Monday, October 03, 2011

On the Naughty Step

I once saw a survey that showed that, of Britain's major cities, Hull was the one that most people couldn't place on a map. This is probably because nobody is ever passing through Hull. It's way out on the East Coast. It's remote and different and actually I rather like it.

Unfortunately, it wasn't until Saturday morning that my son Olli remembered that he had a hospital appointment in Hull this morning, ie Monday. Well - - probably. But he wasn't certain.

The trouble was, he didn't have a letter of confirmation and there was no way to check.

He did try to check - - but the hospital in Hull said that there was no way they could find out on a Saturday. The only way was to ring at eight-thirty on Monday morning and ask the department then.

Ahhh yes, but that was a bit of a problem. If you're in York - as Olli is - and the appointment was in Hull first thing - - and Olli knew he would have asked for it to be first thing as he starts work at midday in York and would need to get back from Hull in time for work - then eight-thirty this morning wasn't early enough to have confirmation, because that would be too late to set off from York (in the middle of the North) to Hull (on the East Coast).

And he would have to get back in time for work, because he hadn't thought to tell them that he might be late, because it wasn't until Saturday morning that he realised he had an appointment at the hospital. Or might have.

Furthermore, the trains from Hull to York are such that he couldn't get back from Hull by train, and he hasn't yet passed his driving test. Gareth was working today, driving lorries. Stephen was on his way to Helsinki for a meeting.

So I looked to see who everyone was looking at; and oh yes, it was me.

Well I'd been working all weekend, because it was the agency meeting and I had a lot of financial work to do for the agency too. But still, what a fun idea it could be to get up at quarter to six on a Monday morning and to drive to Hull, collecting Olli from York on the way.

So, whistling a merry tune of pure happiness, off I went in the cold and the dark to drive the twenty-something miles to York to collect Olli, and then the subsequent thirty-something miles to Hull.

(Though, damn it, it then got all warm and sunny and turned into a beautiful day. And the drive to Hull that way is much nicer than the M62 and took a shorter time, so that's good to know for the future, and it was jolly pleasant to spend some time chatting with my son, too. Please don't let Olli read this paragraph, though, because I want him to dwell on all the unpleasantness he's inflicted on his saintly mother.)

When it got to half-past eight we were nearly at the Hull hospital and thought we might as well turn up and see if Olli did have an appointment, rather than ringing. If they told us to go away I thought I'd try my look of shocked innocence - which I've perfected in many a medical roleplay - and just see if by any chance the consultant would see him anyway.

Yes, yes, I know, that's impossible, hospitals just doesn't do such things, I was being ridiculously over-optimistic. Appointments with consultants are like gold dust and if you miss one you can have to wait months for another - - which is why we didn't dare risk missing it in the first place.

"Hello," said the receptionist, with a friendly smile, "Can I help you?"

Olli said that he thought he had an appointment today, but didn't know what time. After a bit of searching, Friendly Receptionist looked confused.

"I'm sorry, you do have an appointment, but it's on October 24th at 9.40" she said.

I was getting all ready to do my Shocked Innocence acting followed by How Many Miles I'd Driven acting - - but she was ahead of me, and smiled.

"I'll see if the consultant can see Olli today," she said.

Five minutes later back came the news that the consultant would indeed see him.

Five minutes after that, Olli was called through to see him. The appointment was very necessary, but it didn't take long.

So, a coffee and a bun in the very pleasant cafe and we were on our way back to York (and, in my case, then to Leeds, of course, I wouldn't want Olli to forget the extra twenty-something miles). As I dropped Olli off at work he was beginning to wonder - - - if he didn't have an appointment at Hull hospital today then - - um - - where DID he have an appointment? I don't know if he ever solved that one.

In conclusion: I love the National Health Service in general and this hospital in Hull in particular. Oh yes, and I love my son too.

As for Olli getting the appointment date wrong - - well, Olli is very very clever (don't deny it Olli, or it'll be all your exam results on this blog next) and doesn't usually forget things. So he knows I won't mention it again. Well, not until tomorrow, anyway. And the next day. Oh yes, and several times a week for the next few weeks.

He did think that he was in line for a suitable punishment for making his poor mother drive a hundred and seventeen point seven miles (I just happened to notice the total) very early on a Monday morning and, at twenty-two, he's twenty years too old to be made to sit on the Naughty Step. But he hit on a self-punishment that would suffice.

"Okay, Mum," he volunteered in tones of resignation. "In return for driving me to Hull, you can blog about it."


Blogger JeannetteLS said...

Gotta love Ollie. Perfect. We mothers must hold ALL the cards we can of our grown children's "oopses." Sometimes they make the best stories to pass along... or blog. I loved this.

8:59 pm  
Blogger Helsie said...

Delightful Daphne... and a typical mother's tale. Sometimes it's great to grab these little offerings of some time alone with our sons. As they get older the opportunities get fewer and fewer. I've been thinking of and missing my son a bit this morning. He's only 800 miles away but sometimes it feels like the other side of the planet.

11:43 pm  
Blogger Silverback said...

I don't think you need to show his exam results to prove to us just how 'smart' he is. You've just done it already !

2:10 am  
Blogger rhymeswithplague said...

As Mr. Spock used to say on Star Trek, "Fascinating!"

Blog you did, and very well, too.

2:24 am  
Blogger Yorkshire Pudding said...

I am so pleased you enjoyed your trip to Hull - even if it was to yet another hospital. Next time why not visit "The Deep", the Maritime Museum, the Wilberforce Museum, The KC Stadium - home of the mighty Tigers, Whitefriargate and the Ferens Art Gallery? Then drive on to the coast and see moody Spurn Point or the sad reality of coastal erosion? In a village just north of Hull you will find the birthplace of yours truly. There's a blue plaque adjacent to the portcullis... And remember the tourist slogan, "IT'S NEVER DULL IN HULL"

10:25 am  
Blogger Jennytc said...

Hmm, do you think he might just have you wrapped round his little finger, Daphne? ;)traff

10:27 am  
Blogger Daphne said...

Jeannette - thank you!
Helsie - Olli's only 25 miles away but I still miss him!
Silverback - - sighhh - - yes, you're right!
Bob - thank you!
Jenny - - what me? Wrapped round his little finger? Surely not!!!
YP - I love The Deep, and I love Spurn Point with its strange bleakness. Also Hull Truck Theatre - excellent. I am in Hull for three days in November for work - if I've time I'll visit some of the other places you mention. I agree - - there are some jolly interesting places in East Yorkshire!

5:37 pm  

Post a Comment

<< Home