Dim Sum and some

Posted by Jeni in Ad Infinitum | 12 March 2012

Medication, Medication, Medication. When I saw my mum on Saturday she was still asleep in her chair. She was asleep over lunch, during lunch and still nodding off when we left.

Gums, legs, tongue and hand, not a game played at scout camp, but the parts of my ailing mother being treated with medication. A cocktail of drugs that are being administered to make her better.

I called the home today and my mother is brighter, more awake and out of pain. Either I am going to trust the nurses there or I'm not. I've opted to trust.

On Saturday night Gods Gift and I were invited to a birthday party. I met a 70 year old woman who has been living through the drama of her 100 year old mother for the past ten years..

'Don't visit everyday' she said 'Memories of her lost life may be too distressing.' It was some comfort to meet somebody who had been living the guilt and grief for so long. I took her advice. She left the party leaving Jim and I, the oldest party poopers, to wind down.

The guests were all twenty years younger it didn't worry us or them. We ate a lot, drunk a lot, then me and him flopped on the settee as the fortynarians moved and mimed to David Bowie.

They knew all the words the dance moves, the air guitar instrumentation. It was hugely entertaining. When I was a young thing I should have been out boogieing with my mates, instead I was trying to learn a craft in a theatre somewhere near you.

After 2.00, when the second round of revellers left, we rolled into the guest bed. Regardless of being unable to sleep I still set two alarms and padded around the flat trying to cream-cracker myself. Eventually I fell asleep at 4'ish a.m.

At 7.00 I was up and ready to go. The car had been booked for a pick up from Beckenham at 7.30. I closed the front door quietly and stood on the side of the road. One dog walker and three joggers ran past me. I was quite relaxed as I had been told that the studio was 30 minutes away and there would be no traffic so early on a Sunday morning.

7.32 No Car.

7.40 No Car.

I was in the middle of Beckenham, I say middle I could have been on the outskirts, in the centre or on the edge, which by 7.45 I was.

I called my producer, Ms Ryan who has the incredible knack or staying calm. She told me to stay by the wall and she would investigate.

The taxi-car had broken down earlier and nobody had had the presence of mind to rebook another one.

7.50 No Car.

8.00 No Car.

By this point my feet and hands had turned to ice, my brain had scrambled and Langham Place could have been to the West of Annapurna given the lack of contact I was having with base camp.

Finally Barry the black cab driver swung out of nowhere.

'Get me back to where we need to be,' he said jovially.

'I don't know where the prang I am.' I said wearily.

'No worries.' he said and Barry my hansom cabbie set off for W1.

Remember I'd only had three hours sleep and a lot of bubbles had gone under my bridge and round my crowns.

Barry told me that South London was notoriously disliked by cabbies as there was no straight route into town. I could bare witness to that as by 8.43 I was resolved to missing the first hour of the programme....

'Don't worry..' said Barry, 'That clocks fast'.

We arrived at Egton House with eleven minutes to spare.

I managed to make a bowl of porridge and gather my thoughts. It was a Godsend that I had Jamie Kelsey-Fry as my newspaper reviewer. A more ebullient, switched on, aspirational young man I've yet to meet, especially on a Sunday morning after no sleep and a monumental mishap.

I had the new 13 year old 'Billy Eliot', Harris Beattie, and a delicious actor Joseph Mawle from 'Birdsong', as well as Sue from the Womens Library who talked about their new exhibition which has been extended till August 25th., Women and work, women and low pay, women and their strengths.

I left The Beeb and wandered in the warm sun into Argylle Street, the phone brrringed and it was Gods Gift telling me to get back onto Regent Street so he could collect me. He swerved into the kerb, I jumped in and we drove around a bit until we could, legally, park the car. We then walked through the back streets to China Town. Me and him, the dawter, great and not-so-great-nephews, wives and friends sauntered into the Chuen Cheng Ku for dimsum.

Half of us were hung over, half of us were skint and the other half had no idea what dim sum was and how to order. 200 and several bottles of TsingTao beer later, we were pogged on dumplings, noodles and unexplained pieces of meat. Phil looked at his little bowl of white rice for nearly two hours until something arrived that he recognised. He cried that he'd never seen so many waiters, and so little food and still he couldn't get served.

A walk to Soho Square to follow the sun then back into a coffee bar behind Les Mis. We left the remnants of family to get back to East London and Hertfordshire as we walked to the car.

The last leg of Sunday saw us driving to THE ROSEMARY BRANCH in North London. A memorial for an old friend. Singers, poets, and performing dogs sent her off to the saloon bar in the sky.

I was so tired by the end of the evening that the drive home was interminable. I didn't dare close my eyes in case my sleepiness was catching. My need to stay awake to help the old git's concentration caused more rows than it was worth....

At 10.30 I staggered into the cottage. Leaving a trail of bags, scarf, shoes, up the stairs and a pile of clothes, like Hansel and Gretel, led the way to my bed, I launched myself into it like a flying gibbon.

Lights out and before you could mumble

'I'll put my clothes away tomorrow' I was out cold.

Jeni Barnett tells of her scrumptious time at Good Food Live in her first audiobook! Download NOW from iTunes

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