Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Going to Betty's

Talking of beautiful young men ..... but I'd better begin at the beginning.

The reason I have not jumped into print here immediately on my return from Harrogate, is that I managed to do something so perversely idiotic that I was pretty much prostrate for nearly a week after getting home.

Our Growing Old Disgracefully annual get-togethers are so arranged as to give us at least one free afternoon for sightseeing, talking or sleeping, according to need or desire. It has long been my ambition to visit the famous Betty's Tearooms in Harrogate (they don't use an apostrophe but I insist on doing so). This free afternoon was a good half way through when I broke away from a small group of Disgracefuls who were sharing scurrilous anecdote and laughter in a comfortable armchair huddle in the lounge. If I didn't go now, I would never get to Betty's. I had been told it was 15 minutes walk - no trouble at all - although at the back of my mind was a feeling that I had passed it on the top of a hill on my way in to the town the day before.

I set off down the hill and soon realised that the further I went down, the further I would have to go up again, before I would reach the tea rooms, which were not yet in sight. Now I have not walked up steep hills for several years, as I get puffed, and my heart is no longer gets the blood supply I was given at birth. I knew, but refused to accept, that the hill was too steep for me. I was going to Betty's. I had not done any sightseeing at these events for several years, and this time I was going to.

Before starting up the hill, I took a couple of prophylactic puffs on my GTNT spray, which helps the heart to keep going if it is struggling somewhat. I stopped several times on the way up, and finally saw that I was reaching the queue which seems to form outside the Tea Rooms most days, so great a demand is there for tables. As I took my place I quickly realised that I would very likely fall down if I didn't sit down soon. When the Table Manager/Hostess person next came out, I explained that I thought I ought to sit down rather quickly, and after taking a look at me she kindly found me a table at once.

I sat drinking a pot of tea for the next hour until I felt strong enough to ask for a taxi to be ordered to take me back to the hotel. This they were happy to do, and also offered me the use of the disabled access toilet on the ground floor. This was a magnificent apartment in heavy oak panelling to match the rest of the decor, but provided with the latest fittings and and automatically sliding door.

So I got to Betty's, as evidenced by my trophy above, the paper d'oyley from under my teacup. But I had to sit upstairs in the street-level cafe, as I didn't the strength to go downstairs to the Spindler Gallery Tearooms, which house a collection of exquisite Marquetry scenes of Yorkshire from the Art Nouveau period, from the studio of Charles Spindler in Alsace. Nor can I find any of those pictures on the web, much to my disgust.
I went straight to bed, and had so frightened myself that I decided to give the rest of the conference a miss and go home early next day. (Ring NHS Direct on 08454647 if you are in a panic in the middle of the night - they can be very reassuring.) And the irony of all that is, that when I eventually went to get myself checked out by the doctor, she told me that with the packet of meds I am taking for my heart it is well supported and quite capable of the effort I had made. What was at fault was my general level of fitness, which obviously leaves something to be desired. So, a useful lesson learned, but the hard way. And my midnight fantasy as illustrated below was not realised!


annie said...

You tell delightful stories, but the reality... If this had happened to me, I would have been scared to pieces. However, you are fulfilling your philosophy of Growing Old Disgracefully, aren't you? But seriously, how good to have NHS DIRECT to phone in the night...

Avus said...

Well, it was almost worth it Judith for the magnificent disabled loo.
You obviously need to get fitter - I think a nice gym with an even nicer gym instructor would be the ticket (but that might send the ticker into orbit?)

's all wrong said...

Hi Judith - I also had to call NHS direct last week - turned out to be a chest infection and anti-bs sorted me out in a week. But, yes, it is terrifying to feel SO bad and SO alone! The doc finally turned up at 4am! I think the wait (from the 2.30 ph call) helped! I do also push myself harder than my body thinks it capable of, so after a day cutting overgrowth at my local Forest Centre I eschewed the long hot bath for the keyboard!
Guess I will regret it later tomorrow or into the week! hey ho!