My second week here in the land of puddles has whizzed by in an eternally moving stream of action, activity and adventure which is paradoxical in itself given that it is performed with a man whose legs don’t work any more. Well, they do but not under any control of Russ’s, so for example we will be sitting in a coffee shop and an almighty leg spasm will have the coffee shooting out of the cup or his phone leaping to the floor. At these times Russ’s favorite statement is to exclaim loudly : “Linda ! What did you do ?.” This is apparently his default setting when something goes wrong as Pia enlightened us all at a dinner during the week, describing Russ destroying his friend’ Dan’s gate barrier and also the infamous Earnest Shackleton lecture which saw the star of our show in an out-of-control wheelchair run over the lecturer, lectern and laser in front of an auditorium full of silently appalled people and to which Russ’s comment was predictably “Pia! What did you do.?” The full story can be read, and is worth a re-read, in the link below ( just tap the headline to read )
This week has seen more hospitals, more lectures and more rain. Friday night saw Hammersmith flood with King St shut down to traffic. I travelled home from the now familiar London Bridge Hospital at 9pm shortly before the waters rose and Russ came sliding through mud, water and icy puddles at 2am shortly after the water had subsided. We were shocked to learn the following day that the water level had reached over 4ft just before midnight and would have swallowed Russ’s wheelchair. Luckily his gorgeous date kept him entertained until 1am giving him time for a clean (!) getaway from the floodwaters. Meanwhile I was anxiously awaiting his return from midnight and the similarities to waiting up for my teenage daughters to return from clubbing in days gone by was so stressful I ate an entire box of chocolates while I was waiting….something every woman who reads this will understand.
More rain on Monday saw this caregiver flatly refuse to ride a bike through the muddy puddles to the lecture on Extreme Weather at the RGS. I thought it perfectly reasonable not to want to present my mud streaked butt at the inimitable Royal Geographic Society. Russ nearly cried. The thought of not having his bodyguard glued to his rear wheel almost destroyed him and after half an hour of bickering and the honeymoon well and truly over I conceded that as the sun had come out I could ride after all and off we went. Upon our return to Chiswick Russ quietly went off to his room and returned with a pair of black waterproof leggings that he called ski pants but to me looked like a cross between oil skins and polystyrene which was alarming given what I’ve read on his blog about his fetish for fetish…. I politely but firmly refused. Russ assured me they had fitted him at 16stone so should be fine and in a huff I closed (read slammed) the bedroom door and pulled the dreaded plastic leggings over my jeans to find that not only do they fit but look much better than mud spattered trousers and are quite comfortable too. Needless to say I then raided his cupboard and relieved him of a variety of designer label cycling kit which I have worn to cycle every day this week. Admitting he was right was truly difficult – you all know this is not something you freely offer Russ but considering that every single item of clothing apart from my underwear was his I had to concede this point and have been subsequently unjustly crucified for my initial aversion to plastic leggings and puddles alike…..
I have begun to recognize more landmarks than just the London Eye and Tower Bridge and we have traversed the city by bikes, river cruise and the underground, shooting our own home movie at Wormwood Scrubs and draining the iBot battery at a brilliant live rendition of Missy Elliot at the Re-Imagine Club in Shoreditch. This particular night started as a potential disaster with a well intentioned door man explaining that they would “carry” the iBot up the three steps to the lift. When this 250kg oversight became apparent they removed a door from somewhere to use as a ramp and which the iBot only just fitted onto without a mm to spare. Needless to say we broke the door but made it in and were then treated like royalty by a hugely apologetic Club Manager who plied us with free bottles of wine and ordered a £300 ramp on the spot. He has formally asked our Russell to come back next week to test it as well as sign it and offered him shows free of charge forever more. The show finished at 10pm and we managed the bus ride to London Bridge station before the iBot died and then sat in the ticket office for an hour charging it. At least Russ had a comfy seat but I got the cold floor and consoled myself with a hot Cornish pastie while I explained that in Africa the pastie is a fabled food brought to our doors by my Devon bred parents and a true delicacy. Eventually we had to run for the last tube of the day and finally another 2 buses later at approaching 3am I asked Russ why he didn’t use Uber Assist which seemed the practical thing to me. My super intelligent boss said that was a good idea and promptly googled it to find that an Uber would have taken us 20 minutes …..
Notwithstanding the unnecessary travel methods it has been another interesting week as we learn to negotiate the peaks and troughs of our relationship and handling the daily challenges. The honeymoon may be over but in reality puddles are only a matter of perspective. Because after all, life is not about waiting for the storm to pass, it’s about learning to dance in the rain……