Saturday 2 – Sunday 3 August 2019
I had a headache on Saturday morning and some sickness as well. I also found myself to be in a less than good mood. Other than that, I wasn’t doing too badly. This weekend we had to go to London. Some friends in Kingston-Upon-Thames were having a leaving get-together on Saturday evening (they were moving to overseas) and we needed to collect the girls from Heathrow Airport on Sunday afternoon, as they would be returning from Finland. Pia and I had decided to drive up on Saturday and stay the night in a hotel, so we wouldn’t have far to go to get to the airport on Sunday.
We set off about 12:30 with Pia driving, and we got to Kingston around 3 pm. We parked on the street we used to live on a few years earlier and dropped in on a couple of sets of friends to say hello. It was nice to catch up a bit.
The party in the evening was just around the corner in an Italian restaurant called Pepe’s. Some years ago it used to be a pub and it went through a few changes of hands before it became what it is today. Since then it has done very well and is a popular spot locally. The friends who had invited us are a family of four who had decided to move from London to Germany. They had invited a few families and friends to come for the evening, including some who we had met at their wedding a year earlier. We spent the evening around tables in the garden at the back of the restaurant. The weather was warm and clear and it was very pleasant to spend time outside.
I spent a long stretch of time on my feet which tired me out a bit, so I sat down for most of the rest of the evening. I ended up eating both pizza and pasta which is usually quite out of character for me, but it was a party. We stayed until about 10 pm, after which we went back to the car to get some things and walked to the hotel in the centre of town. It turned out that we’d come on the weekend of the Prudential Ride London cycling event and the next morning a lot of roads in Kingston would be closed, so it wasn’t worth us trying to drive closer to the hotel – we may not have been able to get out again!
I was exhausted when we reached the hotel and went to sleep quite easily, but didn’t sleep altogether well during the night. I remained awake for extended periods and was sleepy getting up in the morning. I had a shower and ate a banana while Pia popped out to find a cup of coffee.
We left the hotel around 11 am and had a wander around Kingston. We saw hundreds of cyclists on the return leg of the 100-mile route from central London into Surrey and back. Most people were on road bikes, but there were good numbers of riders on tandems, mountain bikes and even Bromptons. I’ve done a lot of long rides into the Surrey Hills before, but I’ve never taken part in this mass participation event before. It looks like it could be quite fun.
Looking around Kingston, it struck me that there were a huge number of empty shops, far more than there had ever been when we’d lived there. One big shop that we went into was having a closing down sale and another, though not closing down, looked a bit bare with noticeably less stock than usual. It made me wonder what might be causing a retail glut in the area: Online competition? Reduced consumer spending? Rising rental costs? I couldn’t possibly tell, but the effect was very clear.
I had to sit down for a bit after we’d been walking for a while, so we had a rest while we waited for Pia’s sister and her partner & son to come and meet us for lunch. Once they came, we walked through a local park next to the river and had lunch at a pub. After that we walked back to the car.
I was feeling fairly capable, so I drove us to Heathrow. We parked on the roof of the Terminal 3 carpark and walked to Arrivals to collect the girls. They took about half an hour to emerge and it was great to see them back again! Someone from the airline who was accompanying them, and a couple of other children, signed them over to us and we were able to hit the road. I was feeling ok, so I drove us all the way home with a stop part way to use the toilets and buy some snacks.
It was quite a big drive for me, having driven only very short distances on two or three occasions since starting chemo, but I managed well and was feeling ok when we got home. It was nice to have the girls back!