christmas eve travels

left the bar in sagres on friday evening. As i drove out of sagres, i got my usual sad feeling, i always get when leaving this place. it always reminds me that i am in the place that i want to be – for now anyway. saturday morning i was up at 6am, dived in the shower, fed the cats, loaded the car and hit the road. by 06.40 i was moving, the sounds of massive attack ‘unfinished sympathy’ keeping me company followed by puddle of mudd ‘ blurry’ as i hit the main road, dark and wet from the recent rain.

the roads were busy, it was before 7 am and there were more cars on the road than i had ever seen before, maybe they were all on their way home from the night before

as i hit the motorway, the light was starting to come up, and in the distance the storm clouds were brewing up.

as i crossed the algarve in the half light, i began to think what would be waiting for me at the other end of my trip.

just outside of faro, the heavens opened and a storm lit the morning sky.

on the back of a german camper van i read

ich bin eine vagabond, meine welt ist runt

i parked on the service road behind the fuel station and walked a few hundred yards into the airport, this way i could save a few euros on parking fees..


checked in with easyjet, felt very sorry indeed for the portuguese family who had turned up for a flight to stanstead without photo ID and were now being refused the flight..


lumped my bag,, jacket and belt on the xray machine and got through for the first time ever without setting the alarm off.


i headed for the bar where i had a chance meeting with one of my dirty germany girls. julia beckenbauer (i hope i spelled that right – yes she does have a famous uncle) was flying home for xmas at short notice to see a sick relative. she was distressed. she hadnt planned on going home at xmas, least of all, planned ot have a seriously ill relative and was also flying back with her dog – doing all of this alone – at xmas.  sometimes life can be harsh i guess.


i offered her coffee and something to eat but she preferred a tab.  but as quick as she came, she had to leave her flight was ready…..gave her a hug and a kiss and sent her on her way.


squeezy jet, of course, flew perfectly on time. stelios might be a fat twat but his planes are never late!! flight was half empty (or half full if you are american) but the hostesses were a little disappointing.  i was hoping for some serious totty but nah!

the pursor offered me a seat with extra legroom all on my own at the front of the plane, perfect, three seats all to myself. spread out and started to read my current book.  ordered a coffee an a muffin and settled in for the duration.


the south of england was in glorious sunshine when we flew over, we crossed london, and i could see the new wembly stadium and also the millenium dome from my window. i started to think how small and insignificant the little town looked from the air, the thames winding out to sea but the city itself looked small. with all of the flights i have taken, this was only the second time i had flown over london, the first time was a much lower affair so i couldnt see as much.


checked into the hotel, got changed into my running gear and headed out for a couple of miles.  headed along the old arm in brownsover, alongside brownsover hall, a place where i used to play a lot as a kid, getting into all sorts of mischief but never actually getting caught – those old farmers could never run very fast, must have been those wellies!!!

it was about 3.30 in the afternoon and the air was getting cold, the fields were mud baths and my running shoes were quite happily carrying a few extra pounds of warwickshires finest earth (and probably cow shit too).  my feet were as heavy as bricks and with each stride, i had to keep checking that the weight of the mud hadn’t pulled off one of my shoes.

i ran almost to the M6 motorway before turning and heading back to the hotel but opted to cut across the fields and pick up some tarmac.

the spread of an industrial park met me where what was long ago, green fields. fields that i had of course ran in as a kid. trucks , cars vans scuttling about, trying to get home for xmas.


the roads were damp and dirty as only an english winter can produce, a wet grey matter that doesnt exist anywhere else or at any other time of year, and is almost impossible to describe – like the smell of a wet cat!

i turned uphill for the last stretch before home and a warm shower.


my first run in england for over a year, through some of my old playgrounds …….it was fun, maybe i would find the time to run again before i return home, maybe a different old playground?



Have a moan - the beers are on me !!

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