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Forward: By John Brown I first met Irene one Enchanted Evening at the Kursaal dance rooms, Southend on sea. It was New Year’s Eve 1952 and South Pacific was showing at the local Cinema. I saw Irene ‘across a crowded room’ she was 19, I was 24. I thought her so beautiful. I asked her to dance, and later when the balloons floated down to bring in 1952 we kissed for the first time and we knew from that moment that our destiny lay together. I was very adventurous and loved the outdoors, and wanted to share with Irene places in Europe that I had first visited when I was in the army. So (with the permission of her very Methodist parents) we planned our trip. It was to be on two bikes (no gears) with two sets of panniers and £25 each to last as long as possible. That was in 1952. I often wonder if our 3 months of hardship, hunger and deprivation, prepared us for life’s journey and cemented our 60 years of love. This is the diary I kept during our travels, printed exactly as I wrote it back in 1952.

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