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Posts Tagged ‘k-2’

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

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

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

The head….

And the tail of the Welsh dragon…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2 children,

2 cars,

1 wheelchair,

1 walking frame,

3 walking sticks,

and a smattering of health and disability issues.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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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Emergency, emergency….

It feels like I have had a part of me removed – seriously! I had to drop my K-2 off at the manufacturers today – it is a bit like losing a limb – at least I had my spare wheelchair as a back up. It has been so long since I used it that I am going to have to be really careful not to tip backwards.

In case you are too busy (or lazy) to go back and check my previous posts, a series of unfortunate events led to my wheelchair being rather badly crushed by the airlines on our holiday trip to Canada and America. Either someone dropped the Boeing on it, or a couple of really, really large baggage handlers took it for a joy ride before loading it into the hold! Either way, emergency repairs had to be undertaken in Canada and it is now in Trekkie A&E for major surgery.

I hope this won’t take much more than two weeks because I miss my wheels already – as long as the waiting list isn’t as long as the NHS emergency room!

Trekinetic have been amazing and will send the insurance the quote for repairs and then we just need to wait for approval before repairs can be carried out.
I have left Lockton insurance to have the ‘discussion’ with American Airlines and try recoup the costs – 2 emails and 4 phone calls is enough for me!

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Taking a dip in my k-2 in Lake Waskesiu. The water was brilliantly clear and cool.

I got some really strange looks from the other tourists – who would have thought!

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If the ice could move this 80 km from the north, I should be able to move it a fraction with my k-2…

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Another old country classic but very apt under the circumstances – the parcel arrived today from Trekinetic in England.  Very nicely assembled and packaged with the photographic instructions for installation.

Hubby managed without a problem to get the damaged piece out and I am back up and running almost like new.  Not perfect yet because they also managed to bend the one brake lever so I only have one brake unless I maintain pressure all the time – a bit hazardous when heading down a river bank and a pesky mosquito start to circle!  Should be great fun at the lake this weekend…

Evidence for the insurance claim….

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1sk1?

Feeling a little guilty about all the food we have allowed past our low-carb diet doorway, we decided that today was a great day to head off to see the First Nation (Indian) heritage site.  When our family told us about this place we really did think they had said 1sk1 – it turned out that it was Wanuskewin!  No wonder we couldn’t find it on the map.

We went on the more accessible trail and it was fun and games whenever we went down a steep incline because the K-2 is awaiting some repairs following the crushing it received in the hold of the aircraft.  Because the shock absorber is bent, we cannot lower the back and I was in imminent danger of tipping out onto the trail – funny for everyone else but a little embarrassing for me!

What a brilliant place; just outside the city but it feels like your are truly in the wilderness – and we had the place all to ourselves.  Hubby was required to give me a lot of help on the way up but he got his reward in the end!

At the bottom of the hill before heading up, up, up…

It may not look like K2 (not the chair, the mountain) from here, but it certainly felt like it on the way up….

Recovery position…..

The reward…..

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What a wonderful sight through the window of the aircraft to the sky-bridge – my k-2! It survived the Moscow flight in the hold.

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A very long trip after leaving home at 3pm and flying out of Manchester at 7pm.  Our connecting flight from Heathrow was wonderfully uneventful and I was ridiculously pleased to see my K-2 in one piece.  We left Heathrow at 10.30pm and after a packet of pretzels followed immediately by a hot meal, we managed to get a few minutes of sleep whilst packed into our little sardine tin!  It is incredibly uncomfortable flying because I have my feet down too long, but I really felt for my hubby with his really long legs which didn’t actually fit in the space provided.  To make matters worse, the next biggest person on the flight was given a seat next to him!  They were both in for a very uncomfortable flight.

We made good time and after the usual rush to get out the aeroplane, we were left to wait for my wheelchair.  When we had waited a few more minutes without any sign of it, hubby went to investigate and found out that they did not know how to get it through the small doorway at the top of the sky bridge!  After a bit of gesticulating and pigeon Russian, they agree to let him go down and show them how it was done.  It was raining buckets but eventually it was all sorted and I was safely on board my Trekinetic with an over enthusiastic Russian youth insistent on pushing me around – I set him right very quickly and he came in very handy for getting us to the front of the passport control queues and into baggage recovery in only a few minutes – all very painless.

Everything you have ever heard about Russian taxi drivers (actually all drivers) is true, and probably under emphasised!  I am a very nervous passenger and believe me when I say that I spent the entire 45km praying for an end to my nightmare.  It was pouring with rain and he drove at no less than 80mph most of the way and I felt sure that we were going to aqua-plane at any moment.

Check-in was painless and we were taken to our room at the Crowne Plaza where we were very pleasantly met by a very modern well fitted out disabled room.  This has to be the best bathroom I have been in since being in my wheelchair.

By now it was 7am and we washed before crashing for a few hours rest before we head out for some sightseeing.

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Two days before Christmas (my true love said to me)…. No, just kidding! However, it was two days to Christmas and I really needed to buy the last few items on the dinner list. Braving the icy exterior, waiting for the car heater to finally clear the snow off the car and I gingerly set out to pick up my son as rusty companion and guide for what we did not realise at the time, was to be a long and treacherous journey.
This snow malarkey is proving a bit of a hinderance in the run up and preparations for the big day – but I was excited at the prospect of my first K-2 versus snow encounter.

Let me firstly say, certain over-wrought individuals in the Costco car park should be locked up before the festive season as they caused rather an upset to a sensitive soul such as myself!  All those expletives were enough to make a lady blush – if I knew one.

Our final stop – Robin Retail Park for a few items, and rather than get in and out of the car constantly – which by the way, if you are not a wheelchair user, is a big fat pain – we set out on foot through the now less daunting snow drifts; proof attached in the form of a picture taken by my son on the trusty iPhone.

Apart from the hard work and mad traffic I managed the entire round trip on my own (hooray) – and furthermore should add that I was the only person NOT slipping around the pathways! Round one to the Trekinetic! KO….

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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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Angouleme is the closest big city to the Chateau so this was our first port of call when we eventually made a move off the property.  Quite frankly we all felt that just being in the grounds and surrounding area would have been enough but we had money to spend and a hankering for some good local meringues, cheese and wine – in that order – for me only; I think all the rest of the family would have reversed the order!

It turned out to be a lovely town with plenty of place to park and shop.  I made sure to do some research before we left to find out about disabled parking in France and I was very pleased we had because we had to print the instructions in French and display these alongside my blue badge.  You do however have to pay for parking even though they have designated disabled bays.  Amazingly, in the two weeks we were in France and travelling all over the region, I never once saw a car without a blue badge parked in the disabled bays – even when town was really busy and these were the only ones empty!!  Now that was a pleasant surprise, especially coming from the UK where the usual is getting wound up every time we go out.

The Trekinetic K-2 performed like a star, even on the cobbled streets and narrow sidewalks.  I cannot remember enjoying myself out in a town so much – the freedom to come and go is wonderful after being confined to smooth roads and shopping malls for so long.  Ooh la la; the looks we get wherever we go… and in case you didn’t know (I certainly didn’t), a wheelchair in French is – en fauteuil roulant.   As my husband says, they even manage to make a waste tip sound exotic – dechetterie!

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 Holiday, and we can sleep as late as we like… right! Maybe for everyone else; but me; I cannot seem to sleep in, no matter how tired I am.  Here comes a confession – I can’t seem to help myself, when I am awake it really bugs me when everyone else is still sleeping!  I try to be quite for a few minutes and then I am driven to by some inner gremlin to get my hubby up as well.  Luckily for me, our 18 month old grandson chose about then to wake up and start stomping around his room – above ours.  How anyone else; including uncle in the same room and his parents next door; slept through this, I don’t know, but that gave me the excuse I needed to nudge him awake.  After all, I couldn’t climb the spiral staircase up to his room, could I?

So we got up and opened all the windows and shutters, to be confronted by a view of the grounds shrouded in mist. Boy, where we surprised when the sound of baying dogs floated across the valley – it was like being in a scene from The Hound of the Baskervilles!  Our little bit of paradise was truly incredible and we couldn’t wait for the rest of the family to get up and explore the grounds.

The mist started to lift around 10am, burned away by bright, warm sunlight, and off we went for our first walk.  Never a dull moment with us, and it took about 5 minutes for Oupa (Grandfather in Afrikaans) and grandson to find the swimming pool and for said grandson to take an impromptu dip!  Oupa must be endowed with lightning reflexes because he managed to get him out before the pool alarm even had a chance to activate – the culprit didn’t seem phased at all and dripping, happily carried on around the grounds.

Enough excitement for one morning – time for breakfast – now, let’s see if we can get the rest of the family up and at ‘em.  After all, we had a hallway filled to the gunnels with luggage to find a home for….

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Being in a wheelchair on a ferry for the first time and who knew, another benefit, we get loaded first and take a lift to the passenger deck of the Norfolk Line ferry where our rather large party gets first pick of the seats. Not that this benefits me because I have my own comfy ride, but for the family who are by now exhausted, it is time to catch a few zzzz’s in order to refresh before the next part of the journey. 

Two hours later and we are back in our cars with beam deflectors installed and disembarking started. Remember to ride on the RIGHT!! On your marks; get set; GO – that is exactly how it feels as everyone seems to be determined to be first out – YOU ARE ON HOLIDAY PEOPLE; CALM DOWN!

Safely off the ferry in Dunkerque and you might wonder how long it would be before things started going wrong – after all with just 3 cars going to the same place, all fitted with the latest gadgets, including navigational devices, mobile phones and printed maps in case the techie stuff packed in, surely we were prepared for anything? Well, no. We hadn’t even left the docks when the first of the kids disappeared and we lost contact. The remaining two cars drove around to try and find them and after half an hour of this, and me getting more worried by the minute, it was time for plan B. We didn’t actually have a plan B, but I am nothing if not a quick thinker under pressure!

We all needed fuel so decided that we would use the POI – Point of Interest on a satnav for those of you not yet familiar with this marvellous bit of kit (try CoPilot Live) – and find the closest few petrol stations and hunt them down. After all, how many petrol stations are going to be open in Dunkerque at 5am? As luck would have it my clever kids (the lost ones) had exactly the same plan and our spirits lifted as soon as we spotted their car in the forecourt. After all that excitement and adrenalin we decided not to continue until we had all had a bit more sleep. Bundled up in our cars in the middle of very misty night, we set our alarms to wake us at 7am for the start of the long drive south.

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Now I may not have mentioned to everyone; I did try though; that the whole family hired a little chateau for 2 weeks of fun, sun (we hoped anyway) and relaxation. It was a very long time coming after 2 years of planning, planning and more re-planning.

This was one of those events that should go down in family history for getting off the ground and actually flying – the Wright brothers thought they had it hard – they had NO idea!

One Mom and Dad, 3 sets of married children, 2 grandchildren (one only 4 weeks old), a mountain a baby products, 3 cars, 1 Trekinetic K-2, a road trip from Lancashire to Dunkerque to Sers near Angouleme, a ferry and 600 miles of rain, mist and more rain, and the scene is set for the start of a great summer holiday….

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Have you ever tried dancing in a K-2?  Well, you don’t know what you are missing! I went off to my nieces wedding last weekend and without even planning an adventure, it happened anyway… It was a beautiful hot, dry September day and after rushing to get dressed up and out the house in North London, we headed for the M25 in plenty of time to fight any nasty traffic incidents that happen when you can least afford them. Being a Northerner, I just cannot reconcile myself to the fact that from my daughter in North London to my mother in South East London, it can possibly take 2 hours!! For goodness sake, it is only about 30 miles and in any normal country this should be done and dusted in about 45 minutes.  Okay, enough of a rant about the traffic, get back to the topic at hand… Where was I?

Sara's wedding

Oh, yes, lovely weather, dressed up to the nines, survived the Dartford crossing and eventually we arrived at the venue in time for a wonderful ceremony and an entire afternoon filled with food, drink, music, family and laughter. Now for the k-2 on the dance floor.  Having been the dance floor diva of my day (the 70’s and dreaded 80’s), I really miss not being able to get up and strut my stuff to a good bit of music. After watching and listening for a while, I decided that enough was enough and if my chair could glide smoothly over the beach and bounce effortlessly across forest floors, how difficult could a few spins on the dance floor be? Grabbing my very worried hubby (I do drag him into all sorts of situations not of his making!) we joined a few other couples. I made sure we were well out of harms way (their feet that is) and proceeded to instruct my husband in a few dance moves – glide in, glide out and spin it all around. Next thing you know he really has got the hang of this dancing malarkey and we are dancing with the best of them. It was so much fun. We did have a couple of near misses when my handlebar caught in his pocket and he was millimetres from speaking like a choir boy for the rest of his life!

My only regret was that being the family paparazzi, I was unable to also capture the moment for posterity. Never mind, now we know how it’s done, we can get a few snaps at the next gathering of the clans…

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5pm and we are off for our inaugural ramble! Armed with new K-2, energy drink, fleeces, camera and plenty of enthusiasm (oh, did I mention the not so great weather?).

Our destination, Southport beach, with a car park surface that might have been laid back in the 60’s and is now more like the lunar surface. The first time we decided on this walk we didn’t even manage to get out of the car park – definitely not wheelchair friendly.

 

 Hooray! Our first goal achieved – out of the car park and onto the trail. Getting used to the unusual steering meant that I was all over the place at first, but the good thing is that wherever I unintentionally steered, I could get myself out of without my husbands muscle power. This independence lark could get addictive. With our sights firmly set on attaining the waters edge, we set off .

Now, if you know Southport you will realise that this can be no mean feat because the tide only seems to come in every few years and the rest of the time can be miles away. Apart from this we forged ahead and in no time were getting excellent practice over stones, mud, sand, grass and a mix of them all. Not being used to going off road it soon became apparent that I would need to be patient with myself and build up my strength. Pushing yourself around a shopping mall and a beach are entirely different matters. This did however give my hubby a chance to see how easy it was to push and before we knew it we had gone about a mile with the sea still just a distant glimmer! At this point we noticed we were the only people on the beach and rather than become the next headline on the North West news – I could imagine it – “Women in wheelchair rescued from incoming tide”, we decided to turn back and try reaching the beach another day when we had a tidal report.

 All in all, it was an amazing first trip. We tried and conquered a number of different terrains and at the same time got the confidence to go on to bigger and better things.

Tired but happy we returned home to hose off my K-2 ready for the next adventure.

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