27. London Travel.

It’s a week of travel problems. London tube strikes to a non-Londoner are scary and buses even more so. Diane is used to buses (she doesn’t have a car) so she cheerfully recommends how to get to Seven Sisters without the tube. I have to be there at 2.30pm each day, and on the first day of the tube strike I allow an hour and a half – and it takes all of that time. I wait for the no.4 bus to Finsbury Park for 30 minutes and get wet feet.

Foolishly I’d not worn my cowboy boots to London but shoes with some webbing on the top. And one of them has just sprung a leak. Sigh.

At Finsbury Park there is a tube running to Seven Sisters so I abandon buses and take that. No access to ticket office however, so I take a flyer and travel without one. At Seven Sisters I own up to the ticket office but they don’t have a machine for me to get to either so they just wave me through for free.

Wet-footedly I stomp up Stamford Hill. It’s a good time for the denial of the death wish. ‘I will not fucking die! I will not let this beat me! I bloody well will live to serve the Lord my God...’ I am helped by the sight of the Hasidic Jewish men who wear those black coats and incredible hats and have the ringlets of hair either side of their face. In the wet, they still wear the hats but they cover them with transparent hotel shower caps. It’s very sensible but I’m afraid it makes me laugh out loud.

Laughter is always good.

At the medical centre, I shamelessly take off shoes and socks and have them warming up on the radiator in the treatment room. Dr. W looks at them askance but quite understands. He is always happy to see me; he wants to talk a little philosophy and Kabbalah; he usually has something to share about his life.

But golly, the intravenous vitamin C does make me thirsty! It’s a known thing but I am amazed – I drink water and green tea and more water and my own bottle of wheatgrass-infused water. My stomach is full, I’m pulling the drip to the loo every half hour and still my body cries ‘drink, drink!’

Sod the buses, I take the tube back to Kentish town and walk back up towards Tufnell Park. It really isn’t any distance – maybe 20 minutes’ walk – or should I say ‘squelch’? And on the way I spot a charity shop.

Now I’m the woman who stood up on stage for Britain’s Got Talent dressed almost entirely from the British Heart Foundation and Oxfam in Okehampton so I’m obviously going to go in and have a sniff around.

(I would add here that the dressing myself from charity shops is a new departure but having shed so much weight there really wasn’t any point in spending good money on clothes that might not fit in a month’s time – very Taurean).

In there are two DVDs for £1 – Michael McKintyre and Tim Vine (I did the Premier Christian Radio news quiz with him and Paul Kerensa back in December). And a pair of kick-ass black suede boots with four-and-a-half inch heels. Now that was just what was missing from my BGT outfit. But are they my size? Hell yes! And amazingly comfortable.

It is a really frivolous purchase. I’m not going to wear them for my gigs in London because I’ve got to travel to those ... but any gig for which I just have to get out of the car? Perfect. Of course no one but me will notice them but I’ll know.

I may be a 57-year-old, silver-haired, rookie with a dis-ease but I will have kick-ass boots. In fact, I will have ‘don’t fuck with me boots.’ I need another pair of those right now.

Time, I think, to insert the story of the rattlesnake cowboy boots from Montana.


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