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Wednesday, 1 September 2010

Wheelchairing About

Yesterday I went to a quaint little seaside town that I've always had fond memories of.  When I think of it I think of running in the sea, shopping in all the shops selling completely useless but completely gorgeous knick-knacks, and enjoying the smell of the air, so clearly tainted by the sea.  Hence my wish to revisit.  However, this time I went in my wheelchair.  This meant no running in the sea - instead I watched from high above through a railing as my Dad and tiny brother threw stones into the water (the beach is half pebbled, half sand - which was almost underwater). 

The town smelt the same of course but I had forgotten the crowds of people summer brings and I'd never noticed just how wide the paths aren't before.  It turns out that the path is just big enough for a wheelchair and one other person to get past.  It was bumpy and uneven - something else I'd never noticed.  And the shops.

I love the town for it's quaint little shops filled with wonders but the one word there that doesn't bode well for wheelchair uses is 'quaint'.  Quaint doesn't mean easily navigated with plenty of space.  Quaint for me, now means small, awkward and likely to have a step at the entrance.  We managed to get into two shops.  A fudge shop which would have been awesome if I hadn't had to have been nearly tipped out to get out of it and a large store which seemed to have everything.  They had, thankfully, put ramps between most of the sections which were at different levels but as they began to close they blocked each with items from outside making it especially hard to find someone to pay and a way out that was still available.  I could have gone in one other shop though it was actually closed.  The owner saw us (did I mention that the boyfriend had to push me up and down all those hills?) and opened the door in case we wanted anything.  As I knew I wasn't actually going to buy anything I politey declined but I'm unsure whether I would have been given the same treatment had I been walking about.

Despite the complexities being in a wheelchair brought, I did have a good day though I was exhausted by the end of it.  If I hadn't taken the wheelchair I wouldn't have made it all the way to the sea from the car and while it may have been easier to get in and out of the shops (and around them) I probably wouldn't be well enough today to write this.  But perhaps in the future I'll reconsider why I like somewhere before I agree to take a trip as quaint is no longer my cup of tea.

1 comment:

Kess said...

My two best friends are wheelchair users so I know just what a nightmare these 'quaint' seaside towns can be! What really annoys me is when cars pull over in front of lowered curbs, as it's such a struggle to get a wheelchair back on the pavement again after crossing the road!