This one will be a little word heavy and is just a pointer as to how even what should really be a quiet weekend went slightly wayward.
Last Saturday (26 January) was billed as a nice respite from the weekly trawl up to London to do my filial duties, visiting my Mum and checking that things that should have been done were done.
We had run on a skeleton staff on the Friday, so I was a wee bit tired, but a nice steady weekend would do wonders.
Layla was with her Dad, so a few precious hours chilling-out with Jenny was on the cards and looked forward to --- Nice.
Layla did have an eye check up at the East Surrey Hospital booked for Saturday morning, and Jenny and I went up to Worcester Park to collect her from her Dad, but we got to the Eye Clinic in the in ample time.
The appointment went well and we headed back to drop Layla back to her Dad before returning to Reigate via the supermarket at Burgh Heath and some shopping in Redhill.
When we got back to Jenny's we unpacked our purchases, did a few domestic chores and were beginning to formulate our dinner plans when my mobile phone rang at 17:12.
It was a carer with my Mum, saying that she was worried about her as she was in bed and struggling with her breathing, and that the although the heating boiler was on the radiators were cold.
This sounded alarm bells with me, so I told the carer to call 999 and let me know the outcome.
I must have looked anxious as Jenny asked me if we were going up to London.
After sorting out a rail station car park ticket via the phone app, we set off. I only had a fleece with me, but Jenny sensibly donned her waterproof jacket and headed for Redhill Station.
A little excited that the Victoria train would be departing from Platform 0, I called the carer to tell them that we were on the way.
The paramedic had arrived, she said and was taking care of Mum.
A short while later, she called back and I spoke to the paramedic.
Mum's lungs were clear, her Upper Respiratory Tract was very noisy and he was currently sorting out an in-situ ECG to check her heart rhythms. He hoped that Mum would be able to stay at home, but needed to discuss findings with an out of hours doctor.
A while later he called back to tell me that the doctors wanted to err on the safe side, so an ambulance had been called, and my Mum would be taken to St Thomas's Hospital, on the Thames opposite the Houses of Parliament.
We got to Victoria at about 6:30 from memory and headed to the Circle and District Underground Line and went the couple of stops to Westminster.
When we got out of the tube station we saw that the heavens had opened.
We would have been drowned if we had tried to walk across Westminster Bridge, and no taxis were evident so we jumped on a 211 bus to take us to the south side of the bridge.
We crossed the road and finally made it to Accident & Emergency after a convoluted route through other hospital departments, via doorways which should have been open but were locked and several retraces of our steps.
Very wet after the final dash outside the building, I asked where my Mum was to be told that no one of her name had been admitted yet, but we could wait somewhere else where the ambulances come in.
After a few moments waiting I called the care people to confirm we were in the right hospital and before I had finished the call, Mum's bed appeared with the ambulance attendants. The 10 minute journey had taken over 50 minutes due to traffic and weather !
My Mum seemed in fairly good spirits even though her breathing was laboured, and she was eventually signed in and we settled into Cubical 14 at about 7:45pm.
Doctors and nurses came and went, questions were asked of my Mum and me. A hastily purchased baguette was partially eaten when Mum was taken off for a chest x-ray.
The same questions were asked of my Mum and me, and re-asked by some else, before someone else came asked them again.
Nothing specific was found, but a nebuliser given to open Mum's airways.
Consideration was given to a couple of dropped beats in her heart rhythm.
We waited for the verdict, and eventually at about 00:30, we were told that Mum would ber in overnight "for observation".
At about 01:45, Mum was wheeled to the next ward to rest.
Jenny and I said our goodbyes and headed out of the hospital with more route confusion and picked up the Saturday 24 hour Northern Line tube from Waterloo to Leicester Square.
A short cold and wet walk and we were in Mum's flat for the rest of the short night at about 02:30, after booking another ticket for Sunday parking at Redhill Station.
An swift investigation of the heating boiler confirmed that it was not firing up to heat the radiators, but that hot water was fine.
Jenny and I got to bed at about 03:00. It had been a very long day.
I woke at about 7 a.m. - a Covent Garden flat has a cool address, but is noisy. I retried the heating and still got no joy, so I called the Council Emergency Number to tell them that the heating was out of action. The guy just told me that unless the tenant was there, it would not be classed as an emergency !
"Call when she gets back from the hospital, and we should get someone to look at the problem in 4 hours".
So hard luck, she might get home but the flat will be cold !!
While I was ordering breakfast at McDonalds (please don't judge) , I received a call from the hospital. It was good news, Mum would be home later that day.
The same questions that had been asked last night were asked again so that she could progress via the "Frailty Unit" to the homeward transport waiting room.
I called the heating people again, but this time the call was logged. Someone would be there in the next 4 hours.
We did a few chores and waited at the flat, and about an hour later the boiler was fixed by by-passing a faulty clock mechanism and thermostat. The real fix would be on Monday or Tuesday.
The confirmation was finally made that they would be arranging transport for my Mum's return - "which would probably take at least 90 minutes or 2 hours".
Jenny and I went out locally to see what was going on but had to high-tail back to the flat after less than 30 minutes as Mum was on the way home.
After my calming a "where is the lift to the floor" debacle - there is none - with the driver and his mate, Mum was back.
She seemed okay, and had eaten a Roast Beef lunch at the hospital.
When she had settled (by about 3 pm or so), Jenny and I left the flat for Victoria, and the trip back to Redhill.
Tired but happy with the outcome, we had a steady trip to Redhill on a suprisingly full train.
We got out and followed a lot of people to the station exit at Redhill, and deduced that there were no trains from Redhill to Gatwick, so a Replacement Bus Service had been laid on to link the stations.
I glanced up at the Car Park and saw probably 25 buses waiting in the car park to take passengers on their way. I thought that it might be an interesting navigation around the buses to the exit.
We walked into the very busy car park to where the car had been left the previous evening, and found absolutely nothing ! The car had disappeared.
I didn't really react as I was very tired with anything but surprise, but Jenny asked a hi-viz jacketed official about where the cars might be and he replied that because of the bus service any cars still in the park early this morning had been lifted and put into the rear station car park.
Hoping that this was the case, we cut through the station and eventually found my VW Golf parked neatly about a third of the way up the parking area.
I was relieved, but as the evening went on I was annoyed that no advice had been given before the car had been moved.
I sent a pithy Tweet to Southern Rail, who to their credit have come back with an apology and offer of refunds to salve my emotional roller coaster.
I guess that what we can take from this is the happy endings on all parts of this long tale.
It was an eventful 24 hours.