What an incredible day I had yesterday.
I’d been invited to mingle with the MS Society’s most influential people and the Prime Minister’s wife at No. 10 Downing Street.
One personal shopper at John Lewis (‘ah, yes, I can see the problem … clearly‘) and a quick visit to the hairdresser (‘hmm, I’ll see what I can do’), and I was on my way to London.
My outfit was in a suit bag, my book-club book dutifully backed – I’m on page 789 out of 1500 and the meeting is looming – and I was as ready as I’d ever be.
I had the fortune to travel with the Chair of the Welsh MS Society Council and she calmed my nerves. We chatted all the way to London and before I knew it, it was time to change into my Outfit. Hair intact (all that hairspray meant it was pretty much bullet-proof), we ended up in the loos at the Paddington Hilton.
I locked myself into tiny cubicle and changed, a supreme feat of MS endurance. Limbs were flailing, balance was pretty dodgy. I emerged 15 minutes later, slipping on my extremely flat shoes and stuffing my jeans and boots into the rucksack I’d borrowed from The Teenager.
Quick make-up touch-up in the dimmed lights (so heaven knows what I looked like in real life), jewellery on, outfit smoothed down and I was ready to go. And what better way to start the evening with a glass of Prosecco. So we did.
Anyway, we checked in my student rucksack at the Left Luggage and hailed a taxi to 10 Downing Street, passing Buckingham Palace (Queen was away on holiday). And then we were there.
We waited in the pen they have outside Downing Street and I made friends with one of the six policemen with machine guns. He was absolutely gorgeous and I regret not leaving my mobile number, but anyway, we made our way through security (me with a sad backward glance at Handsome Machine Gun Man), x-rays and the like and found ourselves standing outside the iconic building.
We handed our mobiles in at the entrance and then, joy of joys, we ascended the staircase featured in ‘Love Actually’. I was in heaven. We made our way to the reception, to be greeted with trays and trays of drinks and canapes. I studiously avoided the canapes – cream top, I knew what would happen – I’d bite into a Hoisin Duck mini-wrap and squirt sauce all over myself and my companions.
I mingled, I squealed with sheer excitement and mingled some more.
I was told that Samantha Cameron had arranged to meet certain people before her speech, so when she entered, there was an itinerary. But somehow, and I’m not sure quite how (honestly), I found myself next to a famous pop singer whose mother has MS, so I shook hands with the Prime Minister’s wife and had a quick chat.
At the end of the meeting, there were wonderful speeches and we truly are in safe hands, all of us with MS. The message is getting out there – MS is being kept in the public eye.
On the way home (Queenie still not in residence), we reflected on our evening. Then we got to Paddington and I reclaimed my baggage, reverted once more into student clothes, bought a huge burrito and caught the train back to Wales.
A wonderful experience. And my hair is still stiff from all that back-combing.