Photo Diary: My nan came to London

Tuesday, 12 January 2016

Long time no 'see' hej? I started this blog as a way to document my life, and I have some catching up to do in terms of photos of times that I want to remember, so without further ado, I'll start. Last year, some time in November, my nan was feeling a little sad, because she hadn't been to England or Vienna that year (two places she usually goes each year), which made me sad too, so I thought I'd have to find a solution. She normally comes to England with my mum, or sometimes with my aunt, because even though she's flown a lot (and I mean a lot) of times, she doesn't feel too comfortable doing it by herself, which is understandable, given that she doesn't speak English. SO I made the following proposal to her: She'd fly over here all by herself (but obviously from a German (and small)) airport, so once on English speaking territory, she could just follow the crowds and after a couple of days here, I'd fly back with her and go home for the weekend in order to surprise my grandad for his birthday. She thought about it for a couple of days and decided that yes, actually that did sound like a good idea.

Forward a couple of weeks and Daniel and I were waiting for her at Stansted. And waiting, and waiting. Turns out, she couldn't find the luggage band (again, she flies a lot and knows how this works, so it may not have been on the display any more by the time she got there or the way they're renovating Stansted wasn't the clearest, anyway), so when she came out, we were sent to the other end of the airport, just to be sent back to where we started in order for her to go through security in order to go in again with someone to find her case. Easier said than done. Her hearing aids set off the alarm twice, which meant they had to get their manager to check her through properly (we obviously didn't know at that stage it was her hearing aids). Once they cleared her, getting her case was easy enough, though we had lost about an hour, making it around 12 o'clock at night UK time (or 1 o'clock German time), pretty late for an elderly lady. Our evening shouldn't go smooth from there though, not yet; when we got to the hotel, we were quickly told that their system was down, meaning they could neither check us in, nor tell us when they would we able to. The staff was really nice, and in the end we didn't have to pay for the room, but by the time we got to bed it was after 2 (UK time) and we were utterly exhausted.

The next day, we thought we'd take it really easy. We started off with a nice brunch, laughing at just how difficult it was to get to bed the previous night. Later on, we had a lovely afternoon tea (at the Ampersand Hotel) and met up with Daniel and his family to go see 'Les Miserables' (my nan's favourite ever musical). I absolutely loved it, though I really didn't like it the first time I saw it, which must be something like 10 years ago now. This made me think, did I learn to love it, because my nan and my whole family love it? I'm not saying I'm 'fake' liking it now, but I think I might have tried a little harder to, because I wanted to understand what my beloved love :). All in all a wonderful day.

The next day though, really wasn't off to such a wonderful start: my nan slipped in the shower (which was really a bathtub) falling hard onto her back and banging the back of her head. We were both in complete shock, though she seemed to shake it off a lot easier than I did, I felt sick for hours, whilst she was ready for breakfast after a slight recovery period. Spoiler alert: She wasn't fine (she is now though, so don't worry); she may have walked around London with me and making a good case that she actually had a good time, but about two weeks later, when she went to the doc for the second time, because she thought surely it shouldn't hurt anymore, she found out that she'd broken a vertebrae and would need surgery. Yeah, so that was pretty scary, and believe me, I will never ever forget again to check if there's a walk in shower when travelling with my nan. Luckily (and I am so grateful for this) the surgery went well. She still promises me that the pain didn't actually start till later and that she just felt a little sore on the actual days after the fall.

So again: we decided to take the day very slow. We browsed around department stores for a little bit in the morning and I actually had to work in the afternoon. In the evening, we had a delicious meal at Jamie's Italian in Covent Garden and then went to bed really early, which was oh so nice. I always plan to go to bed early, with a nice cup of tea and something good to read, but then I'm just in front of my macbook until late. That evening though, I was ready for and in bed by around 9, my nan sound asleep next to me (not surprising after the shock) with a calming cup of chamomile tea and the newest Kinfolk, which Daniel had kindly brought to me at the theatre the night before. Pure bliss.

Even though by this stage my nan made it clear that she was expecting nothing less than an adventure holiday after the previous events, I decided to not take any risks and just to have another relaxed day; after all, she didn't really come to London for jam-packed days, but to be there and spend time with me and to be honest, it was such a nice excuse to actually be slow in London (who's even heard of such a thing). We decided to have a drink/tea at the Selfridges' rooftop bar/restaurant/cafĂ© and we really loved it; beautiful views (the sun decided to really go for it that day) and of course great company.

And thankfully, there weren't any more incidents. Before heading to the airport, we went for delicious lunch at Dishoom (so tasty!) where I ordered so much that the waiter gave me strange looks, but hey ho. So that was it: my lovely nan's visit to London that was a lot more eventful in the wrong ways yet completely wonderful.

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