Thursday, 25 August 2016


In complete contrast to the past few weeks, I decided to take a short trip by train to London, or as I like to call it (in a Cockney accent), "London Taaaahn". So, on a bright and sunny day, I boarded the Virgin train for the four and a half hour journey.

I'm not a city person really, especially in terms of holidays, preferring to be playing outdoors, but it has been a good six years since my last visit to the UK capital, so I was looking forward to it. The motivation behind going was to catch up with Australian friends John and Linsey, who have lived in London for the past eight years. It was only going to be a two day visit, but I knew it would be a lot of fun, as the two of them have a great sense of humour, mostly with a dry, fun-immature Australian slant.

I've known John for the best part of 16 years, and I first met him by chance on holiday in 2000. This was no run-of-the-mill vacation though. I was on a six-month world backpacking trip, and John, together with his Australian buddy Spiros, were on an adventure trip. We were all trekking in the Himalayas, on a route that led to base camp for those attempting to summit Mount Everest. It had been a lifelong ambition of mine to do this trek, and it seemed an appropriate way to start the new millennium. Just after the Sherpa capital of Namche Bazaar, at the bottom of a hill that led steeply up to the monastery at Tengboche, I plonked myself down for a breather and a water stop, and got chatting to two guys, who, despite the altitude and thin air, were having a ball. This was John and Spiros. More on this encounter later.

We stayed in touch, and a few years later, after I sold my deli in 2006, I set off again on a long break. This time I stayed with John, and his new wife of a few years Linsey, on the northern outskirts of Sydney. A couple of years later and they were in London, transferred by the company John worked for. But that has come to an end, and they have both decided it's time to return to their native land.

They had changed a bit when we finally met up, most definitely used to and loving European life. After a short journey to Putney where their apartment is, John handed me one of his bikes and we went for a run through the enormous Richmond Park. In the evening they had other friends around and in typical Ozzy style they stoked up a barbecue and we enjoyed roast lamb and sweet potatoes for supper.

A late start the next day, and a leisurely journey into "the city", saw us spend a nice amount of time wandering the Egyptian and Greek artifacts in the British Museum.

I do love this place, and I don't think there's ever been a time when I've visited London that I haven't made a stop there. The day passed too fast, and a couple of hours before my train home we enjoyed a drink together in the wonderfully restored St Pancras Station.

But I didn't quite finish my story of when I first met John. As many readers will know my professional life involves filmmaking these days, and back when I was on my backpacking adventure I had just started my first steps into carving out that career. I had always been passionate about everything film, and when the usual, if somewhat boring question, of what we did for a living came up between John and I, sat there in the middle of the Himalaya, I was excited to tell him of my new found vocation. It was only polite to return the question, to which John replied that he was an accountant in a distribution company. There wasn't a whole lot I could ask him about that. It didn't sound that exciting. But we hit it off and enjoyed a week of trekking together, becoming good friends. Back in Khatmandu it was time for them to return home and we posed for a farewell photo with a fellow trekker Sophi from Sweden.

We agreed to stay in touch, so I asked him for his contact details. So he says, why don't I just give you my business card.

Taking the card, vaguely interested in what distribution company he was an accountant for, I read his card:

"John Peachey - Financial Controller - Paramount Pictures".

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