9-13 March: Our fluid plans start flowing

Author: Mrs A

Location: London and Harby, Nottinghamshire, UK

Our flight from Vienna left without a hitch and we travelled across London to a hotel near Kings Cross, where we had planned to spend the night. We had just missed a heavy rain shower and everything was shining and glistening as we wheeled our cases along the street.

Just over 8 months of luggage wheeling along the street

After dropping our cases, we went off for an explore, the spring sunshine coming out for the end of the day.

The gothic St Pancras Renaissance Hotel, built in 1873 has been opulently restored. This is not where we stayed!

Seeing this area of London through our post-Vienna eyes we noticed the stark contrasts. The numerous homeless people sat shivering and begging for money along the street were something that was hidden in Austria, but here so visible. The beautiful buildings are still there, but all too often nestled next to 1960s and 70s monstrosities, little apparent thought given to blending the building styles.

We saw a sign pointing towards the Regents Canal, a waterway that has been substantially revitalised in recent years. It was busy with people enjoying Sunday afternoon, strolling home along the towpath with shopping in hand, or stopping at one of the waterside bars for a glass of wine or a pint.

Office buildings and residences alongside the Regents Canal
Sunset as we stroll back to the hotel

It’s definitely an area that is in the midst of being revitalised, with old tower blocks being demolished in favour of interesting open air bars and shopping, eating and entertainment precincts.

Later that evening we met up with London-based friend Jacky for our first British curry, opting to go to north Indian restaurant, Yatri, attracted by its great reviews. It certainly deserved its good reputation, with delicious food and a modern cosy atmosphere.

Fellow iSGS patient, Jacky

On Monday morning we took the train up to Nottinghamshire, jumping off at Bingham Station, where we were met by one of the Fuller’s Leisure team and escorted to Truffy, our motorhome.

Habitation experts Nathan and Dave from the Fuller’s workshop did an excellent job as always…’Fuller’s Leisure, always a pleasure’

They had been working on a few warranty issues and upgrades while we were back in Australia, and after a tour around all the new amendments and features, we drove off up to our friends’ house, just south of Lincoln.

We’ve enjoyed a lovely week with our friends John and Catriona, who so generously have opened their home and driveway to us to allow us to get ourselves sorted. We even have our own wing to the house – it’s going to be hard to leave!

A 14km (9 mile) walk on Thursday from our friends’ home along a rail trail took us straight into Lincoln, a historical university city with a castle and cathedral. We relished the sunny day, wrapped up against the chilly wind that seems to come straight from Siberia!

Mr A all wrapped up
Being a rail trail the path is very level and avoids the muddy pathways
Hazelnut catkins and new leaf buds show signs of spring
The fields look descriptively dry with their crispy wheat stems – this area flooded over the winter months and there were quite a few puddles remaining
Lovely colours
Flowering blackthorn bushes line the path

While in Lincoln we caught up with my cousin’s daughter, Hannah, and treated her to dinner. We can still remember our student days, appreciating any signs of civilisation and it was good to hear how she was doing six months into her course.

Kanpai ! We introduce Hannah to her first taste of Japanese Sake

Where to from here?

Our plans were originally to head off to Spain on a ferry two weeks tomorrow. But now with the rapidly spreading Covid-19 virus and estimates that around 70% of the population will catch it, being stuck with an underprepared medical system in Spain is not too attractive. Add in the complexities with my airway disease, and you could end up with a potentially life threatening situation (there are no specialists in iSGS in either Spain or Portugal). As borders are starting to be closed off, this seems like an unnecessary risk to take.

So instead, we are planning to practice our relative social isolation by travelling around the UK. At the moment we are thinking that Devon and Cornwall might be attractive options, as well as Wales. Our next couple of weeks will be with family and friends, inter dispersed with some medical visits, and hopefully remaining healthy. We are pretty good at changing our plans on the fly, so will play things by ear over the coming weeks and months…we’ll keep you posted!

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