From Melbourne to London!

November 2, 2018 - Posted by


A couple of years ago, Julie and I decided we would take in the wonders of London for the first time in 5 years, not to mention catching up with our son Liam. this is the story of that excellent trip.

We flew from Melbourne on 6 May at midnight and after a three-hour break in Hong Kong we landed in London on 7 May at 4pm.  Allowing for the time zone jumps, that’s about 24 hours in the air.

A few weeks earlier I spent three weeks in hospital with some bug (situation normal!) and my haemoglobin had dropped to 70.  It was around 90 when I got onto the plane. We debated whether I (we) should go at all, but my health was improving and frankly, it is always easy to find an excuse not to travel.  If you give in, you will never go anywhere, so we decided to push on.

I rarely sleep in planes and dread long hauls. True to form, I staggered bleary-eyed through UK Customs and passport control feeling weak and tired.  Luckily our no. 2 son Liam was there to meet us, and he managed all the heavy lifting (not just at the airport, but pretty well every day!).

We drove to his flat and I gently lowered myself onto our bed for a nice 12-hour snooze.  Julie and Liam were out and about, on a long walk to Regent’s Park and some dinner before coming home to bed at a much more respectable 10 pm.

London – Diaverum Lewisham (Forest Hill)

I was booked into dialysis at Diaverum Lewisham Clinic the next morning at 0730, by which time I was awake, if not firing on all cylinders.  As you well know, dialysis is a must show activity, no matter how you feel (no option to call in sick!). Forest Hill was about 40 minutes away by cab (or two trains, one underground, one overground and two short walks) in South London.  I chose the cab (₤30 from St Johns Wood) and arrived at about 0720 complete with a backpack full of goodies.

The Forest Hill unit has 20 seats and is busy all the time.  They very graciously moved someone to an afternoon session so I could dialyse as early as possible after I arrived (I arranged this before we left home).  Though I didn’t feel like it, I still put in my own needles (it is the one area of control you have no matter where you dialyse – and you only have yourself to blame if you stuff up), and watched closely to be sure all the settings were as specified by my unit (they were).

My favourite kind of waiting room – EMPTY!

Mihaela, the Deputy Nurse and the staff were very friendly and helpful.  The other patients watched and returned my nod, but remained non-committal.  But no matter where we come from, we are all in the same boat and with so much in common, things soon warmed up.

After a couple of naps, a cup of tea and my snack, it was 1040 and time to go home.  I felt much better and was ready for the train trips home (accompanied by both Julie and Liam).

I eventually had seven sessions at Forest Hill, mostly starting at 1730 (with the occasional machine failure pushing that out an hour or so).  It was a very good experience and I gradually felt like I knew the place. The only hassle was the distance from where we were staying – forty minutes plus each trip (trains one way, cab return).  Next time I will arrange for a more convenient distance to maximise our holiday pleasure (if you can’t do that on holidays, when can you?).

Forest Hill is a private unit and charges a few hundred pounds per session.  Go to for details.

Lego Exhibition

Regent Street

At Blenheim Castle

Within about three days I was feeling pretty good – better than when I left.  I felt absolutely justified in deciding to travel.


Dear old Cutty Sark

And boy did we travel – all over London: the underground, Harrods, Buckingham Palace, Borough market, and being an old navy man, the Cutty Sark at Greenwich.


Check out the review at for more.


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