Monday, 6 February 2006


Didn’t win the Euro Lottery at the weekend, bit of a blow that.

Lots has happened, been home to visit the parents and had a rather nice weekend as a result, the Rugby merely highlighting an already good weekend. As usual I find myself very busy with lots more to do than there is time to do it in, how does this always happen? I took some notes about the things that happened over the weekend and hope to one day write them up, along with all the rest of the stuff I meant to be writing about. For now then I guess two things are relevant. I slept in the most comfortable bed in the world for three nights. I left home with; a dread of returning to sleeping in the woods; and, a big bag full of crackers that looked suspiciously delicious and more than a little delicious. I tired to leave the dread behind but it managed to keep up, the crackers I put into one of the side pouches of my rucksack hoping that I would be able to protect them from becoming dust en-route.

Curiously I managed it; house to car, car to train all went well. Train to train at Reading didn’t go so well as the train I was transferring to appeared to have disappeared from the face of the earth. Not only that but all the staff at the station denied that such a train had ever existed, I suspect a government cover-up and started asking questions. I was obviously getting too close to the truth as I was suddenly ushered to a train that was just about to leave and so I was out of their hair and the only chance to solve the mystery of the missing train went as those doors shut behind me and I started my journey to Cardiff, Cardiff? I stashed away my rucksack being ever mindful of the crackers and looked around for entertainment. I found it in the form of a sticker on the door which instructed me to be sure that the door was “aligned with the platform” before departing from the train. Never before had I considered getting off a train on the wrong side at a station but now I was tempted. Mindful of the hazards waiting to befall the precious crackers should I alight from the wrong door I checked the geography of the station before jumping out at Didcot, a station from where I was assured I could get to Oxford in a matter of minutes I was delighted to discover that there was a train replacement service (bus). I carefully placed the pack into the boot of the jalopy whilst keeping half an eye on my fellow disgruntled passengers who seemed to be flinging their luggage about with glorious disregard for any delicate possessions stored in the bags on which theirs landed.

It only took half a cramped up hour to get to Oxford and I got to see a roundabout I used to pass on my way to work a few years ago so it wasn’t all bad. After extricating my bag I was stunned to discover that the crackers had survived so I went to the Turf to celebrate and catch up with Wilko before going to crash out.

I stayed down by the river in Oxford last night and I was most pleased to discover that it was a lot warmer than it was last week, this made life a lot more comfortable and I didn’t have to worry so much about staying warm. It might not have been as comfortable as sleeping in the bed but it being a bit warmer reminded me of just how nice this sleeping out business was in the summer. Sure I woke up a few times because I was cold but no where near as often as usual, I started to realise just how unpleasant the winter has been. I woke up at six and got up then rather than have a lie in, Oxford is further from London than Lewknor so I reasoned it would take longer to get to work and therefore I should get up earlier. Clever me. It was almost light at six, not properly light but certainly light enough to see things by and there was just a little bit of bird song audible on the air.

In the mornings the Oxford tube has two services to London, an express and an ordinary. The express doesn’t stop between Oxford and Marble Arch, the ordinary does. I get off at Shepherds Bush so I have to catch the ordinary. Simple? Not a 6.20. I got on the bus at one of the early stops when it was nice and quiet and was slowly falling asleep as the thing filled up. I was woken just before the last stop in Oxford by the driver announcing that this was the last stop before Marble Arch; I was on the express so I would have to get off. Not to worry I thought, the next bus will be along in 15 minutes and I will be first in the queue, I carefully unloaded my pack from the luggage rack and waited. Sure enough 15 minutes later another bus came along and I was at the front of the queue, this was good the bus looked packed. Unfortunately though my pack would not fit in the luggage rack, well I said it would but the driver refused to believe me and insisted that I put it in the boot. So I got off the bus walked all the way to the end of the bus flung my pack in and then stood where I was, that was after all where the queue ended. I got onto the bus sat down and realised that I had probably just crushed all the crackers.

I have just realised I'm 2/3 of the way through. In some ways this is good, I have done the majority of it but in other ways it's not so good. It feels like I have been out in them thar woods for ever. It some times feels as though my life prior to this adventure was all a dream.

Spring is coming, life is good.

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