No pain, no gain.

Went in for another eye operation yesterday. I was short of sleep, so even though I was meant to be awake I probably dozed off while it was done, as I don’t recall much, except where they asked me to blink or look up. I’d asked for a sedation anyway because the eye surgery I’ve had under local anaesthetic previously, I had a tendency to chat throughout and ask what was going on. 🙂

Anyway, was discharged with a lot of eye drops and a big white patch over one eye, and went to meet my friend Sophie Neville, who was coming in to town for a charity lunch and service. So I read more of Sue Moorcroft’s Love Writing in the square outside the Royal Exchange at Bank Station, which I had plenty of time for. A fatality on the line had meant her train was diverted. It started to rain, so I went to shelter on the steps, and as I updated her where I was, she suggested by text that I go inside and grab a coffee. Which I did, feeling rather self-conscious amongst all the City types with my eye patch and jeans, and when I took my hoody off, my hospital tag still in place, it turned out. But the staff were lovely and no-one batted an eyelid, so I enjoyed my coffee and Sophie arrived presently – only nearly two hours later than she’d wanted to arrive.

She gave me an interesting tour of the company building where the buffet lunch was held for the Drapers – it was one of the locations for The King’s Speech, filmed as rooms in Buckingham Palace. I was introduced to one of the Welsh Guard, whom Sophie had joined on a survival camping trip in the jungle, and an eminent allergy specialist – still practising at the age of 99 – who mentioned the next Latex Allergy Conference, which is a growing problem.

I have the skin contact allergy to latex, which was why my operation was first thing that morning. Two hundred children were also going in for surgery that day, and I was scheduled before them to ensure no latex particles if possible would be in the theatre. It’s something they take very seriously.

On the way back, we talked about Sophie’s work with the Waterberg Welfare Society, supporting HIV+ communities in South Africa, helping families locally with receiving the right medication, entitlements, and nursery care for working parents or sibling guardians, enabling them to work or complete school. And how charity work was a minefield of red tape, with audits and accounts to be filed and scrutinised – but also how rewarding. Comic Relief is among their supporters, and it was input like that which meant Sophie and her friends learned how to organise a proper schedule of work and implement it according to a drafted plan.

We also moved on to the subject of blind dates, and dating sites. Her quote, which she’d been told when looking, was that “If you want to find a husband, you have to join a Society!” – so she did, and hey presto, did indeed meet her husband. And had a number of stories of ‘Silly girls’ who got themselves into scrapes with notorious men that she’d turned down herself in the past – the kind of men who hung out with Hugh Hefner, or were related to courtesans of the Royal Family…

But enough about dating. I won’t be doing any for a few weeks, while my eye heals up.

Sophie Neville does however have some lovely memoirs which are in the process of polishing before she publishes them. You can find links to her book blogs on her website http://sophieneville.net and also read the first three chapters of Funnily Enough on Authonomy.

Enjoy! 🙂

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