Tuesday, August 17, 2021


August 22nd

So, here I am, back on the train, with the rest of the train gang.
Master M returned early morning from his night shift, keen to alert me to a potential issue with his new cornea.
Bristol Eye Hospital has always stressed the importance of ONLY visiting Bristol Eye Hospital should complications arise post-op.
As M seemed convinced that one of the stitches keeping the cornea in place had come loose and was causing a degree of irritation and pain in his eye, we made for the station tout suite.
M's consultation in A & E spanned no more than an hour, but as it's reduced service Sunday, our return has been hindered by long waiting times between stations.
We sat at Bristol station from 2.00 until 3.45pm to catch a train to Exeter. Another half-hour at Exeter for the train to Plymouth. At Plymouth, we waited for another half-hour to board this train to our final destination.
Yes, you may well have found that information rather dull, but let me tell you, it's not as tedious as sitting on a station platform for hours with a chill breeze nipping at your neck.
But the eye! What of the eye?
Well, it's good news, a rouge eyelash was the cause of irritation and, once removed, no further action was required.
To sum up... we have travelled to Bristol and back (that's 382 miles) and spent a hundred and twenty pounds, in total, to have an eyelash plucked from M's eye.
Still, we were not to know and could not have let any old odd-bod poke around in his precious Orbit.
This was not how I envisioned spending a Sunday, but nevertheless, I guess it's been OK.
I wandered around Bristol city centre for an hour (Covid rules, I was not allowed into the hospital), but I made the most of my time.
After an enjoyable half-hour in a coffee shop reading the book I'd bought with me, I wandered into TK Maxx and found a great winter coat for a mere £25. 
Marcus rang me on release, and we caught a taxi to the station (I suspected that the Sunday bus service would be spasmodic, at best).
At this precise moment, we're on the final leg of our journey.
Unfortunately, for those that know (and will immediately sympathise), a train from Plymouth to Penzance stops at even the most obscure stations, serving villages that time forgot.
I mean, Christ, we've just stopped at a station I've NEVER EVEN HEARD OF!
Perhaps it's like Brigadoon (the story of a village that only appears for one day every hundred years).
It feels as if we've already been on the train an hour, but we're only at Lostwithiel.
We made this exact same trip on Friday, so the beauty of the English countryside (as it flashes past in my peripheral vision), has rather lost its potency.

Update on other matters.
The Fibromyalgia's probably planning a ferocious and incapacitating flare-up.
UPDATE … It was, and I'm enjoying it right now.
Alopecia? Well, the mirrors in the TK Maxx changing room suggest that the battle for full follicle restoration has by no means been won.
(Never mind, my new Winter coat has a hood).

The book I was reading?
On Beauty, by Zadie Smith, and what an excellent read it is, brilliant.

August 15th

It's my birthday today, which marks the beginning of another decade in my life, which one you might ask, I'm not saying. The truth is, I'm a day older than I was yesterday.

There has been much ado about quite a lot this past week.

My youngest son, Master M (I'll call him that for the purposes of this blog even though it sounds like a Bond villain ). Well, he's just had his second corneal transplant, courtesy of Bristol Eye Hospital.

My eldest son, Mr L, has just moved into a new flat... almost, he doesn't have an internet connection yet, so he's still working (lounging around), on our sofa. 

My car's in for its annual MOT.

Will the old banger make it through another year or not, and at what cost?

Despite the reason for our visit, I did appreciate the hotel stay in Bristol. 

Once the mix up as to which hotel we had actually booked had been sorted out.

Thank you, Holiday Inn Express opposite Bristol Temple Meads train station.

I thought I'd booked us into the Holiday Inn Express opposite Bristol Temple Meads. It transpired that I'd actually booked us into a hotel of the same name, seven miles from the city. Our desired location had evidently been lost in translation.

However, the lovely Holiday Inn staff selflessly helped us find alternative accommodation. They were fully booked.

The first night we spent in a twin room.

Before dining out, my son and I sat in the room listening to our respective podcasts.

I'd been recommended the Adam Buxton podcast, in which he talks to my favourite stand-up comedian of all time, Stewart Lee.

 Link to Adam Buxton talking to Stewart Lee 

Then M and I went out for a heartily mediocre meal at some American Style restaurant in the Broadmead shopping centre. 

If we'd known Bristol better (and had been ready to explore), we might have found a really excellent Italian. As we'd already walked from Temple Meads to our hotel, half an hour away, we didn't feel up for it.

M had a pepperoni pizza and only ate half. 

(That's how bad it was, M always eats EVERYTHING).

The flaccid undercooked doughy base proved too much of a challenge.

I had what was described as seafood and char-grilled chicken spaghetti in a creamy sauce.

I'd describe it as a mound of over boiled packet spaghetti, desperately in need of a creamy sauce, with chewy king prawns and some char-grilled chicken pieces lurking beneath.

I drowned my disappointment in a liquor coffee and M risked lapsing into a diabetic coma by ordering the hot chocolate brownie with whipped and ice cream.

You can't go far wrong with a highly calorific sugar sickly chocolate concoction so, no complaints there.

On day two, after checking in to another hotel next door (no, don't ask), I lay on the crisp white sheets contemplating the suitability of the hotel room as a writing environment.

It was ideal.

Far away and free from home life, no one could get to me here.

In this comfortably sterile air-conditioned room, I could really enjoy some quality ME time.

So, I pulled the laptop from my travel bag and fired it up, ready to get down to some serious writing. 

Then M telephoned to tell me his operation had gone well and hospital rules had changed, I could visit him on the ward after all.

As M's surgery had been later than anticipated, he'd missed out on the hospital food, so I arrived with a much appreciated BLT sandwich and a can of coke.

Here's an excuse for another link.

Track from Eels (top band) titled Hospital Food 

One other inmate joined us for an hours chat, then I hurried back to my hotel room.

I looked at the open laptop, but the moment had passed. 

The starched sheets and hotel-quality pillows beckoned, so I pulled out the book I'd been reading on the train and slid within.

It was not the best novel I'd ever read, far from it, to be honest, but the plot had sucked me in, so it wasn't the worst either. 

I was three-quarters of the way through, and still, so many questions remained unanswered.

Would Dave leave Dora (who was unwittingly pushing him away)? Were they even that good a match? (I didn't think so). Would the psychopath, hell-bent on revenge, kill Dora... or Dave? He (or she?) had already killed an old ladies cat! Which was worse than killing Dora or Dave because the cat had done absolutely nothing wrong. Monte (the cat) was no more than an innocent victim caught up in this torrid tale of love and deceit. He'd ended up in the skip after having his neck broken.

The following morning I lay for a while, quite content and relaxed, listening to the muffled sounds of voices in the corridor, doors squeaking open and shut, the plumbing on all floors rattling through the building. I could have lay there forever.

Then the phone rang. M was ready for release.

Another day was underway.

Oh, and spoiler alert, Dave and Dora didn't end up in the skip with Monte, and the psychopath got the help she needed... yes, it was a she, after all.

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