Friday, July 18, 2008

The End

Tonight we sleep in our own bed. The adventure has come to an end. A brief 4 hours home and normality returns. For the numerically minded of you, here’s the trip in numbers.
39: nights away from home
16: nights in hotels
14: nights under canvas
1: night in a Teepee
4: nights in log cabins
1: night in a mountain resort
3: nights in a family home
6: States visited
35: notable towns or cities
7: nights without Josie
106: highest temperature
38: lowest temperature
12,020 ft: highest point above sea level
6723: miles traveled
1,234,567: bug bites endured
3: trips to the launderette
5840: pictures taken (not included the deletes lightening ones)
2: speeding tickets
1: dent in the car
56: free wireless hotspots

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Splashing about

We’re spending these final days in a lovely Forestry Service camp site. Being run by the FS means several good things for us. Firstly, its very dog friendly, secondly, we can have a camp fire, and finally, we get to sleep with bears amongst the trees. The only downside to this place is that it’s run by morons who should have died 30 years ago, (Deanna’s quote not mine). For those of you not familiar with bear country, if you look at the picture, that brown box next to our tent is our panic room. In the event of a bear sighting, we’re to lock ourselves in there and wait until it passes.

We had planned on rising before the sun and doing interesting things with cameras but the morons that run this place will only let us stay night by night, so they asked me to see them at 8am to confirm the following day. It’s a pain and it ruined the morning’s rise. To make matters worse, when I did check with them, they denied the 8am story and asked me to come back at 2pm. I may have to buy a gun.
Still the day was far from ruined. We choose a stunning 5 mile hike up to Grass Lake. The trail took us over rocks, up hills, through 3 streams and finally allowed us to play in a waterfall. The dog loved it. Deanna fell in.

On the way to the trailhead, Deanna miss-directed us up a tiny mountain road, forcing me to do a 93-point turn in the Wagon. Cliff on one side, forest on the other. And everywhere big boulders that I couldn’t see. So here we are after almost 7000 miles, we’re less than 4 hours from home and now the Bus has its first dent.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Smells nice

Nevada really is rubbish.
There is nothing here worth visiting. Full stop.
We've spent the day running away from the poverty, boredom and nothingness, and finally, with 6640 miles on the Fuzz Magnet, we're back in lovely California.

Our 5 week house construction project is running 6 weeks behind schedule (cue surprised look), so we've decided to spend a few days in Tahoe. We'll return home at the weekend, but for now, the forest, the water falls, and the lakes, they're all calling to be played with. The temperature is a balmy 81 so we're back under canvas in the middle of the forest.

It smells like heaven should.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Turn and run

As we rolled in to Rachel so did the thunder. We’d driven 200 miles in to the middle of the Nevada desert searching for the super-secret Nellis Air force Base (aka Area 51, Groom Lake, etc): the place where they test the next generation flying machines and according to rumor, keep the captured UFOs. The plan was to visit the only town nearby, camp there and spend the night watching the stars for suspicious activity.

Rachel is a tiny trailer park on the side of the highway. Its only claim to fame is the Little A’Le’Inn, a friendly little bar littered with pictures of UFOs and tall stories. There are 3 things to do in Rachel: 1) look at the Black Mail box. The mailbox supposedly belongs to both the Air Force Base and also to a local farmer. It is the most photographed mailbox in the world. The idea is to let those who believe in UFO's write notes to aliens and place them in the alien drop box attached to the mailbox. 2) Try and see Area 51 without being arrested. 3) As mentioned, stay up all night and watch the sky.

The nice barmaid explained to us that someone had taken a shotgun to the mailbox a few years ago, so that was no longer on the list. The thunder was rumbling outside, so that shortened the list of star gazing and canceled our camping plans. “Drive over the hills, make a right at the unmarked blacktop, then drive 20 miles. When they point their guns at you, take a picture, turn and run.” How could we not?

Actually the guard was a nice chap. He explained that he was authorized to use deadly force if I came a step closer. He also said he was a bit bored because nothing much was going on at the moment. So I took my picture. He refused to point the gun at me (I ask politely too!), and we drove off.

The trouble with Nevada is that its rubbish. There’s nothing to see, nothing to do, and hundreds of miles to do it in. With the camping plans canceled we drove. And we drove, and we drove. The only things we saw were military bases. Lot and lots of underground bases, with odd names like Navel Under Sea Warfare Experimental Testing Ground. (Now remember we’re a 1000 miles from water here). A dozen or so failed towns (America really is a 3rd world county outside of the major cities). We also saw this, a hooker ranch in the middle of nowhere. This country is odd.

Finally we rolled in to a scary looking place called Hawthorn. Everything about it said we were going to be in trouble if we stayed. We crawled through town at 15 miles per hour peering in to bars and hotels. Finally the buildings faded in to the background and we’d decided not to stop. Accelerating away, we heard, for the second time, the dreaded sirens. Nice cop. Name of Mark, He advised us not to stay and to drive the “short hour and a half” to the next town, “its safer for people like you”. Oh and he also fined me for speeding. Git.

Stupid weather

They wouldn’t rent us wet weather gear to wade the Narrows. Apparently the danger of flash floods is too high today so instead we planned on climbing that Angel’s Landing thing we said we wouldn’t. But we failed to do that too because of, well, err, we didn’t.

So instead we took a nice walk along the river, took a few pictures and did a little wading.

Returning to Springdale mid-afternoon we decided to tube the local rapids. Again they wouldn’t rent us the gear we needed but we insisted and eventually they relented. These pictures are taken about 90 mins in to the superb ride. The final 30 mins were spent in the midst of a stupendous thunderstorm (not pictured). We managed to make it out of the river just before a flash flood raised the water line by 2 feet. We were soaked, cold and very very happy. Sometimes, its all about the timing.

Sadly we start the journey home tomorrow. We’re heading in to Nevada to chase Aliens, and then its home. If our house improvements / construction is not completed, we may just swing by Yosemite or Tahoe but generally, this feels like the end.

JOSIE UPDATE: we collected her from the DoggyDudeRanch this evening where she had a great time swimming, playing and climbing. Yes climbing. According to the owners, there’s no fence tall enough to hold her. Apparently I was right about her being part mountain goat. Houston, we may have a problem here.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

I need new knees

We rode in to Zion as the sun came up to knock off a quick 2 hour warm up hike at the Emerald pools. Pretty stunning stuff but nothing to blog about.

Feeling like there was nothing we couldn’t accomplish we decided on another hike that actually isn’t on most of the standard issue guides. After all, the path less traveled etc. We visited Echo Canyon and were rewarded with stunning views over the top of Angels Landing – the hardest climb in the park and not one we’re ever going to do. This hike has destroyed us, it climbed too high, and it went on for too long but we loved it. Everything hurts now. We're sticking to the guide next time.

Before we go to bed, we’re off to the Adventure Center to rent our wet water gear, for tomorrow we’re going to spend several hours hiking up the center of a river to visit something called the Narrows. Stupidly, I’m going to take my camera so this could mean the end of all photos for the rest of the trip.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

False start

Waking up in a teepee was a bit disorientating. Bloody Microsoft had screwed up the time on my phone so we skipped one-leg-in-pants mode to the Love Bus and high-tailed it out of the place hours before we actually had to. So much for a lie in.

Driving back to Zion National Park, we spent the day browsing the art galleries in Springdale and planning the next 2 days of hiking and fun.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Fire and Ice

We had a great dinner at our hotel last night. The owners were very chatty as was the New York couple sitting next to us. And the dog enjoyed meeting horses for the first time – though they weren’t on the menu.

Getting into the car this morning Josie and I had the scare of our life as we stepped over a snake. Once we calmed down, we drove off to the Doggy Dude Ranch, which will be Josie’s home for the weekend. She’ll get to play in a pool and go for swims in the river, etc., so I think she’ll have a great time.

As we approached Bryce Canyon National Park, we noticed a lot of smoke pouring out of the forest and thought that might put a damper on the day’s plans. Once inside the park, it turned out that it really was burning. It was what they call a ‘controlled burn’ and a dozen or so park rangers were calmly doing their jobs of burning 400 acres in the park.

Bryce Canyon is spectacular. And according to the original owner, Ebeneezer Byrce, it’s ‘A heck of a place to lose a cow.’ In the middle of our tour through the canyon a storm starts to build. The adventure seeker in Andy causes him to get out a huge metal pole in the middle of a lightening storm. As he’s trying to capture lightening on his camera a park ranger tells everyone the storm is “Gonna be a big un’ and please get back in our cars and definitely get rid of the big metal pole”. He ignores him.

We rest for a few hours while the hail and rain passes and finish our tour. The plan to go to a real-life rodeo is ruined by the storm, but that’s ok because we still get to spend the night in a real-life teepee!! That’s right, teepee. Andy has booked us our own private island on a private lake. Nothing on it except a tree, a fire ring, and of course, the teepee. Superb.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Finally, rested

We wanted to spend another night with the Monks but sadly we can’t. Them being here is a big deal, and people from all around have come. The Retreat is fully booked for the rest of the week, so we push on.

Today is a planning and traveling day. By the time we go to bed we should be in the Zion National Park, having scouted Bryce National Park and several other things we’re going to visit later in the week. Hopefully, Zion will give us some of the adventure we were hoping for in Moab.

We’ve booked something special for tomorrow night, but I’ll tell you about that later.
The Road Warrior is now standing at 5676 miles.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Chanting Monks

Look I know were a little tired, and we did some things we’re not proud of just to stay awake but we’re not making this up. Honest.

It’s still the longest day and we’ve finally reached our mountain retreat (Boulder, Utah). It lovely. All rolling hills, grazing deer and, err, chanting monks.
As we wait for our table in the organic, self-sustaining restaurant, things get a little weird. The background music that was all hippy and floaty suddenly takes on these deep base grumblings. I make some terrible joke about bad music and turn to discover that everyone else in the place is being respectfully silent as 20 Tibetan Monks start their evening prayer. Really, things like this should come with a warning.
This place is so relaxing, that apparently, it’s where monks come to get away from it all.

Yes, it is that special.

Pass the wine.

Still the longest day

This is the longest drive ever.

I have to share this with you. Again Deanna thinks it normal but, again I’ll point out I’m from England. We stop for a coke at a nowhere stop in the middle of nowhere. As I walk up to the store, the truck with 4 Indians, feather not spot, (sorry, I know that was racist but I think it’s a funny joke) pulls up and creates a commotion. Nothing serious but a little unsettling. And then this. The picture. To get in to the store I have to step over a spent gun casing. I guess this is why Deanna calls these places Stop ‘n’ Rob. Sorry it's out of focus, but you know, I was distracted...

The next 300 miles are amazing. The road is winding but fast. We set the cruise control to 90, turn the aircon to full, wind the windows down, Deanna plays naked DJ with the iPod and we just try to stay awake.

The scenery was clearly created by Him during a moment of LSD madness. Want big pointy hills with jagged bits? Check. Want soft rolling sand dunes? Check. Want deep water filled Canyons? Check. What’s your favorite colour? Yes we’ve got all those things in that colour. Need it with spots, vertical stripes, or just random colourings? Check, we’ve got that too. We’ve never seen such splendor. You could spend months here just listing all the colours of the rocks. It’s stupendous.

We ignore it all and drive on.

The longest day

Sunset last night was not the best photo op we’ve done so we decide to try again with the rise. The alarm is set for 4:30 but really, what’s the point? Its still over 100 degrees, who’s sleeping anyway?

The Arches are stunning in the morning without all those pesky tourists fouling the place up. We drive; we hike; we run around; we meet a wild Wolf cub but don’t linger, scared that its mother is lurking nearby. We take lovely pictures. In fact, we’re probably going to have to open our own gallery for these. Yes, we’re that good!

By midday we’re knackered and its time to break down the tent and free the dog. During the takedown, I discover that our tent is now home to a Preying Mantis. I’m from England: the only thing we have over there that eats its prey after mating just divorced Sir Paul McCartney. The damn thing nearly gave me a heart attack.

We’ve decided to leave Moab and seek out this mountain retreat. We feel we haven’t slept since July 2 and we’re a bit tired. The only thing that stands between rest and us is 400 miles of national park. We plot the route that will include a ferry crossing (just for the hell of it – it’ll add 3 hours to the journey) and set off, but first we make a short visit to Dead Horse Point National Park for more photos and quick dog walk. We sure know how to fill a day.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Feel the burn

The dog’s the lucky one: fast asleep all night in her air-conditioned prison. We slept not a wink. At midnight it was still in the 90s. We’re a puddle of sweat and exhaustion. As dawn finally breaks, we make our way to today’s first activity: a river jet boat ride.

I thought the Hummer was well built but this boat is amazing. It has 3 jet engines. I’ve decided to call the boat the Hammer because of the way it just beats the river to death. It almost flies!
We spent 4 hours slamming down the Colorado River checking out odd rock formations, petrified forests, arches and Indian (Native American as they call them round here) petroglyphs. Our guide is the funniest man I’ve met. Sure his banter is well practiced but he should have his own TV show. He knows stuff too.

Feeling bad about the dog and to escape the heat for a few hours, we spring her out of jail and climb the local LaSal Mountain where the temperature is 20 degrees cooler. Rumor has it that there’s a nice cool lake on top that we can swim in. By climb I mean drive, the thing is over 10,000ft and we’re on a schedule. Half way up the car hits the magic 5000 mile marker so we stop for a photo op. From now on we’re paying for this thing by the mile. Ouch.

Re-incarcerating the dog once more, we buy our first ‘club membership’ so we can drink a beer in Mormon country legally. Then, we tour the local art galleries and meet a nice couple who give us a new destination. When we leave here, we’re heading to a mountain retreat to get some rest.

We spend the sunset running round the Arches taking really bad pictures. We scrambled around with 100s of other tourists trying to get a glimpse of ‘Delicate Arch ablaze with the setting sun. All we really got was sun burnt. Really bad, Baboon’s bum sun burnt.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Best laid plans

The plan today is to do nothing but to achieve loads. It’s an organization day. This part of the trip is going to be filled with high drama, excitement and really wild things. That sort of adrenalin takes planning. After a long visit to the Information Center we settle on an itinerary for the next few days that will include sky diving, white water rafting, 4x4 off roading, Segway touring, a river cruise, a sunset Hummer mountain climb, and of course, lots of hikes. Moab is the gateway to the Arches National Park and we’re going to make the most of it.

We’re also going to camp, which may turn out to be a bad idea because the temperature is already in the high 90s and is predicted to rise during the week. There are 2 doggy kennels in the area and we check the mutt in to the least bad of them. We’re really not happy about this; they kinda suck but with our schedule and the heat, we have no choice. The dog doesn’t seem to mind but then we once had her stomach pumped and she thought it was a hoot.

We spend a while calling all the activity companies to discover that things aren’t going to be as we’d hoped. We can’t get in to the sky diving center. The white water rafting is only grade 2 to 3, (which is about as scary as taking a bath). The Segway tour just looks dull. Still, the rest is going to be perfect.
We take a quick tour through the National Park to work out where the arches are, and then start the adrenalin: the sunset Hummer tour.

These things are amazing. The area is covered in stuff the locals call “slick rock”. Its basically sandstone and the Hummer loves it. We spend 2 hours climbing rock faces that are almost vertical on a trail called ‘Hells Revenge’ – it’s a 4.5 out of 5 on the hardness scale - climbing over boulders that are bigger than the car. The Hummer is unstoppable. Our driver, Mike seems to be on a mission to make us so scared we vomit, and we love it just like the Hum-vey does. Reaching the top of the mountain at sunset we pause for beer, cheese and pictures. And then we do the whole thing again. Only this time downhill, and in the dark. Yikees!

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Onwards with the trip

Today we hit the road again. We’re itching to move on and frankly I think Jessie needs her house back – having a guest dog is only fun in theory.

Because its Sunday the Mormons are all busy being crazy so all the great stuff we wanted to do, all the superb questions I’d been working on, are officially canceled. Bugger. We did smear through Salt Lake City and it seemed nice enough. There was less rubber padding on the walls than I expected and the wardens kept themselves discretely out of sight.

Heading south we noticed yet another Dinosaur quarry. According to the book, this one had 70 skeletons in it so we took the short 12 mile dirt road detour in to nowhere. The visitor’s center held two bored 16-year-old girls who keep busy by playing soccer all day. They were nice but seemed startled to have actual real visitors to show round. The spidy-sensors were tickling the base of our necks as we approached the shed housing the prize.

Why do they keep doing this to us? Why, I ask you?

There were no bones. Only the holes that bones used to be in. And the worst bit, a few plastic bones to show what it would have looked like back in 2002 before they took them all away.
Crazy with frustration and disappointment, rather than take the short dirt road back to civilization, Deanna spotted a short cut. You’ve seen the road before. It’s the one in all those movies where the two lost tourists meet a nice stranger and he puts them up for the night before hacking them to death and drinking their blood. 45 miles of open dirt track. Nothing to see except the occasional boy sat by the side of the “road” holding a rifle. I was terrified. Deanna seemed to think it was normal for redneck country. I guess that’s difference between someone from the Ohio and someone from Europe.

After an hour of pure terror we finally reach the relative safety of black-top and run the fast way to Moab. Previously, as we were bouncing along the dirt track, a monstrous lightening show was scorching the hills and drawing ever closer in the rear-view mirror. By the time we were on the highway, it was on top of us.

So we did the only thing two sensible adults can do in the situation, and set up our big metal tripods and expensive cameras by the side of the road. As the trucks thundered past, and the rain dented the car, the hills became a light show worthy of Prince. Between us we took just over 2000 pictures in 15 minutes. Not a single one showed lightening. This is a day of minor disappointments.

Arriving in Moab, we check in to a motel for the night and passed out. Tomorrow is the beginning of the “adventure phase”. And we are ready.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

3rd canceled day

You know the bit after a blowout party when you just wish your guests would leave so you could just get on and achieve absolutely nothing but low moaning and head holding? Apparently it’s that way for guests too.
Saturday is the dead zone after the party. Nothing happens all day. We watch TV, eat greasy food, watch more TV, sleep a little, eat more junk and finally end the day asleep whilst the movie Old School plays to no one.
NOTE: can you believe we’ve been on the road a month and only lost 3 days to alcohol? I’m staggered. I thought we’d be in to double digits my now.

Friday, July 4, 2008

What’s that smell?

Devil-twin lives a bit outside Salt Lake City in what can only be described as paradise. The backyard is a mountain who’s skiing is so good they used it for the Olympics; the forests and trails so pleasant, they’re littered with the corpses of runners and cyclists. This is outdoor heaven.

We lunched on this, the birthday of America, in a place called Park City, a lovely little ski town that’s missing all the pretentious rubbish that comes with ski towns (see Telluride, Vale et al for details). We were supposed to sit in the park and listen to a few bands, marvel at the craft fair and generally drink in the sun. Sadly by the time we got there it was all over so we just did the drinking bit.

Whilst we were gone we left the 2 mutts alone in the backyard: wrestling. Returning home 4 hours later, we had the first truly heart stopping moment of the trip. No Josie. We had assumed she was part Boxer, part mountain goat. Now we know there’s a slice of Houdini in there too. Somehow, she’d cleared the 6 ft fences and ran off. Thankfully, only to the neighbour’s front yard. I think she was either chasing Monty’s cat (did I mention they have a cat? They have a cat) or just trying to escape the insane wrestling puppy and sought out the shade and sprinklers next door.

Next up in the legendary list is Big Jessie. (Not to be confused with Hot Jessie, Monty’s wife.) Big Jessie is gifted with transmogrification: add whisky and he morphs in to an Irish Man. Big Jessie was nice enough to throw a 4th July party in his new house. The details of the party are censored but all had a great time, the house was truly wrecked (think back to when you were a student) and we snuck away in the night at 4:30 just to avoid the smell.

Of the few details I can tell you, I am allowed to share the fact that Jessie is the only non-Mormon in his street and so we were the only people drinking at the neighbourhood firework sing-along we crashed. Oops. I can also tell you, that regularly shouting “Happy
Birthday America. Number 2 behind China! Woo!” does not make you friends.

Tomorrow will not happen.

Oh and I was right to call Monty the Devil-twin.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

And in the red corner…

I think I’m beginning to see what I predict might me a pattern, a blueprint if you like, for the coming days. Monty has a beautifully puppy Labrador called Ezra that is animated from above by Jim Henson and probably starred in Fraggle Rock some time in the past. Josie loved her. In fact, from the moment they met, until the moment we tired and dragged ourselves to bed, they played. Well, wrestled. Well, beat the heck out of each other. That’ll be EIGHT hours of high-energy chaos in the 90-degree heat. In the midst of all this, we drank. And there you have your pattern; dogs fighting, humans drinking, the hour getting way too long for normal people.
This is going to be a fun weekend.

D'em bones...

We went back to the Dinosaur place this morning to get a peak at the broken building and maybe the fabulous bones behind the wall, but alas they’d thought of that and cordoned the whole thing off. However, there was a trail in the hills round the edge of the quarry where you could still see and touch some huge leg bones and whole section of vertebrae that they’ve not yet removed. Cool but still disappointing.
Then it was back in the car for another long drive.
What is it with America and prisons? We’ve burnt a lot of rubber through some amazing and ever changing places and the one recurring theme that keeps surprising me is the prisons. Every 200 miles of so, there’s a brand new, high tech, well financed, not on the map, prison. There must be more of them than there are Starbucks. The conspiracy nut in me is beginning to think that the fascists are about to lock up us good people for having dissenting thoughts.
Sorry, back to the plot.
We’re heading for Salt Lake City for one of the highlights of the trip. There’s two things to do in Salt Lake and I’m excited about both. Firstly, we’re staying with Monty (and wife Jess), Deanna’s childhood danger twin. Every time she tells me a story about her youth it always ends up with her getting in to trouble and it somehow being Monty’s fault. I’m looking forward to finally meeting the legend.
And then of course there’s the second thing: Mormons. I’m bursting at the seams to get my hands on one ask them what they hell they’re thinking.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008


Leaving Steamboat we headed west to what the guidebook described as “simply the best, most underrated, least known of all our national treasures” - the Dinosaur National Park.

The park is huge and spans 2 States. If you’re only doing one thing there, and you’re prepared to drive the hundreds of miles out of your way, then it’s the Quarry Visitor Center. They’ve taken a huge quarry wall, complete with thousands of massive fossils and encased it all behind an enormous glass wall. According to the book, the glass room is worth the trip before you even consider the amazing sights it protects.
Its quiet here says I, at the visitor center greeting room.
Yes, we’re mostly shut down, says the nice lady.
?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?! says I.
Yeah the room's cracked so we’ve closed it for a few months.

And so the day ended badly. Nothing to see. Move on. We’re heading in to Utah before the sun goes down.

The Magical Mystery Bus is currently reading a worrying 4327 miles – we’ve only hired it for 5000 – oops.


Some sunrises cause the sky dance a million colors. For others, it causes the heavens to burn with majestic glory. Some days, it just gets a little less dark.
We’re up at 4:10am exactly. Saying goodbye to the shed, we race the sun to the top of the mountain. Parking where we can, we climb to the summit at 12,005 ft and prepare to be humbled by the magnificence.

It got less dark.

Happy to have at least seen close to 30 Elk, 2 Moose, countless Deer, and chatted to half a dozen weirdie-beardie people (we think they were Amish – very nice they were too), we head off to Steamboat.

What a great little town. Superb waterfall. Nice little hikes. Cool downtown. And the best bit according to D is The Epicurean restaurant, makers of the world’s finest tuna salad. For me it was Lyons, an old fashioned drug store that still has a Soda Fountain. It was great to see families running around with Root Beer Floats, proper Milkshakes, and other creamy goodies made by hand by one harassed and overworked girl.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

A thunderous day

As we were setting the alarm for 4am, the conversation came round to the fact that we’re in the west, we’re on top of a mountain, the best views are west facing so why get up and try and see something that happens in the east?
We slept in.
This shed is ace. Really basic and rubbish: it feels like real living. Because the town is so mutt-unfriendly, we dropped Josie off and the local hostel for a few hours and spent the day exploring the town’s art galleries and pubs during the longest thunderstorm we’ve ever enjoyed.
Chatting to one of THE photographers at THE picture gallery, he explained that the secret to his good fortune is that 98% of all his pictures are west facing with morning east light. Doh!

Later that afternoon we watched a documentary on the Dead Guy. Turns out there were 2 of them. My favorite bit was…
The INS deported Tregve back to Norway leaving his Mother behind. The local reporter called her (they we’re friends) to ask how she was doing – “Oh I’m fine, but I’m very concerned about the bodies in the shed. I’m worried they might melt”. National and international pandemonium ensued. Superb story.

Tomorrow we’re up at 4 for the sunrise. Honest.