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The trip from home (Newcastle, NSW) to Sydney was uneventful. Traffic heavy but no delays.

Flight to Singapore was good. Seat 27K is back of business class. Flight time approx 8 Hrs

Flight from Singapore to Heathrow is long. 14 Hrs. Flat beds are good. Slept a lot of the way. Had seat 21K. Plane not full. Only 9 passengers in section of 44 capacity.

Arrived Heathrow in the dark. Sixt desk unmanned. Phoned them and was advised to go to bus stop 21 for a bus to depot. Took some time to find bus stop, but there was a bus waiting. Long drive to depot. Long wait for service. They were unable to find the car we were supposed to have and offered another of same type but that would require we wait while they went and filled it with petrol. They then offered a Mercedes Benz which we took.

Went to Brooklands where we had coffee and checked the place out then started driving towards West Hendred using back roads to fill in time. We had hoped to collect sat phone etc from Rally HQ. About 10 am rally HQ advised that pick up today couldn't be done, public holiday, no one at office so we headed for Southampton.

Stopped at Winchester on the way. Seemed very like I remember Cork. Lots of people in a mall, very limited parking, cathedral is large, £5 admission, I didn't bother.

Onward to hotel in Southampton, had lunch, 1 hour sleep, went out again just after 4 to look at Southampton but it was dark!! Would be interesting in the daylight.

Weather is cold, totally grey, no sun and no wind. Days very short

English countryside very quaint. Mary would love  it.

Camera and GPS still on Aust ESDST – have to sort that out some time (Mary will not be happy until it is!).


(left): Mark and the rally car, which was unloaded from the container ship at Southampton - we picked it up from the warehouse this morning. It was very dirty but all intact.



Met fellow competitors, Aussies Greg and Sam Newton who were also picking up their car.


left: Newtons' Commodore is on the left


We then drove both the rental car and the rally car back to Brooklands Hotel, where we left the rally car and went off in the rental car to pick up the satellite phone and the tracker brackets at a place called West Hendred. Here we met the rally organisers Phillip, Heidi and Barbara.

Back at the hotel we checked in, met fellow competitors Jeff and Sam Robertson.

Then we tried to fit the extra bit and pieces we had collected and brought over into the car. Very difficult, the car is already full. We gave up quickly as it was pitch dark by 5pm.

After this we drove across town to a suburb called Swiss Cottage where a nephew of Marks lives and we had used his address as a location to have parts shipped to. Most annoying is that the new Garmin GPS we bought especially for the rally doesn't work any more. Won't power on. I fear buying another in the short time frame we have will be impossible.

Found no shortage of places to eat at Swiss Cottage but it was freezing cold out on the street.

Drove past a sign saying "Low Emmission Zone" on the way and worried we may have driven thru a "no go area" (a la Florence, where we were fined) but some quick research by Mary tells me it relates to trucks.

Time to search for a new GPS.

Next: Leaving London