This week we bid farewell to Ashby and boarded a train headed for London.
I always smile to myself when I’m on my way to London. For an English-Woman I’m a complete fraud when it comes to London.
I can’t stand the place.
It’s busy and smelly. Everyone is rude and angry and I always feel so rushed, like I have to keep one eye looking over my shoulder, or I’m always in someone’s way.
When someone comes in to work, however, it’s my favourite place – I’ve even gone along with people who assume I lived there for arguments sake, and having enough friends who have had London Lobotomy’s and enjoy permanently residing in the capital, I can blag it.
I am trying to find things I enjoy about London, and Zac’s boyish excitement to be heading back to the big smoke will eventually wear you down and suck you in.
Awesome this week there’s a special mention to Typo being a growing feature in the UK, but it wasn’t quite enough to hit the top spot.
It was bittersweet leaving Ashby, as it often is, but this time left a more unpleasant tang than most.
I’d loved spending time with Lorna and Andy (they’re definitely our first and probably best ‘couple friends’ and as I’ve got older, I do really appreciate having a go to double date).
But you see, Dad’s still in hospital.
He’s had his first lot of results after a few weeks of particularly aggressive treatment.
And it’s working.
It’s fucking working.
I’m not going to pretend I know the intricacies of the myeloma, but I do know there’s something called light chains and when they’re high, it’s catastrophic and when they’re low we have a reason to smile.
(Either way it’s always an excuse to drink gin, thanks Papa K)
But these results have shown that his light chains have dropped from 10,000 to 275.
It’s a significant enough result they can pause the chemo for long enough for him to have his back cemented, which in turn will allow him to ease up on the painkillers and means that the rest of his body can start working like a well oiled machine again.
And while we were there for his diagnosis, and there for his results, and there to give him a big squeeze goodbye – without knocking out his morpheine drip – we’re not there to see him out of hospital. We’re not there to settle him back home and make sure he’s alright. And while he’s significantly better than when we arrived, it still feels like we’re leaving prematurely.
I am comfortable leaving Papa K with faith in his stubborn ability to keep buggering on, and with realistic optimism that we’ll be seeing him in November any way.
For once this wasn’t on my part, but it was one of those beautiful moments where completely strangers band together to laugh at someone’s misfortune.
Laughter led by the mother of the poor boy involved.
It was on the train to London.
We’d all got on at a similar end of the train at Tamworth, and the carriage was rammed, standing room only, and with us having our suitcases and with a pram on board as well, it felt like we were at close quarters.
We were in the part of the carriage near the toilet and the youngest boy from one of the families that had alighted with us needed to make use of the facilities.
The doors on these toilets always open really slowly, like you’re unveiling a really disappointing, unsanitary prize.
But, they are at least there, and as long as you don’t get caught out with an upset stomach in a fake toilet (actually happened and the inspector forced open the door because he thought I was dodging the fare), it’s definitely a feature I have space for on my trains.
This lad had a little giggle at how slow the door was, then hopped in to the loo, shutting the door with the help of his brother.
Now these toilets do have a lock button which stops anyone else being able to open the door from the outside while you’re inside.
Only poor Ollie didn’t seem to find the button.
An unsuspecting young woman came in from the other side of the carriage and pressed the button for the loo.
As Ollie’s Mum was trying to tell her someone was in there we hear an adolescent yelp as poor Ollie is unveiled and literally caught with his pants down.
In a vain attempt to protect his modesty without comprising his aim, he was trying to shuffle around the toilet, as the woman who caused the commotion turned her back and stood guard while her cheeks flushed red and the door slowly closed again.
Door finally shut, the entire carriage let out a huge guffaw, while Mum reenacted the scene for those too far away to catch the initial event.
No one tried to pretend they hadn’t seen the commotion and it took a stern word from Mum to calm everyone down before a rather sheepish Oliver stepped out of the toilet.
Zac was immediately on Facebook to tell the boys and I dare say it’s a tale that will go down in family history for the poor bugger.