s a n d y f e e t . e x p o . e u r o p a . 9 8

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6/11/98 - The trip begins

I arrived in London's Heathrow Airport at 7 am on June 11th as scheduled after an uneventful fight (my favorite kind.) My guide/chauffer/traveling buddy Russell was there to meet me and things were off to a smooth start.

For about 150 miles we traveled merrily along in "Hermit" (named after the 9th card of the Tarot deck which signfies wandering the earth in search of enlightenment) - an '89 Landrover. Everything was great right up until we got off the motorway in search of a garage because we needed petrol (See how quickly I am picking up the language?) Of course we ran out before we found one. This is the way any trip that is to be free of major troubles must start.

hermit in repose

This is where Hermit left us stranded. Note the low front tyre - a foreshadow of problems to come...

After a 20 minute walk in a cold drizzle, we found a garage. This is Russell filling a gas can. You will note there is no spout on it.

This is also where I found the wc and changed out of my Texas clothing into my one and only pair of long pants. I am hopeful that it will be warm and sunny well before we will arrive in Italy.

I am destined to be disappointed.

gas can\ 

While Russell dealt with the petrol problem, I investigated our surroundings and found another indication of the local level of fastidiousness.

I don't think I'm in Texas any more.

doggy station

With our petrol problems behind us, we were able to approach the brand new flat tyre problem with clear heads.

Can't say the same about the gentleman in red who tried to fix it for us. It took a good half hour for him and his colleagues to reach the conclusion that the tube was bad and no fitting replacement existed on the premises. We slapped the spare on but time was slipping away - we had miles to go and a ferry to catch.

tyre repair

In the meantime the drizzle let up and the sun peeked out. Oh to be in England in the summertime!

When it became clear that we would not be able to make the ferry departure we pulled over to rest area and had a cup of hot coffee and chill out.There was no way we could make the scheduled departure time so why get our knickers twisted over it?

At right is Russell getting his lesson in the finer points of using my digital camera.


His first attempt at digital photography >

He will soon be doing better.

It was warm and lovely so we had another cup. Note the container is real china and not some foam or plastic throwaway. I like that.

We figured we had all the time in the world....

rest stop 

So imagine our surprise when we pulled into Fishguard, Wales (hometown of SPI's own infamous Welsh John) an hour and a half late and discovered the ferry still in its berth.

At first they were not going to let us on but Russell turned on the charm and before we knew it we were lined up with the rest of the happy holidayers waiting to get on a very large boat. Shoot, we could have hung around for a third cup!


next... Ireland awaits
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