Archives For Euston

The 5th of August.

Oh god such a long day. I am in so much pain. I got up at ten to five because we had to be at New Street for twenty to seven, and that is too early for a Saturday. When we got there, we bought coffee and breakfast pastries, then sat in the assistance office until it was train time.

Arriving at Euston, we did not have time to wait for even five minutes for the ramp, so we just sorted ourselves out. Bought lunch from Pret, and a coffee to put in the thermos for later (Olympic Park coffee is vile). Then we bombed down the road to St. Pancras and got on the javelin to Stratford. I got the last seat, by sheer dumb luck. Thankful, because I can’t stand for six minutes. Upon arrival, we had to join the queue of wheelchairs for the lift, then had to navigate Westfield, trying to find a way to get to the corner of John Lewis where we were meeting Christine. The first lift was broken, and marshals didn’t know where we should go, so we ended up going all the way to the other end of the mall to find a working lift, then doubled back so we could finally get on the correct route and meet Christine. Found her, then joined the crowds heading for the Olympic Stadium. Got settled in our seats, in the disabled position just above the start line, so we had a great view of that, plus some of the heptathlon events that were going on.

For most of the morning, my eyes were killing me, and there was a freezing cold wind which I couldn’t seem to find respite from from, despite even putting up an umbrella to use as a windbreak, so I couldn’t enjoy myself as fully as I might have. I saw a lot through my camera lens, between drowning my eyes in drops and screwing them up tight. At one point, I wanted to drink the coffee we’d brought in, so I poured some out only to find it tasted really weird. I drank a bit more, then remembered that the woman behind us at Pret had ordered a soy milk cappuccino. We must have got that. No wonder it tasted so disgusting.

We saw lots of events – no finals, just heats, but it’s always fun to shout at people to run faster, and groan with everybody in the crowd when someone knocks the high jump bar down. It was so sad when KJT hit the bar on her final attempt, and we all watched her curl up in a ball on the mat, poor thing. We all felt it.

The weather made things interesting; we had several showers, and as we left, some huge rumbles of thunder. I’d been covered in the giant wheelchair poncho, so didn’t get wet when the rain came. We weren’t herded the way we were after the Anniversary Games, so we got back to Stratford much quicker than we expected. Started talking to a couple on the platform who also had a wheelchair, to find that their son is having a stem cell transplant this week! Tried to share the successes of my life to give them hope. No liver failure chat for first-timers.

We arrived at St. Pancras just after two, so had just over an hour before we needed to be at Euston. I suggested we go to Origin to have an actual nice coffee, so that took up a good half an hour, then we scooted down the rest of the round.

We picked up some reading material for the train, plus some Pom Bears, then off to the assistance office again! We’d barely sat down before we were sent to the platform, despite our train not departing for nearly thirty five minutes. We were told the chap would meet us with the ramp, so we waited out in the freezing wind for him to appear. After ten minutes, there was no one, so I rang to check the situation, and she said he was coming. We waited another ten minutes, and still nothing, so we hauled the chair on to the train, only to find the wheelchair position floor was covered in food and some other crap. I didn’t really feel like covering my wheels in that, so we folded up the chair and I sat next to Mommy. This turned out to be a smart move, because a couple got on the train with an old Westie who sat under the chair in front of me so I had a dog friend for the journey home! Then we picked up some pizzas for dinner and have about an hour in the house before I have to go out again for Regina Spektor tonight. Busy busy busy.

The 6th of August.

So. Tired. So. Much. Pain.

Regina Spektor was beautiful last night. She was, frustratingly, half an hour late on, but was so charming and brilliant, I forgave her. I never thought I’d hear Us live and it was so gorgeous. She is one of few singers who are just as good as their record if not better in person. And I was spotted by Hayley from school so we caught up afterwards which was delightful.

I am very tired now though. I got to bed after midnight, and slept until ten. I’ll still be having an early night tonight I think. Plus my back hurts all over, and my neck, and my bum. Having zero fat on there means sitting on non-padded seats all day leaves me in much, much pain.

This morning, once I was actually up, I wrote about yesterday, which was a long one. I’ll have lots of blog work to do tomorrow – got to get the photos off my camera before I do a post as well.

After lunch, I crocheted. Just crocheted squares for Michaela’s baby blanket and watched the new Orphan Black, which made me do a small cry.

We wear our scarves just like a noose
But not ’cause we want eternal sleep
And though our parts are slightly used
New ones are slave labour you can keep

We’re living in a den of thieves
Rummaging for answers in the pages
We’re living in a den of thieves
And it’s contagious

The 8th of December.

Back in London for our annual Christmas shopping trip. Kittens were fine so we didn’t have to worry about them while we were out. We left the house at half past nine for our train at half ten, and had a very uneventful journey down, save for a super fun baby who I got to make faces at.

From Euston, we went straight to Selfridges. I was disappointed to find that they had no rainbow bagels, but that was probably for the best, as we need to make space in the freezer, not take up more. We went up to the Christmas shop, where I bought a very cute mouse ornament, and found exactly the kind of wrapping paper I want to use this year, so now I just need to get it here, as I wasn’t going to carry it round London all day. We made our way over to the Selfridges Kitchen to get a table, and soon enough, Lauren appeared! We swapped presents, then went to get food. I had a smoked salmon, cream cheese and spinach crêpe, and we got to catch up, mainly talking about Christmas and her job.

When we were done, she went home for a nap, and Mommy and I went to Liberty. I cannot be in their scarf hall without thinking of The Apprentice now. Their Christmas shop was not very exciting – there were some cat decorations that I liked but I was not prepared to pay £15 for one. Maybe £5. Also they have a big thing about peacocks this year. Is the traditional Christmas peacock something I’ve missed? Anyway. On the way out, I had a great experience with a guide dog in the lift who moved out of the way of my chair in such a courteous fashion, it was adorable.

Next stop Anthropologie. I just wanted one of their Christmas mugs, and Mommy wanted to buy things that will be Grandma’s Christmas presents to her and Daddy. I couldn’t find the mug, and there was a part of the shop that was inaccessible because of steps, so a very helpful customer service assistant took me through the back of the shop and down in the goods lift. It was really tight and awkward but she was so good, then when I still couldn’t find the mug, she went and got one for me! Then, when we’d paid, instead of me going back the difficult way, the helpful lady got the boys on staff to come and carry the chair up the five steps so I could use the normal lift. I was so impressed with them.

Our next destination required a taxi, who took us to Dominique Ansel Bakery. It was amazingly not busy, so we were able to have a good look at everything before deciding. I had to have a cronut – an actual cronut – and Mommy had a Kouign Amann. My cronut tasted like a Kinder Bueno. I would like to try maybe a chocolate one so I can compare it to a Rinkoffs one, but I would say the Rinkoffs version is just as good. I also bought an extra moist brownie and a chocolate chunk cookie to take home.

Last stop was Harrods. I bought a brownie from there too, plus some coffee and biscuits. In their Christmas shop, I got a little mouse in a Harrods vest to go on the tree, and there was a very tense moment when we heard a smash and everyone went silent and looked around for the culprit. Thankfully, it was someone who worked there, so it was fine. It’ll just come out of her wages. We had a mildly stressful moment in Villeroy and Boch when they couldn’t find a stock version of what we wanted to buy, so we ended up taking the display one, then hurrying out so we could get a cab back to Euston.

It felt like the longest journey in the world, but we finally arrived with just moments to spare.

Home, toasted teacake, bed.

The 9th of December. 

I feel pretty ropey today – super tired, and my left eye has been really sensitive and sore all day which hasn’t helped. 

So it’s been a pretty quiet day. After breakfast, coffee and lots of kitten hugs, I spent a good hour writing about yesterday. I would have written up the post for the 6th and 7th, but looking at screens has been quite painful. That has also meant that I couldn’t really do the Christmas shopping u wanted to do today. Maybe tomorrow if my eye is better. 

After lunch (and half my Dominique Ansel cookie), I went upstairs to lie down and give my eyes a rest from looking at anything for a while. I gave the kittens a good cuddle as well because we had to go back to the vet today. It was just for their general health check so nobody got stabbed in the neck like last time. They certainly remember that because none of them wanted to get in the carrier today – two ran to hide under the chair.  

We did get them all though, and Rory the vet was very happy with them all. They need to eat more before they can be neutered, but I don’t even know what the plan is for them right now. There are things that need to be worked out but I don’t need to worry about that, I just have to keep feeding and petting them. I can do that.

 

The 13th of September. 

I have had just the most perfect day. So happy. I got up and had time to write up a post before we had to leave for the station, where I got a flat white from Starbucks that did not taste like garbage, and got settled on the train. My plug sockets weren’t working which was not ideal, but a nice man at the next table down let me use his spare one to charge my phone. 

The man with the ramp was very prompt for once, so I swiftly alighted and got a taxi to Kaffeine where I was meeting Suzi. The cabbie was very chirpy, whistling a happy tune as we made our way through the traffic and I was only a tiny bit late. We sat outside because it was a) gorgeous weather and b) much easier than wrestling the wheelchair inside, and we basked in the sunshine. I had a really excellent dark chocolate brownie and flat white by the way, I would recommend. I elaborated on what the event tonight was, and told her about the situation with my back, and she caught me up on how Edinburgh had gone, and explained what she’s working on at the moment which all sounds very promising and I’m excited for her. While we were sitting, a man walked past us into the shop, and I said “That guy looks like Dexter” (as in, Michael C. Hall from Dexter) and she said “That is Dexter!” so that was my London celeb-spot for the day. No idea why he’s here but whatever. I was later reminded that he had a stem cell transplant a while ago and I should’ve got him to come tonight. I am not quick-thinking enough. She had to leave at quarter past one, but was going in the same direction as me, so we headed towards Selfridges until she had to split off to go to her meeting. It was so nice to catch up; she is such a babe. 

In Selfridges I bought some rainbow bagels and a cinnabon, which I ate in the Starbucks on level 4 while listening to an hour long podcast to kill some time. I had a browse of the book section, where I had to disappoint a girl who wanted to know where I got my hair done. Sorry, you have to travel to Birmingham for this. 

I gave myself plenty of time to get to Zizzi where I was meeting Lauren for dinner, and had a few stops on the way. I went past Workshop Coffee where I bought some Square Mile Sweet Shop beans, and then made a stop in Konditor and Cook for two brownies – I was very restrained. That was just round the corner from the restaurant, and I was only about ten minutes early, so they let me sit down and peruse the menu while I waited. When she arrived, we pretty much ordered straightaway, and our pizzas arrived very quickly. I was still quite full from all the cake, so I only managed about a third of mine, but it was fine, I took the rest away in a box. We got to talk about her joy at finishing her MA and being able to read books for fun, and how her nan is having a great holiday in Ireland with all her friends. 

We paid, then had to find our way to the BMA. First we went the wrong way, but Google Maps put us back on the right track. We met up with Amy outside her office building which is basically next door, and we had a tiny group hang before Lauren went to meet her other friend and Amy and I went into the BMA. We picked up our passes and followed the signs that said Anthony Nolan. I had to get in a teeny tiny lift to get down to the room we were using, although we then very quickly left it to go into the attached garden. Ben was out there with a large folder of papers, and he said hi before going to greet guests. Amy and I sat at a table in a slightly shaded area, and various people gravitated towards us for chats. Some Anthony Nolan people I knew like Richard and Henny, some I didn’t, Charlie Craddock, and we had a delightful time discussing podcasts with a guy called Owen who’s a donor and his friend. They’re doing the Birmingham half-marathon in October but not to raise any money, they’re saving that for the full marathon that comes next. I also briefly got to meet Alice Byron’s dad, and we talked jaundice and liver drugs, then before we could talk more we were being ushered inside for speeches. First Henny, then Charlie, then me. It was fine, much better when I had it written out, and much less crying this time. Lots of people came to speak to me afterwards, including Nadia Martini, Yaser’s sister, so it was super nice to meet her, and I spoke to other people who’d had transplants or had family members who had. Everyone told me how inspiring I was, and Ben presented me with some beautiful flowers. At nine, it finished, so I said all my goodbyes, and Amy and I headed back to Euston where I gave a homeless man my box of pizza. She sat with me until her train came, then mine was delayed by fifteen minutes, so by the time we pulled into New Street, I was more than ready to be home. Toast, then bed. 

The 14th of September. 

Didn’t get as much sleep as I would have liked because I had an appointment to get my hair cut at quarter past ten. While I was in Starbucks yesterday I just had the overwhelming urge to chop it all off again and lo, it is done. Wonderful Michaela. She’s undercut the sides and it’s longer on top so I look a bit shaggy in a good way. So glad it’s done. 

When I got home, I had lunch which included the fudgepacker brownie I bought at Konditor and Cook, then I sat for about an hour, writing about yesterday. So much to say!

One of the effects of me sitting down all day was that my feet had puffed up with fluid. My back is actually not terrible, I think because I got out of my chair as much as possible, but there has to be some sort of punishment for going out. To try and combat it, I went up to my bedroom where I lay on my back with my legs up against the wall, trying to drain the fluid out of my feet while I watched the first episode of American Horror Story. We’ll see how that goes – if it gets too scary, I’ll find something else. 

Back out this evening for an Old Hallfieldians reunion. The traffic was ghastly, so I was half an hour late, but when I arrived, Celia was the only one there. After some sleuthing, we determined that the MailChimp email didn’t go out. Thankfully, other people did start to arrive, but most excitingly, my friend Steph came! I have known her since we were five but haven’t seen her since we were sixteen as she went to Rugby for sixth form, then university in Nottingham and New York, and has been travelling since then. 

She’s an artist now, and has been artist in residence at The Met in New York and The Museum of Tomorrow in Brazil, so she’s just a bit great. She’s back in England for a month, so she and her mum came to the pub and we had dinner while chatting about life now and back then. Things like the controversy of the elocution competition, the school play of Sleeping Jack Whittington and the Seven Bears, and the time we did an assembly in which I had to wear Steph’s mum’s fox fur coat. No idea what I was meant to be, but it was huge and really soft. Such random things I remember. 

We left just after nine, and I gave her the biggest hug I could muster. Not leaving it ten years until next time!