Crowborough is my adopted home town. I’ve lived here for eighteen years. In the winter it can sometimes be a cold windswept unforgiving place. It is a town on a hill. With height comes extra special weather. It’s never not windy, there is an eclectic mix of rain and there is always the Crowborough Cloud. The Cloud is a frequent visitor, enshrouding the town in grey hazy mist. Sometimes it’s a wet cloud. You may be happy to go around in this cloud under the impression that you’re staying dry. Then you touch your head and realise it’s soaking. It’s just like the fine rain of the north.
But in the summer, it can be a glorious place. We are surrounded by fantastic countryside.
Then there are the little things. Firstly my town is a small town and people are mostly happy. I feel privileged to live here because I was lucky enough to have a job I loved with reasonable pay. But people are just so nice to me. I often go up to town on my super macho Tramper mobility scooter. Pedestrians say hello. Some even compliment me on my dashing steed. I make jokes about gridlock on Crowborough’s pavements and I can see it helps brighten up people’s mood. I wave to other scooter drivers.
I usually go up to town to shop in the local supermarket. Now that is full of little things. As I gently glide from aisle to aisle, I observe the other shoppers. At two o’clock in the afternoon, these people are not in a hurry. It’s not like the frantic frenzy of Sainsbury’s on a busy Saturday. People drift about looking a bit like Godfrey from Dad’s Army. Time does not matter. I can ask someone to pass me something from the top shelf. They are delighted to do it whilst we share an observation about gratitude and helpfulness. A passing shopper may comment about the contents of my basket balanced precariously on the front of my scooter. It always raises a smile.
Why are these people so nice? I think they are so pleased that someone like me who is obviously disabled can actually interact on a social and witty level. We have so much doom and gloom thrown at us; especially through local media, which portrays the disabled as serial moaners. But most cases are circumstantial. We can laugh at ourselves.
This afternoon, I was touched by people’s kindness. Those of us who are disabled wear badges. These are mostly badges of courage and patience. I think others are genuinely happy to see us just getting on and being happy. And the best little thing of today? Passing me on the pavement was a couple with their little boy being pushed up the hill in a toy car. I just said “cool” and the mum’s face lit up.
Thank-you for reading.