The plane landed in Heathrow…. I was back in Blighty!….. and it was the 20th March, 2006….. the day before the Vernal Equinox…. I’d only gone and made it!!!! Lovely jubbly!!!:-) But, not quite…. I still had to “navigate” my way to Stonehenge….. and there weren’t any direct train or bus links from there to Heathrow!!!! Time was of the essence too because West Ham happened to be playing Man City in the quarter finals of the FA Cup that evening and I wanted to have sorted out some “digs” in Amesbury and to have found a pub that I could be sitting cosily in to watch it!!!!! 🙂 Come on Irons!!!!….. I had a good feeling this year!!!!! 🙂
I collected my backpack and went through customs. It felt so good to be back in England! I know England isn’t perfect, but I love it all the same!!!! 🙂 And just hearing all the familiar accents made me feel so much back at home!!!! I walked out to the “pick-up” areas and sized up the chances of hitching from the airport (I’d actually written a “hitch-hiking destination banner” while I was on the plane), but it wasn’t looking good… with too many people running here there and everywhere…. and it was clear that the last thing that anyone would be thinking about was picking up a hitch-hiker…. even if they were going the same way!!! 🙂
So I went and checked at “information” about possible public transport links to Amesbury, but I was right in my assumption! I had fuck all money and I had to think fast. I did so and figured that the only chance I had would be to get to the nearest motorway service station and hitch from there…. and the only way to do that would be to get a taxi….. Taxi!!!! 🙂 So I bowled over to the taxi rank and hailed the first cab I saw…. which was this Indian fella. He winds down the window and I explain my predicament and I asked him how much it would cost to get to Fleet services on the M3? He milled it over and then came up with the figure of £75.
To be honest, that didn’t seem too bad, and I weren’t in any position to barter anyway….. so I accepted!!! The only thing was, as I explained, was that I didn’t have any cash on me and would have to draw the money out from a cash machine, at the service station, when we got there. He hesitated at that moment, but then said “Ok…. you have honest face…. we go to Fleet, I come with you to cash machine, you leave bag in car, and you get bag back when you give me money, Ok?”…… “Mate, that sounds all good!!! Sorted!!!” I replied…. you see, I told you how good it felt to be back amongst all those familiar accents!!!! 🙂
I bunged my backpack into the cabs boot and went to sit in the passenger seat…. and me and the chosen Cabbie commenced our road trip together!!!! 🙂 It was quite a clear run and we appeared to get to Fleet Services in no time, although we had been talking quite a bit enroute, with me telling him about my travels and where I was heading, and also mentioning that if I could get to the A303 it should be plain sailing to Amesbury from there. We parked up, headed into the service area and found a cash machine. In all honesty, I have to admit, I was a little bit apprehensive at this point because my bank account was empty and although I knew I could draw out up to 150 notes on my credit card…. I hadn’t done it before…. and I hoped that everything was going to be gravy!!!! 🙂 So I pressed the buttons on the machine…… and…… didleedo, didleedo, boo…. £150’s worth of the finest English promissory notes magically appeared!!!! 🙂 Thank God!!!! 🙂 The chosen Cabbie immediately put his hand out and I went “Fuck off….. I want me bag back first!!!” and he laughed!!! 🙂 And as we’re walking back to the cab he suddenly asked “So where you really want to go?” and I replied “Well, Popham, on the A303 would have been ideal…. but I aint got the money to go that far.” And he said “No problem, I take you!”….. “What? Are you sure mate?” I said in surprise “You fucking diamond!!!!” I continued and he replied “No problem!” 🙂
So I paid him the notes in the car and we continued on our “road trip” all the way to the 303 and Popham Services!!!! 🙂 At which point he got out, took my bag out of the boot and, while giving it back to me, said “Good luck my friend!” and I simply replied “Cheers geezer…. Thank you!!!” 🙂 The chosen Cabbie then drove off into the distance and I was left to consider the next part of my plan! I was about to take my sign out when I saw a van driver filling up with fuel…. fuck it…. I’ll just chance him first….. I thought…. and I walked over to the bloke…. and asked if he could give me a lift to Amesbury.
He turned out to be a Londoner, so it was all good, and I had my lift the rest of the way….. straight away!!!! 🙂 I grabbed a tea, and a bit of grub, from the petrol station shop and I was off again, on the home straight…. to Stonehenge!!!! 🙂 It was nice chatting with the fella…. I caught up on all the football gossip and he was amazed to hear some of my travel stories too…. and then, I think as a result, he didn’t just drop me at the junction with Amesbury, but took me all the way and dropped me in the town centre itself!!!! “Nice touch!!!” I thought and thanked him profusely once again!!!! 🙂 He headed off, pleased that he could help, and I stood there….. in Amesbury…. feeling like Hannibal from the A-team…. as I loved it when a plan came together!!!! 🙂