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Archive for the ‘Wheelchair things’ 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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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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When left to its own devices, the Trekinetic K2 loves to be out in the wild camping. Here we see how well prepared and organised it’s campsite is. Enjoying a bit of German sunshine without human interference….IMG_4596

…..those precious moments when you’re not being pushed around!

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2nd Oct 2015

After one night in the previous campsite we moved onto Alte Saghmuhle in Sulzburg; only a couple of miles away in distance, but a million miles away in beauty and tranquility!  Saghmuhle means sawmill and this area is clearly BIG on timber.  The old sawmill wheels have been re-invented as water features on the site next to the main house….IMG_4276 IMG_4287 IMG_4293 IMG_4294

Our type of campsite is rural and we got this in spades….DSCN6417 DSCN6422 IMG_4313 IMG_4315

Amongst the magnificent trees and scenery of the South Black Forest, this campsite is deceptively large because so much of the terraced camping is hidden amongst a very old and established forest on terraces which are hidden from each other by vegetation.  This is our idea of paradise, and despite it being beautiful, remote and picturesque it still has all the facilities that we need with bathrooms, washrooms, laundry and electricity.  

Across the road, and where the majority of the sites are situated, is a very old Jewish cemetery set against the hillside in the forest.  I wasn’t able to go up these stairs, even my hubby puts his foot down at certain inclines, but hubby got some lovely pictures for me…DSCN6407 DSCN6413 IMG_4293

Next let’s talk about wood piles.  Not something many of you will get too excited by, but when your home has 3 working fireplaces (and 5 others to uncover) then you may begin to understand my wood pile envy!  Obviously in The Black Forest there is no shortage of wood for fires and wood piles are equally aplenty in back yards as well as farms, but here at Alte Saghmhule we have a pretty impressive woodpile by anyones standards…IMG_4321 IMG_4327

For me, forget all those other 5 star campsites with their swimming pools and restaurants, I would happily spend a few weeks here and tour the region, visit the vineyards, or sometimes just sit around the campsite.

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3rd Oct 2015

Today was unification day, and an official holiday in Germany so we were not entirely sure what to expect apart from being told that all the shops would be closed.  When we set out on our tour of the countryside, we never expected too much, but we got WAY more than we could have hoped for.

Firstly a lovely drive through the Black Forest.  Then off to Staufen for a walk about followed by a pitstop for cake and coffee whilst we watched the local races around the town.  Different distances and age groups participated, but generally most people got involved and we notice that the Germans are a very active nation and they start them very young which is admirable.IMG_4373 IMG_4385

From Staufen we headed off to the wine route near our campsite because they were having a Weinwandertag, or wine-route-meander today.  We had expected to amble into the village and see what was going on, but we were immediately caught up in the local excitement of wine, food and a bit of fun in the sun, and decided to join in.  Firstly hubby had a glass for the road accompanied by the local German band in full swing, and then we grabbed our map of the route and struck out for the vineyards.  IMG_4435

I will admit that it was very hard work, especially for hubby, as these vines like to grow on hilly ground and therefore the route was up and down and all around!  Thank goodness for my trusty Trekinetic K2 because otherwise this amazing activity would have been beyond us.  This may well be the first time any of these folks have seen the route completed by someone in a wheelchair…and almost definitely a first for Trekinetic….Thank you K2!

 IMG_4412 IMG_4414 IMG_4417  (a little horsey one just for RM) 🙂

This Weinwandertag is brilliantly organised each year by the Britzinger winery with very well stocked food and drinks stations along the way.  We opted for Rosenberg route 2 because it is apparently not quite as taxing as route 1 – I cannot compare them but boy am I glad we didn’t do more difficult one!!!

After a kilometre or so we stopped at the first station with tents, table and chairs and plenty of food and drink to be enjoyed before the next stage.  We forged on without stopping and after a wonderful walk through the vines we eventually arrived at the next station where we thoroughly enjoyed our refreshments.  We decided to skip out a number of the stations because we had started so late in the day and really wanted to be back to enjoy some of the food, wine and music on offer at the Britzinger winery.  The next stage was a bit of a killer, and hubby and I huffed and puffed up a number of very steep tracks and roads before getting back to the starting point.  Oh boy, that was a workout and after 6kms we definitely deserved that fat port roast roll and new wine.

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Seriously, this has to be one of the best days out you will ever enjoy.  If you are ever in Germany during early October, I cannot recommend it highly enough.

Satiated and tired we headed home to pack up our campsite ready to leave for the next stop on our journey…

Switzerland, you have a LOT to live up to!

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1st Oct 2015

A quick 60km north and we arrive in the city of Freiberg, and the old historical part of the city definitely doesn’t disappoint.

The Munster is set in a very large square and despite some scaffolding covering parts of the spire, it is magnificent….DSCN6346 DSCN6381 IMG_4255

Outside on the square and in the surrounding small streets are the most exquisite buildings which are grandly painted…..DSCN6341 DSCN6386 DSCN6391

…and the most historic looking McDonalds I may have ever seen….DSCN6388

In this city, even the gutter covers are beautiful…IMG_4268

This is definitely a city that should be visited because it isn’t just the Munster and town centre that are lovely, but the bridges along the waterways are each a work of art as well.  

My trusty steed, the Trekinetic K2, did an incredible job once again, and made short work of all the cobbled streets.

Back to Sulzburg for a bite of dinner.  The village has an Espetata restaurant which is amazing!  The food was simply superb and we may have to visit here again.IMG_4272

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1st Oct 2015

Today was meant to be our shopping in a big city day.  We don’t usually do this on our holidays as I detest shopping so much, but we did need a few bits and pieces and therefore agreed that we should head off towards the Rhine and do a bit of sightseeing, a boat trip and then a quick shopping trip.  

The plan was to go into Basel which is at the junction of three countries – Germany, Switzerland and France – and therefore should be of significant interest.  For whatever reason we had assumed Basel was in Germany – WRONG!  It is in Switzerland and we realised this as soon as the border crossing appeared on the motorway and a guard demanded 40 Euros for road taxes!  We had expected this as we were heading off to Gruyère in Switzerland in a few days anyway, but this was not the plan for today.  Luckily the road tax is for the entire year and we wouldn’t have to pay it again, but this place is huge, and industrial, and not what I had in mind so we turned around and headed back into Germany.

Fortune was on our side because the route back was via Wein am Rhein just inside the German border and this is when we stumbled across this….DSCN6274 DSCN6336

…the VitraHaus showrooms, factory and museum.  This site is an architect and designers heaven because it is full of iconic and famous architectural buildings and design pieces.  The current exhibit has just opened for Bauhaus and it seemed appropriate that whilst in Germany we should experience a bit of German design culture.  

My favourite building was completed in 2013 and designed by a famous Japanese architect firm that escapes me.  This is one of the VitraHaus production facilities and is housed in a round building beautifully clad in white glass fibre with 400mm internal concrete walls.  All of which reminds me of a super-charged water reservoir.  (and yes, that bunch of crazies rubbing up and touching the outside of the building are a group of architects and students 🙂 )DSCN6303 IMG_4231 IMG_4232

Inside the VitraHaus showrooms Mark thoroughly enjoyed testing out all of the Eames, Bauhaus and VitraHaus furniture….IMG_4246

….I know a certain Dave B who would be very envious of this place and all these designs!

…and then one of the amazing sales team offered to make us a Nespresso coffee….it would have been rude not to!DSCN6328 IMG_4248

A tour around the facility and the museum was a real treat, and we are very happy we stumbled across this little gem.

A 1950s French gas station…a first in ready assembled roadside gas stations that would lead to what we all see today on the motorways…

and a 1950s Detroit motor showroom in the brand new geodesic design.  A few of the interesting buildings around the site …DSCN6283DSCN6329

Next we needed something a little older and set our sights on Freiburg a little further north; perhaps here we will find some nice tourist sights and a bit of shopping too.

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We packed up fairly early this morning and headed out on the hunt for some castles, or schloss in German.

First we drove through our new village to see if it had a tourist information centre..it didn’t, but it does have quite a few pop-up wine bars during grape harvest, and everywhere are the loveliest Autumn displays (I definitely need to bring some of these pumpkins home!) IMG_4097

Our route took us through the heart of the German winelands, and along the way we stopped to admire the grapes and the skill of the grapes pickers…IMG_4103 IMG_4101DSCN6230

An added bonus was that this region is full of fruit trees as well! I could live here very, very happily!  On the road opposite the grapevines was a huge espaliered apple tree orchard….two of my favourite things next to each other. DSCN6232 DSCN6234DSCN6229

Heading back on the road we stumbled across a beautiful ruined castles and then the town of Badenweiler. To me, this is the German equivalent of Bath in England. Very wealthy and you come here to the spa and recuperate from whatever ails you. Apparently a great treatment is the imbibing of much Neue Wein…probably because after a few glasses of this new wine, you don’t remember what was wrong with you in the first place! IMG_4112 DSCN6254 DSCN6253

Time to head back to our new campsite in Sulzburg.  Kamping Alte Sägemühle is a beautiful little place with a water wheel, forests and camping under apple trees…IMG_4124 IMG_4128

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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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…and we’re off! 

Okay fellow Englishmen, you should all be thanking us for going to Europe for a few weeks to find some much needed, and scarce sun, because now that we have left it is going to be the most beautiful Autumn weather!  Typical!  We decided not to chance our first holiday in years to the flakey English weather and when we depart for Dover it is GLORIOUS outside. 

Enjoy it, and let’s hope for the same on the continent because we are now committed to our European adventure.

Happy travels and we’ll post again at our next wifi hotspot across the channel and on another continent.  

   

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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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It was a VERY busy couple of weeks and in our haste we didn’t manage to take many pictures of our progress, but here is what we did….

Boxes built by hubby…..

3 at the back of the van; 2 towards the front of the van and at the foot end of the bed, and another additional smaller box built because I realised the distance between the boxes on hubby’s side of the bed was far to wide and would collapse!

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Bed slats installed and held in place on top of the boxes using dowels and holes drilled through a few of the bed slats….

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The kitchen – my favourite part of the camper van – it holds all of the kitchen gear and a crate underneath contains all of the dry foods ….

mmmm, no picture, but I will add one while we are on holiday instead!

Roll up blinds custom-made to fit each window and held in place by hooks on some windows and magnets on others…..

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The mattresses were cut into various sizes and shapes to allow them to be used during the day as seating and then re-arranged to make a full mattress for sleeping.

I was very fortunate that a friend had given me a few rolls of upholstery fabric in exactly the right colour to go with the curtaining I had chosen from the stash in my sewing room.

Add in a matching tablecloth, table mats and flowers and you have a lovely English breakfast in the sun….

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Our first weekend test outing was a resounding success and apart from a couple of changes and additions we are very happy with the results.

Really looking forward to a proper holiday soon.

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This may not appear like such a big deal to most people, but today we picked the very first fruit, and ate it, from our little espalier orchard!
It is such an amazing feeling to taste fruit off trees that arrived as little single stems with bare roots. By reading and researching, we managed to find out enough to start the espalier process and now to see that our inexperience hasn’t killed all the lovely trees that we bought with my 50th birthday fund is priceless.

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Not big and numerous, but special nevertheless!

If after one year we get just a tiny crop, I am hopeful for much bigger and better in the years ahead.

So even if you are in a wheelchair, only have a tiny garden, you love fruit and trees, then I can highly recommend trying some espaliered trees. They may take a bit of work with training and pruning but it feels like such an achievement when you taste that first plum!

Thank you Victoria Plum 😊

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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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Michelle and her sister who have just launched their brand new website as a distributorship for Trekinetic.  I wish them all the best for a long and successful career making lives easier and more enjoyable for every new Trekinetic owner.

www.beyondtheboundarywheelchairs.com

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…it’s so French! Can anyone tell me why these are called French Doors? Well, whatever the answer it took a big leap for me to add any doors, French or otherwise, into our large open plan living space. The thing that clinched it was the amount of heat that leached out of the Assembly room (our lounge) even when the wood burning stove was belting out heat at 10kw. That equates to a LOT of wood every evening it was lit and it seemed the right thing to do. I was fortunate to find two sets of matching interior Georgian-style French doors and a single door online; that was £80 for 5 doors which is a bargain in door terms.

The first set have now been installed in the large opening to the kitchen. The two smaller arches have been framed, boarded and plastered and the other large opening was the first to be closed in about two years ago to allow the range cooker to be installed against it in the kitchen. This has made the Assembly room the first room in the downstairs to be enclosed for well over 100 years. The doors are big enough to open wide and allow easy wheelchair access and so far I have only driven into the door once – on day one!

It has certainly changed the look AND feel of the house and on a very positive note it is wonderfully cosy and warm even if the fire is not lit; a really big improvement helped by the restoration of the five sash windows – no more drafts!

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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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What a lovely surprise to come home to a bouquet of flowers – and a lovely one at that! It is a rare occasion that I receive flowers and my first reaction was that they must have been delivered to the wrong house; but no, checking the little card nestled amongst the foliage confirmed they were definitely mine. Ooh! the mystery – it isn’t my birthday, an anniversary and I have been sick, but not THAT sick.

Reading my message, I was very touched….

Dear M, Thank you so much for helping to inspire others to join the revolution via your fascinating blog. All the best for summer. Kind regards. Mike and everyone at Trekinetic.

Honestly, I always thought that if my blog could inspire even one person to be brave and go out and be more independent in their wheelchair it would have served its purpose – and it seems it has! I am thrilled to bits.

Thank you Mike and team for the lovely gesture but really, it should be me sending you flowers for the many, many hours of enjoyment and freedom my wonderful Trekinetic K-2 has given me!

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As we board our British Airways flight to Heathrow, I say a quick prayer for my wheelchairs safe arrival; it is a little ritual we go through every time we fly. This is the first time flying with BA and past experience with a number of other airlines does not instil me with confidence; especially when we look out the window and see how they handle the other baggage and pushchairs that get loaded from the door of the plane.
If they handle my chair the way they drive cars and boats you’ll know why I am concerned.

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