I started planning my trip to England and Wales about a year ago. My friend Cathy and I worked on our itinerary, making plans to visit old and new friends in both countries and on the Isle of Man. In the meantime, my dear Lorne had been applying to work for the London Olympics and we were hoping that if he got the job, I'd stay on longer to be with him for a while before returning home to start the school year with my tutoring. Well, it was all a whirlwind when everything started happening! Within two weeks, he had everything arranged after one video interview and two long distance telephone interviews. On May 16th, I drove him to Vancouver International Airport, kissed him good-bye and off he went!
I never said anything about it (except to personal friends) because of security clearances...everything he did in his job was on a "need-to-know" basis as he was dealing with extremely high level security for VIPs, Heads of State, international Royalty, headline acts for the ceremonies, and more. Read into this as you may but yes, he probably either met them or at least saw them go through his area. Working under him were over 2000 British Army troops, 20 Met Police, 8 dog handlers, 3 Venue Managers, etc. I was so proud of him but missed him terribly!
Woodstock Terrace in a row of homes bordering on a park. It was okay, but even though the weather from May to July was horrendously rainy and cold, the landlady wouldn't allow him to turn on the heat. He used to huddle under his comforter fully clothed trying to stay warm during his "off" hours while he read and read and read. There was no TV or radio and no internet access, either. He'd go over to the library around 7pm every night and contact me at home (11am my time) and we'd "chat" online for an hour - the allotted time. If he couldn't make it, he'd email me wonderful letters full of all the news he could give me - his emails were monitored for security! I saved everything - printed out all the emails and the "chats" we had and now have a large binder full of our correspondence. It'll be fun to read through it again one day.
Finally, the day came when Cathy and I were to leave on our holiday. I could hardly wait because it was now down to counting the weeks and days instead of the months before Lorne and I saw each other again. As you probably have been reading, we had a great holiday for 2 1/2 weeks until we got to Yorkshire. He phoned to tell me he was in the hospital with osteomyelitis! Several weeks prior, he'd tripped over some cables on site and banged his big toe on a stairwell. Long story short, he had unknowingly broken it and a few weeks later, he started to feel really sick. He was transported by ambulance to Homerton Hospital where he was admitted, put immediately on IV antibiotics to get the infection under control before undergoing a partial amputation. The surgery was to be on the Friday so Cathy and I headed to London on Thursday and went right away to the hospital after checking in at our hotel downtown.
walk later, the poor guy was quite the sorry sight all hooked up to tubes, unshaven and hair all tousled. Once I was there though, he relaxed a bit and was ready to do whatever it took to get him better. He insisted that Cathy and I do some fun things in London while he was in the hospital because he didn't want to ruin our holiday. So we did. Visiting hours were strange (from 11am to noon and then from 4pm to 8pm) so I usually ended up going around 4pm and staying until around 8 until it started getting dark earlier and earlier.
Once Cathy left to return home, I moved over to the house on Woodstock Terrace. Although the location was great for Lorne regarding work, it was in East London - not the best place for a WASP woman to be staying alone. Drug deals went on in the middle of the night below the window and I looked very out of place walking amongst the women wearing hijabs peeking through the slits in their masks and amongst the blackest of black Somalis. Lorne worried a lot about me being alone there, but I reassured him that I always had my keys out sticking through my fingers as a weapon and I always walked as though I knew exactly where I was going. I really didn't think the area was that bad because I always saw lots of families around. It just wasn't what one usually imagines when one thinks about the city of London.
Here's a funny story about something that happened after Lorne got out of the hospital but before he was well enough to fly home. In the slide show to follow, you'll see some security guards outside the library about a block away from where we lived. They also roamed around inside watching for theft and any disruptions. Anyway, as there was no internet access at the house, we had to go to the library in order to check out flights home, contact our travel agent and family, and print out boarding passes. We're there one day trying to work when suddenly there was an eruption between two young men, both big and black! I was rightly p***ed at all the noise they were making and their cursing, so started grumbling at Lorne to do something. He just told me to mind my own business because these guys could be dangerous. But I was so stressed out about everything that I suddenly erupted at them and said, "Will you guys PLEASE figure out who beats up whom somewhere else! People are trying to work here!" Well....dead silence....and then one of them said, "Oh, sorry Ma'am!" and they left! No one could believe this old white lady standing up to these punks! I started to laugh while everyone else just stared at me open-mouthed, including Lorne.
The day Lorne finally got out of the hospital he insisted on taking me out to dinner in the neighbourhood. We went to his favourite Chinese food restaurant and I was very impressed. After dinner, he said we had to keep going further down the street because he had a surprise for me. We ended up at an old 50s-style diner where we ordered ice-cream sundaes! I even had the waiter take our photo! We were both so happy that day to be able to finally be together again, knowing he would be coming home early with me instead of staying on until the end of October. But before coming home, we went to Wales to visit my friend Jane. You might recall my post R is for Rhossili here.
Warm thanks to Mrs. Nesbitt, the wonderful creator of ABC Wednesday and to Roger, our current administrator of the site. Without them, we would not be here sharing all our witty and whimsical posts. We welcome all newcomers and would love our "oldies" to continue in the upcoming Round 12. As well, we welcome anyone who is interested in participating on the team by visiting about 10 posts other than the ones you already visit. Please contact Roger at ABC Wednesday here.
Enjoy the slideshow about my experiences living on Woodstock Terrace in London - I know it's long, but the next last 3 posts of the year will be short - I promise!
Also, since next Tuesday is Christmas Day and in Canada Wednesday is Boxing Day,
I'd like to take this moment to wish everyone, wherever you are in the world, a very