Sense and Disability

occasionally pink-haired traveller, often spotted with blue cane.

Archive for the ‘london’ Category

Oxford and London Again

Posted by Chelsey on June 22, 2009

I flew into Heathrow, took my bags to Gatwick, stored them and then got the bus to Oxford to pick up my suitcases. Stepping out onto George Street was like going home. i went to my favourite coffee shop, Combibo’s, after getting my laptop from WISC. Then I had dinner with a friend to sleep on her floor. When I told her about all the insanity that had befallen me over a month she concluded that in a previous life my name was “Adolph H.”

The next morning i went to Blackwell’s one last time then got my suitcases and headed back to Gatwick. Due to timing of a concert ticket, I had to store my suitcases and go into the city for the night. Or I just needed an excuse to get back to my city.

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I stayed at the Palmer Lodge again, this time up on the third floor, the attics where servants would once sleep. I loved it. I think the difference in me could be seen as I had to climb stairs to get to my room and I did not care. Staying with people on all floors of flats without lifts taught me a lot. I can do more than I thought.

The first night I went to the Apple Store. I lost my iPod on the plane, you see, and I knew I could not make it through the next days without one. You will soon see why.

That night I enjoyed the hostel, enjoyed having my laptop and relaxed. The next day I wandered around Piccadilly Circus and went book shopping. Then? I saw Taylor Swift at the O2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire where i had a month and change before seen Lily Allen.

She was wonderful, although I missed the country songs of her US set. Partially why I got my friend Taylor Swift tickets in Atlanta for her birthday. (Concert addict, me?)

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After the concert I did the tube-tube-train dash to pick up my stored laptop and get to Gatwick on the second-to-last Gatwick Express out of Victoria. I had researched on sleepinginairports.com, but I knew better. I don’t sleep well with lights and people around.

So I watched Grey’s Anatomy on my laptop.

The next morning I change into my Taylor Swift concert shirt, pushed my bags on a trolley that veered left and boarded a plane for Atlanta.

There were misadventures involving credit cards, wheelchair pushers who did not help me organize my things after security, the realization that it would have cost LESS to ship my bags, and a delayed flight into Pensacola, but eventually I made it home, in one piece.

And I’m ready to go again.

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London Eye and Other Things

Posted by Chelsey on March 29, 2009

I love London. Let that be said.

Today I slept late, later than I wanted either because I forgot that Daylight Savings Time started. I went to the sushi restaurant next to the underground for lucnh and it was as good as it was overpriced. Then I went into Kensington Gardens and saw the Peter Pan statue. I had wanted to sit out there and read, and did for a while, but it was cold, so I got back on the underground to go to the cafe Nero I love. Goodge Street was closed this week too, which was annoying, but I sat in there for a while.

Then I decided to take the tube to Embankment and walk the pier. The day had turned clear and pretty, with only a few grey clouds. The pier was great, happing musicians competing with their drum heavy music. I decided spur of the moment to do the Eye (thought of you sevarina ) and it was LOVELY.

Oh but then. I got lost trying to find Waterloo. It should not be this hard. I went allll the way around through the car park, tired and dragging. I eventually found it, got dinner at Burger King and went to get on the Jubilee to go my merry way home.

BUT WAIT the reason that it was hard to find Waterloo is because construction was going on around Jubliee. There was no service.

Insert epic tube journey here.

Right. Sleep now.

And guys, no pictures for a while. I has not my cord. Sorry

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Whirlwind Weekend

Posted by Chelsey on March 16, 2009

Two in the morning on Friday (well, Saturday) and I was trekking back from the end of term party, which was at a club that is a mile away from my place. The fact that my feet were dying then did not bode well for a weekend that would be pretty walking heavy; yet, I’m back from it and alive!

I got up on Saturday a tad later than planned, got breakfast at the News Cafe then got on a train to Paddington. Going the wrong way on the District Line got me on a train to Brighton at three, but soon enough I was threading through the Lanes on my way to meet Marcus, who I was staying with. Technically, I was surfing with Marcus’s flatmate Aubrey, but he was working nearly the whole time. We met at the pier then went back to his flat for a while before getting dinner at a pub in the South Lanes.

Brighton is wonderful if you like to be able to walk everywhere (as I do) but can’t walk much (as I can’t). I’m slow, so it took me about forty minutes to make the trek that Googlemaps assures me should take fifteen from station to pier, but I love the sights you see along the way. The sound of the seagulls I miss so much led me to the seaside; shops totting coffee, ice cream, tattoos, jewellery and loads of other things that are quintessential to Brighton. Starbucks existing (somewhat) peacefully near local cafés; it’s all great.

The gig I was going to was Emiliana Torrini, who is absolutely wonderful. She’s really precious on stage, although I wish she had done a meet and greet. I really appreciate Amanda Palmer more for always doing so. I chatted with the two ladies next to me about music and gigs and such. Emiliana opened with Heartstopper, one of my favourites. There is something absolutely amazing about hearing the music that has permeated my life being sung by the person who created it. At a gig, the music absolutely surrounds you and it is wonderful.
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Marcus picked me up from the church where the gig was and we spent the evening sharing a bottle of red and trading music and watching youtube videos. In the morning we went to a café and ate breakfast outside. Marcus gallantly walked with me to the station and I hoped on the train for London that left five minutes later (BritRail pass for the win!!!)

In London I drug myself onto the tube, I was rather tired by this point, to Goodge Street to go to my favourite Caffe Nero for a coffee and to nip into the Paperchase that it is above. The tube station was closed on Goodge though, so I had to go to Warren Street and walk up, then walk down to Tottenham Court when I was done. Ugh. Worth it though.
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Then to the O2 for Snow Patrol and to meet my LJ friend to whom I was giving the ‘companion’ ticket that ticketmaster gave me. We got a coffee and chatted before the doors opened. I have to say, initially i was not sure about this whole arena show thing. I like my gigs standing two inches from the stage, thanks much, and there’s no way I would fight an arena crowd for that. However, it ended up being amazing. The support was loud and screamy which was sad, but during the actual show– God– lights and video were amazing, and when the entire crowd stood and sang “If I just lay here, would you lie with me and just forget the world?” I wanted to forget the world.

However, I could not forget the long-haired guy and his MUM (it looked like) next to us. Nor the security man apparently showing a lost kid back to his seat. I love people watching.

We crammed ourselves onto the tube and I thought I would have to get the bus back to Oxford and be out ten pounds, but then I checked the time I had written down and saw that the last train was at 11:47 not 10:45 and went to Paddington. A guy at Costa made my night by not making me pay for my juice and giving me back the quid I put in the tip cup. Gimp pity or not, that was sweet. The train got in at one in the morning so no buses and the rest of the train grabbed all the cabs. I walked towards the center with a group about my age, The were lugging instruments and they got a cab near George Street, along with two girls who had either not changed trains at Reading or gotten on the wrong train and wanted Worchester. The hostel was shut for the night, so the group I was with took them to sleep on their floor and I got back to St Michael’s Street to treat myself to a cookie and milk before bed.

Lovely, lovely weekend.

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Lovely London

Posted by Chelsey on February 24, 2009

Saturday was my twentieth birthday. I spent it in London getting a new computer. I started off the day at the café down the street for my Saturday mocha and croissant and then got the 10:37 train to Paddington. There were no express trains so the ride took a while.
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I got a sushi lunch at Whole Foods on Kensington High Street which is absolutely gorgeous on a pretty day.

P1010308P1010315nd got my mac and since macbooks are incredibly light I lugged it on the tube and to Regent’s Park to relax before coming home and getting dinner with a flatmate. It was a very good day. Said flatmate bought me balloons and another got me candy. 

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I miss my friends and family, more so now that the cards from my parents came, but it was probably the simplest and happiest birthday I’ve had in a while. Simple pleasures and all that. Also, iPhoto ’09 is AMAZING

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The Fray

Posted by Chelsey on February 11, 2009

I saw the Fray from the front row last night. I stood there for the entire show and watched them play the songs I’ve known by heart since I was seventeen. It was amazing.

Not so amazing is the Kings Cross area– they don’t lie when they say it’s sketch– or the cold that meant I had to leave London early or keep sneezing.

Getting on the bus was one of the most difficult things I’ve done in a while. London is definitely my city…

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Southern Belles in London Sing

Posted by Chelsey on February 5, 2009

Last night i went to London to see Amanda Palmer play at the Electric Ballroom. I’m a concert addict, it seems, I’m seeing six this term, only one of which did I think to call for disabled seats (and they gave me an extra free ticket, pity it was the last one I booked).

I set off for London at 11 or so but my train didn’t leave ’til 1:30 and as usual I underestimated my walking speed. Once in London I realized that my cute Converse were NOT a good idea for walking ’round the streets of London. Scraping the back of my heel, dastardly shoes! The hostel was okay. First floor does not mean ground floor, but not bad. When I got to the room all the bottom bunks were taken, so i wrote a note on a girl’s ‘claimed bed’ slip in the hopes that she’d grab a top bunk This comes into play later.

 

I set off to find food, coffee, and a postcard to get Amanda to sign (rather than shipping posters home, plus I already have a signed poster from her…) 

I found SUSHI I have failed at finding good sushi in London since ever. It was great. Then I hobbled (shoes) into the line and stood outside the venue with the other cold people for an hour and a half. I think I may have been the only person on my own. The crowd was a crowd and I am proud to say that my usual epic fear of crowds did not kicked in. I managed at one point to get three rows in but the two girls in front of me then couldn’t move and I was too close to think ‘oh I’ll just stay and hear the music’ because I could SEE THE STAGE Security Guy that the girls in front of me asked about me getting closer said ‘Oh go see my supervisor to the far right under the red light’. It’s a club. Can I tell you how many red lights there were? No because I couldn’t count them.

Eventually I found myself perched on the top of a three stair stairwell near the stage, a kind of breezeway to the steps for the next floor, but there ended up being little space where people weren’t standing. Disabled visually impaired me could SEE THE STAGE. that doesn’t happen. I stood the whole time (I’m making that six hours) and I’m fine. I didn’t know I could do that.

After the show I got my postcard signed and Amanda recognized me. And it wasn’t the cane, i didn’t have that in Atlanta! 

On my walk back to the hostel it was lightly snowing, but didn’t stick. At the hostel girl was asleep in bunk. I hope she didn’t speak english because otherwise she’s a bitch. Downstairs to the bar/reception. The guy was quite good about switching me to a new room but the whole group in there was asleep so I felt awful going in and out to change.

Next morning I hobbled to the tube, not because of standing all night before but my shoes. New shoes, bad idea. 

The Underground and I need to have a talk. I love it. Love, love. But it doesn’t make sense there are stairs in stations that have lifts from the station level down to a set of stairs. Paddington has escalators right until the platform. How is that supposed to work with LUGGAGE let alone disability? 

Train and tube were uneventful, except vague ponderings on the snow outside the train window. And then, sure enough, slush all over Oxford. Other people look so collected walking through it as if it were nothing. I feel like Bambi on the first day of spring. But I made it home and to my tutorial with no incidents. 

We’ll see how next week goes when I go back to London to see The Fray!

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