Icy Ciders and old friends.

Trip Start May 31, 2011
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Trip End Aug 24, 2012


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Where I stayed
Heidz's House

Flag of United Kingdom  , England,
Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Koh Samui - Bangkok - Frankfurt - London - Birmingham. This was my route for the next 30 hours after getting a bit tipsy and madly packing and farewelling Anna, Jerry and their family & friends. I was a little jealous that they were all going to be hanging around the islands for a few more days, but as my sunburn started to show as I headed towards Europe, I began to get excited about seeing old friends and camp peeps. 
My salvation was showers at heathrow which alowed me to wash some of the sludge of transit off before catching a train up to Birmingham. Heidz, my mate from highschool had recently moved up there to live with her boyfriend, Philo, a native to the town and they spent the next few days showing me around. I collapsed, exhasted that night and awoke keen to check out town while Heidz and Philo were at work. A bit of shopping, tour around the museum (a bit of a poor cousin to its London equivilents) and then some people watching at the local coffee shop killed the time until I met up with my hosts and we hit the beer hall. Their was a food and wine fest in town and it must be mandatory for their to be a German beer hall at these things and so we settled in with a few ciders to start the night off. Then it was off to The Old Joint Stock Pub, a gorgeous old bank that had been turned into a theatre and pub. We devouered delicious gourmet pies and more ciders before Gibbo, Mark and Drew, a few of the guys I met at my summer camp last year, arrived and we moved on  to another pub. The boys had already been drinking too and were int he mood for shenanigans and so when we got to the Lord Clifton, Heidz and Philo introduced us to the Icey Cider, a kind of cider slushy that we all became adicted to. And so the night rolled on with more ciders, dancing and harassing of the other patrons before we were evenually kicked out at closing. Good news for the pub, no such good news for Gibbo’s housemates who were invaded by a drunken mob who sang and drank into the wee hours of the morning. 


Back in camp mode, I rallied early to go and meet another camp friend Dan, who had caught the train in from Cambridge where he lives. We hit the town again for lunch with Heidz and Philo and when they lost steam, Dan and I headed for The Old Joint where we were joined by Drew, and later Marc & Faye who I had road tripped with around the states with, and we reminiced about the glory days of Camp Loyaltown. Icey Ciders and dancing to Mowtown tunes ensued. 
I cursed the UK’s weather the next day when it was again dreary and raining, so much for summer. Philo took Heidz and I out to the countryside to a qaint little pub for lunch and we chatted about our plans for the coming year and I tried to convince them to come visit me in Canada. It was the quitisentail english experience, out in all the lush green, rain outside and cosy over stuffed chairs and fireplaces inside. A lovely chilled out afternoon together to end my visit.
It was off back to London the next day for a few nights to try to catch some of the camp people who couldn’t make Birmingham. I had planned to invade my famp friend nathan and crash on his floor, but I had timed my trip badly and he was studying like crazy for exams next week. Instead I checked into a hostel in Piccadilly Circus and wandered out into the city. I was blessed that the weather for the next two days was perfect, summery even and that evening I went into Liverpool street in search of Alice. Like those who had been up in Birmingham, Alice was one of my favorite camp people and full of all the energy that we shared together last summer. After meeting her father who was charming and as big a smart ass as myself, we wandered through spittlefields makets and down to someof her favorite vintage stores and bars near Brick Lane. After window shopping and coming across a ukelele jam session, we settled down for dinner and drinks and the hours dissapeared and we talked about last summer and everything we had done since. We lamented the fact that we could not be all together again and I was constantly stung with the feeling that there would never be another summer like that one. 
Taking advantage of the beautiful weather the next day, I wandered down Piccadilly to Green Park, which sits next to Buckingham Palace and spent most of the day in the sun reading. Heading down to Park lane, I joined the que of bargin hunters that were lined up outside the Hard Rock Cafe. Dan and Kayla, whom I had met at Anna’s wedding, were back in London and Dan had told us that for one day only, HRC was serving food at 1971 prices for their 40th birthday. They joined me in the cue and the hour wait was worth it when we got into the madness inside. All the staff were decked out as famous musicians and a freddy mercury lookalike (complete with skirt, wig and vaccumm from the ‘ I want to break free’ clip) was thrusting along to music on the bar. Kurt Cobain took our orders, Burgers for 50p and hot fudge sundaes for 40p and then offered up tickets to Rod Stewart at Hyde park for 1.50 (the only overpriced thing there!). Kayla and I then headed back to Green Park with a few ciders to catch the last of the sun and as I dissapeared below the trees I made my way back down Picadilly and called it a day. The end of my flying visits, I’m now headed to Vancouver to settle for a while and explre a bit more of Canada and the Americas. In a little over 2 weeks I have made a bunch of new friends, caught up and reminised with others and made up for my lack of drinking over the last months in Australia with heaps of crazy big nights. Now I am off to Camp, a new one just outside of Vancouver. A new camp and a new challenge as I take on the unit leader role. I anxiously admitted to the friends from camp last year that I was going off to different camp, I felt like i was admitting I was cheating on a partner and while some were surprised, they were all supportive. I could not possibly recreate the amazing year I had with them all last year and I so I did not want to try. It is time for a new experience and a new challenge and if the last few weeks are anything to go by, there will be plenty of new friends and hopefully plenty of new experiences with old friends. 
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