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Archive for October 25th, 2010

Last week I had a few days of much needed rest and relaxation!  aka a few days off! Although I was ok to stay in the house whilst off duty it was my preference to head on over to spend some time with my daughter on the other side of London.  A lovely side of London if I may say. Initially I was meant to travel through on Thursday and stay till Sunday but she suggested that since I was free would I attend a presentation that she was conducting at the Westminster Library in Leicester Square.   She has been giving these presentations for some months now about Social Media and whilst I often get to preview them online and edit them beforehand, I had not yet actually seen the ‘Angel’ in action!  Since I was on leave and technically free I accepted the invitation with alacrity and delight.

So with a smile on my face and my packed bags trailing behind me (they are well trained) – I made my way to Leicester Square.  I was amazed to find that the square was lit up with the Xmas fair already firmly established and lighting up the night sky (I will blog about that on 3 days in London.info).  It was quite dark by then and the first thing I did was grab my camera (of course) and hanging onto my bag I whizzed around the square snapping away.  I love the seasonal events that happen in London and although winter is a long and hard slog of cold, wet and windy days (much like a baby’s nappy) I love how beautiful everything looks with all the lights that are draped everywhere for Xmas and the carousel looked fab!

the faire comes to Leicester Square

Then, avoiding the crowds, I slipped down the narrow lane that leads to the library.  Eagerly anticipating the event; I was not disappointed. The ‘New Media Angel’ is a genius and an excellent presenter.  Everyone thoroughly enjoyed the evening and even though I had pretty much seen the material beforehand, still I was totally engaged and learned a lot.  It fascinates me just how much knowledge she has and how entertaining she is; keeping you totally involved the whole time.

Unbeknownst to the audience she was in fact not very well and during the Q&A afterwards collapsed with a blackout and we then made a very unwanted trip to St Thomas’s hospital for a thorough check up.   It amazes me just how long patients are kept in ‘the system’.  We could probably have left at least 3 hours before they finally discharged her.  I applaud the ambulance services who were there in no time at all and tended to her without fault; kindly and gentle.  The hospital staff were lovely and then we met the Doctor!!! What an eejit!  Bear in mind please that he is a Doctor and that we have a huge problem with MRSA in this country due to lack of hygiene in our hospitals.  He popped his head around the curtain and without further ado and no introduction he proceeded to draw blood.  First attempt was painful and unsuccessful and it is beyond my comprehension why he tried to draw it from her wrist!  So off he goes to get a 2nd set of blood-drawing equipment and without washing his hands or swabbing her arm he set about trying to draw a sample. STOP!!!!!! The first time around I had not noticed what he was doing, but 2nd time around I was horrified to note that not only was he poking at her arm to raise a vein with his bare finger; his bare unwashed finger but he had not swabbed her arm with the usual cleanser!!! I was like….’Hello! arent you supposed to clean her arm first?’ and then the eejit (I could use a much stronger word here but I won’t batter your sensitive ears) says ‘Oh! yes I suppose so’ and off he goes to find a swab!  U.N.B.E.L.I.E.V.A.B.L.E!! I was ready to give him a slap.  Anyways, he takes the blood and I’m getting ready to give the Doctor an account of this useless individual when he minces back in and says ‘ Hello, I am your Doctor’.

Geez!!! My jaw hit the floor.  Anyways long story short they did all sort of tests and finally let us out the zoo. It is of great concern to me that despite the bottles of readily handy bottles of anti-bacterial gels and the notices everywhere about the ward, warning patients and staff to ‘WASH YOUR HANDS’ this numbskull did not!  No wonder that patients end up contracting the nasty MRSA virus!  Anyhow, finally they discharged her and we hailed a cab to whisk us off through the dark and quiet streets and at just after 4am we reached home and to bed.  Thereafter I lost a day….not physically but mentally.  I do not know where the day went or even how the day went except to say that not only did I forget to phone as friend as arranged but I also completely forgot to phone my sister for her birthday…only remembering late on the day! 😦

But what a delight it was to see my daughter’s new home, to walk about the neighbourhood and discover new places.  The next day, we went into London by train for a business meeting,

off to London by train

which was great fun and I got to do a 60second presentation on 3 Days in London which was pretty cool.  I love those kind of meetings; the members all do such interestings jobs or have such interesting companies and the food was good! Yummy. Then I headed off to Marble Arch to take photos for my blog and to just meander about town to see if I could discover something new….and I did!  I strolled along a street in Marylebone and discovered a quiet square just off Great Cumberland Place with a beautiful memorial to someone, someone whom after reading the inscription, I think should have a far more prominent position in town. Roaul Wallenberg who saved 230,000 jews from the Nazi war machine.

Raoul Wallenberg

Thereafter we, me and CJ met up and headed back home and settled in for a night of R&R and TV.  Next day I managed to drag myself out of bed at a decent hour and headed off to Teddington for a tweetup with Guide2Richmond aka Patriona, and a friend of hers and their kiddies at the most delightful ‘Happy Potter’ tearoom for chat and tea.  The Happy Potter is just lovely; a bright and airy venue where you can take the kiddies along to paint and decorate different pottery items, perhaps a xmas gift for granddad or nana  or something fun for Mum or Dad.  A terrific place to happily enjoy an hour or two.  There is a couch there with my name on it….. I will be back!! 🙂

a couch with my name on it.... at the Happy Potter

After tea I went walkabout to explore the town.  Teddington is pretty much a duplicate of many towns in the UK, towns that have seen history come and go, Kings and Queens, Popes and Princes, plague and pestilence.  Breaking with tradition the high street is named ‘Broad Street’ but in keeping with other towns and villages, is lined with all the usual High Street shops: clothes, food, greengrocer, florists, hairdressers, toyshops, a butcher, a baker, no candlestick makers but plenty of little charity or antique shops, banks, pubs and restaurants and to my delight….Greggs!!  yay…lunch. Although my diet is primarily meat free I have a weakness for Greggs sausage rolls.  They are delicious, most likely laden with enough salt for a week, but quite delicious.  Fortunately I only get to eat these yummy bits of unhealthy food about 1x a month….so hopefully no harm done.

I continued my march about and whizzed along the winding road and passed the usual little church tucked away behind a hedgerow, the yard dotted about with ancient headstones and memorials, timeless reminders of folk long gone, and in many instances largely forgotten.  I love to wander though the churchyards and read the inscriptions, some of which are mostly invisible with just the occassional name or date still readable.  It is always so sad to read how in some instances whole families die within months of each other or to see the name of a beloved child that died within a few days or weeks of birth.

St Mary with St Alban Church - Teddington

The key to visiting these villages/towns is to walk just off the main street where you can find some fascinating cottages or houses that date from the 1800’s or even as far back as 1500’s, and Teddington was no different. 

Peg Woffington Cottage - 1753

 Closer to the river – the Thames flows nearby, I found a row of delightful fishermens cottages, one of which had been converted into a pub with a history. 

The Tide End Cottage - pub on the banks of the River Thames at Teddington

 I took a quick walk across the suspension bridge that spans the water at what is known as Teddington Lock. A short walk along the other side, just because….and then I made my way back into town and along the way passed a magnificent church designed in the French Gothic style by architect William S Niven.

Landmark Art Centre - formely the Church of St Alban the Martyr - Teddington

Formerly the Church of St Alban the Matyr, after years of neglect and vandalism, this magnificent structure has been restored, listed as Grade II and converted into an art centre – Landmark Arts Centre.

Walking through the churchyard I was lucky enough to pass the side door as someone else exited…..and without qualm I slipped through the open door and into the church for a quick exploration. What a gorgeous interior; a lofty ceiling that soars skywards, beautiful stained-glass windows and dark corners make for an interesting visit. 

lofty ceilings that soar to the sky and colourful stained glass windows

 I had my camera in hand and despite that there were a number of people about, no-one even glanced my way. Probably thought I was there for a local paper or something 🙂  When I went to the office to ask for historical literature, was the first anyone queried how I got in and informed me very politely that the church was actually closed……..yeah!!!! Too late. haha!  The evening was spent with a friend of hers from way back when for supper at a lovely restaurant in Richmond.  The waitress was superb, the food was good and the company great.  After the meal, leaving what was by now a very noisy restaurant and venturing out into the chilly evening we strolled along the banks of the Thames and wandered around town then headed home on our god-given transport 🙂 It is but a short walk from there to there.

The next day was spent just relaxing and chatting with some business planning to be done.  So off out into the chilly air in the afternoon we had a quick walk to Sweetie Pies where we enjoyed the yummy cupcakes and a pot of tea and plenty of laughs. 

cupcakes at Sweetie Pies

At 5pm we got turned out; nicely….. of course, and took a very short walk along the river to photograph the river.

that lazy ole river just keeps rolling along....

 …it was too darn cold for a longer walk, then home for supper and more R&R…. hey I was on holiday! 🙂 Along the way we discovered an old cemetery and not to leave any stone unturned (joke) we enjoyed a few minutes wandering about and reading up on the history.

1800's cemetery

Back home, it was supper ‘a la Cindy’of braised sausages, mushrooms and mash with rich thick gravy, then we settled in for a night of Strictly Come Dancing and X-factor; a late night topped off with a hug then off to dreamland.  I slept on the couch in the lounge and snuggled into the cusions and so to sleep….mmmm or not!  The blokes upstairs were really noisy and clomped around the room above till 3am in the morning!

Next day was an opportunity for me to just laze about in bed and read……a rare treat!  We had planned to take a walk to the deer park but the day was chilly and the house was cozy, so we didnt get very far….a late breakfast was enjoyed and then we got stuck into some strategy and planning for 3 Days in London.  Brilliant. Finally got the bones of a plan on paper. And so to home and back to work….on duty from 11:30 this morning I am already missing my freedom.

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