Monday, 27 May 2013

Boris Johnson & the start of a magical week

Very occasionally, we all get a moment of complete wonderment, where something amazing or unusual happens, and it lives with us forever. I've just had a whole weekload of such moments, magically crammed together in the space of a very few days, and it's felt like I have been given the exclusive use of my very own Fairy Godmother for a whole week. OK, so she didn't clean the house, but after the week I've just had, she probably knew I'd need something to bring me back to earth. 

An invitation from Boris Johnson, the Mayor of London, to join him at City Hall for a reception kick-started the week beautifully. Boris is a larger-than-life character, and you either love him or hate him, and I must admit I really wasn't very fond.  In person though, he is just lovely, with much more warmth and humanity than I expected. The building itself is amazing, with all sorts of really clever architectural features. There is an enormous aerial map of the whole of the Greater London area in the basement, taking virtually the whole floor area, so you can see it over the stairwell balconies from above. We were on the ninth floor, and it has a terrace running almost the entire way around, with simply breath-taking views of our Capital City. We Londoners aren't famed for our free-flowing emotional literacy, but this balcony is designed to bring all that emotion out onto your sleeve in one easy move. I just stood there, breathing in views of the Tower of London, Tower Bridge, the Gherkin, St Paul's Catherdral, The Thames with all the boats busying up and down, and felt so enormously proud of our heritage and our City in a real lump-in-throat sort of way. 
London's amazing City Hall, affectionately known as "The Onion"

I took this photo of Tower Bridge from the Terrace on the 9th Floor

On the terrace, the Gherkin is just across the river

This photo I took just doesn't do it justice - a huge mape of the whole of the Greater London Area on the floor of the basement,

Then they started serving food. Forget the views, the food was simply heavenly.  All finger food, served on trays one dish at a time, but so many lovely staff carrying so many trays. Stuffed baby new potatoes, kebabs of lamb, chicken, salmon, jenga-sized chips in tiny little paper cones, beautiful melt-in-the-mouth pastries with all sorts of delicacies...... I should have brought a sleeping-bag and taken up residence. 

Boris Johnson has to be one of the best public speakers there is. He is just so funny.  He is also very well-informed and does his  research very well indeed - I can honestly say his speech was the best I've ever heard. 

Isn't it strange how life can bring such lows and highs together even on the same day? This was on the very same day that I got the letter that floored me, detailing in stark black and white how my cancer has spread to my spine, and what that means in terms of my life-expectancy. 
I didn't react well to the letter, and for a few hours I was a simply horrible person, and the last thing I wanted was to go out and have to be pleasant to people. It was my first trip up to the centre of London on a train for over a year, and although I'm feeling lots better, my stamina still has a long way to go to be anywhere near normal, and walking more than a few paces is agony on all my joints due to the side-effects of some of the drugs I'm on.  WM, who hadn't been invited, insisted on coming with me to make sure I was OK all the way up there, and when we got there, despite all the necessarily stringent security measures in central London buildings, they allowed him to come into the reception with me. Their kindness just about made my day, and having WM there too made the whole thing so much more special. 

The walking did nearly kill me - it's about a 10 minute walk for normal people, and not easily accessible by bus or taxi. It took me nearly an hour of painful steps and breathlessness, but I felt so good that I'd done it, there and back. 

So many other magic moments to tell you about - being on-stage for two performances of Coke Floats & Chemo which our audiences seemed to love, getting an amazing phonecall from somebody that could turn out to be literally life-changing, and Steve, our exhaustingly naughty puppy turning into a brilliantly behaved little poppet. If I do it now, this post will be so long that you'll get horribly bored, so I'm off to make a cup of tea, and I'll do a second post in a little while, maybe even later today. 

1 comment:

  1. Yvonne, how delightful, that you and WM were present at the reception at City Hall...and crazy timing to receive "the letter" that was very disturbing. I still encourage you to not take that medical letter as fact/reality...our bodies have amazing healing potential, if we just feed them the right elements...good nutrition, the right emotions and belief.
    Talk soon,
    Sharon, Ottawa xox