Blogging the OS tours!

22nd May
Here I am, in West Hollywood! A bit of luxury after the long endurance of the flight. I had to transit in Fiji, and got a full body search for my troubles. On the Fiji-LA leg, I discovered I was in a seat next to a woman who started coughing – ‘I’m going to be like this the whole way,’ she warned me, and she was right. Every 10 seconds, cough, cough, snort, splutter, cough, cough. In the end I escaped and found probably the only empty seat on the plane – except it wasn’t. I was between an old Fijian guy and a young guy who must’ve been his nephew or something – and a steward told me later, the old guy was actually one of the wealthiest businesmen in Fiji – business class had been full, so he’d booked 3 economy seats side by side. So I unintentionally took the middle one.
But he was real nice about it, no problem And the special service he got from all the stewards and stewardesses sort of came my way too.
Tonight, I plan on having a long long LONG sleep.
21st May
Here it is, the last post from Australia. TRAA-RAAAH!
All going well – except the weekend trains to the airport, normally very handy from where I live, are totally stuffed up with trackwork, so not handy at all. Aileen will drive me in instead.
Aileen’s birthday falls round about the time when I’m travelling (Icelandic volcanoes willing) from New York to London, so we’ll be do birthday dinner out and birthday presents tonight. I’m trusting that nothing desperately last-minute-y comes up, because there won’t be any time much tomorrow morning.
Here’s a photo of my suitcase. Looks so small and innocent, doesn’t it? But it weighs a ton – exactly 23 kilos now.
Wish me luck! This should be fun! Next post will be from the US of A.

Just discovered what I was doing wrong before – setting up new pages when I should’ve been adding posts. So I’ve put in the last 2 posts below …

20th May

Today, the preliminary packing. Collection of items to pack, ironing clothes, folding clothes, putting everything into the suitcase and weighing. Why are they so mean with baggage allowances? My main suitcase came in just under 23 kilos, my carry-on case weighted exactly 7. It’s those wheels – half the weight is the weight of frame and wheels.

OK, so I can fly to the States with that, then maybe lose a kilo from the carry-on luggage for the flight from New York to London (allowance 6 kilos). But coming back with Malaysia Airlines – they only allow 20 kilos of checked luggage and 5 (five!) kilos of carry-on. I’m going to have to shed things along the way – shed and definitely not accumulate. Where does the weight come from?

Hmm … I remember asking that same question apropos of something else. But I reckon I’m shedding personal kilos with all this packing business. Can’t wait to just get over there and start touring.

Here’s a mystery – why do trains in the UK alternative between cheap and dear prices? First a cheap one, then a dear one, then a cheap one, then a dear one … and so on all through the day. What’s the explanation?

Time to watch the telly, veg out and unstress for a while …

19th May

Today was the day of collecting stuff to pack and discovering what I haven’t got. Not much, it turns out. I’ve sorted out my pharmacology, my socks, my underwear … okay, that’s probably all you need/want to know. I’ve arranged to meet up with Ian Miller in Brighton at the end of the UK tour – he did the cover for the British version of WORLDSHAKER, and he’s absolutely my favourite SF/fantasy illustrator of all time. I’m expecting an evening of organic cider – if it lives up to his claims, my health will be perfect for the next 20 years.

Meanwhile, Aileen and I have been booking hotels for that last part of the trip after the tours are over. Here’s Aileen getting ready for the glamorous life –

Turns out that the offices of my French publisher in Paris are in the Latin Quarter v close to a flea-bitten hotel where I used to live when I sold newspapers (Herald Tribunes) to American tourists in Paris. The area must’ve changed – from bohemian to upmarket and ultra-fashionable – but maybe I can find the soup kitchen where I used to eat (well, a charitable institution serving cheap meals to the down and out!), the bars where we used to drink and argue, the bookshop where we used to lounge around reading entire books.

Ah, strange times, exotic memories. Right now, present reality is calling me back to sewing trouser cuffs that have come unstitched. (One of the things about glamorous wives is you have to do your own sewing …)

18th May

I’m now starting this blog up seriously – for my 2 weeks WORLDSHAKER tour in the US, then another 2 weeks tour in the UK. Then a bit of holidaying, visiting my French publisher, etc. I’ll try to write something in this blog every day, even if it’s just an exhausted babble …

I fly off in just 4 days time! Agggh! So much preparing and packing still to do. Why do I always leave things till the last moment? Maybe it’s what I do in my novels – must remember that real life doesn’t need to be so stressful!

I just rang up Icelandair – guess who booked their flight from New York to London going by way of Iceland? But they said, not to worry, there’s far less problem over Iceland than there is over the rest of Europe. Smart people, Icelanders – they know the way the wind blows!

Now i think I’ll just go off and have another panic attack followed by a packing attack.

Cheers

Richard

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