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2008 - April 30th - Wednesday




JH caught the 1045 train from Plymouth Station to Paddington, this service is one of the three 3 hour journeys offered by British Rail each weekday: we arrived promptly at 1345.  When the train arrived at Reading Station, JH was busy putting things away in her wheelie, so the seat on which she had left The Book Thief was sat upon by a gentleman, who got onto the train together with his wife and fair-haired young daughters; JH asked what had happened to her reading material; the gentleman thought it had been left behind, and had popped it on the luggage rack.  JH sat in an adjacent seat – whilst listening to the family all conversing in a foreign language which, on enquiry, JH was informed was Icelandic: apparently the gentleman was in England to play football, but JH did admit to not recognising him – as football was not her field of interest!

At Paddington, JH was helped down the escalator - albeit short - into the underground station, by a handy member of railway staff who just happened to be standing by the stairs.  When JH reached Whitechapel, two gentlemen passengers almost collided with each other in their determination to help JH with her wheelie: the upshot of this missed collision was that the gentleman going in the same direction as JH was the bearer of the wheelie up and down every flight of stairs.  Gratuitously - in thanks - JH explained why she had become rather familiar with the environs of Whitechapel underground station!  Just as JH walked over to JHH, there was a short, sharp, heavy shower, and JH got rather wet wading through the many puddles, and negotiating over the full gutters.

JH arrived at JHH at 1445; she was let in by Regina, the Housekeeper, who could not find the Manager on duty.  Subsequently Giget, the relief duty Manager from Zimbabwe, arrived – and explained that Ruth had written in the diary that JH was going to arrive at 4.00pm, and so Giget felt sure she had time to dash off for a late lunch.  JH spent a relaxing afternoon and evening in JHH; guests were coming and going - either visiting relatives already in Hospital, and/or accompanying them prior to admission for major surgery.  

Whilst JH was watching TV, Ororanga, from India {whose family had been in England for many years}, came and spoke to JH.  Ororanga’s story was as sad as so many of the other stories which JH had heard from other residents: apparently her son, Gigan, aged in his 20s, had inexplicably collapsed whilst working in the Deutsche Bank on 29th January; he had been comatosed initially but slowly his consciousness had lightened so that he was able to recognise his mother and father.  But Gigan had had many setbacks the most major of which JH understood to be cellulitis – possibly necrotising fasciitis - of his abdominal wall, which required excision of necrotic tissue and insertion of temporary artificial patches [as JH had witnessed being used to close congenital defects of the abdominal wall in newborn babies]: this catastrophe was due to tracking of infection from an inappropriately placed percutaneous enteric gastrostomy (PEG) tube from which his liquidised food leaked interstitially.  Ororanga told JH that she has a daughter who is older than Gigan; so far, she has not had any grandchildren; her own mother had been killed, many years ago, in India during intertribal unrest – when many other people had also been killed; her husband ran a restaurant - but would be arriving late that evening after shutting up his Business - to take his wife home so that she could put her clothes in the washing machine, and collect some clean ones.