As I wrote the title for this post it instantly raised a smile as I was reminded of the quote from the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. That’s not what the post is about at all, but I thought I’d pass on the smile if the quote hasn’t already done so.
I had planned out a photo weekend in Doncaster whilst Hubby was playing in a competition but Hubby is having a few dodgy moments with his achilles tendon and has decided to rest it instead this weekend hopefully the rest will fix it. We did think about going ahead to Doncaster but there’s another match there in Novemberish so we’re staying home and having a day and evening out in the Oxford area instead on Saturday.
I was looking through my older Doncaster photo files for inspiration and this one jumped out at me. The Gallery Tea Rooms, to be found in the indoor section of the market. It’s not just a pretty place to drink coffee, it represents an achievement to me too.
I think it was our second visit to Doncaster, I had been having a difficult time in work and had had two panic attacks the week before so my head was in a bit of a mess. Life in general moves too fast for me, I find I can either grip on as tight as possible, trying to keep up which causes the constant feeling of spinning round on the outside of a speeding merry-go-round, holding on with just my fingers while me feet fly outwards, or, I can protect myself with my “bubble”. My bubble holds my immediate world safely inside it whilst the rest of the world passes by on the outside, any crashes or bumps from the outside pass by un-noticed as I live my live safe in my own little world.
Anyway, I went to Doncaster that weekend inside a “bubble”.
Our hotel was slightly outside the centre and as had happened the previous time, the bus station was situated underneath the main shopping centre. I knew which number bus to catch back which would drop me off almost outside the hotel. Hubby dropped me into town on the way to his match where I would wander around until I was bored then catch the bus back to the room where I had the internet set up for the laptop and a number of dvd’s ready to watch if the tv was rubbish. One extra safety net, I always pick up the hotel business card and add to it a local taxi phone number.
I wandered around Doncaster, safe in my bubble, it was Saturday, but it was early so the shoppers were only just arriving for the day. I bought a pair of gloves at the market with no words, not even eye-contact, I just held out the right money and placed it in the outstretched hand. Then I decided it was time for a coffee and a sit down. The Gallery Tea Room is very pretty, slightly overpriced for just a quick coffee, but perfect for a relaxing sit in pleasant surroundings. I climbed the steps to the counter and sought out a quiet seat in the corner for my escape.
Then … disaster ! there was a queue. I had to stand un-protected and on display at the top of the steps and wait for my turn. Not only that, it got worse, the couple at the front of the queue sat at my chosen table ! … I ran.
An age later, locked safely inside my toilet cubicle I dabbed my teary eyes with the paper provided. There wasn’t even a lid on the toilet seat so I couldn’t even sit down. I had somehow made it back to the main shopping centre and up a number of escalators where years of shopping experience told me I would find public toilets on the top floor. So, there I stood tying to plan my escape, wondering if the taxi firm would risk pulling a car park ticket and pick me up from the multi-story car park on top of the centre which I would then pay for, along with my fare to be taken back to the hotel room.
I don’t think the man on the other end of the shopping centre announcement system will every know how grateful I was to him. At that moment, an announcement flooded over the top of my cubicle door inviting me to try the options at their food hall, situated just around the corner from NEXT, a store I shop in regularly and so it had registered somewhere in the back of my mind that I had run past the NEXT store in my escape. A plan formed, I took a few hundred deep breaths then left my cubicle and headed for the food hall where I chose the most expensive option (usually the emptiest) and found a quiet corner where I sat, facing the wall, eating a very over-priced toasted ham and cheese sandwich with a pretty mediocre coffee until I was able to face the bus station and the bus back to the hotel.
The photo above was taken on a later visit, I didn’t stop for a coffee on that occasion, I didn’t feel the need to hide at the back of the exclusive tea room, although I guess when I stood to take this picture, I was hiding behind my camera.
More from before : Various visits to “Doncaster“.