Saturday 15th May, Redhill, England.

Crikey, are the days disappearing! Yesterday, I spent the entire day on the internet, clawing my way up to date with emails and contacting potential hosts in Spain and Portugal. Even though it may be a month or more before I hit Europe, I don't thin k I'll be wanting to spend my time in Morocco trying to set up places to stay.

I've finished the painting at Pam and John's. They're back from their holiday, and seem to be very happy with the job I did, so much so that they've invited me to stay with them until I leave England on Tuesday. As I write this I'm on the train back to Redhill from London- the advantage of this new computer with a two hours battery! I've spent the last couple of hours yarning with Peter Moore, the travel writer. We met on Tottenham Court Road, since I had to go there anyway to return my CD drive *again*. The pub we'd arranged to meet at wasn't open at ten o'clock in the morning, so we sat at a table outside a coffee shop, siping capuccinos and swapping stories of our worst travel experiences/ best travel experiences, and in general discussing what it's like to be a travel writer. I could learn a lot from Peter. He's promoting his fifth book at the moment, and is busy writing his sixth, titled 'Crikey', the story of his travels around his home country Australia, with his new English bride.

We touched on a lot of subjects, homesickness being one of them. I asked Peter if he gets homesick, which is a rhetorical question really, because I'm sure everyone does, to some extent. He said he goes through a cycle when he's travelling, where homesickness hits him in some form or another roughly every three months. I was speechless. That is exactly what I've discovered about myself, and anyone who knows me well wil have heard me say so. *I'm not just making this shit up, so I can be like Peter Moore* It's not that I sit around watching the calendar, thinking "Ooh, I'm almost up to the six month mark. Must be time to feel homesick again!" It's just the way it happens. Whenever I find myself feeling fed up with travel, and just generally down and homesick, you can bet it's more or less three months since I last felt that way. Eerie!

0553814516. A travel guide with a difference, this title introduces a world where you are more likely to find a cockroach on your pillow than a complimentary mint, where you take your life in your own hands every time you get on a bus, where everything goes wrong, and you still end up loving every minute of it. Instead of practical hints, it gives you impractical ones (how to avoid jet lag - avoid jets) and rather than tell you the best places to stay, it tells you the worst. 0553812386. From London to Australia without using an aeroplane. The book is peppered with cartoon-like characters that Moore meets on his journey; the Czechs with matching haircuts, the spitting Chinese, the drunken Australians. Juxtaposed with his acidic observations Moore writes movingly of his experiences in war-torn Bosnia and the visit to his grandfather's grave in Singapore. 0553813358. Around Central America with the girl next door (GND) Together, and sometimes apart, the two of them bus, boat and taxi around the principal sites of central America and the Caribbean, enjoying and enduring a six-month long low-budget mini-Odyssey that variously involves hurricanes, civil wars, and insurgencies, as well as the more predictable Mayan cities, Aztec ruins, drunk American students, and importuning mariachi bands. 0553814524. A week after breaking up with the girl next door - his girlfriend and travelling companion through Central America - Peter Moore heads off to Africa to lose himself for a while. In the grand tradition of 19th-century scoundrels, explorers and romantics, Africa strikes him as the ideal place to find solitude and anonymity in the face of a personal crisis. What follows is Peter's journey from one end of the Dark Continent to the other. Travelling the fabled Cape Town to Cairo route by any means of transport he can blag (or if he must, pay) his way onto, it's an epic trek that sees our intrepid Antipodean experience everything from the southernmost city in Africa to the Pyramids, vast game parks and thundering falls, cosmopolitan cities and tiny villages, as he journeys through the very heart of Africa. 0593052781. He was an Australian author approaching 40. She was a fading Italian beauty from the sixties. They spent one unforgettable summer together, a magical road trip from Milan to Rome. Only one thing stood in the way of perfect love. Sophia was a motor scooter.


I've read so much of his writing that this morning felt more like catching up with an old mate, than meeting a famous writer. I could have stayed and chatted for hours, but both of us felt a little uncomfortable after a passing pedestrian left a huge suitcase next to the lamp post, and kept walking! I notified the staff in the coffee shop, and Peter and I beat a hasty retreat down the street. I still hadn't got a photo with Peter, so I asked a guy if he'd take a photo of us in front of a couple of motor scooters. When the guy saw me holding Peter's latest book, he asked if one of us was the author.
"He is" I said, pointing to Peter, "he just rode around Italy on a forty year old Vespa!"
"I know" he replied, "I heard him on the radio this morning!"
Crikey, the guy really is famous!

Must be something about travelling a lot, that gives you a receding hairline!

So I've stopped at the internet cafe in Croydon, but can't stay and chat. Phyllida and Eleanor are having a barbecue this evening, and I want to try to visit Mai before then. Gotta go. Three more sleeps!

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