Up That London (Part I)
Arrived at Lime Street station by taxi in good time for the London train. I had treated myself to first class tickets because of my concerns that I would otherwise not even survive the journey, let alone the events to follow.
Was enormously relieved to discover that there was a useful space behind my seat in which I could store both my suitcase and the ginormous hat box. (Had been worried that I would need to stow the hat box some distance from my seat, and that some arrogant business man would have whacked his own luggage down on top of it, thereby squishing The Hat beyond repair.)
At this stage I was still very much not a happy bunny. The only reason I had set off at all was because so many other people were involved in the events of the next few days and my conscience wouldn't allow me to let them down. Bear in mind that it is almost four years since I last travelled any further afield than Madchester and I was deathly afraid that my back would not be able to cope. Had that been the case, there is little doubt that I would never have dared spend a night away from home again.
Pop, bless him, being always very sensitive to how I am feeling, kept me entertained throughout the journey with a seemingly endless stream of very silly text messages. For this relief much thanks.
The train departed and arrived on time, and no sooner had I disembarked at Euston than Algernon appeared and divested me of my luggage. Pausing briefly to direct me the wrong way on the station concourse, he soon had me safely ensconced in the car, with the hat box treated to its own personal seat belt in the back.
I had arrived at rush hour, so the drive back to Hotel Algernon took quite some time, but all was well and the hotel lounge was welcoming and comfortable. We spent a very pleasant evening catching up, and I was not permitted then - or at any other point during my stay - to lift a finger in preparation of comestibles.
It took me some time to adjust to the relatively tropical temperatures in London, so I spent much of that night loitering on the balcony outside my bedroom watching the aeroplanes heading for Heathrow.
By the time I surfaced on Thursday morning, the hotel staff had left for a business meeting. Breakfast things had been laid out for me in the kitchen, and it was the work of a moment to boil the kettle for morning coffee.
I took the opportunity (the first I had had) to try on The Outfit in its entirety and concluded that it would do. (Which is just as well, as it was by that time far too late to make any adjustments to it.)
Thursday was a very quiet day, spent recovering from the journey and resting up for what I knew was going to be a decidely punishing day on Friday.
I was thrilled to bits to get a phone call from the much loved Unreliable Witness, announcing that he had finally beaten the hospital staff into submission and would be returning to his own home the following day. In fact, the moment the call ended, I burst into tears of joy. At which point the hotel staff, much disconcerted, patted my arm and offered me tissues.
I had further calls for the purpose of synchronising watches and suchlike from both Aunty J and the Old Blind Git.
With nothing further to be done, I retired to bed betimes, plugged my mobile phone firmly into its charger, and set my alarm clock for a time early enough to guarantee that there would be no call to panic before we set off for the Palace at nine the next morning.