Tourists don't know where they've been, travellers don't know where they're going.

Paul Theroux

Prelude (or ‘Will we get to the plane on time?’)


Monday 25th June, a chaotic day of shopping, frantic packing and rail turmoil.

Up early and out before 8. Firstly, 2 hours in Boots trying to convince the pharmacist that we need some anti malaria tablets. Today. Eventually got some, but he was quite put out when we couldn’t tell him specific details of every leg of our trip. (Note to self, Boots may not be the place to get medication for a trip like this, too much red tape.) No time to do much else, so back home to pack. Already 10:45…

Packing. Get all the stuff we think we want to take, throw half away, and stuff the rest into the packs. Helen discovers that her sleeping back packs down to the size of a small hippo. Will we be able to change it for a smaller one? Today?

Meanwhile Paul (Helen’s Dad) is checking the trains from St Neots to London. Trains are starting to be cancelled at short notice. Just what we need…

So we decided on the 3:11. Left at 2:15 to get the US dollars and attempt to get the IDP on the way to the station. One out of two wasn’t bad. Money is useful.

The 3:11 was cancelled.

Will the 3:48 going? No guarantee. Lots of trains from Bedford, so off we go there…

Fab. We jump on a fast train. Two stops, Luton and St Albans. All going smoothly. Until St Albans. We need a relief driver. 15 minutes later, the service is cancelled. So we get off and get on a slow train that seemingly stops at every station in north London.

We finally arrive at St Pancras. Must have been 5:30 by then. Did I mention we need to check in by 19:00?

Helen can’t carry that small hippo for a year, so we jump off the Tube at Covent Garden and head for the nearest Cotswold Outdoor.

5:50. I wonder what time they close? says H…

We make it, change the bag for something smaller and head off again.

The rest of the journey was quite uneventful. Bakerloo line to Paddington, then the Heathrow express. Arrived about 7, checked in then watched some numpty, with a gold chain big enough to shackle a rhino around his neck, try to get a litre of Johnny Walker through security in his hand luggage!!!

We got bored waiting so jumped the queue into another line.

Do we have time for a beer? No, but least we made it.

And relax…

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