Thursday May 4th
The plan was to drive my rental car (a Citroen Cactus [sic]) to Heathrow, drop it off at Avis, get the Avis bus to the Bus Station and meet there with Ivan Golovin, who was flying over from California. Of course, I had packed far too much stuff (more about that later) and when I looked more closely at the EasyJet Terms and Conditions they were insistent that you could only take a single carry-on with you. (Of course, in the event I noticed many people boarding the plane with more than one bag with them!). Not wanting to stow my camera in the checked luggage I hit on the idea of packing the camera case into the rucksack but putting my camera in it’s sleeve in my ‘day pack’. [Note to self : don’t bother with camera case next time].
So I drove the prickly Cactus (actually a very sprightly vehicle) later on in the morning and dropped it off around 2pm (I later found that this was en retard and I was charged extra for the late return). The bus dropped me at Terminal 3 and I got rather lost trying to went my way underground to the Central Bus Station. Eventually I found it and a couple of hours later Ivan strolled over and introduced himself. We managed to get onto a bus for Gatwick that was leaving 30 mins earlier than the one I booked (Note to self — no real need to book ahead methinks) which arrived chez Gatwick North terminal at around 5pm. At this point the first cock-up occurred (not my fault, guv). Ivan did not had a room in the Premier Inn. Apparently he had used some online hotel booking agency and had had registered with an adjacent hotel also called “Premier Inn” — who knew there were two ? Having got the situation sorted we booked a table at the restaurant for 7:15pm (Note to self : do this sooner in order to eat earlier) and not seeing any others in the vicinity we nipped back to rooms for showers before dinner. Ivan & Jim (Moulton), who was sharing with Ivan, joined me for an adequate meal and subsequently we met with some others in the party who were in the bar. Greg Hammond who was sharing with me had send some panicked texts which were delayed and the din in the bar and all around that floor of the hotel was such that conversation was impossible. Fortunately when I returned to the room there he was!
I slept fitfully because of full stomach and nervousness about tomorrow.