The Eaton Diary of London    2001  

Margie's first week

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Saturday, March 17 Ė Margieís impressions After Day 10 in London.


I have finished a week's orientation Mon-Fri at Thamesbrook. It's much like any aged care facility, kind friendly helpful staff, lovely prints and wallpaper, homely rooms and lounges and the usual mix of residents. By Friday it felt quite normal, early on, late off and flat out with no lunch in between. It was an unusual day with sick people, doctor, hospitalisation etc., so I learnt a lot, -which forms to fill out etc. Also had cause to ring relatives, so I have started to feel comfortable, and as though I know whatís going on.

Our first few days were taken up with necessary business, just getting established. We soon discovered nothing is straightforward, simple or convenient. Everything one does requires a long walk, many stairs and tube train or bus, or both. We are so spoilt in Adelaide, being able to get in our car, which is on our property right outside the door, drive 2 mins to a facility with a variety of shops, bank, post office etc., park near the door and get everything we need for the next 2 weeks and drive it home to our door again!

Ashlar Court is an old nursesí home Ė maybe 1950ís vintage. Some aspects have been renovated for which Iím very thankful, - the kitchens, and Laundromat style washers and dryers, (albeit in a damp, cold basement), but the overall impression is of a grubby unloved place. Itís well used and full of teachers and a variety of health workers of many nationalities. Our rooms are clean, warm and secure. Grant lives on the next floor up. We both overlook trees with squirrels running about. There is a good hot shower.

For an early, I get up at 5.30 as usual, and leave around 6.40 to get the Tube from Stamford Brook, 5 mins walk, to South Kensington Ė on the same line, and then walk 15 mins through Kensington and Chelsea. I go past rows of white terrace houses with black railings, a lovely park which is private gardens, I assume for the residents of said houses, interesting shops, a hospital, St Lukeís Anglican, a local church as big as a cathedral, a wood panelled pub and a landscapers yard, to reach the red brick and aluminium windowed squared 3 story Thamesbrook. Doesnít fit the picture at all.

On the trains you donít see anything much except the backs of things and unattractive railway workings, (and itís quite often underground), so one evening we took a bus ride atop a red Double Decker, which was much more fun, and rode around Monopoly. Everything looks appealing at night, glistening and golden lit. We saw Piccadilly Circus, Trafalgar Square, Marble Arch, Harrods lit up etc. It wasnít until today, however, that we took a train to Westminster and were overawed by Houses of Parliament, Big Ben etc. Wow! Iíve seen many photos, but to see it in reality, deeply touched me. Unfortunately today was the coldest day weíve had, with rain and wind off the North Pole, so we didnít explore or ponder too long. Now we know itís only a short tube ride away, weíll return in kinder weather. We havenít needed heavy warm clothing. The buildings and train are warm Ė too warm often, and you get hot walking and climbing stairs Ė Praise the Lord for health and strength! Each day since we arrived has been long, full and busy, and I feel fine, for which I am so thankful.

One day we had to go to Baker Street to the bank. Baker Street station is lovely Ė very 1800ís with timber and interesting metal work. Outside was a fellow in Sherlock Holmes garb, tall with fine features, handing out cards with directions to the Sherlock Holmes Museum. I spoke to him and he smiled vaguely as though he hadnít quite understood Ė he was Russian! What a laugh. We didnít go to the museum, but looked in a memorabilia shop Ė wonderful stuff! Iíd love to bring some home, but I suppose we donít really need it, canít afford it, and wonít be able to carry it! So we just have to enjoy looking.






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