I got up this morning, helped my parents reconfigure their dining room table, then headed into London to get a train to Cardiff.
Now Paddington seems to have been fully renovated, it’s a lovely, spacious station. I could get through the ticket barriers by merely waving my phone at a bar code reader, and I was soon on a shiny green train with a comfortable seat and WiFi from London to Wales.
That gave me the chance to play a game of Blood Bowl (what brave new world is this?!) and arrived in Wales at 1:45, feeling only a little nauseous from all the Percy Pig sweets I had eaten.
I wasn’t going to Wales just to play an online game and eat some sweets; Stephen, one of my oldest friends from university, lives out there and I haven’t seen him since my London wedding party in 2011. He picked me up from the station and we went into the hills, to a climbing centre nestled in the valleys past Mountain Ash.
It was a big purpose-built shed, with walls at least five storeys high, and mostly top roping. I’m dreadful at knots and harnesses and belaying, so we did a bit of that, but I’m not really competent enough to belay anyone at the moment, so Stephen spent more time on the auto belay and I cambered around the bouldering area. We had about two hours there, after which, exhausted, hardly able to grip anything any more, we got back into Stephen’s car and returned to Cardiff, for a quick spot of dinner before I got another train back to London.
So that’s been a rather efficient use of the day. To fly all the way from Singapore and not see any friends would have been a real shame; I just wish I’d had more time to see more people. Still, onwards, ever onwards. Tomorrow morning I’ll be on a plane, and back with my ladies before I even know where I am. My arms and legs can recover while I’m on the plane…