You Can’t Always Get What You Want

It all started so well: we ran up the stairs on the bus and squealed in delight at the front seat being free (yeah, okay that was just me); we wandered round Greenwich market with all the tourists and local ‘well off’ people who thought it was reasonable to spend £3 on a wheat free cupcake; we soaked up interesting facts in the Maritime museum (but said no to the rocky ‘life at sea’ simulator); we kicked autumn leaves as we marched through the park up to the Royal Observatory; we stood on the GMT meridian line, which was weirdly exciting; we watched a video in the astronomy museum that taught me things about the universe that I clearly didn’t listen to when mentioned at school.

Wheat free cupcake anyone?

The jacket Nelson was wearing when he got shot.


We snuggled into each other as we made our way back to the apartment, excited about our week in London, knowing how many wonderful things we had planned, and just looking forward to hanging out together.

View from our apartment...

As I went off to sleep, I was confident that after two weeks of period pain (my period hell continues, more tests next week) I was now in the clear and looking forward to a deep, relaxing night’s sleep. Unfortunately, my predictions will not be winning any psychic awards: I woke at 4 am in agony and spent the rest of the night awake. Dosed up on pain killers and affirmations I got up determined to enjoy my day.

We set off for Knightsbridge, discussing in detail our lunch options at Heston Blumenthal’s new place Dinner; we have been to the Fat Duck, so we knew the kind of culinary delights that lay ahead. The restaurant is in a luxurious five-star hotel overlooking Hyde Park; an environment were the word recession does not seem to exist (£12,000 for the presidential suite anyone?) We tasted and reviewed each dish as if we were food critics, with foodie Husband asking knowledgable questions about the menu.

Not bad Heston, not bad...

We mooched past Harrods taking in the beautiful Swarovski Crystal Christmas windows and headed down towards the Victoria & Albert Museum. I have been to the V&A a few times before, but I think you could go every day for a year and still see something new each time. I am never sure whether it is the building I am most impressed with, or the sheer volume of pieces, or the beauty of each exhibition. Either way, it is an artistic feast.

As I drifted off to sleep that evening, again I was confident that period pain hell was gone – for this month anyway. And this time my psychic powers were rewarded with delicious, glorious, glorious sleep. But my new-found powers did not warn me that this was the last day of the holiday that I would feel okay: by 6 pm that evening I was in bed with a bug and spent the next 60 hours feeling very poorly. I tried so hard not to feel sorry for myself, I really did, but I couldn’t help wishing that this had happened on another week, a week when I didn’t have precious time with my husband, a week when I did not have the sights of London to explore.

We had to cancel the parts of our week that we were most looking forward to: catching up with good friends, going to the theatre, and going to Alain Ducasse at the Dorchester – a three Michelin star restaurant – for lunch. (A lunch date Husband had been looking forward to for at least six months; I was gutted for him.) Husband went off and had mini adventures on his own, whilst I stayed plastered to the sofa, flitting from feeling bikini hot to Eskimo cold, desperately trying to not give in to the self-pity (especially as Twitter kept reminding me of three friends who are battling cancer).

He came home with little packages to make me smile, and cooked delicious, healing food. He let me hog the sofa, and have control of the heating so I could pamper to my erratic temperature; he gave me extra squishy hugs and lots of love.

By Friday, I managed to drag myself out for a few hours, so determined to actually see London on our last day. We headed off to Borough Market by London Bridge, with roots dating back to 1014. These days it is an expensive food market luring in tourists, or local people who have watched MasterChef and are seduced by the idea of fresh, locally sourced ingredients. We had a pint in a traditional pub (full of tourists and men in Friday ‘smart casual’ office attire) and then went for lunch, hoping in some way to fill the very large Alain Ducasse hole: a fresh sea food platter made a good dent.

We made our way back and snuggled on the sofa watching movies, whilst again Husband took loving care of me.

The bug has lifted, but I still feel a little fragile. And I am still trying not to feel annoyed about how our trip worked out (you would think I would be used to illness getting in the way of life, but it never gets any easier). I know how lucky we are to go away as much as we do, and sometimes these things just happen. It happened to a good friend of mine a few weeks ago: she spent the first three days of her week off work being violently sick. As she said to me at the time: one is not amused!

So London, you weren’t quite what I was hoping for, but I will do my best to forgive you. And hey, look how loved I am – that is something to always be appreciated.

15 thoughts on “You Can’t Always Get What You Want

  1. Aww.. sweetie [hug], am so sorry to hear you weren’t able to make the most of your trip to London, that sucks 😦 I’ve heard that most people fall ill on holiday, as their body takes the opportunity to relax due to ‘OMG, I can finally be ILL now’ syndrome (stoopid bodies).

    Am glad you were able to have as much fun as you were able to, though, and agree fully with your comment about the V&A, it’s one of my favourite places to visit!

    Sending love and hugs your way,


    • Thank you Honey. Yes, stupid bodies! (And I know you have your own experience with a misbehaving body…)

      Oh, the V&A. As you know we travel quite a lot, but when you go somewhere like that, you just think London is as amazing – if not more amazing – than many places we go.

      Lots of love to you too sweetheart.


  2. Your trip started so nicely, it is a shame it had to end so poorly. My husband became extremely ill while we were celebrating Christmas in Austria and Germany, and spent more than a week in bed. It is so hard not to get to enjoy all the things you have been looking forward to for so long. Feel better and hopefully you will get to make a return trip and enjoy what you missed.

    • Hi Karen

      Oh your poor husband – a whole week. It is strangely comforting to know however, that I am not alone! 🙂

      I am almost back to full speed – and we have our next two trips planned (Antigua in January and Japan in April) so really can’t feel too sorry for myself.

      Thank you for coming by….x

  3. So sorry to hear you were ill on your London trip Karen and hope you are feeling much better now. It is horribly frustrating having to spend time being ill when there are places to go, people to see, exciting things to do. At least you did some sights andHeston Blumenthal’s restaurant sounds divine! Btter luck on your next trip xx

    • Hey Maggie

      I know – this girl had a lot of places to go and people to see! But as you say, at least I got to see some sights. And yes, Heston’s was divine. Every mouthful was an exquisite treat for the taste buds (not sure about the waistline mind…)

      Once I am back up to full speed, I’ll text you about coffee.

      Take care…and thank you for the comment. xx

    • Yes, you are right. I have been taking extra care of myself until I get back up to full speed. And of course you can get other people to take good care of you too!

      Hope all is well in the world of David. Thank you for coming by as ever…xx

  4. so sorry to hear your trip was ruined by health problems 😦 and I feel extra sorry for you missing out on lunch at Alain Ducasse’s joint, that place is on my list of places to go before I die!

    Keep smiling though, there’s always next time 🙂


    • Oh Brandt – I knew you would get the whole Alain Ducasse thing. Husband did debate going on his own, but decided it’s really the kind of experience you want to share (especially, with someone amazing like me!)

      I am slightly amused by the fact that any recent health challenges have not been CFS related. Although, I had to do a lot of stops whilst plastered to that sofa, to stop my mind playing tricks on me. I reckon I have a couple more days of taking it easy then I can get back to pushing boundaries and visualising great things.

      Hope the ‘World Brownie Domination’ strategy is on track (bet your brownies are as good as anything Alain could do…)

      Thank you for coming by….xx

  5. oh Karen, what a bummer ..but wow you packed some really good stuff in. Great Pictures.MMmmmm nice food. Market is a must go to for me when I can get back to UK did you go to Asia food markets/street food mmmmm if not you have to go…add it to the list!! Hope you are bouncing back today 🙂 and your tests this week can help in your quest to 100 percent health.You are really doing so great keep trying,keep going and keep writing 🙂 Happy Visualising. Lotsa love xx

  6. oh Karen, what a bummer ..but wow you packed some really good stuff in. Great Pictures.MMmmmm nice food. Market is a must go to for me when I can get back to UK did you go to Asia food markets/street food mmmmm if not you have to go…add it to the list!! Hope you are bouncing back today 🙂 and your tests this week can help in your quest to 100 percent health.You are really doing so great keep trying,keep going and doing what you are doing 🙂 Happy Visualising. Lotsa love xx

    • Hi lovely Clare. I am getting there thank you – I reckon I’ll be back to full strength by the weekend. Where shall I start with my visualisations?! Anyway, the world is a wonderful place today as I am writing this comment from my new iPad. Oh yes, I can now go and play at being a writer in coffee shops! 🙂

      Thank you for the cheer leading – you are such a sweetheart. I hope you are hanging on in there and staying on the baby step slow track! Xxx

  7. excellent so the ipad is part of the answer to getting out of the flat and not being lonely then!! the universe is unravelling to support you!! well if you are stuck on your visualisations i just read a great article on daydreaming and using a dreamboard…creating a visual scrapbook for your ideal life ..i’m liking the idea a kind of mood board for the subconscious …check out your way to a better life…has loads of interesting blogs… Baby steps are teeny .. but I AM IN THE PROCESS OF RECOVERY…if we can dream it we can do it 😉
    Happy stroking your ipad xxx

    • Yes, YOU are Clare. And even just nurturing that belief is powerful I reckon. And thank you for the link Miss Visualisation! (I visualise you well, by the way…)

      The iPad is part of my strategy to write more but not be home alone as much. It is actually a belated birthday present (it’s a long story…) so I am so excited that I could actually afford to get one. It is going to change my life! I find that I say yes to social things in the week to stop me from being isolated but then I get frustrated as by the time domestic life and so on is taken care of, I don’t have much time to write. So yes, I could swan around going to yoga and seeing friends for coffee and not be as lonely but then I would not feel as if my writing goals are moving forward.

      Now all I need to do is choose ‘my’ coffee shop. Hope they are as excited as me!

      Keep taking the teeny steps lovely – who knows where they will lead 🙂

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