Sunday, April 28, 2013

An invitation to parliament

Well how could I refuse! In a life pre-kids many many eons ago I have stood various times on College Green in front of the Houses of Parliament conducting TV interviews but I had never actually set foot inside.

Last year I contacted the British Lung Foundation to find out whether people could post personal stories on their website. We had just emerged from a very difficult few years of little M being almost permanently ill because of undiagnosed sleep apnoea. I thought maybe our experience could help other families in similar circumstances. The upshot was they used our story - read it here - and I got an invite to a parliamentary reception about putting OSA on the health agenda.

It was a glorious sunny day. I got the train to Waterloo, had a wander down the South Bank, grabbed a coffee, then walked across the bridge to the Houses of Parliament. So easy navigating London without two small children in tow! I almost felt transported back to my twenties.
In the queue to get in I was torn between wanting to appear cool and nonchalant and wanting to take photos. I snapped a few covert photos hoping I didn’t look too touristy.

Inside there were signs everywhere warning you not to take pictures. I was desperate to take a shot of my shoes against the beautiful intricate tiled floor but a very sweet policeman with a huge machine gun patiently agreed that while it would make a good photo, it was still not allowed. He did point the way to Westminster Hall the one area where photos are permitted so here is the proof that I was inside.

I was glad I got there early and had plenty of time to gaze at the statues – long gone kings and queens, lions, unicorns and griffins, dramatic paintings of pivotal moments in British history, sumptuous chandeliers. The reception itself was in a blander more corporate room. We were served pretty pink cakes, tiny sandwiches and cups of tea. There were various speeches including one from a fabulous lady who spoke about how OSA had personally affected her life. She has a big online following offering support to those affected here.
Afterwards I wandered back down the South Bank half of me wanting to linger and soak up every moment of London in the sunshine the other half already on the train racing back to my family.

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