We were to meet up at Heathrow’s Terminal 4…

at 1:20 pm on Tuesday June 20, 2006. No big deal for Keith, just a short hop from Ottawa to London, but for us it meant leaving home 2 days earlier – and overnighting in both Sydney and Hong Kong.

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It might have been an omen, but he (who was pushing the bike bag) took some convincing that the designators on the nose wheel actually stood for ‘Juliet Bravo!’  We arrived in Hong Kong an hour late at 1830 – Airport Express to Central, quick walk to Admiralty, taxi to Peak Tram, Peak Tram to Peak (where else?) quick dinner and two Tsing Taos, slow walk around Luggard Road (yes, the view impressed him – he let me take photos!) Click on the thumbnails below and scroll through.

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Peak Tram down again, quick march through Mid-Levels to the Foreign Correspondents Club, down into Lan Kwai Fong (which impressed him more than the FCC) down past the Mandarin Hotel (closed for renovations until August) to Exchange Square, back to Airport – by midnight! Now, tell me, if he’s so bloody fit, how come he then passed out on a couch – and left me to guard the luggage?

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A bleary eyed take off – over more views of the Fragrant Harbour…

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More sleep! Several movies, and then a study of the form for Le Tour de France… nothing else for me to do but study the camera manual, and have the odd bloody mary – or six!

David was in charge of the arrival pictures, and he got a great one of the bloke with the bicycle bag, and some random kid – but missed me completely!

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Together again (all three of us) for the first time in 40 years, and some of us still has all our hair. The other two are looking pretty good – for their age.

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Keith stowed the bike bag and we prepared for the drive to Ickham…

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Into David’s brand new Saab Estate, out onto the M25, round the ring road and down the A2, past Canterbury, 160km and then a hard turn left. 11km through the Kent lanes, to Ickham and the Coach House. Patricia welcomed us with champagne… we were home!

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Some Kent Lanes…

I’ve always loved Kent. In the 60s, David used to bring me down for weekends, when he visited his parents in Hearn Bay. We would bunk down in the Whitstable Yacht Club and fight the tides for oysters off the rocks, and be in time for fresh bread, when the bakery opened. I also discovered Kentish Ale. He took this young pilot to Biggin Hill, and ever since then I picture the Battle of Britain dog-fights four miles above the Kent countryside. It’s quieter now, and on this crisp June morning, jet lag woke me early and I went for a long leisurely walk… Click on any thumbnail below and scroll through.

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Past The Duke William – where I was at 2:00pm on that fatefull afternoon on September 11, 2001. 9:00am in New York, the landlady took the phonecall from her son who told her what he was seeing from his office window, 500 metres from the World Trade Centre… I would have gone in for a nostalgic drink – but it was only 5:00am.

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On towards Wickhambreaux… passed by the sound of running feet – familiar feet. When I returned, proudly announcing that I had walked to Wickhambreaux, JB had run all the way to Canterbury and back – smart arse! “There’s an interesting big church there” he said, “can we go see it?” Ah… Canterbury Cathedral perhaps…?

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So – we went to Canterbury Cathedral. A first for me too, I’ve been to Canterbury several times, but never the ‘big church.’ A memorable afternoon and a real trip through English history. But the sermon from the Archbishop Keith lacked a certain amount of credibility…

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Back to the Rose in Wickhambreaux for a pub lunch with Patricia – who had spent the entire day preparing a dinner with family and friends – a farewell for our trip to France.

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Departure day. An early start, made even earlier by the amount of food and wine and wine, and wine, consumed the night before. Seemed to have affected Keith’s back too, he had a lot of trouble with that little bag. David is supervising. We left for Dover…

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More on The Second Trip – 2006… 

1. Together Again
2. Ickham to Le Mans
3. Agen, Canal du Midi, la Baise
4. Heading North, Le Tour
5. Hannover and Holland
6. Final Week/s in Paris?
7. A Few Panoramas

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