Back in LondonWell, well, well. How lucky am I, get to travel around the world and even get to fit in a month's holiday back at home amongst it all..
SO then arrived back in London Heathrow at 6.45am on Tuesday April 26th where I was met at the airport by Janet along with her carefully constructed 'Welcome Home Shackleton' sign! To say I was tired is like saying that the Pope (either the new one or even the old one) is Catholic... I was as tired as I have ever been in my life after many dull hours watching movies on the plane staring at my watch and praying for the 'ironbird' to get back down on that tarmac. Janet ferried me back to hers where we caught up and I tried to catch some sleep before heading out that evening to see a few old faces (well 9 months older anyway).We all met up at The Metropolitan - Monz, Nick, Sara, Adam, Saskia, Hugh, Al, JonC, Mark, SJ, Pierra and Simon - sharing a few ales. I have to say that I was a little subdued that evening and it's pretty simple to explain why. Back in the pub in London with all my mates after being in Hong Kong for 7 weeks, Oz for 6 months and New Zealand for 2 months is a very strange feeling. IT's also very hard to even know where to start. 'So how was it?', 'What was the best bit?', 'What was the funniest thing that happened?'... I mean CHRIST ALIVE, I have absolutely no idea where to start when answering those questions, it's alomst like you've got so much to say that you really do have no idea what to say!! So yeah that first night was really hard, very strange indeed. At closing time, Al, Jon and I headed off to the Notting Hill Arts Club to listen to some tunes and have a couple more beers before I had to throw the towel in and persuade Al to get me to the nearest sofa!!
So Day one back home out the way! All in all the first week back was a quiet one, really getting to grips with this land that I love to hate but also if I am honest love so much. My first weekend back I went to spend some time with my mum and dad in Norfolk and also get to know their new Cavalier King Charles puppy - Flora - the most beautiful little pup you'll see, but aren't they all really. Had a lovely weekend with mum and dad, just catching up and putting my mum's mind to rest really that I am still alive and in one piece. Went for a lovely meal one evening at The Dove Restaurant at Harleston, magnificent.
As well as getting myself out of London to Norfolk to see my parents twice, the second time with Janet, we also managed to get out of London as far as Somerset to spend the night at the truly indulgent Babington House. Where we went for massages, reflexology, gym time, great fodder and an incredible room to boot. It would have been amazing to spend a few more nights there but as we are only mere mortals we could only afford the one night!
And also week 2 gave me a chance to get my arse back into gear after a week off the exercise. So the new routine is as follows, monday - wing chun, tuesday - gym, wednesday - wing chun morning and wing chun evening, thursday - gym, friday - gym..... So, I am pleased to say that I have kept this up for the whole time that I've been back now, I needed to because going on the road again for 5 weeks doesn't really allow for that time.
As well as keeping the fitness routine up I have also managed to get some culture in since being back in London. I managed to get to see a very good stage adaptation of Paulo Coelho's best-selling novel 'The Alchemist' at The Pleasance Theatre in Islington. I was also very lucky to get to see the Frank McGuiness play 'Someone who'll watch over me', a really quality production with a really quality cast (perhaps the only weak link being Johnny Lee Miller). Managed to get myself to the cinema for the first time since before Christmas to see both 'The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy' and 'Kingdom of Heaven' the former definitely for enjoyable than the latter. Orlando Bloom being cast as lead role in the latter was truly a schoolboy error.
So, not long to go now before I am heading off outta blighty back on the ironbird to Seattle!!
So here we go, the schedule for the final leg of Chopper's tour is as follows (if STA sort out the flights they so monumentally f***ed up!):
Depart June 7th for Seattle
Depart June 12th for Seattle for 3 weeks across Canada with sleeping bag and tent.
Arrive New York July 2nd (1 night New York)
Depart New York July 3rd for Buffalo/Boston
Depart Buffalo July 9th
Arrive New York July 9th (joined by Janet)
Depart New York July 13th
Arrive London July 14th!!!