Smile Through It II: The Next Chapter

Chasing dreams, because I can

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Oxford and Bradford

Posted by Oli on Friday 9th January, 2009

The alarm arouses us both at 7am and we roll somewhat lazily out of bed, showering, dressing and packing an over-night bag to take with us.

I run K down to the hospital for an acupuncture appointment and head back to the flat to collect the bits and pieces we’d realised we’d forgotten on the way down there, most notably the iPod, which would have lead to some 5 hours of driving forcing Radio 1 on us.

I get back to the hosp just as K is coming out – impeccable timing – and we head straight off for Oxford. We get there surprisingly quickly after a near-miss with a mini-coach which decided to pull across my path while I was trundling along the country road at 60. We park up at St Giles and walk down the freezing cold street round the corner to Blackwells, the awesome pre-Borders Borders at the heart of the student world of the town. K’s never been there, so I delighted in showing her the wonderful underground cavern that disappears beneath the house-front of the shop on the main street.

We spend half-an-hour wandering aimlessly around and I grow slightly disappointed at the absence of a lot of the books that got me excited last time, although knowing how much I could have spent if they were all still there, it’s probably a good thing they weren’t. On our way out, we head up a staircase that I’ve never ventured up and we find ourselves in a whole new part of the shop with modern fiction (classed as anything from 1950-odd) and a brimming children’s section.

K finds a whole load of her new-favourite Jasper Fforde books – a necessary since I’d been nice and picked some up for her without realising they were an official series and so needed to come in a specific order. Order restored to her collection and a bizarre comedy book bought for our host this evening, we departed across the street so I could wander through their Art & Film shop, where I am torn between two books and end up getting one which will hopefully positively impact the production levels of the Live Life Then Give Life docs that we’re shooting through the year.

We wander back to the car through the positively freezing winter’s air and pick up a copy of the Big Issue from a poor guy who looks like he’s on the verge of frostbite but still has a cheery smile on his face and is genuinely grateful when we pick one up. We’d passed him on the way in to the town, but not had change and I think he recognised it as the classic excuse for not buying – he seemed really surprised that we’d actually gone back and got one.

We headed up to the Nuffield to get my bone-density scan done, just a precautionary scan to keep a check on how my calcium levels are doing and how brittle my bones may be as it’s pretty common with CF to develop osteoporosis and can be exacerbated by some of the transplant drugs I’m on.

Post-scan we head across the road (and round the corner a bit) to the Churchill to catch up with my CF team, who now I don’t have my port in anymore, I have little reason to see apart from the odd check-up or annual review. It’s great to see them all and catch up with the gossip including flicking through the slideshow of one of the physio’s weddings which was being planned when I was last incarcerated in the Churchill – it seems like such a long time ago now, it really is like another life.

Catch-up out of the way, we leave them to treat the patients who need them more than me and get on the road up to Bradford. The motorways are pretty clear, barring a little bit of late-afternoon traffic around Sheffield and we hit the M62/606 around 5ish, then whack the Sat-Nav on and hunt out Dazz’s place of work, where we drive straight past him in the street. The man collected, we head over to Shipley to his new flat and commence the warming of said homestead both literally (given the chill-factor) and metaphorically (it being a new pad).

We chill and chat and eat and watch DVDs and generally have a giggle, while I spend half-an-hour sorting some Live Life stuff for tomorrow in the middle of it. Dazz has also brought all his retro gaming North with him, which includes an ancient Game Gear with Lemmings on it, which keeps us all entertained for a large part of the evening as the conversations are punctuated with outbursts of swearing at misbehaving creatures hurling themselves to their deaths.

Around midnight, we all decide to call it a night and then spend an hour trying desperately to inflate Dazz’s new air-bed, which has to stand in for the sofa-bed which is due to arrive next week.

Eventually we flop into bed around 1am and near-enough pass out.

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