Smile Through It II: The Next Chapter

Chasing dreams, because I can

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Happy day of random

Posted by Oli on Saturday 22nd March, 2008

Being exhaustedly tired didn’t seem to do much – if anything – for my ability to sleep as I once again lay awake until gone 3am.  Annoyingly, it was the kind of lack of sleep where you are so nicely chilled and relaxed that getting up is pretty out of the question, but somehow you can’t complete the transition from awake to asleep.  At least it was 3am tonight, not 7am like last night.

As promised, apart from waking for Tac at 10, I did manage to sleep myself through till midday, which was a lovely battery-recharger.

Many moons ago, soon after Emily got home from her transplant last year, she offered to pass on to me her smaller, more portable oxygen concentrator, which gave me the freedom to visit other people’s houses without worrying about when my O2 was going to run out – all I had to do was plug Claire in and I’d be sitting pretty for as long as I liked.  Since I’m now blessedly no longer in need of it, Em and I put our heads together and came up with a friend of ours who would benefit from Claire’s friendship and emailed her to see if she wanted her.

Since the initial email about 2 months has passed and I have forgotten no less than 3 times when I’ve seen Em to pass Claire on to her as Sam only lives about 15 minutes from her.  After my final act of stupidity last week when I was in London seeing Em and only about 15 minutes from Sam’s house myself, I decided that I couldn’t beat about the bush any longer or try to wait for or engineer meetings to hand stuff over and just bite the bullet and drive to South London (Sutton) and drop Claire off.

As it happens, there was almost no traffic at all on the roads yesterday, everyone travelling for Easter clearly having done so the day before or that morning.  So while everyone else in the country was playing happy or not-so-happy families, we trundled our way down the M1 and round the M25 through some of the craziest, mosy bizarre but brilliant weather I’ve ever seen.

We would go from bright sunshine to torrential rain through sleet, snow and hail all within the space of a few miles.  There was one amazing moment on the M25 when we were driving along in brilliant sun and ahead of us we could see what looked, totally honestly, like a piece of cloud had broken off and fallen down onto the road.  There was just a sheet of grey mist falling sideways across the carriageway and dumping itself onto the road in front of us.

Surprisingly, there were no crashes and no major hold-ups and the journey took precisely as long as the AA website told me it would, which I had thought pretty generous considering quite how far round the London-loop we were going.

On the way round, K spotted a signpost for Southampton, where my Dad’s family are from and near where his dad and sister still reside.  Once K had pointed it out and mentioned (in jest) that we could go, I got to thinking that I’d not seen any of my Aunt’s family since my op, apart from my eldest cousin who stopped in to the hospital the week after her mum had.  And from South London, it’s really not that far to their house.

So, once we’d dropped Claire safely at Sam’s to start a new life of independence-making (hopefully), we set off down towards the South coast to drop in and surprise my Aunt and her clan.

We eventually arrived (after a slightly longer journey than we anticipated…) around 6ish and everyone was duly surprised, luckily in a pleasant “great to see you” kind of way, not the usual “oh no, not them again” kind of way.

We stopped and stayed for a cuppa (or two) and my Uncle introduced me proudly to Jeeves, his pride-and-joy in the garage.  It’s an old… car that’s really very pretty and cool and as my cousin pointed out, means they can now play gangsters up and down their road properly, as they have the wheels to hang off with their Tommy guns and three-piece-suits with Trilbys.  Being that they live right out in the contryside not far from Winchester, there’s not a whole lot of people to gangster at, but I suppose they could always go rough up some sheep.

After persuading them that we really didn’t intend to impose ourselves on them for dinner and that they didn’t have to make it stretch (which they probably couldn’t have anyway, what with my appetite and three near six-foot teenager boys in the house), we headed off just before 8pm and rolled back up the A34 through Newbury and Oxford to MK, rocking up at home just before 9.30pm.

Having not been to the flicks for over a week, I couldn’t pass up the offer of catching The Cottage with Steve at 9.50, so I pretty much headed straight back out again, leaving K behind cooking fairy cakes as Easter presents for our little nieces and nephews tomorrow.

The Cottage is an absolutely hilarious horror-comedy with the always fantastic Andy Serkis (who made his name by not actually appearing on screen at all as the motion-capture performer for both Gollum in Lord of the Rings and Kong in King Kong – although he also played Lumpy the Cook in the latter) and Reece Shearsmith of League of Gentlemen Fame (not a show I’m a fan of, but he’s great in this).  Jennifer Ellison plays the kidnapee in what starts out as a fairly straight-forward ransom-thriller with deft comic touches, the quickly changes pace mid-way through and turns into the most hilarious stalk-and-slash horror movie I’ve seen in a long time.

As a Brit-flick, this was always destined to be compared to Shaun of the Dead, another comedy-horror which took the world by storm back in 2004, and it’s to its enormous credit that it actually stands up to the comparison.  It’s a very different film, not just in genre of horror, but in the way that while it manages to include pretty much all of the stalk-and-slash horror staples, it never directly references any specific film, whereas Shaun of the Dead was full of nods, quips and homages to the very best in Zombie horror.

There are some brilliantly nasty death scenes in The Cottage, but never have I laughed so hard at so many people’s unfortunate ends.  Makes you feel terrible at the time, but the sheer inventiveness with which they knock off one of the main characters is near-legendary.

It doesn’t pull its punches and it’s a pretty full-on gore fest at times, but if you like horror movies, especially the good, old-fashioned slasher pics with an iconic bad-guy, you’ll get a kick out of this.

I got home from it around midnight in time to catch the end of Devil Wears Prada, which K had settled into on the sofa – a slightly difference flick to my night’s other watching.  By the end, my eyes were closing and I dragged myself off to bed, where I get through a few pages of my book before conking out.

Without doubt this has been one of my best days post-transplant.  When I woke up, it felt like a real chore to be getting into the car and schlepping all the way down to Town and back, but when I took a second to realise how cool it was that I could actually even consider jumping in the car and heading South, it cheered me up.  Coupled with being able to exploit a random whim and scoot off to see a family with whom I share so many of my happiest memories and still having energy enough to go and catch a great film afterwards, I can’t imagine a better way of showing the fantastic difference a transplant makes to anyone’s life.


3 Responses to “Happy day of random”

  1. Hayley said

    Oli you show off all you like we all love you and K to bits, every day is a new page in you book of life, an exciting one and a joyful one. You continue because if you are having a good or bad day we love you the same and are truly blessed to have you in our lives.
    I am so glad that you took that detor to see your dads family it is great to know you can do that and live
    Love you both H xx

  2. suzie said

    Brilliant post chuck, made me all smiley. 😀

  3. Helen said

    Hey. How did you feel the next day? But it is great to be able to do things again.


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