Segments - 12 - Heading East

01 - Meeting Her

02 - The Services

03 - Exeter Hotel

04 - Christmas

05 - New Year

06 - The Old Man

07 - Why He Started

08 - Cambridge

09 - Norwich

10 - The Party

11 - Millau

12 - Heading East

13 - Nice in Nice

14 - Making Progress

15 - Revelations

16 - Doubts

17 - The Connection

18 - Levelling

19 - Space

20 - Finale

France eh? Clem in France. It's like being in the UK for the most part. Roads, check, cars and lorries, check, houses, check, billboards and shops, check, towns, check, countryside, check. They all drive on the wrong side of the road though. Weird. Getting a lift has proven just a tiny bit easier, the French seem that little bit more open to the idea. There is the possibility that he's a foreigner and that makes him a more "interesting" proposition. Although he doesn't speak the lingo at least he's trying, and the French appreciate that.

It's been 2 days since he sent the email and the parcel. He's a little more relaxed about it now. The rain has kept off and one trucker who gave him a lift pointed him to the services. It seems as long as you ask most major services will let you camp nearby and use the facilities. Wow! That's a departure from the UK for sure. He's spent 2 nights under canvas. It's rained a little but thankfully not the deluge that greeted him last week. He's feeling good. He's clean, fed, alive, healthy and on the road - in another country! May it be the first of many.

This morning he wakes up to the sound of the motorway and a light shower on the tent. It's getting tired now, this tent. He boots the tablet, connects to the service's wifi and plans to spend an hour or two blogging the exciting news that he's no longer in the UK. OK, it's still not Madagascar or Peru, but at least he's out of the UK. Ooooh, email.

The first one that's not spam is a tweet from @tgsadventures, her. T.G.S, Tabitha Goodier, "S"? Nope, he can't work out what the "S" is for. It simply reads "Give me your location, then stay there. Missing u". Missing u? That's a novel idea. She's missing him. His vanity imagines her sat at home, clasping her hands and pining for him, wondering where her great lover has gone. His pragmatic mind wonders what she's up to and what she might be after.

More spam then one from David. He feels sick again as he clicks it. Oh god, what's he going to say. Urgh. Shit. Crap. Here goes.

"Hello from David. Received your parcel this morning. Very thorough report, leaflets and brochures in the post a good touch. Impressed. Extra details required - contacts at Millau Viaduct visitors centre. Looking for guided tour. Can you help?"

Wow! Have I pulled it off? "Impressed" is good. Oh crap, never got the visitor centre details. Pants. He feels both elated and a failure at his gaping omission. He sits for a while then forms on idea. Yes, it might work. He looks up the hotel at Millau on the tablet then finds a payphone in the services. "Maurice? C'est Clem, oui, Angleterre, Can you help?" Never, ever, make enemies. Maurice will get some contact details from the visitor centre, email them to Clem and Clem will pass them on to David. It's Clem's turn to be gushingly thankful.

He tweets back to @tgsadventures "A7/E15 Montelimar Services, u coming?" So, it looks like he'd better stay here a while longer. No matter, he really ought to get this blog up to date. Good job he's hooked into the wifi at the services.

Typing on the tablet really is a bind, especially after using the real keyboard. There's so much to report and after a couple of hours the tablet tells him it's going flat. Damn! Another problem too, he'd used Maurice's charger in the French plug sockets. Even if he can find somewhere to plug in he's only got a UK charger. Double damn.

Money is an unusual thing. He's managed to get by these last 2 years with barely a pittance. Now he's got this credit card. Now, well hopefully, he's expecting £500 sometime soon. He's not going mad but he is spending more than he usually would. In the services he purchases a new French charger and some biscuits as a well done treat. He then feels guilty for spoiling himself, wasting money and cheekily plugging in the charger at the cafe.

Clem spends his time on the charging tablet trying to learn more French. Then his mind wanders and he finds himself looking at Google maps, wondering where to go and what to do. There's a part of him that feels as though he should go back to the UK, there's work there, there's friends there and the safety of familiarity. But then that's chickening out. He's explored the UK although there's still much to learn. But this is his chance isn't it? Shouldn't he grab it with both hands?

Then there's her. He feels a stirring in his loins for a moment then excitement, he recalls the progress he's made in unravelling her mystery. I wonder how long she'll be? How long should I wait? Should I confront her with what I've learned? No, nope, she'll just be upset and sulk. He want's the full picture. Maybe that's a reason to go back to the UK. Maybe he's looking for excuses to go back to the familiarity of the UK.

It's evening, it's already dark and the rain is back with vengeance. It's cold too. He's back inside the services but now he's starting to feel as though some of the staff are staring at him, wondering why he's been there so long. He hopes she turns up soon and whisks him away to some warm swish hotel because a night in the tent is going to be a wet experience. He smiles as he remembers the super sleeping bag, there's always that isn't there.

There's no sign of her. It's getting late so he takes the soggy walk back to the tent. Getting undressed in the cramped space is something he's done many times but tonight it seems duller, wetter and darker than ever. He wonders if it's time to give up this travelling malarkey. He's feeling down tonight. And that bitch has kept him hanging around all day. Stay there she said. For how long? An hour, a day, a week?

She likes to be tied up and dominated, but she's the one calling all the shots in this affair. He can't call her and tell her to stay there can he! He can't track her location. He can't arrange for Anton to take parcels to her. Bitch. Maybe he'll go back to the UK, go back up north, go back to that house and stand there knocking on the door and demand answers.

Up north? Why...why does she have a house up north? She's not lived there long if the house was only rented out last summer. She's connected to Cambridge. She probably originates from Cambridge. Her accent is...well...what is her accent? It's not northern but its not southern either. Neutral. Damn that woman! Oh for fucks sake I've just brought a load of mud into the tent from my boots. It takes him a while to clean up as best he can. Everything is wet. It's cold. It's dark. Even the torch is going flat. Just when you thought it can't get any worse, it can. The rain lashes the tent even harder.

He misses Mandy. Her positivity would have seen him through. She'd be there with him, laughing through the rain. She never seemed troubled. She never seemed down. Pffft, who's he trying to kid. She was a real person with real problems. Family problems, skeletons in the closet and once upon a time before he met her she had a prescription drug addiction that he always felt she could easily fall back into. He knows he has put her on a pedestal and yet he still remembers that smile, that laugh in the face of adversity and her wanton lust for life.

He forces a laugh. It makes no logical sense to him but it makes him feel better. He forces a smile and this helps too. It takes a while for the sleeping bag to warm up but when it does the world is a better place. He lies there and starts to masturbate. He imagines Mandy in his mind's eye dressed in her short chequered skirt and big soft pink fluffy jumper. She looked so sweet and innocent. Then as they'd squashed up to the bustling bar of a nightclub she'd whispered "Rub my bum" which he did. This sweet looking lady being felt up in public and grinning at him. Bad girl!