Party dress in window of Harrod's
Back from Sidmouth , we remove everything from the van, vacuum it and begin polishing it. Sort out the clothes we are not taking further and do a trial run of packing suitcases. Flights out of Heathrow have turned chaotic as 24 people have been arrested and questioned over alleged plots to murder many air travellers and we will have to see what we will be allowed to carry on our flight to Egypt at the end of the month.
Andrew has had a sebaceous lump in the middle of his back near his spine for a couple of years now but all of a sudden it has got a bit larger and has turned red and painful. Our hosts advise him that the Charing Cross Hospital A&E would be the best place for advice and treatment and Andrew sets off for there on Tuesday morning.
Kew Gardens - the famous glass house
Many hours later he returns with two lots of antibiotics and told to return on Thursday morning when they will cut it out under a local. Wednesday morning we wait until the rush hour dies down and drive to Lee on the Solent to return the sparkling van which we have driven for 15,000 miles since mid April. Greg is not there and this means Grace the springer spaniel is sadly not either. His young mechanic is instructed to take the balance of the money and we show him the bump and scrape known as the Greek one (a truck squeezing past us in Athen's traffic and us not realising what had happened at the time) and the Gibraltar one (me squeezing down a narrow road and scraping side mirror on wall!).
Sight unseen, Greg on the phone agrees to a £75 extra payment to cover any repairs though we don't think that he will bother as they are minor but it is a fair deal.
Pond in Kew Gardens
Walk into Lee and catch a bus to Gosport
, have lunch and then ferry to Portsmouth
. Buy two singles to Waterloo and there is a train leaving in four mins from platform 4!! Catch it by a whisker and in 90 minutes we are in Waterloo. Tube back to Stamford Brook and bed early as I am going to the A&E with Andrew early next day.
We arrive at the A&E 50 minutes early and they excise the lump, pack it and ask him to return tomorrow when they will see if it has drained enough to remove the cyst and stitch him up. Andrew goes back to A&E on the Friday morning and the staff are not pleased with the progress and admit him to go under a general anaesthetic to dig out the lump.
Fountain in Kew Gardens
I catch a bus down and remember the route to walk to the hospital and find him on the seventh floor. He is sent off for a shower and already has a drip inserted in his arm for saline, anti-biotics and pain killer administration. He is about ninth on the ops list but a patient ahead of him has an unexpected reaction and has to be intubated and time runs out for Andrew's proceedure. He is allowed to eat a decent dinner at about 8pm and then is put back on fasting from midnight on.
I make my way back along the route I have taken on foot to the bus stop I had got off at, to look for the return bus number 266. It is the same stop as it is a one way system and as I board an empty bus I ask the tall Jamaican driver if he would let me know when I reach the Askew Road as I am not sure if I will recognise it in the dark.
On the Thames with the London Eye
He says that he will and tells me that once he has checked the bus out for bombs, we will be on our way. He then heads down to the back of the bus and does a very scary mock scream and yells, "Oh Lordy me!". Goes upstairs and does the same. Down the stairs and out around the back of the bus he bangs on the engine cover then sticks his head in the door, grins and informs me that I am now perfectly safe!!!!!! Back in the driver's seat he calls out "Ready for take off" and we roar off. Great fun and great sense of humour! As I get off I gravely thank him for the bomb check and showing him my Australian flag luggage label tell him that I would like him to be the pilot who takes me back home.
It is now Saturday and Andrew has been moved from the ward that takes those waiting for surgery or waiting for a bed on another ward where the staff are predominently from the Phillipines, to a men's ward staffed by mostly male nurses of African origin.
He is operated on at about 3.30pm and back on ward at about 5pm. He is allowed lots of sips of water and eventually feels hungry and gets a hot meal and settles in to sleep with more pain killers.