Roses, lupins, clematis, goslings… there’s plenty going on in
It looked more well-tended than sometimes when we visited
the other day and, as ever, the mix of tree types is very striking: copper
beeches contrasting with the greenery. There have been some improvements in the
pathways, various uneven bits have been smoothed.
There are always plenty of interesting things to look out
for. On our visit there were goslings, moorhen chicks and ducklings and all the
installations which make the park so varied such as the duck house on the pond,
the ‘chess-piece’ horse that small children love to scramble on, the totem pole
and the helmet. There is of course, the more traditional play equipment and the
skateboard park and there is even a boat selling ice creams across the river!
I used to always use my scooter when we went to the park, but
actually my Powerchair handles all the surfaces absolutely fine, even the
slight bump at the flood barrier.
Lovely as The Homestead is, you can make a longer visit at Rowntree Park because of the paths by the river. These are a little rougher than the paths within the park and the cycle path heading out of town is rather bumpy with tree roots but not too bad. I understood that was going to be fixed, perhaps it will be soon.
It’s always a pleasure to visit Rowntree Park and the riverside paths.
I recently read an online article in which someone with MS
said that they dreaded “ending up in a wheelchair.” It made me feel rather sad
and I left a comment to the effect that using a wheelchair can actually be
It’s not that I don’t empathise with that feeling: even
though I had been using a scooter for a few years, I was really upset at the
thought of having to get a wheelchair. I should have remembered how wonderful
it felt the first time I went round our local park when I got my Luggie scooter – after being a regular
visitor to the park, as my mobility got worse we had stopped visiting it, so
going there again after some years was really exciting.
Realising that I was going to have to start using a
wheelchair felt like yet another stage in the process of having no mobility at
all. At that point, I was using my scooter to get to my office from the car, to
get around at work and to visit places such as the park or the out-of-town
shops. You can’t conveniently use Luggie scooters to sit at a desk or table and
they are not comfortable to sit on for any great length of time, so I would
transfer onto my office chair or the ‘teacher’s’ chair in the classrooms at work,
but this was becoming increasingly tiring and quite tricky as the chairs were
used by other people and might have been left at a raised height – it’s really
difficult to lower an office chair if you aren’t sitting on it! I would
sometimes ask a student to lower it for me but even so, I’d be nervous that it
would shoot out from behind me and deposit me on the floor! Luggie do actually
do a Powerchair now, but as it is even heavier than the scooter, I’m not sure
how practical it would be.
We organised a home demonstration of an Eden
Mobility ‘Comet’ Powerchair and once it became clear that I would be
able to use it to sit at a desk, I realised that this was the way to go: no
more worrying about transferring onto an office chair or struggling to get
round the house leaning on the furniture and Pete’s arm. Fortunately, it’s
narrow enough that you can get through ordinary doorways that haven’t been
widened so we didn’t have to adapt the whole house, although we did get a slope
put in up to the front door by Passmore who also did some
of our bathroom alterations but many of our doors do have scrape marks on them
The front door threshold would have been problematic, but
Pete cunningly built up layers of vinyl floor underneath the carpet to create a
gentle slope so I can move in and out of the house with barely a jolt.
We may have to make more adaptations in the future but for
now, I love that I can get round the whole house and now, thanks to Pete putting
in a slope instead of some steps in the garden, the whole of the garden, even
on the lawn when it’s dry.
I would prefer to be able to walk but given that I can’t, a Powerchair
is a whole lot better than struggling around or not being able to go places.