I was watching an episode of Downton Abbey last week, and a scene brought me back to a place and time over ten years ago, when I lived in London.
In the scene, the abbey housecook, Mrs. Patmore, close to blindness and unable to manage her kitchen duties, is sent off to Moorfields Eye Hospital for cataract surgery.
|Poor Mrs. Patmore|
I lived in London for two years, and my son son was born there. When Daniel was about three months old, he was sleeping nestled in bed with us in wee hours of the morning, when he started to whimper. His father groggily turned to reach for him and instead poked me in the eye and scratched my cornea with his fingernail. I was instantly startled awake from my half-hearted slumber with searing pain. And having never scratched my cornea before, I did everything I shouldn't have to soothe the terrible pain. I tried rubbing my eyes, then tried rinsing them with water, placed a wet, warm facecloth over them. I tried everything, but the pain only worsened, so it was off to the emergency room. There the doctor diagnosed me with a corneal abrasion that I'd only worsened with all my desperate eye-rubbing. He gave me immediate relief with eye drops that numbed the pain, an effect that would soon wear off, oral pain meds, and then sent me off to Moorfields Eye Hospital.
I don't remember much from that point forward, as the pain meds set in and the three of us hopped into a taxi. Foolish young mom me had forgotten my breast pump and soon my breasts were filled to the brims with pain med tainted milk, and my baby boy was stuck abruptly switching to formula. I remember being in the waiting room of this relatively ancient hospital (founded in 1805) and feeling pity for not only myself but also the tens of others waiting to be treated for a dizzying array of eye afflictions. Some people were crying, others moaning. Some wore eye patches; others had heads completely wrapped in bandages. I felt like I'd been transported back to the days of Charles Dickens.
I felt nostalgic now thinking of this incident, and curious. So I wandered over to Google Earth, because I can't quite go back and wander to my old London neighborhood so easily. There it was, my old home on Vicarage Road, where I brought home my bumbling baby boy almost 12 years ago.
|A visit to my London home of long ago via Google Earth|
Our bed, with the pink velveteen headboard, the site of the infamous eye abrasion incident, was located just next to that large first floor window.
|Baby Daniel with a stoic British expression on his sweet face|
|The High Road in our east London neighborhood: Leyton|
|In Green Park with my bumbling baby boy|
Some places that I remember from my London neighborhood no longer exist, others have morphed into new businesses. We often forget to take pictures of the scenes of daily life, choosing to focus on big events and holidays. I'm going to make a point this year of capturing more of the small places and things that fill up our daily lives with joy and a sense of home.