Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Loft Living in Finsbury Park

Through an organization called Doctor House (which helps arrange housing for doctors visiting London), I found a charming home-stay loft for my stay in London.  I am in the area called Finesbury Park.  I have big skylights which look out a small reservoir where sailors brave the cold.  (It is 2 degrees and people are out sailing!)  It takes about 30 minutes to get to the hospital by short bus ride (or walk) followed by the tube for 5 stops.

The loft is quite tiny, but this is London.  There is an almost ladder-steep flight of stair to get up to the loft and a second ladder to get the level where I have my bed.

Overall it's very cosy and charming with lovely and helpful proprietors.

Upper loft, where I sleep

Looking down from upper loft on the rest of the apartment.

Dining area with a sink and stairs down on the left.

Looking down the stairs to the door.  Good thing I packed light as these are not suitable for hauling luggage up!

Welcome to London!

I have arrived in the Capital of the British Empire!  

I am here for a 4 week observer-ship with the Supportive Cancer and Pediatric Palliative Care Team at the Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children.  This hospital is one of the oldest children's hospitals in the world (oldest in the English speaking world), and is world famous.  The outside looks like a bunch of buildings of all different ages, from Victorian to 1970s industrial, cobbled together, but inside the wards it looks like any other modern hospital.  

The palliative care team is relegated to the "Portakabins" which can best be described as portables (remember elementary school) jutting off the 4th floor somewhere in the middle of the jumble of buildings, overlooking the loading docks.  I was assured by one member of the nursing team, that this was the best accommodations that the team had been given in the 13 years she has been part of the team!  

Portakabin?  Portacabin? There seems to be some variation in the spelling.  This tiny sign is the only one leading you to them.  And it's on the door right beside them.  If you're elsewhere in the hospital, good luck.
Narrow outdoor landing which connects the portakabins to one of the more permanent wings of the hospital, where they are anchored (hopefully securely)  to the 4th floor of the building!

The Palliative Care Team here was founded in 1986 by Dr. Anne Goldman, one of the founders of pediatric palliative care, so it is a team who has been around for a long time relative to other children's hospitals.

Everyday I take the tube to Russell Square station to get to the hospital and then have to trek up 15 flights of stairs from the platform to reach street level.  It's a narrow spiral staircase for most of the way and stern overhead warning forbid you from using the stairs with any luggage (you must wait for the elevator).

Heading down the stairs.

Why are they so small and steep?

The advantage of Russell Square station?  It's close to the British Museum, so on the way home from work today, I popped in for a quick visit to the Rosetta Stone.
Rosetta Stone
St. Pancreas station is also not far away, which I happened upon while searching for a mobile phone SIM card.

That's life in London so far!