Well, we saw ‘The Hunger Games’ yesterday. Congratulations go to Eileen, who guessed correctly! Sci-fi, thriller, bit of violence, little bit of romance. Ticked a lot of our boxes. I would note that the wheelchair space is too close to the screen so I have a film hangover headache today (yes, truly film hangover). However, very pleased that we made it, although I can’t say it was stress free. It seems to me that if you are disabled, the odds are not usually in your favour...
We left lots of time for our journey, which was just as well because the traffic into Kingston was animal. We had been hoping to investigate disabled parking close to the cinema but by the time we actually got into Kingston, there was no time left to explore. So we parked in the Bentalls car park and wheeled away briskly, manoeuvring smartly between pushchairs and toddlers, strolling couples and heavily laden shoppers. Down in the lifts we went, out onto the street and zoomed along to the Odeon. When we got there a friendly staff member, standing by the lift informed us that the lift was out of order. She was stationed there to accompany disabled customers up to the cinema floor via the goods elevator. So she brought us outside, round the corner and through the service entrance, so that we could use the goods elevator. She was very friendly and chatty (good luck house hunting in Cheshire next week, Jade!) and delivered us without incident onto the box office floor.
My heart sank as I saw the melee of people before us, a long queue to collect tickets from the machines, and an even longer queue for the box office. Jade was unable to find a staff member free to help us (their usual procedure, she said) and had to go back to her post, so we joined the queue for the box office, which is what I had been advised to do, when booking the tickets. Within minutes I realised that this was too stressful for Roch and the queue was moving so slowly we decided to move back, park him to the side and for me to queue at the ticket machines. At this point, I was beginning to think it might all prove to be a waste of time, as we were certainly past kick off for the programme start and I had no idea what time the actual film showing was to begin. Eventually I got the tickets and made my way through the crowd to Roch, who informed me that he had just sent a staff member looking for me. I went in search of her and she told us where to go for help after the film. By this time we were both dying for the loo, so after a (relatively) quick visit to the disabled toilets (full marks for disabled toilet facilities Odeon Kingston - now if you could just prevent the able bodied from using them so disabled people don't have to wait - how annoying is that?) we finally arrived into the cinema. The seat beside our wheelchair space was taken (not by a carer I might add and no wheelchair in sight), but the other wheelchair space was free, so we slotted in there and got settled - amazingly just as the film began! Whew!
But I’m so glad we made the effort. Next time I won’t arrange to go to the cinema on a Bank Holiday, leave EVEN more time to explore disabled parking nearby and enquire in advance if they have their lift fixed - Jade seemed to think they were planning to replace it completely, which might take longer but better plan in the long run, perhaps. I don't fancy getting stuck in their lift. I feel a letter coming on but must just say a thank you to the Odeon staff who helped us - all were friendly and obliging. It was just so busy there yesterday that it was difficult to find a staff member free.
The film, by the way, was excellent.