Rang Dad at 7:30 to make sure we should stay on the A5, not the A41. I got beeped at for urinating at the side of the road. We walked at a rather good pace whilst singing out loud, turning heads as we went. Made sure to mention a guy who looked as if he should’ve had a mustache, but didn’t.
Then purchased some sea water disguised as lassi, added bitesize Weetabix to improve the taste, but it didn’t really work so I felt ill after finishing it. We carried on, but I got snared on one of those circular wire walker traps, half a second later and I was down, knee first. An intense pain ensued and I struggled to my feet and continued on, gradually gaining momentum until we got to Hyde park.
We then walked to parliament, but I really needed a piss and had to stop at a war memorial museum on the way. We got there, yay! Stuck a Rat-Arsed leaflet [James’ Free Fringe show that year] on a barrier, it then rained a hell of a lot, so we went on the London eye, which had unfortunately good air conditioning. They raffled my knife, and we paid £10 for a photo, then got ripped off at a cafe and headed to Hedge’s for tasty grub and a good laugh, Head home tomorrow; 453.5 miles handled!
6.05 and I wake screaming, “It’s 6.05!” And the alarm was designed to terrorise me. My accomplice is calm and retains character whilst I compose myself. I agreed to check on a man who was left with the last of our meringues. In a defying moment, or perhaps under the strain of fatigue, James agrees to take my bag into London as he is taking the bus until the final miles to ensure his walking.
I buy bitesize cereal with my accomplice and we hit the road before quarter to seven after sharing yoghurt cereal bars. We are tempted by a 13 mile road heading to “C London,” but my accomplice is convinced it cannot be central as that is too convenient and C could mean anything in its ambiguous stature.
We pass what must be the final farm on our adventure and take a moment to relieve ourselves in the privacy of its countryside. City rudeness begins as we are not let across a mildly busy road. Buildings begin and trees are replaced by lampposts. Sheep are phased out and replaced with people [although Euan has written “sheep” here as well].
A series of cheesy and Christmas sing a longs keeps up morale and replaces the difficulty in stimulating conversation with an accomplice who genuinely listens to this filth in his spare time.
We stop to buy a drink of lassi mere weeks after my last encounter with this fantastic stuff, but the “groovestations” are all wrong. The second ingredient was salt, this broth is the taste of the seas of mother earth.
Our contrasting vertexes of the team venture tetrahedron are updated with our position and the meeting point is set as Hyde park - for those about to Rock we salute you! My accomplice totally totals himself on one of those wires that keeps hubcaps on and I fear that the dream is over, the Olympic flame extinguished on route and that no member may make a complete voyage…
We soldier on and tear up the road to Westminster. Sipping on an ice cream to keep in the tears at Hyde park the final mile is taken through the park as the pathetic stimulation that is Big Ben looms over and our trek comes to its end. The road goes ever on, except when it’s done.
Should of gotten up at 6am, but was suffering from mild death. I felt like an incubated baby bird. Although in bed for a week I actually didn’t get much sleep: a bit of the old on off. This was in some way to do with the heat and some way a hoover snoring (his wife next to him thinking of how the marriage has gone wrong).
Got up and had coffee from a tea-cup; it’s political correctness gone mad! Left the room with two bags and a bit of a soar foot. Hobbled/ lift/ crawled/ surfed to the train station. At the station I scared the ticket guy by crashing into his booth with the weight of two bags and myself. He slipped the ticket to me like I think Euan would pass a note to a boy in school.
Got to Hyde park and tripped on a Diana memorial. This is a car crsah waiting to happen [“Car crash” is the name of an improvisational stand-up show that is often on at the Fringe]. Bumped into Rich Hall, who was out jogging. Met up with everyone else and was soon forced to drink some salt Weetabix and spit.
A discovery: one in three Londoners are nice. The guy I asked directions from told me to ask someone else. The second guy ignored me with such skill I cold have been dead. The baby bear guy I last asked was nice … he looked a bit like Omid Djalili.
London looks amazing, but feels dead, like a prostitute. Went up a cold London Eye, soaking. It was fun. Robert’s mum* paid for this, which was very kind, especially as it costed a shit load (*just Robert’s mum, not John’s, he is adopted. Fatty!)
I parted with the group to find a hostel. A H.O.S.T.E.L.! Not a room that cost £30,000. The best part of London so far was walking through the Marriot hotel looking hobo kin (a reference to Jack Kerouac and/or chemistry).
Rose to baby food, and heard that Robert and Euan would be arriving at Marble Arch, also meeting James there.
We got to Marble Arch and entered Hyde park to be greeted by Robert struggling towards us, sans shoes. After ice-cream we sat recollecting and re-grouping. James and Euan presented me with a tractor, attachment and attractive rendering of a transvestite for my birthday. Finally we set off for the final stretch, the original four; me striding along unburdened, Robert swigging flat cola, Euan hunched and following, James limping enthusiastically. We sauntered through Hyde park, soaking up the smog, and I even managed to eat a tuna-sweetcorn sandwich (although there was no sweetcorn detectable). As the rain started we walked on, with disregard to the fat drops falling; nothing could dampen our spirits so close to the end.
We looped through another park, arriving at Buckingham palace. It was a bit ugly, so we scrambled quickly past it onto Westminster and parliament square. I was gutted to see the green of Parliament square had been fenced off, a notice of apology had been given, but no reason. Was it an excuse to control the imminent protests? If so it might only result in riots as crowds of principled individuals are provoked, their rights reduced even in this simple access to a demonstration area.
Lightning illuminated the scene as we crossed the Thames, thunder crashing around us as we sought out the ticket office for the London eye. After not too long a wait we embarked on the Eye, boarding a shifting gondola. Visibility was rather good as we rose to the apex, I though it was the chill sky-heights sending a breeze to raise my hairs, but in fact the gondola had intense air conditioning.
After the grand view we stepped out into the warm humidity and slowly made our way to an over-priced Italian cafe-cum-restaurant named Churchill, just outside the main block of Westminster buildings. After food the staff informed us they didn’t take cards (so we paid in coins with no tip) and they informed James there was a cheap hostel across the bridge (which turned out to be a £30,000 a night hotel).
We made it to the Victoria station, where I got a letter for the parents of year two at Immanuel and St Andrew school, and we met Hedge.
We returned to Hedge’s flat, joined by Sarah Tomlinson, and had a massive feast of ultimate foods, after which we crammed into a bedroom and passed out.