Sunday, June 27, 2010

"Mind the Gap"

London Calling

Now I'm really moving forward toward better health!

Last week was my first physio appointment at Christchurch Hospital where I saw separate nurses for my shoulder and hand. Now I had permission to massage my arm out of the sling (which I daren't do before),  and was given a series of exercises. I asked the hand nurse if I could massage across the cut and she demonstrated so vigorously that the cut started to open. She is Irish, which might explain it.

So now things really improved as I could now use both hands to massage myself and seek out little painful spots, and it's so good to be taking control and actively helping myself.

This gave me the confidence to head for London and I took the new Greyhound Bus service from Southampton to Victoria Station. The advertised wi-fi was not working, and also the air conditioning was working too well, which had myself and some of the passengers wearing jackets inside the coach.

Malcolm the driver told me they have 11 coaches and will be expanding into Glasgow and Bristol in August.

After catching the train into central London to take in the British Museum,  I went out to North West London at Beaconsfield to stay with my cousin Shirley and her husband Charles.  I tracked down one of my Maloof-design rocking chairs, bought by my uncle back in 1995 and numbered #10, and was pleased to see how good it still looks.

I also visited the grave of my favourite uncle Bunny, who I stayed with on several trips to UK over the years, and he also visited several times to our farm in NZ.

A wonderfully, happy jolly person, and I like to think I've absorbed some of his attitude to life.

This brings me to the awareness I  got several days later while watching an underground train come into the station.
With this message written  on the edge of the platform......
 It's also announced as the train approaches - MIND THE GAP

It struck me - life is full of gaps and we continuously go through these gaps without minding them. At that time I was aware of gaps, linking back to my time visiting Uncle Bunny's grave, these gaps are not minded, what do they mean, what can I learn from these gaps, what gap am I in now and not minding - so I stepped forward across the gap, minding the gap, into the train and sped off into the future!

Later on another train I spotted an acupuncture needle sticking out of one of the seats - yes London has variety for those who see it.

The British Musem is an impressive building taking some time to absorb even before going to the "Fra Angelico to Leonardo: Italian Renaissance Drawings" exhibition.

Amazing that we can view and take photos from a very close distance. Most of these drawing are only studies for later paintings, and really are supreme pieces of art in their own right. They are over 500 years old and still wonderful and beautiful.

Other parts of the Musem that caught my eye, apart from some of the display cases made in sold American birds eye maple, (should have taken a photo of that) were these few photos.

The "York Helmet" Anglo Saxon from the 700s (Iron, Copper and Silver) only one of 4 found in the UK

A Maori carved bowl, a long way from home

Next day on the way to the Tate Modern I spotted this row of super modern bike locks.

My first experience of the Tate Modern, was taking in a free guided tour explaining Contemporary Art of the 1970's.

I did enjoy listening to Modern Art being explained, and after just browsing the many floors and different galleries it was more than enough Modern Art that I could handle.

I had arranged a visit to the duo called Sax and Honey in North London and watched them perform to a small and very appreciative dining room audience as the England-Algeria game was on, therefore making it a quiet gig! The game was likewise 0-0.

Not many 4 year olds get to watch their parents play lovely music in top class venues. His father has already started him on sax lessons, not that he is pushing son Charlie. I'm sure he will have a great start into perhaps being a musician.

I had left my saxes down on the South Coast, though still sussing out places to busk, I spotted these special dedicated spots for buskers in Londons underground walkways.

I talked to Paul an Irish sax busker on one of these spots. He told me it is hard to get one of these spots and there is a long waiting list. You need a permit, and have to audition too, which takes 2 months, and they will fine you (or worse, confiscate your instruments) if you are caught without a permit. Still I will give London a blow when I'm fit and able.

Visiting London during the World Cup, I wanted to watch NZ play Italy and walked through London streets till 30minutes before kick off. I could not believe I had to try 5 pubs before I could get a suitable one.
#1 was showing Irish Hurling.
#2 had live music I could hear coming out 50 metres away.
#3 had tvs with no sound.
#4 had tvs and sound, but no Sunday pub meals.
#5 The Wellington across from the Waterloo Station had the lot, so I watched New Zealand's best ever result in World Cup history drawing 1-1 and Italy had a very debatable penalty decision, to level up the score. As an added bonus to this Scotsman, I got a free meal because they gave my ordered meal to another table and gave me my money back plus a new meal. It gladdens the heart of any Scotsman that does!

Before leaving once again for the south I stayed south of the Thames at Vauxhall with Warm Showers cyclists Nuno and Joana. I knew they were special as they both phoned my cell phone to make sure of my visit. Both  Portugese, these two were excellent company, instantly feeling the confidence and ease of people who have travelled long distances in remote locations. Like my last Warm Showers contact they also inspired me to get back onto my bike, although Joana's question of do I have any hesitancy of travelling in traffic now, certainly struck a nerve. I've yet to cross that bridge.

Being Portugese Nuno used this fancy little set up to project live World Cup coverage from his laptop as we watched Portugal post 7 goals against North Korea.

Nuno has traveled 42,000 km in 2 years 8 months and Joana joined him for 8000 of those in South America  for 1 year. Here is their trip blog They told me the story of meeting a 60 year old Mexican cyclist in South America who had fallen off a climbing wall, breaking both arms and had two arms in plaster. His friend did everything for him for the month till he could look after himself. He did also eventually get back onto his bike, so my experience was lucky indeed!
Collecting all my left gear in Tooting Bec felt really stange, as 5 weeks earlier I'd left on day 1 heading south and here I was again starting again, and not starting again

Returning back to the south on Greyhound a bit tired of the London buzz I decided to go and have my first busk, in the tunnel near Saxon Square. It has a great echo and I managed to get 3.60 pounds in a 40 minute shortened busk. This felt absolutely fantastic, this is what I've been dreaming of for 6 months, so to get back on track after my recent setbacks and enjoy the simple pleasure of playing sax with freedom on the streets is great. Brought a tear to my glass eye!

Here is another go in Saxon Square which proved to be a desert hat-wise, so I headed for the pub to take in England's do or die match with Slovenia. Using my first busking earnings of 3.60p a pint of draught cider came to 3.30p, and settled down to enjoy and reflect on the trip so far.

My latest drawing reflects my mood....hope you enjoy it!

Next week I return for another physio and the following week is hopefully my clearance from Poole Hospital giving me the all clear to start looking at getting back on the bike.

I still marvel at being able to tie my own shoelaces, to be able to lift the electric jug full of water, use a knife and fork (at the same time) and now to be able to take a certain book out of the Library, where previously I couldn't because it was too heavy for me to carry.

So are you "MINDING THE GAPS" in your life?

May be worth a ponder.
In a few days 2 months of this 6 month trip will be gone and I've only busked 3 times and biked for 3 days. Things are changing tho, and I hope England does well.

Cheers and Ciao.


Anonymous said...

Good to get your news. Germany were too good. England never impressed and seemed stressed the whole campaign. 2 months gone! Great to see your on the mend. Cheers
Bro P.S. Don't know who to support now that NZ is out.

Anonymous said...

Good to see that you're getting around again Jimu.

Hope it all goes well - and watch the traffic!