10. Settling in at Ealing

Bloomin’ London

I awoke to find that I wasn’t sure what country I was in and whether it was day or night. As it slowly dawned on me that I was in London I felt a thrill of excitement as the joy of being there ran through me. It took a little longer for the brain cells to register that it was pitch black outside – a fact made perfectly obvious by the blinds that covered only half of each glass door. I reached for my mobile phone praying that it was at least close to dawn but was disappointed to find that I was as bright as a button at 12.30am  (9.30am Brisbane time).

Oh well best take the positive view and get a few important things done – like eat some decent food and watch a bit of UK telly.

As it became obvious that I wasn’t going to sleep anytime soon I decided to start writing a journal of the day’s events and these daily jottings became the emails that I sent to all my family members back home. It made me feel not so far away and I knew they wanted to know that I was safe. This was the reason for carting the ‘God have I made a big mistake bringing this?’ Mac laptop with me and from the moment I took it out of my backpack I began to believe that I had, in fact, made a HUGE mistake.

The damned thing wouldn’t work!

Damn and blast! I thought to myself – or words to that effect.

I sat and had another cuppa and tried to take a Zen-like approach to the problem.

No use getting angry, just relax.

And then I had the answer.  (Note to self which I hopefully will remember – use Zen approach more often)

Take out the battery and put it back in.

I was extremely pleased with myself for recalling this bit of info which had been passed on to me by my son – he must have said it to me 45 times in the past but this was the first time I’d recalled it without aid.

So…. I took the battery out, put it back in, turned on the laptop and…hey presto!…a functioning computer again. On the strength of that I had another cuppa and numerous biscuits.

I began my computer fun by sending emails to my family describing the trip over and my traffic adventures. This was rather time-consuming as it turned out and it was 5am before I was ready to fall asleep again ; and then I had another good 5 hours of sleep. When I woke up it was a relief to feel human again – and to find myself in a sunny London.

*    *    *    *

I had a very leisurely first day in London. Knowing I’d be tired from the trip I’d allowed a few days of taking it easy and getting settled. There’d be plenty of time later for being a tourist. I had brekky looking out on a wonderfully sunny day and the lovely blossoms in the back yard. I turned on the laptop with a view to planning my days and was overjoyed to see that I already had responses to my email – imagine!  Not like the old days when a trip overseas meant no communication with your loved ones for months unless it was a matter of life and death.

The only problem was that to use my laptop I had to perch precariously atop a trendy stool with the laptop resting on a trendy central bench which also accommodated the kitchen sink.

Nowhere for legs = back pain

This ‘island’ doubles as a dining table and all-purpose junk-resting surface and underneath are a lot of storage cabinets. As a result there’s nowhere to put your knees – or any part of your legs for that matter – under the bench. Last night this resulted in a severe backache after a couple of hours sitting with my spine twisted through 90 degrees at the waist. No wonder my back complained – it puts my teeth on edge just to talk about it now. Something had to be done.

An alternative, though equally unacceptable, idea was to sit on the futon that was enormous and was no doubt a very roomy double bed when not being used as the sofa. My afore-mentioned (see!) little, short legs don’t stretch far enough to let my feet touch the ground and because of the design of the futon and it’s propensity to bulge at the outer edge (no matter how many times I tried to change it) after a short time I would lose the blood flow in my legs (especially with a 2-ton laptop resting on my lap) and soon lost all feeling in them. Therefore  – not a good idea.

The only ordinary chairs in sight were out in the garden and had a light covering of leaves and cobwebs. Maybe I could bring those in? and the glass-topped table? Why not!

 

Garden table and chair to the rescue!

In half an hour I had the table and two of the chairs cleaned up and installed in the dining area and was mightily pleased with myself. It was a great relief to have somewhere to sit, eat and write in comfort. I sat for quite some time then admiring the range of blossoms in the back garden.

 
The trees in London are gorgeous with their fresh spring growth and looking out at the peach blossoms I knew I’d made the right decision by not staying in some dodgy hotel or B&B. It costs a fortune to stay in them for 4 weeks and I would have gone barmy being confined to a single room with shared facilities.

Needless to say the high-end establishments were well beyond my means. I wanted to be not too far from central London and close to a tube station for my sight-seeing jaunts. Ealing Common fitted the bill to a tee – and it’s close to the North Circular Road when the time comes for me to brave the London traffic in earnest.

Now…..enough of this enjoying myself….time to duck out and get a bit of food and do a reccie of the area and – where the hell am I going to park while I shop?

Yesterday I had to pay £30 for the privilege of chatting with the council and then £3.50 to park behind some buildings in the open air while I dashed in to get a few groceries. At this rate I’ll be broke in no time at all!

Somewhere around here there MUST be a supermarket that has its own car park.  Yes, that’s it – there MUST be.  All I need to do is find it.

So, off to the shops I go but have no luck finding such a car park. A few times around the block (easier said than done) and 40 minutes later I surrender and go to the place I used yesterday – and pay my £3.50.

‘Goodness gracious me’ (or words to that effect) I say aloud as I display the ticket on my dashboard ‘this is costing me a fortune’.

Apologies for the quality of the first 2 photos – snipped from a video with poor resolution. Images will improve soon as I took quite a few good ones in London.

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