I had a great time in London but didn’t want to stick around there for too long. This was mostly because I wanted to catch up with my family, whom I haven’t seen in the flesh for over a year. Skype is great, but technology can’t replace a loving hug just yet.
First it was necessary to collect my surfboard from left luggage at Paddington station and then take a First Great Western train ride west towards Gloucester.
The guard on the train did his best to ruin my day by demanding a ticket for my surfboard, so it would seem that airlines are not the only transport option that seek to fleece surfers. I am sure that Isombard Kingdom Brunel would be horrified to hear that the railway he built was unable to cope with an additional 10kg.
However prolonged verbal sparring and a refusal to remove the surfboard once it was on the train saw me eventually side step this fee, although this was probably because I was placing the train’s punctuality at risk.
I was still in too good a mood to let this get to me but am already wondering how much petty nonsense I will take before reverting to the regular pre trip sense of humour failures.
After an hour on the train enjoying the British countryside passing by outside the window I was soon in Gloucester getting the hug I wanted from my sister.
Not only has my sister been monitoring my mail and helping me sort out any administrative issues while I have been away, she has also kindly accepted all the parcels I have sent home.
I was a bit surprised myself when I saw how large the pile of boxes was that were filled with my souvenirs from all points around the planet.
I was also reunited with my globe trotting coat, which I had not seen since Auckland in New Zealand some six months previously.
It was a welcome sight because I have arrived in the middle of the British winter and a warm coat is certainly needed at this time of year.
The bag full of board shorts and vests that I was carrying from Asia and Africa would not be much help in this regard.
You can see that Sarah’s dog Scooby was keen to get involved in the unwrapping of boxes and help me unpack my bags on the chance of a snack or two being uncovered during the process. His patient-ish wait did not reap the rewards he was clearly looking for.
I was also reunited with my trusty surf wagon once in Gloucester. Sarah has been taking it for a spin every once in a while for me, and also made sure all the necessary paperwork was maintained, so I’m hoping it won’t be too jealous about all the other vehicles I have been taking to the beach while I have been away.
For the first time in over a year I will not be carrying my whole world on my back. My vertebrae cannot thank it enough!