The young custom’s officer at Gatwick is very pleasant.
“Dick Headley! Is it really you!!? I’m a fan.”
“Oh yes Mr. Headley. I’ve been following your blog for years. Welcome to the UK. How are things in BVI?”
“I’m a bit worried about Millie to be honest.”
“My boat. Oscar wants to use her.”
“I’m sure it will all work out Mr. Headley.”
“Thanks.” I say. When I left Oscar was installing a swivel gun on Millie’s bow. No point in going into detail about that. If he reads the blog he’ll know all about Blackjack and the treasure. I pick up my bag and it’s off to the Gatwick Express and London for me.
The Gatwick Express has changed a lot over the years. Used to be Southern railways, then British Rail now it looks like something out of Star Wars. Same bunch of passengers more or less, quite a few English people. Not that anybody talks much, they’re all texting. This is the Brighton Line.
Outside the view is much as I remember….fields, trees, brick houses. It reminds me of beatnik days on Brighton beach. It also reminds me of the time I went to East Grinstead with William Burroughs. He wanted to check out Scientology and needed someone to help him navigate. Poor old William was a bit intimidated by the English way of doing things. Just buying a train ticket was traumatizing for him.
Horley, Redhill, Croydon, Clapham Junction, Metempsychosis….the stations rattle by. William went this way. Not on this actual train obviously but perhaps using the same set of rails. How long do rails last anyway? Hang on I’ll check. (40 years seems average but it depends on the amount of traffic and the quality of the steel). OK so maybe the rails have been changed but the scenery is similar.
William did manage to get down on his own to that event Mick Farren organized somewhere near Hove if I recall. Phun City. It was one of the first pop festivals and a total fiasco. I’ll post an excerpt if you like.