Jacqueline and I landed back into Heathrow around midday on New Years Eve. We took the now familiar route on the train back up to Cambridge without much incident. Though we were both tired from the journey, the jet lag was still trying to keep us awake, making it possible to celebrate the New Year. So we went along to Joanna and Danny’s house to their party, along with several other friends from Cambridge. It was a fun evening, culminating in watching the London countdown on the television.
For me, it was going to be a relatively short week, as I would be leaving again on Sunday. In the meantime, it was a chance to do some cleaning and getting things in order. Notably, I needed to get some expensive replacements. For one, my tennis racquet had bent and warped sometime after the Inter-universities tournament back in November, so that needed replacing. Secondly, I had broken a spoke on my bike whilst climbing up Cheddar Gorge in Somerset. After giving it thought, I had decided that my wheels had clocked up enough miles over the years, and the constant snapping of spokes probably meant they were due for replacement. So I went along to my preferred bike store to get a new pair, and spent the afternoon installing them and replacing and tuning my gear cables. Additional motivation came from the fact that I had planned a lot of cycling in Italy over the rest of the month, and so didn’t want to be stranded in the middle of Tuscany without a hope of getting back home.
The last thing before jetting off again was a visit to Cambridge by the Dutch real tennis team. They tried to recruit me to their team owing to my surname, but I instead played against them in a singles and a doubles match. They were all incredibly friendly people and a joy to play against on court. There is no real tennis court in the Netherlands, and a plan to restore an old court near The Hague seemed to have fallen through. After playing, I went home, packed up my bike and bags and waited for the coach to Heathrow in the early hours of the morning.