Saturday, 25 August, 2018
Wednesday we went to see my aunt in Leigh-on-Sea. She’d asked me to be sure to check with her first: ‘Would be pleased if you can confirm this with me some time beforehand. At my age, one is never sure one will still be around.’ I confirmed…and she was! Fish and chips lunch accomplished, flowers distributed, birthday cake deposited in the fridge – we were too full to eat it!
On the way home all was well until I got up from my seat and had to struggle to get off the train (such pain in my legs and almost impossible to bear weight), down a lot of stairs, along a long corridor, turned back at the next stairs, back halfway along the long corridor and up another flight of stairs, into the train, and a slow limp home. My hips seem to have seized up – never happened before. Hobbled my way through the rest of the evening, very painful. Ugh.
Thursday I decided to just relax, do some stretches, apply heat, and not venture anywhere. Stretching was a shock. One leg moved more than a foot away from my body, the more painful side only a few inches! However, this plan seemed to work since by evening I was walking fairly well again. And my day on the couch meant I did a lot of organising for going away. Yay!
Friday I’d arranged to meet a friend from Wyandotte, Michigan (near Detroit). She’s part of an email group I joined about twenty years ago. The group was an offshoot of a Coronation Street newsgroup back before the internet looked so pretty. We’ve all met over the years and now Kate was in the UK doing her annual Doc Martin fan trip in the Somerset area. I’d booked afternoon tea at The Hilton Paddington so she could easily bring her cases in on her way to Heathrow to go home.
And I was good to go! Walking easily too, but took some pills just in case. I’d read online about a great new transport app called City Mapper so installed it and explored. The app shows every single transport method in the area to get wherever you’re going. This includes public transport, Uber, bike stations…and I noticed a little green icon I’d never seen before. Looking further it was a new ride sharing system under the TFL network, Smart Ride. One of their stops was just across at the Little Local. To get to Paddington, I’d be sharing with up to seven more people, it would take an hour and my first fare would be a discounted £4 (usually £9). To compare this – if I were paying full fare on public transport, it would cost £4.90, and by mini cab £26. Deal!
I could track my ride, which arrived on time, a Mercedes Benz minivan and I was and remained the only passenger all the way. Comfortable, quiet, competent – yes! I love it. Duly shared with friends and maybe I’ll get some referral money.
I do not like Paddington station. It’s my least favourite. I’m not sure why. Maybe it’s the layout but it has a lot to do with how unsavoury I think this part of town is. If I were just arriving for the first time to London from Heathrow, I’d be more than a bit disheartened at my first view of this city. Continue reading “Pain! And Paddington”