Unfolding the Roadmap

Monday marked the penultimate stage on the English roadmap out of Covid and like the real paper road maps of old, there are lots of creases and you can’t read the parts where the folds are. Most of us are convinced the roadmap will be folded up again, but in the meantime…

I didn’t go anywhere exciting on Monday as I had a hospital appointment, but there was the hope of rounding it off with a treat. The hospital destination was the furthest away in our conurbation, but the easiest to get to. The journey encompasses almost the whole of the bus route and takes an hour, but stops right outside the hospital. Every seat has a phone charger so I could catch up with blogs and emails – if anyone reads any strange comments from me that is because it’s not easy tapping on a phone jolting along. I had a pocket full of coins as it was too early to use my bus pass – easily accessible coat pocket as I didn’t want to be fumbling around in my purse and exasperating the driver. I still exasperated him as he could not hear what I was saying with my mask on and behind his plexiglass screen. When he did grasp my destination I could not hear how much he said with his mask on.

The hospital is built halfway up a hill, a delight for hospital architects whose main aim is to make it impossible for anyone to find their way around. They now have different colour routes, plus instructions on your hospital letters. I had been this way before so no problem, upstairs, follow purple route, out the back door and down a long ramp then off to a totally separate building. When I was in the waiting room a lady came to the reception desk and said ‘I am completely lost, I can’t find the car park. ‘ She was advised to ‘go back upstairs to the Ladybird Suite and start all over again.’ After my appointment was finished the receptionist asked if I could find my way back. I smugly assured her I could as I had done it before, forgetting that last time I mysteriously ended up at the north entrance, which fortunately came back out onto the main road. This time I was aiming for Costa Coffee near the main entrance, but I did not pass any familiar landmarks such as shops, glass dome, information desk. Luckily a person pushing a trolley asked if I was lost and directed me to the nearest stairs. Of course, if you go upstairs on the outward route it helps to go down on the return route. At last I reached my destination.

Not an accurate representation of Costa.

I am not a Costa addict, preferring to visit independent places and I don’t like takeaway cups, but even though the coffee was lukewarm by the time I had checked in with my NHS app and realised you had to ask for sugar, it tasted wonderful. At last I was actually sitting inside on the first day coffee shops and cafes were open properly again. I nearly forgot to take my mask off, that felt strange and I exchanged remarks with the lady at the next table at how excited we were to be in a coffee shop.

28 thoughts on “Unfolding the Roadmap

  1. I had my coffee treat indoors on Tuesday and I almost forgot the mask too. My journey into England is less than 20 miles but the bus takes an hour and a half . I have to set off at 6.30 am to be in time to see my grandchildren on the way to school. My how they’ve grown. One benefit I do have is that I can use my bus pass at any time without restriction throughout Wales. Now I’m looking forward to eating out- but in- this weekend.
    Huge Hugs

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This gave me a laugh – the same architect has designed all our hospitals in Perth! I can appreciate your pleasure in actually sitting in a coffee shop. The masks have a bonding effect I think – I recently went to a concert and was perching on a chair in the foyer with my cup of coffee and completely forgot I had a mask on – much to my neighbour’s amusement. She was a total stranger, but I joined in and laughed with her, saying “this isn’t going to work is it?”

    Liked by 2 people

  3. so happy to hear that things are starting to loosen up over there. It must have been nice to just sit and enjoy the simple pleasure of a cup of coffee.

    and thanks for the new word – conurbation!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yes I am not sure if it’s unique to our area. I hadn’t heard it till we moved here. It encompasses the three coastal towns ancient and modern – Poole, Bournemouth and Christchurch. Quite recently the three boroughs were joined into one ‘unitary authority’ imaginatively called BCP council – for better or worse I’m not sure as life was soon subsumed with Brexit and Covid.

      Liked by 2 people

  4. It sounds like a confusing mess if the receptionist has to ask if you can find your way back before you’ve started. Amazing how the simple pleasure of sitting indoors for a cup of coffee can have such an effect on us.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I’m visiting the Great Western Hospital in Swindon this morning and the interior is as perplexing as the one you have described. Each area is named after a bird, quite how that was supposed to help anyone I have no idea. I’m aiming for The Wren Suite! I have a secret weapon though for finding the car park, my daughter is taking me and remaining in the car with her iPhone, so using the “Find My” app I can see which of the Wembley stadium sized parks she is in and exactly where the car is. But I have to exit the hospital first as there’s no signal, so I have to get outside, any exit, then she’ll find me! I usually need a recuperative glass of wine after such exertions.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Strange how people hadn’t heard of ‘conurbation’. I was taught the phrase ‘Urban conurbation’ at school, in 1963. It was used in History class to refer to the West Midlands developing during the Industrial Revolution.
    (Birmingham and Wolverhampton and the towns of Sutton Coldfield, Dudley, Walsall, West Bromwich, Solihull, Stourbridge and Halesowen)
    We have an inside table booked in a local pub for Sunday evening. Our first ‘eating out’ since Christmas Day 2020.
    Best wishes, Pete.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes Pete it’s a wonder more of us hadn’t heard the term as it must apply to quite a few areas – the midlands conurbation reminds me of our trips from Heathrow to Lancaster to stay with friends. Cyberspouse always wanted to avoid Birmingham, so each time we went cross country to have lunch at a Little Chef in the middle of nowhere. But one time we arrived there to discover it had been demolished!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Society claims to be working towards making our lives easier and the universe just laughs. I have given up expecting sense out of nonsense. But look at it this way: you got a great post out of a contentious day.

    Liked by 1 person

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