We checked into the Premier Inn and began the getting ready process. Always a long job in my case. We suddenly realised that we had forgotten a few vital things. No shampoo, no deodorant, Chloe had forgotten her toothbrush and the worst thing of all ..no safety pins for my dress. The top has a habit of sliding down so I had planned to in the inside to my bra so I could relax. Chloe inventive as always suggested getting the hanging ties out of the dress and using them but with no scissors it was a case of chewing them off. We did ask reception if they had a sewing kit but they had sold out. Well what do you expect for £29.50. But with a bit of persistance the dress was secured and although washing my hair in the shower gel didn’t exactly do it any favours we didn’t scrub up too badly.
The shoes as always create a problem but I settled for the high stilletoes and Chloes the gold ones that matched her dress. Stuffing a spare pair in my bag we went down in the lift . Calling a cab we waited, we were looking forward to seeing out workmates from the Luton Branch. We only caught up this time of year and having only seen the Bosses once in the whole of 2011 it was going to be fun. When my phone went off with a text message I thought it would be one of the kids checking in. It was from my boss apologizing that he wasnt well and couldnt make- it. Nooooo!!! not again he had a habit of sliding out of things not being a bit party animal and to be fair was a bit poorly. I was thinking here was I with me Red-eye and me cough still getting on with it. Grrr…but refraining from sending a curt response I put the phone away with a sigh.
We arrived at the pub and going in to look for everyone I spot my boss sitting at the table large as life …much laughter all round. He knew it would annoy me if he flaked so decided to wind me up!!,. I kissed him and said “You Bastard” and we spent the next hour catching up. Onward then to Man Ho for our Chinese dinner and dancing. Ed the other director of Irish descent is a well-known party animal and over the years has never failed to entertain us at these events. Often getting up on stage and stealing the thunder of professional entertainers sitting at other peoples tables and annoying them he never fails to step up to the plate. So when the dj/compare offered him the micro-phone suggesting he may like to sing to “The Pogues” I dont think was expecting him not only to know all the words but to take over the whole place, finishing off with a bit of an Irish Jig. Chloe lent over and whispered that we could hire him out for parties and with us all singing loudly and applauding his performance we were all in good spirits. The food was lovely and much drinking and dancing later and some role-playing with sausage shaped balloons half of the party drifted off leaving just the “Hardcore Bunch” .
Chloe having drifted off to sleep at the table suddenly woke up and Donna who was totally wasted fell on the floor a few times but insisted on coming on to the next place. We stuffed her into a cab and ended up in some back street pub where we propped her up on a stool. There was loud music but honestly the place itself was the pits. Spit and sawdust was an understatement. Ed who was rolling by now got the drinks in and we went for a dance. I have never seen so many odd bods!. I thought maybe we had transformed into extras for one of the Harry Potter films because if this wasn’t the “The Leaky Cauldron” it was close.
Suddenly the door swung open and a loud group of girls ..well women came in. It was obviously their local and they were drunk, loud and not to pleased to see us. Eyeing us up and down and whispering, we were obviously on their patch they took command of the dance-floor and I use the term lightly. Feeling decidedly uncomfortable and boringly sober (The gin must have been watered down) I quickly swapped my large dress ring from my left hand to my right. Just in case things turned nasty I thought Id better get prepared. Luckily most of them went out for a smoke and after putting Donna in a cab we headed back to the hotel.
My phone went off at 8am, my son Jack wasnt feeling well and wanted to know what to do and take. No rest for the wicked! After a very hearty breakfast we went off to do the last of our Christmas shopping. It was exhausting and we eventually got back home at around 4pm. Dumping all my precious gifts on the floor I grabbed a blanket and putting on some mindless TV I went for a nap. I had to be back out again around 9pm for my friends Vintage party. (just as well we are all nearly antiques then Ha!) .
I had promised that I would make a cheese and onion Sputnik. I’m sure some of you can remember those at buffets back in the day along with the sausage rolls and cheese footballs. So I spent a while in the kitchen cutting cheese and sticking it on sticks. A quick bath and here I was getting ready again with a twist. I decided to go 70’s style so make-up was two pairs of eyelashes on the top with carefully painted ones on the bottom. Bright green eyeshadow of course; pale lips and crimped hair. A smock top and a pair of black and white hot pants later and I was ready. Apologising to the cab driver about my attire and the smell of onions I arrived at the party. My plan was to stay a couple of hours and then slip off to meet up with the girls and some friends in Enfield for a bit of more familiar fun. The party was mainly full of couples and of course everyone was Vintage!!.
I met up with the girls and we struggled to get in to any of the bars as it was midnight and everywhere was busy. Our favorite doorman did however let us into Bar form (the one with the good for my age lighting) a few drinks later and feeling rather knackered I decide to head home and leave my daughters to it. I hadnt spotted any talent but they were with a crowd they knew so were happy to stay. I got in and making something to eat as I hadn’t got around to food at the party, I tried to catch up with the latest episode of Merlin. inevitably I fell asleep and was woken by my phone going off at around 3pm it was Laura. “Mum Mum Mum” realising something was wrong I went into alert mode. “I’ve fallen over on the ice can you go and relieve my babysitter” Trying to make sense of what she was saying and find out where she was I suddenly heard a mans voice. “Gaynor its Mick from three doors down” I was trying to conjurer up a “Mick” in my befuddled brain and failing miserably. “Laura has fallen badly she needs to go A n E” I saw her go down her ankle looks bad.” I asked if an ambulance was required he said no and then I realised that he was drunk as well. Bloody HELL! Ok I’m coming I said where are you again ? I feel the stress rising. Leaping up and ringing my other daughter who had got home an hour before and was in bed. I tell her to go and relieve the babysitter and she sets off on foot summoning friend and Nanny Olivia our of her warm bed to come and pick her up.
Running up the stairs like a lunatic I throw on my long leopard print nighty/dress and search for flat shoes and then run into Jacks room I wake him screaming “JACK JACK wake-up One of your sisters is down I may need your help” (re running this back in my head I realise I’m talking about his sister likes she is a horse” he mumbles incoherently and I soon realise I am on my own as he has been out with he mates. Running to the front door I get to the car and can see now how my daughter has fallen,everywhere is covered in ice and having no -de icer I start scraping the windscreen with my Ed Sheerhan CD case, engine running. Once I can see I’m off to where I think she is. Looking down as I put my foot on the pedal I realise I had forgotten the shoes. Great! No time to go back, so barefoot it is. I get to the place she indicated and there is no sign , heart pounding I’m now very stressed. My phone goes off , it’s the hero the hour neighbour Mick who has hailed down a passing Police Car and they have now arrived at A and E.
So cursing and swearing I turn round and off I go. With my mind working overtime I pull into a gloomy dark and deserted car park. I know the hospital well. All my children were born here and I have been back and forth with each of them during their childhood. Broken limbs are familiar territory for us. Horse riding is a dangerous past-time and this daughter broke her other ankle when she was fifteen and had to leap off a horse that had lost the plot and was hurtling towards a fence it was not meant to jump and wouldn’t clear. I cannot believe they are considering closing this very busy much-needed hospital. I had been on the protest marches and signed the petitions. But to no avail they are still insisting that A and E gets moved to Barnet. It’s just too damn far and local people need a local hospital and I for one have made good use of this one.
I find my daughter at the front desk with hero Mick who is in charge of her wheelchair. I take one look at her ankle and know for sure that it’s a break. The golf ball swelling is growing before my eyes. She is talking at 90 miles an hour the effect of the shock and alcohol. I am immediately angry with her “Why on earth didn’t you get a cab like a normal person”? My mind was ahead of the game. How was she was going to manage a very lively three-year old ? get to work ?and knew that as usual and with no men in the offing (Fathers or Husbands) the weight would fall on my shoulders. Already at full stretch I was as mad as hell. Hero Mick told me that he had seen her fall down and it was just an unlucky accident and not to get annoyed but it was too late. Sensing my anger she bit my head off and before long we were screaming at each other like a couple of fish wives. The security man a big fellow came over and asked us to take it outside.He was looking me with a worried and rather nervous concern. He must have thought I had escaped from the secure unit across the way.
What a sight I must have looked, still in my heavy seventies make up eyelashes flapping widly..long leopard print nighty and my black and white fur coat shoved over it and of course no shoes. With Mick trying to referee and with Laura screaming “Go away Cruiella” at the top of her voice and some other rather well-chosen swear words, I checked myself and turned my anger on the hospital. apparently there was a four-hour wait even before triage.
I lost it “Four hours FOUR HOURS! she has got a broken ankle! The security man drawing himself up to his full height quietly suggested to me that we may like to go to Barnet Hospital. Realising his mistake as I said very firmly “I don’t think so” I started gesticulating that it was ridiculous and then lamely added “she was born here you know”. Hearing the commotion the Triage nurse came out and looking down at the ankle which was still swelling before our very eyes she took us through. The first Doctor thought it was just a sprain.(Eh I don’t think so luv!) My daughter and I now on the same side insisted on a second opinion and Doctor two confirmed that if was likely to be broken and an x-ray was required so off we went.
Broken it was and after three hours and a temporary plaster in place we were ready to leave. The department was still busy and we had made temporary friends with a nice Russian couple as you do and was on first name terms with the staff including the big security man who even offered to lend me his shoes to go and get the car! Ah sweet!. How they think that Enfield can do without this place is too ludicrous to contemplate and I am yet again reminded about all the times I have been glad it was here.
We got through the door at 6 am and tried to sleep at least a few hours. I gave Laura the bed and I took the sofa and as I lay there I was thinking ..here we go again..Merry Fucking Christmas!!!