It is so long since I blogged that you may think I had fallen off the edge of the world. Happily this is not what has happened but read on and I shall tell you all.
When you left me last, I had just broken a front tooth eating a plum. It seems grossly unfair to break a tooth with a piece of fruit. Had it been toffee or a Crunchie, well, there might be some justice in it but fruit – well, that’s just plain wrong. I have to make an appointment at the dentist who tends to shout at me and she can’t see me until a couple of days before we fly to Bangkok. On this occasion she has obviously taken some happy pills or has just billed a massive dental bill because she is nice to me although somewhat snippy with her dental nurses. I ask if it can be fixed and she assures me she can do something. She is, as usual, critical of any dental work I have had done previously, but manages to make me a new front tooth out of something – maybe porridge – which she hardens with a blue light and then we are all done. It’s not perfect but will do for now.
We have another lovely woobs session at the Maggie Centre on the Wednesday. I am always amazed how far people come to have fun with paint and pretend they are no good at art. This time we have people from Rugby, Manchester and Hampshire as well as a sprinkling of Londoners. I am starting to feel some neuropathy in my right hand as well as in my foot but it’s the hand that causes problems when painting. I have the manual dexterity of a 2 year old which also makes getting dressed a challenge. Ms Kennedy-Shaw, one of our stalwart Wave Walkers (our dragon boat team, please keep up) makes a huge number of Lamingtons which are very popular and are pronounced light as air. Ms Hutchison, from Hello Beautiful, tells us she has over 750 decorated woobs and that there will be a festival next year where they will be displayed. Watch this space! It really is a beautiful thing as each woob is painted quite differently from any other and they tell an amazing story of women and their struggles with breast cancer.
The following day it is time to go to Bangkok. Our flight is in the evening so we have the luxury of packing during the day. Master Mason and Ms Atherton join us during the afternoon and bang on time, the taxi arrives to take us to Heathrow. I manage to get into the cab without anyone manhandling me and when we arrive at the airport, I get into the wheelchair and off we go. I am disinclined to wait in the queue for ages and spot a Thai Airways desk which seems more than quiet, with staff lolling around, chatting. Rolling up in the wheelchair, they decide they will book us in, even though they are really just for first class passengers. No-one asks to see the letter from the consultant to say I am fit to fly, even though I have highlighted the relevant passage. They ask for the dimensions of the wheelchair all over again, even though I have given them over the phone except this time they have to estimate them because, surprisingly, I don’t know them off the top of my head. I ask whether there will be any chance of being upgraded and one of the staff members still lolling laughs in my face and says “Those days are long gone”. When we get on the plane, we find it has an upstairs which would be difficult for me to navigate anyway. We are given seats at each end of a block of 4 seats so we get to stretch out a little on the flight.
Arriving at Bangkok, I am whisked away in a huge wheelchair by a very nice man. I am a little anxious about where my own wheelchair has gone and once we arrive at the baggage reclaim, having been taken through priority channels to exit, he has to sprint halfway back to the plane to retrieve it. The tip I give him is, I am later told, pretty much a day’s wages for airport workers. Ah well, at least he had something nice to tell his wife when he got home. Ms Mason (as she was) is waiting for us at the exit and we manage to get a cab which fits all of us and, quite alarmingly, our luggage. The bags are slung on top of the cab and while we look on, waiting for bungees to be produced, the rest of the luggage is chucked in the back and Ms Mason ends up in a seat where her view is impeded by the footrests of the wheelchair. She has seen Bangkok before, though, to be fair. No bungees are forthcoming and the taxi lurches out into the traffic while we wait to see which bag will fly off the roof first. Surprisingly, none does and we make it in one piece to the apartment we have booked for the first leg of our stay. Bangkok traffic is the delight of Mr Mason as it is fast, heavy and utterly tolerant. People drive as fast as they can and other drivers try to cut in without anyone getting hit. One of Mr Mason’s favourite journeys was from Kanchanaburi to Bangkok where the driver drove mostly along the inside lane at breakneck speed, occasionally deviating and driving through car parks and petrol station forecourts. And it was pouring with rain but we lived to tell the tale.