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Tag: Queen Elizabeth Hospital

Local Food Heroes

Now we are in the ninth week of lockdown, and a lot of us are fairly used to our new lives, it’s possible that we might gloss over the early days of lockdown, and think it wasn’t actually that stressful, and that things aren’t so dramatically different from ‘LIFE BEFORE THE COVID’.

That assessment is probably incorrect… it is significantly different, and it will be a long time before things are back to how they were… presuming that day WILL come. 😬

So, to things that have made my life and other people’s lives better… the local food heroes in my area.

The VeryGreen Grocer

Based in Shooters Hill, The VeryGreen Grocer has been delivering to homes in South East London since 2010. Run by Mike, Mike, Barbara and Simone, their vans deliver groceries, dairy and bread every week, Monday to Friday.

Luckily for us, the husband had registered as a new customer 3 weeks before lockdown, and we started getting a weekly delivery at the end of March. The company stopped accepting new customers for a while due to demand from far and wide, but we were very reassured by their tweets explaining their new ordering process.

Things seem to have settled down since March and customers can now order through their site as usual. And they are now accepting new customers, so do email them your address and postcode if you would like an account, and the team will respond.

Below is the box we had delivered at beginning of April – full of lovely tasty good things, and we’ve been reminding ourselves how to eat in order of freshness. I’ve also had a lot of fun looking up BBC Good Food recipes to work out what to cook with what we have, and I’ve become a big fan of cabbage – which I never expected! Blame Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

We are still doing a big shop at Sainsbury’s every fortnight, but we are keeping up a weekly fruit and veg order, and are very happy to continue to support the VeryGreen family.

The Plumstead Pantry

Usually a cafe on Plumstead Common, The Plumstead Pantry has converted itself into a bakery cum grocer cum delivery service over the past two months. The owners Ash and Julia also used crowdfunding to help with the conversion, and were able to raise over £5,000 in just 14 days.

I wasn’t really aware of the business until April as I’ve only driven through Plumstead Common a few times, but I saw a tweet from a local friend about the cafe, and after a good nosey at their Twitter and Facebook, it turned out they were having regular deliveries of plain flour. At the time we had nearly run out, and as the flour shelves were/are usually empty at Sainsburys, the husband was very keen to get some!

After buying 2kg of plain flour, plus 1kg for our friends, we have since branched out into tin loaves and their very scrumptious cinnamon buns – they drip with sweetness and are just heavenly.

As well as their 1 in, 1 out policy at the cafe (with beautiful views across the Common), you can also pre-order goods for collection or delivery. Delivery is free within SE18 and surrounding areas, and there is a handy WhatsApp button on their Facebook page if you want to place an order (DMs on Twitter are also used).

And many thanks to Julia for not ringing the doorbell when delivering, Rafe nap time is sacred! 😊

(Image: The Plumstead Pantry, Facebook)

Old Cottage Coffee Shop Cafe

We used to live in Charlton and one of my favourite haunts was the Old Cottage Coffee Shop Cafe in Charlton Park. I still visit before Monday music at Charlton House, and do I love having a jacket potato with bacon and cheese while Rafe wriggles about with his own lunch.

Every Christmas the cafe organises a Christmas Day lunch for the elderly, and since Coronavirus closed their doors, Michael and Mimi have been cooking and delivering food to those unable to leave their homes. Based on their tweets, they are delivering lunches to at least 20 people 3 times a week. Amazing! If you can help with the lunch deliveries, please contact Michael.

Hopefully we will all be back there soon!

(Image: Old Cottage Coffee Shop Cafe, Twitter)

The Red Lion

Since a new management team took over in 2019, The Red Lion has been aiming for a more family friendly vibe. A few months ago I went with my husband, son and in-laws for an early evening meal, we had a great time, and we all really enjoyed the food.

While the pub is closed, Danny Brooker and his team have been supporting a number of individuals, NHS hospitals, care homes and hospices in the local area.

Funds are being raised through crowdfunding, and hundreds of meals are being prepared at each cooking session. A separate team are then organising and delivering the food. Super super impressive, and a wonderful thing to read about.

Another local spot I want to visit again soon!

(Image: The Red Lion at Shootershill, Facebook)

Twelve Week Scan

My first scan was on the 26th of September 2017 and it was a complete palaver.

The appointment at QEH is at 14.20 and we get there early as you do. We inform the receptionist that we have an appointment, she makes a note and tells us to sit down, and so we nervously wait.

14.20 comes and goes. We keep waiting because this is the NHS and you always expect the free service to be running behind schedule. We don’t actually ask what is going on for a good 20-30 minutes.

We ask when we will be going in: “Oh, I forgot to tell the sonographer you were here.” Oh.

We’ve missed our slot. Oh.

Apparently the sonographer was ready and waiting. Oh.

We now have to wait for a gap, and for the sonographer to answer the phone because you can’t go in and interrupt another scan (which is fair obviously).

There is a gap about an hour after our appointment. We go in. Yay.

“Your baby isn’t moving enough to do the scan properly, you need to go and eat some sugar and walk around and then I’ll try again.” Oh.

We leave and go down to the crappy WHSmith at QEH. I buy Fanta and chocolate. I drink the Fanta and eat the chocolate. We walk about. We go back into the scanning department and wait for another gap.

It’s about two hours after the original appointment when we go back in. We do the scan in full. Hurrah. I spend half the scan trying not to snap/cry at the sonographer because she’s grumpy because of the original admin error combined with the stupid baby not moving enough. LOLs all round. Not the dream first scan.

Then we realise that we forgot to ask for photos because everything became too stressful and the sonographer’s schedule had been completely buggered. We faff about for a while deciding whether to wait again, or whether to get the hospital to post us the photos. We decide to wait again.

Once the sonographer can answer the phone (again), she prints off the photos, brings them out to us, and then and no-one charges for them. Hurrah!

It’s now about three hours after the original appointment and we are finally done.

Slightly later we drive down to Croydon(-ish) to see my brother and sister-in-law. I’m on my phone too much so I puke up all the Fanta and chocolate onto a verge at the side of the road. 👍

My one and only vomiting experience in the entire pregnancy. I know, I’m insufferable.

However, the scan was fine (!), the baby was fine (!), the sonographer was really efficient and capable (yay!), and we managed to have a laugh about it all by the end.

I still ❤️ the NHS.

Solar Shower Pregnancy Test

I always wanted children and we discussed it within a year of being together. He wanted children as well, but as it all seemed very far away and very grown up – it wasn’t a big dramatic OH MY GOD discussion topic. It was more of an eventuality, but also my decision: my body, my choice etc.

I knew I wanted to travel, work and get settled in a home before coming off the pill, and I hoped to not get accidentally pregnant in my 20s – it was my only real fear when I was younger and with Sam. I wanted to be selfish, do what I wanted, and I wanted to be in control.

We successfully went eight years with no dramas or panics, and once our trip to Japan was booked for March 2017, the time to try was approaching – our final big travel goals were trips to America and Japan, and we had already done five weeks in the US in 2015.

I was also approaching my 33rd birthday and I hoped to have a baby at 33 as that was the age my mum had me. Silly, but if able, I wanted to forge that additional connection to her.

So my pill supply ran out in February and I started tracking my crimson wave with Clue. Once we got back from Japan in early April we irregularly tried for a couple of months – we didn’t get too scientific about it at first as we had barely any cycle data to use, but by June/July we were using the ovulation schedule suggested by the app.

Side note: Don’t be fooled by those who tell you that trying for a baby is anything but an additional task for your daily routine. Who does romantic and/or sexy when you both work, have evening activities, and need to cook, clean and sleep. You have to keep on top of it (haha) every day for about 10 days to maximise your chances during your fertile window. Where is the romance in that.

July arrives and my period doesn’t come on the Sunday/Monday as usual. We get excited but nervous and decide to give it a whole week before taking a test.

That weekend we were away for a friend’s birthday at Eweleaze Farm near Weymouth. We decided to take the test in a super large solar shower on the Saturday morning, and after doing the pee pee deed we waited nervously.

The test said I was 2-3 weeks pregnant. Yay!

Contemporary advice says to keep quiet for the first trimester, so we did exactly that. It was our special little secret and we didn’t have to share it. Nor did we want the risk of something going wrong and then having to update people with shitty, awkward and sad news. 1 in 8 women go through a miscarriage, and many more miscarriages occur before a woman even knows she is pregnant.

We had our first scan at Queen Elizabeth Hospital on the 26th of September 2017 and all was well. The scan itself was a complete palaver but that’s a story for another day…

Armed with our scan photos we surprised my brother and sister-in-law that night with our news. It was wonderful to share our joy with them and my belle-sœur was just as excited and bubbly as I had hoped her to be (as was my brother). It was a lovely evening.

It was another week or so until we told my in-laws and they seems quite confused at first. We had told them we were going to try for one, but they hadn’t asked for regular updates (!) as you just don’t do that. But once the news had sunk in they were full of questions and excitement. It was another lovely evening.

We told more people over the coming weeks, mainly family and close friends, and let ourselves get a bit more excited. In general, I refused to buy anything for the baby as I didn’t want to jinx anything (how scientific of me), but I caved in at four months and bought four letters spelling out ‘BABY’ from a cutesy boutique shop when we were in Battle one weekend. I added ‘RAFE’ to these once he was born. 😍

We ‘publicly’ announced the pregnancy at the beginning of December in front of the Christmas tree at the Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Paris.

I also wrote the announcement in French.

I know, what a nob I am.

Very excited people ^

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