If, like us, you have a degree in classic black and white movies then the word ‘Cascades’ speaks mouthfuls rather succinctly. Cascades was the rest home that Bette Davis’s character, Charlotte Vale, retired to in the film Now Voyager after a monumental nervous breakdown caused by her mother’s hectoring. Charlotte stays at Cascades for weeks before being discharged and encouraged to go on a Mediterranean cruise, incognito. She entered Cascades with granny hair, fat and one big eyebrow. She emerged like a goddess in Orry Kelly gowns.
Why am I telling you this? Because the Chelsea & Westminster Hospital on the Fulham Road was my Cascades a couple of years back. While on the ward, I had the opportunity to make many social observations on my peregrinations. I am not a Chelsea girl and tend to be a bit chippy about the shiny, happy people who live there with their cherubic kiddywinkies and beef-fed Salukis.
In the pursuit of getting my constitutional every day as I waited for the doctors, I would nip to local hostelries. There were children’s birthday parties the length and breadth of the Fulham Road. The parents were very pleased with themselves and the children miserable because they had had their own way ever since they emerged from a vajayjay. You should have seen the party bags. They should have fecking SWAG written on them.
My favourite brasserie on the Fulham Road was The Goat. I happened to be back for a check-up only yesterday and walked into The Goat only to be met by the most handsome man I think I had ever seen: beard, blue eyes, a soft accent and an arse like a peach. I was all on not to suggest Gretna Green rather than a G&T. But I restrained myself and got chatting. Above us was a mezzanine for the kiddies’ party. They were crying, wailing, bawling, shouting and basically grating on the nerves. Said pretty waiter looked me dead in the eyes and whispered ‘the littlies are giving me a panic attack’.
Apropos my liking a few sips and having a tad too much because of the recent ailments, I Googled ‘Alcoholic London Help’ and got about ten 0845 numbers whereby you call and they tell you your GP is a clown and all that will save your life is if they send a car round and take you to Cascades at a charge of £3000. My favourite search result for ‘Alcoholic London Help’ was the service that lets you order any bottle of booze of your choice and they will courier it over within fifteen minutes for an extra charge. I wonder whether these people can sleep at night…
Anyway, where were we? Oh yes, waiting four hours in on the Kobler Ward in the Chelsea & Westminster having drained Hello and Heat to the dregs. Comes a time when even the Queen Mother’s patience is tried and one has to ask whether one will ever be seen by a doctor. Along comes this pretty little girl who is qualified to treat even if she looked like she hadn’t left school.
Apparently, the results were in and it was a no for me, Simon. Organs all tickety-boo, mental health sorely tried by pains in the sinuses but holding-up. I observed when asked if I had had suicidal thoughts, ‘no, but first degree murder in order to obtain a Gregg’s sausage roll might be in the offing’.
So after three A&E’s, GP’s, enough over the counter medication to float Fire Island and in high dudgeon, I was discharge to be the girl who walked home alone in the rain again. I am now home in a tidy Bloomsbury Towers huddled into Nan Gandy’s mink because the heating STILL doesn’t work. Thank you Bedford Estates.
Before I forget, I will tell you what the nice lady at the Chelsea & Westminster told me as to why doctors were otherwise occupied. Apparently, the doctors were all in A&E ministering to random Eastern European immigrants scratching their balls who have never paid a penny in British tax and probably live in a council flat on benefits. Talk about your broken Britain.
So I’ve made a few decisions. When I left The Chelsea & West last night, I checked-in to a table at Ciao Bella for one and sat looking enigmatic and tragic alone with a tear in my eye and a glass of Chablis in my hand. Funny how when you ask for help you get it. My place of greater safety is Ciao Bella. They’ve all been there a million times and nothing phases them including a weepy, tipsy homo. So it is time to get back to my GP, sort out the physical health and the rest will follow. Wish me luck!