Yes, you've guessed it. I'm not actually travelling any more but writing this blog from memory. A year later! My photos serve as a guide. Will I ever finish this log of my travels? Eventually. But in a sense I'm still travelling. I pulled up stumps in Sydney recently and moved to London, so much did these travels influence me. But I will try to recall the rest of these voyages - the next 40 odd days in fact, before moving on to my pilgrim's progress in the big smoke that is London.
Day 24 was a quiet day - initially.
After sending my affairs back to Sydney, I wander around aimlessly, as is my wont, until I enter Dublin's famous Temple Bar district. I pick the nearest random pub, plug myself into a chair, and listen to the successive folk musicians who play upon the stage to an audience who can both drink, chat and listen at the same time - all with respect. Songs range from love of Dublin, love of history, love of love and each musician strums with heartfelt emotion and total absorption in their art.
During a break between musicians I drag out my notebook and begin jotting the day's memories. I notice a young girl with brown hair and a neat curved fringe doing what surely is the same thing. I summon the courage to approach her. She is from Normandy, her English is sparse but commendable, and she more than wants to talk. She is pretty (is anyone from France not?), even with the yellow overlapping teeth, and very sweet in the way she searches for English words - "What is it I want to say? Ah, arrgh, drat! drat. Nevermind."
My delightful chat with this welcoming French girl - and we must have talked for at least an hour - is cut short, because I query a couple of blokes buying some creamy looking shots. "What are those?"
"They're good. Want one?"
Only fate knows if this was a good or bad decision. I agree, and they join our party. I have lost the exclusive company of Chloe, but gained a creamy shot.
They are from all over the place - one is from Italy, one from Spain and one is Irish with impeccable French. He and Chloe converse in total fluency for a while. The trio are beta-testers, and not for business programs. They have the job that many of us lads would sell our soul for - testing computer games. Work comes and goes, but at the moment they are trying to break a first person shooter. How fun would that be? Spending your day trying to run through walls, blast pipes with a BFG, falling 100 feet just to make sure you die.
Everyone goes outside for a cigarette. Everyone in this group smokes. I join them. After all, I am a social smoker! Even if that means I'm sometimes having a social cigarette ... by myself. The conversation continues over beer barrels for tables. Another guy, travelling alone, joins us. He is from Germany, has massive black hole earrings, tattoos on neck, arms and legs, facial piercings. He is an alternative dude who is soft and sweet. Chloe takes an instant liking to him. Later on I find them inside, legs interlocked, deep in shallow conversation. If only I hadn't agreed to that shot.
Last drinks are called and we all part amicably. Chloe and I agree to meet tomorrow. She hasn't seen the Guinness Storehouse and I have an extra day on my ticket. We'll meet at the statue of Daniel O'Connell, 10:30 tomorrow morning.