A wheelie good time……

A wheelie good time……

I’ve just returned from a spoon sapping 48hour trip to Nottingham with my friend and PA Andrew. I’ve said it before but I’ll say it again, I am so very lucky to have him as my PA but I’m even luckier to have him as a friend. The trip was to go and watch an ODI International between England 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿 and the old enemy Australia 🇦🇺 and the ticket was a gift from Andrew and his family for my 40th birthday.

I’d set as one of my spoonie goals years ago to go and watch a live sporting event in my wheelchair. No big deal you’d think, just book a ticket and go, well its what I always did before my accident. Except it’s not that easy. For one many stadiums despite new regulations aren’t up to standard, including many Premier League football clubs who should be ashamed of themselves. Two, believe it or not I want to go with other people and sit with them in the crowd. I say this because believe it or not I do know a mix of people, I do have friends without disabilities who want to go with me. All too often disabled viewing areas have been an after thought and not well designed so that viewing is obscured, spaces are severely limited and the expenses don’t match the experience. Add to this the overly complicated booking process and the hoops you have to jump through (like sending off evidence of your disability) and it is easy to see why I’ve put off going for so many years. I no longer just ring and book anything and it is frustrating, I understand why but can’t help thinking there is a better way of doing things that takes some of the pressure off. A national system perhaps which means you don’t have to go through the same lengthy process at every venue…… I digress! Back to the fun.

We travelled up to Nottinghamshire and it was a nice easy run, having family close by I knew the route well, we stopped for breakfast on the way and arrived at our travelodge early. They let us check in early and we’re very helpful. Even coming rushing to the room when the alarm was set off whilst Andrew was untangling the cord and attaching a note to say leave this cord untangled!

The weather was good so we decided to walk/wheel to the ground along the river trent. It was easy to find and we were directed to the reception in the Radcliffe Road stand. A quick check of our tickets and we’re told to take the lift behind us to the third floor. I spin round and there is a member of staff holding the lift door open waiting for me. This is all going worryingly smoothly. Third floor out we go and we’re greeted by a lovely man who looks at our tickets and says follow me. On the way he is helpfully asking a few questions and telling us everything we need to know. When I say us, I mean me, he’s actually talking to me not Andrew as so many people do when we are out together. Yes this is my first time, no don’t know where anything is, great there’s the bar, and the disabled toilet, and we exit outside to see the cricket pitch. Along we go to my seating area and Andrew’s seat that is right next to me. I can’t really explain what it is like so I’ll add a couple of photos. We have an amazing view, up high I can see the whole ground and I have plenty of room to put my wheelchair and get comfortable for the match.

England 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿 didn’t disappoint dispatching balls all over Trent Bridge and scoring a new record high of 481. Eoin Morgan becomes England’s all time run scorer in ODI’s and some of the fastest 50’s and 100’s scored I’m ever likely to see. Couple this with an amazing view, brilliant staff (three times I was asked if I needed anything, this included going to get me food and drinks) who had clearly been trained in understanding how to work with disabled people and make the day enjoyable. If ever there was a shining light, it was shining bright at Trent Bridge, we thoroughly enjoyed the day, were brilliantly looked after and we were treated to an excellent display of cricket.

Of

course there was the odd issue of ignorant people, some standing right in front of me as so often happens at large gatherings, me being in my invisibility chair as people dart infront of me and then wonder why they get their ankles clipped. All in all however the day was excellent, in fact pretty much perfect in every way. We went to get a burger as the last over fell and the masses made their way out. We had a short wait for the lift and as I wheeled in I half trapped someone in the corner who was waiting for the lift to go to the Forth floor not the ground floor. It was none other than Kumar Sangkkara and he was now faced with the unenviable dilemma of being frustrated that he wasn’t going to the floor that he wanted but unable to really moan about it because for me the only way down was in the lift, and let’s face it one of the greatest batsman of recent years could climb a few sets of stairs if he’d wanted. 🤣

Anyway we had our burgers and then took a stroll out of the ground back along the river to our hotel. Undoubtedly this will not be my last visit to Trent Bridge as despite the pain and limited movement today there really has been a lot of thought gone in to making the new stadium accessible, in fact the only thing left for them to make it perfect would be the installation of a full changing places toilet so everyone can be catered for.

The icing on the cake of the trip was meeting my cousin for breakfast the following morning is West Bridgford which also had good access and facilities, time know to update some reviews on trip advisor and Euan’s Guide!

Numbers in the world

This was the brief we had for our LG’s home learning the other weekend. Being 4 she doesn’t have compulsory homework, just topics of study that we can expand on at home. Her number recognition is improving dramatically but most of all having regular things to talk about is helping her to see the world. 

We decided to do this piece of work that we would go for a walk around the block. We got my scooter out and went for a walk. No more than about a mile I would say. We looked at numbers on lampposts, houses, business signs and so on. We spoke about the 20 and 30 mph signs and what they mean. 

What should have been a really fun hour for my LG and me, unfortunately became a frustrating trip out. It was Sunday so the roads were relatively quiet and there was no school traffic. You’d think this would have made the trip pleasant. Unfortunately we spent much of it doubling back on ourselves and walking in the road due to inconsiderate parking and dog poo. When you are meant to be looking at the world around you and the numbers everywhere it is tricky when you are staring at the pavement dodging poo or in the road carefully holding hands making sure a 4year old is safe as people had parked blocking the pavement. 

It is perhaps telling that the number of pavement obstructions in the short walk was 26. Cars parked so you could not pass them on the pavement and dropped kerbs blocked were the biggest issues. It’s funny we all take our dropped kerb for access for granted. We sometimes forget that this also allows others a place to cross. Without them wheelchairs, mobility scooters and pushchairs cannot cross the road. We’ve all been guilty of saying to guests just block us in when you get here, but when you think about it this creates huge issues for others. I guess we all just need to think of others a bit more. I know I do when I park now and my friends and family do the same. Little by little change is happening. 

First Bus response to Supreme Court ruling ‘treats disabled people with contempt’

A bus company forced to change its policies after a ground-breaking Supreme Court access case has been accused of treating disabled peple and the legal system with contempt, after it revealed the m…

Source: First Bus response to Supreme Court ruling ‘treats disabled people with contempt’

Top five representative toys for Christmas — Scope | Disability forum

So pleased that toys are becoming more inclusive in their design and play, and that this results in spreading disability awareness to more and more. It will perhaps come as no surprise to hear that an inclusive disability awareness toy will be in my LG’s stocking this year

Can you give the gift of disability awareness for Christmas?

Source: Top five representative toys for Christmas — Scope | Disability forum

But daddy, I don’t want to make you poorly

…….is a phrase I have heard several times this last week, my LG has had a cough and cold and she has had several spikes in her temperature as her body tries to fight off the virus that so many of us pick up this time of year.

There is not much you can do but comfort a toddler, let them eat what they want, encourage them to drink and be there for them to cuddle. It is the first time that she really has been ill, and so the aches and pains are all new to her and difficult to understand. As her daddy I want to be there for her, to cuddle and hold her and tell her it will all be alright.

Several times however my LG has pushed me away and says to me that she doesn’t want to make me ill. Very sweet and caring, but it goes a little further than that.I said to her it is ok, if I am going to get it I will, do not worry give me cuddle and it will be ok. My LG however responded with “but I don’t want to hurt your back and make you worse daddy”

As I have chronic back pain as part of my disability she has heard me say how much coughing hurts and that I always try and keep myself away from people who have a cough. The reality is that you cannot avoid everything I know this, but she doesn’t and bless her even in her own pain and illness she is still caring about me.

With a new found mindset I am now proud of her reacting like this instead of feeling like a burden to her. I accept that I am in pain and my LG understands, helps, cares, pushes my wheelchair and is proud of me, and I am proud of her. Did it tug on my heart strings? – of course it did, did I fleetingly feel guilty? – of course I did, but I cuddled her, I reassured her that it was OK and that I didn’t mind and it was more important for her to concentrate on getting better. I know I am helping to raise a very beautiful, caring and well rounded LG and that makes me very happy.

Christmas coming early????

Dare I tempt fate, well yes I am going to because for me and my family this would be the best Christmas present and even my 4 year old agrees with this. Finally after 21 days of barraging, tweeting, talking to every few days, reporting it to 3 different people on 3 different systems and being passed to several different departments only to then be told to log it online and upload information and many, many tears I have finally been contacted by Felgains of Ipswich to confirm they have received payment from Thomsons for my replacement wheelchair. They have ordered it and are arranging for it to be couriered direct to me.

This is a massive boost for me and my family, it means I will soon have my legs back, well my wheels but they are my legs and that is why I fought so hard, and so determined to get it replaced as quickly as possible. It is lightweight, reinforced and built to my leg dimensions and with a high back to support my thoracic spine. In short it will allow me to go out again without significantly increasing my pain, lowering my mood and effectively bringing the day to a premature end. It will hopefully mean that the trip to Father Christmas at Thursford will be done in comfort, and taking my LG to watch her first ever Pantomime with 4 generations of our family will be an enjoyable experience and not one that leaves me unable to look after her for days afterwards.

I am so excited it is hard to put it into words what this will mean for us all. Roll on getting my wheels back……………..