exhilarated and exhausted

For the second day in a row I find myself exhilarated and exhausted in equal measure, as, for the second day in a row, it has been one both thrilling and knackering. As I recorded the other day, charlotte and Emma were going to come visit. This morning, however, I realised how little cash I had in my wallet. Ordinarily, this would simply have meant a trip to Woolwich; but the Woolwich branch of my building society has shut for some reason, causing me quite a problem.

According to google maps, there was a branch in Greenwich, so off I went, intending to be back well before I had to go meet C and E at the o2. When I reached the historic naval suburb, there was no building society: I looked around for a bit, even straying as far as Deptford, but there was no Nationwide. I remembered there was a branch in Lewisham – I knew that for a fact – so I caught the bus there. It was, thankfully, only a short trip, but the thing was, (and this is something which, now I come to think of it I’m quite concerned about) the Nationwide branch was no longer there. By then, however, time really was moving on: there was no time to go home but I had to go straight to the o2 to have any chance of seeing my friends. I got myself a bag of crisps, not having eaten in ages, and tried to catch a bus, but they all refused to stop. This was turning into the day from hell. In desperation, I hopped into a taxi, the first time I’d ever done so, and by good fortune got there only fifteen minutes late. I was still penniless so my friends leant me the fare.

The rest of the afternoon, I’m pleased to report, was much more pleasant: we caught the underground to the south bank and had a good catch-up. It ended too soon, as usual, but Emma had to get back to her new family. Charlie and I came back here on the overground train, and, after a few beers here, she went back to her brother’s in New Cross. In all its been quite a tiring couple of days, but these two days have taught me a lot. The tube is no limit; the overground is accessible, and, if you really want to, you can always make an appointment to meet up with good friends. Knowing I’m able to manage all this makes me feel proud, but I think I could sleep for a week.

adventures and apple pies

I was looking at a map of the tube system this morning when I noticed something: the local station, north Greenwich, and Kilburn, up near my grandmothers house, are on the Jubilee line, and both are marked as accessible. This gave me an idea – what better way to start getting to know the underground system than to go to visit my grandmother? To be honest, having lived it the same city for a year and a half now, going to hers for a ‘drop by’ visit was long overdue. So off I set: to save battery power, I caught the bus to the tube station, then it was on to the train. I’d done this before, but always with a PA by me, so I was sailing in to the unknown.

Getting to Kilburn took a fair while, but the trip was uneventful. I must admit I was a little surprised when the train suddenly whirred into broad daylight; I was even more surprised when, upon reaching my stop, I found there was quite a large step on to the platform. But there was no turning back, and eventually I made it onto the platform, and then the streets of north London.

I’d checked google maps before leaving, and the walk from the station to Yeaya’s looked straightforward enough. my sense of direction wasn’t behaving as well as it usually does, though, and eventually I had to ask for directions. Soon enough, however, the street names started to become ones I know from childhood, and I was able to find my Grandmother’s house without much more difficulty. I had toyed with the idea of getting back and simply turning back, not wanting to trouble Yeaya or cause her to worry; when I reached the house, though, I thought I might as well see if she was in, and I rang the bell.

Yeaya was, of course, quite surprised to see me, but pretty soon I was sitting at the kitchen table drinking tea and being fed apple pies. We had quite a good cha, and she asked me if I wanted to stay for dinner or even spend the night there. But I wanted to get back here before the rain the skies were threatening started to come down in earnest, so I set off back home after about 45 minutes. It was a flying visit I know, but I’m sure now that I’ve done it once, I’ll be going there more often. Other members of the family go there quite frequently, and I’d like to see them too.

Well, I had thought the trip home would be as straightforward as the one there, but it wasn’t to be. There turns out to be two tube stations in Kilburn – Kilburn and Kilburn Park – the latter of which is neither accessible nor on the jubilee line, and you can probably guess which I was directed to. I knew it didn’t look familiar, but the station master put me on a bus to the correct station and eventually I was on my way home, quietly feeling rather pleased with myself, despite that hiccup.

I feel as though I’ve mastered the underground, or at least I’m on my way to doing so. Of course, I can only go to stations marked as accusable, which only a handful seem to be, but, looking at the tube map, I can’t help but feel rather excited about where this endeavour could take me.

a very good day indeed

I am pleased to say that yesterday was a very good day indeed. It was good to see so many of my friends, including Charlie, passing through the capital on her way down to Brighton. Mind you, it was good to get away from facebook for a while, where all the stuff about Claire Khaw is fast becoming nauseatingly inane. I have my main chair back, so I set off for Greenwich park an hour early yesterday, as I didn’t want to miss any of the action, but, as it turns out, the other guests arrived an hour late. This meant I was hanging around the park for over an hour. Fortunately, I had had the genius idea of telling Lyn to stay home, and asking C to call our PA, Laura, once everything started properly. This worked a treat, and Lyn arrived just as we were starting on the home-made cakes and flapjacks.

It was, all in all, a great afternoon. After we had eaten, we played rounders – something I’d not done since school. It came to an end all too soon, but it was getting cold. All being well, I’ll see Charlie on Tuesday, on her way back from Brighton; Emma should be with her, so I’m really looking forward to it. C and E aside, it struck me yesterday that I have many other friends in the capital I feel I should be seeing more of; I’m going to have to get my finger out and figure out the train Network!

a day full of the promise of fun

Today is a day full of the promise of fun; a day which I have been looking forward to for at least a couple of weeks. It seems my friends from Chester, most of whom now live down here, have organised a picnic in the park, and, thanks to the wonders of facebook, have invited us along too. This means that, for the first time in ages, I’ll get to see the Jones siblings, including, all being well, Charlie. It feels like ages since I saw her last, and I’m looking forward to having the chance to catch up. Mind you, how today will pan out remains to be seen: it looks decidedly overcast outside. I’ll let you know how it goes tomorrow – I suspect it might end up with a pub involved. Right now, though, I just can’t wait to get going, to go to see my good old friends, and to fill them in on all the Charlton gossip.

terrifying email

As a blogger who tries to keep up at least a veneer of fairness and objectivity [pause for sniggering], today I will simply reprint an email I got earlier. It’s from Claire Khaw in reply to this entry. I must say, though, I find her sentiments pretty abhorrent, particularly the idea that she or anyone would have their baby smothered were it born severely disabled. We all know that, when placed under any degree of intellectual scrutiny, such views are shown to be utterly without metit, which is why I’m baffled as to how anyone can still hold them. I think, however, I’ll just let her words, which terrify me to the core, speak for their selves.

[quote=”Claire Khaw”]May I point out that all I said was I would have the midwife smother my own severely disabled baby?

It is up to others what they want to do with their babies, disabled or not.

My view is that no one should be made to pay for the children of another, whether able-bodied or disabled.

At no time did I advocate a government policy of general extermination of the disabled, in the way so many mentally challenged people like to pretend I did.[/quote]

[shudders]

inspiring

I usually aim to contribute to debates on my blog, adding my own comments to the sites I link to. But today I’ll just send you here, to a speech I found inspiring: if, as Obama says, the grandson of a Kenyan chef serving in the british navy can speak in Westminster hall as president of the united states, then everything is indeed possible. I may have become caught up in Obama fandom like many others across the globe, but to me he’s a symbol of hope, and to see him speak in that echoing hall today was truly inspirational.

(Mind you, I still get irritated when Hague’s bald head appears.)

welcome obama, sorry about the company

I must say I feel rather thrilled to see Obama here in the UK. It’s probably even more thrilling for me on this occasion because it’s the first time I’m in the very city where it’s all going on. I keep thinking ”I’m in the same city as barrack Obama.” That doesn’t sound much I know, but for a boy from sleepy old Cheshire it’s pretty cool. I was just watching the coverage of the grand royal banquet on t.v: if there’s one thing we brits can do it’s put on a slap-up meal*. Mind you, I keep catching the galling sight of William Hague’s bald pate or Osbourne’s smug little face and thinking how little right they have to be dining with a man who presently symbolises such hope; they who are cutting away at the livelihood and dignity of so many people. People like brown, Charles Clarke* and the brothers Milliband should be there, not those gits. Now I come to think about it, how can we afford this visit at this time? I know it’s not quite in the spirit of the visit, but the question must be raised, especially with the current government in power.

*We are especially good at curries.

Going underground

I have decided it’s high time I mastered the tube. I would really like to see a bit more of London; for the last few weeks I’ve just been milling around the south east of the city, which, apart from places like Greenwich, is starting to feel somewhat drab. What I need, I decided last night, is a few more adventures. Of course, I’ve been on the DLR before, but only once, and I have used the tube on occasion with the help of a PA, but it seems to me that if I could get to grips with the London underground system, the entire city could be my oyster. I know it won’t be that simple, as not all the stations are accessible and there’s a lot that can go wrong, but I really would like to try it. Now the big question is, where should ii go first? Any suggestions?

I had hoped that such despicable eugenicist views had died out

James recently brought this radio programme to my attention. It took me a day or so to get round to listening to it; as a whole it’s quite a good programme about the problems involved in bringing up severely disabled kids, but I want to draw you’re attention to the comments of a caller about 27 minutes in. I must say these comments have enraged me: the caller, Claire Khaw, actually advocates the abortion or killing of disabled kids. According to her, they are a ”burden on the tax payer”. I had hoped that such despicable eugenicist views had died out, but apparently not. James has started a facebook group called Disabled People Against Claire Khaw which, given Khaw is apparently a possible BNP London mayoral contender, I’d advise anyone reading this to join.

the birthdays of two most awesome people

I can not decide whether it is convenient or inconvenient to have the birthdays of two such important people so close. Today is dad’s birthday: he is a great man and a truly excellent father. I cannot let his birthday go by without noting it on here. I know I haven’t always been the perfect son, and that there are times when dad must despair of me, but I have to say dad seems one in a million. He and mum brought me and my brothers up to be honest and brave, and I just want to say how bloody lucky I feel to have him.

But I am, of course, doubly lucky: not only do I have dad, not to mention Mum; I also have Lyn as my girlfriend. It’s her birthday tomorrow; Lyn has to be one of the most amazing people I have ever met. I find her just as exciting, courageous and kind today as the day we met, and I thank my lucky stars that she tolerates me and my antics. I must record again here how dearly I love her.

Indeed, I love both these people more than words can describe. I will probably be blogging about Lyn’s birthday specifically soon, but for now I wish both my father and my fiance the happiest of respective birthdays.