meeting new people, my cats, books, reading and the Open
Minds discussion group. Most of all I loved my family. But I didn't want
to think of them right now.
eased her navy Volvo into a tight space at the Theatre Royal end of Upper
Borough Walls. Was this auspicious? Parking was not usually this easy.
'You go ahead,' Marilyn
said, fumbling in her purse for pound coins to feed the ticket machine
as I struggled to get out without scratching the paintwork of the car
alongside. 'I'll meet you in Maddison's in an hour or so.'
With rain spots the
size of half crowns starting to fall, I hugged the hospital side of the
pavement as I made my way towards the entrance. It was ludicrous how many
parking slots they fitted into such a small area. I'd write a letter to
the council headed 'Revenue over Comfort'. Although I knew I wouldn't.
Once inside the spacious
Georgian building, I handed the receptionist my appointment letter. 'Doctor
Bhalla at 11.30.'
Hearing the doctor
was running slightly late, I bought a coffee from the vending machine
and gazed at the portraits around the walls. A pastel of Mrs Morris, wife
of the first apothecary, dated 1742; an oil painting of her husband, John,
together with an oil of Ralph Allen, born 1694, died 1764 who was both
president and benefactor. Eventually I sat down near the consulting room
on a high backed chair beneath a watercolour of the hospital under which
a brass placque explained it was presented by Doctor George D Kersley
in 1993. From the pile of magazines on the table, I picked up an old Country
Life, turning its pages at regular intervals as I sipped my hot, bitter
coffee. I didn't want to make conversation. Not today.
The consultant's voice
cut through my thoughts. I glanced up