Skipping elegantly into a sun-lit living room, Stephen paused to take in the view from the window. Extending majestically into the distance, the crystal blue of an early morning sky gave promises of warmth and welcome. The sun’s reflection sent beams of joy bouncing from the facing windows. Outside people were smiling; their clothing now as bright as their mood.
Turning back to the room, Stephen could see the sun’s happy intrusion on the inside as it streaked across the rich red of the carpet. The cat mewed weakly. Stephen sighed. Today was shopping day. There was no turning back:
“I said I was going today so I’m going today.” he looked into the kitchen: “Only a small cup please. You never know.!” These were wise words from an old master. You will know why. Going into the morning air, Stephen felt the richness of a maturing spring. “Boing,” it went. And that is where I stop all the trumpery and persiflage in order to report properly about going shopping as an independent disabled person for the first time ever.
Firstly, I must say that the attitude of the drivers (Brighton and Hove Buses) has been a real revelation. To have to fight one’s way out of Brighton, squeeze through the tiny streets of Lewes and end up having to go above and beyond the call of duty to help one person onto the bus takes real strength of character. This was the fourth and fifth journey of my renaissance and I have not felt let down.
The beauty of a modernish, purpose built shopping centre is that everywhere is wheelchair friendly. I managed every shop. People even moved racks for me. They didn’t have to but it was indicative of their helpful nature. All in all, it was a very pleasant experience. Of course, it would have been different if I’d have gone on a Saturday afternoon. I’d dare say there are better ways of spending three and a half hours of my life.
But it’s the fact that it is now an option that gives me such a lift. I had saved hard to get this electric wheelchair. We exist on modest means in the Snore household. My wife works but there are nursery fees to pay etc. But today was significant. I may not be able to skip elegantly but I can now go and buy Jo presents without the usual subterfuge of online shopping involving alternative addresses and the kindness of relatives.
You can get a bus to Bromley from Tunbridge Wells. There’s an even bigger shopping centre there. Erm, no. The bladder will never cope. Summer is a comin’. The forest calls.
Thank you for reading.