It’s dull again

After a few days of snow with it’s mixture of wide eyed excitement and furrowed brows of frustration, the cloud has returned. The weather is damp and mild. It’s been over a week of confinment to base camp with nothing but the weather to talk about.

The news has been epic.

_47057711_snow_2010_elvisFrom joyous scenes of little ones racing down snow covered hills on their rarely used sledges to lines of snow-bound frustrated traffic on those famous roads to nowhere, we’ve seen everything in glorious high-definition colour.

Winter-weather-Feb-27th-2018I’ve caught up with all my recorded TV and watched a few i player things. On Sunday night I thought about getting up to date with Shetland but my thumb hit Homes Under the Hammer.

Picture1How can an informed well educated music graduate with an LTCL on the piano, grade eight cello and a wide knowledge of classical music stoop so low?

Well I did. I enjoyed it in a trashy sort of way.

But from my comfortable chair things have been happening. I was able to contact the suppliers of my broken wheelchair (Better Products for Disabled) who sent me two replacement reinforced wheel brackets.

This is the old one by the way

He didn’t charge me but that’s the sort of bloke he is.

He desreves a plug:  

They came this morning via the postie who now comes straight in souting “Post”. Now that’s service. He also brought my monthly supply of bacon; unsmoked pancetta this time.

Rose guarding the new parts

I rang up the local motorcycle shop to see if they could replace them for me; I’m not buying a socket set just for that! I could be up and running by Wednesday.

The thing is, I couldn’t really get down to my Tramper behind the flats.

thumbnailThe last thing I wanted was to get stuck in the snow on my indoor chair, inches from the front door, to be pleading with passers-by for a push. My indoor chair has its problems too.

Gorilla tape is a real saviour

In the great thaw, half the town is now without water. That’s no fun. The local social media is incandescent with the usual “What do we pay them for?” blustery. But let’s remember that over half the world doesn’t have taps.

Apart from that, there is not much else to say. I’m posting to say “I’m still here!” I’ve done a lot of sleeping and a bit of cooking. I’m still dieting which is as dull as the clouds above.

I must say though, I made some ginger biscuits to, well not so much die for but to fall over for, MS style, in a mad rush to grab one before anyone else. I’m thinking here of a roomful of us with the dreaded beast planning strategies to be first at the tin.

biscuits-cream_1Naturally we’d all fall over and our carers will eventully help us up after they’ve eaten them all; the sound of the crunching drowned by the low bottom emission sound of several ELKs going at once.

31r5u6wTP-L._SR600,315_PIWhiteStrip,BottomLeft,0,35_SCLZZZZZZZ_“Where are the biscuits?”  we cry. Carers rapidly wipe the sumptuous crumbs from their chin.

“What biscuits?” come the furtive replies.

Of course, falling over is no joke but MS humour is akin to the graveyard and lavatorial varieties. It is with me. You want to hear what my friends say to me.

Well, I had to press my lifeline six days ago. I made up a story about leaving something in the oven. It was 3.35 AM and I didn’t care if the helpful lady didn’t believe me.

What would you rather? A four hour wait for a hard pressed ambulance crew or a fifteen minute wait for the fire brigade. I live in a small town with a small fire station.The nice man who helped me up last year “suggested” (hint hint), that I should call on them again.

What does next week hold? Parents evening. My little Rose just loves reading and writing. Now I’ve got something concrete to engage her teacher with. And the week after?

Back up north to enjoy the company of friends without any funerals. But the workmen will be in the family home so it’s four nights in a Premier Inn.

“HOW MUCH?”Shocked-Face

Thank you for reading.



  • With MS there are several factors affecting my ability to teach:

    Physical disability:

    Getting about the classroom:

    Tables and desks are inevitably close together, making access to all parts impossible. I cannot move about to attend to children on individual desks. I cannot take PE classes or any activity which involves moving about the school; including field work in the school grounds. Before and after school when working on my own, locating, picking up and carrying equipment such as files or sets of children’s books across the classroom is impossible. Anything dropped onto the floor cannot usually be picked up. Retrieving such equipment from locations not at desk height is very difficult. Daily class work involves handling large files and recording detailed information, which can also prove troublesome. Files are often dropped. Separating sections from files creates more physical organisation which leads to records and assessments getting mixed up and in the wrong place.

    In class, demonstrating anything involving the use of both hands is impossible as I cannot hold a ruler down or hold anything steadily with my left hand. All keyboard work is done with one hand, thus reducing speed and efficiency.

    Cognition and thinking:

    Short term memory is now significantly affected. It is difficult to remember and organise daily messages and information. Emails and verbal messages can be missed or forgotten before the chance to act upon them. There is a tendency to lose the thread if I am distracted-a common occurrence in the classroom. Concentration, attention and mental speed are affected when physical symptoms are prominent. Neurological fatigue also impacts on the above. Keeping two or more things going at the same time leads to confusion. The above mental symptoms are a significant contributor to the bouts of anxiety which can occur when stress levels are high.


    I am now prone to blurred vision. This occurs after about ten minutes of reading or computer work. As well as not being able to clearly read script, screens, children’s work etc, my own handwriting and checking for typing errors is significantly affected. it is difficult to discern colour tones other than very bright and very dark; therefore I will not be able to recognise people by their faces. These problems affect both close-up and distance vision-even large magnified print or images will be blurred. This will also have an impact on driving home from school.

    Toilet problems:

    There are two types of bladder problems-storing and emptying. As I have both, I often need to go with only a few seconds notice. It will also take longer than expected to empty. This is a daily disruption in the classroom. Bowel problems mean that it will take a much longer time than usual. Typically it will take between twenty to forty minutes. Physical difficulty adds to the time taken.

    Pain and spasms:

    I suffer from involuntary spasms on both sides. These can be quite sudden violent movements of either leg or foot. They are visible to those present. I also have painful inflammation of nerve endings in my lower body when I move to stand up, sit down, change position or move about. These have a significant impact on mental concentration.


    This is an overwhelming state of physical tiredness where limbs feel heavy and there is little motivation to actually move. Sleep or time off does not affect this. It is a constant symptom. Concentration and mental ability are greatly affected by neurological fatigue. This will affect motivation and persistence when carrying out tasks.

    Heat exhaustion:

    When the temperature is above 20°C, all the above symptoms become exacerbated. Physical movement and balance in particular are extremely restricted. Again this has an impact on mental aspects.

Weather again


How very topical.

I’ve never seen snow before. It’s funny how it transforms the landscape into something extremely beautiful before gradually thinning out into a soil stained mushy pile of filth. Of course, the very thought of the white stuff throws everything into a state of blind screaming panic buying madness.                                                                7003eb8a77fd6c1e6f05d104f9ca43e8576574-baillieston

All transport and education is suspended whilst serious faced spokespersons claim a unique disposition of unprecedented chaos, exclusive only to the present.

methodetimesprodwebbindca3ab1e-1d68-11e8-95c3-8b5a448e6e58In a style befitting of the worst ever amdram society, they feign a disappointed surprise from being a victim of the unwarranted brutal cruelty inflicted by something as natural as blowing your nose.

About the snow; I’m lying.

pinocchio-970x545I have seen it before. I remember persistent snow and sudden snow. On March 21st 1966, Mum opened the curtains to reveal a massive blanket of white. We screamed in delight, rushing into the back yard to find little more than a tasteless sorbet of fake wet flakes. By the time we arrived at school it was little more than a sea of slimy damp cold slush.

Our family moved to Wallasey in the winter of 1963. I don’t actually remember how cold it was; I was seven years old. After five months in Liscard, we moved to the family terrace in Seacombe.

The winters sort of merged but I remember one very very freezing morning. We went to school (naturally) even though it was Egerton Grove. My two brothers and I were so excited, we left early. The bus wasn’t late. We went to a desolate windswept desert of a playground. The drifts were enormous. It was a great opportunity to run at them, diving head first into every mound of fluffy white mess.

The school opened at nine. Not early so us poor loves could warm our tootsies on the clanking grey bulbous radiators. We were late home that day due to a massive snowball fight after lessons. The bus still came.

Mum was already back from her job in Liverpool and Dad arrived back from his job in Speke. They commented on the weather as we tucked into a nice hot stew. I will now resist the temptation to dismiss the twenty first century response to snow as something reflective of our wimpy pathetic modern society. 

Wallasey 1963

Years later we had the winter of discontent in 1979 and a really persistent cold spell in 1981/2. In January 82, I recall walking through Central Park stunned by the beauty of the frosty patterns weaving across the grass. But it was winter. I’d lived through enough not to be surprised by whatever came our way.

In March 79, we’d had weeks of freezing temperatures following a real downpour of snow.

12118762_10153172646853133_960184037181070032_nI’d read of poor people being terribly injured and losing their life on the mountains of Wales. So I drove to Snowdon. It was alpine. The sun was beating down at base camp but within two hundred feet my trouser bottoms were iced up. On top the view was stunning.

I had the Leeming brothers with me. Roy and John were two teenage scallies from Seacombe. They were blown away. I wonder if they still talk about it?

Later that year I was very excited about a weekend in Snowdownia. We were going to stay in a youth hostel for the Friday and Saturday. It was a mountain leadership course.

Picture2It was April and there was sleet. No problem? Well the heavy snow towards St Asaph and the small wall I ran into saw the end of my beloved Austin Cambridge. (4141 LG) It was never the same after that. I returned home to wild cackles of “I told you so” from my nan. She wasn’t the outdoor type.

Sometime in the next century when I’d moved to Sussex, I woke up ready to drive home from my parents back to Crowborough. It took my dad half an hour to clear the snow off the car. I was well into suffering from MS by then. Dad wanted to look after me right up to his final breath. So I dropped them off at Liscard before braving the 280 miles home. They were a bit worried but fortunately the population of the OK stayed off the motorway and I was home for tea. That’ll never happen again!

Down here, living in the highest town in Sussex, the snow is ruthless. But it’s rare. I used to try and get to work but the profusion of hills meant that all attempts ended in spinning wheels and twisting rear ends.

“Oh dear, I can’t get to work in that badly heated damp school so I’ll go back home to my nice warm flat with impunity.”

imagesNow let’s stop this light hearted reminiscence. As I write, the east wind is howling. I went into it this morning. It was bloody cold. I looked out of the window feeling jealous of the brave souls marching up and down. I used to do that. It was exhilarating. The best bit was getting home. I used to throw myself in front of the gas fire-the only source of heat in 28 Kenilworth. Within minutes, Mum would present me with warm gorgeous food.

But some people don’t have this because they are homeless. They have nowhere to go and it’s desperate. If you see them, feed them. Then talk to them. The worst thing about being homeless is being ignored. People may throw them money without averting their glance.  I think that’s condescending. Ask them where they’re staying or how they’re coping. Don’t look down on anyone.

Wigan, 6 am -5 (Thank you Paul Friess)

People with no home have their reasons but it’s not up to us super-privileged rich people (yes we are rich) to apportion blame to any individual. There are many reasons for being on the sreets. The fact is, help is needed. As an individual I went round Liverpool city centre giving food and offering a festive cup of sherry to people in doorways. They were all articulate, intelligent and funny.

thumbnail (2)They found time to smile. It was freezing. I spent an hour warming up at the ferry terminal. The chair’s battery was low. At least I manged to get half way up the ramps to number twenty eight before it died.

There I was at some ridiculous angle trying to get out of the chair. With flailing arms and flapping feet, I gingerly inched myself off the chair via the grab rail onto the rollator. Once again, I digress in the cause of annecdotal frippery.

Outside The Mews. I don’t think my little wheels can do it.

At the moment I’m feeling a little helpless. I really don’t want to risk taking the wheelchair down to my scooter. Can you imagine being stuck within feet of your own front door? I can’t get to a bus stop either so whilst I do have some helpful people for my own needs, I cannot get to Tunbridge Wells or Brighton with any food for people who really need it.

What am I?

A fair weather friend?

Thank you for reading.    

The UK’s favourite subject

I live in East Sussex. Crowborough is the highest point of East Sussex. It’s 242 metres above sea level; 794 feet in old money. That is almost half of Moel Famau.

Moel Famau. 

It’s never not windy. When my lovely friend Jules gave me a lift back from Wirral last Monday, we reached my town in its element:

“It’s just so misty,” she said turning on the wipers. “Were in the Crowborough cloud,” I answered sagely.

We are regularly visited by the cloud, complete with the damp wet droplets of static rain, soaking you to the core. Here we don’t really watch the weather. We’re just thrust into the middle of it. It changes without warning. The wind is usually quite specific. It rarely swirls. Instead it’s most definitely coming from one direction. The easterlies often rattle my cat flap.

There are places however where one can view the surrounding skies. At the top of town is Goldsmith’s Park. From the leisure centre is a fine uninterupted view looking directly north. 

DSC_0007-53-800-600-80-cOn the Ashdown Forest, strangely devoid of trees, the sky gets bigger and you can look for signs of the changing weather.

My favourite weather views were on cold frosty mornings when I used to drive to work. From our lofty perch, the road would sweep down to the flatlands just before Kent. The pale sun would gently illuminate the mist drenched fields. For a brief moment, time was standing still.

After the picture postcard village of Groombridge and the pub sign which sqeaked in the wind, the road would twist and rise.

1588469_55884b17Then the view disappeared as I joined my fellow impatient commuters on the rat run. The roads were narrow and unforgiving. The prettiness had gone whilst another silver Audi planted itself up my Londonderry Air.

Looking north however, is not usually the most interesting direction. To actually watch the weather; to see it unfold before my very eyes, I have to look west. That is, there needs to be an aspect of west in the direction I’m looking to. 

Let’s go back to the home town.

Imagine the scene:

At low tide, I’m standing on the beach at Harrison Drive.

937261I’m well versed about the dangers of sandbanks and the speed of the tide. (So I’m not too far out!) I look out to the Irish Sea at the gathering storm clouds. They twist and fold in a slow agonised dance as they creep ominously towards the shore. I feel the freshness of the wind. Soon it begins to pull on my dampened clothes. Below the turgid mass, I can see the animated grey of the encroaching rain.

tim weather 08I’m hit by a wall of teeming anger as the spring shower pelts me with its pulsating saturation. I feel the rivulets soaking through my hair and running down my face. As soon as I espy the following streaks of brightness, the rain stops. The sun is brief. Further out, I can see the gathering of the next front. It’ll soon be with me.

I return to the promenade as a damp pathetic figure. I’d watched the weather and I faced the weather. The power was irresistable. Walking back into civilisation, I feel superior. The little groups of day-trippers buzz about with their ice-cream and candy floss. I hear the muffled tones of the indoor fair. Old folk are still standing in shelters with glistening raincoats and forced smiles. But I had fought the rain.

Truth is; I am a mess. Everyone thinks I’m an idiot:

“So you’re the one standing out to sea getting soaked.” They don’t have to say it. There is a mocking tone to the cry of the seagulls. yw18l 

I’ve also stood by the dips in the summer looking at the parched cracked ground.

maxresdefaultThe grass was yellow as it shrunk into tight little pools in the sun baked earth. A roaring westerly breeze was milking every remaining droplet of moisture. Silently, I opened and closed my mouth to hear the wind’s breathy tones change. It was not a musical sound. I was not a flute. But in its wavering melody was power.

I know the power of the wind and the tide. On this day the water is far away and the inshore winds is singing its own solo. I closed my eyes to hear the distant frantic calls of desperate sailors in their frantic efforts to conquer the elements.

On the day after storms, I would venture down to the promenade. One grey Sunday morning I saw the limp battered remains of a great Wallasey institution. The massive concrete art deco centurion lay cracked and bleeding. New Brighton baths was no more.

NB_BATHSThe jealous sea had reclaimed our prize. A lifetime of memories obliterated in one angry night.

Yet how many times, at the close of day had I stood atop of Thurstaston Hill watching the sun bid goodnight to our two great rivers?

5548487_352bfe33.282581ac9a819f152d55778b20fc2ea2The famous Mersey and the elusive Dee would give their final blessing to the day’s end before the clouds of darkness put them to rest. How could they combine with the Irish Sea to destroy so much precious heritage?

I’ve watched the weather in other places. one dark moody May morning, I walked to the American Monument on the edge of Islay. It was to be a week of touring distilleries but I wanted to smell the sea. The monument was a powerful place. Standing on a cliff on the Oa penninsula, it commemorated the loss of two American troop ships in 1918.

monument-450Looking out into the spectacular sea, I saw that familiar sight. The clouds were coming. By the time we got back to the car we were as wet as the hills. Was this a more violent location?

Possibly; ask New Brighton baths.

One balmy night on the balcony of a hotel on the edge of Las Vegas, I was sipping a cold beer as the thunder and lightning  raged down onto the floor of the desert. As the aeroplanes soared  into the seething skies, the ragged lighning bolts fired down in some sort of real-life reverse space invader game.

Thunderstorms Sweep Through Las VegasIt looked like lambs to the slaughter. I’d often been caught in storms abroad but this was the first time I could just sit and watch one.

But wallasey has always provided the best viewing. The Mersey ferry gave me many opportunities to get right into the action. On cold windy days, after a brisk walk to the Pier Head, I would eschew the warmth of the main lounge for a spot upstairs on the bows. I faced the wind and sang into it. Behind me stood the pilot and the captain in the comfort of their tiny lofty bridge:

“Another bloody idiot!”

Again, they didn’t have to say it.

There is one aspect of the weather which is universally brilliant. It’s light. From sunrises and sunsets to dazzling winters and dark moonless nights the light always has a say. The beauty of Wallasey is to see the sun at both ends of the day. The sunsets are often spectacular but the early morning sun, shooting its golden shimmering path from South Liverpool across the river gives me the hope for each new day.

12308552_10153266672148133_7212910225331757234_nFrom my glorious Sussex isolation I can only imagine it.

I can do this because I know it’s there. Over the years, I’ve learned to love the famous jetstream. It has brought so much variety to our lives. Remember there is no such thing as bad weather; only bad clothing.

Thank you for reading.     

Ignorance and bliss

Sometime last summer I received a reply from my local MP in response to my concerns about the complete pig’s ear her party had made over the benefits system. Can you actually believe that Nusrat Ghani, current MP for Wealden said how “proud” she was at the way her government was improving support for disabled people. In a previous political life, Cameron and his lovely cuddly chums made repeated claims that it was making the system fair.

The word fair would come at the end of a phrase or sentence, ennunciated with a tone of pleading righteousness. The impression was of a kind caring body of privately educated, privileged worthy citizens showing compassion for those less fortunate. Excuse me while I throw up. And the reality?

images (1)Even the tiniest amount of investigation through news and social media sites will give you that. The reality is cruel and heartless. To put the most vulnerable through another process of brutal assessments in which they, once again have to empty out they’re own personal, often embarrassing issues just to prove that are worthy of some paltry benefit is both denegrating and downright malicious.

Are we going forward to the past?

Is it me? Does private education encourage people to see vulnerability, disability, mental illness or poverty as weaknesses which need to be punished? I know this is an indiscriminate sweeping statement and cannot possibly be applied across the board but this is what I, an experienced graduate with a lifetime of reading and dealing with people, am getting from attitudes emanating from Westminster.

As for Theresa May?

Whover thought big bird could be so shifty?

Go onto the website of any major disabled charity and seek out the personal accounts on their forums. Stare at the truth. If any member of the current government is confronted by such truths; the ones that are emblazoned on all forms of mass-media, they will respond blindly with meaningless figures. They will tell you that help is there and services are available.

This is not a queue, these are mobile treatment units.

These are the services that have been squeezed dry and pummelled into the ground in the name of austerity. The other month, I had a fall-for me it’s serious. It was six hours before a very apologetic, over worked pair of paramedics arrived to pick me up and check me over. It was one ambulance for the Sussex region.

This is not just a swipe at the conservatives. This is a poisonous attitude, rampant amongst many politicians and people who may consider themselves to be upholders of truth, justice and the American way. When I say the American way, I’m referring to the view that health care is not something to be provided free of charge. Why should a good, healthy all American boy allow his taxes go to the weak minded people in need of most medical assistance?

No! Use the tax to build that wall to keep out the pesky Mexicans.


There is enough disability hate crime and abuse of blue badge spaces to show that certain members of Joe Pubic may well be seeing disability as an excuse for pathetic people like us to be mollycoddled by an over protective state duped by our very own devious duplicity and lies. This is not helped by programmes like Benefits Britain and popular tabloid columnists. Thankfully, most people I have met have been genuinely helpful. 

Let me fire some spin at you: The big society, strong and stable, the government has promised x billion for health, we are looking into ways to improve the prison service, care for the elderly, mental health provision blah blah blahdy bloody blah.

Why does it take someone to lift up the carpet and expose all the rotting filfth before we get these meaningless knee-jerk pledges?

How many more horror stories do we have to read about care homes or immigrant detention centres before those in power realise how crap they actually are?

You cannot run a country by acting like the steel ball in a pinball machine. The only thing I know the current administration is rather good at is distraction. And I include the puppet press and media in this. Our ears and eyes are constantly hammered with new scandals, whilst we are hand fed snippets of information about real issues.

I could throw in a flippant quip: “Nothing to add to that?” But how many genuine volunteers are feeling betrayed?

When I say real issues, it’s only exclusive to brexit. For other issues see above. Will we go back to this? Will the media be ordered to keep it all hidden?

I’ll finish my rant with a little scenario: Picture the cabinet all around the table.

_96974421_p057n9msOld Theresa is smiling as she feeds out the scraps. On one side is Justine Greening. What’s she thinking? “I can do a better job than you, you bumbling idiot. For starters, I’ll be much better at concealing the sources of my private fortune.” Next to her is Greg Clarke; a genuine engaging man with a ridiculously naive belief in the “fairness” of Conservative style capitalism. (Other brands of capitalism are available; I think.)

Opposite, David Davies sits with buttocks clenched thinking he’s like a lamb to the slaughter.

cartoon-brexit-david-davisGove day dreams about being popular.

Then dear old Boris throws a stink bomb under the table. The meeting is ended early. As they troop out turning green from the effects of “Tommy Tomkin’s Stinko Special” (Designed to clear a room in minutes or your money back.) Boris is still sitting there laughing. Rees Mogg emerges from underneath, claiminng that it was also the result of a breakfast of scrambled egg and kippers. They look at each other. Soon, one of them will say it:

“Choose your weapon.”

7174MuolsVL._SX355_   catapult_212675356_250

Thank you for reading. 

I get knocked down…………….

2018 is battering me. Two funerals, a pig of a virus, the usual MS nonsense and a seriously broken wheelchair have boxed me into a corner of despair.

I had four days staying at a place totally unsuited to my needs. And don’t talk to me about toileting. There was a toilet at the top of the stairs accessible only by stair-lift and rollator. The house was small with every wall and door frame fighting against any semblence of progress. With the usual twenty second warning for a number one, trips to the little room were not always successful.

Let’s face it. This is the modern me

At least I have these. (And I’m not ashamed to admit it.)


Attempts at socialising required considerable planning and effort. With an overdose of fatigue and exhaustion, I was struggling to transfer; big cars, little cars and tall cars all had their challenges. I was already worried about the front nearside wheel bracket on my wheelchair.

After many rough and tumble rides through the streets of London, the splits were showing.

a-cobbled-street-in-londons-soho-district-during-winter-fd8p9aAt my father’s graveside, this was not helped by getting stuck in the mud and the forces needed to release me.

On the Friday of my Wallasey weekend, my body, encouraged by some beer and wine, had a complete meltdown outside the Wetherspoon’s. Getting into a car resulted in a great wet arse collapse on the cold damp pavement. I conceded defeat and along with Phil, Rose and Dave, rolled the mile home across Wallasey’s famous random paving. This Dickens quote:  

“The rough, irregular stones of the street, pointing every way, and designed, one might have thought, expressly to lame all living creatures that approached them.” 

could easily describe what Wallasey laughingly calls a pavement.

imagesThe next morning, I inspected the damage. The split was bigger. My angel needed some gentle TLC. All small bumps were to be avoided.

Perhaps it was my own fault for assuming an air of invincibility on the part of the chair. After all, it is an extension of me.

14386082_23657ac089_b(Let me just say that I still consider myself invincible.

This beast of an illness has not stopped me. It’s often been outwitted by superior thinking.) A horse riding accident put the late Christopher Reeve; the superman actor into a wheelchair. Cruel irony or what?

As if that wasn’t enough, my acommodation was limited. Pushing myself backwards on the hard seat of a cheap rollator was not easy. Negotiating the short distance between the top of the stairs, transferring (yet again) from the stair lift and getting into the bedroom was a bit tedious. The bedroom had limited space and a rather time honoured bed rail. But it was better than nothing. I was not subject to the ignominious flappings of a poor beached whale every time I wanted to sit up.

hqdefaultI was not alone in the house; there were others and there was a job to be done which clashed badly with my need for sleep and rest after the labours of extended train travel.

I might have known that this was not going to be easy when the taxi turned up at the flat on Thursday morning. I was met by a sort of stunted, angry faced chipped attitude of a man who claimed to be incapable of putting my chair into the back of his car. Ashdown drivers are so helpful but I’d forgotten about the poison dwarf. I can search both my memory and my conscience but I can find nothing good to say about this man.


On the Sunday, I was due to visit my lovely friend Julie. Joey, her neighbour is a talented artist. There is so much to admire about Joey. She pushes her creative boundaries. Recently, she has moved into sculpture and welding. Her work is both sweet, poignant and witty.

thumbnail (2)

thumbnailI thought she could help me by welding up the splits. After going out of her way to do this, I was delighted to see her repair. It looked great. Then at the end of the evening, on the threshold of the door, the wheel collapsed.

All together now:

“Oh shit!” 

After a lovely time, I had to be helped to a car with a totally inanimate left leg and an outbreak of anxiety. My mum’s old manual chair had to be unearthed from the depths of the front room to get me indoors. Things are never straightforward. The tyres needed pumping up before the footplate could be found. It took an enormous heave-ho from Colin before I was finally indoors. The poorly angel was rested in the front room.

On the Monday, I was met with the delightful news that I was only allowed to break down within twenty miles of home. That was a total waste of seventy odd pounds worth of breakdown insurance:

“Can I upgrade to a higher level?” The question was futile. I was stuck, exhausted with a broken wheelchair and a train ticket for the Tuesday. And I said the year can only get better.Funny-Sad-Baby-Face-Photo

But it has.


o-HAPPY-BABY-570I have been totally humbled by the way I’ve been supported by friends, family and total strangers. I was, of course staying in the family home. That was far more powerful than any narrow doorway or stubborn skirting board. The family were at it. House clearing can be a long and difficult job. I could only offer words of support.

With the shredder rattling away, documents were sorted, things were boxed for the car boot event and visits were made to the tip.

iStock_000012858648SmallI made two visits to the pub where I was with good old friends. I had two fantastic evenings of fun and food with other friends. Friends made sure I was okay both before and after the breakage. On the Monday, Julie said there was only one thing to do:

“Well I’ll take you home.”

My mate Pete also expressed concern at helping with such an epic journey. So off we went. After four and three-quarter hours of chat we were at The Mews. Julie, prone to tendenitis, had single-handedly shifted my cases and wheelchair before taking on the 560 mile round trip. By 10.45, she was back home.

I couldn’t ask for better friends. Who would have thought the chance meetings, games of football and random colleagues would count for so much after all these years?

The weekend will be remembered for great company, food, wine and a rather wonderful drop of twenty-one year old Jura. (Thanks Pete and Jeanie)  I also came home with more Jura. (Thanks Colin.)  Then there was family banter and reminiscence. Joey’s welding, Katie’s fart and a reunion with Julie’s sister Carol. Andy, Kevin, Dave, Trevor, Cristine and Dina (Edina?) helped make a lovely gentle time in the pub.

Oh yes, the wheelchair broke and I got knocked down. But I got up again.quote-you-dont-lose-if-you-get-knocked-down-you-lose-if-you-stay-down-muhammad-ali-125-17-59

Thank you for reading.