Monday 5th March, 2012

Six hours behind the wheel
  Before today, the longest period I have spent behind the wheel of my car since I became ill was around an hour. Today I was forced to drive for around 3 hours, not once but twice, and slightly to my surprise, I was fine.

The day started easily enough with a trip to PC World. I bought a new laptop just over 2 months ago and the backlight failed. I was hoping that PC World would replace it, but no such luck. Their policy is very confusing. If it fails within 28 days of purchase, they provide a refund or replacement, providing that it is delivered back to them in all the original packing. If you have purchased their own extended warranty/insurance, they will replace it, but only after the original manufacturers warranty has expired. Otherwise you are in the hands of the manufacturer, in this case Sony.

The Sony policy is that the PC has to be returned to them for repair which takes 5 working days PLUS the time taken to get any necessary spare parts.

So I had to get an old PC up and working. I had two machines to choose from:

(1) A three year old HP, which has a large screen and is reasonably fast, but a dodgy hard disk which made it reluctant to boot (which was why I replaced it)
(2) A netbook with a small screen and a much slower processor.

I chose the HP, which did boot up on second attempt.

Then at 11am, I got a call from the medical team at the Aquatic Centre at the Olympic Park in London, where my wife was helping with the British Swimming Championships. She had a recurrence of Meniere's Disease, which she has been suffering with for about 12 years. It is a problem with her inner ear which leaves her feeling dizzy and sick. She gets an attack, often with little warning, every couple of months or so. There was no way that she could get home by public transport, so I set off to drive to London to pick her up.

Getting to the Olympic Park by public transport is easy. Getting there by road is a nightmare. I relied on my Satnav, which took me via central London, incurring a £12 congestion charge and enjoying more than an hour of congestion (good value for money?). Because it is still a building site, there are no signposts to the Olympic Park and access is extremely limited. It took me nearly half an hour to find the hole in the fence closest to the Aquatic Centre to pick Sue up.

To get home, I tried going East to the M25. There was a lot of traffic getting out of London and it was a lot further, so in the end it wasn't much quicker. By the time we got home it was almost 6pm.

Moral: Don't even think of driving to the Olympic Park. It is specifically designed for access by public transport.

At least now I knew that I could drive normally.