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Two firsts in one day!

Trekinetic K2 freedom – priceless!

Swiss army wife...

My second first of the day.
1st first was a trip by myself in my wheelchair to the local Costa coffee near my house along a never before used path 💪🏼😁. A treat of a flat white with coconut milk at the end and oh boy it was so worth it.
Then in my 2nd first, is this Christmas quilt for Project Linus in Wigan. So amazing that we are going to attempt to gift every child in the local hospital with a quilt on Christmas Day.
What a blessing to be a blessing to others. 💖💖
@project.linus.official @projectlinuswigan #projectlinuswigan #firstlinusquilt #sewityourself #heskethemporiumhandmade #heskethemporium #sewingforothers @costacoffee via Instagram https://ift.tt/2R2Fb98

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Anywhere that has such a joyous manifesto is somewhere you need to visit. The Bluestone resort delivers copious quantities of fun and opportunities for families making beautiful memories.

Swimming, lazy river ride, waves, hot tubs and huge water slides… Blue Lagoon has it all for endless fun – and a bunch of tired ladies at the end! So well worth it.

@bluestonewales @trekinetic @marvellousmrsp @tootsiestalesuk #holidaysinwales #welshcabinholiday #cabinsinwales #heskethemporium #wp #bluestonefestivelights

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Source: Handmade update 11….

You may be wondering what this post has to do with Bundu Bashing, but read on to the end and you will see how one of the many uses we find for my wheelchair at home and how it helps with our winemaking. 🙂

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A small windfall….

My lovely friend Christine has a much larger and older apple tree in her garden than ours and each year she passes me a big bag of apples. Last year we made wine and a lot of apple sauce…..th…

Source: A small windfall….

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It has been too long….3 1/2 years too long in fact, since hubby and I have been on holiday. That is about to be rectified with a trip to Europe in search of rest, recuperation and hopefully a lot of sunshine. However, being a realist, and a British citizen, we understand well the vagaries of the weather so I am taking no chances that my Trekinetic K2 will get wet at some point on our route.

Having modified my mobility van into a camper, I didn’t want my wheelchair to take up precious space on the inside, so we purchased a Bak-Rak for it to go on the outside. A great plan for perennially sunny countries, but I was taking no chances with my mobility and therefore it needed a rain cover.

  
I was lucky enough to have found a bolt of ripstop fabric when I was last at Abakhan and brought it home with the intention of making an awning for the campervan, but it struck me that it was also the perfect material to make a cover for my wheelchair …. and that’s exactly what I did.

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It isn’t a tight fit because that would make it too difficult to get the cover closed, but it has the general shape. The cover is placed onto the Bak-Rak and my K2 is placed on top of it.  The wheels are clamped down to the base and then the zip is closed over the entire wheelchair.

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Time and travel alone will tell whether this is a good design or not, but hopefully it keeps my wheelchair dry and therefore my bum dry for the duration of our holiday 😄

 

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Any other wheelchair sewers out there? You may identify with these issues…..

Swiss army wife...

Being a sewer and in a wheelchair poses some unique challenges.  In a new series of (hopefully) quick and amusing posts I will attempt to list them – as they occur.  A method to vent off some steam sometimes when you are ready to scream at the annoyances.  Don’t get me wrong, most of the time I have come to terms with the imposed new order, but every now and again something happens to either make you laugh, mildly annoyed, and all the way through to simply mad!

…and talking about steam, here is todays anecdote…

Sitting at a good, healthy, comfortable distance under the ironing board – you build up a good head of steam to press those seams into submission and droplets of hot water that have formed under the ironing board drip in between your toes or onto your lap – VERY hot water!!!  If I wasn’t…

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A bite from life's apple

PLEASE HELP SAVE OUR BEES!!!

I cannot believe that it has been a year since we received our first bees and I wanted to remind people that bees are SUPER important to humans and we should be protecting and not destroying them.  A lack of knowledge of these little creatures sometimes makes people fearful, but please protect our bees or we may all die of starvation!

If you see a swarm please contact your local beekeepers association or someone who keeps bees and they will take the swarm away.  DO NOT call an exterminator as they will simply spray and destroy the swarm.  This site will also help you to identify whether they are bees, wasps or bumble bees who have moved into your bird box or under your eaves.

Here is how the swarm may look……

bee-swarmtrisha-marlow-swarm

…and you can read up about them in a previous post of mine here.

Here…

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My two beeks (hubby and son) and I have been doing a lot of research on beehives and decided that we wanted to go down the top-bar hive route. One of the main reasons is that this is the easiest hive to handle from a wheelchair and I really want to be involved once the pathways are laid and I can get to it a little more easily.
Another good thing is that they can be built for next to no money if you have a house with all sorts of material lying around.
We downloaded the plans from http://www.biobees.com and my beek boy’s spent a weekend upcycling old doors and shelves to make the main hive body.
A piece of glass from an unneeded door was turned into an observation window and other scrap pieces used to make the top bars.
A quick lick of sealer – only on the outside – and it was nearly ready.

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Next weekend they can add the legs at a good wheelchair friendly height and make a roof.

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Take a look at this great new social project…..

Swiss army wife...

A great and good morning to one and all! It is a glorious day here in Lancashire and I am making the most of my ‘sunshine high’ and getting a few bits and pieces done.  The most important of the day is to tell you all about our new social project – The Mending Bee.

I love to help others to get hooked onto making and crafting – any time that they say “ooh! can you make me one of those?”, I respond with a “No, but I can show you how to do it yourself”.  It may sound harsh, but a) I don’t have time to make for everyone that asks and b) I LOVE to empower others to become creative and make things even when they believe they are entirely without creativity.  It is incredibly fulfilling for both of us when they see that with a little time…

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After our first visit to Venice in September 2007, our second visit at the end of January 2013 was in marked contrast in both weather and crowds.  Our first visit coincided with the Regatta Historica and the second the week before Carnival (thank goodness)!

As a wheelchair user I hope this post gives a little assistance to other adventurous visitors to the islands.

Don’t:

.. expect to find many modified bridges without steps.

.. make fast plans – everything can change.  We asked before going into any of the attractions – some were not worth paying entrance to because accessibility was poor or non existent and lifts were out of order.

.. buy tickets for both yourself and your companion on the water buses because you pay but they are free.

.. buy a 24, 48 or 72 hour pass for the water buses.  It is cheaper at €1.30 a single to buy 8 or ten tickets each day.

.. Venice is not very big so if you can get someone to walk your intended route beforehand then do – they then know where you can and can’t go.

.. don’t assume the closest bus stop is the easiest – it may have more bridges to cross so an alternate route may be longer but easier.

.. think you are mad when you find yourself faced with a canal you were not expecting.  You are either lost (again) or you’ve just discovered the hard way that not all canals and streets are listed on the map!

Do:

.. visit Venice during the quieter months.  Visitors are fewer otherwise you will spend a lot of time staring at other peoples behinds!

.. be very flexible and expect things to change.

.. find out where the toilets are beforehand, mark them on a map and ask attendants at the toilets to unlock the gates to the disabled toilets.  The ones we used were wonderfully clean.

.. travel around on the water buses (Vaparetto), hopping off and on and exploring in small areas rather than trying to get from one area to another on foot because you WILL be hampered by bridges and steps.

.. print off a water bus route planner and use it to view Venice from the water.  The experience is worthwhile and provides endless photo opportunities.

.. in cooler weather take a blanket for your legs; it gets cold when you aren’t marching around – especially on the water buses.

.. avoid the dog mess – not all dog owners are considerate and you don’t want to be travelling around with that on your wheels all day!

.. keep an open mind and prepare to change your plans; that way you won’t stress and spoil your holiday when things don’t work out quite the way you intended after spending weeks planning by pouring over books, holiday brochures and internet sites.

And most of all ENJOY it!

Ciao

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Two vehicles in a row – the first time we have had to overtake another vehicle in the last 250 miles!

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I believe I may have overdone the breakfast – even though I didn’t eat the four pieces of French toast!

Back on the road and heading for Miles City and then sleeping overnight at Mount Rushmore.

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Food just arrived – do you think this is enough to see us through the morning?

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Jordanian breakfast?

Early rising this morning and it was worth it when we got to see the sun rise over Montana – beautiful!

After an hour and a half we came across a really remote town – Jordan. The only garage/general dealer/cafe in town serves a great breakfast menu. Everyone is incredibly friendly and helpful.
Now to try the vanilla coffee that everyone around here seem to wean on.

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Having been out for the remainder of our first day, I can promise you that these are three words that cannot be used in the same sentence.

All major roads use under-passes and not a single one has any facilities for wheelchair users. We found some ramps on top of the stairs which have been installed for prams! Some of these were just wide enough for my chair but the majority of the time they were too narrow. Anyway, what use was it being able to get down when you then need at least 2 Mr Universes to get you up the other side! To ensure my hubby did not suffer a heart episode in a foreign country, I had to tackle the stairs – slowly and painfully!

We definitely deserved a rest and not having access to any of the other coffee houses, it seemed safe to try McDonald’s for a latte. Refreshed and recovered from our earlier exertions, we headed off for the next round.

Innumerable subways, enormous granite sidewalks up and down and we eventually made it to the Kremlin and Red Square and it was definitely worth the effort! All the sights were amazing and especially St. Basil’s which is breathtaking and all the pictures cannot prepare you for it. The Kremlin is gargantuan and a beautiful piece of architecture.

Having faced what must have been the worst city trip we have ever done in my wheelchair, we managed the return journey without too much fuss.

Exhausted, dirty and parched, we collapsed into the hotel lounge and enjoyed a latte and cake as reward for surviving the Moscow endurance race!

Tomorrow we head for a market outside Moscow – wish us luck.

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Hastily driving past Gretna we head further north across the border.  Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing particular against Gretna Green but it never seemed to live up to my romantic ideal.  Let me explain – as a young teenager, I tried to read every Barbara Cartland book around – a next to impossible task as she managed to churn out at least one a week her entire life!  I am, as you can surmise, a hopeless and utter romantic.  I can’t help myself and luckily for me, I managed to find a real Prince Charming whom I made sure never got away.  Happily, we have just celebrated our 30th wedding anniversary and we are hoping for a minimum of another 30!  Anyway, getting back to Gretna Green – it seemed that at least half of the hero’s and heroine’s in the novels had to flee some evil guardian or other and elope to the closest Scottish town (Gretna) where a simple “I marry you” from both parties would make it legal and binding in Scottish law.  Needless to say, the first visit back in 1993 never lived up to my expectations and the coach loads of tourists paying over the odds for mass-produced tat, really disillusioned me and I have been back only once since then (just to check in case I had it wrong the first time round).

A few miles down the new M6 extension past Gretna and we quickly got bored looked at endless miles of pristine tarmac.  This is usually were we start getting into trouble and find ourselves down a country lane with cattle grids and angry-looking farmers who may or may not have a shotgun for stupid tourists who commonly get taken off the beaten track by well-meaning but optimistic satellite navigation systems.  This time proved no different from every other trip my hubby and I go on – it would hardly be any fun at all if we did not get stuck down a track with a belligerent cow or sheep staring us down for road space!  The dog walkers in the middle of the track and the SatNav telling us this was an ‘unnamed road’ should really have given us a clue, but we forged ahead anyway.  It turned out to be little more than a farm road which wended this way and that through some lovely scenery and eventually (five miles later is very far when you are in danger of flooding or grounding) ended up on the same road we had been on, only about 2 miles further on!  It was a lot of fun and after that we tried to stick to at least the minor B roads.

Many twists and turns later, we have arrived at the M80 Travelodge with enough time to spare for a lovely trip into Stirling for a walk around.  No trip to Stirling Castle this time as we have been quite a few times and although this is one of my favourite castles, we have never managed to get to the town itself.

Thanks to the kind people who own Costa Coffee, we have had a quick bite with coffee, posted my blog and are ready to head out again.

Enough banter for now, we have a map, compass and plenty to see….

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Well, think again. After a wonderful flurry of white today, I thought we would have the perfect opportunity to try out my K-2 in snowy conditions for the first time, but alas it was not to be as we had to put up the decorations and tidy for the big week ahead. We thought it would be fine as the forecast was for more snow and we could go out tomorrow and skid around the walk or something. Ha! It proceeded to pour down and as it beat against the conservatory roof, washed all the lovely soft fluffy stuff right down the road into mushy brown goo. That will teach me to put something off – and anyway, who ever listens to the weather report in England?

Who knows when it will snow again; with all this talk of global warming it could be centuries …..

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Not every holiday can have perfect weather and for late October, we were very fortunate, on day 10 we decided to go off to the Dordogne for a boat trip on the river.  Of course, you guessed it, of all days, this was when it decided to open up the heavens and pour down on us and our lovely trip down the river turned into a pizza and drinks at the local bar in La Roque Gageac.  As optimistic as I am, even I had to admit that the boat was not going anywhere that day.  Having come all this way, we couldn’t just turn around and go home so we headed for a little town close by that was highly recommended in the Dorling Kindersley guide to France. 

 Sarlat turned out to be one of the most beautiful towns I have ever been to and well worth a visit for all the incredible old buildings, shops and restaurants. 

While we were in Sarlat, we thought we would see if there were any Geocaches  in the vicinity without taking us too far off the beaten track.  Luckily for us someone had very kindly hidden a cache in the town itself and we had a wonderful time trying to translate the French instructions and then finding it and logging our visit in the book. 

Just take a look at this church entrance… I could not resist getting a picture of what has to be the largest door I have ever seen – no problem getting a wheelchair through this one!

So, what started out as a rather disappointing weather day, worked out rather well in the end….

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One week into our holiday and it was time for our son to return home.  We had to drop him at the airport in Bordeaux and thought that it was an ideal opportunity to also visit the Atlantic coast and the beaches.  We had our grandson with us and he had never seen proper waves and beaches before – Southport hardly compares when you grew up in Durban with some of the biggest waves in the world! 

According to the tour guides, this part of the French coast has the biggest dunes and wonderful beaches.  Now, most people in a wheelchair when they hear the words, large and dune, in the same sentence would have realised that this could be a challenge!  Not me, I was determined to go to the beach in France. 

The first place we stopped was Lacanau-Ocean but it was far too busy with a surfing competition in progress, so we headed further north to Carcans-Plage.   This area with it’s big beaches and large dunes reminded me of Formby and parking was really easy with large paths up the dunes to the beaches. 

Baby, picnic and all the other beach paraphernalia in hand, we headed to the top of the dune.  Having to stop every few steps for playing in the sand gave me time to rest on the long climb uphill.  Eventually we got to the top and looking down the very high dunes realised that there was an equally long slog down the other side – but without the path!!  Okay, I really should have turned back at this point, but having come this far was determined to get as close to the water as I could. 

We started out going forward with me pushing and hubby shoving for all he was worth.   The sand was dry and very fine and we sank as fast as we proceeded forward so we turned around and he dragged me down the steep slope.  Exhausted but thrilled to have my feet in the sand after so long, we unpacked everything and enjoyed the sun, sea, sand and picnic. 

After lunch I started to worry about how we were ever going to make it off the beach but one trip to return everything to the car and hubby was ready for the long hard uphill pull.  We were about half way up and thank goodness he had not had a heart attack from the exertion, when a crowd of local Frenchmen swarmed around us and proceeded to help drag me up the dune.  I laughed all the way whilst they chattered away in French and was really relieved to get to the top and onto firm ground.  I really wish I had been able to thank them with more than my big smile and a simple Merci. 

After washing the sand off the baby, chair and ourselves, we headed north towards the ferry to Royan.  What an incredible day and another tick in the box for things to do in a wheelchair.  I am so grateful for the help and support of those around me – they make the little dreams come true – thank you, merci….

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