It’s almost a year , till I will be marking my Mum’s first anniversary and so I decided to mark it by participating in Culture Crawl London for Maggie’s West London.
Mum didn’t benefit from one of the Maggie’s Centres sadly, as I think it would have been amazing. They are people’s life lines and are drop in centres where they create a relaxed atmosphere, home from home where they can offer you support, or just a place to reflect and meet people around a kitchen table but the feedback I have had from cancer patients who have benefited, is that it’s a safe haven.
So, rewind three months and I started to volunteer at Maggie’s Head Office working on the event and thought perfect, I am going to take part and do it for Mum and that I did. However, I managed to rope in seven other friends and we formed ‘Rainbow Warriors’. The choice of name, came from me, and was based on the motto ‘No Rain, No Rainbow’ that is on my Maggie’s sweatshirt which I saw as inspirational.
My team members were all walking the 15 miles with me to remember a loved one so it was really special to have friends with me and I was making them all dress up. We all had to raise £200 and we managed to reach our target so really chuffed.
Now, we fast forward to yesterday, Friday 18th September and the walk itself. As a volunteer, I was to arrive earlier to help set up, so off I headed on the tube from Earls Court to St Pauls ready for the walk and of course got a lot of looks!
We all congregated
and then headed off at 6.30pm from Paternoster Square, stopping at some iconic venues along the way
from the Foreign Office where we had a Royal Ballet performance to Maggie’s West London. We then did a slight de-tour as we went from a team of 6 to 4 and decided to go back via the Old Brompton Road to see who we would know and ended up with a quick pit stop in the Zetland Arms, not a pub we would normally go to. This was an interesting experience! We got a bottle of wine and sat down to rest our aching bodies. As it was now 11.30pm, I asked a chap ‘excuse me please, what was the rugby score’ only for him to hear ‘excuse me please, can you rub me’ errrr, so we drank up swiftly and moved on as some strange people their with arm wrestling also going on behind us and men taking shirts off (not attractive, trust me). As we left and said farewell to one more Rainbow Warrior, a Canadian/Texan chap ran after us to tell us he’d bought us a bottle of Verve and we had to stay well you can’t waste that so hence we had the hour or so pit stop.
Following this pit stop it certainly put a skip into our walk and at the next stop which was the V&A it was interesting. Sadly, I can’t really share our story here but think large statues of Greek gods and a photo booth! From here it was to the Serpentine Pavilion for the amazing exhibition where we did an interview and my fellow Rainbow Warriors were asked to be quiet and let me be the spokesperson, though if truth be none I was probably the most tipsy as I was running on major lack of sleep but then I was Eloise.
Then, it was the home stretch along Knightsbridge where I had to rest on the flower pot outside Rolex as The Mandarin Oriental was not going to let us three in for sure!
Then it was the Royal Academy for a much needed chocolate biscuit and then the last ¾ mile to Covent Garden. By now it is 2.30am so Leicester Square at this time is not a place for three ladies! We spent a lot of time shouting back at the drunks who thought we were on a hen and therefore up for a party, err no, we were in fact tired ladies verging on madness as we ached from the 14 ½ miles plus we’d walked.
On arrival at Covent Garden we were grateful for a glass of champagne or were we? My life line was the bacon sandwich which was yummy and receiving my medal. We had done it and all in 8 ½ hrs.
We certainly attracted attention with our attire along the route with people wanting selfies with us and taking random pictures. We said farewell to another Rainbow Warrior leaving two of us trying to get a night bus but after getting chatted up, asking if we had come from heaven – really! It was time to jump in a taxi and get us home pronto and I finally climbed into bed at 4.45am.
Today, the injures are blisters on a big toe and heel and rather than match sticks keeping the eyes open, I am now resulting to scaffolding for my eyes.
Thank you to Maggie’s London for putting on the event and I just hope we have raised lots of money and thank you team ‘Rainbow Warriors’ for marking my Mum’s first anniversary with me.
If you want to know more about Maggie’s check out the website at www.maggiescentres.org.