(40) England, Olympic Games and Alderney – July/August 2012.

We left Bourgogne Marine as planned in a taxi and arrived at the station just outside St Jean de Losne in plenty of time to print out our train tickets (our printer having decided to malfunction a few weeks before.)

Alas the ticket machine was not the correct one – blue instead of yellow and on enquiring at the ticket office, I was informed that the ticket machine I wanted was actually back in the Marie in the centre of town! As it was now 12.10 it was unlikely that I would make it there before the inevitable lunch break and our train left at 1pm.

We walked across the track and joined another couple in the waiting shelter. They had encountered the same problem. Deciding there was safety in numbers we sat in the same compartment and awaited the guard. He approached us first and I explained the problem to him. It took three stops to sort out and I persuaded him that we didn’t really want to buy another ticket to Paris at about 80 euros, even though he assured me that we would be able to get a refund there. Instead he settled for a fare to Dijon at 12 euros. We were almost there by the time he had sorted out the other couple.

At Dijon Station I queued for half an hour to get our refund and the only bonus was that the rest of our tickets were printed out which saved us further hassle. We had a short walk to a bar and enjoyed a couple of beers.

Our journey proceeded without incident, although I thought I had lost Peter at Paris Bercy when I took the lift and he the stairs. Three metro trains later I spied him waiting on the opposite platform and we were soon on our way again.

In England were relieved to see Laura and Jon as we walked out of Turnpike Lane Underground Station and enjoyed catching up with them briefly when we stopped overnight in their new flat. The District Line to Hatton Cross the following morning where Adam met us and a night with Dad in Shepperton concluded our journey.

The next few days were very busy with a quick trip to the flat in Winchester to see the dentist (Peter had a broken tooth this time!) We also had to get the Yaris and the motor cycle back on the road as we intended taking them both back to France. Peter also had to sort out his accreditation for the driving job at the Olympic Games and collect the information and car he required for the month.

I saw very little of him while we were in England as he was out early in the morning and often back late at night. His job involved driving a French Canadian camera crew around the various venues and his pass permitted entry into all areas, giving him a ring-side seat at many of the events.

Beach Volleyball, Horseguards. Tough job…

Wimbledon semi finals….just as well they’re paying me !

I was fortunate to be given a ticket by my friend Sara for the Men’s Hockey Preliminaries one evening. I went up in the afternoon and Peter was able to meet me for a few hours. The weather was fine and we enjoyed exploring the magnificent Olympic Park together.


Nicci’s ringside seat thanks to Sara for the ticket.

Staying in Surrey also meant I was able to watch the Men’s and Women’s Road Cycling Race, positioning myself on the route near Walton Bridge. The crowds and atmosphere were amazing and almost as amazing was the sight of Walton Bridge with no traffic, just hoards of people walking over it after the cyclists had gone through.

I was pleased to meet up with several friends while there and staying with my Dad is always a pleasure.

There were several other highlights to the trip. The ‘PedibusTour’ around the Tower Bridge area with friends and colleagues from Notre Dame Prep School provided many laughs especially when we held up the traffic as we pedalled furiously over Tower Bridge and our driver ran a red light!

My evening of racing at Sandown Park courtesy of Elaine, followed by an Alfie Boe concert, was great fun, although we couldn’t work out why we were still £5 each down after winning 4 out of the six races? The view from our box was fabulous as the sun set over West London and the lights came on.

Dad and I spent a week up with my brother Andrew and his wife Kathryn in their lovely home in Cononley near Skipton. We drove into the nearby Dales and found the newly painted gold post box in Hebden which celebrated one of the rower’s gold medals. We also managed a round of golf, although after four years of not playing, the less said about my score the better! One afternoon Dad and I drove to the pretty town of Haworth ( of Bronte fame) and met my friend Karen and her mum for afternoon tea.

Back in the south, Peter finished his driving job and we had a lovely evening in London with Laura, including a Mexican meal and walk through Soho and the Southbank Centre where we experienced the ‘singing lift ‘ and ‘book maze.’

The ‘Singing Lift’…up and down we went..several times !

Laura in the book maze.

Our final week was spent in Alderney at Terry’s (Peter’s Mum). I had not been there for four years and was keen to visit again. We had a great time; playing golf – and improving enough over three rounds to decide not to sell the golf clubs and seeing friends and family. Peter also enjoyed a few games of bowls with his brother Paul.


Stunning views from around the golf course..

While we were there we were treated to a night of Sixties Music – ‘Rock on the Rock’, being entertained by the Swinging Blue Jeans and various members of the Hollies, Kinks, Mersey Beats and Tremeloes. All of them were advancing in years but still able to get everyone bopping.

Old they may be…

But they could still ‘Rock the Rock’

On our return to England we stayed a night in Winchester before meeting my sister Kate and her family for lunch at a pub by the River Itchen. They were returning to Devon after spending a few days at Dad’s.

The following day we shopped, packed up the car and motorcycle and booked a ferry in readiness for our departure the next morning.

It had been an action-packed and extremely enjoyable trip.

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