Thursday, October 23, 2008
Having to stay off my feet as much as possible means making new discoveries--like which bus routes will get me to our Bedford Square campus, where the bus stops are located, how long the bus ride will be in peak hour rush. At 9 am, I hopped into the No. 242 to Tottenham Court Road that pulled up just as I got to the bus stop, which, thankfully, is just across the street from the entrance to Bishop House, my building. In less than ten minutes, I was at Bloomsbury Street and, ten minutes later, I was in my basement office. Funny, but after six weeks of being a Londoner of sorts, I am still discovering new ways to get to work!
I had a load of things to print out before class began, based on the large amount of work I accomplished through the week that I have been homebound. Karen, my colleague, came in a half hour later, inquired after my foot and wondered if I could keep our Thursday evening dinner date together. If the restaurant we choose is close enough, yes, I said. She chose Taz, a Turkish eatery on the corner of Bloomsbury and Great Russel Street and half way to my bus stop on my way home. It seemed like a great idea.
My classes went off well except that I also discovered that Plantar Fasciittis is common among sportsmen and women and dancers (and I have both categories among my students). The prognosis they gave me was heartening and depressing in turns. It seems that if diagnosed and treated early--mainly by staying off the foot and with exercises--it has good chances of healing. If foot rest is impossible, the condition can become chronic and create multiple aches and pains in the back, hips and calves as the condition can, in the long term, alter the way one walks. I tried hard not to allow myself to become too depressed by these reports and focussed instead on the account given me by Yvonne Hunkin, one of the administrators of our program, who told me that she was afflicted by the same condition two years ago but managed to lick it completely merely by following the exercises rigorously--and without even taking foot rest as she had to get to work and back each day and hung about buses and the Tube in the effort.
As luck would have it, students in both my classes today presented me with a ton of material to be graded during the coming week. This means that the load I would carry home would be heavier than usual but since I do not intend to get back to campus for at least a week, I put it all on my back and set out resolutely to get them safely home.
After I kept my office hours, I met Karen as planned at Tas, a restaurant that we have both passed several times en route to work. It was crowded though it was only 6. 30 pm. Karen chose red wine, I (in my attempt to stay away from sulphides to which I have developed an allergy) chose a beer. A quick look at the menu convinced us to get a sampler called the 'Yaz' which presented us with a variety of small dishes--aubergine, taboulleh, hummus, tsaziki, lima beans in yogurt and olive oil, mixed minced nuts in a tomato sauce, falafel and a spinach filled envelope similar to spanakopita. All this came with bread and as we nibbled our way through the exotic and very unfamiliar fare, we caught up with our plans for next week when our Fall Break begins. Llew and I will be in Greece, of course, while Karen and her husband Douglas will be off to Turkey--Istanbul and Ephesus and the Turkish coast. They have just returned from a trip to the Costa Del Sol in Spain (at the same time that I was in Barcelona) and are looking at covering Egypt during our Spring Break. I, of course, have decided not to look beyond the next couple of weeks as I know not where I stand--literally and figuratively! We finished our meal with some lovely coffee--Turkish coffee for Karen who is caffeine-addicted and a decaff cappuccino for me, and then, we said goodbye until Monday when we have a meeting with our Dean Fred Schwartzbach who is arriving from New York.
I found the bus stop on the way back easily enough and didn't wait for more than a minute before a Bendy bus came along--the newest vehicles on the London Transport network and supposedly soon to displace the famous red double deckers--I will, of course, rue the day that happens! But in ten minutes, I was back home, my feet feeling very tired from the sudden activity of the day. As I applied the ibuprofen gel, I felt somewhat defeated--I really did feel as if I had taken one step forward and two steps back. But, I'm trying hard to hold on to my optimism despite all the conflicting reports I received today about the treatment and cure of this condition.
I settled down to watch Noel Coward's Brief Encounter on Love Films because I was referred to it by the salesgirl at Persephone Books last Friday who told me that Nicola Beauman, the founder of the company, had been inspired by the character played by Celia Johnson in the film, to create a company that would reprint fiction by women that had been published between the Wars. However, I could only keep my eyes open through an hour of it, before I felt dreadfully tired and sleepy and decided to call it a day having chatted with Llew earlier in the day during my office hours.
I will have to wait until breakfast tomorrow to find out what happens to the couple involved in the clandestine extra-marital affair--the 'Brief Encounter' of the movie's title!