After arriving at Heathrow, I took the Tube to Waterloo station, where I transferred to a train bound for Southampton. I called my aunt Helen on the fancy new 3G mobile phone my boss gave me as a parting gift (thank you Furumoto-san!), and she was good enough to pick me up from the station at the agreed time – which was just as well, the phone couldn’t find any 3G towers at Southampton Airport Parkway station.
My stay with the Foulkes’ was fantastic – a very welcome chance to finally get to know my family members in England. I was treated like royalty by all of them (‘barking mad’ royalty, perhaps) and got all the support I could have possibly hoped for. In fact I dare say the trip would have been a non-event if it hadn’t been for all the help and running around, cooking and cleaning and general organizing that I received from them all. Thank you very much guys!
Quiz night at the pub with Mary, Bethan and John (quite enjoying himself, apparently) :
Lots of amazing sights in around Winchester and the cathedral – here are a few:
I’ll get some kind of web-album sorted out soon – I have too many pics I’d like to share for this blog…
Picking Up The Bike
The Thorn will get a post of its own in the near future, but I’ll put a few details here for now.
I went to Saint John’s Street Cycles in Bridgwater to pick up my steed for this trip, a Thorn Raven Nomad S&S. After a bit of messing about and configuration, she was ready to roll:
Lots to say about the bike, it really is an amazing machine, but that’ll have to wait for the feature post. Glyn was good enough to escort me on my first test ride around the river on his own Mean Machine (which he delightedly points out cost him less than one of my handgrips – but we won’t dwell on that)
From there it was more packing, packing and re-packing, with much help from Bethan in particular (who must still be reeling from my incredible packing ‘skills’). Thanks again!
When she was all loaded up and ready to roll, it was time for the tearful farewells – and to begin the trip in earnest:
A bit of London (sunny, even!)…
…and eventually to my ‘official’ starting point – London Bridge (not Tower Bridge, as I was helpfully told by everyone):