I head homewards.....

Wednesday, 21 August 2002
Fine and hot
Left Battle and was going to head back to Southampton, but decided I needed to be near London to arrange flights home & hotel for the final night so I have somewhere to leave the suitcase while I run the car to Bedford.

First try was a campground at Chersey that we have stayed at many times before, but they were full up with thew Bank Holiday weekend. So I came on back to Hemel Hempstead, once I parked up the van, (I am on a waiting list for sat night!) I then wandered over to the Holiday Inn to see if I could do an email download, yes, if I checked into the hotel and took a room then I could do it from the room.

I headed off to Heathrow and could not remember what terminal it was so started off at terminal one and walked to terminal three so it was a bit of good exercise, of which I am not getting enough.

Looked at all the flights and there was not much to choose from any as all of the planes were most full with the writer taking the last seat on whatever flight I booked. Asked them if I could do an email down load, they were not busy so they said yes!

Driving out I saw the Holiday Inn but before I could work out how to get there I found I was back on the M25, so I thought well I will book at the Holiday Inn that I visited opp the camp site. Well the girl say Yes there is two there, handed me the directory and suggested I telephoned them, I said do the have a courtesy bus to the terminal, she said ask them when you phone. YES the customer service in this country is incredible, I am sure management have no idea what their staff are saying, however they probably do not care, this type of attitude starts at the top.

Fine & hot…again
Took the bus into London, yes it still was £3 for a return trip as a Senior!

Got off At Baker Street, went into the Sherlock Holmes shop, there was someone dressed up as him, unless you were wanting a souvenir just of him there was nothing really practical you could buy, Oh well less to carry home.

Interesting how in NZ the shops assistants ask "Are you all right" I assure them I am, here they ask "can I help you" I look them in the eye and say NO, I wonder why they do not ask " have you see our latest (something interesting) that would at least get the customers talking, if they do not have something interesting perhaps it is time for them to close down and let their uninteresting stock be handled by a discount retailer, even they can find something of interest about the most bland objects.

Then I walked into "Borders book shop" that was fatal, it put me on the next bus back to the campground with a weighty bags of seven books.

Sat in the sunshine to read one of the books, took out a pint glass of diet coke with enough bourbon to kill the taste of the coke, put the glass in the glass holder of the chair first, then sat down, watched the class slowly capsize, tried to right it fell over in the chair wet all over, it is interesting just how fat a pint of coke will go! Sorry there were no photos of the event, however I will sell the sequence to Bollywood so you will see it soon at a theatre near you, or late at night when the kiddies have gone to bed.

It is getting boring, another fine day, however this is a bank holiday weekend (long weekend) so the feeling is that it is bound to rain.

Another £3 return trip into London, FATAL I bought another four books, this time they were not heavy so I did not have to head home. Visited the electronic shops along Tottenham Court Road….interesting experience, every big country has these shops, with often the Lebanese and simular running them, wonderful array of goods. In one of the shops met a young girl who knew every camera inside out, could not have been more that twenty, off in two weeks time on the trans Siberian and questioned me on many aspects, that is the thing living in London almost anywhere in the northern hemisphere is possible and just a short trip.

Returning home the bus got off the motorway early so did not pass my stop, so they gave me a transfer ticket on the next one into London. While I was waiting was talking to a lady, I first asked about a sign on a bus where they were advertising for bus drivers saying you can earn at least £330 a week driving this bus, I asked is this much…she answered "it is peanuts" she lived in London, NO she did not feel safe, was going to bring her grandchildren to Aust & NZ next year, hope she is not disappointed and get mugged, as she could at home!

Bought two high security locks to go on the container with the caravan, now I have to start sorting out what I hand carry, what I leave in the car (as the change of ownership papers have not yet come thro I have decided to put it into storage till next year) and what I will leave in the caravan.

Being on a Caravan club site it is hard to download my emails (next year I must get a better system) so I went into a internet café cleared out all the junk mail, must do something about that, what I do not know, and sent off some brief replies.

At the campsite there was a cancellation for the weekend so I paid up for another seven days, with this long weekend & business in London on the Thursday of next week I have decided to stay put.

Fine & hot…againHot and fine
Start of the bank holiday weekend, someone from Wales told me the M25 was walking pace, however he did not actually stop! Signs indicated that the M1 was chocked.

It is interesting to note the people here at the campground, they come away from no space in the city to a caravan park that is full to sit outside with their shirts off (no not the women) to get the sun, do nothing more then on Monday night they will go home in the walking pace traffic back to their inter city house where they probably do not see any grass and possibly where the sun does not shine! No thanks!

I have started packing up, all going well and does not look like there will be any problems.

Fine but overcast, cold…. Winter is coming
Buses not running, read the Sunday papers, that is a day's work…

Bank Holiday Overcast & cold but sun did shine late

Inactive day Read papers, Books, Grocery shopping. The papers, Latest figures on number of people wanting to Leave UK is up to 59%. The A levels school exams have had something like a 93% pass rate, they have kept on dumbing down the exam so "All can Pass", no one is happy, Universities are giving exams to pick out those that can enter university, the papers have been full of not much else for over one week.

Overcast & cold, then the sun cam out for me to catch the bus into London, wore light jacket, in London it looked like rain all the time but it didn't.

First I cleared the emails 77 with about 20 for me the rest Junk, something is going to have to be done about all the junk mail floating thro hyperspace!

Bought a PCIMA card, a 2gig hard drive, very useful for backing up the laptop, it is a Toshiba, it was on special evidently they have bought out a 5 gig so are jobbing these out.

Had lunch at Pisa Hut in Oxford Street, ordered my usual a Small Hawaiian, I never change, so I know what one is supposed to look like, this was pathetic, thin layer of cheese, with about 10 very small pieces of pineapple and about 8 pieces of thinly sliced round pieces of what I assume to be ham, I had two mouthfuls and thought I do not have to put up with THIS, so I asked to see the manager, she was sent back to ask WHY, I said I want to complain about THIS.

I told him I had had this dish on at least 6 continents and this was the most pathetic offering I had ever seen, he said well it is you to specifications, I said since when he said new specifications came out about two months ago, I said for the world, he said no, UK. Now quite frankly I would be not surprised if he was right, in that it was just for the UK, the people get screwed in every which way possible, but he offered several times to remake it with a larger serving of everything, my answer to this was and everyone else get this! He said YES. In the end I said YES give me a better one, it arrived, he brought it back, still was pathetic but was obviously as good as it was going to get.

I can not understand the way these people are trained, carrying on letting me rip into him, with everyone else listening, of course being English they would pretend not to hear, going thro the excuse of the company downsizing the meals, then offering to replace it, it would have been much better, hearing my complaint, saying, sorry, it is small let me have it remade, which is what he ended up doing, of course it would have killed my story!

Went out to see Charles Green on the spur of the moment, asked directions at the land agent, he told me there was a shop with a lot of photos down the bottom of the street on the right hand side then shrugged his shoulders, it was Charles's Studio but he was on holiday till next Monday, slipped my card thro the door!

Busing back was talking to a South African, Afrikaner, she was saying how the whites are being pushed out of getting jobs, the crime was up out of all proportions, how if you had no money no country wanted you, if half of your children were in another country you had a possibility of going there, she felt really sorry for the Rhodesian's (my use of the name) she said some left & went back as they thought it was going to be OK. Very frighting, this can happen anywhere now! She felt the change over was a little quick, they have the first black pilot for the Airlines, big news on the TV.

The papers are talking of 7.5 million "Victor Meldrews" (One foot in the Grave) they are grumpy, well heeled and middle aged and do not believe the way the country is being run. They are particularly angry and frustrated about life in Britain today, these people aged from 35 to 54, switched to Blair, and are cross & fed up, so "Their Tony" better start delivering!

It appears the person who they jailed for killing that TV presenter Jill Dando may be the wrong one, the sister was talking & he sounded a lot like Arthur Alan Thomas!

Telephoned the Holiday Inn at the airport today, I can not believe how long it took me to make a booking, first he wanted to tell me all the specials, get real it is at the airport not in the middle of the Lake District, after I assured him that I was flying out on Saturday and could not be interested in his special deal for Sunday & Monday, the next thing was he wanted to know what I was going to do at the hotel, I thought, don't tempt me! I thought of all sorts of replies, in the end I told him I was going to sleep there. He was bright enough, just to realise the significance of my reply, then there was the torture of spelling my name, I often think of Smith at times like this but he would have only wanted to know which of the twelve ways it was spelt! (there are sure to be twelve ways)

Then there were all the numbers of the credit card, why they put men in charge of these bookings I will never know, a woman would have had it done in half the time, like on a checkout.

Nice fine day with sunshine!
Getting read to go day, packing suitcases, visiting the laundrette, packing the caravan, cleaning out the toilet, and so forth, still had time to read the newspapers.

Fine & sunny
Into London again today these £3.00 return tickets are great

Fine & sunny
Up at 4.30 am packed up the caravan, tied things down firmly, I hope, luggage into the car, caravan taken to Southampton, photos of the exterior for the insurance coy, back to Heathrow & to the Holiday inn, luggage into the room, off to Bedford, the Log Book, (ownership papers) had arrived at the storage coy, car to the Auction House, it was too old for a reserve price but they will not sell it under £100.00 by the time they take their wack out of it I may be luck to clear £50.00, Oh well!

They charge the seller for selling, they charge the buyer for buying, they do not let you check the car over with a mechanic, yes England is DIFFERENT!

To the Bedford rail station by taxi and rail to Heathrow, sat opposite a guy with more muscles than on the worlds beaches, yes he was a body builder, one of the best in the UK, will probably come in the top six in a world contest next month, interesting what he has to do to keep fit, by the tome the contest arrives he will have his body fat down to 5%, I asked him what he thought my was to gauge the difference, I think he was being kind when he said 25% but the is still a hell of a difference, he was going to Germany for the weekend and carried his food with him! Said he was 39, but I thought he looked older….

Back to the hotel & checked my email found my mail box overflowing for the second day running, yesterday there were 522 emails today 480. the same message is being sent over & over again, a new version of a virus to annoy people and to make it difficult for people to receive emails two ways.
The first way was if your mail box is full the message sent to you bounces, and then it takes about 45 minutes to down load to make more room which they fill up again, must have a program that runs all the time just sending the emails…. Shit!

I was told It is a relatively easy process for people to replicate someone's email address so that the 'from' and 'reply-to' fields appear to be someone else's email address.

This is scary, it means one staff member could send a email to the boss in someone else's name telling him to get %&$#**@ and place the blame on the other person.

Fine & Sunny
Fly to Singapore today, uneventful flight, sleeping pills ensured I had a good sleep, met by a friend on arrival on Sunday and from here I will fly on to NZ in the next few days time.

This finishes this epic, and I hope the 48,881 words have not been too much of a drag.

Oh the car, the top bid was £110.00 and after they had taken off Commission £40, Entry fee £18, Service charge £5, and of course all are plus VAT. Which leaves me with £36. I would have been better to have given it away, it would have made more sense.

I drove the car for 4500 miles, it used 12 litres of oil, & I felt it was a good little car!

The Caravan was shipped on Monday Sept 2nd so it will be in NZ in 6 weeks, hope that works out better than the car!

UK Weather score 61 fine 13 wet days so the weather gets a gold star......

finis.....join me on my next trip