Phew! It's taken me a bit of time to really take in the last couple of days as you'll of been aware from last week I was going to away for a few days.
All adventures start somewhere and for me it was a continuation of and part return visit from a few months back when the Head Girl and First Former met me in my environs on what was a rather warm sunny day.
Well first of all to get to GHS, you need transportation and as I don't drive due to my disabilities, it meant getting tickets to travel on a train having selected a suitable rail station I could get to by bus. Fortunately I'm not far from a BIG rail hub with plenty of journey options and one really good operator who have an excellent online ticketing site, so I ordered my tickets and got them next day in the mail.
So after packaging a change of clothes for an overnight stay in two Hello Kitty tote bags, I caught a bus to the rail station which got me a bit early as I had heard of some traffic delays from construction work nearby but typically on the day there wasn't!
That meant I had time to read the iPaper before wobbling down the stairs to Platform 5 to get on the 09:22 London Midland that calls near GHS before meeting the dedicated GHS taxi service to whisk me off. It was a most excellent taxi service I can assure anyone!!!
For the train people the engine number started with 350 but I forget the rest but it was modern with plush seats, overhead destination and automatic doors.
Having arrived in the spacious grounds of GHS and equally spacious building just set back from the road, it was time to reintroduce myself to the First Former, a lovely articulate girl in her uniform.
This can only lead to one thing, folks, I too as visitor to the school needed to get changed into full uniform for the duration of my stay so up the stairs I went one foot after another to have a quick wash and change.
It was at this point actually being at GHS, being in and presenting myself to the others for the first time fully uniformed completely hit me and I would be lying if I didn't say for brief second I paused before going down the stairs to met everyone as Joanne, the school girl.
Fortunately over the years with my disabilities I've learnt to "kick my own butt" to make things happen as difficult as they can be for me and so got over that.
We spend time freely chatting after light refreshments until Auntie Andi was able to come and so after the midday meal, she lead a presentation about out of school activities otherwise know as Camp looking at activities, expectations, general etiquette and so on. 'Big smile' was the response to wishing to attend next year as I think I can hack it being a fairly responsible member of 1EB.
Talking of which, something else happened as it had brightened up a bit:
The nearest you're gonna get to an official uncropped out photograph taken with Permission by the L6 Head Girl no less. As is usual form, things such as photos should only be taken and shared with the subjects permission including that of anyone also in on them within the group.
Cast your mind back to the 'likeness' of Jo and the illustration from the fall of last year when the little girl declared herself free after effectively retiring from the world of employment. Can you see the how they all fit together?
A pivotal moment for me I'd say.
Before I forget, the Head Girl it has to be said is an excellent cook and hostess, the food being delightful and the First Former has an excellent body of knowledge about cuts of meat amongst other things, for we had Beef and homemade Plum pie in the evening. Yummy!
We played Scrabble (tm) with the assistance of the First Former something it transpired she was rather a Wiz at, which from my point of view was a jolly fun game to play even if it reminded me of the difficulties my learning disabilities leave me with.
In my world at least I'm happy to take part in things that are fun even though they're hard for me, with you helping me as needed rather than have you feel you have to change everything for me and this was a good practical example of it as any. And thanks for everyone for helping with it for I got a reasonable score!
Before bed I read a bit from Five Go To Demon's Back (Famous Five series) and we played some music, guessing who sung it, the 'proper' title and the year which was fun as for a number of them I only recall the North American year and month(s). I did pretty well at this as I think anyone asking Auntie Andi would soon find out! (Shh).
Sometime after 11PM I think - as as most of you know I can't 'tell the time' from a clock - I went to bed downstairs with a great view of the embers from GHS coal fire glowing red in my white top with Hello Kitty pj bottoms on. I also bought with a HK plushy and a small Rabbit one in a pretty dress. Although I'm not a great sleeper I did manage to get to sleep.
Come the morning following a wash, I again got fully changed into uniform to be greeted with a smile from the First Former as she came to see I was up and went to have some Tea and chat about all manner of things obviously including how I was feeling being joined by Auntie Andi where we talked 'techno talk' for a bit (Andi and I know a bit about recording, radio and stuff).
Breakfast was rustled up from GHS's kitchen which is what I understand to be cooked British breakfast with smoked bacon which was delicious with Tea before packing my bags ready for leaving.
I am not one for putting words into peoples mouths but as I remarked to Andi, the online Joanne_ Chan people read and interact with is the one you get in 'real life', being less of a role play so much as a online expression of what I'm naturally like in real time with you. I think she saw that as I although I'd thought I'd only be with her for a short period rather than most of the time, interacting directly, so she could see it straight off. She was happy to affix a Merit badge to my sweatshirt before leaving later that morning anyway!
But that wasn't all because Auntie Andi had kindly offered to take me to the rail station and after a big hug I was making my way across the concourse to travel home on the London Midland service.
There, wasn't that quite an emotional adventure,eh?
Everyone at GT for your inspiration over the years as without it this could never of happened.
London Midland for efficient trains and easily to understand ticketing.
The Head Girl for graciously having me and preparing scrumptious food, something nobody has to do but they do because they're generous, caring about others,
The First Former for being herself, witty, knowledgeable, caring and super fun to be around and finally, Andi for being Auntie Andi a great combination of the funny, serious where needed and pretty unflappable sort you'd want to be with.