Saturday 24th September 2011

Sussex County ASA Dinner


Both Sue and I had a much better night last night, which is good because we have a late night in prospect today after the Sussex County ASA Dinner in Brighton. We want try to get away by 10:30pm but things don't necessarily work out.

I am still having to get up several times in the night.

Last night after one of the trips to the loo, I was lying in bed and reflecting on being taught English Language at school in the 1960s. I really didn't like that subject. My teacher Mrs. Cadwallader was pedantic and a perfectionist.

Over the years, I have come to realise how valuable that subject was. I have never since had any problems writing reports (and of course things like this blog). I have a reasonable command of grammar, although my spelling sometimes leaves something to be desired.

It does leave me correcting people on the TV who murder the rules of English, but I do realise that acceptable usage has changed over 50 years. I hate to think what Mrs. Cadwallader would make of this blog, with mixed up present and past tenses and incomplete sentences.

Today, I have to get things ready for a major swimming competition tomorrow. That means setting up the computer system and getting all of the necessary wiring collected together, so that we can make an early start to Southampton in the morning.

Immediately after breakfast, I commented to Sue that I was feeling really tired and washed out. Since then, I spent more than 3 hours at my computer! That did leave me tired, so in preparation for the trip to Brighton, I sat down and did very little after lunch.

This morning, I started to convert some of the earlier blog entries to the form of a book. The index page for the blog is already getting a little bit unwieldy. Doing this enables me to correct some of the factual and grammatical errors.

Now I have come to the time when I need to work out how these men's incontinence pads work. We are going on the M25 and the traffic is always unpredictable. Our planned route includes two potential comfort stops. One on the A3 just before we get to the M25 and then at Pease Pottage services on the M23.

As we started out for Brighton it was a glorious sunlit afternoon. The commentator on the radio was talking about an Indian Summer next week, so maybe we will be able to fit in lunch at Savill Garden one day next week (or even a visit to the Bluebell line).

We stopped as Starbucks near Wisley and from here onwards, our new SATNAV agreed with the route we were planning. Prior to that it wanted us to cut across non-motorway roads.

For the first time since I started the blog, I did not get the entry uploaded to the web before I went to bed. This was partly because I wanted to write quite a lot about the Sussex dinner and partly because we did not get home until 1am on Sunday.

The journey to Brighton was very pleasant; arrival in Brighton less so. I programmed the wrong address into the SATNAV, so it took us about 15 minutes to find the hotel.

Then, parking was a real problem. The hotel car park was full. The public car park across the road was only letting cars in when one came out. We did get a space, but then found that we could not get out of the car park near the hotel. It was a good job, I had been building up my leg muscles, because it was a 10 minute walk to the hotel. Sue had to carry my DJ and gradually got more and more stressed. We got to the hotel around 7:10, half an hour later than planned. I changed into my DJ and things started to get better.

Based on advice I had about my chemo regime, I should not have gone to this dinner! It is 2 days into the middle week, when I am at my most tired. However, we had already booked our tickets and I am very stubborn.

Actually, it was the right decision to attend.

  • I had enough energy to last the evening; the meal was excellent.
  • I had a really good time and got some ideas to improve my dinner next week.

Sussex clearly got a very good deal with the hotel. The ticket price included an introductory glass of wine and ½ bottle per person on the tables.

Being a County President, I sat with other "VIPs", including

  • President of South East Region, Janet Holdstock,
  • President of Sussex, Brian DeVal,
  • President of Surrey, Jim Boucher,
  • The guest speaker, Dennis Yeomans from Wiltshire.

Service was a little on the slow side, but it really didn't matter. There were "toys" on the table and a trivia quiz.

When we first arrived, there didn't seem to be many people we knew. Actually, there were quite a few. On one of my several trips to the loo, I encountered another guy on crutches. He is being treated for lymphoma and also has a sympathetic fracture of his hip.

We wanted to get away by 10:30. We actually made it by 11:00. Sue insisted that she would go and get the car from the car park. At that time in the evening, I was very worried about Sue walking on her own. In the end, Dennis Yeomans walked went with her, much to my relief.

Our trip home included a planned loo break at a filling station on the A3 that we thought would be open. It was. We got a little lost in Odiham and got home a minute or so after 1am. I managed the whole evening without falling asleep. It was a splendid NORMAL event. I am really glad we went. As usual, Sue had to do all the work!