Back to Bristol then North.

I woke at about 6.30 am as usual on Saturday morning, and immediately had a shower (pinching A’s towel which was the only one I could see) and dressed as we needed to get away early back to Bristol. The plan was for Raji to drive us there, and go to Rani’s flat so we could start to sort it out a little before friends of hers came to do most of the clearing, and then their Uncle J and his wife, whom we had seen yesterday, had invited us to lunch with them before we set off for home, since we’d need food at some point. I wasn’t sure where Raji had spent the night, knowing he was supposed to be at an Uncle’s, though I suspected he may have stayed at A’s flat like us, but knew that his car was still at Aunt C’s in any event.

I crept out of the bedroom and up the stairs to the living room/kitchen area (as with many London flats, this was spread over 2 floors, plus a rooftop terrace. It is a lovely flat too.) As I had half expected, I found Raji asleep on the sofa so I tried to be as quiet as possible as I hunted in the kitchen for some coffee. I found tea, cocoa – and even a cafetiere, but no coffee 🙁 Disappointed, I went back downstairs to the bedroom and packed my bag – and then remembered that my “Be Prepared” kit had a couple of sachets of instant coffee 🙂 Back upstairs I went and rinsed a cup and made myself some coffee. (Yes, I am addicted to caffeine in the mornings, I admit it.) I read my book for a while but started to feel hungry. I hadn’t seen anything in the kitchen for breakfast but decided that the beauty of being in London was that shops wouldn’t be far and I could find somewhere for a proper coffee and some food. I didn’t think anywhere in this neighbourhood (Kensington) would be likely to be open before 8am so read until then. Billy stirred slightly so I told him of my plan and raided his trousers for some cash (I’d used up all mine.) I then tried to sneak out of the front door, but couldn’t get the key to turn, and A emerged from the other bedroom to help, and he suggested I took the key with me so that I could get back in the main entrance on my return.

I only had to go a few hundred yards before I found a Patisserie which was open and so I had a croissant and a coffee (for the ridiculous sum of £5.50 ) which did the job nicely. When I returned, it was 8.30 and I woke Billy saying he had better get in the shower so we could leave soon, so in he went (also using A’s towel.) Meanwhile, I went and made Raji a cup of tea (rinsing out the one cup I’d found, and already used) and then, when Billy as out of the shower, I recycled the cup again to make him a cuppa. Eventually Raji had a shower (guess what – he used A’s towel too!)and finally at about 9.30 we were ready to go and fetch Raji’s car to drive to Bristol. (I had worked out that Billy and I really needed to leave Bristol by 1pm at the latest so already we were cutting things fine.) Raji went and told A we were off, and I hoped he knew how much we’d appreciated him having us – and especially for giving up his bed, shower, towel and cup for us.

We took a cab back to Aunt C’s and of course, we then had to go in and see everyone – and have a coffee, and Raji wanted some breakfast. I was starting to fret about time as I am not good at driving later than about 8pm and was keen to be on the road as soon as possible. When we did finally leave we were caught in long delays getting out of London due to a burst water main and we didn’t arrive in Bristol until 1.30pm! We had tried cancelling our lunch arrangement but Billy’s Aunt was determined that we would need to eat and so we skipped going to Rani’s flat and went straight to their Uncle’s house. They had chosen the place they wanted to take us for lunch but as it was busy had booked a table for later – 2.45pm! I couldn’t believe the way the day was going and was very worried about driving so long later, especially as I was already tired from the last few days.

That aside, we did have a very pleasant lunch with Aunt V and Uncle J and both the specialist sausage restaurant and the company were excellent. I enjoyed getting to know them a little and they certainly wanted to catch up on our lives, and it was also the first time I’d known anyone chat about Billy’s and Raji’s dad so casually with them, and felt it was probably rather nice for them both. If I hadn’t been worried about the time, I’d have really enjoyed this interlude more. (Likewise the morning in London.)

It was 4.30pm before we set off for home, and even on a good run, it’s a good 5.5 hours drive so I as very concerned and was already feeling tired and heavy eyed by the time we got on the M4. We did have a lovely smooth run but just south of Birmingham, we made the decision to be safe rather than sorry, and we arranged to stop off at my mum’s overnight, in Chester. I felt bad because we were both keen to get home, but I knew how much I would struggle to stay awake if we attempted it in one go and Billy fully supported me.

Mum made us very welcome and it was nice to relax and be cuddled, and cared for by her. Billy just about finished his drink before going to bed as he was absolutely shattered. I stayed up chatting to mum and telling her about our trip, and we both enjoyed catching up properly. However, it wasn’t all that long before I had to give in and go to bed too, and Mum’s guest bed being a kingsize and very, very comfortable, I was out like a light and had a wonderful night’s sleep.

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