An Idiot Abroad – My Adventures In London – Part 2

Those of a nervous disposition will be relieved to learn I landed safely in Belfast last night after my business trip to London. Thankfully there wasn’t a drone to be seen, although I suspect I will encounter several when I return to the office this morning. Boom Boom! Yesterday was slightly less eventful than the outward leg but there was still much to see and learn.

Having mastered the possessed lift at the hotel, we only had a short walk to where our meeting was taking place. Through Mayfair and Pall Mall, two of the posher parts of London. I almost got run over by a Rolls Royce, so busy was I gawking at it and then posed like a loon outside the Ritz Hotel, insisting my colleague photograph me. I’m the idiot in the bright orange coat by the way.

I came to the conclusion that nobody in this part of London eats anything but caviar. The remainder of their diet consists of Havana cigars and expensive wines that cost more per bottle than my monthly salary. These were the only types of shop we passed. There wasn’t a Tesco Express to be seen. Thankfully, tea and biscuits were on offer upon arrival at our meeting place.

We met in a very grand room, adorned with paintings of Waterloo and other legendary military encounters. I wandered around the room, like a star struck teenager, taking more photographs, while my slightly bemused colleague and our hosts politely made small talk until I had finished gushing over a bust of the Duke of Wellington. When it comes to 19th century military history I’m a complete and utter fanboy.

The meeting itself went well and we were treated to lunch in a members club by our hosts. Following that there was a further meeting, followed by handshakes all round and a quick dash back to Heathrow via tube and train. I am now an expert on such modes of transport, even remembering what side of the escalator to stand on in order to avoid being trampled over by my fellow commuters.

Security at Heathrow was slightly more glamorous than usual as a drag queen and her manager passed through. ‘I insist you frisk me dahhlliiings,’ she hollered, much to the amusement of fellow travellers and staff. It goes without saying that the sensors were activated. We retired to the lavish surroundings of the business lounge, where a fridge full of chilled Diet Coke almost reduced me to tears.

While the extensive buffet offered all kinds of hot dishes I was content to nibble on crackers and cheese, immersed in my Kindle. The flight home was uneventful and we landed in Belfast bang on schedule, where Fionnuala was waiting to whisk me home. I was in my own bed within 15 minutes, such was my exhaustion. I get the results of my latest blood tests later today, which will hopefully explain the fatigue I have been experiencing.

I enjoyed my trip to London, and it was successful with regards the purpose of our visit. But there really is no place like home. Who knows, the next time I visit it’s bright lights might be to sign a book contract. If so, I might treat myself to a plate of caviar. Hold the cigars. All washed down with a glass of Diet Coke, of course. A boy can dream. Until then, however, it’s back to the grind.

47 thoughts on “An Idiot Abroad – My Adventures In London – Part 2

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      1. Ha!! I had the most wonderful 21st birthday party at the Ritz … I still remember every detail. I didn’t wear gloves, but wore the most fabulous green satin dress! What a spoilt little madam I was! Forgive me pleeeeease! 😩

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  1. Such elevated circles you move in! My London conferences were generally in Travelodges on the outskirts; I can’t remember the last time I visited Mayfair (and I lived in the London suburbs until 2011). Be assured there are Tesco Expresses galore (and their Sainsbury equivalents) competing with independent stores in every other district of London.
    West London often feels somewhat foreign for us East Londoners too – as is South London (even though I know Greenwich well after working there). Out here in the flat wastes of Fenland is something else again, but I think it’s my flat on London’s fringe of Epping Forest that I still think of as home – probably because three of my four children (and one of my husband’s) live around East London.

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      1. Insights of a retired Registered Nurse:

        Many routine blood tests done for screening purposes are useless for leading to a diagnosis related to persistent or profound fatigue. A hemoglobin (often paired with a hematocrit) tells next to nothing about whether or not one has iron-deficiency anemia, and a vitamin B-12 level on its own cannot reveal pernicious anemia. Both kinds of anemia require a complete blood count with differential (preferably a manual differential, because a human eye must be employed to detect the number and nature of any defective red blood cells – an automated differential errs by computing a mathematical average, which can be confounded when there are both microcytic and macrocytic defective cells at the same time). For iron deficiency, a complete iron panel is necessary, including a ferritin level. For pernicious anemia, which is an autoimmune disease, the levels of two kinds of antibodies are also required. To investigate thyroid function, simply performing a TSH cannot reveal hypothyroidism. A complete thyroid panel is required, including tests of free T3 and free T4, along with tests for two anti-thyroid antibodies (because hypothyroidism can also be an autoimmune disease).

        Another extremely common cause of persistent, profound fatigue is obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), a life-threatening disorder caused by physical attributes of the upper airway that prevent breathing during sleep, which, because of the resulting state of poor oxygenation, puts a vast strain on the heart and other organs. Snoring is a defining symptom of this problem, and everyone who snores is strongly advised to undergo polysomnography (a “sleep study”) to determine the severity of the apnea (in adults, any number greater than five apneic/hypopneic events per hour is abnormal, and severe cases can number more than one hundred events per hour). No amount of “aerobic” exercise one may engage in during waking hours can compensate for the lack of oxygen during sleep, and because of the heart damage that OSA causes, until the problem is treated, strenuous exercise may become dangerous, with a “heavy” feeling in the legs being evidence of developing cardiovascular problems.

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  2. This reminds me of when I landed my first job in New York City. I couldn’t believe the lavish life of the business community. I worked for a big accounting firm and wined and dined with partners and clients in private clubs and dining rooms. It was a lot for this sensible girl with big dreams. Your story took me back.

    I smiled when you discovered the chilled Diet Coke in the airport business lounge. What a way to cap off your day! Good luck with your test results.

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  3. So funny! The lift story! I never had any problems with elevators but my youngest daughter is terrified of elevators. Not sure why but at 44 she will walk up several flights of stairs to avoid riding in an elevator. When she was about 12 we were all going to take an elevator to visit a family member who lived on the 10th floor. She refused to get on the elevator – after several attempts my husband in total frustration yelled a verse from the Bible at her “perfect love casts out fear.” That didn’t work either but we still laugh today as his yelling at her was anything but perfect love.

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  4. Glad you’re back home safe and sound. And I hope you get to the bottom of the symptoms you’ve been experiencing and have a full and complete recovery. Here’s to a book deal in the not too distant future.

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