I am not 100% convinced that at any one point anyone knows how many people are actually under the roof – a constantly flowing succession of people moved in and out of the main room. Mel and Richard (M n R) have given up their room and have moved in with one of their friends to allow me a room in their house. Very cool – and hugely appreciated.

After dumping my pile of stuff we went walkies though Stokes Croft looking for a roast dinner, we tried a bunch of bars but seemed to be too late for most of the locals and ended up back almost where we started at the Canteen. We didn’t get the roast but had a great meal and a couple good pints (Gem and Seven). On the way back to the flat we picked up a couple of drinks and I got meet some of Mels crew. it was a good night in the flat.

So good to see Mel and meet Richard and the Bristol crew ๐Ÿ™‚

A quiet day

Day 157, Saturday 9 June 2012, Brentwood – St Johns Wood.

Yes – a great sleep was had ! back to normal, which is so good. I also mooched in bed a bit longer today as i was trying to catch up on a bit of interneting and reading. After breakfast I walked back up to Brentwood town and picked up my repaired sandals, looking at the weather forecast I think i will be needing them in Cornwall over the next couple of weeks, not because it is sunny, because it is wet and i have no gumboots !

Once back at home I packed up for the few days with Meliesha (my daughter) in Bristol and for the following two weeks as I support the guys on the Coast Path Run around Cornwall. For the first time in five months I am travelling with two bags and a camera bag – as well as humping what seems to be a hundred kilos of camera gear around with me. (And I left my e-reader behind !).

My cousin Paul, his partner Helene and their two year old twins, Charlie and Andrea came round for lunch, it was great to see them again and meet the twins. They had just got back from France so everyone was a little tired. After lunch Paul dropped me and my hundred weight of gear off at the station and I went back into London to St Johns Wood where Kate and David kindly let me stay the night on their couch so I could have an easy ride down to Bristol tomorrow.

Pizza for dinner and football on the TV !