The first leg of our journey is complete. We stayed in the Portsmouth area for three days while I (JP) completed a course to become an accredited level 1 anthropometrist. (If you want to know more about this course continue reading this paragraph, otherwise, skip to paragraph two). The course was a mix of lecture and lab with extensive training in land-marking for completing a variety of anthropometric measures (including body compositon) with precision yielding accurate and reliable results. I have bruises on my shoulders, hips and knees from other students prodding and poking as they learned to identify boney landmarks. The last day was an intensive timed practical exam using six models. We had to prove both intra- and inter- investigator reliability. The criterion method used for comparison was a Level 4 Anthropometrist. I passed! Now I need to complete 20 profiles to become fully accredited. Anybody want to know their somatotype or body composition?
Portsmouth was fantastic. The seaside town was slow for the most part as the unseasonable crappy weather (even for England) has kept the tourists to a minimum. My favorite memories of Portsmouth are the people I connected with through my conference, the awesome Indian and Spanish food, being near the sea and seeing the Olympic torch first hand! While I was confrencing, Jay assembled the bikes enabling us to navigate the suddenly huge crowds gathered to take part in the passing of the torch. Waiting for the torch to pass with the crowds of Englanders waiving their Union Jacks was fun. Bantering with motorcyle cops as they led the small parade of cars and sponsor buses preceeding the torch bearer was enlightening. Especially when the cops yell out to the crowd “you haven’t had enough? The torch will be at least 5 min, you still have time for a quick pint”. Being two feet from the Torch itself was an incredible emotional filled moment conjuring up a deep sense of history. A moment I won’t soon forget.
The Abbey Lodge B&B in SouthSea was acceptable lodging in the end. Although Linda, the lodge owner was a bit negative- the place was incredibly clean and well kept. Linda took great pride in her work and it showed. She stored our bikes in her living room (lounge) – which was very nice. We had to lock the bikes outside overnight on the last evening and they survived. The lodge is warm (perhaps a bit too warm at times), clean (very) and the beds were comfortable enough. The showers were hot and the full English breakfast was delightful and made to order. Linda even had vegetarian sausage! The lodge is close to lots of good restaurants, pubs and a theater. Overall, the Abbey Lodge met our needs and was very reasonably priced. Sure beats the nearly 150 pounds/night at the Holiday Inn.
Now we are relaxing on a train from South Hampton to Shrewsbury with a stop to change trains in Birmingham. The morning was a little hectic as we had to post a package of clothing and excess stuff to my cousin Alexa in London. We also had to pick up a letter with our GPS chip and make the train all within a timespan of an hour. Linda, the B&B owner, was sure that the post service would be trouble… because you just never know with the “Royal Mail”. We made it to the train with 15 minutes to spare- the Royal Mail were just fine on this day. Getting the bikes on and off the train can be a bit challenging- once we figured out the tricks we were golden. The key is finding the carriage with the bike symbol on it, reserving bike spots on the train and getting prepared to get off the train well before your stop.
Next up- castles and dragons in Wales!
Best Paella I have ever had…from Nicholson’s in Southsea.