Friday found me leaving London, on a Bristol-bound train. The furthest West I had previously been in England was Bath, which is just shy of reaching Bristol on the same line. Bristol, however, was new to me, and it was a few-hour stop on my way to Weston-Super-Mare, to visit my friend-trainer-pain-in-the-ass (said with affection) Kay, and finally meet his puppy, Zeus.
Kay and I met in 2019, when I was a passenger on the Regal Princess as it circled the Baltic. He was a trainer. I had signed up for a workout class that he happened to be leading, and when I realized he was English, it started the "I once lived in England..." conversational ball rolling, and I don't think I've shut up yet.
We kept in touch via Instagram, and a year later, I started training with him on Zoom. I knew it would be great to see him in person again.
Right, so trains and stuff. I hopped across the street to Paddington to catch my Bristol train, and before too long, I was arriving, along with a train full of younger types who boarded in Swansea. Later, I would tell Kay, "A bunch of people got on in Swansea..." and his response was an inelegant snort. I didn't have to say more. They were young, dressed for the clubs (at 10:00 in the morning), and ready to go wild in Bristol.
Eh, I hope they had fun. It was just funny to me, to see them ready to go so early in the day.
It was a gorgeous morning in Bristol. I had planned to take a water taxi from the station to the main historic district, but I had to wait a bit for the next service. No worries, I found a Starbucks and settled in.
|This is where I caught the water taxi.|
|I stopped at a bookstore where all books|
are 3 quid, and got this. It was GREAT.
|Well-Hung Lover, sadly defaced a little here and|
|The street I had been looking for.|
|I have a long-standing disdain for |
|This yacht was called the Miss Conduct, |
and it had a helicopter.
|Yes, they were glorious.|
My trip to Weston was an uneventful half-hour, and before I knew it, I was greeting Kay as he picked me up at the station. We went back to his house briefly so we could both change into proper workout gear, and so I could do the most important thing...
Meet Zeus. 😍😍😍
Zeus (English Staffordshire) had just had his first birthday, and even if he hadn't, Auntie Meg is not showing up empty-handed. I had found a bear with an American flag cape at PetCo, and carted it all the way to England in my suitcase, and then carted it around Bristol all day in my backpack.
Kay was babysitting another Staffie, a five-month-old named George.
|Look at this handsome booooyyy.|
|Zeus has the most expressive face.|
Kay has a weekly spin class on Fridays, so when I planned my visit, I told him, "I want to come!" I had taken one of his spin classes way back on the Regal, so I knew I was in for a hard workout, and also some fun.
|I snuck a pic of Kay before the class.|
Let it be known, that even recovering from COVID and still feeling the effects of jet lag, I kicked butt in that class. Aside from the fact that the seat was painful on my derrière, I kept up with every sprint, every push-up, every "you want us to what?!" Kay threw out there. Everyone was laughing and good-naturedly complaining.
|George took Zeus' spot. At one point,|
Zeus let out the most long-suffering
sigh I've ever heard from a dog.
It was marvelous to see Kay in person, and not through a Zoom screen. Since I met him on the ship, we've always found plenty to talk about, and I'm glad for my weekly workouts with him and his encouragement to keep my workout goals going. I've watched through Zoom as he's raised Zeus from tiny puppy to bigger puppy (haha), and it was lovely to finally get to scratch those ears and love on him.
I was back in London by noon, where I had a quick lunch before returning to my hotel, where I napped for a few hours. This was the one day of my trip where I allowed myself some lazy time to catch up after five days of travel and exploring. I was now about halfway through my trip, and I would need my energy.