I arrived in the cold and drizzle yesterday afternoon; I broke the journey (after about 14 hours) in Abu Dhabi, then after 90 minutes, continued onto London. The first leg was a bit miserable; flying long-haul economy in a packed pane is rarely good fun but I’m not tall so I really shouldn't grumble. I kept well-hydrated and also kept stretching so arrived in good shape. The deep-tissue massage with Pete back in Sydney on Monday morning before I left paid off big time; got off without any cramping or aches. I was lucky to be able to use the lounge at Abu Dhabi and made a beeline for the Six Senses Spa where I squeezed in a free 15 minute in-chair massage – bliss! I had enough time for a quick shower and then back in the air. This flight was only half the length of the previous one and the plane was pretty empty which meant I could spread out over a row of four seats – very happy.
My dad met me at Heathrow (thanks Pa!) and drove me back to East Sussex; it was great to see my step-mum and enjoy some home cooking. I decided to take a last shave (for a few weeks anyway) and also spent some time checking my gear; I’d had a fair bit of stuff delivered in the UK as it’s generally a lot cheaper that buying in Oz. Happily, my dried food was all there, as were my running sunglasses and a few other bits, but very unhappily, one of my key pieces of kit, my titanium spork (great name – cross between a spoon and a fork) had not been sent. Instead they sent me a small foldable pot stand…hmmm…Tried calling the store but no answer, left a message but have not heard back. It’s now the morning of my flight to Ouzazartte and I still don’t have this piece of kit. Choices are to try and get one in a camping store en route to Gatwick this morning or else get a few (hopefully sturdy) plastic spoons from a takeaway salad bar and hope they last – let’s see.
I spoke with the wife last night; as always full of sound advice and exhortations to sleep well. I travelled to Melbourne for work on Tuesday and as only there for the day, took an early flight (06:15) in order that I could have a productive day before leaving early for Sydney to catch my flight back to London that evening. She schlepped my bags with her to work and then met me at the International terminal in the evening. Aside from practical stuff like that, she’s been a rock for me while I’ve been preparing for this.
We got married in January and as yet we really haven’t enjoyed any ‘quiet time’ just for the two of us; would you believe we still haven’t sat down and read our Guest Book? She’s been very tolerant and supported me throughout my little obsession, though this has meant many sacrifices for her and taking on a lot more of the stuff that couples normally share. I've promised her I’ll take her on honeymoon later this year and she’s surprisingly laid back about it. I’m an incredibly lucky guy as I’m not sure many wives would wait >6 months for their honeymoon while their husbands go off to play in the sand (she's also absolutely stunning but that's a whole new blog of its own and I'll try and keep on topic). She’s been a huge help in keeping me motivated and focused and hasn’t complained when I wake her at 4 in the morning as I stumble around looking for kit. No way could I be here without her support.
I had calls from her mum, sister and brother, Michael the day I left as well as from some of my boys; very thoughtful and much appreciated! It was funny the difference in what they said, boys were more straight encouragement whereas the girls were more concerned, advising me to ‘take it easy’ and ‘stop if it got too difficult’ – we a laugh about this!
Anyway, my dad’s come down and we’re having some tea and toast so I’ll sign off. I showed him details last night of how to update the bog so all being well, he’ll keep it updated.
Thanks again to all supporters!