I got a taxi from my house to Gillingham station as my car was in the garage undergoing repairs to the front brakes. A few weeks earlier the front nearside caliper had seized and I was driving with the brakes on which did wonders for my fuel economy. Each time I got out of the car after driving a wisp of smoke and a burning smell from the front wheel reminded me that something had to be done. It reached the point where I had to accelerate to go downhill so I figured enough was enough and into the garage it went.
With an unusually light rucksack, I boarded the train for London and got a seat. I wasn’t carrying my normal provisions of special needs baby food this trip so was able to walk upright rather than the barely-able-to-stand-whilst-gasping-for-air stagger that I usually adopt. I changed trains at Clapham Junction and arrived at Gatwick where I met Bob Newbury. We got ourselves checked in, negotiated security and bought alcohol for the beer monster before boarding. The flight was busy and full to Dubai where we then read and drank tea and coffee whilst waiting for our onward connection to Delhi.
Delhi was very hot and humid as we exited the plane. Our bags duly arrived on the carousel but Bob’s rod tube was nowhere to be seen. After much paperwork shuffling and head wobbling at the missing baggage desk we were told it was on the next flight from Dubai and would be delivered to our hotel later that night.
We were met by Vacations who drove us to Karol Bagh for our overnight stay in the Regent Continental Grand Park View International Executive Palace Hotel Plaza, or something like that. They all sound so grand but invariably fail to deliver. A tired three star hotel with average rooms but a surprisingly good restaurant accommodated us for the night.
We were woken from our slumbers by a knock at the door and Bob’s rod tube arrived with paperwork. The ‘fragile’ sticker on the rod tube had a tyre tread on it where it had been squashed by something. We were too sleepy to bother checking it that night but hoped it would be ok. Bob signed on the dotted line and then the man asked for something unintelligible plus a tip. “No!” said Bob and shut the door.