Sunday, 25th October 2003


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I woke up this morning with a delicate headache but I was more concerned after inspecting the debris left on the tissue after giving my stuffy nose a seriously good blow. It was alarmingly cement in colour!?? It reminded me of how my nose used to get after a day collecting dusty hay bales from the fields. Now, I know there was a stable block at Soughton Hall, but no, we couldn't have! I would have remembered if Julie and I had frolicked!?

Then from the hazy memory of last night filtered through a recollection of Nathan passing me some snuff to try. Yes, a filthy old man's habit it may be but as I had never had the pleasure before, and not one for doing anything by half, I grabbed a massive pinch full and snorted it at such a velocity up my nose I swear it came out of my ears! Within seconds came the hit! My head was ballooning with menthol, my eyes welling up with tears, too much oxygen went to the brain. It felt strangely invigorating but what the hell was in that stuff? It was like grounded fisherman's friends laced with fire and brimstone! After spending 10 minutes clearing my nostrils by twisting tissue into makeshift pipe cleaners I vowed never again to snort throat lozenges!

We went for breakfast in the nearby OK American themed Diner. Time was rapidly passing by, despite the extra hour given to us by the ending of British Summer Time, and the return of GMT, so the sooner we left the better. We dropped Hannah and her cousin Beth back at Soughton Hall with their grandparents, and then hit the road.

Well, we didn't exactly make a bolt for the horizon though as five miles down the road we stopped at the Asda in Queensferry. They've been bought out by Wal-Mart recently and this store has doubled in size, so we just simply had to take a look.

We were disappointed to see that the old café had been replaced by a McDonalds. The McCofee was McAwful!

After walking past the One Hour photo developing I couldn't resist but drop in yesterday's roll of film, so for those 60 minutes we attempted to sleep in the car. The wait was worth it out of curiosity, but in truth only four or five were good enough to show.

The pick of the bunch was probably this one! What does a Welshman wear beneath his Williams tartan kilt?

Finally, we hit the road, and headed for Gatwick.

It turned out to be a torturously slow journey down the M6 / M40. We barely got to go over 60mph as the congestion was terrible. Although the time passed quickly as we listened to Hannibal (the second book in the 'Silence of the Lambs' Trilogy) being read out by Thomas Harris the author. It contained several references to Florence, the most vivid was the tale of Francesco Pazzi who was hung naked and disembowelled from the Palazzo Vecchio for leading a plot to assassinate Lorenzo de Medici, the ruler of 15th century Florence.

Julie had been chunnering away quite merrily all the way down until she suddenly went very quiet. A few minutes of silence had passed, which is a rarity believe me! I then realised where we were, and why Julie was deep in thought. We were right beneath the flight path of Heathrow airport! There was no denying what we were about to be doing tomorrow and the reality had finally kicked her in her stomach, and slapped her in her face!

Six hours after leaving the Asda car park we rolled into the Le Meridien Gatwick hotel car park, but after humping our luggage all the way up to the reception desk we had to hump them all the way back down again! We had to drive miles away to a NCP car park, and then hump our cases onto a shuttle bus back to our hotel at the North Terminal. At the end of a very tiresome day this was really prolonging the agony!

When we finally made it to our room we both collapsed on the bed and fell asleep instantly. Around 10pm hunger woke us up, and forced us into satisfying our pangs. We had to order a pizza and some fries on room service despite the £20 price tag. We've been here before, having to pay inflated prices for food. We should really have packed some supplies from Asda this morning. But we'll never learn!

A Michael Douglas film, (Falling Down) kept us company until we passed back into sleep.

Monday 27th October >>

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