As always when travelling from Paris to London, we took the good old P&O Ferry Line from Calais, France to Dover, UK. All the buses, trucks, cars and motorcycles park in the belly of the ferry and everyone is supposed to get out of their vehicles and go up on deck. A bunch of us had breakfast together and hung out for the 90-minute ride across the English Channel. I also changed out the remainder of my shitters (Euros) at the currency exchange booth on board.
White cliffs of Dover in the distance as we approach the English coastline:
Click images to enlarge.
Once we got to the docks in Dover, everyone heads downstairs. Back in your vehicles and be on your way!
I went and laid down in the back lounge of the bus and got another 2 hours sleep, waking just as we reach the outskirts of London.
Our buses are going away today, so everyone grabs everything they own and hauls it into the lovely K West Hotel, which will be home base for the next 3 nights. I love everything about my room except, of course, the bathroom. Another set of shitty, dim, misplaced and misdirected lighting. And another full-sized tub/shower combo with no curtain, only the glass partition that seals, oh maybe, 1/3 the length of the tub. Needless to say, I once again made a gigantic mess of the floor. I was flinging water in every direction there was. Big fun!
Jumped a cab to Victoria Station, where I bought a ticket and took the train 2 hours south of London to Gillingham, the nearest train station to where my buddy Dave Clayton lives. He's actually in Charlton, in the county of Dorset. He's waiting on the platform when I step off the train. Big hugs, then off we go.
He'd asked me in advance what I'd like to do tonight, and he pretty much filled it to a "T". We stopped at the chip shop on the way to his place and picked up fish & chips. A local favorite here (instead of mushy peas) is mushy pea fritters, which turned out to be pretty good once we got it all back to the house.
Dave moved down here from Nottingham a year ago, to help care for a friend of a friend. That would be John, the 84 year-old gentleman who is the owner of the home. He's a terrific fellow, fun to hang out with, and tells wonderful stories that span his lifetime. His wife Margaret passed on 10 years ago, but John just keeps on chugging along.
So lots of great company, fish & chips, and beer (for me and Dave). A little later in the evening, John decided on the telly news, so Dave and I bopped off the Half Moon, the pub down the road about a mile. Four rounds of some damn fine beer later, we headed back to the house. John was busy playing games on his computer (I know, the guy's 84. Can you believe he's playing computer games? He's great…), so Dave and I got down to the business of burning me a few copies of DVD's and CD's from his wonderful collection. Among them this trip:
All the while this was going on, we're drinking pony bottles of Budweiser. Next thing we know, it's 2am, so off to Snoozieville…