I took annual leave last week, but as usual I was busy. For me, a holiday is no fun when you are sitting around bored. When I got home from Dublin on Tuesday after the Paul Simon gig, I unpacked my bag and repacked it for Wednesday’s trip to England.
O J and I flew to Liverpool on Wednesday afternoon, and received fantastic assistance in both Derry and Liverpool airports. The assistants were good-humoured and fun, and did their job expertly, until they offered me a wheelchair when I got off the plane. When I politely told them I didn’t need it, the woman just guided me and wheeled my bag in it instead. O J was naturally a bit confused, and kept looking at it.
My cousin and her fiancae just bought a house in Cheshire, so I was excited to see it. It is in a lovely quiet area not far from a village, and you can hear sheep from the field beside their garden. Trains also run past, so between seeing them and lots of cats, O J did a lot of barking!! Cheshire is a place I travel to at least once a year, so it is nice to know that O J can become familiar with an area that he will regularly spend time in. The garden is fenced in too, so its the perfect place to bring a dog. And God does he get spoilled when we are there!
I spent Thursday relaxing while Sarah and Rob went to work. They left lunch for me, showed me where the food and everything was kept, and even put Jaws on a laptop so that I could go online. Hows that for service! They have a digital piano that I tried to play, but couldn’t find the plug and didn’t want to knock anything over by searching too much. It turns out that it was plugged into one of those extention leads that goes through the wall, which explains my confusion and didn’t make me feel so stupid!
I went to Barnton school on Friday, to spend the day with Sarah’s class who I had met last year. O J was a star, like he usually is around lots of children, and they were very excited to see both of us again. They were well behaved and under control, well as much as thirty-eight kids can be. The school was a bit manic with inspections taking place, but all the teachers were very welcoming. O J had a quick run around the field outside before leaving the school. Sarah and I took him for a walk, made brownies and had dinner before people came round for drinks. I hadn’t met a few of them before but we all had great fun!
On Saturday Rob watched O J while Sarah and I took the train to Manchester for a complimentary day at
Double Take makeover and photography studio
We had our hair and make-up done and then had some professional photos taken. The staff were all very friendly, and our photographer was a bit excentric! She took us around the studios to different sets, telling us what she wanted us to do, and surprising us by making it less awkward than we thought it would be. It took forty-five minutes and there was an opportunity for three outfit changes, although we only changed our tops and did too. Most of the photos were of both of us together, and before you ask, they were all civilised and modest 😀
We laughed the whole way through and didn’t take it seriously at all, not like other people there. It was something I would never do again, but it was good fun. I just wish I could have had one professional photo with O J. We were there for over five hours, so it wouldn’t have been fair to bring him and expect him to stay with other people for that length of time. We had to wait for over an hour before going into a room with a big screen to view and pick photos if we wanted to buy any. We almost missed our train back to Cheshire because the girl doing the viewing was so talkative, but the silly train broke down and we had to change anyway. We got a huge happy welcome from O J and a lovely dinner with Rob’s mum when we got back.
Just like the journey there, the assistance at both airports was great, and O J was completely relaxed on the plane on the way home on Sunday morning. The only thing I do have an issue with regarding airport assistance is how inconsistent they can be. Sometimes they board people with disabilities first, sometimes last. In Liverpool they have often brought me to sit in a separate area after check-in. It is away from the general crowd, and you sort of feel like you have lepracy or something! Other times I get to sit with everyone else, where people usually come up to talk and keep me company. Finally, I hate when they think they are being more helpful by taking me up on the wheelchair lift thing instead of the steps. I am completely fine with steps and they are quicker, and don’t slightly freak O J out. Apart from all that, air travel is usually great, and in my experience, much more enjoyable and simple with a dog than a cane.