Feeds:
Posts
Comments

…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

IMG_4084

 

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

IMG_4079
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.

IMG_4092

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.

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…

IMG_4510.JPG

…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!

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….

DSCN6185 DSCN6193

 

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…

IMG_4027 IMG_4025

 

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!

DSCN6174 DSCN6197

 

 

 

 

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.

 

 

…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.  

   

Pre holiday panic!

This was me….

 At that moment when you’ve planned your first holiday for nearly 5 years,  and 2 days beforehand you go to fetch your passport out of the safe…..and the key gets stuck and won’t go in or out!!!! 

This is no ordinary safe according to the safe specialist and can withstand a bomb blast and can’t be opened without a key! 😱 

Half an hour of panic and jiggling, me and the key, and I had to ring the safe specialist and explain the dilemma….holiday in 2 days, need passport, safe stuck.  While I was waiting for him to connect, I said a prayer, and in that instant it moved and then opened – thank you! 

Safe man ‘s advice “whatever you do don’t lock it until I get there”. 

Oh well, the safe may be open, but I can go exchange money….and we are GOING ON HOLIDAY 😄☀️☀️☀️

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.

IMG_1161

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

IMG_1167 IMG_1166 IMG_1168

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

IMG_1162

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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 😄

 

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!

IMG_3910

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

IMG_3907

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…..

IMG_3914

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….

IMG_3918

IMG_3917

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.

We used to own a rather large motorhome, When we moved to our new home, it was the one thing that had to be sacrificed due to the enormous ongoing costs, but it is something that I have missed so much over the last four years.

I love to be out and about touring, but with my aching bones this is easier said than done and tenting has not proven to be an option with cold floors, hard surfaces, getting to the ground and back up, and rain…..nightmarish!  Something else had to done.

Being a constant thinker, it struck me a few months ago that when we had bought our Mercedes van for my wheelchair, I had mentioned to hubby that one day we should convert it into a camper van – after all we already owned it and the outlay could be minimal if we did the work ourselves.  Life happened and it wasn’t until more than a year later (and summer arriving) that I remembered my idea and began to seriously consider that this was the best and cheapest way for us to go camping but without completely roughing it.  Hubby was oddly reluctant at first, but with lots of planning on SketchUp he slowly warmed to the idea,

IMG_0605

Our aim was to not make any permanent changes to the van, but rather to create units that would fit into the van when we wanted to go camping and be easily removed on our return.  This is what I came up with….

Screen Shot 2015-09-09 at 21.33.29

Not the best drawing, but it gave us the dimensions and a good idea of how it would all fit together.  The design was based on small wooden boxes – just like those we made for our wine racks in the cellar (but without the Illy tins for the bottles!); if you want to see these you can find a blog post about it here)

Each wooden box was sized so that it would fit an inner box or crate from Ikea – the DRÖNA, or similar.  These would form the base of the bed and hold all the camping gear.  In addition I wanted a free-standing kitchen which could stay inside the van or be removed and stored in the tent during longer camping trips.  The HINDÖ outdoor cabinet was just what I wanted and fit into the space behind the passenger seat, and would hold all of the kitchen paraphernalia.

Then came the bed.  It needed to be long enough for my 6’2″ hubby to lie full length and be comfortable for me to sit or lie down when I needed to rest.  Moving the boxes around allowed us to reconfigure the layout and insert a slatted mattress base which we already had at home.  Top this off with two mattresses which we had for guests (sorry guests, we will replace them), and you have a bed….one side 200cm long and my side 160cm long – each just the right length for hubby and I.

Lastly, curtains and cushions for the interior would be custom-made by myself; so hubby and I measured up the windows and made templates to get the shapes right.

The wheelchair would be transported on our newly purchased Base-Rak from Bak-Rak so that it didn’t take up any space inside the van.. a bit nerve-racking having my chair on the back of the van rather than on the inside, but I am sure I will be happier when we have done it once or twice!

All that was left to do was buy the supplies….

2 sheets of 18mm plywood, the inner boxes and the kitchen cupboard.  I already had the material for the curtains and the upholstery for the cushions.

We had a plan and now we needed to get stuck in because we only had 2 weeks until our planned test trip.

In the next episode we will show you what we built and hopefully a few holiday pictures….if it all goes well!

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…

View original post 27 more words

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…

View original post 109 more words

Thanks Ted!

I found this rather interesting and thought provoking talk on TED.com.

People often ask me why I am in a wheelchair….the brave ones that is.  Having to describe how my chronic pain from Small Fibre Neuropathy affects me can be difficult because I spend a LOT of time trying to NOT think about it – because thinking about it magnifies the pain, so I practice relaxation and positive thinking techniques and keeping VERY busy – nothing else works!

Here Doctor Elliot Krane, a Pediatric anesthesiologist, gives some small insight into the problems I face.  I don’t publish this for sympathy, but rather for education; after all, who has ever heard of my condition and who of you is actually brave enough to ask the difficult questions?

Watch him here….http://www.ted.com/talks/elliot_krane_the_mystery_of_chronic_pain

Have car, can travel…..

Not much wheeling has been going on around here of late but that is hopefully all about to change.

February 1st was my goal to start pushing myself around in my wheelchair again.  I’m not talking about long trips to the store or bundu bashing through the countryside; but rather small trips up and down the passage or kitchen at home – just to get things moving – grease the wheels so to speak!

The physiotherapy exercises have been really good and I am starting to get some use of the arm back.  I dread the thought of being dependant on a motorised wheelchair for too long – after all, the longer that goes on the more comfortable I’ll get with it – NOT a good thing.

On the other hand, while I continue to exercise, I have eventually managed to get driving again – YIPPEE!!  Being able to get into the car and drive somewhere by myself is such a luxury and strangely joyous 🙂

My trusty steed…..

IMG_0605

…a Mercedes Vito 111 cdi – perhaps not the most glamorous means of transportaion, but I absolutely LOVE this car/van.  It has 8 seats and can fit my wheelchair into the back using the ramp.  The blacked out windows are a source of amusement for the younger generation who tell me it is my drugmobile or a WIP – whatever that is?????

Nevertheless, it is perfect for me and yesterday was a real treat because I went to town on my own for the first time in months and months.  It may not sound very glamorous to most people, but if you have ever been without for a while you may understand.

Being able to drive is one thing, but getting out of the vehicle is another – and not one I can do on my own; just yet.  So the only places I can go are where someone is with me, or waiting for me, or …… drive thru’s – yes, takeaways are the ONLY place in England that have drive thru’s, therefore my first port of call was a coffee, ordered through the car window, driven to a quiet spot and drunk in perfect contentment in my vehicle – by myself! 🙂

Small things!

I assume you know that saying, but if you don’t, it expresses a view that whatever it is that is wanted would be worth giving an arm and a leg for.  Now I know it is one of those nonsensical sayings that is simply trying to convey just how much something is worth, but I can only imagine the phrase was coined by someone with two perfectly functioning arms and legs! 🙂

In my case the two legs are present and accounted for but don’t work properly; and until last week the arms were reasonably good too – that is until my shoulder surgery last week and suddenly I didn’t have the use of one of the arms at all!  This got me thinking, as I do about strange stuff sometimes, if I was in some sort of deadly situation and I was asked (imagine big guy dressed in black, with eye patch)  “Do you want to lose the arm or the leg?”, how would I respond?  Having now got limited use of my arm back again I would have to reply “The leg”! It may seem drastic but seriously when you think about it what do the two sets of limbs actually do for you?

The legs get you from point A to B, either at a walking pace or a running pace and sometimes with a bit of exercise or dancing in between.  Your arms on the other hand seem to do everything else….take me trying to roll over in bed, or sit up in bed, or brush my hair (which is long and requires two hands to put in a ponytail, and you should see how terrible I have looked all week!), grasp and open a bottle (which rather amusingly I did land up opening with my feet at one point so you see how difficult this argument can become), take a pill out of those dreadful ‘childproof’ foils, push a wheelchair with one arm (you tend to go round in circles a bit!)….the list is endless, but I think you begin to see my dilemma.

I must say, the one thing this has highlighted for me is that I really do need to stick with the physiotherapy exercises and get this shoulder back to normal – sooner, rather than later!

So this week I am truly grateful…..for both my legs and my arms….and I ain’t never giving them up to the baddy!!!

 

There have been very few wheelchair adventures recently because of my shoulder injury…and adventures to me are when I participate in the propelling rather than being pushed around (which I am never happy about)!
Monday, and my surgery date arrived…mixed feelings of relief to have it over with and nervousness about being even more incapacitated.
Tuesday, and back home in my own bed, drugged up to the eyeballs and the nerve blocker still keeping me reasonably comfortable. Not wasting any time, I begin the exercises given me by the physiotherapist. You do need to have a fair bit of determination to start doing exercises this soon after surgery but I know how important it is for my recovery and I’m determined to do this right.
Wednesday, and the nerve block has worn off and I have removed the sling. Now you need even more determination to do those exercises, but the regular drug regime is helping.
Thursday, and the Physio exercises are coming along nicely. Drugs make me feel weird and my brain is rather fuzzy but I’m determined to do a bit more and I’ve just discovered crochet may be a good next exercise. Being right-handed helps as I can hold my work in my left hand and work away very nicely with my uninjured arm …. so that’s my therapy for today…. make some more dishcloths….

IMG_0579
….keep up the exercises, rest and repeat!

Being on the slightly smaller side, 155cm or 5ft1 to be closer to the truth, getting onto our huge four poster bed with its very high base has always been a stretch (excuse the double entendre!).  I had the bed designed and built-in my fitter day when this posed no challenges at all but since being in a wheelchair it has made getting into bed less than ideal but manageable.  However, this all changed when our new mattress arrived this week.  It was about time we invested in a new one because the old one was purchased back in 1994!! Perhaps a little past its prime, but what a mattress that was – cost a lot at the time, but being very firm foam and on a solid base, made it the most comfortable bed for years…until only a few months ago in fact.  The majority of the wear can be squarely placed at the door of my need to be in bed for days at a time and any lesser mattress would have shouted time-out a long, long time ago!

Getting back to the issue with the new mattress…it seems that since buying our old faithful back in the 1990s, mattresses have increased in height too and when placed onto our already statuesque bed it immediately became apparent that I could definitely NOT scale those heights!  Mmmm, just a little problematic because getting in needs a pull from hubby and getting out is no more elegant and I either drop off the side or have to roll over and slither off on my belly – not a pretty sight.  Rescue came today in the form of our son who built me a little wooden box which has made it so easy ….. why didn’t I ask for a box years ago?????

I imagine the grandchildren will also enjoy being able to step up and join me for our cuddles 🙂  One happy lady, right here!

IMG_0342.JPG

IMG_0341.JPG

IMG_0340.JPG

It occurred to me whilst chatting to someone recently that the price of disabled products seem unfairly high considering their necessity to some people.  Take for example a simple vinyl sign for my car window to politely request people leave sufficient space for my wheelchair ramp – £7; or a roof box a friend recently purchased for his wheelchair (which is constantly breaking down) – £5000!; or a wheelchair ramp which comprises a bit of aluminium, steel safety rope and a small motor – £3000; and the motorised indoor office chair which allows me access to cupboards and printers – £6.500!

This was the dilemma we faced when deciding whether to buy my Trekinetic K2 a few years ago.  On paper the price was high – not for this particular chair because most chairs with similar features will cost this or more – but when we sat and considered the freedom this remarkable wheelchair would provide…. ‘legs’ to get to places other wheelchairs can’t, then the price becomes far less significant.  Mind you, I only really realised how much it was worth once I had experienced the seaside, the river, the mountain, the lake and all sorts of other adventures for the first time in five years.

So despite the fact that mobility products are probably over priced, it depends on how much you value your freedom to explore.  I could stay in a cheap, ugly, old-fashioned wheelchair which works fine in the mall or any other smooth surfaced area, but these will definitely NOT offer me the adventures I have enjoyed over the years.

And then you get some amazing people out there who work tirelessly to make this sort of freedom possible for someone who does not have the financial means….

Take for example this amazing tweet that landed up on my desktop thanks to Bear Grylls and the Scout movement….

https://twitter.com/hashtag/scoutingforall?src=hash

Screen Shot 2014-10-23 at 10.30.37

Thanks to their amazing work this little boy will get to be part of a team and not be left out – priceless I’d say!

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.

IMG_0537-1.JPG
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 😊

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.

20140729-102010 pm-80410780.jpg

20140729-102012 pm-80412261.jpg

20140729-102011 pm-80411539.jpg</a

20140729-102010 pm-80410064.jpg

20140729-102009 pm-80409230.jpg

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

I am so excited because my first espaliered fruit tree is eventually in the ground after two years. It has been such hard work, with plenty more to come but the sight of this one and the other three we managed to plant on the weekend is hopefully enough to continue motivating us to complete the project!

Our evenings are so busy but we will try fit in some more planting if the weather behaves 😁. Once the trees are in the difficult job of laying a pathway around the garden so I can get around to tend my trees will begin – that is a LOT of garden path but without it I would need a garden 4X4 wheelchair; especially with all the rain we get!

Amazing how happy these trees make me 😄😄😄

20140603-084536 am-31536376.jpg

20140603-084535 am-31535553.jpg

20140603-084537 am-31537389.jpg

20140603-084534 am-31534815.jpg

20140603-084533 am-31533829.jpg

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

20140528-080656 am-29216724.jpg
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.

20140528-082422 am-30262410.jpg

20140528-082418 am-30258684.jpg

20140528-082421 am-30261312.jpg

20140528-082419 am-30259832.jpg
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!

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.

DSCN4874 DSCN4873 DSCN4870 DSCN4853 DSCN4836

DSCN4834

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….

20140404-061514 am.jpg

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.

20140404-061447 am.jpg

20140404-061506 am.jpg

 

20140404-061544 am.jpg

Coffee please!

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!!!

 

 

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

k2-300x257

Under the sea?

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.

20140224-051742 pm.jpg

Ooh la la….

…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!

20140219-041917 pm.jpg

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.

DSCN3861   DSCN3855

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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!

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….

 

IMG_2336

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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! 🙂

 

 

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…

View original post 266 more words

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!

DSCN3505

DSCN3507

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!

DSCN3536

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…..

DSCN3577

DSCN3571

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.

DSCN3599

%d bloggers like this: