Liverpool again :)

I said goodbye to Kim and Sean today! Big hugs all round. The delightful Derry taxi system showed up for me without me even phoning. I had mentioned to a driver yesterday that I was going to the airport at 10am this morning and he told me to phone him. I was literally getting to my feet to call him this morning when there was a knock on the hostel door. It was a different taxi driver. The man I spoke to yesterday had been called away to something but he wanted to make sure someone was there to pick me up at 10. These people are so considerate and lovely. I had a great chat to the taxi driver on the way to the airport. We talked about Australia and Ireland and snow and our families mainly, and when he pulled up at the airport, he took all my luggage into the terminal because he could see I was having trouble with my back. It was a really lovely way to start the day.
Derry airport is tiny. It’s about the size of the toilet blocks at Tullamarine. There were two gates, and the tiniest little lounge, and everyone was really friendly. I chatted to the nicest Liverpudlian who told me all about her family and her city and how much she loved it. The plane trip to Liverpool took 40 minutes, but I closed my eyes briefly and then felt this almighty crash. I thought it was the most mental turbulence I’d ever encountered, but I opened my eyes and we had actually landed, so I can only assume I drifted off to sleep as it felt like we’d been in the air for 10 minutes.
I took a bus to the city centre and Andrew picked me up and drove me to their house in Crosby. It’s really nice to be back. I scared the living daylights out of Luce when she got back, but after that we spent the afternoon chatting, with me sprawled out along the floor which has become the custom. The lovely Belinda bought me fish and chips for dinner and we watched Sport Relief 2012. It feels hideously selfish to be whinging about a bit of back pain when children are dying of the most pointless and treatable illnesses. It really puts it into perspective. And I need to donate some moolah.
Later kids!
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Lying on the floor for two days and other activities

The last two days have involved long stretches of lying on my side on the floor while reading. Not terribly exciting, but unfortunately, necessary. Nevermind, I am still managing to surf a lot of Net and read a lot of books. I’ve also done a lot of other boring jobs like washing, posting stuff home and printing off my boarding pass to fly to Liverpool tomorrow. I’ve had AMAZING curries for dinner both nights at the Wetherspoons pub which is this uber cheap and tasty chain throughout the UK, and last night we went to the Peader O’Donnell’s pub for some traditional Irish music. It’s full of Irish people who are excited to see tourists and they are really friendly and chatty. I got a kiss and told I was a ‘gorgeous gal’. Ah, Ireland 🙂

This afternoon we went on a walking tour around the Bogside and the city walls. I did the same tour about 4 years ago and from what I can remember it was really different, and just as enjoyable. Tomorrow I am headed back to Belinda and Andrew’s and Sean is headed to Cardiff, then London. It will be weird to be separated from him after living in each other’s pockets for 9 weeks, but we’ll be meeting up in Newcastle in ten days to visit his family, so it’s not for long!

I am the pincushion. Coo coo cachoo.

This morning I went to a physio about my back pain. It has been impacting too much on my plans and I need to do something, so today I took a taxi to the Back Pain Clinic. The taxi cost me 4 pounds and arrived at the hostel within 3 minutes of me calling them. Lift your game, Melbs! The physio was really nice, made me stretch a bit, then mentioned that he used acupuncture quite a lot, and did I mind? I asked if it hurt, he said you feel a bit of a pinch, like a normal needle. I said, well okay. I was seriously willing to try anything. So he stuck 4 needles in my hip and left them there. He was right, I did feel a bit of a pinch. A damn painful pinch with every needle, but then you sort of relax and the pain goes away. But I tried to move at one point and that hurt, so don’t move if you ever had it. Then he went away for about 15 minutes and I got Sean to talk to me to distract me because I didn’t want a repeat of the blood donation, where I thought about the fact there was a needle in me and cried. Yay. But Sean talked to me and I was pretty relaxed, and then the physio came back to turn the needles. That bit also hurt. Quite a lot. But again, only for a few seconds, then the pain faded. He gave me a really vigorous massage along my spine afterwards, and then stood me up. He wasn’t happy with what he saw, so he put the needles in again, but this time only for about 30 seconds, then we tried again. It was really amazing. The pain in my back has improved significantly and he showed me some tricks with posture and core strength to help me manage it. Unfortunately, the pain in my legs is still quite bad, but I have a follow-up appointment on Thursday morning so I’ll mention it if it’s unchanged.

He told me to avoid sitting, and to stay standing and active if I could. Because of the swelling in my knee it’s not too possible right now, so I pretty much have to lie on my side for long periods of time if I need to sit down. It’s only temporary, but it’s frustrating to say the least. Sean and I walked back through Derry in an attempt to stay active and found some cool shops, then I spent most of the afternoon lying on the couch reading. I got up to go to a restaurant for dinner with Sean then we had a drink with Kim when she finished her volunteering duties. We don’t have any major plans for tomorrow, just washing and posting stuff home, but if we get that done, it’ll be a big weight off my shoulders!

Derry!

So this is an update for the last two days. I didn’t write one yesterday because there was not much to say! We got home from St Paddy’s day to discover my knee had swelled to the size of a grapefruit. Because of the back pain, I was favouring my right leg, and apparently it didn’t like being favoured for seven straight hours on St Paddy’s day. So I spent the day sitting down, uploading photos and reading and watching Gavin and Stacey (great show!). It wasn’t a bad day, but it wasn’t terribly exciting (except for Skyping Mum and Dad. It was wonderful to hear their voices!!). I went out that night with Kim and Sean to buy a book and have a pub meal, then went back to the hostel and eventually, to bed.

This morning we slept in, checked out and went to the main bus terminal in Dublin, Busarus. Again, I had to sit and read, but this time I chucked some frozen peas on my knee which helped with the pain a little. Then we got on a bus to Derry, which took about 4 hours. I sat next to this gorgeous woman, originally from Northern Ireland, but she’d lived in America for 30 years. She sounded completely American, but had moved back to Northern Ireland finally to get work. We chatted for most of the trip and during the bus ride she got a phone call offering her a job from an interview she had done last week. It was wonderful. She was so excited and began ringing all her friends and family to let them know and it was just so brilliant to see something work out so well for someone else. Once we got to Derry we took a 2 pound fifty taxi to our hostel and settled in. Paddy’s Palace is a really nice place and it’s a real shame I won’t be here for the whole two weeks I had planned with Kim. We met some great people – volunteers and travellers and the Paddywagon tour coming through. A guy from our Haggis tour is on the current Paddywagon tour and it was great to bump into him again. We all went out to a great, cheap pub for dinner and had lots of food and conversation. I am pretty tired now, but I think I will head to bed and try to get an appointment at a physio tomorrow.

Blog soon! xx