Trip Start Jun 01, 2002
74Trip End Sep 11, 2007
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Me: "Extra Insurance??? Do you not recognise me as a M-A-L-E?? The prime driving species, a man born to drive? Even the slightest thought of you asking me for extra insurance is quite an insult, Miss Avis lady.
Avis Lady: "So you would like the extra insurance"
I have never seen when something phenomenal happens in life. Perhaps where all the planets align themselves which happens once a billion years or somebody self combusts with no warning at all. But the one weekend that I decided to finally get off my arse and hire a car and see some of this British Land a phenomenal thing happened. The weather was glorious for the whole weekend - Yes 48+ hours of pure sunshine
London have 3 types of cars:-
1. Tiny lawnmowers which putt along the freeways.
2. The "I am a city Mum with 3 kids and will attempt to drive a oversized 4x4 down narrow streets!"
3. Super Sport Car's that reach extraordinary speeds, but within London do not get over 15 miles an hour.
I had type number one and I was going to utilise it as much as possible. After signing my life and life earnings away if I crashed, scratched or breathed on the vehicle I exited onto the road to experience a London "traffic jam". My normal commute from work to home normally takes 40 minutes door to door via train. 40 minutes into my trip home in my new rental car, I had achieved about 4 miles and 6 separate pieces of abuse.
After getting lost and thinking about just cutting through Hyde Park, my place of residence appeared. Home sweet home! Now were do I park the goddamn thing???
Why was I doing this?
But where there is a reason there is a way
With yours truly behind the wheel, Sophie "Chief Navigator" and young Emily manning the backseat and CD collection. We were off. A classy choice of Cd's (yes Bon Jovi made the cut I am sorry to say), we navigated through London's west end until we found the Motorway! Yippee some space to give this little car a bit of go. Dropped the clutch and watch the speedo creep up to a respectable speed.....eventually.
Miles and Kilometres, there is a basic conversion formula to work out the difference. But I just know that when I am sitting on a 120km and hour and I am getting overtaken by 90 year old ladies in smaller lawn mower vehicles than me, that this country does not recognise speed limits.
Bournemouth, the home to the grey haired surfers; Bournemouth the home to one of Britain's alleged best beaches; Bournemouth the place that every single person that day decided to come down to and find themselves a little bit of sand and sun
After another episode of trying to find a place to park the newly acquired vehicle, the decision of finding food was harder then you can imagine. But because we are in Britain people have no issues about queuing for stupid amount of time. Us on the other hand after a moments of discussion was to queue the Australian way. Up to the restaurant and put our names on the waiting list and head out into the sun for some ice cold beers and wait for our names to be called.
After a quick bite to eat and the "Saturday Afternoon Lazies" coming on very quickly, the only decision left was to try and to determine how we were going to find ourselves some sand and enjoy a "nana nap". Passing all types of Englishmen and women of all sizes, shapes, accents and general scariness we perched ourselves on some unsoiled sand and slept.
Then the sun disappeared and that was a sign to pack up and head home again (with everyone else)
A very relaxing and eventful day and with day 1 of a 2 day driving adventure completed an early night was in order!
4am Sunday April 25th
Beep, beep, beep, beep (that would be my alarm going off).
Arrrhhh, scratch, scratch (that would be me yawning and well you know).
"What the???.... Jesus Christ!" (that would be releasing it is 4am on Sunday morning).
Another stupid idea which was now realty was to catch up with the Anna, Amanda and Rachel for the Anzac Service being held in Hyde Park this glorious Sunday morning (well I could not tell it was glorious as it was still dark) and post Dawn Service drive upto Cambridge for the day.
Out into the cold dark streets of London watching drunk people trying to cross roads and secure rides home to their comfortable beds. Here I was standing on the street, sober as a judge, out of my comfortable bed waiting to secure a ride so I could stand in the cold and listen and watch a remembrance service. Yes I felt better for myself, compared to those drunk pathetic people wondering the streets.
As the girls picked me up and we secured parking at our destination quite easily (funny about that at 4am) we come across a sight which was quite unexpected, 4000 odd Aussies & Kiwis surrounding a war memorial waiting for proceedings to begin. What are the chances of meeting someone you know at this gathering, well worked out to be about an 80% chance because everyone seemed to know everyone.
After a few moments, the service began and we all watched as the sun began to rise giving us that glorious dawn that I had promised you before. As I looked around the crowd my eyes were treated to a mixture of people - the older men and fathers' who stood their silenced, the dancing people who had been out all night and the drugs and alcohol had not worn of just yet
"So this is what dawn looks like....!"
After the service, we made our way back to my place were coffees were served and the plan of action was put into place. See the idea was that this day we would head up to Cambridge for a Sunday lunch, walk and punt. But post Dawn service, wide awake and drinking coffee the reality hit us "should we really begin our trip to Cambridge at 7am?" The answer was Yes.
Back in the little rental car for the weekend, CD's loaded again (yes Bon Jovi made a second appearance) and off we went. Contrary to the previous day traffic there was not much of a problem at 7am. London is quite a nice city in the morning light. Passing through East London and we made sure that our doors were locked and checked the insurance forms about paying excess for gunshots in the side of the car the trip continued.
Just outside of Cambridge a quick stop and grab a feed at a local "roadhouse" and then by about 9am the 4 of us were sitting at Starbucks in Cambridge telling each other how "profoundly" smarter we felt now that we were in the taint little town of Education
Cambridge is stunningly beautiful and being mildly serious for a moment, you do get a feeling of the people being educated here could be the next "smart person" to make a difference to UK or perhaps the world. Yes the students here did look smart, well all of them except for that twat we saw dressed in his silk dressing gown, smoking a pipe, drinking tea looking like someone from the Brady Bunch with a lactose deficiency". Everyone else looked "profoundly" smarter.
After a wonder around it was time for the 1st of two naps for the day. A great position by the flower bed we slept and slept and slept. And then thinking that the day was wasting, we decided to head for a punt.
Punting: The idea of sitting in an open platform like boat, whilst one person stands on the back platform with a large wooden pole and by placing it into the river bed moves the boat forward, while avoiding bridges and on coming traffic. For the four of us, it sounded like too much hard work for any of us on a Sunday afternoon
So we hired a guide who guided us (funny about that since he is a guide) smoothly through the River Cams ever so efficiently and at the same time gave us a great history lesson of Cambridge. A history lesson that impacting, that I actually do not remember any of it. But it was great!
An hour later and back in the docks, it was time for lunch. And after a short stroll we came across a little tavern which provided great beer and wine and a amazing Sunday lunch (can recommend that Sunday Roast!!)
Post lunch, the second of little sleeps in the park and then by mid afternoon we were all "profoundly" exhausted and too be honest all feeling a little bit smarter for the day. Back in the little car and heading home.
Now this is the bit where I tell you that we zoomed home with no problems at all. But the traffic got us once more and a small minor incident of nearly running out of fuel we made it back to London town in one piece.
All feeling "profoundly" good with ourselves.
So there you have it, who says that people in London do not get out London, well ok it took me nearly 2 years, but I did get out!
I have taken the liberty of uploading some photos, so hope you get a chance to peruse at your leisure.
Until next time