Winter appeared to end in March. February had ended with a snow storm, and as March started temperatures rose and the next system brought rain, which washed all the signs of winter away. The melt was a bit sad, but did make for some awesome icicles, I found this one hanging from a wire just outside the back door.
The main event for March was a trip home! Chris and Anneka, friends from my old cadet squadron were finally tying the knot, a fine excuse to make a short trip back (Weddings are the only excuse to get me home!). It was also an opportunity to bring some things back. Postage to the UK can be pretty slow and/or expensive, so to save money I spent the days before the trip buying about 6 months’ worth of birthday presents in advance! It was also an opportunity to skim off any unnecessary weight from my stuff in general. When you have to carry everything, every time you move, you soon notice if you have too much stuff, you have to be ruthless. Excess T shirts, my old GoPro and cables, my old camera (its on its last legs), and a host of other little bits were crammed into my bag along with the presents, some whisky, and beer. It was a heavy bag, and when I enquired out of interest about the upper weight limit on check in, I was told I was just 1.8kgs under it!!
Before the wedding I had a busy few days of trying to see as many of my home friends as possible. My first stop would be Weymouth, to see my friends Joe and Soph, who came out to visit me last year. It was really nice to get down and see them again, in their new place down by the seaside (although they’d been living there over a year!) It was also really good timing, as my friends Craig and Soph also came down with their partners, which gave us quite a big group! We had a night in and take away, on the Friday night, and then spent Saturday wandering around Portland, one of my old climbing hangouts back in my university days. I was keen to get some climbing in, but alas it still wasn’t quite warm enough for that. Whilst we were walking around I spotted a reminder of my old life, the cable laying ship CS Sovereign. I was working with data from Sovereign when I first got the idea for this trip and it was a potent reminder that I would one day return to the UK and have to think about getting back into GIS. Would I work with Sovereign again? Who knows.
Saturday night was occupied with a meal and then large amounts of drinking and dancing in a couple of the local clubs, in classic Stroudy style.
I left Weymouth on Sunday evening with a slight hangover, but it was great to have all of us together again. It had been 6 months since I’d seen them and I can’t remember the last time we were all together. It’s great to have stayed in touch with them over all this time away.
After Weymouth I had a week at home to try and see as many of my home friends as possible and sort out any bits of personal admin for the trip and the wedding. Each of my evenings was filled with some kind of activity; hanging out with my sister, or my cadet friends, going for a bike ride with me mum, or tidying up my computer and things I’d brought back.
Friday seemed to roll around very quickly, and after a walk on the common with my family I jumped on a train down to London town. It was my friend Craig’s birthday, so perfect excuse to get down there and see all my mates! There’s something that I can’t figure out about London that always makes it exciting to be there. Stepping off the train I had my senses were bombarded, it felt electric. Moving around London is never done slowly, everyone has somewhere to go, and they always need to get there fast. With my pack on my back, and some electro on my headphones, I strode through the hustle and bustle, keen to get the evening started. I spent the weekend with Ross, an old friend from university, both of us have a taste for whisky, and after a fairly quiet night for Craig’s birthday, we decided to try 16 different ones! Fortunately we spread these over about 8 hours, so I avoided having a hangover the next day on my way back to Stroud.
After aaaalll that it was finally time for the wedding! Everyone was dressed up in their glad best rags, most of all Anneka, who’s fabulous wedding dress I only managed to step on once the whole day! It was a lovely day, I had chance to catch up with more mates, and as night fell the best man distributed the mandatory glow sticks, which had the party descending into the finest drunken dancing I’d seen in a long time!
I spent my last day at home mostly nursing a hangover, but I felt like I’d accomplished a lot on my trip back. I’d seen nearly everyone I wanted to see, and got plenty of things sorted for the rest of my trip and my eventual return to the UK for good. As I write this I’m cruising back over the pond, with another Toronto summer and a winter (hopefully) in Revelstoke ahead of me. There is much in Canada still left to do!