I've decided that there is no way I wish to winter in Britain so I briefly visit friends in Dorset, Wimbledon and Chiswick. In central London storm clouds are gathering over St Paul's catherdral near to where I once earned an honest crust - it really is time to move on.
It takes longer than expected to get visas, inoculations, malaria pills, maps & guides, replacement gear, lap-top software, flights and an itinerary planned before I head off to foreign climbs. When I was last in Nepal I said I would return and so I will.
Monday 7 November: Overnight flight to Delhi, swish recently opened Metro from Indira Gandhi Airport to New Delhi station and the international reservation office on the first floor (Paharganj side) to reserve a 2nd class sleeper on the 20:25 Gorakdam Express to Gorakhpur, the railhead for Nepal, a short bus ride to the border town of Sunauli. Once formalities are complete and I'm on the Nepal side, a shave and cold beer are a treat while I await the 8:00pm night bus to Kathmandu.
Monday 10: Arriving in Kathmandu's new bus station at 6:00am it's a taxi ride to Durbar Square and a short walk around the corner into Jhochhen (Freak Street) where my hotel of choice, Annapurna Lodge, is full but Century Lodge, opposite, has a slightly more basic room with a small balcony and free wifi. It's chillier than I expected here and there's lots I need to do: TIMS (Trek Information Management System) permit, visa extension and hire some extreme weather gear from Shona's in Thamel. This all goes rather smoothly but the local ATMs limit me to 15,000 Rupees a day (about £150) so it will take three days to accumulate enough cash to last me a month or more in the mountains.
Tuesday 11: Following an uncomfortably cold night last night, tonight I climb into a four-season goose-down sleeping bag which should cover me down to minus 15 degrees Celsius, heavenly.
Monday 14: I head to the City Bus Park (old bus station) near the tourist office to catch the 6:00am bus eastwards to Jiri (pronounced 'cheery') at the start of the original trekking route to Everest base camp. My lap-top remains in Kathmandu.
Pictures from rural England to Kathmandu.