Sunday, May 29, 2011

Infinite possibilities

It was the Jersey man telling me that I could fly that did it. Then Pat my lovely friend said why don't you go down to Maumont then. I had read that the civilised French hired out hoists and beds form the local pharmacy, they also provide district nursing services at about 10 euros a day. Then we discussed how we might adapt the entrance to the house to take the wheelchair with a little help from our friends, and how we might get Chris and Denise, our friends from over the road who were going anyway, to drive our wheelchair accessible car to Bergerac to pick us up from the flight from Birmingham. Et voila Guillame est votre oncle.

We will have to move the table out of the kitchen and turn it into a sitting room and pray for good weather so that we can eat outside, we will have to bring one of the single beds down from upstairs so that Stewart can sleep downstairs with me but that is petit bier considering the benefits. So we are getting our canards in a row, we will ditch Jersey as we only made a provisional booking and head for Maumont instead.

Can't believe it might be possible.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

A holiday a month

Well there are three or four hotels with hoists in the UK and we have booked each of them! To avoid disappointment of course and with fingers crossed in case we will lose money if we have to cancel. I inquired about cancellation insurance but it was £1800 for a single trip. Isn't that a great thing about insurance get a real illness and you are persona non grata? Beware health reformers, give up the NHS at your peril. I love it when private insurers phone me on spec and I say "Yes I would be interested" (don't worry I am not turning I just like to test them out) and then tell them about my terminal cancer and all my problems, they suddenly go very quiet and start making excuses, I say "Hello, it is supposed to be insurance, right".

Anyway the plan is Sandringham for four days in June, Minehead in July for a week, Jersey in August for four days and Llandudno in September for a week. It was a revelation about Jersey, I had investigated ferries and they were horrendously expensive and would take all day. Then the man from the hotel called and said why not fly? Apparently the flight staff lift you on to a little chair, haul you up the stairs then transfer you to your airline seat. Your wheelchair goes into the hold. Well all sorts of questions come to mind. Will the little chair be too little? will I be too heavy? but they must have people heavier then me. When we get there we will take taxis, the island is only about 15 miles across for goodness sake.

I have been Googling like mad to find the best restaurants in the locality, Michelin stars and all. Don't think we'll make it to Gidleigh Park in Devon as its 76 miles away but you never know, and in Llandudno there is one just 10 minutes away at a very Welsh sounding place, the Tyddyn Llan at Llindrillo.

All set then to make our way around Norfolk and Lincolnshire, we have been to Norfolk a few times recently and done the usual stuff, so we though we would head North West and revisit Lincoln Cathedral, it's been about 40 years since we were there. WE will visit the rolling hills of Somerset and Devon, the delights of Jersey and the wonders of Wales.

We will eat drink and be merry for who know's tomorrow may never come and we will certainly be filling our boots till it does.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Hotels with hoists

Sitting in my bed. I am a Google freak. A few weeks ago Stewart, who is normally very cautious, commented that if we bought a portable hoist, we could go away for a few days. I was a bit shocked really, hadn't thought about that possibility. I parked the idea for a while and then sat Googling and just typed in hotels with hoists, well a revelation. Apparently there is an organisation laughingly called The Ceiling Hoist Users Club and they have a list of hotels with hoists. Not only hoists but electric beds, nursing support, doors that flash apart as soon as your wheelchair whispers "open sesame".

OK there are only about three or four of these wonders, plus a few Holiday Inns that I think only have the hoists, two based in Central London, so maybe we could go for a weekend, take in a show, an exhibition and of course a blow out meal in a Michelin star restaurant. Well you have to spend your DLA on something.

So we have booked mid-June, four days in Park House Hotel, on the Sandringham Estate. The house that Princess Di was raised in. We will go half board as it's a good deal, and throws in afternoon tea. We will search for lovely places to visit and pubs for lunch. Our horizons are widened if only over the vast skies of Norfolk and there are two more to try, one in Minehead in Somerset and one in Llandudno in Wales. Not so posh and maybe they will smell of wee and cabbage, but then I suppose, beggars who use ceiling hoists really can't be choosers.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Family matters

Another day, another funeral. This time it was my cousin, Betty's, husband Freddie. He was 85 and had been struggling with leukemia but that doesn't get over the fact that he is no more and that he was a laugh and an absolutely devoted husband and father; and that he will be missed so much by his nearest and dearest.

That's what's been getting me at these funerals, I call them my funeral moments. I can't help but bawl when I think about my own demise and how much it will affect those closest to me. Just can't help it, it's too raw and open, sore and painful. I don't feel as if it will happen yet as I am feeling well, but the time will come. But sufficient to the day is the evil therof and so I brush away the tears and wipe on the smile, as much for myself as anyone else.

It was good to see the family though, bits of it I rarely ever see these days, only at funerals in fact. There was cousin Ann. I have no idea why I always refer to her as cousin Ann, it sounds like something from the hillbillies and her husband Brian, who is a dead ringer for Donald Sutherland. Cousin Ann was always held up as a model of virtue and blessedness by my mother because she ironed and sewed beautifully. She had neat plaits and was the first of our family to go to college, unless you count my Dad who at 14 went to Birmingham School of Art. Betty and her sister Joan, who was once the most glamorous woman on the planet, but now lies unable to function hardly at all due to Altzheimers, were 20 years older than me, at least, as I was the youngest child of the youngest child of my Nanny. So it was their children, Peter and Pam and Lou and Glen who I was nearest to in age. I hadn't seen Peter, Joan's son for years, since his grandmother's funeral in fact, but we fell back into an easy relationship and it felt good. Apart from Betty of course, that was it and we dwindle. There were only three of us there yesterday. From the dizzy heights of six children and nine grandchildren (not that dizzy on the grandchildren front actually) of my Nanny's brood we are down to six grandchildren, of which I am the youngest, and we hardly ever see each other.

I took along a few photos, as I have been ploughing through them to find subjects for my oeuvre, terrible burden to have an oeuvre, and it struck me that we will soon be losing the shared memory of our generation. It mostly stops about 40 years ago anyway as we all grew up and moved apart, but there are things I would like to ask my older cousins about what went on, who did what etc and I had better get a shake on as we are a bit prone to dementia and other memory taking conditions. I am going to try to be proactive about this and actually pick up the phone to arrange visits, says she, yes I am. They are family after all and it's all in the pursuit of my art, or should I say heart?