I am a very anxious person. I worry about things going wrong: calamities such as the train crashing, death, disasters, anything that could go wrong, I worry about. Going to London was a complete No-Go-Zone since 2005. If I wanted to preserve my life , I would not get the train to London. Too dangerous. But recently I have been forced to reassess my values and priorities since my mum was diagnosed with terminal cancer, and sadly died a couple of weeks ago. Life is short. I might as well take some risks and live life to the full. It might be scary but I have the strength within me to complete the challenges of life. Therefore, I decided to go to London. It has to be said that this would not have been possible without support. The support I get from Alongside Autism’s LIMA service has definitely helped increase my confidence over the last few years. I feel less alone, that there are people on my side who are waving me on to the finish line.
My support worker accompanied me on my trip to London. Maybe in time I will be able to go there on my own. I cannot think that far ahead at the moment, and this currently seems impossible, but then, last year I would not have even contemplated going to London at all!
The first part of the challenge was successfully completed: I stayed seated on the busy train all the way to London Victoria, despite the fact that we were running an hour late due to ongoing train disruptions (staff shortages). My support worker sat next to me, which buffered me from other people. The second part of the challenge was traversing London Victoria’s busy station, which was again successfully completed. We then had to walk to the hotel, and had to cross busy car clogged streets and groups of tourists. The hotel is situated at the other side of St James’ park. A sumptuous feast awaited us on arrival. First we were presented with bottles of bright pink, fizzy, popping fruit juice candy, drunk through a straw. I could not finish mine because it was very sweet and fizzy (not quite my ‘cup of tea’). We were then presented with a menu, and I chose golden oolong tea. The waiter poured the tea for us, into a see-through glass tea-pot, swimming with leaves. Then the cake stand was brought in. The first plate contained the sandwiches, which were cut into rectangles with the crusts cut off, made with soft white bread (mature cheddar cheese slices with tomato, goats cheese and beetroot, egg mayo on pesto bread, roasted vegetable, cream cheese and finely cut cucumber – my favourite was the cheese and tomato!). The second plate contained chocolate chip scones (really rich and filling, just like chocolate cake!), fruit scones, clotted cream and homemade strawberry jam (half a strawberry was perched on top of the cream). The final plate at the top contained a pastry tartlet filled with cream and berries, a mini chocolate eclair, mini cream gateaux slice, cup cake with green icing and little iced mushrooms, wonka chocolate bar, and a blueberry macaroon. We ate so much, and that cream was extremely filling. I have now experienced the real tea deal, and I completed my challenge.
Onwards and upwards……
(two videos are enclosed above)