After the farewell fanfare I managed to drum up in Bristol it was in the end quite a sedate send off from Norwich, a hug from Mum at the front gate; Dad immediately cycling off out the back gate as always taking the long way round the block onto Earlham Green Lane. We took it very steady to Harwich, cycling just 40 flat miles each day and entirely missing both the afternoon rains. We spent Saturday afternoon picking crud from shoes and brake calipers after a comically muddy track into our woodland camp outside Ipswich made a mockery of my pre-trip polishing. We arrived by 2pm Sunday and spent a couple of hours squatting in a bike shed servicing my stove before the ferry check in. It was good to have the time with Dad.
Thursday, 19 April 2012
I had thought I would try to avoid waxing sentimental about leaving my friends in the fire service. Just as I would try to avoid choking on my thank yous, all snotty and tearful over the last ham and egg supper two nights ago. But it has been emotional and I think I owe the Avonmouth Abandoned and all the rest a little space here (not least because some of you might even read it). Rather to my own discredit, when I was young in my (four year) career I vainly tried to maintain some kind of distinction between friends and colleagues. Of course there was no specific moment at which that silly illusion folded, just loads of increasingly good times as I became increasingly sure of you all. Gradually I realised work was somewhere people wanted me to be myself, and that was only thanks to you lot making it quite clear. Then came all the great times where (almost) every shift I’ve been happy to be there, the hand tennis and the boxing, the second day Friday nights stroke Saturday mornings, running jokes, japes and mixtapes and basically the whole unconditional vibe I’ve had from all of you ever since you helped me out of my shell. Not to mention of course the solemn and not at all calamitous cycle escort from fire station to train station for my last commute. So thank you, all, again. White 05 and the rest. I’ll leave it there else I’ll well up, again.