This post is a few weeks overdue, and if I'm honest the details are a little hazy now. But I still wanted to share bits and pieces of my trip with you because it's another piece in the jigsaw isn't it. This post contains some images from the Harry Potter Studios, so if you don't want those spoilers you have been warned!
In my Easter break from college, I went down to London for the weekend with my boyfriend and my Mum. I'm glad we went in the middle of my break because otherwise I think the payback would have been much worse. We went down on the Saturday morning and came back Monday night, so it was a good few days worth of activities I managed.
Our train was early (8am) so we had to get up at about 6 - I wasn't best pleased, but needs must. My body doesn't deal well with early starts, particularly if I have to be up and out the house. I managed to nap for a little bit on the train down so that did help a bit.
The entire reason for the trip was to visit the Harry Potter Studios in Watford. Fun fact - I'm a massive HP fan, I even have a quote from the books tattooed on my ribs. The films are like my comfort blanket on days where I don't feel well, and I must have seen each of them hundreds of times (no shame).
We went to the studios on Sunday evening so that I wouldn't have to travel on the same day as walking around it. This turned out to be a very good idea as it took us 4 hours to walk around the whole thing! But more on that later.
On the Saturday when we arrived we went for some lunch. I was knackered from the early start, and sore from sitting for multiple hours. I spotted a disabled toilet across the room, next to the stairs going down to the other ones. I'm 24 years old, an adult, and I still asked my mum if she thought it would be okay if I used it.
See the thing is, I can make it down stairs, it's the getting back up them that's the problem. Usually I just do it and suffer later, but this time I knew after everything else I'd really be pushing it too far if I did that. So for the first time since getting sick 8 years ago, I used a disabled toilet. And despite my fears no one said anything to me, no one looked at me funny, and no one told me off. I honestly did expect that to happen. Walking to a disabled toilet is daunting, walking back out of it is as well. If you ever see someone doing so please please never bring it up to them. I can guarantee it's more likely to be someone with an invisible illness etc rather than someone "being lazy". I was nervous just to go for a pee, I shouldn't have to feel that way.
That day we ended up out late for dinner, and so the next day was spent resting in the apartment before the tour (again, a very good idea. Well done Mum). The tour was amazing, I really would recommend it. However it is *extensive*. By halfway I was in a severe amount of pain, and by the end the pain was making me feel physically sick. There was obviously a lot of walking around and standing, with seats dotted about.
A friend of mine (who also has ME) asked me the day before we left if I was planning on using a wheelchair for the tour, and honestly it hadn't occurred to me. I end up in a lot of pain if I sit for too long as well, so I don't think it would have helped me much. Maybe if I had used one and got up from it to walk about a few times. But honestly the idea of doing that fills me with anxiety. Maybe I should have done it but I just really didn't feel comfortable with the idea. I don't regret my decision.
After we finished the tour there is absolutely no way I could have physically sat in a restaurant for dinner. There isn't enough money in the world that could have convinced me to do that. As soon as we got back to the apartment (after a bus, a train and a taxi) I immediately lay down on the floor. Literally the minute I got through the doorway. I instantly felt better. Anyone else's body just much prefer being horizontal? Suddenly my hips didn't feel like they were going to pop out quite so much.
We got food delivered, watched Philosophers Stone on the TV, and went to bed. The perfect end to the day I'd say. I was expecting a lot of payback on the Monday, I was bracing myself for a crazy high pain day but actually it wasn't too bad. I managed to go for lunch, and walk around the city until we got the train home. On the Monday we also visited House Of MinaLima, which is a shop/exhibition all about the graphic designers behind the Harry Potter films. I was in my element - I could have stayed there all day. I'm a graphic design student (soon to be graduate) and a huge fan of the films so I'm really glad I was well enough to visit. It's been on my wishlist for a long time.
Our train home ended up taking a lot longer, was diverted, and delayed on 3 occasions. But we made it home eventually, and at least the train was quiet. I took the rest of the week to rest and I'm really glad I did that. I completed a lot of college work before going because I knew I wouldn't have the brain space once we were back. I didn't leave the house and I just rested. The payback wasn't actually awful, but I wanted to be careful.
Overall I'm really pleased with what I managed while away. I'm proud of myself for using a disabled toilet when I needed to, I'm content with the amount I could fit into a few days, and I'm very pleased I got to visit Hogwarts. The dream!
Are you a fellow HP fan? Have you ever been to London?