In September 2003 I took my first holiday for six years, and went over to the UK, via Japan.
(Click here to go to my first trip diary.)

I had so much fun that in March/April 2004 I returned to do it all over again - what follows is the record of my second stint in "Old Blighty".
 

Thursday, March 25, 2004
This already starting to feel like a habit - I'm transiting in Japan again, and overnighting in Narita, just like last time. It was great to catch up with my friend Rie, with whom I had lost contact with after she went home to Japan several years ago!

Though the plane initially departed from the terminal on time, after taxi-ing as far as the point of no return, the pilot announced that we would be returning to the terminal due to an unidentified noise coming from the rear of the cabin.

After nearly 2 hours' delay, sitting on the tarmac as various ground engineers came swarming on and off the plane between lengthy discussions at the back of the aircraft with the crew, we were finally cleared for takeoff, with the noise located as originating in one of the rear lavatories, and we pick up sufficient time to arrive at Heathrow only 8 minutes late!
Loading up the plane at rainy Narita airport...

Friday, March 26, 2004
I'm back!!!
I'm back in the UK... and somehow it feels like I never left. The weather is "crisp", as a certain drummer described it, but clear and not unpleasant, though a full twenty degrees Celcius colder than my native Sydney at this point in time. I'm very glad for my padded jacket and two layers of suede.

It's the simple pleasures in life which are often the nicest - like being able to walk into any bookstore or newsagent and pick up the current month's issues of Classic Rock and Record Collector right off the shelf :-)

In the evening we travel down to Worthing to catch Limehouse Lizzy on their Live and Dangerous tour. A delightful start to the gig calendar for this holiday, marred a little by the poor sound quality in the venue and a sadly lethargic dry ice machine. However, the band's performance more than makes up for it, the highlights being each and every one of the Thin Lizzy classics, and for me, Gary Moore's Out In The Fields. A sterling uptempo version of T.Rex's Get It On completed the evening's entertainment most satisfactorily.
 
Saturday, March 27, 2004
I'm back with all my favourite food staples - brioche, delicious tomatoes nothing at all like the tasteless varieties we have at home, Dorset muesli, and pink pamplemousse (i.e. grapefruit) juice!

A bit of a lazy, relaxed Saturday afternoon, and then finally  the gig I've been looking forward to for six long months - seeing Cry Wolf again! Off to Carshalton and The Windsor Castle tonight, and the boys don't even know I'm in the country yet...! When we get there, early starters Gary and David are setting up, and the patrons are treated to a snatch of Blackfoot Sue while they're warming up - though probably I'm the only person there who recognised the intro to Small Town. The smile on Tom's face when he arrives is worth the whole trip, then and there!

The pub is on a bright, busy corner, with the stage butted into it, so during the gig the occasional red double-decker bus will sweep around the corner behind the band, just to remind me exactly where I am! (This is how you remind me...) Words cannot do justice as to what it's like to be back and seeing everybody again.
Sunday, March 28, 2004
And now it's off to Isleworth/Brentford for the afternoon. I chill out in my room for a little while and catch the 150th Oxford/Cambridge boat race live on the telly in my room in the B&B, which is occurring on the Thames not all that far from where I am. Then it's time to head off to The Six Bells, Brentford (my third visit to this pub - I'm almost a regular! :-)) for another gig night with Cry Wolf, and my first chance to see the boys in their Cry Wolf T-shirts. They look great, and the gig is superb... this time my ears are spared as I'm not directly in front of the PA. The set list is almost completely different, this time including an absolutely stomping version of Enter Sandman as well as crowd favourite Whole Lotta Rosie. The set closes with a fabulous encore of Crazy Horses.
 
Monday, March 29, 2004
A catch-up day - I wend my way back from Isleworth to do a few housekeeping chores like the washing - those smokey pubs certainly take a toll on the clothes! Then I settle in to update these pages and work with some of the new material I've gotten. The digital camera is great, making it a breeze to upload the shots I've taken the very next day - a huge contrast with the last trip where I didn't get my films processed till the last day of my trip and had no idea what I'd captured - including the bombshell of the roll of out-of-date film and the photos which had turned out so poorly because of it.

The weather continues to be cool but clear and even sunny for long stretches of the day.
 
Tuesday, March 30, 2004
My first trip up to the "Big Smoke", London, for this trip. It's all remarkably familiar AND I remember to pack my London A-Z (a feature of the last trip was that I either completely forgot to take maps with me, or took the wrong ones). I check out lots of interesting stores, including the massive HMV store on Oxford street, seeing lots of things I'd like to buy, but restraining myself... for the time being :-).

The weather is positively lovely, sunny and even warm.

In the evening it's time to get out the gig list, the train and bus maps and timetables, and the street directories, and start planning the next few weeks. Just like old times!
 
Thursday, April 1, 2004
How on earth people ever planned journeys prior to the Internet is mind-boggling, to say the least; mind you, planning a journey across Greater London, with multiple connections, and actually having the trains/buses/etc arrive on time is another thing entirely. :-) So saying, off to Brentford again this evening, for another gig with Cry Wolf. The venue was the Globe Inn, with a good crowd, good sound, and a great atmosphere. All in all, it's a triumphant return to an old venue for the band!
Friday, April 2, 2004
Cry Wolf play at The Bell on the Green, Feltham.  Lovely to catch up with Heather and Norm, and hope we can do it again soon!! A highlight of the gig was Pars using a loaned Gibson SG to play the hugely popular set closer Whole Lotta Rosie.
 
Saturday, April 3, 2004
The Rising Sun, Slough. The logistics of getting myself to and from this gig were interesting. It was 5 trains to get there, including one up into London and then 3 tubes. There were "long" delays on the westbound Circle line, so I took a couple of unscheduled detours via South Kensington and Earl's Court station on the District line, and then it was up into the majestic arched terminus at Paddington, all the way around to platform 13 and onto my fifth train, heading for Slough.

It was great to meet up with Sue (roadster333) and her friend Miranda, and nice to have a natter in person rather than the impersonality of electronic communication.

The venue got more and more packed as the evening progressed (and other local places emptied out), and, being a late start, the boys played until midnight. I, however, left early so as to start the long trek back "home". Just as well, as I got turned around in Slough and had to ask directions to the station twice. Then it was two train trips to get back, with a scenic bus tour of London inbetween to get from Paddington to Victoria, with squawls of rain as the bus arrived at the station. Then it was on to the train heading Brighton-wards, with my emergency chocolate bar to take care of the post-gig munchies. Alas, it was raining again by the time I got back to the station, and the walk back found me soaking wet and very glad to fall into bed, from which I didn't stir until lunchtime the next day!
 
Sunday, April 4, 2004
After finally stirring out of bed, I spend a lazy, cool, rainy Sunday afternoon relaxing and winding down after three late nights of gigging, lengthy train journeys and a huge amount of walking! And there's always work to be done on the site - no rest for the (wicked) webmaster!

So here I sit in the evening out in the conservatory, with the rain pattering on the roof, while I type, shortly to settle down with a movie on the telly, all very civilised.
Monday, April 5, 2004
I'm now at the stage of the trip where I stop mentally marking the English accent, and simply hear it as normal, and my own accent sounds very strange when I open my mouth. People don't realise I'm a foreigner until I actually do say something, usually when they're asking directions: "Sorry, I'm an Australian!", with an apologetic shrug and smile, is all I need to say! It's also nice to feel fit again, the many hours of walking I do each day doing wonders for my muscles. It's a reflection of how bad the sedentary lifestyle really is.
Tuesday, April 6, 2004
My second trip up to London, a day spent slowly wandering the length of Oxford Street with numerous detours, alternatively dodging the showers and enjoying the bright bursts of sunshine!

I can spend a great deal more time in UK music stores (not to mention a great deal more money!) because of the sheer volume of interesting things unavailable at home. And the utter delight of there actually being Blackfoot Sue, CCS, Steamhammer and so on on the shelves always brings a smile to my face.
Wednesday, April 7, 2004
It's clear, though grey and overcast for most of the day, though the clouds did dump a load of rain around teatime - with a lovely high-arching rainbow. I took myself off to Wimbledon for the day, which started with a long rambling walk from Pound Hill, along part of the former railway line to East Grinstead, now converted to a public walkway and bridlepath. Then it was a train to Croydon and a tram to Wimbledon, which was convenient, scenic and very cheap. Though not after anything in particular, I found a delightful secondhand bookstore and picked up quite a few books for a tenner. Then it was another quiet evening in with a few updates to the websites, reading (of course!), and getting ready for another 3 gig-nights-in-a-row stint starting tomorrow with The Magnets in London.
Thursday, April 8, 2004
My first stop, once I got into London, was St Pancras Station. Last trip I spent the first week of my holiday in a tiny basement room in a hotel in Kings Cross, so this was one of my local stations, as it were. The construction work around the station didn't seem to have progressed at all since September last year, though out on the tracks, big changes are about to occur. The original 1869 terminus is due to be closed tomorrow, and all Midlands services will begin running from the new International station after Easter - this, then, was a historic time to see a majestic station in the last days of its use.

Then I revisited Camden Town, which was one of my great accidental finds last trip.
St Pancras station in the second last day of its operation
 
Once again there was intermittent rain throughout the day, but it was never that heavy or for that long, and it just gave me an excuse to linger in some shops for a bit longer.

I even got to see one of the locks in operation, as a narrow boat was conveniently navigating its way downstream. I had become interested in the inland waterways last trip, as I had watched with fascination from the windows of the train to Birmingham while the waterways meandered along beside the track for great scenic stretches. It undoubtedly was of even more curiosity to me as it's something that we could never have in Australia, with our semi-permanent state of drought.
Camden Lock
 
Then it was off to meet Tina at Bloomsbury Theatre, University College, London, and catch The Magnets - what a great show! I was especially fascinated by their gifted vocal percussionist, who even performed a "drum" solo, much to the delight of the audience! It was a fun evening indeed, made more so by the delectable strawberry ice at interval, and then a ride on one of the old style double-decker buses across buzzing London to our station and the trip home.
 
Friday, April 9, 2004
Baker Street StationCry Wolf played at The Listen Inn, Ruislip, for the first time ever. This was yet again an opportunity for me to navigate my way to another unknown area of Greater London! I change trains at Baker Street, marveling at the delightful architecture of the station, particularly the way the different tube lines curve around, before heading off to Ruislip. I am a tad early, anticipating a 9pm start, but the rest of the gang eventually straggle in. It's going to be a late one.

Then came the fascinating bit, trying to figure out exactly how the band would set up in this new venue. The limited available floor area provided David with an interesting puzzle on exactly where to set up his kit.
Baker Street Station

The tiny bit of raised flooring in the corner (it's difficult to describe something three inches higher than the surrounding floor, and about three feet in diameter, as a "stage") was more of a hindrance than a help. Ultimately, two lots of reluctant patrons had to be asked to abandon their tables before the band and all their gear could fit in.

Right from the start, the place was absolutely heaving with bodies, and it got more and more packed as the evening progressed. There was as much of a show occurring in the audience as on the stage! I can't help wondering what the publican thought of his first attempt to book a rock band, when he had only previously hosted jazz combos and small acoustic groups.

I shoot off early to get the first of my many connections back to Victoria, to no avail when the train is held up, with no explanation, just outside Finchley Road station. I finally make my change there and travel through to Westminster, only to discover that I've missed the last train for the night. I can't help contrasting historic Baker Street station with modern Westminster, all noisy, soulless aluminium. To add insult to injury, it's not even particularly obvious how to get out of the station, so I have to ask (twice) for directions - how on earth does one escape from this metal labrinyth?! When I finally get up onto the street, I surprisingly quickly find my way to the right bus stop, get myself on a bus heading for Victoria, and even make the train I was aiming for.
Saturday, April 10, 2004
The VaultThe Vault, Waltham Cross.
Previously, Cry Wolf have only ever played this venue on a Thursday night, so tonight is a first, of sorts. Certainly they've been playing here for a long time, and it's one venue I've long wanted to see for myself.

Somehow I get turned around coming out of Waltham Cross station, but find my way to the venue anyway, almost by accident - I know that it's on the High Street, but the High Street is a pedestrian mall, and the pub is quietly tucked away along it, with absolutely no nameboard along the front (see the photo at right for proof)! I almost walk right on past, but decide to have a squint inside, and see some familiar fuzzy hair (hi Gary!) amongst the patrons... I've found tonight's venue!

The sound, as Tom had pointed out, was really quite good - certainly I get to hear more bass than at many other venues!

After the gig I was treated to a lift back to Clapham Junction, which included a guided tour through the heart of London in the early hours of the morning... Battersea Power Station, fascinating at any time of the day, is truly majestic and mysterious against the night sky, particularly from across the Thames with the moon floating in the sky above.
Sunday, April 11, 2004
Having absolutely excelled myself the previous night, I get back from my evening's outing at some time after 4am... it's so late/early that the birds are merrily chirping away in the trees as I leave the railway station, anticipating the dawn! I'm anticipating a warm bed and collapsing into it just as soon as I can.
Alvin Sawdust

Alvin Sawdust in full flight
- with Flying V!
Monday, April 12, 2004
We head off to local pub The Rose and Crown to catch Glam tribute act Alvin Sawdust (aka Big Pete). His set list is delightfully varied - it's the first time I've seen some of these songs performed live - and all a bit of fun, really! The barmen get right into the spirit of things by donning appropriate glam garb and even taking a turn at the mike.

It was nice to meet up with Ali too - another name to which I can now put a face!
Tuesday, April 13, 2004
Another day to catch up with the mundane bits of life, like grocery shopping, the washing, and recharging my batteries (literally).

I've taken a calculated risk this trip: since I have far more idea about how to get around, instead of purchasing a Britrail Pass upfront, I have been buying my train tickets as I go. At the end of the holiday I'll be able to tell whether it was a good idea or not, but a key reason not to bother was the fact that tubes aren't included in the Britrail Pass, and many of my journeys involve passing through London, for which the tube is the obvious choice of transport. A Day Travelpass includes, in fact, as many bus and tube trips within the London area that I choose to take - perfect for those late night returns from gigs when it's not at all certain exactly what mode of transport I'll be using!
 
Wednesday, April 14, 2004
Another busy day/night. During the day I headed off to Tonbridge/Tunbridge Wells to do the toursity thing, and in the evening it was Jam Night at The Apple Tree, Crawley, where a whole bunch of bands got up and did two-three songs each. There was an ecclectic mix of performances, from acoustic guitarists, blues-rock, and even a fledgling thrash band with downy faces and no lead singer (yet!). Performing Enter Sandman as an instrumental was a flash of genius, as the crowd readily shouted the words! All were good, and there were some truly delectable performances to be witnessed, including some virtuoso guitar work - what a hotbed of talent! It only goes to prove my great belief that fame is not necessarily indicative of talent/ability/whatever you want to call it - it's usually only a measure of being in the right place, at the right moment in time, and mixing with the right people.
Thursday, April 15, 2004
I spend the day just window-shopping locally. :-) Even a binge-gigger has to have a day of rest sometimes.
Friday, April 16, 2004
Braemar RoadI finally get to see the movie of High Fidelity. It's most peculiar how a story based in London, England, gets transported lock, stock and barrel to America (Chicago), and so a great deal of quirky cultural detail is lost and/or reinterpreted. I would love to see the "real" version of the story, but I guess I'll have to settle for the book, which, I have to say, I enjoyed very much, though it was not quite what I had expected - I had gotten the impression that the focus was the record store itself.

Cry Wolf are playing Stripes Bar at Brentford football club tonight.  Photos

It was an interesting gig for quite a few reasons, not least of which is the fact that Standing In The Road was actually written about 100 yards down the road! The band were living in Braemar Road at the time David had his dream about the rhythm which would become the basis of Blackfoot Sue's hit single, though they had moved away from Griffin Park and out to Hounslow before it became a hit.
Here it is! The birthplace of
Standing In The Road.
 
Saturday, April 17, 2004
Eddie, Tom, David, and me.If a picture paints a thousand words... :-)

Cry Wolf played The Star in South Harrow (formerly the Fornax & Firkin).

Those who came to the gig witnessed a very special event - the return to the stage of Eddie Golga, onstage with David and Tom for the first time in over ten years... and the first time ever that Gary and Eddie have shared the stage.  Photos

For me it was a dream come true, and I want to say thank you to everyone concerned, particularly, of course, to Eddie, but also to the rest of the band, including Pars, who graciously stepped aside and let Eddie take his inestimable place for two numbers, as well as loaning his amp.

A big thank you to Suzanne for capturing this photo, too.
Sunday, April 18, 2004
It was the 3am train back south again, after that historic, marvelous gig, and a lot more quiet on Clapham Junction station this time, probably due to the lower temperature and the rain which had begun while the band were playing. It was also a lot more quiet on the train, with most people stretched out having a kip rather than the merry revellers there'd been on my previous early morning trips. The rain is not heavy during the walk back, but persistant, and it's continued all day, so it's just nice to relax indoors and catch up, not to mention sleep!
Monday, April 19, 2004
Cry Wolf played at The Bleak House, in Woking, Surrey, a place I had last been on my birthday last year (though they played a different venue, the tiny Crown in Horsell)!

It was a great turn-out, though audience participation was somewhat "reserved". From where I was standing, at least, the sound was great (right down the front, of course!), but the architecture of the pub is such that there are pockets where the balance is not so pure - how anybody can complain of too much bass, though, is totally beyond me! :-p
Tuesday, April 20, 2004
I while away the day in Croydon, just having a wander and seeing where my feet take me, including the science fiction shop Forbidden Planet where I once again sigh over the (expensive) Dalek models and wonder if I dare - and, more practically, how I will get it back to Australia in one piece.

I quite enjoy coming to Croydon. It has a little bit of everything, like my favourite coffee shop, the French chain Pret, Beano's, of course (and no, they still don't have a copy of the elusive BFS single Moonshine), a large shopping centre, lots of smaller, interesting shops, and an open air market where I am treated to the rare sight of punnets of fresh raspberries (a rare sight for me, anyway - raspberries always come in frozen lumps in Australia), my very favourite berry. Argueably, the only thing missing is a Primark store - every other High Street chain of any note is located here!
Wednesday, April 21, 2004
Another cooler day, and raining on and off, though it remained fine (with blue sky and sunshine!) for just as long as it took me to get to Tescos and back for some vital supplies - Dorset muesli, brioche and thick, rich Strawberries and Cream yoghurt!

In the afternoon, the rain sets in again, so it's as good a time as any to catch up on the website! (Hours and hours later, I've at last caught up with the last three gigs' worth of material, though there's plenty more to come...)
Thursday, April 22, 2004
Cry Wolf played at The Prince Regent, Sutton. It was called the Fielder and Firkin when I was last here, in September! For that reason I nearly walked straight past it - until I spotted the Cry Wolf flier in the window! The band like it because the beer's cheap... I mean, the crowd is big and enthusiastic - or perhaps that's because the beer's cheap... anyway! Despite some frustrating technical difficulties, resulting in the first set being cut short, the boys came back with a magnificent, long second set. That first set, though, launched with T.Rex's Get It On, the first time I'd heard it this trip, and ended with the Farmer brothers performing 20th Century Boy as a trio while Pars tried to do something with his wayward equipment. The vocals on the latter were just magic!

The second set featured the crowd trying to second-guess the band, though I have to say the band stayed one step ahead! There were numerous guitar changes going on during the set, with both Pars and Gary swapping between their main and back-up guitars - it's the first time I've seen Gary playing the green Strat. A song I've heard live for the very first time is Led Zeppelin's Whole Lotta Love, and what a fantastic rendition! Tom's vocals were spine-tingling.

On the negative side, by this stage even my camera strap smells of cigarette smoke!
Friday, April 23, 2004
St George's Day, a very appropriate day for Cry Wolf to be playing The Red Lion in Twickenham. The place was busy and enthusiastic and great fun, with a quiz during the break in which David won a bottle of champers (a better prize than the shirts and silly hats that some other people went away with)!

It was so nice to stay right to the end of this gig - last September I had to run for the train and missed the whole second set, so I feel like I've finally made up for it. It was also great to see a whole bunch of friends again - including Kevin down from the north, as well as Sue and Miranda once more - nice to catch up! Hopefully we'll do it again next time I'm in the country :-)

Crazy Horses made a welcome reappearance in the set - David's vocals on this, as always, were fantastic, but that's not to take anything away from the rest of the band - it's a classic.

The weather has been warm and sunny and absolutely beautiful - I can't believe the contrast between this and what it was like when I first arrived in the country a few weeks ago. Astoundingly enough, it's shirtsleeve weather now. The cherry blossoms are in full bloom - it's most definitely springtime.
Saturday, April 24, 2004
Windsor CastleDuring the day - and what glorious weather it was! - I was treated to a late lunch out at Windsor, sitting in the window of a pub overlooking Windsor Castle - it was just marvelous. There was just time for a quick stroll around the railway station (Windsor and Eton Riverside) and along by the river before a scenic drive back down via Slough and Heathrow to the A4 and Isleworth to get ready for the gig.

Interestingly enough, Cry Wolf's venue for the evening is The Castle, in Isleworth, only about ten minutes' walk from my B&B.

The pub is not much to look at from the outside, but inside it's gorgeous, with glassed-in terraces to the back and the side, and a nice big alcove for the band to set up in.
Sunday, April 25, 2004
Back at the Six Bells, Brentford, my fourth time at this venue. This gig is usually rather mellow - the band have been playing here for many years, as its one of the first venues to have taken them on. It's a long standing tradition that Cry Wolf play there on the last Sunday of the month, though having said that, the May date has been brought forward to the 23rd due to Pars taking a holiday at the end of the month.

During the day I had wandered as far afield as Putney Bridge, where I ventured down onto the shores of the Thames at low tide, and then it was back to Brentford for a few photographs, and then Hounslow for the afternoon. As I went into WH Smith, I was amazed to see an Asian lady with a cat on a lead, going into the shop, not something you see every day. I suspected she was Japanese, as the tortoiseshell on white coat colour is the classic colour of Japanese cats, and sure enough, she spoke to the cat in Japanese, so I had a chat to her!
Monday, April 26, 2004
On the other side of the world, it's ANZAC Day, or was. I tuck into my breakfast at the B&B before trekking back down to the south to start sorting out things - the end of my trip, alas, is nigh, though there's still one final gig to go. It's been such a busy month that I've already seen twice as many gigs as I did in September, and there's still Ewhurst to go yet!

With all the walking I've been doing in my drummer boots, my toes and feet are rather swollen and sore, so I'm looking forward to putting my feet up for the afternoon. One frustrating thing about living out of a suitcase is having such a limited wardrobe, and it's especially awkward when the weather is as changable as it is at this time of year!
Tuesday, April 27, 2004
St Pauls against clear skyI travel up to London, my first stop being Hammersmith, as I need to suss out exactly where I'm changing buses two nights hence, and what the timetable is for the night buses.

I then head off down King Street - it's an absolutely gorgeous day, and I wander along for miles and miles, enjoying the sunshine and the springtime and investigating the shops as I go. However, when I come out of an Internet cafe after a quick check of my email, I discover that it's abruptly clouded over and threatening rain! Luckily I'm already safely inside Pret with a hot melt-in-the-mouth cheese and tomato croissant and a cappucino when the rain starts to fall.

With my connections all sorted out for Thursday night, I dodge the rain and head further east to Blackfriars, where it's time to meet another old friend in person for the first time ever. Stephen and I had been penfriends for more years than either of us can remember, with a common bond of appreciation for Deep Purple, Rainbow, Whitesnake, Gillan and all the rest of the family tree.

As I was early, I took a walk along Fleet Street, once the home of all the publishing houses, before meeting up with Stephen. We soon found a cosy pub which served dinner, and had fish and chips, with thunder and lightning and the rain bucketing down outside. An hour or so later, though, and we had clear skies for a rambling wander down past majestic St Pauls, across the Millenium Bridge, past the reconstruction of Shakespeare's Globe Theatre, back across Southwark Bridge, and time for a coffee before I headed off out of London for the very last time this trip.
Wednesday, April 28, 2004
This morning I discover that last night's storm and torrential rain resulted in flash flooding in some areas of London, the worst for a hundred years, the kind of floods we get in Australia!

I pack up all my things and have a dry run for how I'm going to get myself home, travelling back up to Isleworth for my last few days in England. This time I do it the smart way - take a taxi to the station, and not attempt to walk it with the foolish bravado I had last time. There's a huge difference between a brisk twenty minute walk, unencumbered by bags, and the forty-five minutes it took me in September when the wheels on my bag self-destructed before I had even gotten halfway to the station. It and I were such a wreck by the time I got onto the train (and I remember very clearly that it was a slam-door train, too) that my plans for doing three trains went out the window - it was to be a taxi from Victoria Station to Heathrow, and hang the expense! I had to cash some of my Australian dollars in to do it, too - I think it was £60 all up. It was such a nightmare that I conciously planned things differently this time - I brought less, I've bought less, and my bags are smaller... though I do have the aluminium flight case as well this time.

I spend a quiet evening repacking my things, and doing some catch up with the website and my writing, getting ready for tomorrow.
Thursday, April 29, 2004
David, me, TomI wake up to a drizzling, cold, grey day - the "heatwave" is over, and I'm awfully glad I'm not trying to lug my luggage anywhere today. In fact, tonight is my final Cry Wolf gig. The venue is Kenney Jones' (yes, of The Who and The Faces) polo club, Hurtwood Park, down in Ewhurst, Surrey, and there's been much consultation of maps, street directories and in fact anyone who'd been down that way before, prior to setting out.

Despite the drizzly weather, it was a fascinating drive down, a scenic tour of Surrey, through some tiny villages and along narrow, single carriageway roads, past some gorgeous old buildings. Naturally, we have nothing like this in Australia, so it was just rivetting. And we didn't get lost!!  Gig photos
Hey Mum, can I bring them home with me??!  
Friday, April 30, 2004
It's raining again... somehow very appropriate weather for my last day in England. I mean to finish off by doing something cultural and touristy, but I'm just not in the mood. I climb on the bus, managing to get the front seat upstairs (still a novelty for me - it's been many years since we had double-decker buses in Sydney), but instead of getting off at Kew Bridge, I stay on the bus until it gets all the way in to Shepherd's Bush. This proves to be a good move as there is a marketplace there, running alongside the railway line, and I have a leisurely wander while dodging the showers and the puddles.

Only a few hours away from my flight home, alas. The gig the previous night was a really wonderful way to finish up the trip, though it was terribly hard to say goodbye. Never fear, I'll be back!

Thanks to everyone for making the trip so much fun, and I've lots of wonderful memories to take home with me.
Saturday, May 1, 2004
I've survived the first leg of my trip home without even so much of a headache, and have even gotten a bit of sleep. I'm now in transit in the remarkably civilised Narita Airport, Tokyo, where Internet access is FREE, on supplied bilingual (just as well I'm bilingual, init?) IBM Thinkpads, and the four hour break between flights now seems perfect. I've even found a new use for my aluminium flight case - it's the perfect footrest.

The pictures from Ewhurst are great, and will be uploaded once I get back to Sydney and have a bit of free time... there's no rest for the self-indulgent, though, as it's back to work and the real world first thing on Monday. The Rock Chick is going to have to take a back seat to the Responsible Wage-earner so I can do another pilgrimage next year :-)

Another big thank you to everyone, including the band (past and present members included!!), the friends I've met up with along the way, all the lovely people who've been so friendly and welcoming, and a special, big thank you to my occasional chauffeur! And let's not forget a thank you to the author of the ring-tone which now graces my phone - thanks to James, it now plays Standing In The Road - maybe one day the band will, an' all!
Sunday, May 2, 2004
I'm back in Australia :-( - enough said.
Epilogue, August 2004
I've discovered an interesting thing - I've developed a certain mystique back here after having been to England. Every time I wear something interesting, people ask where it's from and expect me to say "London". They're terribly disappointed when I say "$12.95 from the local shopping centre!". Certainly it's interesting seeing the clothes I saw in April in the shops in the UK now beginning to make an appearance here (in August).

And how did my travel costs work out? The going rate for a one-month BritRail pass is £330. That doesn't, of course, include the cost of tubes which were  included in my Day Travel Passes. Summing what I paid for my tickets, including tubes but not the bus trips, I spent a respectable £231.05. Add about £10 worth of bus trips, and even a couple of taxi rides and I'm still well below the cost of the Britrail Pass. :-)


Continue on to my New Year 2005 UK trip diary


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