Friday, 5 January 2007


One week to go. Still finding bits of party popper stuck between the floor boards from our New Year Party. Two very small-seeming backpacks are laid out, ready to be stuffed with everything we may need for the next five months. A whole load of other stuff has been taken down to the charity shop at Pauline’s hospice. But that still doesn’t leave much wardrobe space for Andy to put his clothes in. Maybe we’ll take the wardrobes with us and leave him the backpacks. I can’t help thinking of my grandmother going on her annual trip to Argentina with 52 pieces of luggage including six hatboxes.

There’s a move afoot to illustrate this first posting with a picture of me in my new head-to-toe thermals, running up and down our Hackney stairs in my backpack as I practise for the Inca Trail. I appreciate that I do look rather striking – a white-haired black panther with a bulging money pouch – but I’m afraid this particular website is aimed at broadening the mind and staying in touch rather than cheap titillation.

One’s kit does seem to have changed a bit since my first gap-year 34 years ago. Instead of goretex fleeces and breathable membrane fabric base layers, I set off for India then with a velvet hat and threadbare hippy coat of many colours … and the poles on my rucksack kept falling to bits. Am not even being allowed to take my guitar this time, but thank goodness for ipods – and I do hope to finally learn the harmonica. I’ll also be studying Italian and Alison Greek, with the help of one slim book and a CD. Neither language is spoken in any of the fourteen or so countries we’re going to…but I expect we’ll get by with a little help from our friends.

Sleeping arrangements for when we’re not staying with friends may still need a bit of sorting out. Alison’s looking forward to five-star hotels with pools and fluffy bathrobes. But I remain confident that she’ll soon take to those simple but friendly rooftop dorms I remember, with shared chillums before bed and shared toilets if you’re lucky….


Janith said...

Hello Tim and Alison.

It sounds as if you've got a fantastic trip ahead. Good luck! Hope you guys have a fantastic time. I look forward to following your progress over the next few months. Happy Travels !


ruwani said...

Who says Titillation, cheap or otherwise, doesn't broaden the mind? Post the picture, don't forget the space shoes!
Pre-departure photo shows Alison very clearly holding cig, please send post departure photo-no more fags, forevermore!

Bon voyage.

Lizzo said...

September....aaagh. Can we hold out that long? Harlesden is wondering whether Chab is going with you. If not, does Andy really know how to look after him or shall we send him weekly red cross parcels with marmalade sandwiches?

kashmirkikali said...

You're natural bloggers!! Keep it coming. I want to see you in your thermals!!

alx said...

Yo, Tim and Alison.
How importamt I feel. Do keep me posted.

alx said...
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Carmela Wong said...
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Inedible Halk said...

Dear Phileas and Passepartout

Here’s your theme tune

Happy travels! Can’t wait to see you in Lima!

Thanks for the loan of the Alan Watkins book, very enjoyable, I will send back to Andy by post.

See you in April

Pots of love

Hal, Lorna and Tina xxxx

Bernard said...

hi tim and alison... love alison's compact microphone. we were in tunisia, hence the hogmany absence.. listen, you can't do chile in two days!!!.. santiago is not much of a city, but you must go to the atacama desert up north.. and why not go and see the penguins down in punto arenas in patagonia??? by the way, how does this blog thing already know taht I'm bernard??? that's clever.. bernard

brian said...

wow. what a tour

brian said...

What a tour! But how many gigs are there in those fourteen countries? None I fear what with only a harmonica and various language study books in the bags.
Well, travel broadens the mind it is true. But surely we should have a wider perspective? Look at all the negative carbon footprints that Tony Blair is leaving behind. He refuses to set an example by needlessly flying off to a distant part of the world on some pointless diplomatic mission or to a mindless holiday resort. What a bastard!
I fear for Tim and Alison's moral health what with their own contribution to carbon emissions whist embarked on their grand tour. To compensate Harlesden would like to suggest that they be obliged by this blog to ensure that every household in which they reside during the tour is converted, at their expense, to low voltage energy efficient light bulbs.
Come on Tim and Alison do your bit. When you get back we can tot up your score to see how good you have been. Who knows this could be bigger than Pictionary?
May Gordon be with you all.



sophie c said...

buon giorno. andy's first party was a cracker. we found the wine supply! and drew moustaches on your portraits! i think the cat has left. meanwhile, london is bathed in balmy sunshine and it hasn't rained since you went. hope delhi has been fun. looking forward to hearing progress. love from, er, rainy, windy, grey big smoke. xx

ps is joke about party
pps why did you have poles in your rucksack? is that a 70s thing, like loons and black forest gateau?

Monica said...

Dear Alison and Tim, I am really sorry I did not see you before you left but hey!9 months do pass very quickly and in no time september will be here.This trip sounds like a great adventure so please let us know whatever happens to you and all the marvellous things you'l see during this time.
Love from Monica and Mae

bernard gabony said...

hi T and A,
glad you liked humayam's tomb. hope you enjoy mumbai. first time i went i hated it, everyone was soooo loud while i was tryhing to get enlightened.... went a couple of times for work last year and by the second time i was into it.. a thing to do... go to the victoria train terminus in evening rush hour and watch the trains coming in and the people scrambling to get on.. amazing sight.. and if you have lots of reading time, dip into Maximum city..
winter has finally arrived in london, true, it's cold, the bbc is being financially cut, and spurs are rubbish.. ie, nothing to hurry back for at present.

Canadian Cuz said...

Hello Alison and Tim, So enjoying your stories so far. Tim , living on the other side of the world has kept me from knowing your exceptional writing and wit abilities. I must say that I am getting a plumber in to make sure that you do not have any difficulties with Canadidan Loos...Please keep writing. love it. See you in May... Love Mary (Canadian cuz.xoxo) p.s. Oleh is hanging in there and they plan surgery in about 4-5 weeks.. Fingers crossed)

andy roche said...

yo tim 'n als. You in Bombay? Thought I'd let you know that the house is still standing, although that Kieran is coming tonight so anything could happen. Dr Chab says hello. We're getting on fine, the two of us, and have some quite long conversations over a glass or two of wine.
The foxhunt in the back garden was a great success, although reynard got away in the end. The Quorn will be doing it again next weekend.
Have managed to get the moustaches off the portraits, with much scrubbing. Marina is going to have a very small dinner party for her birthday on feb 10. Just five people, and Kathrin will be there to crack down on any rowdiness.
Alison - congrats on the heroic non-smoking. An example to us all. And how are your digestions bearing up?
Much love and bon voyage

Elaine said...

Hey T and A

Had problems with posting comment until Duncan heroically helped me out with some IT words of wisdom. Glad your travels are continuing safely and entertainingly after the cotton wool wrapped unreality of your start in Dubai. We enjoyed feeding you burnt black sausages and giving Tim a chance to flex his itchy guitar muscles. Am so impressed Alison that you are now a non-smoker! I have just spent two weeks sneaking out on balcony after dark for sneaky silk cut after parents had retired for the night, cursing my evil addiction and slooshing with toothpaste and perfume so morning coffee did not involve third degree. Had excellent time with parents - great success, they loved it thank God, despite not being given chance to recreate the "three loons on stairs" pose that we so successfully pulled off. Now currently working on scheme for year 13 "Othello" unit and pondering the nature of jealousy and love.

So lots of love from us all in the shiny city. The pool beds miss you terribly and the spare room looks more than forlorn after its recent run of visitors.

Much much love
look after yourselves
Elaine x x x
ps The UAE football team won the Gulf Cup last night! Horrific to think that they are doing better than both Wigan AND West Ham :(

ruwani said...

Glad your time in Ooty was a grand success as far as snooker went...Was it obvious that the sun has set over the great colonial empire?

Looking forward to exposing you to another colony, this time a dose of American do gooding...lots of fast food, hamburgers to boot, forget the curry, and let rip in tinsel town! See you at the airport on the 24th, presumably nothing has changed. RU. Seems like Kathakali will haunt you ...perhaps it is your karma, to become a Kathakali dancer, i will be there to cheer you on ,of course under the Hammersmith flyover!

Anonymous said...

Hello Alison and Tim, I tried to blog you the other day and it never got on to your site! It was great to see you both What a lot of fun after 34 years, not enough time! I now know what the art of a good interview is Tim, as I exhausted myself with my excitement and chatter. I'm glad to see West Ham mentioned in these illustrious postings. Having read of your recent travels now, i think I will have to take a picture of the RPEYC 'lads' playing snooker, the oldest is 92. Look forward to watching your travels unfold. I'm emailing you some info re Lima, Peru. Cheers Denise and Rocky