Friday 20th September – The First Leg - Only 3000 Kilometres to Go
The plan was to get to Bayswater in London today. There was a slight change of plan as I was to take Galia’s nephew along with me as he starts up University after the summer break again in Sofia. At least he will help me to stay awake and he is good company. Alarm 03:50 to find that it was pouring with rain – ‘Why do I bother,’ came to mind. Yesterday I thoroughly cleaned the car ready for the trip and got it into the garage before it started raining which cleared up after an hour. There was no forecast that it was going to storm up later in the night and throughout the early morning. Why do I bother! At least it is clean rain here.
Trying to find Gal’s nephew Teddy, (That’s his name) in the dark unlit streets on the outskirts of Yambol with pouring rain and rain-filled potholes not knowing how deep they were, was to say at the very least difficult. The last thing I wanted was to become a non-starter with damaged wheels on the car, so slow and careful was the name fo the game, a little easier without other traffic up my proverbial bullying me for more speed However once gathered we were on our way with 300 Kilometres to go. IKt was an intense amount of concentration needed to drive in these conditions with lorries spray seemingly continuous. It was amazing how many lorries had only one backlight working!
We chatted and chatted and chatted throughout the whole trip wit two stops for coffee and a ciggy for Teddy on the second stop with only 10 Kilometres to go with the rain just about cleared and daylight upon us. Teddy was dropped off at the Metro station after a hug and best wishes and we went our own ways. I felt quite sad seeing him go and wish he was coming with me as we get on so well. He was inspired by my adventure and may have intentions of such challenges in the future, this I might add is not usual for Bulgarian who usually want an easy and relax life.
A fight between drinking or not drinking, which is better, frequent toilet trip or cramp and weariness from dehydration?
It was a 4 Kilometre walk from the Coach Station to the Hotel Digs. Armed with an Asda Shopping Bag and double layer clothing it was off with a pair of socks and shirt leaving a single layer. I was still wearing two underpants not really wanting to get arrested for indecency getting one pair off in public.
Headway was made to Hyde Park which was coincidentally en route the accommodation. There was a hive of activity in the Serpentine Lake area with all the nian structures up and many helpers picking up dead leaves that had fallen over the last few days. It was quite exciting knowing that in the morning this area will be swarming with swimmers. I didn’t dwell, plenty of time tomorrow and it was back again walking on towards my booked accommodation.
A Sainsbury's trip to get overnight and morning food as it was too expensive and to be honest quite nervy thinking about getting a hot meal in a bar or restaurant, not to mention the cost.
Arriving at the accommodation, my room was on the 4th Floor with 50 steps leading to what looked like a rabbit hutch, no matter! A dripping shower on max and a fractured shower base, again no matter, at least the water was warm, even the cold water was warm! No fridge so the morning’s milk in a sink full of cold water overnight.
Sainsbury's evening meal consisted of a mayonnaise swamped bacon pasta, chicken, (I think) and vegetable wrap and prepared fruit. I had to laugh at myself thinking of the best before date on the package, all that came to mind was it would be more truthful to leave out the date after the best before and just add the word eaten, i..e Best Before Eaten!!’ This chemical-laden food was a complete contrast to my normal evening meals in Bulgaria and was a worry. Also, the amount of plastic wrapping that was trying to straighten itself and climb out of the waste bin was criminal. Why so much plastic has to be used is beyond me in this day and age. I knew there would be issues with this food not being my normal diet. I daren’t read the ingredients before, (and after) I ate, it would just play games in my head overnight. Funny how we eat numbers as described on packaging ingredient lists. The only number I was concerned with was the subsequent number twos as a result!!
Cramp in bed at night, so the choice today was dehydration by not drinking as you might have guessed. The lack of toilet trips was not sacrificed with the lack of water intake. There was a pint of beer downed prior to my evening food which would give cause to make a trip to the toilet overnight anyway. During the night my stomach sounded like it had started the swimming event before the rest of the body with the gurgling and splashing sounds. Mmmm me thinks!
Later that night there was the guests tramping up and down the stairs and slamming doors to 02:30 in the morning returning from their night out. Not bad people or doing it on purpose, just normal sounds in guest accommodation that goes on. Beyond them coming back, there was no talking incessantly through the wafer-thin walls. Again, normal talking but against a background of silence highlighted and pronounced in aural reception, My earplugs were already packed up for tomorrow, so not accessible without unpacking, then the fear of not hearing the alarm in the morning made me put up with the noise.
No early breakfast at these digs before 07:00, so I told the landlord I’d provide my own. He was well pleased with that and shook my hand to show his gratitude and thanks. There was more than a glint of money lit up in his eyes once my suggestion was announced.
The morning after foreign food and it was in the toilet twice in the digs, once before the event and another after the event. This was just as expected but the timings worked out well with a window of closed bowels for the swim. It was another sense of relief it all worked out without the need for medication.
No Wi-Fi signal here either as the room was the furthest away from the reception where the signal is sourced. No chance of telling Galia I’m okay which has been the case all day. Throughout the two days and night here in London my mobile phone just wouldn't pick up WiFi signals were in airports, bus stations or other public places where free WiFi is advertised. I’m used to being without the use of Hi-tech equipment in Bulgaria anyway and it is quite laughable seeing everyone here in London clinging onto their mobile phones as if their lives depended upon them.
Off to bed at 21:30 with the alarm set for 06:30 and very excited about what tomorrow will bring. So glad I decided to persue this challenge to the extreme that I probably wouldn’t be able to come to terms with giving up. We’ll see how the day unfolds….
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