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Archive for the ‘Days Out’ Category

But when she was down she was down!

What’s the quickest way down a mountain?

Me and my K2 of course 😁. Getting up a mountain is never easy and especially in a wheelchair, but no other chair helps as much as the Trekinetic K2! Using the brakes allows you to control the descent and do some cool spins too 🤣

This is the Todtnau mountains in the Black Forest in Germany and follows a visit to the Todtnau Falls. Not something an average wheelchair could master!

Getting up the mountain would be impossible without my ‘power’ – hubby 💖💖

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I wanted to write a review from the viewpoint of a wheelchair user because unless you are in a wheelchair others cannot fully grasp the sometimes minor and sometimes major challenges we face.

The resort can be booked for 2, 4 or 7 nights and our 4 night stay started on the Monday night.  I am so grateful for @marvellousmrsp for giving us the spare room in their lodge because it was such a wonderful experience going away with a few friends to such a gorgeous place.  The resort is divided in different areas like little suburbs around the main Bluestone village.  I can still manage to push myself much of the time but if I was booking a lodge for myself I would request one with an entrance more level to the road.  This wouldn’t be any issue if you had one of these amazing chairs from @trekinetic and they tell me that I can upgrade my Trekinetic K2 if necessary – 🎉GTE-parked

The lodges are spread out so you don’t feel as if you are on top of each other like in most static caravan parks and the forest and trees all over the place make for a truly beautiful site with wonderful views of the lake and the Preseli Mountains.

I had plenty of space to store my wheelchair and walker in the entrance hall without cluttering up the lodge and the carpet in the entrance was designed for cleaning plenty of muddy boots and wheels.

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The space was bright, open and airy and we immediately felt at home….

I had the downstairs bedroom which was next to a very spacious bathroom with a wet room shower and a full bath.  I was able to wheel myself around without any issues and right up to the basin.  Our bathroom didn’t have any grab bars or aids so you would need to enquire if any lodges have them if you needed them.

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The kitchen cupboards were all on the low level and open-plan and accessible with everything you need to make meals if you don’t want to eat out.  The resort has a great selection of restaurants and small eateries to choose from if you prefer to not cook at all.

As a wheelchair user I was allowed to keep my bus outside the lodge and use it to get around.  All other guests are required to remove their cars to the car park for the duration of their stay.  Golf buggies are available to hire and are everywhere and looked like so much fun.  Remember to consider this when saving for your holiday as the site is in the hills and quite extensive so anyone who struggles to walk any distance would need one – or just want one for the sheer fun of it! There is an on site bus and train that is free to use as well – after all, at the end of a day swimming and playing it is nice to be driven home.

Bicycles with trailers are also invaluable as well as the wheeled and collapsible cart I took with.  @tootsiestalesuk loved it so much that she immediately added one to her shopping cart.

 

The many and varied willow withy artwork around the resort are gorgeous and add to the whole magical forest theme.

I definitely built up a bit of extra muscle and got a fair bit of exercise during our stay. The surroundings are so lovely that you want to get out and explore / which is what this place is all about. There is also a beach and many other activities nearby if you want to explore further afield, but we found that there was so much on site we didn’t need to or want to go anywhere else.

The swimming arena isn’t just for swimming, but has a river, slides, obstacle course and waves. We spent a very happy afternoon poolside and although the main lift was broken on the day we went, there was an alternate lift we could use to gain access to the change rooms and the pool. I was asked if I needed the pool hoist, which I don’t, but it was good to know one is available.

There are plenty of great coffee houses and kiosks around the resort and we made good and frequent use of them for our daily coconut latte fix 😁.

Everywhere we went we were met with the friendliest staff imaginable. They went out of their way to help and provide assistance. One lovely lady even offered to push me up the hill from the Village to our lodge before they realised I didn’t know I could use my car – great customer service is invaluable, and it abounds at Bluestone resort.

A well deserved award for a resort that is beautifully maintained and is thoughtful to the environment.

If I could sum up our stay in only one photograph, it would be this one which I’ve titled ‘Free Range Kids’, as per @bluestonewales manifesto….

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After our four nights stay, we had made new friends, seen wonderful things, been on wheelchair adventures, enjoyed lots of great coffee and generally had a fantastic time.

Would I come here again? Would I recommend it?

Absolutely, definitely, 100%!

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We woke to the most glorious, crisp winter day. Having arrived at around 5pm the evening before it was our first opportunity for a bit of exploration….and to find a coffee shop – coffee is extremely high on my priority list and we needed to see if by some remote chance a coconut milk latte was possible in the Welsh wilderness.

Our walk down from the cabin was stunning and we had plenty of opportunities to get some great pictures.

Who doesn’t need a picture of themselves taking a selfie of themselves…

The head….

And the tail of the Welsh dragon…

We arrived in the village and had a quick wander around….

I found it….Ty Coffi….the village has a coffee shop (jumps for joy)…

The best bit? They served a very fine latte with coconut milk so our week here is going to be just fine. Lovely place and even lovelier people serving us. We got our ‘free with your first drink’ reusable cups which we will most definitely make use of each day with a 10% reusable cup discount – better and better.

Next we headed further downhill through the forest trail to see the festive lights. They did not disappoint – even in the daytime. Here are a few of our favourite pictures….

My trusty steed never disappoints and got me down and back up the green route – the easy option, but not for anyone of faint heart and weak pushing arms!

A lovely lady gave me a push over one of the uphills and between my pushing the wheels and Maryam pushing from behind with her walker, we managed the slow ascent eventually collapsing onto a bench at the lake. What’s the saying about the blind leading the blind?

A short bus trip back up the hill was definitely required because no way was I able to wheel myself that distance and elevation. Free bus or train trips run every half an hour and it was no time at all before we arrived back in Preseli View ready for a cuppa and a rest.

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Take 4 ladies of varying nationalities, each with their own unique cultures and origins,

2 children,

2 cars,

1 wheelchair,

1 walking frame,

3 walking sticks,

and a smattering of health and disability issues.

Put them together in a log cabin in the wilds of Pembrokeshire, Wales and you are bound to have an interesting holiday!

Day 1 and after a drive from Lancashire for one car and another from Milton Keynes we were so happy to be greeted by the friendliest staff at the reception gates.

In no time we were checked in and directed to our cabin at 43 Preseli View.

We’re in a lovely four bedroom cabin with 3 big bathrooms, open plan living, dining and kitchen and a nice big entrance that acts as a mud room where we can store all the shoes, coats and mobility equipment.

After unloading all our stuff Using our trolley to help with the load and fewer trips, I headed off to find out how I could move my car off site and then get back to the cabin. When I was told that because I’m disabled and have a blue badge I could keep and use my car on the site I was overjoyed because you should see the hill we are staying on!

The choice of bedrooms was between a twin downstairs and 3 bedrooms upstairs so that was an easy one because the South African wheelchair lady and the Iranian knee replacement lady both don’t do stairs, AND there is a lovely big bathroom next door; one that I can get my wheelchair or my walker into.

An early night was definitely in order and the impeccably clean white linen was calling very loudly by this point.

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A good story needs a good opening lines doesn’t it? So,….

An Englishwoman, an Irishwoman, an Iranianwoman and a South African woman descend on a resort in Wales.

What could possibly happen? Keep coming back over the next few days and you may find a few stories to entertain and inform.

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For any South African or Dutch speakers out there, this isn’t Hemel (heaven), but rather Hemel Hampstead in the UK, however, it is a small slice of heaven because that is where small miracles happen. 🙂

Not to wax too lyrical, but seriously, I am over the moon to have my baby back after what feels like the longest 3 weeks ever!  In fact, I couldn’t wait any longer and after another very long week in the old chair, I decided that a day trip to Hemel Hampstead and back to Lancashire was worth the time and effort to get her back sooner rather than later!

After way too long, I eventually got my Trekinetic K2 serviced.  One of the major reasons it hasn’t been is because I know what a wrench it is without it and so I avoid it until I can’t any longer.  When you have the freedom to run around in a K2 and then go back to a ‘normal’ wheelchair, it is a little like having a broken leg and needing to hobble about on crutches…it works, but it certainly isn’t comfortable or easy.

Mike and the team at Trekinetic have done an amazing job of sprucing her up, tightening all the loose bits, replacing some parts, adding a few new bits and generally making her feel like a shiny new chair again.  I cannot thank you all enough for getting it done so quickly for me….oh, and thanks also to Mal the agent for Trekinetic from All Terrain who took her down to Hemel Hampstead for me.

What an incredible piece of engineering my K2 is.  It has been around 8 years since I purchased her and since then we have had some amazing adventures together but she is as good and reliable as day 1 (verified by my very quick spin around the services on the way home).  Mike and the team at Trekinetic can justifiably be proud of their engineering skills.

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WOW!  I will keep my eye on this one in case we ever decide to move to a desert somewhere…. This is THE DESERT SCORPION….

I am now happy to be home and resting on my bed….I need to get my strength back to get out and about on new adventures with my old pal.

PS.  Thanks for the book Mike, the grandchildren are going to love it 🙂

 

 

 

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As a wheelchair user I am always on the lookout for good places to visit and enjoy a coffee. This is even more important when I have one or more of my grandchildren with me, so today’s recommendation for an early winter spot of sunshine, coffee and ducks is Charnock Farm in Charnock Richard. Here you will find a little log cabin where they serve coffee, food and treats. 


On a rare sunny day in winter it was such a pleasure to sit outside with the family and feed ducks and enjoy the view over the duck pond while sipping a latte. 


Access if via a paved area to the cabin and as long as it isn’t too muddy you can stroll around the pond on a gravel path. 

Behind the cabin is a small barn where the children can pet a few farm animals too. 


One of their favourite activities is sitting in the old tractor pretending to plough a field – or fly to outer space, or New York in Ethan’s case!

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Postcode is the newest place to relax and enjoy a great cup of coffee and a selection of food and drink.  This place is very special to us because we spent a lot of time helping to build it.  A few dedicated volunteers built all the furniture and interiors and it has so much charm; much of which comes from the reuse of old items into something new.  Upcycling is definitely the name of the game here because most of the furniture is built from used scaffold planks and pallets.  The soft furnishing is donated jeans and shirts stitched together to create a very unique fabric for the benches.

14292249_1758172687788656_600210141669311963_nThe lovely old piano bar is now on its 3rd life….firstly as a piano, secondly as a keyboard stand/shelf for our band and thirdly, and currently, as a lovely spot to sit with a friend and enjoy the atmosphere.

The barrel table is one of my favourites because it was created using an old beer barrel out of our cellar….one of three left behind when we purchased the old pub to turn into our home.  Another two-seater table is an old pub table given a new lease of life with a chunky board tabletop.  The seats are from the pub too, but they are now much tidier with upcycled jeans as seat pads.

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Everywhere you look is something of interest, from the huge barn doors to the flying delivery bike.  This is truly a unique space created with love and care to serve our community.

14469608_1760643197541605_106759444351313445_nOne of the nicest things for me personally is that it is big, wide and open.  You can stretch your ‘legs’, roll around without bumping into things and get to the food service area and till with more than ample space to spare.  Parking is really good and access via the ramp into the large doors makes this a definite favourite.  Toilets are clean and tidy with wide passageways to gain easy access.

My favourite part of my trip today was meeting a lovely family.  Mom, Gran and daughter (in a wheelchair) came across to talk to me about my Trekinetic K-2 wheelchair.  I was more than happy to give them a demonstration and show them all the benefits of owning a K-2.  After a lovely chat I pointed them in the direction of Trekinetic and Mike Spindle and suggested they place an order as quickly as possible because the freedom, confidence and multitude of other benefits are priceless.  I hope that I meet them again soon over a cup of coffee.

#postcodecoffeehouse @postcodecoffeehouse @tcclife

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Only those of you forced to use disabled toilets will really understand and appreciate the importance of a good, clean disabled toilet. Often we are faced with something more like a dumping ground for overflow cleaning equipment and other junk, a really smelly baby changing facility or simply so filthy you worry about catching something horrific  and lingering. 

Every good and great disabled toilet needs to be applauded and today it is the beautiful, clean and generally lovely ablutions provided at The Lakes Distillery in The Lake District in Cumbria. This is a very new Distillery and the only one in England. I can absolutely highly recommend this as a trip out – not just for the loo’s!


5* for cleanliness, design (you can actually turn your wheelchair around) and smell. 

Thank you 😊 

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We’ve lived an hour from Lake Windermere for 16 years and visited a multitude of times but never before gone on a lake cruise. We’ve been across the lake on the ferry, but that isn’t quite the same. 

We were gifted a stay at The Swan Hotel in Newby Bridge and when we arrived today it was gloriously sunny for November and it seemed a rather good use of our leisure time because we may not get many more sunny days before winter sets in. 


We sailed from Lakeside up to Bowness on a large steamer which was very easy for wheelchair access. Hubby and I absolutely love spending time on the water and the weather and scenery did not disappoint. Parking was easy and not too expensive for up to 10 hours. 

Access into the steamer was on flat ground and then across a sturdy gangplank with good access and seating inside or a bit of space on the same deck if you’re brave enough to venture outdoors. It may have been sunny, but it is always so much cooler on the water and especially at the front of the boat. 


After 40 minutes we arrived at Bowness where we had to disembark and change boats for our return trip to Lakeside.  Getting back was not accessible if you cannot walk or transfer because it was the last boat of the day and much smaller. Getting aboard was fine, but we were warned that at Lakeside we wouldn’t be able to roll off. The crew were very helpful and even offered us a free taxi for our return but we said we were sure to manage because I can walk a few steps when necessary. 

On our arrival the gangplank was only suitable for walking across as it was very narrow, and then three steps. Hubby hoisted my K-2 over and up the stairs and in no time I was seated. 


Please check before you book to make sure your trip both ways has suitable wheelchair access if you cannot walk or transfer at all. Despite this, it was definitely worth the trip and I can recommend it. 

Another great day out with ‘youmeandk2’. 

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On those rare occasions that my human leaves me to sit in another location, there is nothing nicer than mucking about on boats!  I thoroughly enjoyed the views across the Saar river in Saarland, Germany on my latest boat trip…..

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Trekinetic wheelchairs are all about adventure!

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I woke up this morning to a new year…in fact, my 53rd year, therefore a birthday outing was in order.  Hubby and I had planned a trip to Saarbrucken for the day but for whatever reason whilst I couldn’t sleep properly last night I had plenty of opportunity to think about what I have enjoyed this holiday, and therefore would love to do for my birthday.  I realised that a large number of my best memories have been wine tours and vineyards, so surely that was the better option for my day out – hubby probably wouldn’t mind either! 🙂

I planned a return trip to the Bad Durkheim region which was a couple of hours away, but during my route planning the points of interest on my satnav showed a huge tract of land a much shorter distance north of us which also has a wine region – who knew!  Exciting new vineyards to explore on the Moselweinstrasse.

When hubby woke, I posed the question about whether he would mind skipping our original plan for a wine tour – guess what his answer was?

We headed north towards Trier and hoped to find somewhere nice for breakfast on the way.  Not 20km later we noticed signs for Villeroy & Boch…and then some more….they were following us, and it would appear rude not to follow the call of the famous pottery works.  It turned out to be a great decision because the town of Mertzig is on the Saar river, and has Villeroy & Boch, and boat trips, AND great places to eat – what’s not to love.

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Breakfast consisted of all sorts of beautiful and fresh continental goodies – a real treat….IMG_4552

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We decided to go on the boat trip tomorrow as I had my heart set on the wine route today.  It was a lovely drive through valleys along the Saar and Mosel rivers and into more vineyards than I have EVER seen in my life – and that’s saying a lot from a girl who has lived in South African wine country.

The scenery was magnificent….

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Then we stopped at the gorgeous village of Trittenheim on the Mosel river.  Here we met a third generation wine farmer who has scaled down his operation to a mere 10,000 bottles of wine per year in his later years.  What wonderful stories he had for us, and what wonderful wine hubby tasted.  Needless to say, we came away with another 8 bottles of wine; but more importantly, with wonderful memories….

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Happy and satisfied with another wonderful day in Germany, we headed back to Campingplatz Siersburg…..

…and the question of whether I’m any wiser now that I’m a year older? Perhaps not nearly as wise as I would like to be, but definitely wise enough to know that spending a glorious day with my amazing hubby is priceless!

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…the Black Forest, and more wine country!

Our next stop was near Sulzberg on the edge of the Black Forest.

Not too long after setting off, it was time for a pitstop, and hopping off the autobahn we stumbled across a little jewel with the best beer garden ever…IMG_4082

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Sitting amongst the vines with a pretzel and a cappuccino in the sunshine was perfection!

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Today’s campsite promised more than it delivered I’m afraid because after the previous site, this one seems a lot more ordinary.  Don’t get me wrong it is still nice, but it had a lot to live up to after our previous site.

No disabled toilet or bathroom to be found – despite the claims in all the literature. By this time of the day we can’t move on, so we decide to stay only one night and move in the morning.

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We set up our campsite and headed to the local store for some dinner. On our return we followed a sign for another campsite a few kilometres away. What a lovely surprise, and I believe we have found our next campsite.

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4th October 2015

We left Kamping Alte Saghmuhle with a bit of sadness because she will be missed.  We did however make a slight deviation from the route to stop and get a ‘not so little’ memento of our time in the Black Forest….meet Wald – that’s German for forest – because Wald is a log which used to be a member of the Schwarzwald or Black Forest.  Hubby thinks I am mad, but I wanted a reminder of our wonderful times in the forest and I also needed a log for chopping my kindling for the fireplaces at home.  Here’s Wald doing a magnificent job of hosting the camping kettle…

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…and here, the flowers from the camper van….IMG_4518

…he wasted no time at all settling in to camping life and making himself useful!

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Setting up in our first day was a bit of work because we were so tired by the time we got to the campsite – Camping-Freizeitzentrum Sägmüle in Trippstadt, Germany.  We decided to have a meal in the campsite restaurant which would have been much less stressful if the provided a ramp rather than the steep steps!  No options to get inside, so if you are unable to climb a few steps this is not the campsite for you…unless you don’t ever need to go to the restaurant of course.   The bathrooms here are brilliant, and on a crisp morning brushing your teeth standing in a heated floor is rather special.

Waking up to a very chilly morning with the sun just creeping into the valley was a real treat.  This campsite set in the Palitinate forest is lovely and we were given a pitch on the lake…this is the breakfast view on a crisp, clear and quiet morning….IMG_4014IMG_4010

After a quick bite we headed out not knowing where we were going, but happy to simply explore. Happily this worked our really well because we stumbled across a wonderful town about 50km away – Bad Dürkheim – spa town with a rather unusual method of producing a seaside climate using a salination plant built in around 1860.  This enormous structure is what captured our attention….

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The salt water is fed by a pump to the top of the building where it trickles down through blackthorn twigs and the wind passing through creates what is believed to be a very healthy atmosphere. A truly fascinating place and one that is highly recommended if you’re ever in the area.

They also have the most imaginative water playground ever!  Here’s hubby having a lovely time testing the equipment…

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If this town wasn’t lovely enough already, it completely won us over because it is literally surrounded by and interwoven with vineyards – the winemaker in me was jumping for joy, and the wine drinker in hubby was ecstatic!

You are positively encouraged to walk around the paths through the vines and try out the ‘neue wein’ which is a speciality in the German wine lands….a partially fermented grape juice with sparkle.  We purchased a 3 litre jug of it and hubby has been savouring it ever since!

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IMG_4022…and their other claim to fame – the largest wine barrel in the world!  Take a closer look and you will see how many litres it can hold – although it was never used as a wine barrel, but rather as a restaurant from the outset.

 

 

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I have just spent a very happy three day bank holiday weekend like this….

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Who knew that I would find a new skill as a digger operator! What a sight it must have been seeing a woman get out if a digger and transfer to a wheelchair; now that would have been worth a picture!
The building site that is our ‘garden’ needed some extensive work in order to allow me access in my wheelchair and although the house needs our full-time attention we decided that me getting into the garden this summer was a priority because I need to care for the 15 espalier fruit trees I was given for my fiftieth birthday the year before last.
The trees have so far survived in pots but it was time to get them into the ground but before this could happen we had to clear the ground of old foundations, building rubble and the wild garden that had taken root over three years.
I loved the wild garden but it had to be sacrificed if we had any chance of flattening the ground to accommodate the paths hubby is going to build around the perimeter of the garden to allow me a clear route to tend the trees.
All this heavy work required the services of some heavy machinery – hence the digger. It made sense for me to be the operator as it is all hand controls and with a little help I moved from my wheelchair into the cab and stayed there most of the day. I had THE MOST FUN in years – I could actually do something really useful and helpful for the first time in a long time and it was an incredible feeling!!!
By the end of the three days we had a mountain of reusable stone that used to form part of the demolished kitchen block from the pub days, a nice flatish ground for seeding with grass and wild flowers and fifteen holes for my trees to be planted into.

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This weekend we will install the post and wires and the trees can then be attached into their new permanent home – extremely exciting time.

Come on summer!

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In February we took a trip down to London for our daughters birthday and as always, we never pass up the opportunity to visit somewhere new;  this time round it was Greenwich and the Thames Barrier.

If you don’t already know, this landmark is what protects the city from the high tides of the Thames River.  It is a beautiful piece of engineering and I can highly recommend a visit to it when you are in the area.  There is also a walk all the way along the Thames from the barrier through the city which in nice weather I would definitely try – it is a long but very interesting walk and if you want to do this yourself make sure you go onto the Thames Barrier website to check the maintenance times because when they are running tests the entrance gate to the pathway (at this point) are closed for a few hours.  I doubt if this is wheelchair friendly all the way, but I would love to give it a try one day.

We went on a day that the tea room and visitor centre is usually closed but was open because of the school holidays.  They serve a good cup of tea and a small selection of snacks and you can see some footage of the building of the barrier which I found very interesting.

Our challenge for the day was finding the elevator out of operation but I am fortunate to have a Trekinetic K2 and the flight of low stairs was a breeze with help from hubby.  I would suggest if you cannot negotiate stairs then you ring ahead to make sure the lift/elevator is operating.  You will also find a flight of stairs down to the walkway – this is apparently because they cannot have a slope as this area would be susceptible to flooding if the river rose too high.  You can however wheel along the top path and still get amazing views of the river and the city.

This is a great place to get really interesting photographs and we had a thoroughly good morning out.

Be warned it can be very chilly down by the river so I would suggest wrapping up warmly.

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After fighting our way across London and eventually finding a parking (on a double yellow line with my blue badge permit), we arrived at the venue.  My heart sank when the first thing I noticed was the stairs! It took a while for the doormen to find out how I could get into the building but eventually we got directed to the freight elevator around the side – a not so auspicious start to the day but I was trying to stay positive and really needed a coffee by this point.

This will not be the first, or last, trip I make in a freight elevator to get into a building but in this case it was at least light, airy and clean.

First things first, coffee, free samples and a quick pose for the blog….

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Once inside access was good and ramps had been provided between the two sections of the old brewery.

Before we left we hunted down the toilets and wow, was I pleasantly surprised!  I think the disabled toilets are definitely a new addition as they don’t even have signs on the doors yet but they were beautifully appointed with black and white tiles – an absolute pleasure.  Thank you Old Truman Brewery, Brick Lane, London.

A few hours later, rather a few too many coffees later and some interesting contacts made, we set off on the long journey home.  Lancashire to London and back in a day – a good day’s work and a special treat out with the hubby.

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Up at 5am today so we can set out early for the London Coffee Festival – and I really am going to need coffee today having not slept more than a few hours! Pants!!!

 

 

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Not really, but as close as I am going to get for a long time! This last week we visited our beautiful family in their new home near Greenwich (England). It seemed silly to go all that way and NOT make a visit to the Cutty Sark.
The last visit here was back in 1989 when our son was only 2 years old – oh boy, time does fly!

In between the last visit and this one, much has happened to the old girl – a massive fire broke out during the restoration project and it was closed for quite a while whilst it underwent major restoration and improvements to the attraction; and improved it has! An amazing job which now makes this a very worthwhile visit for anyone in a wheelchair – and not many vessels are able to boast such amazing accessibility – so cheers to the team for a job very well done.
One of the cargo hatches has been converted to house a lift (elevator) and I was able to go to all the different levels and then onto the deck. I cannot recommend this more highly as a day out because of the well thought out and laid out plans – especially considering that it is a boat and not the easiest environment to get around.

We ended our trip with a most welcome tin cup of tea and cake in the restaurant below ground and under the keel of the ship; a lovely end to our visit.

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Having not been very well recently has affected my usual get-up-and-go (and my blogging apparently!).  In order to get away, even if it was just for 2 days, we headed off with the family to try a little camping.  It has been so long since we went away and back then we had a huge motorhome which is now a thing of the past.  The aim of the weekend trip was to see how we managed with a tent and me in a wheelchair.  The campsite we found was absolutely beautiful and so peaceful.  It had just the right amount of facilities with a couple of toilets and showers and a little cleaning area.  Only 10 tents allowed which made it peaceful and quiet (until our grandsons arrived that is!) – just what we needed.

My Trekinetic K2 was ideally suited to this location as it was quite hilly and the toilets were over the grass and up a stone driveway.  No problem as hubby provided the necessary propulsion because of the injury to my shoulder.

On the Saturday afternoon we took the family down to the little stream (or beck as it is called in Cumbria) along the farm ‘roads’.  Going downhill is always fun, but coming back uphill is a much bigger challenge.  Now for the confession – on this trip, the pictures of me are a little staged because coming down the hill I managed pretty well with some assistance but I needed both hubby and my daughter to give me a push back up again!!  I was quite useful though in shouting warnings of any impending dung heaps which they tried valiantly to avoid – not always successfully. Oh well! what else can you expect when out bundu bashing and enjoying the countryside.

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And by the way, how come I always seem to have a child hitching a free ride??

Camping proved to be wonderful in the great weather; I think we had better try it a few more times before we decide if we can camp around Canada though.  I must say though that I think without the Trekinetic K2 a lot of campsites would be much more difficult.  Now all we need is to find a more comfortable bed and I think I could do this more often.

Definitely a worthwhile weekend experience; and here’s to many more happy camping holidays!

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It was a holiday here in the UK on Monday and we went out for the day with a couple of great friends.  We had a lot of choice but decided on Saltaire in West Yorkshire because I have just finished reading an amazing book on the cotton mills in Lancashire and wanted to see this World Heritage Site first hand.  It turned out to be a wonderful day and seeing the mill buildings was amazing and worth the trip.

As always when I am out and about I like to ‘check out’ the facilities and report back in case you ever land up in the same place and on this occasion I was not disappointed because it turned out to be the BIGGEST disabled toilet I have EVER been into!  You can definitely swing the proverbial cat around in here; in fact, you could host a large party in this toilet – it was clean as well which is always a great plus point for me!  No problems at all turning around in my wheelchair; how often have I got stuck on the basin or a dustbin and had to spend ages manoeuvring around and eventually having to back out of the room at the same time trying to open the door – you know what I’m talking about because no doubt it has happened to you too!

Seriously, this picture cannot do it any justice because I have taken it from the corner of the room as far back as possible and cannot even get half of the room into the picture….

 

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See how small the basin and toilet are in comparison to the window!  This is a typical huge window in a cotton mill and I am pleased that these buildings are protected and cannot have them replaced with those dreadful modern plastic units.

I can definitely recommend spending a penny here! 🙂

 

 

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Looking for a place to take the family for a day out involves a fair bit of planning but we knew we wanted to visit one of the National Trust properties near us – but which one?  Looking through the literature it was obvious we had a winner when we found out that Speke Hall has created a maze since our last visit – woohoo!!  A definite hit with the whole family plus the grounds and house are amazing and if you like aeroplanes, then you are in for a treat because it is right next to John Lennon Airport in Liverpool.

It is easy to get to, has great parking, a nice little tea room and plenty to see and do for all ages.  On this occasion we did not go into the house because we had all the grandchildren in prams and it would have been a tad difficult controlling the rather excited youngsters.  No, the outdoors seemed best, BUT, the weather was definitely not playing ball 😦 .  The first hour or two were spent having hot drinks in the tea room and then a picnic under the lovely big umbrellas in the courtyard.  A great spot, but we would have preferred a sunny, grassy embankment!  Not to be deterred, the girls took the two older children off to the maze – pouring rain and all.  Umbrellas at the ready they negotiated their way around amid much hilarity and squeals of delight.  Here they are victorious at the end of the trail – a little damp!

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Following our lovely picnic lunch and the eventual end to the downpour, next came some serious puddle jumping – boy do I wish we had brought those wellies with!

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The Trust provides a handy golf caddy to take visitors to the house if you need and I noticed that this is equipped with a ramp if you are in a wheelchair.  We walked as the weather had done a full 360 degrees and was beautifully sunny.  The children had an incredible time with the equipment provided by the National Trust to help little explorers…..

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This house and gardens are a definite must and accessibility is really good and the pathways well maintained and easy to get around.   A most successful day out – give it a try, I highly recommend it.

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Having five grandchildren who regularly go out and about with us has meant that I needed to be inventive to find the best possible transportation methods without losing the use of my hands to push myself around. I am a little independent and prefer pushing myself whenever I can so a number of options have presented themselves over the last couple of years.

Firstly, I made a couple of ring slings which are amazing when baby is really little as they can lie down all cozy. Secondly, as they got a bit more head control my Cath Kidston messenger-style handbag was perfect and they were neatly tucked into the bag together with all my other bits and bobs – this one is very popular with passersby and elicits many smiles for ‘baby-in-the-bag’. Thirdly and ad hoc when I cannot find the sling is a towel or easily accessible piece of fabric simply wrapped and tied around me and baby – only good for around the house really. And finally, but my favourite is the fabric baby sling/wrap which I made recently and can be used with baby facing towards you, away from you or on your back. This is really secure and comfortable because of the wide straps across your back which distributes the babies weight really nicely; and best of all – it frees your hands to keep mobile and other important tasks – like making a cup of coffee after a day out shopping!

Here we have one beautiful baby being sported around using the front-facing technique – a great option as they get a bit older and more curious about their surroundings…..

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We had an amazing day out in the beautiful British summer weather today at the British Food Festival at Walton Hall in Warrington. When we realised that it was being held in a park of some sort we swapped my slick indoor tyres for the knobbly outdoor ones in case the terrain was a bit challenging – a good call because the trip from the grass field was a little muddy and bumpy.

I cannot abide big crowds because being lower down than most people makes you feel even more hemmed in (probably what children feel like) and the incredible weather brought people out in droves; not a big surprise when you combine, good weather, good food and good beverages all n one place!

On the positive side for me was another unexpected benefit of my Trekinetic K-2 – the umbrella! Not only did it provide wonderful respite from the rays for our newest granddaughter and I, but it acts as an amazing privacy and perimeter barrier – we did not get jostled or bumped at all because people kept an awed and respectful distance – brilliant!

Another great reason to buy a K-2 😄

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Can you boast as many means of transport in one day as we have?

Walk – from the hotel in Venice to the water bus station,

Water bus – from Venice Madonna dell’ Orto to Venice’s Marco Polo airport,

Walk – from the quayside to the airport departures,

Aeroplane – from Venice to Heathrow,

Automobile – from Heathrow terminal 5 to Uxbridge station,

Underground on Metropolitan line – Uxbridge to Wembley Park,

Underground on Jubilee line – Wembley Park to Waterloo,

Walk – from Waterloo underground to Waterloo East station,

Train – from Waterloo East to New Beckenham,

Dinner with the family,

Train – from New Beckenham to Waterloo East,

Walk – Waterloo East to Waterloo,

Underground on Northern line – Waterloo to High Barnet,

Walk – High Barnet station to Barnet,

CRASH into bed!!!

I would love to work out how far we have been in one day….

 

 

 

 

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Our Olympic adventure started with days, and days on the internet and phone trying to get some tickets! I must say that it was definitely worth the effort because we eventually headed off to London for theday to visit the Olympic park followed by the afternoon session in Greenwich Park to watch the equestrian events. An amazing day out and as an event organiser and project manager I was very impressed by the way it was all handled.

    

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We recently attended an architectural fare in Cheshire where I came across this beauty. I don’t think it was a wheelchair but rather a motorised bicycle of some sort. I’ll have to let Mike at Trekinetic know that this old antique sported a hand-cycle mechanism and an amazing set of headlights which would be pretty impressive during the approaching dark winter nights!

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It certainly made me smile and together with my ultra modern K2 we had a lot of curious onlookers as well.

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It is a rare day that comes along, captures your heart and burrows deep in your soul – well, today was such a day.

My wonderful, amazing friends arranged a day out to the projects run by Northfield Methodist church in the fairly new township of Etwatwa east of Benoni.
I was not sure what to expect but it was a truly inspiring and uplifting experience – proof positive of the amazing power of the love of Jesus working through people to improve the lives of those less fortunate than themselves.
The South African people have an incredible spirit and despite many hardships should be an inspiration to everyone because of their love of life – here you are greeted with a beaming smile and many different handshakes.
The people in the church and these projects work tirelessly and have created an environment where the young are nurtured, the lost find a place of refuge, the sick find comfort in their time of need and every single one of them is grateful for the little they have – a truly humbling experience.

We stopped at a real African shop and were bought freshly baked fatcakes (vetkoek in Afrikaans) which we ate with burning fingers because they were too delicious to leave to cool down. We met inspirational people that work and run the John Wesley Centre. We watched the littlest children in a marimba band. We observed teachers in lessons for all the little ones they care for while their parents work to give them a better future. We walked around the newly built pre-school donated by one kind individual and built by local labour. I gave rides to a couple of children on my much admired Trekinetic K2 wheelchair and we ended our tour with tea and more fatcakes with Thoko, a new hero in my life, who manages the centre.

I believe it should be each and every persons responsibility to spend even the shortest amount of time in a place like this – here you will really learn about the beautiful people of this world – and learn to truly appreciate how fortunate we are.

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We headed off to do a little shopping and much visiting with our wonderful friends today. They suggested we try out the new Gautrain that was built in time for the soccer world cup and we happily agreed after the glowing reports it has received, but this is a story for another time.

Heading into the mall from the station is quite an incline and still not being at full strength myself, the two Mark’s with us lent a hand by pushing, one on each handlebar – this is really the life because we moved along at a very hasty rate of knots which I suggested was like Mk1 and Mk2 – pretty handy actually because now when I want to ask one of the Mark’s a question, I can ask for Mark1 or Mark2 and they know who it is addressed to.

Now, how do I arrange to get Mk2 over to England more often to make use of both of their outboard motor skills on tricky outings?

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