My intention on the first rest day was twofold. First, the new bike was due to have its bedding-in service at Condor, who are based in London and second, I was hoping to get the opportunity to visit the offices of shipping companies and asscociated service companies. The former was accomplished easily enough, but efforts to find anyone who would welcome a tin-rattler were fruitless. Landlords who dont permit charity callers, company policies that dont permit strangers into the working areas all were wheeled out to justify saying "Sorry but..." Quite depressing, as was my visit to HQS Wellington, home of the Honorable Company of Master Mariners of which I am a member. Timing my arrrival to coincide with the start of a Wardens' meeting wasnt great, but I might have been better received had I been selling the Big Issue. Depressing.
On a much brighter note, having the opportunity to visit AOS and catch up with events gives renewed hope. Volunteers (See pic) who were immersed in the stuffing of envelopes to AOS supporters - 14,000 in total - gave me a generous welcome. It's worth mentioning that some of these lovely people who have a genuine care for the welfare of seafarers even braved the ordeal of the London tube strike to come in to HQ.