Last week I went on a course called “Back Up To Work” which was run by the Back Up Trust.
Back Up are a charity which aims to help people with spinal injuries to boost their confidence and motivation following their injuries. They do this by running a number of different courses including skiing in Sweden or Canada, multi-activity courses in the Lake District or Sailing. I’ve been on a number of these courses before and they are great!
The one I went on last week was designed to boost participants’ confidence in applying for a job and to help improve our CVs and interview skills. There were nine of us in total including the able-bodied volunteers, and they were all really nice and friendly people.
The course was held in London over two days at the offices of Savills UK, a real estate company. We were taught about how to improve our CVs and interview skills by a lady who I actually knew from a skiing course back in 2005, which was a surprise. She also had a spinal injury and had worked in HR for a number of years, and was now a consultant. Some of the Savills staff came to talk to us too to give advice about how they got their job, and to give their advice on our CVs and the best way to go about applying for a job.
For three nights we stayed at the Premier Inn St Pancras which was a pretty decent hotel. My room was ridiculously hot at night though, which sometimes made it difficult to sleep. Maybe I should sue Premier Inn because I didn’t always have the “great night’s sleep” that they guaranteed me. I wonder if anyone’s actually ever done that? You might be able to make a lot of money. Just a thought.
The first night we all had dinner as a group in the restaurant at the hotel. The food took so long coming that we didn’t finish eating until about 9:30, which was ridiculous. It took so long to come that we actually forgot what we had ordered. So, the next night we went out to a different restaurant and booked the meal beforehand.
The restaurant in question, pressed in the called “Rocket” was quite posh and the food was quite expensive. I had Poussin (which is chicken in case you were wondering) with sweet potato chips and red cabbage. The food was very tasty, but I should hope so because it cost £17! It was the type of restaurant where if you order a bottle of wine they don’t just fill the glass up straight away. They pour a little into the glass first so that you can swill it around, smell it and taste it, and make sure that it is of the finest quality, before they fill up your glass. Pretentious, I know!
I don’t like wine myself. It all tastes same to me. Give me water any day, can’t go wrong with that.
So, the course started on the Tuesday and ended on Thursday afternoon, and then everybody went home, with a newfound sense of job hunting confidence. I decided to stay in the hotel an extra night because I thought the traffic in London would be too bad at about 5 PM in the afternoon.
I wanted to go out somewhere for dinner and decided on the Rainforest Cafe in Piccadilly. I’d been to one in Florida many years ago and thought it was great so I wanted to try out the one in London. What I forgot to realise was that when I last went to the rainforest Cafe I was 10 years old, so I saw it through a different perspective! The restaurant is predominantly aimed at children, but I didn’t realise this until I got there.
Unfortunately, there seemed to be some sort of party going on at the time and the place was swarming with noisy primary school children. There were also animatronic monkeys and thunderstorms going off at regular intervals. It wasn’t the kind of relaxed and peaceful meal I had envisaged!
Eventually though, the hordes of children left and peace descended once again upon the rainforest. But by that time I had pretty much finished my meal and we were almost ready to go anyway.
Afterwards I decided to take a walk through Chinatown which looked great with lots of Chinese lanterns strung up across the street and big Chinese archways. There were lots of Chinese restaurants, as you would expect, and in hindsight I wish I had gone here for dinner instead!
These few days also gave me an introduction into Uber, the taxi app. I had never used it before but it’s actually really easy and convenient to use. You can see on the app where the nearest taxis are and it gives you an option to summon a wheelchair accessible vehicle, just by pressing a button. It’s much better than having to phone up to get one.
Uber is cheaper than normal black cabs which I also used over the three days. The problem is my Powerchair only just fits in to them and they couldn’t strap it in properly. But because it’s convenient I still used it.
So, overall it was a good three days. I met some good people, learn some good stuff about how to apply for a job and saw a bit of London.