So today was my last day at Spot X, more than likely for ever. Considering I have spent over 3 months of my 9 months in Australia at that place, I will always regard it as pretty special. Some of the friends I have made there I will probably keep in contact with, to some extent, for the rest of my life. I have met people there from all round the world, but due to the number of Europeans the chances of meeting up to to on trips or to surf is pretty high!
I woke up about 6am in GHQ with the most horrendous hangover, and felt like I had been through 10 rounds with Mike Tyson. As I wasn't really meant to be in GHQ and would have got Lorraine in trouble if I was caught, I got up and went to see if I could sneak some breakfast. Fortunately not many people were about, so I got some food and hid in the movie room with some of the others as a film was already on.
Having struggled through some food I saw Jordan and Jimmy doing an academy lesson down at the beach, so I thought I might as well join them. It was the start of a really hot day so it was lovely to be in the water. The surf was about 1ft and clean, so catching a few on a foamie was fun, although my balance was pretty humerous. Afterwards I just sat on the beach drying off in the sun and chatting to the boys about some of the mad stuff that went down last night. It seems loads of the others randomly starting drinking too, and some funny things happened. One of which was Jordan diving head first through a giant game of Jenga, resulting in a huge lump and a cut on his head!
My memory was pretty patchy but at least I wasn't in as bad a state as Daveo, who I had shared a box of Goon with. He had ended up doing the 'zombie walk' try to get back to his cabin, making it as far as Academy deck and passing out on the sofa! What was even funnier was he was still half cut giving a lesson this morning, and running about like a mad man!
Having come up from the beach and was feeling a bit better I had just chilled about for a while, then Dan finished his lesson. He suggested we went for a surf somewhere, so we went off round to Mullaway.
When we got there it was about 2ft and clean, and it just looked so inviting as it was a lovely hot clear day. We surfed for an hour and a half, and caught a couple of fun ones, but it actually felt strange to be surfing on a short board again after a fair while since I had last used it.
When we got out we went up to the really good Burger shop in Mullaway, where Dan shouted me a burger for lunch as he knew I'm completely skint. It was really good to just have a catch up with him and see what he had to say about what it's like spending so much time at camp and what's going to happen when he gets home etc. One thing is for sure, it'll be absolutely awesome to catch up with him and the others in Bali next year!
When we got back to camp I went round saying my goodbyes to everyone. It was worse than doing it the time before, as I knew I wouldn't ever be coming back. After you get to know people so quickly on a week it's pretty horrible having to just basically cut them off when you leave. The obvious fact I'm unlikely to ever see Spot X again after driving away was real surreal too..
From camp it was to be about a 6 hour journey up to Queensland. My hangover had pretty much gone with the burger for lunch, other than a slight headache and funny stomach. What I hadn't expected to be hit but such extreme tiredness so quickly. After an hour or so I was fighting to keep myself alert as I was just cruising along the almost deserted highway. I had been drinking water and snacking to try and stay awake, but after about 2/3 hours I had to stop for fuel anyway so it was a good point to buy some Red Bulls.
I pulled into the servo and popped open the fuel cap etc from in the car just like all the other times. However I was rubbing my face in tiredness and as I climbed out the car I forgot to take the keys out the ignition. I filled up the car, payed for the fuel and drinks, then got back to realise I didn't have my keys, I could see them inside. I then found I have popped the lock on the car closed, just on Auto Pilot. Trying to suppress a bit of rising panic I walked round the car checking all the door handles...to find I was completely locked out. Perfect!
With absolutely no idea what to do, I went back inside the shop and explained my predicament to the bloke in there.
Long story shot I was unbelievably to find the mechanic from the garage next door was wandering about, just about to leave. I asked him for help, and he went off to see a mate, came back 5 minutes later with a contraption which looks like you take blood pressure with it. He slipped the bag between the car fame and the door, pumped it open enough to get a piece of metal wire down to the lock and popped it open, 2 minutes flat! Now I don't know if he is a part time car thief or what, but I couldn't have cared any less as he saved my arse big time; I had images of me driving down the highway with a window smashed out!
Having offered him some beers for his troubles, I was on my way again. Relief doesn't quite cut it!
The rest of the journey went without mishap, the Red Bulls worked their magic and I was 'home' just after 7pm (8pm NSW daylight savings time). It was noticeably warmer up here even at that time in the evening.
Being back at the house I had spent so much time with was so strange! Having caught up with all the family (apart from Digs away on a school trip) it was very strange; in a way it felt like I had never been away, but on the other hand it felt like an age since I had sat down and eaten dinner with them (which entirely by coincidence I arrived just in time for!).
After dinner I discovered the parcel Mum had sent me over from the UK in the post. It had heaps of presents in, and although I couldn't open them as they were Birthday Day and Christmas ones, it was still exciting to see I had some! There was also a postcard and presents from Alison and Neil Parker, which was a really nice surprise. Neils postcard was full of the standard humour you come to expect from him, and made me realise how long I have been away, and how long it's been that I have turned up at Ed's house!
Everyone seemed to be really tired, not least me, so crashed not long after dinner, about 9pm. 'My' room has also completely changed since I left - there is now a double bed in there rather than the single before, and they are going to put a TV in there to make it into a sort lounge about room the kids can use.
I got into bed and knew straight away I was in for my best sleep since I had left a couple of months earlier, just marginally better than being in the car!
(Photo - A photo of one of the Groms from last night, who got even more drunk than the rest of us for my last night!).