Sunday 28th December. Portsmouth, England.

Thanks for your concern. Some readers have been worried that my dilemma may have been related to Mum's health. I'm happy to say that I spoke to her on Boxing Day and she's fine. My problems have been of a very personal nature; maybe an early mid-life crisis, eh? I'm feeling much better today after a great night's sleep. Ann's three year old has been transplanted into Ann's room, so I get the little girlie bed- all of two and a half feet wide. I slept for over eight hours last night, which is extraordinary. Two nights ago, I lay awake as one o'clock, two o'clock, three o'clock, four o'clock and five o'clock passed. Is it any wonder I've been finding it hard to focus? I reckon I'll sleep well tonight too- it's after midnight and Ann and I have just returned from a night tour of Portsmouth, taking in a Pizza Hut and five pubs.

It was great to talk on the phone to my friend Gail today for an hour and a half. Until then, I'd been feeling quite isolated here. Christmas isn't an easy time of year to be away from your family and friends. Sheesh... I must be getting old, to say something like that! Gail's a very insightful woman, and helped me with a shoulder to lean on and some wise advice. After a severe scolding from her, I've started scrolling through my address book, checking the people in England who've invited me to come and stay with them. Tomorrow, I'll buy a map and plot my next stage of travels. There's a cold snap on the way, with possible snow even here in the south, so hopefully motorists will feel sorry for a shivering hitchhiker!


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