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During my travels newspaper columns were published weekly in the Dutch daily newspaper
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Reports

Monday, 30 July 2001
Nottingham --> Bedford (UK)

From Ben and Catherine I moved along the M1 motorway down south to Bedford, where I had a pleasant and peaceful stay with the 18-year-old Nick Snelson. He ruled the house himself at that moment, as the rest of the family was on holiday at that moment.
It was Thomas who woke me up this morning. After I had a shower he made me some toasts with ham and watched some Temptation Island on television.

As Ben and Catherine both had to go to work this morning, I already said goodbye to them last night.

And today Thomas would bring me to the closest big road leading to the M1 motorway, just outside of Nottingham.

Catherine had already made a sign (with black shoe cream) with my destination of today on it: Bedford.

Almost one hour later I was dropped of on a dual carriage way leading to the M1. It was around noon and the sun was burning.

Fortunately the sign worked good and I became a passenger in Darren’s Mercedes, he was going all the way to London!

Darren told me that he was going to London for a job interview tomorrow. And when I asked for what job he would be applying for, he said “bus driver in London”. “You mean the double deck trolleybuses?” “Yes,” he said.
I have all respect for bus drivers, but I just could not figure this out. He looked like a very intelligent man, wearing new sporting shoes on very fashionable clothing, driving a silver Mercedes convertible while up-to-date two-step r&b was bursting out his speakers…

When he asked me about football, I had to admit that sports are not really my things. But he was a big fan of Manchester United.

I think I got the truth: he must be a football player himself and just said he’d be a bus driver to cover his real job… You know, a little lie for his own good…

Anyone knows a coloured man called Darren in an English football (soccer) team?

He dropped me off at the 13th junction before the M25 motorway that circles all the way around London.

Do you know that London is twice as big as the German capital Berlin, fourteen times as big as the Dutch capital Amsterdam (!) and a city like Oslo will just disappear in England’s capital? This place is huge!

From the junction I walked a little bit along the road, looking for a good spot where traffic can see me on time and stop at this little parking spot.

It didn’t really take a long time before an elderly couple took me in their car. The old lady wasn’t really that present anymore, but her husband made her smile everytime he told her that they were going to the pub. It was their weekly day out to the pub.

They dropped me of in the centre of Bedford, where I had a short walk around before I contacted my host here, Nick Snelson.

According to the city map he lived all the way in the north of the city, that would be quite a walk which I didn’t really fancy with this weather.

I took a big breath, strapped on my backpack a bit tighter and started walking.
“You seem to be a bit lost,” a lady asked me while she drove in her car next to me.
“I am on my way to the north part of town,” I answered.
“You are walking all the way up there?” she asked, not knowing that she was blocking down all the traffic behind her.
“Do you want a lift?” Time to loosen the belts of the backpack again! She offered me a lift and of course I took it – also to sympathise the waiting cars behind her.

The lady introduced her to me as Nadia, and it seemed that she was bored and had been driving around for a while. We had some short talks about hitchhiking and she showed me how blowing a bubblegum bubble can disturb her driving. When the big bubble burst in her face, she ignored the red traffic light…

But she brought me at Nick Snelson address safely and I thanked her for the lift.

Nick was living on his own at that moment. His parents were away on holiday until tomorrow evening and he himself just came back from a holiday with friends on the Canary Island Tenerife.

He had just graduated from college and is going to study Biology at the university in September, just because he liked that subject the most at school. He doesn’t really know what he wants to be later.

Because I really had to do some reporting of the last days (Ben in Nottingham did not have Internet), Nick logged me on their computer and gave me all time to work on my writings, while he played computer games on his sisters’ computer.

If found it pretty brave that he, as an 18-year-old invited me, and 6 years older guy, into his home.

He once read about me in a newspaper or magazine and invited me in the very first days of the existence of this website. He just likes the idea very much and would like to meet me in real life.

After dinner (fish, potatoes and peas) I handed over The Gift to him. As every host that puts me up for a day, also he got himself a present from my previous host. This time two! One was a windable little thingy with wheels (how do I call that?) that sparkles electricity blinks as it drives and the other present was a photograph of an Audi racecar. It was one of the latest racing cars Thomas’ friend Daniel (in Nottingham) had worked on and it was one of the last photographs of it. So it was something really personal…

After I did some more reporting, mail processing, picture uploading and other surfing, I joined Nick watching a true story movie about a UFO landing in the US. I still don’t believe it…

Good night Bedford!

Ramon.



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