Halt! Who goes there? Where are you all off to? I was truly and sincerely hoping that by the time I had posted this little ditty the world would be relaxing. I now realise that isn’t quite the situation at all, especially with the new UK lockdown announcement yesterday. But life has to go on.

Welcome to a short, perhaps only 5 minute read. You can let your hair down (age and hormones allowing, of course). Relax, pour a tasty cup of coffee and forget the real world that’s right outside your window. Yes, come bathe, and perhaps roll, in the fantasy that is the deep dark mire of onein300’s actual real day-to-day existence along with odd memories of the past and, hopefully, the future!

Let’s return to the normality scene and begin to splice our lives back together!

So what’s being going on here in onein300 land? I have actually been very busy, which is good thing, with a project I will probably write about soon on my blog. It has, however, meant that I have totally neglected my blog! What an absolute disgrace! I am going to try to rectify this right now. Today, it’s just a bit of catch up before I get back to full blog mode! 

Please note that at no time were any relevant covid rules, in place at the time, ever broken in the following yarns.

During our recent amazing warm summer in August, which now seems a good while ago, we took the plunge and returned to an idyllic barn on a working farm in the English countryside that we had stayed at many times before. The barn unit is all on one floor and is easily accessible for me. We did not have even the slightest thought of flying or going abroad, and we just stayed Covid-safe and all that! Our short vacation started with a holiday drive on the winding roads in our dear old Blighty.

Isn’t it funny how all life comes around, so to speak? When I was young (not that long ago), my mum always used to plan our journey to my grandparents via the towns and roads with only the very, very finest public toilets, even diverting from the planned route by up-to 20 miles!  Back then the state of UK lavatories would make the youth of today cringe, wince and probably retch! Talk about mental health! For very different reasons we now do the same some 45 years later. I absolutely fully drain my ‘sump’ before embarking on any long drive and only drink water when a toilet stop is easy for me to get to with my rollator (what is a rollator?). Mind you, even before disability I hated getting stuck in the car when trying to not piss my pants (‘underwear’, for my American readers). I do once remember being stuck for hours on the top of a flyover in traffic……….

When eventually the jam subsided, I immediately pulled over onto the hard shoulder (‘shoulder’ for my American friends – jeessh we have at last some common language!) and even with the huge amounts of traffic passing by, just relieving myself by the car! What sheer joy!

Before I leave the subject of loos, there is one thing about staying on a farm that can be rather disturbing. Is that awful stench I am smelling, me or the cows? It was the cows I assure you. But, boy what a smell! And why oh why did our dogs enjoy rolling in the stuff!?

One day on our little jaunt to the country we decided to walk (with me on my travelscoot), along with some good friends who stayed a weekend, to a pub nearby so that Jean could have a glass or two of vino and not be our designated drunk driver. The route looked simple and the weather was good. We were aiming for the large garden of the premises, which had a reputation for good food. On arrival, despite all of our planning, I was faced with gravel, quite deep gravel! We didn’t notice how deep it was when we had driven past earlier on one of our now essential daily reconnaissance trips to assess for MND person suitability!

What was the problem Lee?

Well, despite the pub claiming accessible facilities, they clearly had little appreciable idea of what that really means. A wheelchair or my scooter, is no match for deep gravel. Unless you have big wheels, progress across gravel is often impossible and is always very hard work.

As I still have use of my arms I am able to move myself with my poor walking, but I do need something to hold onto whilst moving. So the best way to traverse to the spare seated area was for me, myself, to push the scooter slowly, but surely. It must have looked quite disturbing as onlookers watched, all probably thinking;

Look at that poor (but very handsome and erudite) guy, and his friends and even his wife (the utter bastards) not helping him

I actually enjoyed the embarrassment! You have to with these things, otherwise you would go mad. Yes, kind people did run to help me, but Jean explained that if they helped or grabbed the scooter I would likely end up face first in the gravel! As I was looking to stuff my face with fine food, rather than with pointy and sharp stones, I struggled across, making all present and correct feel bloody awful! It took 5 full minutes of sheer purgatory, but I well and truly deserved the fish and chips, and cake, I can tell you!

Before any of you say: “why didn’t someone else carry the scooter and your family and friends hold you whilst walking?”

Well, although a good question, there is a solid answer, and a three part one:

1) I see it as giving up, and I get physical exercise doing it. Use it or lose it!

2) There was this way of doing it anyway – if there was no other way, of course I would have accepted physical help.

3) I wouldn’t have seen the reaction of others! The evil in me!

Whilst away we further explored the world of leisure and things to do in the covid friendly countryside. Many places do offer discounts or even free entry to disabled people. Of course, as much of what is available at places is entirely off limits to someone with limited mobility, it’s not much of a discount. Certainly the tree top walk above a tiger enclosure at a local zoo wasn’t that appealing, even when I attempted it when fully mobile a decade ago.

Jean! Jean! One of my rollator wheels is stuck in the boards, and a screw has now come loose! Why couldn’t we have paid for the premium tickets with the safety ropes??!

All in all, a great time was had away, and we returned safely every day to the wonderful barn.

Back very soon readers, when you will hear of a terrifying mechanical breakdown that will thrill and excite and also more of the the trials and tribulations of simple things which can mean a lot to someone with MND and their family. Who knows what might have happened in a week? I am now fully expecting an Alien landing, socially distanced of course!