I thought it’d make things more interesting if the pre bike part was written by Roxy, so without further ado….
Sunday 7th April
14:28 – ‘The Phone Call’
“Sh*t Rox I’m going to miss the train.”
So this was how the trip was to shape up and quite frankly I wouldn’t have had it any other way. Alarm bells should have been ringing at this point, but thankfully my caffeine levels were sufficiently high enough and more than capable to diffuse Shell’s panic-stricken mumbling. I casually bumbled over to Clapham Junction’s ticket office where I was greeted by a charming woman (I’m being sarcastic – this woman couldn’t have been less helpful if she tried) who told me that my tickets were not refundable or amendable and in fact all trains running from Clapham to Brighton that day were not direct and had a rail replacement bus from Three Bridges. Hmmm I thought, this could be interesting seeing as though Shell has a bike!
“Rox I will meet you on Platform 15, I might make it.” (Shell actually got off the train at Platform 1!)
“Dude don’t bother, the ticket office have just told me that all trains from Clapham to Brighton are…”
(Shell hangs up)
The verbal ping-pong with the unhelpful lady continues until she tells me at 14:38 that she’d actually got the information wrong and in fact the only train that would be operating a direct service would be at 14:39, so in a minute’s time. Oh sh*t. I grabbed my bag and ran like the wind to Platform 15, calling Shell en route who told me she was there. I made it to Platform 15 about seven seconds before the train rocked up.
“Ahhh where are you Shell?”
“I’m here, just get on the bloody train!”
I bundled onto the train and just so happened to get on the same carriage as a girl whose pink jumper matched her face, complete with excessive bags and a bike – “Shell!!” After a quick hug, we were finally on the way.
18:03 – ‘Am I In Third Gear?’
After a quick tour of Alejandro (this will be explained at a later, more appropriate time) and a toilet stop at Keith’s (from THL Campervans) in Brighton we were all systems go, well almost. Shell and Alejandro were bonding nicely, well for about a hundred yards or so until Alejandro wouldn’t go uphill, couldn’t decide whether he was in first of third gear, made Shell nearly pull her hair out and smelled of melting plastic. The campervan showed us who was going to wear the trousers on this road trip and naturally we thought with its feisty and temperamental personality this campervan had to be male, from Latino descent – meet Alejandro! After a quick call to Keith and a few out of date sweets later we were all sorted and Alejandro was back on board. Next up, the not so legendary Cliffs of Dover.
21:00 – ‘Dover is rubbish ’
So the three Musketeers pull up at Dover ferry port, greeted by unimpressive sights of the White Cliffs of Dover (that’s because they actually were just cliffs and not actually the White Cliffs of Dover, ahem Shell). We join the queue of other happy campers and kill the next half an hour before departure with witty banter, more sweets and general horsing around.
22:00-01:00 – ‘ Viva La France’
Ferry time – this involved gate crashing the ‘Roadie’s’ only area, random chats, Shell sleeping and drooling on a bar’s sofa, aimless walking around, looking out the window and me reading ‘Heat’ about three and a half times. Alas, we arrive in Dunkirk and make our way to our sleeping spot for the night……