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Tuesday, August 25, 2015


My first port of call on Saturday, after dropping off my bags, was to go and see my grandson,  Richard and Steph were at a wedding reception, and Oliver was staying overnight with Steph's mum. Although we have regular visits through the 'face time' app on my phone, he took a little while to warm up, and was a little unsure of this stranger who had just walked into the house.  I put my hands around my face, like the telephone screen, and he seemed to respond a little better!

After a few cuddles, I drove back to mum's house, where we had dinner and then I fell asleep in front of the television, before heading off to my little room, to lay down on my little bed, and hoped that there were no bears around!  However, as my hair is white, and my locks are not at all gold, I doubted that any toddler ursine beasts would be wondering who was sleeping in their cot!  

Sunday morning was very busy.  Mum was up and about very early, preparing for lunch.  The family were due around midday, and she had set up the dining room table ready to receive her guests.  After breakfast, I set about helping as much as I could.  Still slightly groggy, I did my best to keep up with her.  By the time everyone arrived, she had managed to prepare a feast that would put a reality television chef to shame.  After most of the repast had been demolished, Richard and I took Oliver for a walk, around the block, twice, in the hope that he would fall asleep, but it did not work.  Eventually, the party was over, and Richard, Steph, Samantha, Edward and I, took Oliver to the park, and mum went to visit a friend.  The kids went on their way, and I returned home and vacuumed the dining room, so that it would be one less thing to deal with in the morning.  

Monday was a day of medical visits.  I had an appointment with the nurse at the surgery in the neighbouring village of Shenley.  After watching the dynamo, that is my mother, clear the garden of debris, hang out the washing, and wash the floors, (I was occupied with the vacuuming, dusting and general clear up duties,) I walked in to the surgery, and waited for my turn.  An elderly lady, was asking the receptionist if she had left her cardigan on her last visit.  Apparently the item of clothing had not been handed in to the receptionist, and the elderly lady was asked to take a seat.  As I followed her into the waiting room, she asked if I was going to see the nurse.  I replied in the affirmative, and she apologised because her appointment was before mine, and she thought she might be a little longer than the allotted time.  I smiled, and waited for her to sit down, and then sat myself, a few seats away.  Apparently, I was the target for the day! The elderly lady decided that she wanted to chat, and I was the one to whom the chatting was to be done!  She told me how she had lived in the area for 40 years.  Her doctor had retired, and she and her husband had been transferred to a new doctor, without being consulted.  However, the new doctor had been taken ill, and they were now under a long term locum.  I sat and nodded, answered her questions, that were repeated several times, and noticed that a couple seated in the corner found this to be rather amusing.  Each time I was asked a repeat question, suppressed laughter noises emitted from the corner of the room.  I do believe that the elderly lady was somewhat deaf, and unable to hear the squeaks and squeals to her right, but I had a hard time keeping a straight face. Knowing that this lady was probably someone's mother, and my own mother was about the same age, but more importantly, I may be this lady someday, I was very courteous and polite.  It appeared that her husband would not enter the surgery, for fear of 'catching something', and so he was waiting in the car.  Eventually, she was called by the nurse, and the couple in the corner of the room could suppress their giggles no longer, and a burst of hysterical laughter filled the room, much to the amusement of two young children, who had been brought in by their mother.

My appointment with the nurse was fulfilled, and I returned home and had lunch, before heading out for my mother's appointment at 
Watford General.  We parked reasonably close to the entrance and I watched as my self confessed computer illiterate mother  managed to use the digital 'check in' system.  Without going into too many details, her 'condition' is one of raised white blood cells and she has to have regular check ups.  We walked along the long narrow corridors and took a seat outside the consulting room. When we were finally called, the doctor looked at his notes, and asked a few general questions.  "Are you active", he said.  My mother's idea of active, and mine, are obviously not the same, and she told him that she does not move around as much as she used to, and finds she cannot do as much as she could at one time.  I responded that I thought she put me to shame in the 'active' department, and wanted to let him know how she had managed, in a couple of hours, to put together a banquet that fed half an army the previous day, and this morning, had completed an assault course that many an athlete would have failed!  Although she was not quite able to hop, skip and jump back to the car, she walked unaided and we headed home.  (I would point out that I do not want to make light of my mum's condition, but she is quite sprightly for her age!)

Elise and David (my sis and bro in law) came round after they had finished work, and we walked around to the Italian restaurant, and mum filled Elise in on what the doctor's visit.  We enjoyed a very nice dinner and walked back.  I told Elise that I was going to take a video of mum during the week, for her to take to the doctor, on her next visit, and he could see how inactive (or not!) she really was!

After a good night's sleep, I had breakfast with mum, and went to collect Samantha and Edward.  We took the train into London and stood outside Richard's office, while he was busy with a couple who had stepped in a couple of minutes before we arrived.  They were not in the office for very long, and Richard emerged through the door, and led us around the corner to a cafe.  After a brief time together, we walked back to his office, where he introduced us to his colleagues, and then he drove us to Abbey Road, where we all (bar Richard) had our picture taken crossing the famous crossing!

Familiar with the surroundings, I led my party to the station and we rode the train to the centre of London, and walked from Piccadilly Circus to Trafalgar Square, and then down Whitehall, where I showed Edward the sights, and where the Prime Minister resides, when not in the Houses of Parliament.  After boring him with details, we made our way back to the pub on the corner, and I ordered lunch.  It is not often, if ever, that I buy a pint of beer, but the one Edward wanted was off, and so I made an executive decision as to which I should buy as a replacement.  Apparently my choice was good, as one of the other brands was actually a local beer from Texas!

After lunch, we walked back down Whitehall, crossed the road, and along the embankment and over London Bridge.  I pointed out several points of (dis)interest to Edward, who pulled his 'very excited' face (which is the same as his shocked, surprised, delighted face, so we do not get upset with his reaction!) and then claimed our tickets to the London Eye!  We were told to go to the back of the line, once we had our tickets and had made our way to the gangplank.  "Behind the trees, and the wait is about 25 minutes", we were told, and we duly obeyed and walked to the queue's end. The last person was slightly in front of the trees, and just in front of a small building.  We ducked under the ribbon and joined the line. It did not take long to get back to the gangplank, but when we got back to the person whom had given us the original orders, she told us to go to the back of the queue.  "Again?" I asked.  It appears that the reason not to go under the ribbon before the trees, is that there is a member of staff who draws a line through the tickets, to show that you have actually done as you are told, and gone to the back of the queue!  However, they were satisfied that we had done as we were told, and did not make us pay another penance.

I do love London, and London from a bird's eye view is amazing. Edward tried hard to be impressed, but failed to fool me with his 'excited' face.  Eventually, the ride ended, and we made our way back to Waterloo station and took another train to Harrods! 

We arrived back in Radlett, at around 5:30pm, and I drove the kids home.  Mum had dinner ready for me at 7, and I spent the evening watching television programmes that I had not seen since Christmas, and was very pleased to fall into bed!

The shopping mall was the order of the day for Wednesday, and then a trip to see Oliver.  I had to purchase a new mobile phone to use whilst in Blighty, as my ancient model's battery was not holding a charge.  I chose a newer, more modern version, one more like my iPhone, so that it would be easier to send a text!  I finally came into the 21st century, even if it was with a basic 'screen' phone.  The 'deal' was a reasonable price, provided I buy a top up card with a nominal amount.  I was able to keep my old number, and all was very well.  Wednesday night I met with two friends, Lesley and Carolene, both of whom I have known for over 50 years, and we reminisced for hours in a local restaurant.  It is always great to catch up with old friends.  Unfortunately, our friend Sheri was unable to meet us, but we hoped we could catch up later in the week.

Thursday was the first birthday of my grandson.  Dana had previously told everyone that I was coming home to celebrate the birthday of 'the most perfect child that ever was', and of course, I do not disagree!  We spent the afternoon watching the 'perfect child' walking from one person to another, and enjoying the fuss! However, being just one year of age, he had to say goodnight and go to bed while the adults enjoyed dinner.  My cousin Lesley and her daughter, Natalie, came to help celebrate, and we had a nice family reunion.  I took Mum home at around tennish and again, I fell into bed, exhausted.

I drove to Windsor on Friday, with 'baby on board', and Samantha and Edward for good measure!  We walked the 'Long Walk', (much longer than all the long walks I had taken) and then walked around the outside of the Castle.  It was a beautiful day, and I was quite happy to give another history lesson, which was enjoyed as much as all others!  We enjoyed lunch, and were going to have a cream tea, in a nice 'Old English Tea Shoppe', but time was marching on, and we wanted to get the baby back before his bed time!  Instead of enjoying the full experience in Royal Berkshire, we bought the scones, cream and jam from the supermarket and had the home made version at mum's!  By the time we returned the little chap to his mum, he was quite happy to have his bath and go to bed!  

Grandma was on duty again all day Saturday, and great grandma had the pleasure of our company for lunch.  I drove all the children (Edward, Samantha and Oliver) to another mall, and we parked in the mother and toddler space, right outside the entrance.  The day was going to be very long, as I had also promised to babysit while all the cousins went out for dinner.  Sheri, who could not make the Wednesday night reunion, had said she would keep me company and let me know, later in the day, what time she would be able to come to Richard's house.  I had noticed that the amount that was purchased on my 'top up' card, (bought on Wednesday,) had not been attributed to my account.  I went into the 'sister' shop in the Brent Cross mall, and asked what could be done.  Unfortunately, I was informed, I would have to take the card back to Watford, where I had purchased the phone, as they had made a mistake and instead of putting the money into the account of my original number, they had put it on the number that was on the card sold with the new phone.  Slightly upset, I left the store, and cogitated my options.  

As Samantha and Edward were wandering around the men's department of Marks and Spencer, I decided that the phone scenario was not acceptable, and made my way back to the store. Again, it was explained that I would have to take the card back to the Watford shop, as they could only exchange accessories. Perhaps I could change the card over, each time I wanted to make a call!  I was not impressed.  I stood my ground, and then surprised the assistant with a little bit of knowledge that he, presumably, thought I would not know.  "You are a network.  You can transfer this over, either by calling customer services, or on your computer system. You have, in effect, stolen £20 from me!  I am not leaving here until this is transferred"  Suddenly, I asked to take a seat, and the number to customer services was dialed, and I was handed the phone.  I was rather surprised at my outburst, but I was a woman scorned, and someone was going to hear me roar!  Within a short space of time, the money was transferred by the lady at the other end of the phone.  I had apologised, in advance, for being abrupt, but I said I was rather furious at the inept attitude of the staff at the shop.  After all had been achieved, I was asked if I wanted to move my account to the new parent company, and I agreed this may be an advantage.  However, in order to do so, my number would have to be transferred and my phone would be out of action for up to 24 hours.  "I can't do that", I said, "Sheri is going to call me later".  I realised that my fury had made me a little incoherent, and the young lady on the other end of the line, was a little confused, but understood the concept!  

I left the store quite satisfied, and received the call from Sheri a little later.  We made arrangements for our evening, and she collected fish and chips before arriving, and we enjoyed them, whilst Oliver slept in his cot, and Richard, Steph, Samantha, Edward, Emma and (her) Richard had a night out on the town!  It was a fun visit, and we chatted for hours.  My kids and their spouses returned shortly before midnight, and Sheri was delighted to see them.  The 'small world' phrase was thrown around as we all mentioned names that one or other knew.  She said goodnight around 12:15am, and I drove Edward and Samantha back to their temporary abode, and then took myself back to mum.  

A long and full week came to an end.  Another week was on the horizon, and we were going to have a party on Sunday.  The surprise presents that Samantha and I had put together for Oliver, and his cousin Chloe were ready to be handed over, and the surprise will have to wait to be revealed in .......... another story!

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