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Archive for September 5th, 2008

 

I know this post is going to be very familiar to those international travellers amongst us, but bear in mind that I have only been a wheelchair user for around 2 years. I have been to many European and South African destinations without any disasters with my cheap (£140), internet purchased wheelchair. So, in September 2008, without a second thought we made for Manchester airport and the long flight and many change overs to visit family in Saskatoon, Canada. Manchester to Heathrow, Heathrow to Calgary and then an 8 hour drive back towards Saskatoon. Sounds simple? Think again! My wheelchair which was loaded at the plane door and should have been safe looked like it had gone a few rounds with an angry Rhinoceros. The back was bent, the wheels crushed and when we opened it bits flew all over the airport car park! The airline customer services we very nice when we reported the damage and they told us to replace the chair and send off the invoices for a refund. Easier said than done when you are about to go half way across a vast country to your next destination. Anyway, we decided to take the chair and have it repaired as best we could in Saskatoon. Considering the damage, the repairers did a great job that allowed me to use it for the duration of the holiday – it just did not open and close any more! Luckily my sister-in-law also has a spare wheelchair and I used this whenever I could in and around the town. The old battered one did however come into its own when we went off track because by then we had nothing to lose and were no longer concerned about damaging it; after all we could not possibly do worse than the airline. 

Canada was a pleasure to get around in a wheelchair and the facilities were very good.  Disabled bays were never used by anyone other than official badge holders – well done Canada!   Some countries can learn a lot from their respect for disabled drivers. 

On a completely different note, the other photo is just a wonderful reminder of many early mornings spent queuing outside Tim Horton’s for fresh coffee and the most amazing selection of doughnuts.  If you are ever in Canada, they should not be missed.

Next episode coming soon….

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