Day fifty eight

Posted on: April 28, 2011

Day fifty eight

Have no idea where to start on yesterdays shenanigans……….

After so many weeks of not seeing anything of life other than quick trips to the supermarket or Beccles, lovely Linda took me for a girlie day out in Norwich. Planning for this trip took place a couple of weeks ago.  To say I was looking forward to it is  an understatement.

Chapelfield run a shopmobility scheme and I reserved some wheels for me to take out for the day. Can you imagine how devastating it would have been for me to get all the way to Norwich to find I didnt have the energy to walk around – would have been like being a diabetic in a sweet shop.  Neither Linda nor I were prepared to take the chance …. I needed some serious retail therapy.

Don’t get me wrong ,  I am happy to joke about taking a mobility scooter around,  but there was a huge part of me that really didn’t want to use one,  I hate the thought of using one of these vehicles when someone more needy may want one.  But both Linda and the nice man in the shop reminded me that my need was exactly the kind of reason this service was available.

After signing a few bits of paperwork which basically meant I was responsible for ensuring I didn’t hit any pedestrians (where is the fun in that?) and that I was who I said I was, they gave me a ‘quick’ lesson in what all the knobs did and Linda and I were off.

I don’t think I have ever giggled as much as I did yesterday,  it felt so good to have independence and not be reliant on other people to do simple tasks.

The shopping mall itself was wide and easy to maneuver around,  firstly we had lunch …. a healthy salad (HONEST) and a jacket spud.  Managed to get stuck in another toilet …. how many does that make it now?. Then after saying we would head in to town first and avoid the shops in the maul I found that the scooter had a magnet attached and actually made me drive in to a few shops on the way out of the mall.  I forgot to mention this problem to the man in the shop!

I did actually manage a nifty bit of parking outside the restaurant,  the scooters are incredibly easy to drive.  I did have an incident where I drove in to the mirror in the lift – whoopsie!  I certainly looked panicked when I knew I wasnt gonna stop – the poor lady next to me with her babe in a buggy didn’t look that chuffed either.

Next stop was Primarche.  Parked the wheels up just inside the store and meandered around the clothes,  Linda was a fab personal shopper and carried a few of the items I wanted to try on.  By this stage I was starting to get pretty shattered, which was a timely reminder that I would not have made it all this way without my new wheels.I must apologise to the fellow scooter rider (an elderly lady) who I nearly bashed in to upon exiting the shop,  Linda did have to remind me that I wasn’t on the dodgems at the fayre 😦 .

Upon leaving Primarda, a cuppa tea was calling.  Sugar levels were greatly helped with a muffin and a peppermint tea.

The next few shops I drove the scooter around,  was actually a good experience to see life from a different view point,  it makes you get an appreciation of what it is like for people who are dependent on these vehicles.  They are a brilliant form of independence.

Then we trundled (well I drove and Linda kinda ran to keep up with me) up the hill to John Lewis , where I was met with every scooters nightmare,  a floor full of breakable crockery!.  Managed to negotiate around the lower level without knocking anything over,  the lift in the store was in a stupid place – in a corner tucked away,  and was also a really stupid size,  but anyway I managed to park up in the lift to get to the next floor.  On Exiting the lift you have to go almost right round the store to find  a ram to go to the higher part of that level (its a split level floor).  There are no signs telling you this – Linda knew it already, but if I hadnt been with her I would have got pretty frustrated driving round and round ……

So I found a couple of bits I wanted to purchase.  One was a lovely necklace for a friend of mine,  who’s birthday i forgot .  Well – it was a nice necklace until I dropped it out the basket (on the front of the chair) and then proceeded to ride over it,  Linda saw it under the wheel and asked me to ‘back up’ carefully.  Alas the necklace was dead and I decided that maybe a box of chocolates was a better idea anyhow.

We were both pooped by then and headed back to chapelfield.  One of the first shops in chapelfield had a gorgeous dress that had Linda’s name all over it, so off she went to try it on. I followed her in thinking there was plenty of room and got stuck…… with hindsight I should have reversed,  but alas I kept going thinking there would be room to turn around.  By this stage I had coathangers and various items of clothing attached to the scooter,  finally I ground to a halt.  I was near the back of the store but I couldnt go backwards (because a rail was actually attached to the scooter) and forwards wasnt an option as the gap was too narrow. Linda said she knew where I was because she could see all the clothes moving about ( a bit like that scene in Jurassic park where the dinosaurs are walking across the field and you cant see them but you can see the grass moving).  Also she was attracted by my loud giggles.  Sadly the shop assistant didn’t look that pleased that I had trashed the back of the shop.  My parting comment was ‘well if it was disability friendly in the first place that wouldn’t have happened’.

Finally we headed home.

I am a few pounds lighter but had a fantastic time.

I would recommend hiring one of these scooters to anyone who can’t get around,  it gives you a sense of normality and freedom. The only thing they are missing is a trailer to put your shopping in and a platform for the person you are with to stand on so they can cadge a lift too.


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