In hindsight, I should have taken a taxi to the airport as the effort of dragging the bike and the duffle to the 747 bus via the Metro left me drenched in sweat. When I got into the airport, the first thing I did was change into a clean T-shirt.
Checking my luggage into British Airways went very smoothly. Likewise, the flight went well, partly because I flew premium economy which meant lots of lovely legroom.
There was quite a wait to get through Customs. While waiting, I saw a sign which said there was some sort of accelerated access program for select Commonwealth countries (e.g. Canada, New Zealand). However, I would have had to apply before leaving.
Getting to Didcot from Heathrow involved two changes of train. The second of which involved going up and down stairs at Harlington and Hayes, elevators being a work in progress. I was very grateful to a fellow passenger who spontaneously offered to carry my duffle across.
I phoned Elly to let her know I was on the train to Didcot. I then turned on "The slow train" by Flanders and Swann and relaxed.
Elly is taking a couple of weeks off and is therefore able to be a wonderful host not only to me but Dan, her daughter Caddy's German boyfriend, who due to an unfortunate turn of events needed shelter on very short notice. Colin, Elly's husband, has been very welcoming in his somewhat silly South Wales bloke-ish way. Needless to say, Bella and Bridie are happy to have another body to Mooch from.
Yesterday, Elly drove me to see Izzy and John in Bromyard. They now live in a fairly nice home. John is very reduced in his faculties though his spirit still shines through. Izzy is reduced in mobility though seemed very peppy. Elly, Izzy and I had lunch in a pub dating from roughly the 17th century. Afterwards, Elly drove me back to Didcot via many smaller towns and villages where she lived as a child. While doing so, she gave her version of her parents histories. The most significant point being that Izzy has difficulty maintaining the cheery facade she had shown us for long.
When we got back, I assembled Leonardo and took a test run down to the station to pick up pre-ordered tickets. Afterwards, I sorted the twenty-odd stubs into baggies for each trip!
Today, I did laundry and chatted with Elly and others. I have just sorted and packed so I am about to leap into action any second now and catch the train to London.