My intentions were honest; but, the London traffic, and more annoyingly, my bladder, let me down today. Given that on a good day I can usually get over to the Victoria Embankment in around twenty minutes; leaving home at 10:50 am to get to the rallying point of the march seemed adequate.
10:30 took a whizz; in the car and off by 10:50, with 2.8 miles to travel. Piece of pie, I hear you say. Not so, rebuts I. Oh no; get to Nine Elms, and traffic is naughty, lots of the stuff, mostly impeding my efforts to get to where I’m hoping to get, on time...
At 11:35 we’ve remained static outside St Thomas’ Hospital for about twenty minutes; our position giving such an appearance of permanence that the road workers are nonchalantly weaving in and out of the traffic with fully laden wheelbarrows; even stopping for a tea break in the middle of the road – yes, they knew something we didn’t; they knew they controlled the temporary traffic lights.
Here I use ‘temporary’ in its loosest of senses. At least with temporary there is some promise of normalcy returning within a reasonable time frame. Not here, the wait was interminable.
By now my bladder is doing that thing it does when it wants emptying – getting on my bloody nerves! But, once it starts, my mind then becomes a slave to its needs; so I slavishly obey, and we’re forced to turn around to find a toilet. Within a couple of minutes we’re at Vauxhall; from here it’s as well I go home and use my own loo.
On the road again at 12:10, this time we take Vauxhall Bridge – those road workers won’t lure me into their ‘temporary traffic lights’ trap again! Now we’re doing well; past Millbank Tower (where I discover there is a cinema attached to the complex) we drive; and, suddenly the flow slows down. Here we go again, another traffic jam – seems there’s some kind of demo in the Westminster area (that’s what happens when democracy is extended to the masses – they clog up the roads with marches!’).
Being a bit slippery, as I’m wont to be, we slide down Horseferry Road, and I direct my PA to a shortcut; one that’ll take us around the demo bring us to the Methodist Central Hall, from here to Parliament Square, up Whitehall, do a right at Horse Guards, and Bob’s your uncle, Fanny’s your aunt and we have kippers for tea – it’s great when a well-executed plan slips effortlessly into action.
Doing a deft bit of navigating around the back of streets, mostly famous for Tory Party leadership challenge intrigues, we come out into Great Smith Street – time now is 12:30. Should make the march in another 10 minutes, or so I reckon.
However, I wasn’t reckoning on another set of temporary (for temporary read perpetual) traffic lights way ahead of us at the top of Great Smith Street. Once again the forces of the mighty utility companies and nature were joined to thwart my plans. By 12:50, and only having inched an inch or three, my bladder, bless it, made its feelings known to me.
Now I’m totally pissed off – pun or no. Again, there are places to pee in the vicinity; but, disabled parking in Westminster’s as rare as a compassionate Tory. Sure, I could get dropped off; however, if I needed any help in the loo there’s no one to assist. The Blue Badge scheme is great; I can park up in a town in a country hundreds of miles from my home; a country whose language is a, foreign language to me; but, I’ll be able to use the Blue Badge scheme. I try to park less than two miles from my home and Westminster make life impossible.
If you’ve got this far, well done. You have great perseverance; and, if perseverance was featured in the WCA you’d be on JSA. Needless to say, I didn’t make the march today. For all those of you who battled and fought their way from around the country, I humbly thank you for your tenacity; and, I hope you will find it within your capacious hearts to forgive a crip with a weak bladder for not being able to get there from a distance of three miles.