Torquay was a well needed boost before my big bad trip, and as much as I hated leaving a certain Cosgrave behind, I was well chuffed at hitting the last leg of my England tour.
I nearly missed my connection; I fell asleep on the Westbury-Southampton train and woke up in Southampton station. I shot up with my bags and was blocked by a load of people on the train and luckily when I asked them bluntly to move (I was still asleep) the bloke by the door hit the button straight away and I made it to the harbour.
The ferry was £25 return. I got some cracking photos and was greeted by my mate Luke and his girlfriend, then he drove me back to his mum and dad’s house.
They recognised me straight away. I think it’s because I have long hair at the moment and when I met them nine years ago when I was living in Italy I had long hair as well so they welcomed me with a roast dinner and three whole desserts. They must have known I was going to write about them…
Then me, Luke, his girlfriend and his brother Adam went out for a couple of drinks swapping stories. We went to some random place that looked like it should have been busy but it wasn’t, so we pretty much had the place to ourselves.
I was woken up the next morning by Luke and Adam’s parents (Ju and Abu) leaving a cup of tea and toast with jam outside my door. I’m not going to lie I did contemplate abandoning my Europe trip, finding a job in the Isle of Wight and paying them rent when that happened. Then 4 of us (me, Luke, Adam and girlfriend of Luke) went sightseeing around the island.
First stop: Needles. Mainly a few beautiful cliffs with a bit of a touristy style attraction to it. We also went to watch people make glass vases (as you do…) before heading back to the house via a few villages taking the scenic route.
Lunch: Spag bol: I don’t think any more needs to be said about that…
Fun fact (Probably not for you but I’m going to tell you anyway because I think it’s cool to act like a dictator…): Abu used to be a ref; a quite high up ref in fact. He got as high as being the fourth official for Aston Villa vs Man United when Mark Bosnich played for Villa. So that afternoon me and Adam went to watch Abu ref a local game, as he is still active and respected in the community.
The match was OK in the first half, the reffing was spot on and as someone who has been interested in getting into refereeing one day I was pleased that I not only had a chance to watch someone who reached the top of his craft do what he did best, but have a similar outlook as to how to run the game.
The second half didn’t go so well; Me and Adam missed the first 15 minutes of the second half because we massively misjudged how far it would be to get a drink from the nearest co-op, but by then the game was out of control. two players had already been sent off and a few bookings had been handed out as well. Towards the end he’d given another second yellow to someone for dissent (Yep, it was that bad) and the abuse he received made me think twice about becoming a referee. Even Abu said as we were going home that the abuse is so much worse than it used to be.
That evening me and Adam went out to the town to watch a singer who looked like Barry from Eastenders. We walked out after 5 minutes to see what else was going on. More drinks and funny reffing stories followed at Wetherspoons when we bumped into Adam’s dad. Then we had a world class burger on the way home.
And I hit the 50,000 word mark on my book at this time. BEST IN THE WORLD!!!
Then it was time for me to leave the island. I’ve had some amazing luck in terms of how people have treated me so far on the trip and the bar had been set high when I went to the Isle of Wight, however there was no way on earth I could fault the hospitality towards me. If I had to descrbe them in three words it would be “What lovely people…” With a heavy heart I said goodbye knowing full well nothing I could have said would have been sufficient enough to express how grateful I was, then I hopped back on the ferry to Portsmouth.
BONUS BLOG BIT KIND OF: GREAT SOUTH RUN
I had accidentally timed my flight to Gatwick perfectly, because I got a chance to witness the great south run as I waited for my train to Gatwick from Portsmouth harbour. It was inspiring; there were blind runners, disabled runners and runners over the age of 75 competing, with a high majority of them running for charity. I wonder if a marathon of some sort will be on my bucket list in the future. It might be, but I’m not considering in right now.
And that’s England done I’m afraid! Next stop: Nice, France and possibly a bit of Italy thrown in if we don’t do a lot in France.
Oh yeah, me and my mate Matt (Triple M) will be attempting to get from Nice to Athens by land in 2 weeks. Wish us luck!