Monday, 22 February 2010

The yarn unspun, Part Two

Six months have passed since the events I'm about to tell you happened [I thought I uploaded this, but it's been hiding in the drafts folder]. Fortunately they have been burnt into my memory for the rest of my life, which would not have been a nice thought to cross my mind at the time. Anyway, I digress...

And lo, in the distance, at the end of a long and winding slip road, there stood our salvation. The Pidou (which I assume is pronounced as we pronounce 'paedo') cash and carry. Open all hours for truckers looking to pick up a snack or cheap hooch to take back to the UK. We headed straight for the snack option.

Our journey from A to B through torrential rain felt like an eternity

There was bread, which the French are pretty good at, and cheese (which they also have a talent for). I bought a jar of roll-mops to expand the sustenance and some chocolate that reminded me of advent calendars. A tube of Pringles helped get rid of the shitty Christmas chocolate taste. Our feast was well earned. It was the first food since breakfast back at Fiesta in Bow.

Somewhat nourished, we decided to make camp against the front wall of our Pidou. Exhausted, I found myself in little bother or discomfort at curling up under a sleeping bag. Somehow, I drifted off to a peaceful slumber.


Weird voices and noises were present in my sleep, but that last one brought me back to some kind of consciousness. Bleary eyed, I turned to Dunc for some kind of answer. He was sat next to me staring a thousand miles into the distance. I followed the line of his sight and saw about a dozen asylum seekers chasing after a lorry, shouting in whatever language they spoke.

'This is a bit sketchy.' I thought to myself and being a total coward wrapped myself tighter into the sleeping bag in an lame attempt to hide from the monsters. The walk had taken such a toll on my unhealthy body, no amount of fear could keep me from returning to my doze. But it wasn't a complete slumber. How could it be?

The pitter patter of desperate feet returned again. Through my half opened eyes I could see men trying to find entry into a parked truck outside the shop. The driver exited the shop and Dunc warned him of the situation. 'Is that really a good idea?' I screamed to myself, but found no way of communicating this to Dunc. The driver diligent to the fine he'd receive if found with illegal immigrants in his truck scouted around his vehicle before driving off. 'This is fucked.' We told each other.

Another THUNK! hit my eardrums. 'We need to get inside!' screamed Dunc. From my seat, I saw to my left an asylum seeker; Dunc stood up to my right. I was sat in the middle of a stand off and knew little of it. The asylum seeker had squared up to Dunc with a brick in his hand. Dunc stood his ground, hoping to dissuade the man from launching his projectile. It didn't work.

Desperate, we piled into the shop and explained the situation to the night staff. They seemed happy to let us hide for cover. Happy or not; I didn't give a shit. There was no way we were going out there again before daylight.

And so we sat in our cafe collecting our thoughts. Myself trying to piece things together through the blur of fear and unconsciousness and Dunc with an all too clear recollection of the events just gone. When would morning come and let us leave this island, our Somme?

Morning came and with it a bus load of booze cruisers from the Midlands. To interested ears of elderly gentleman we told them of the night before and our reasons for being holed up in a service station just outside Calais. 'We're hitchhiking to Warsaw,' we told them. A younger lad responded, 'That's right near us, Walsall.' They couldn't unfortunately give us the lift we needed to officially start our hitchhiking.

During the night we worked on our destination signs. After about twenty minutes of standing in the sun my patience was already wearing thin. A truck drove past us and slowed down. We chased after it waving at the driver.

'I'm going to Luxembourg if that's any use to you,' we looked at each other and silently agreed. Anywhere but here!

Thursday, 14 January 2010


Seeing as you good people are still coming on to this page, I feel it's only fair to direct you to my current blog As In Jack which I've been slowly working on.

Trust, there will be a conclusion to this story. When I get time to write it and more importantly remember what the fuck happened.

Tuesday, 17 November 2009

The yarn unspun, Part One

The plan was simple. Two friends, were to get from London to Warsaw in under a week, using hitch-hiking as the only means of transportation. Well, that was the plan.

Officially, our trip started on the rainy Wednesday morning of 2nd September. Not wanting to set off under prepared, Dunc spent a few hours making sure he had everything in his backpack. Not wanting to set off under nourished, we headed to the Fiesta Cafe on Roman Road for our last fried breakfast for a long time.

It was now edging into Wednesday afternoon, and arriving at London Victoria (via the tube), we made the executive decision to take the train to Dover, if we were to make France by the end of the day.

Arriving at Dover, a shuttle bus took us to the ferry port. Our reliance on hitch-hiking, we decided, would be a continental European affair. The first ferry company we approached at the ferry port informed us that their last journey for the day had set off. Our stomachs sank. Our stomachs rose as we were informed that we could just about make the last trip that P&O had for the day. We were to make it to France by the end of the day after all.

Waving our goodbyes to the White Cliffs of Dover, we drank a few moderately priced beers and smoked a few cigarettes, safe in the ignorance of what was to come.

With the clocks set forward an hour to Central European Time, we disembarked on to French soil later than we had hoped. It was dark. We were on the last crossing of the day. And to top it off, foot passengers were only allowed off after all vehicular passengers had done so.

'Last time, we went that way, which was the wrong way.' Dunc surmised, pointing us in what he believed to be the right direction for the main road. Under sparse lamp posts, we trundled beside the road, at this point with a lack of traffic, hoping for traffic. Praying for a ride.

Then the heavens opened.

We had made it to a dual carriageway, with cars and lorries travelling at the speeds that they do on dual carriageways. In pissing rain. Our tempers began to fray. A fly-over provided shelter for a deserved break from an hours walk in torrential rain. Desperately we fought with a wet lighter to provide a spark for a much needed cigarette. Our hitch-hiking was lacking the operative 'hitch'.

Continuing our journey along the hard shoulder, we reached a sprawl of a junction, at which we were certain in which way to go. The problem was how to get to where we wanted to go. The split of traffic lanes reduced the space beside the road on which to walk. The nature of the convergence of roads led to an increase of traffic (coming from several directions at once). A field to our left looked like an option, but after further inspection, we discovered a river (well it was probably just a stream) cutting our path. We had to take the road and hope that whoever was driving on it was paying attention to what they were doing.

The rain had subsided in to a drizzle. The map seemed to agree with our bearings. In the distance we spotted what looked like a toll gate. The perfect place to approach stationery vehicles. All we had to do was keep walking. And wait for something to happen.

Wednesday, 14 October 2009

The joys of being disconnected from the world

To be brutally honest, I'm not entirely disconnected. Just disconnected in the sense that my only contact with the internet (and all its uses) is through a disappointingly poor (and painfully new) Sony Ericsson mobile device. (I've written about these before.)

The initial problem here is that my only way of writing on here is via text message (which costs, ie fuck off) or like I'm trying now on the Blogger site, which involves writing in a tiny text box and having to add limited html code. So here's hoping it all works out.

This should be on a new line.

And this.

My other major issue with the phone thing is that it seems to have been designed for use by pixies, with tiny little pixie fingers. It's not like I've got the machoest build, but I do tend to yrste th.gsm like this rather often.

Fucking phones.

Saturday, 26 September 2009

Back In England

It would be mean to try and explain the trip in one half-cut post. So I won't.

The trip is over and we're back home. Stupidly, I left my stress inducing laptop in Cornwall. I'm in London. This means I have sporadic access to the internet, which means I haven't had the chance to write much. This makes me sad.

I'm gonna be on the job and flat hunt for the next few weeks so this is another solemn farewell from the blogoshere (damn I hate that word).

I'll try and find some time to explain the trip in one post. One day.

Monday, 14 September 2009

That was fun

Firstly, I apologise for not keeping a running commentary on this one. Wi-Fi hot spots aren't as readily available or as free as they are in England. Especially the ones situated on the slip roads of service stations in the pissing rain in the middle of Western Europe.

More follows...

Wednesday, 2 September 2009

Day One: Get On The Road

Maybe drinking Zubrowka last night wasn't the best plan. Myself and Dunk woke up at about 9.00 this morning, blurry of head.

We still haven't vacated his apartment. There's still plenty of preparation work to be done. Dunk has found his passport. Which we assume will be of some use on this trip. I need to unload some stuff from my backpack. There's also been some techy action like charging mobile phones, cameras, downloading FTP clients (don't ask me), setting up a Twitter account that we hope people will follow. Plus our mate Russ has kindly donated a mini laptop with a broken screen - so apologies for any typos that may occur on the right hand of the page.

But before we go anywhere, it's time for a cup of tea and some toast. Not going anywhere on an empty stomach!