Tuesday 26 August 2008


Blubberwatch had been going really well, losing on average about 3lbs per week. However, pride comes before a fall and so I was undone by a "showcase". This is where record companies get the chance to present artists on the BBC premises and provide a light buffet. Last week I went to see Eleanor McEvoy. I am a huge fan of hers and have been for years so I wasn't going to miss this. The point was I arrived early and hungry.

Just as the saying goes : "The fastest car on the road is the hire car", so it goes also: "The tastiest food is the free food". Eleanor was terrific and I stood there with my glass of sparkling mineral water leaning on the bar next to a huge plate of assorted sandwiches. When I next looked round, half of them had gone. So when it came to "Blubberwatch Weigh-in Day" which is a Thursday, instead of a further loss of 3lbs, I only managed a measly 1lb. A mite disappointing as I had hoped to be approaching the 12st 7lbs mark by now. Perhaps this coming Thursday.

On Friday, I got to do an extra show. "The Weekender", Radio 2's weekly arts show is normally presented by Claudia Winkleman. She was off doing the TV that night so the BBC, casting around for someone equally attractive asked me to do it. This is a fun show as it is totally different to what I do normally. Actor Bill Patterson was a guest and a top bloke talking about his early life in the Glasgow tenements. There was talk of film and books and the Edinburgh Festival. I made sure I wore my reading glasses for this as it made me look more intelligent.

When the show finished at midnight, Mark the producer and I were wondering what to do next as everything would be shut in London, wouldn't it???

Just then a text flooded in from a mate of ours who was in a bar just down the street. Did we fancy a quick drink before it shut at 1am? All this culture had made us thirsty so the answer had to be YESSSSS!!

It was a side street dive bar with two floors. The top floor had a bar and loud music. Downstairs had a dance floor and even louder music.

As you know, Alex Lester does not dance under any circumstances. So I drank my drink, bellowed conversation with my friends and tapped my foot approvingly. Come one o'clock it was chucking out time so we were out on the street when someone remembered a club a short walk away. Off we went and paid an extortionate charge and went down the stairs. It was effectively a long room with a raised stage at one end and the very important toilets at the other. A bar ran the length of the room. The DJ was playing a fairly eclectic mix of music. I sipped my drinks and tapped my foot approvingly. Then some strange force overpowered me.....

I hopped, I jumped. I pulled shapes. I moshed, I frugged, I twisted to the Beatles, I headbanged to Status Quo. All in all I was putting out some moves.

Next thing you know it was 3.30am. So what to do next? Mmmm, food was required so we trooped off down to Soho and shovelled plates of Chinese food down ourselves.

It was five o'clock when I finally got back to the flat and fell into a dreamless sleep, my ears ringing slightly from the battering they taken from the music. Five hours later I was awake and I spied something very odd on the floor. At some point during the evening I appear to have swapped shoes with Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz or at least a close friend of hers. Not quite ruby slippers, but I had sparkly sandals. Closer examination showed them to be my shoes with the soles encrusted with bits of broken glass. I had danced my way through a floor covered in broken shot glasses. Also checking my trusty pedometer it looked like I had Watusied about 8 miles overnight.

Saturday evening and with some friends we went off to see an Australian comedian who has a character based on a genuine Oz gangster called "Chopper Read". There was even a film made about him. We had been alerted to his act by a friend who had seen a lot of his stuff on "YouTube". If you are easily offended don't go anywhere near him. Put it this way, the show was called; "Harden the F*** up! Make Deads**** history!. He was brilliant and had us weeping with laughter. We wisely sat halfway back, not wanting to be picked on in case of any audience involvement. Three hapless audience members were not quite so lucky. To see the four of them on stage acting out a TV script he had written which involved the two women having a fight and having to call each other every single rude word they could think of and then some more was worth the price of admission alone. It is odd how we find a selection of letters in some order shocking and crude yet when the letters are made into other words they cause no offence at all.

All in all a great, and for me – spontaneous - weekend. Look forward to more like it.

Tuesday 19 August 2008


It was time for another of our nerdy-night anorak DJ meetings on Friday last. I was ‘curator’ which is a posh way of being the bloke that books the restaurant. My reason for using this term, as I’ve mentioned on the show, was that Morrissey was described thus when he suggested the turns for the Meltdown Festival in London not so very long ago. This seemed a simple enough thing to do. Go into a modest street corner eaterie and say to the manager: "Can I book a table for between 20 and 30 people for Friday 15th August please?" I then emailed and phoned a load of blokes and women who work in radio and tv and sat back and waited for the day.

A few people replied saying they couldn't make it. However - and this I think is why I’ve never really done ‘parties’, is where the stress starts to build up. Closer to the day a trickle of people started to say they couldn't make it after all. Then by the day it was becoming a deluge. I had visions of sitting in a deserted restaurant having to choff my way through spaghetti for 30 as I had paid in advance.

Luckily however there were still enough to make a good turn out and some who weren't able to stay for the meal came and had a few drinks before the chow. We had DJ's from Hull, DJ's from Barnsley, DJ's from Blackpool, DJ's from Birmingham and even DJ's from London. There were women in the shape of DJ's girlfriends and women DJ's, there were self employed DJ's who ran their own companies that provided DJ's for the radio industry. There was even a TV announcer. We’d asked him along so he could do the closedown announcement.

"Well thank you for turning up and eating and drinking too much this evening. From all of us here a very good night....goodnight! However he’d forgotten to bring his recording of the national anthem to be played over slides of daffodils in the park.

We talked about… erm, DJ stuff and ate and drank and everyone was busy shouting to make themselves heard. In the morning I was hoarse as I expect everyone else was through trying to get to the punchline of your particular anecdote before another DJ butted in trying to top it with one of their own.

If this doesn't sound like much fun......it is. However you have to keep your wits about you to nip in quick with your tale. I think for the next one where we’re going to hit Manchester; it would be a good idea to run it like a panel game. We’d have fingers on the buzzers so we would have to wait our turn to speak. Failing that we could do it like a Presidential press conference and someone (The curator?), could point to the person so they could do their bit before the baying mob drowned out the last and most important part of the story.

Fell into bed at about "fifteen big minutes past the hour of 1 o'clock" - (this is the trouble with one of these events!) Luckily it was fairly well behaved without any of the blokes trying to "pull the trigger" on any of the lady broadcasters err "45's"

Saturday and my mate "Libidoboy" turned up. I had a couple of tickets for Van Morrison at Kenwood house in London's Hampstead. Now, as most of his waking moments are spent thinking of women, this means the man doesn't always listen to the directions. It was a warm afternoon so we decided to walk there which was only about three miles from my flat. I had said "It’s an outdoor picnic type event and we’ve been allocated seats in the deckchair area right up the front." When we got there he turned to me and said: "where is the auditorium?" then said, “If I’d known it was outside I would have brought my jacket!"

"What part of “it’s an outside picnic concert and we have deckchairs” gave you the idea it was going to be an ‘indoor gig?’ "I thought you were joking" he said. I left him searching for women whilst I went and got a couple of plastic cups of free cider. There was a special sponsorship thing going on with an upmarket cider manufacturer. We had a couple of free glasses of the stuff - one red and the other more normal. I’m not really a cider fan but the important word 'FREE' makes all the difference to a cheapskate like me. I had to pour it away as it was so sweet. My teeth are still protesting.

The weather forecast had said rain but it held off right to the very end of the concert. The only storm was a woman a few seats further up who took exception to something a bloke behind her was doing. She stood up and yelled at him so loudly that I thought I detected a tremor in Van's voice and maybe he took a pace or two back from the front of the stage. Libidoboy thought she was ‘passionate’.

Great band. He did all the songs we know and love and the whole thing was being filmed for a DVD. Security was quite heavy handed though with people being roundly ticked off for taking pictures or standing in the wrong place. Never seen him before and people had told me he could be somewhat variable and also irritable. He only spoke once as he strapped on his ukulele when he said: "George Formby's greatest hits.” This I think meant he was in a good mood. The signs said he would play until 9.30 and that is exactly what he did. He left the stage midway through a great rendition of ‘Gloria’ and then the rain started. You don't get between songs chat or thunderflashes and lasers with Van Morrison but you do get some great songs and an ace band.

It was now dark and we filed, bleating quietly like sheep, out of the park just following the others through the trees in the dark until after about 10 or 15 minutes walk we ended up somewhere or other which had a welcoming pub with huge screens showing a Police and Eric Clapton gig. Rain stopped so we carried on our way thinking we would find a Tube or a bus. At 2am after several pubs, packets of crisps, one sausage roll (shared) and several more pints, we were in Camden Town, a short bouncer throw from the flat. After being refused entry to the last venue - (They said it was because it was closing time. We think it might be because we looked too old and unfashionable), got back home at a quarter to three. Went to bed and as usual woke at 6am...doh!

Decided to walk to Primrose Hill and then back via Chalk Farm and Camden after a healthy juice related breakfast. The view from the hill of the landmarks of the capital was pretty impressive. However one nagging uncertainty. Had the the diet been ruined by the beer and the crisps and the fry up on Saturday morning. Or had the walking served to burn off the extra calories?

Week 3 of "Blubberwatch" and I am delighted to say I have lost another 3lbs. The 13st barrier has been cracked and now I am a mere 12st 11lbs. So ‘just’ 2 stone to go.

Tuesday 12 August 2008


So week two of the new improved healthy lifestyle continues. Calorie counting and walking a lot seems to be doing the trick so far, but the only problem seems to be actually weighing myself.

I have the scales and have worked out that placing them on a hard surface knocks nearly half a stone off, which is a very good start as I was 14st 2lbs when standing on carpet, but I’m a sylph like 13st 7 when on a wooden floor. Last week I’d lost 3lbs and I’ve lost the same again this week, so I’m heading in the right direction as I’m now on the cusp of 13 stone!

There is little dignity in it though. I refuse to weigh myself after the weekend as I know I eat and drink more when I’m not working, so I try and hang on until Thursday morning after I’ve finished the show and had a sleep which is when I think I will be lightest.

Being a cheapskate as you know, I opted for the cheapest scales I could find. Although a good make the ‘economy’ version skimps slightly on the readout. Even with a magnifying glass over the dial it’s difficult to see. So how do you get an accurate reading? I pondered this for a while until the solution presented itself: Binoculars!

Before my recent US trip, the London Evening Standard was giving away free binoculars at the news stands near Lords Cricket ground. So passing by one day I snaffled a pair with the "They will surely come in useful one day" mindset that all hoarders have.

So picture the scene (actually on second thought don't). Me, naked in the hallway of my flat, peering at the readout of the scales, though a small pair of plastic binoculars. Is there anything less dignified do you think?

Problem was that being short they wouldn’t focus that close and exchanging them for my reading glasses didn’t help either, as then the dial was too far away. I decided against knocking on a neighbour’s door and asking them to read it for me as I don't know them that well! Eventually with supreme effort, and a slight stoop, I read the result. Encouraging - but there’s still two stone to go. I expect the weekly loss to lessen as that’s what people tell me.

The brisk walking regime is paying dividends as well. After the show I tend to walk back through the park and often walk back to the office later in the day - a round trip of nearly 4 miles. However I think the pedometer needs calibrating as my stride length can't be right since it’s being spectacularly optimistic regarding the distance travelled. On Thursday my mate Simon (Libidoboy - as he always seems off to meet another girl and finds staying with me useful as he doesn't live in London), and I walked to Camden along the canal towpath in the pouring rain, then across Regents Park down through Soho and Trafalgar square and over the bridge to the Royal Festival Hall on the south bank of the Thames. According to the machine on my hip we had trudged more than 13 miles.

Walking through the park each day first thing in the morning is very relaxing and also you see the same people. There is the elderly, very bent lady, with two dogs and two sticks. There are the joggers, there’s the man doing Tai Chi which includes slapping himself about the face, (A low rent Max Moseley?) and haughty woman. She is attractive in a tight vest and tracksuit bottoms who strides past me, eyes front, and nose in the air. She resolutely refuses to catch my eye. Obviously I have the look of a dangerous loner!

There is also the wildlife. Well magpies and some very fat pigeons eating the berries. There are also squirrels - including the one pictured. It’s terribly tame and you can get up quite close as it goes about its squirrelly business.

Back at the flat and there is obviously something odd going on in the apartment opposite. Some days when I return there is an umbrella hanging from the door knob. Other days it is missing. You have suggested that it’s there simply because it has been raining and the owner didn't want to drip water in their accommodation. However one day it hadn't rained at all, so perhaps it was a sign for a clandestine affair rather like the old "OMO trick" - put the washing powder carton in the window to tell the lover, "Old Man Out". Or possibly it’s a safe house for a den of spies.

However you did point out that more probably it was "a device for baffling the idiot conspiracy theorist who lives opposite.”


The first week of the diet has been punctuated by bursts of frenzied walking and calorie counting but so far things seem to be going in the right direction. More on that later.
I am determined to have fun though.

I Went out with friends over the weekend to the Ashdown Forest in Sussex which is also Winnie the Pooh territory. We trudged around searching for "The Enchanted Place" (see picture). "Galleons Leap" and the famed Pooh sticks bridge.

We gathered our own sticks and the three of us set to. I approached it scientifically and had early success. Choosing the faster water and dropping the stick broadside to get as much current as possible pushing against it. Then my form failed. This was probably as much to do with the fact there were several tons of bits of wood wedged beneath the bridge as though a host of small Beavers had been attempting to build a dam. We gave up and went off for lunch and I opted for the less fattening chicken option, then ruined it by having pudding and cheese.

Talking to another friend that evening I mentioned that we had been to "Poohland". He scoffed - his face a mask of derision and opined; "oh a very middle class day out!". It was only later when I had gone home that I remember his parents used to live in house in Dorset that they named "Galleons Leap"" after The House at Pooh Corner. Hmm a whiff of hypocrisy methinks. I shall bide my time and remind him.

I’ve been walking across Regents Park in London in the sunshine after the show has finished and often retracing my steps later to come back to the BBC to sort stuff out during the day, or meet with friends. My trusty pedometer is showing that I am walking about 6 miles. This is nonsense. I think it needs to be recalibrated as I reckon it is only 3 miles in total. On Tuesday after doing a few household chores I decided to walk along the canal towpath and see where it took me. After about a quarter of an hour I ended up at Camden Lock all very bohemian with lots of second hand clothes and joss sticks. In fact just as I remembered it from my last visit in about 1977.

I’ve decided to hold off buying any new clothes until the target weight is achieved. Bearing in mind this may take some time, it’s going to be a race as I am pretty shabby already. I am going to look increasingly moth eaten so I’d better stick to the diet.

The towpath continued toward Islington which was all very attractive and it was also nice to see those towpath characters you get on the banks of canals the world over. Fishermen, cyclists, lovers and drunks guzzling ‘Special Brew’ in the sunshine. There’s also a fair amount of wildlife and some very odd noises emanating from the aviary at London Zoo. Ducks too - Thweet!

Thursday was not only weigh-in day but I decided to continue with my week of hedonistic pleasures so took myself off to the Excel in Docklands to see the ‘British Motorshow’. Not as grand as the ‘Motorshow’, it still had a lot of interesting concept vehicles. Green and Eco are the current buzzwords with vehicles made out of hemp. I still think that until electric cars can travel as fast and as far as fossil fuelled ones it is going to be an uphill struggle to convince buyers to invest.

Kept falling over kids photographing everything with their camera phones. As is usual with these events lots of "promotional" girls. "Excuse me madam you don't appear to be wearing a lot. Does this have positive effect on sales?" Each stand was a symphony of glass, perspex and chrome, as were the cars. Also, due to the kiddies they were covered in sticky fingerprints. So at least one person on each stand was detailed to dust things down and get the marks off each stand.

After spending a couple of hours there I decided to head back to Central London by riverbus. I walked to the terminal, bought a ticket and waited for the ferry. Three arrived at once and above the roaring of the diesels I didn't hear which one was going where. The matrix sign wasn't working so by the time I had worked out which one was the right one it had already departed. So I had to stand there like a lemon until the next one arrived. They could do with better signposting. It is an interesting trip though and gives a great, and little seen, view of London.

So what's the damage with "Blubberwatch"? Has my weight increased or decreased after the first proper week of dieting??

Initially 14st 2lbs until I realised the scales shouldn't be placed on a carpet, so it dropped to 13st 7lbs. After a week I have lost 4lbs to 13st 3lbs so am now heading in the right direction although it will take weeks if not months to achieve my target weight of around 11 stone.
I am determined. I have resolve. I am hungry


I decided when I got back from the US that the only way to lose weight was to go public, so you could shame me into losing it. After 4 weeks of fast food and slow metabolism, I knew that all was not well in the world of Lester's body. The "temple" was under severe strain.

The answer seemed to be to eat and drink less and go and take more exercise. This is obvious I know, but we (OK, I!) can manage to convince myself of nearly anything if it means not having to take positive action.

If there was an element of shame and exposure this can only be a good thing and the thought of shame and exposure has actually kept me on the straight and narrow for over 30 years in this industry. This has also kept me out of the papers. Shame really.

Perhaps if there’d been some coke and hookers revelations or "My booze Hell" that could have made me an ideal chat show guest. What better than to stagger about on late night TV with your shirt hanging out like Oliver Reed? Or to have your dungeon activities posted on YouTube? Is there such a thing as bad publicity??

So ‘My Chubber Shame’ is what I am concentrating on at the moment. Earlier this week I bought a set of scales and weighed myself. I was horrified to see that when the whirring of the machinery stopped I was a juddering 14st 2lbs. For a man who should be under 11stone this is not good news. Far worse than I first feared.

A friend of mine cheerily informed me that I now weighed more than Johnny Vegas. So the takeaway on a Friday has been axed as has most - but not all, of the beer. Perhaps you can advise if you have travelled this road. I reckon that if you go on an ascetic hard core lettuce and boiled water diet you will not stick to it.

I’m now calorie counting and I believe that if I aim to keep my intake around 1500 or fewer per day, of the right sort of stuff with low fats and lots of juice and vegetables, I may see some results without having to cheat like Fern Britton.

One of the advantages of being back in London is that it’s easy and a pleasure to walk everywhere. After the show I walk the mile and a half back to the flat through the park and often later in the day I walk back to work.

Went to see my dad and sister on Monday to show them the American Adventure pics. My brother in law wisely pleaded a prior engagement. I think he said he was washing his hair. My dad did start to nod off a couple of times as there are only so many pictures of the highway and trees and lakes that you can show and sustain interest. Every time I saw him beginning to drift I would have to raise my voice: "So this next picture, 243 out of the 500 I have to show you, is of the highway in WISCONSIN!!!" This would jerk him back to the present.

Whilst I was there I needed to visit the loo and decided to weigh myself on his scales. Astonishingly I was erm a ‘mere’ 13st 7lbs. Why the difference? Reading the instructions on my scales I realised that they were standing on carpet. This has some weird effect and makes them weigh heavier. So a quick adjustment and I now weigh a still horrifying 13st 6lbs.

Read next weeks thrilling instalment which I will type with these hopefully slightly less chubby fingers.

Another friend suggested I rename this blog ‘Blubberwatch’. I am out and I am proud. I am not ‘big-boned’, it’s not ‘hormones’ nor is it a ‘slow metabolism’. I eat too much!

It’s been a lot of fun on the show this week and as you know we do like to do odd things so it seemed a good idea to become a Guru and start our own cult. This, in common with others, means that we can fleece the gullible and get lots of sex. So each day we’ve been coming up with a totally nonsensical phrase which at first hearing sounds deep and profound but in reality means absolutely nothing at all.

I even wore my guru outfit on Thursday morning as you can see from the pic. So far however you’ve been a bit sharper than the rest and we’ve not received a single donation nor any offers or, err, ‘bodily comfort’. We live in hope.


Got back Saturday morning and found a lovely bunch of flowers that had been left by my friends Janine and Dusan.They’ve kindly been house-sitting for the last four weeks as they did last year. It’s great when this happens for two reasons. (A) You can travel with no worries and (B) you know when you get back the house will be cleaner than it was when you set out.

So now we get to the nerd bit. Janice Long has been teasing me about this fascination with statistics. However if you undertake an epic journey it’s nice to pull a few things together.

I reckon I travelled in total approximately 6294 miles from Los Angeles to New York as opposed 5247 last year. Although if you add in the 30 miles in a cab when I went to see Tom Waits in El Paso, it makes it more than 6300.

I hired a Chrysler Sebring Convertible this time as alas the hire company had run out of Mustangs. Not sure if it was any more economical but, as fuel has increased by 49% since last and I travelled further, my petrol bill was going to be more than last year. It cost me $856.62. So if we reckon the exchange rate was $1.94 to £1. End result -$441.56p.

I visited twenty States this time as opposed to eighteen on my last adventure

They were...in order...(stop sniggering this is important)



New Mexico











New York


New Hampshire



Rhode Island


The song title and lyrics that I used for the blog were:

"Leaving on a jet plane" John Denver

"From New York to LA" Patsy Gallant

"When the swallows come back to Capistrano" The Inkspots

3:10 to Yuma" George Duning (Sandy Denny did the most famous version)

"El Paso" Marty Robbins

"My Piano's been drinking" Tom Waits

"In these shoes" Kirsty MacColl

"Catfish Blues" Muddy Waters

"San Antonio Rose" Bob Wills

"Okie from Muskogee" Merle Haggard

"Crossroads" Robert Johnson

"Iowa" Dar Williams

"A Mighty Wind" Mitch & Mickey

"Love City. (Postcards to Duluth)" Peter Paul and Mary

"Cadillac Walk" Moon Martin

"My Michigan" Michigan State Song

"Ohio (Come back to Texas)" Bowling for Soup

"Shuffle off to Buffalo" 42nd Street

"Niagara Falls" Chicago

"Win.Place or Show" The Intruders

"Down Drinking at the Bar" Loudon Wainwright

"Rock Lobster" B52's

"I'm Shipping up to Boston" Dropkick Murpheys

"Summerfling" KD Lang

"Piano Man" Billy Joel

"Jet Airliner" Steve Miller Band


Less than a week before the next trip and I’m not sure that I am organised yet.

I had a busy time since the last blog. On Friday I went up to Birmingham for a night out with DJ's and radio production people including former colleagues at the Mailbox and a load of ‘Young Turks’ from the Commercial sector, who made me feel like a dinosaur with such choice phrases as "I used to listen to you when I was at school".

It was good fun though. Started off in a pub that was playing non-stop Pet Shop Boys and Erasure. An anatomically correct Teddy bear was nailed to the back of the bar just beneath the stuffed squirrels and there was a sing saying: "Very private room for hire". Wonder who their target clientele were?

By 2.00am things had deteriorated to remembering what label certain songs were on, colour of aforementioned label and the new Kid Rock single which is on the Radio 2 playlist which features bits of" Sweet Home Alabama" and the piano figure from Warren Zevon's ‘Werewolves of London’. Was it a sample or a re-recording someone asked? The ensuing argument raged for hours. Note to all right thinking people: If you ever find yourself in a bar next to loud voiced, conscientious men and women arguing about music, they are radio presenters. Finish your drink and leave quickly and quietly for your own safety, in case you get sucked into a discussion so tedious that you will attempt to gnaw your own elbows off. If you collect train numbers, football programmes or china elephants and find people think your hobby is rather sad, it isn't. Compared to the above you lead a rich and varied life. At last you have someone to sneer at!

On the Saturday went to Nether Heyford in Northamptonshire where I was kindly asked to open a new canal boat marina. I was made to feel very welcome and there was a good turnout. Got to cut the ribbon whilst aboard a spectacular narrowboat. I thought I’d exorcised the canal itch but it made me realised how much I missed the "Blue pig" and all the fun I had on it.

Gave a short (always the best way) but cheerful (well I did smiling and stuff) speech and then it was hog roast and beer time. A woman tottered up to me gave me a slobbery kiss and squeezed my bum. Result!

On Monday, a friend of mine came to stay in my flat and we went off to see Eric Bibb. I’ve long been a fan and have often played his music as part of the ‘library’ feature on the show. He was fantastic and the audience loved him. Once he’d got a good groove going, I found myself nearly wanting to dance he was that infectious. At one point he finished a number to rapturous applause and, when the clapping had died down, he said "can't let that one go" and proceeded to do another 3 or 4 choruses. If you get the chance, go see him. He also has a cracking band and the most wonderful drummer. Are we in the age of the minimalist drummer? I saw Willie Nelson the week his percussionist just had a snare. Eric's man had a snare a hi-hat and a cymbal which he played with brushes and his bare hands. Sublime!

That was a two hour sleep night but well worth it. Tuesday evening I went to a party which game me the chance to meet stars like Nicholas Parsons who was a true gentleman, John Waite from Radio 4, who I discovered listens to the show on his way into work every day and lovely Annie Nightingale from Radio 1. I was able to say to her: "I used to listen to you when I was at school.” I think she’s probably used to this by now but it just goes to show that everything is cyclical.

I’m now in the office making preparations for ‘American Adventure 2…The Return’, although you think that’s a naff title and it should be something more accurate like ‘American Adventure 2….The Fattening’. You’ve also suggested that I pack my kitchen table as luggage because I have a waking nightmare of being high over the Atlantic and realising that I’ve left my drivers licence on the table at home.

I’m going to take very little stuff with me this time as that leaves more room for CD's - although you’ve already earmarked my luggage for packets of "Twinkies", postcards, a Shelby Mustang and/or sundry American car parts.

Lots of invites from friendly ex-pats and US citizens to ‘drop by’. As I’m not really sure which direction to take, I doubt I’ll be able to take anyone up on their offer. However, thank you for your kindness anyway.
The next time I blog, it will hopefully be from California. Should be an interesting trip and I hope you will follow me via the website, the map and the daily (ish) blog. I look forward to reading your comments from my motel room somewhere in the United States