Sunday, 13 October 2013

The Trip Down to Canterbury

Well I'm back and it looks like I brought the weather with me, sorry.

I have had a magical few days despite the weather trying to intervene. There were a few hiccups along the way, more of those in this and later blogs, but all in all it was a very good trip. I'd love to put everything in one blog but it would be very long and very boring so I'm going to split it up a little bit over the next few blogs.

We set off on Wednesday morning around 0930 and arrived at Canterbury at midday, there was a bit of a hold up on the M25 but isn't there always. I must say from the outset Canterbury is very accommodating to disabled people. There are loads of disabled parking right in the town center including a purpose built car park with a toilet block attached. We didn't once have problems parking no matter how late we got into town. Most of the shops and attractions were very good with access too. There were only two things that spoilt it. One was the street cafe's, there a lot of these and the tables and chairs made staying on the pavement impossible. The other was the boards advertising pub grub etc that also blocked the pavements. On the other hand the main street and a lot of the side streets are pedestrians only so I could use the road without fear of getting squashed. Beware of the cobbled streets though. There are a lot of these and at some points I thought my teeth were going to come out of my head with the shaking as I rode over them.

The first thing that struck us was how unique the shops were, there was no Tesco's or Boots or WHSmith on the main street, these are all confined to a modern shopping center a short walk away. Instead you got lots of individual shops selling everything weird and wonderful. There was even a shop dedicated to witchcraft, which I found rather strange in such a holy city. We popped into a taco bar for a quick lunch and then set about getting our bearings and planning what to do on our first full day. The other thing that struck us was how empty it was. There were no crowds, yes there were a few school and OAP trips going on but they were being marched around by guides and were no trouble to us.

We found the tourist information place in an art gallery on the High Street and went in to pick up leaflets about what to do and took time out to tour the gallery while we were there. Around five we left the city and went to check in at the hotel, this was not such a pleasant experience. Despite me notifying them that I was disabled and 'don't do stairs' we were given a room on the first floor and they didn't have a lift. When I questioned this the receptionist looked at me as though I was the laziest person in the world and said 'well it's only on flight'. We explained patiently about my condition but she refused to budge as it would be 'too difficult to move anyone on the ground floor as they all belonged to a coach party and wanted to stick together'. So with the help of my oxygen and poor Peter, who was also carrying the suitcase, I made it very slowly up the stairs and then had to lean against the wall to get my breathe back. We then found that our room was as far away from the stairs as you could get. I have to say the stay at the hotel marred our whole trip. The room didn't even have a fridge to keep my medication in so I had to spend time morning and night making it up as I needed it. Anyone on Flolan will know what a pain that was. The room did have TV and wifi though so that was something.

We dumped our bags and I sat on the bed and rested while Peter went down for the bag with all my medication in it. Then we unpacked and made ourselves a cup of tea while we read through the leaflets and planned our trip. According to the weather man it was going to be dry on Thursday and wet on Friday so we decided to do the city walk and visit the Cathedral on Thursday and take in the museums on Friday. a plan that worked really well as it turned out. I then made up and switched my meds while Peter scanned the web looking for somewhere to eat, it was then our troubles really started.

While I was making up my meds a horrendous noise started up outside and it honestly sounded like a fight had broken out. The wall between us and the room next door was being pounded and there was running and screaming and shouting in the corridor. I rang reception and told them what was happening and about five minutes later a loud male voice joined in the row and suddenly it all went quite. It was only when we left our room to go to dinner that we discovered what had happened. The hotel was playing host to a school trip and around 60 kids were racing around the corridors screaming like banshees. I spoke to the receptionist again on the way out and I was directed to a group of very harassed looking adults. It turned out the kids were from Germany and very excited to be in England. Everything would calm down once they went to bed I was promised, it didn't. On our return from a very nice fish and chips we went into the bar for a drink before bed and there were a string of angry guests at reception all complaining about the noise.It was definitely going to be one of those nights.

Another struggle up the stairs and I changed and went straight to sleep, I don't know if the noise continued into the night as I went out like a light but they were certainly at it again at seven in the morning when we were woken by more screaming, banging and shouting.

Strictly Watch

Well you don't think I'd miss it do you?

Oh my goodness, what a show!! The star had to be Hairy Dave. He was fabulously awful but gave it his all and loved every minute. Unfortunately the judges hated it and he ended up bottom of the leader board, shame.

The usual suspects were at the top with Patrick, Suzanna, Abbey and Natalie all doing well. Mark, Fiona and Julian all improved and everyone else stayed more or less as they were. I loved Mark's dance it was very expressive and, although a slower dance, still gave him room to use his enormous personality to good effect.

The two I didn't like this week were Vanessa, what the hell did they do to her hair? I was so distracted by how awful she looked I barely noticed her dance. Rachel also left me cold, I don't know why, I just get the impression she is just going through the motions and not really 'getting' the dance. Sophie was also a bit of a disappointment but I think I probably expect too much after last week, I hated her dress as well, which didn't help.

Bottom two this week sadly has to be Dave, though he has a lot of public support as shown by the standing ovation, Vanessa and possibly Julian. Although Julian has improved he's a bit annoying and I don't think the public warm to him very much. If it is those three I think Vanessa will go.

It is still too early to say who might win but I think Patrick, Suzanna, Abbey, Natalie and possibly Mark will make it through to December at the very least.

The latest on Kath is that she is doing very well and posted a picture of herself on Facebook yesterday. She looks so healthy and I'm so pleased she is making such good progress.

More in my next blog when I will continue my personal Tale of Canterbury. I've put some pictures on this blog but haven't really sorted everything out yet. When I do they will be on Flickr, the link is on the right, and I warn you there are 249 of them.