This article was written for Annabel & Grace, which is now part of Rest Less.
I worked at the hospice this morning.I love working there. The people are fabulous and it’s a great atmosphere. But it meant being up at 7.30 and a very very busy morning. Rapidly home, a quick change, drop off dog and then up to London to collect eldest son who had to vacate his flat and then off to view another four properties in Clapham. Easy right?
The sun was shining and my radio was at full volume and spirits were high. I drive into London on a regular basis to go and see my son and we go out on the town. A couple of weeks ago I drove to the Barbican (I am a total Cumberbitch!!!) – it is not a big deal. However that time I managed to have a sat nav thing on maps on my phone (yes, I felt very tekkie!). This time though I lost my signal before I even reached London. How did we manage before all this stuff ? Oh yes! I had an A-Z in my car all the time. Despite having my son’s postcode I didn’t have his address – except in my address book that I didn’t have on me. Not a problem – I can phone him. Except I didn’t have a signal! I was driving into London without knowing where I was actually going. Well, I know he lives near Waterloo bridge because EH and I drove there when he moved in and I have been there a few times to stay – but I usually walk there with my son (who knows the way).
I head towards Waterloo – well I think that’s where I am going but I miss a turning. Then it all goes wrong. I am literally going round in circles. I ask someone (on a different network) who also speaks a completely different language if he would call my son from his phone – which he did but was on voicemail. The whole network appeared to be down. As EH works for the network, it is obviously completely utterly and completely his fault!!
I ask a taxi driver who sends me through Covent Garden and then I find myself in a bus lane (not a good idea). Siri has been unavailable the whole time, I have no signal, no wi-fi and am completely lost! I know I need the river and then I can find Waterloo however there are road blocks, closures and diversions and eventually I burst into tears! White van man beside me points me in the right direction but I have to drive 2 miles in the wrong direction before I could manage a U turn!
I realise it is now 2pm – the time of our first appointment. I have only had one cup of coffee all day and I am hungry, thirsty, very dehydrated, have a splitting headache, feel sick and need a wee! I find Waterloo bridge and I find the Old Vic. I know he lives near the old Vic but why don’t I know my own son’s address?
I find a phone box. A phone box! Who knew? It works and I have change. A pound lasts all of 45 seconds and the operator cannot find the address in time. I come out the phone box and cry – again ! A black cab appears and I halfheartedly flag it down still weeping as I try and explain my dilemma. I can describe the flats quite well and the road and I know I am soooo close. He tries the number which goes to voicemail (again). But a few seconds later son calls back and lovely lovely lovely black cab driver explains he has a tearful mum on board and within 5 minutes mother and son are reunited and I cry again!
He is all packed and ready to move out. We have missed two appointments but all I care about is that I am with my son who makes me a cup of tea with some Hobnobs. We pack up the car – I could gloss over this bit but he lives on the 4th floor and there is no lift. Oh and guess who then hoovers, dusts and cleans! How come he has so much stuff ! He didn’t have this much when EH and I moved him in. And where did all this Ted Baker stuff come from? His tastes are getting better since living in London – he also has two bottles of Grey Goose vodka, two of a great champagne and half a bottle of gin. My son is 6ft 2″ and can hardly cram himself in my Mini. Especially with all the cushions. Cushions? Yes my idea – he has a lot because they make his sofa bed so much more comfy when I go and stay.
I have never felt so happy to be on roads I know. Son sleeps the whole way home. He unloads the car and I cook dinner with a good bottle of wine and I am in bed by 9pm utterly exhausted. I am delighted he’s back, albeit temporarily. I know he cannot wait to return to London but I spent a whole afternoon trying to book flat viewings for him and it’s really hard. Most flats are gone by the time they are up online! However I can smell cooking in my kitchen (rare when I am on my own) and he sprawls over the sofa (and the dog). I know I can relish being mum again if only for a short while! Oh and the phone? He switched it off, removed the battery and it was just fine! Ggggrrrrrr !!!