Monday, 28 July 2008

How To Do a Holiday in 24 Hours

Well today was very British. A 1940s theme at Avoncroft museum, complete with music, rationing, identity cards, air raid sirens and a skirmish between the Allied Forces and the Germans.

I feel that for once, pacing and keeping calm has seen me through a wedding, a night away and a day out all in 24 hours. Here's how I did it: I rested for two days, paced throughout last night and booked a carer through my local agency for today. He arrived at the reception venue bang on time and drove my son and I to the museum. Then in blazing sunshine he pushed me round in a wheelchair without complaint. We dived for shade and drank gallons of water at every available opportunity, and it all went very well.

The air raid was very dramatic. I couldn't get to the part where it was going on quickly enough in the wheelchair so I sent my son off to experience it for himself. It occurred to me that children would have been caught in raids all the time without their parents. Then I felt a sense of unease at being in a wheelchair. I'd have been stuffed in a real situation! And I saved a special glare for the German troops manning a checkpoint in one corner of the museum. My son said the actual air raid was quite comical and 'a bit all over the place'. I think he wanted more gore and groaning, but this was Worcestershire on a pleasant summer's afternoon.

If I may for a second extol the virtues of going out with a carer you've never met. None of the usual moans one can get if going out with family. No need for endless chit chat - it's enough coping with being out to be honest. This particular carer was a full-time nurse at a local hospital so had I suffered heat stroke he'd have sorted me out. As it was he was sensible enough to keep me in the shade every time we parked up in the wheelchair. And he pushes people in chairs every day, so he was very, very good. Even gravel was bearable.

I felt totally relaxed, so glad to not be navigating crowds by using my scooter (I didn't realise how much focus this takes, and what it can take away from a trip out...this is my first push, so to speak). There were a couple of 'moments'. You know the sort, people not talking to you directly, or talking to you like you are five. But I just didn't care. We ate ice cream, listened to 40s music amid granaries, Toll houses, all manner of buildings. Here's a lovely photo of a Norfolk windmill, not in Norfolk. Avoncroft is one of those museums that transports and rebuilds historic, important buildings to preserve them until they really do fall apart. A lovely quaint little place.

Just seeing how much my son enjoyed the weekend was the icing on the wedding cake. The reception was pretty tiring but it could have been a lot more challenging had we all been inside. As it was, most people were in the garden as the weather was so glorious. So my fears about pounding music were allayed. I went in to watch the first dance, and promptly left again. One belter was enough. I chatted to a couple of people I knew, then went for a rest. We were in bed by 11pm. I looked positively radiant at breakfast compared to everyone else with their utterly stinking hangovers. Actually, I looked as rubbish as always, but was in good company for once.

I'm going to get hold of a manual wheelchair for the rest of the summer. Bugger staying in. The scooter is fine for local trips but I want to see farther than my corner shop or supermarket. And as I use such a good agency, I feel that even on a bad day I could benefit from being pushed around the park. This weekend was totally about freedom and independence. It was great! Oh, and I promised my son we'd do another 24 hour holiday before he goes back to school.


D Phoenix said...

Here's to being pushed! And pacing and photos. This weekend is brought to you by the letter P.

I'm so glad you had a good weekend and this experience has opened up your options for further outings. I was pushed around New York City for a day and it was great (except for when I almost got dumped out of the chair because of a nasty curb cut). I could be sort of out of it and in pain and I didn't have to have the responsibility of navigating. I have a very good cushion on the chair, so I am always assured of having a comfortable seat. No wooden benches in the park for me!

Cusp said...

Wow it looks such a good day out.
My two would have loved it.

It's brilliant that you've discovered a better way to get about too -- having that extra help can make a huge difference I'm sure. You're right about the amount of energy it takes to manage the scooter. I don't have to use one (though realistically there are times when I really could) and I still drive a little but no one understands how much mental and physical energy it takes to drive and navigate and I'm sure it's the same with the scooter.

I'm really glad you and your boy had such a great time and you are still left with sufficient energy to get through the following days.

Here's to a lovely summer and as many 24 hour holidays as you both want

Cusp x

seahorse said...

Donimo and cusp thanks :-)
You are both right about the strains of navigating - both physical and mental - and it was good to have a break from this.
It was also good to be out doing something other than the school run or a quick trip to the postbox or shop. I know I get out more than some with my condition, but a good excursion in the sun has really perked me up.
It was sooooo worth it. And yes, we'll be doing it again as soon as possible!