Um… where does one start on a travel journal without creating a record so drab and dull?
Wednesday 23 April
After a trip to the Hataitai laundromat to dry three loads (or was it four?) of washing, I just had time to pack the dry clothes into a bag, shave, shower, surf the net one last time before mummy dearest gave me a ride to the airport. We listened to delirious together. Nice.
Flight to Auckland had me sitting between (I know, it’s really not fair – I should have an aisle seat) a supervisor at the Makara Wind Farm and an engineer with the Air Force. Nice.
Met up with John Marquet (eventually) in Auckland and we took the bus to the international terminal. Think it’s only the second time I’ve ever taken that bus. What’s wrong with walking?
The flight to LA was bearable. Five episodes of Top Gear (last season) were good for a laugh. The lamb was very tender; the omlette was adequate. LA meant queues. We queued to get off the plane. We queued to get through immigration. We waited for our bags. I decided to skip the queue to check in my bag again. I queued in the check in line. I queued in the bag security line. I queued in the security line (shoes in hand). Good one.
The next flight was not something I was eagerly anticipating. Another mammoth flight once you’ve already had enough is not much fun. Didn’t get first choice on the main (who would have thought that chicken would be more popular than pasta?). Watched all three episodes of Lord of the Rings. Slept occasionally.
Thursday 24 April
Goodness, one day of records and this is already turning into quite a monologue. If you’re reading this in Google Reader remember you can always hit “j” and save yourself the torture…
Bruce Collins met us at Heathrow Terminal Three. He had both hands in the air. Good charismatic. Drove to Oxford where we had lunch. Ploughmans. Nice. Walked around for a bit (all new to John) before leaving for Cheltenham.
Cheltenham is a lovely place – apparently an old victorian bath town. Lots of gorgeous golden cotswald stone in the buildings. Bruce took us to the Trinity Cheltenham church where he left us in the capable hands of Mark Bailey. Our bags moved from the Mercedes to the Range Rover. Sly grins. Mark and Karen were fantastic hosts. I felt at home immediately and very welcome.
Not to be people who easily submit to the forces of weakness or jet lag we went to the Alpha Jazz Evening at Trinity Church. Good jazz, interesting company, a incensed venue but at 9.30 I faded. Bed.
Friday 25 April
The hands reach for the remote control. Let’s fast forward through this bit.
Meetings at the wonderful open plan Trinity Church offices about The Noise projects, a visit to the Kings Table lunch, conversations on worship, outreach, mission, coffee and other vast topics. We joined a small group of church men for their weekly beer and laughed about three wheeled cars. Dinner with the Baileys.
Saturday 26 April
If Chris goes this fast isn’t he going to forget some key details here?
Men’s Breakfast at Trinity. How can you go wrong with a seven minute video of the construction of the A380? Then coffee with Tim (pastoral guy) then back to the church to be taken out to lunch. After bacon and sausages for breakfast the Caesar Salad was a good choice.
Dinner that night was a great night joining four couples for some tasty curry and good laughs. Makes one feel at home.
Sunday 27 April
Church at 9.15 (which we stayed for maybe 20 minutes of), coffee with a true worship guru (and also the genius of the church responsible for media, events, production, publications etc) and then back in time for the 11am service. The church is working through a series on Judges. Got to love a sermon that can seriously talk about Ehud. The evening service pushed the boundary even further by talking seriously about Jael. Brilliant.
Monday 28 April
Up at the crack of dawn so as to be packed, farewell Cheltenham and be on the road by 6am. Harrogate beckoned. Good progress as we joined the crazy morning drivers. Mark’s iPod played Rod Stewart, Sting, Shenia Twain, Elvis and Eric Claption. I asked if there was a trend forming. We stopped for breakfast at a roadside stop. Breakfast panini and coffee.
To be continued (it really is bedtime)… what is that pressure, that uneasyness, that driving force? Check in next time.