Abraham Lincoln is credited with having said that if given three hours to chop a tree he would spend the first two sharpening his axe.
The extended period between my leaving drinks (16th of February) and my departure for Hadrian's Wall (16th of March!) owed less to such lofty pronouncements on the importance of good planning than to my own slothful nature, compounded by no little apprehension that I wasn't ready with some visa frustration thrown in for good measure.
Nevertheless with a parental bon voyage and a quick cycle from Loughton to Bethnal Green I found myself in a now empty bath house flat, double checking my kit and eagerly awaiting an 06:15 train.
Awake at 05:00 and away by 05:15 I took the city road to Kings Cross I was feeling smugly ahead of time until i was rudely awoken from my complacency by a careening refuse truck which overtook and the cut-me-off hitting my front right pannier and sending me sprawling onto the pre-dawn tarmac.
After chasing the truck down the road in vain (whilst shaking my fist and turning the air blue) I returned to my poor bike to find no harm done except for a broken pannier clip. An increasingly farcical attempt to secure the pannier to the rack with bungee cords only led to one bungee cord breaking and yet more blue air as I became increasingly concerned about missing my train. After 10 minutes of faffing around I decided to simply sling the darn thing over my shoulder and proceed post-haste.
Alas, I arrived just in time to see my train pulling out from the station. Not the smooth start I'd had in mind. i was then refused entrance to the next train by a particularly officious guardswoman due to my bike not having a valid reservation for this later train.... Aaaaaargh
My morning was saved by a platform attendant who, having over heard and taken pity on my whinging about having had a bad morning, took it on himself to get me and the bike on the next train for no extra charge despite being at the end of a 10 hour over night shift.
Faith in humanity restored it was off to Wylam via Newcastle.