Life in London

Olympic Park & a trip to the doctor

Well, although the weather has improved, summer is pretty much over. The last few days has seen some more sun and slightly higher temperatures but the days are distinctly growing shorter.

Because Andre isn’t back at work yet (looking for jobs though!) and I am, he’s been doing all the cooking recently and has made an unexpected discovery – he actually enjoys it! Previously, his cooking repertoire included only pizza and cheesey pasta, but now he’s been cooking steak burgers, chilli con carne, pork steaks, bangers & mash, roast pork & veggies, and stir fry is next on his list of new things to try.

Yesterday we visited the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park at Stratford for Andre to go mountain biking with a friend. We got pretty well lost because the signs pointed us through the Westfield Shopping Mall to ‘Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park’ when actually the velodrome was the opposite side of the shopping centre down the other end of the park, and the whole area is pretty huge, plus there was a Paralympics family fun-day happening which meant navigating through all the people and activities was extra confusing. We got there eventually though and Andre found his mate Dean and another of Dean’s friends and they set off to hire their gear and go riding. I checked out the Velodrome and watched a club train for a while before going for a walk back towards Westfield. The whole area really doesn’t feel like you’re in London. There’s lots of wide open green space, modern (in an attractive way, not an ugly way) apartment buildings, and the enormous Westfield Shopping Centre (London doesn’t really do shopping centres beyond small suburban ones). The Westfield was part of a larger outdoor shopping mall – something else London doesn’t really do – which felt like it belonged on the Gold Coast.

I browsed the shopping centre for a while but didn’t buy a lot, and Andre called me when he was finished to arrange somewhere to meet up. He met me outside the shopping centre and we took the tube back down to Canary Wharf for dinner. I read about a gastropub called The Gun in last week’s TimeOut magazine and we decided to give it a go. It’s more in the Isle of Dogs rather than Canary Wharf itself, and is the type of place you would only eat at occasionally – it wasn’t cheap, although the bar menu was cheaper than the restaurant menu. We managed to nab a table on the back deck overlooking the river, with a view to the O2 on the opposite side. It was very good food, and the mango sorbet I had for dessert was quite legitimately about the best mango sorbet I have ever had. Really.

Canary Wharf looks kind of ugly from a distance, but I think up close it’s much prettier, and the older architecture in the little part of the Isle of Dogs we saw gives the area a character I quite liked – it reminded me a bit of The Rocks in Sydney, although I suspect it is newer than The Rocks.

This morning Andre wanted our normal Sunday brunch fry-up, although insisted that because he has cooked dinner all week it was my turn to cook (despite the normal arrangement of me cooking dinner all week AND cooking Sunday brunch)! So we compromised and he would do the dishes while I cooked brunch.

Well, that was the plan until Andre pulled his hand out of the dish water and shoved it in my face, covered in blood from a slice across the bottom of one of his fingers from a glass that had broken in his hands. This was clearly a cut that was going to require more than a bit of cleaning and a bandaid, and I think the warm, closed-up kitchen combined with my having not eaten anything yet resulted in my body not reacting well at all. I was able to get Andre some tissues to hold on the cut before I had to sit down, realised that wasn’t going to be enough, then lie down, covered in sweat and feeling fuzzy as a cotton wool ball. We thought the cut might need stitches, so Andre got dressed to go to the doctors and had a look at bus times to figure out whether he could take a bus or would be better to get a taxi. When I began to feel a bit more alive I was able to pull out the first aid stuff. Andre got a wound dressing out and held it on the cut while I taped it up, first with bandaids, but then decided strapping tape would hold it in place better.

We got the bus to the nearby New Cross walk-in medical centre, where we then proceeded to wait in the waiting room for nearly two and a half hours. They only had two doctors working, but there were gaps when someone would leave a consultation room and another person wouldn’t be called for over 20 minutes. Fortunately Andre’s finger wasn’t in any pain and we could read Harry Potter on his phone while we waited!

Finally we were seen, and the clinician had a bit of a laugh at Andre injuring himself while trying to help out doing the dishes. She cleaned out the cut (which I was perfectly able to look at now the initial shock had worn off!) with some saline and closed it up with some steri-strips and an adhesive dressing, before covering it up with a finger-sized tube bandage. He can change the dressing tomorrow or the day after but needs to leave the steri-strips on for 72 hours. We got home too late for church, but finally got our bacon & eggs (with sausages and mushrooms for Andre)!


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