Travelling in Style!

Travelling in style!!

I thought yesterday was thwart with difficulties. Today, I really did it in style! I’d just travelled down to town in Alfie, my new electric powerchair when I started to feel out of kilter. Uh, oh, I’d had this feeling before. I immediately looked over Alfie, only to discover two completely flat rear tyres! Not again … the last time this happened, I was on the end of the longest pier in the world at Southend-on-Sea! It’s 2.16 kilometres! You can read this here – Sunnier Climes – Part 2 – The Pier.

I was sitting outside M&S (Marks & Spencer) – a big chain store, especially in the UK. I needed assistance, so I limped slowly into the entrance to attract a store assistant. I could feel the rims scraping the ground with every limping inch. Ouch. I just managed to get inside the door out of the hot, bright sun. Fortunately, I have a rescue service as part of my lease contract for such occasions; I phoned them to be told they would be with me as soon as they could.

An hour later, still waiting, I was getting cold as I’d only managed to drive as far as the freezer cabinets by the door. I hadn’t thought to bring a jacket on such a beautiful day. A lovely assistant approached me and asked if I’d like a hot drink. She came back with a coffee. She also picked up a vegan sandwich for me. I was hungry by then. As the hours were ticking away, I was getting very cold, so they gave me one of the Stock Controller’s freezer jackets to put around my shoulders till my transport came. The shop staff were wonderful – they couldn’t have been more helpful and friendly. I’ll definitely be making a call to Customer Services tomorrow to give my compliments and to ask for the staff to be personally thanked.

I sat and waited … and waited … and waited. One of the assistants kept popping his head out of the door to see if there were any signs of rescue. Nothing. I phoned the rescue people again, only to be told they were having difficulties finding a vehicle to collect me. More waiting.

After three-and-a-half hours, a man in grey and orange overalls and muddy boots came toward me. This was my knight in shining armour! I was very pleased to see him. He’d come to take my wheelchair home and helped me into a waiting taxi as he wasn’t allowed to carry passengers. Just as I got home, I saw a truck outside with Alfie on the back. It was a 7.5-ton pick-up truck!! Apparently, that’s all they had available. Some neighbours had come out to watch as my knight guided Alfie, looking very sorry for himself, down the ramp. Finally, we were home. What a day. Lucky I’ve got a very good sense of humour. I won’t live this one down for a long time!

I’ll never live it down 😂

Decluttering the Clutter – Stage 1

The mountains of clutter in the garage!

I’ve just been so exhausted with all the goings-on this week that I can barely think. You may have noticed that I didn’t post anything on my blog this past week. I’m usually known for my punctuality, but this week, it was impossible. On May the 2nd, I posted a piece entitled Family Moving In. I explained there that my son, Tom, and two young grandchildren, will be moving in with me for, possibly, the long term. It was meant to have happened by now, but as circumstances are, it’s more likely to be in the autumn.

Nevertheless, the junk room must be turned back into a bedroom for my son and young grandson (7). My granddaughter (9) already has her own room (my daughter’s old bedroom) as she’s previously come for sleepovers. There’s so much to do, as you can imagine. In addition, the garage needed to be cleared out so that Tom would have storage space when he moves in. I had a friend, Callie, come over on Monday morning to help with this onerous task. I’d hired a 6-yard skip which is currently sitting on the front lawn, slowly killing the grass!

Bearing in mind that I never go into the garage as I don’t own a car, I was mortified by the sight that greeted us when I opened the garage door. What a mess! Callie put her hands on her hips and rolled her sleeves up to the elbow. She meant business. “Where on Earth do we start?” she exclaimed in horror. I was physically unable to help, so she got stuck in while I gave instructions. She does house clearance as a part-time job, so was an expert on decluttering. Just as well with that lot to go through.

There were items in there that had been in the garage for decades – ancient tins of unusable paint, rusty and broken garden and DIY tools that hadn’t seen the light of day for many years, an old vacuum cleaner that I’m keeping for emergencies, big pieces of cardboard that my new kitchen came packed in about seven years ago, offcuts of chipboard shelves, rolls of old Lino and carpet … I could go on, but we’d be here all day. There were so many things I would have hung on to if it hadn’t been for Callie’s ruthless personality. Just as well as we’d have got nowhere with me in charge. As she worked through the clutter, she threw most of it into the skip. I couldn’t believe how much stuff I’d collected over the years.

After three hours, we decided that we’d done all we could do. We stood back and admired the beautifully tidy garage that I could now call my own.

Almost there

And this, ladies and gentlemen, was what the skip looked like when we’d finished!

In the last couple of days, I’ve had the decorator in to strip out the junk room. It’s been chaos here. It’s also meant having to get up very early every morning (I’m not usually an early bird, so I’m tired out). Once he’s finished, the carpet has got to go down. Then, it’ll be getting new furniture and beds. That’s a whole other story – I’ll be writing about those adventures in my next post.

Now, I need someone to come and make me a lovely hot cuppa and settle me down with a box of chocolates and a new head.

Best Foot Forward …

The only photo of me in the flesh that you’re likely to ever see! I’m shy.
Make the most of it – it’s not likely to happen again 😉!

I thought I’d give you a little background information about my disability. It’s not something I’ve previously spoken about much in my blog, so this is my story.

I started life as an able-bodied little girl who did all the usual activities that young children do. I was always small, skinny and underweight, but there were advantages to being as I was. I could shin up the gym apparatus faster than many children in my class. Considering I was sometimes thought of as a weed, I did pretty well. I grew up, married, had my two children, Tom and Clare, and then my ex left. I continued to raise the children alone and also had to work to bring some money in for us to live on. It was a tough time, but I was very content. Between school runs, the children’s football matches and netball, I was a carer and home help for ten years (I’d initially trained as a secretary and worked in the City of London for several years). I combined my work which I loved, with caring for Tom and Clare; we were a very happy little family.

When the children were about thirteen and eleven, I saved enough to take them to the funfair in town (Essex in the UK). It was there that I had my accident which was to change the course of my life.
When our carriage crashed, I felt a tremendous jolt that jarred my neck and spine. Eventually, after a lengthy spell in hospital (with my children staying with my Mum) and with many tests, x-rays, scans and examinations, the doctors decided I’d damaged the nerve endings leading from my spine. They said it was permanent. It was an awful lot to come to terms with, but over time, I grew, not so much to accept it but more to live my life despite it. I wasn’t about to give in easily. The pain was awful, though, and I was on morphine for quite a while. It wasn’t all bad – I was away with the fairies much of the time 😄!

Fast forward twenty years. It was recommended that I have a DEXA Scan as osteoporosis was suspected, given that I’d always been small-boned, had experienced a few years previously with anorexia, and being unable to exercise very often. When I got my results, I was unsure who was more shocked, the radiographer or me. My T-scores were appallingly low. A score of -2.5 indicates osteoporosis, but mine was -4.5, which meant I had severe osteoporosis.

Degrees of osteoporosis
Mine is severe, meaning there is more air space (in brown) and very little solid bone (shown in beige). It’s a wonder I haven’t entirely disintegrated!!

I was told I could die if I fractured my hip or be left even more disabled if I injured my spine. I have to admit I was scared – very scared. Every move I made seemed risky, and I lived in fear for a while. I became super-careful with everything I did, but two years ago, I tripped over Peanut (my new cat) while transferring from my wheelchair to my walking frame. There I was being rushed off to Accident & Emergency for the second time. I was in agony. I’ve never felt pain like it. After all the x-rays and scans came back, the doctors announced that I’d broken my pelvis, not once, not twice, but in six different places. I don’t do things by halves. If I’m going to have an accident, I’ve got to do it in style!

Strangely enough, contrary to what most people would think, I don’t have any regrets; I’m not angry or bitter or in the least bit dissatisfied with my life. I am who I am. Without the experiences I’ve been through, I wouldn’t be me. I wouldn’t be Ellie.

My next post (Part Two) will be about my journey back to good health and where I intend to go from here on in.

Okay … these aren’t my legs, but just an indication of where I go next on my journey. Look out for part two.

It’s a Cat’s Life

Princess Peanut – The Royal Portrait

“What do you mean it’s only five o’clock in the morning? Yes, I know you want to go back to sleep, but I’m hungry and want my breakfast. I will jump on your face until you get up and give me some food. You’re being unreasonable.” Honestly, I don’t know; you just can’t get the staff these days! Doesn’t my human realise I’m in charge of this house? I’m royalty, and she’s only the servant.

Finally, I’ve got my breakfast! I’m starving, and all I get is chicken and fish. It’s not good enough! It wouldn’t hurt to invest in a succulent piece of sirloin steak or some caviar for a change. I don’t want this biscuit rubbish either! I know; I’ll sneak out of the cat flap when Mum’s not looking and find my own food.

This is food fit for royalty, is it? I think not!

Thirty minutes later. Ah, ha … I spy a juicy mouse. I’ll creep up behind it and take it by surprise. I do wish it wouldn’t squeak so much! I’ll take it home and show her how brilliant my hunting prowess is. Mum will be so proud of me. Now, if I can just squeeze through the cat flap with it … Damn, I’ve dropped the little critter! I’ll chase after it. Oh, no, it’s run under the fridge. Why is Mum scowling? Isn’t she glad I’ve bought her a gift? “What d’you say? You’d rather have your presents wrapped in pretty paper with a ribbon and a bow?” There’s no pleasing some humans.

Cat and mouse games

The new vet is coming today – I hope she’s nicer than the one I usually have to see. That’s the doorbell; I’ll greet her – that’ll make a good impression. I hope she’s not going to stick one of those needles in me. That’s nice; she’s making a fuss of me. I think I like her apart from her smelling of dog. Meooow! She got me with that needle! That was a nasty trick. Now, she’s trying to clip my claws. Doesn’t she know I need them for climbing the trees out the back? How else would I catch the birds? This is totally unfair. She’s got a fight on her hands now. She called me a little madam – the cheek of it! “If you think I’m staying still on that table, you’ve got another think coming!” I’m out of here.

Two hours later. All that running around in the garden has worn me out. I think I’ll nip home for some rest. I’ll tiptoe up the stairs when Mum’s not looking. Uh ha, she’s left her bedroom door open. I know I’m not supposed to sleep on the bed, but I don’t care. It’s fit for a princess, and I’m just that. I don’t know what the confusion is. I deserve a sumptuous bed, not a cardboard box next to the radiator with a fluffy blanket. She can sleep in my box for a change. She won’t mind one bit, I’m sure.

Four hours later. That was a lovely snooze … yawn … stretch … Look at me. Aren’t I adorable? I’m feeling lazy after all that sleep. I think I’ll go downstairs and chill out with a bit of TV. My favourite programme, Tom & Jerry, is on this afternoon. I like an action movie …

Where’s Tom & Jerry gone?

“Mum … Mum … this isn’t Tom & Jerry! Come here! Quick! Change the TV station, would you? I’m missing my programme! How dare you tell me you’ve just sat down with a coffee! How could you do that to the Royal Princess?” I don’t know; what do you have to do to get the slaves to work in this place? It’s just not good enough. “Right! No more presents for you! No mice, no slow worms, no birds, no nothing! That’ll teach you! Why are you grinning from one ear to the other? How dare you disrespect me! Right … that’s it! You’re fired!

Fast Forward

Photo credit – Unsplash

Okay – you’ve guessed it! That’s not me in the above photo! Surprised? I didn’t think you would be. It’s just that it was difficult finding an image of a wheelchair in motion. You mean to say I had you fooled for a moment 😁? No? I’ll retract that then!

It’s now only three days since I got home from being in hospital. I’m still absolutely exhausted and rather sore (only to be expected). What I want to say is that I’m running as fast as I can to catch up with all (or at least some) of your posts that I’ve missed while I was away from home. I’m not succeeding very well so far. My concentration is shot to pieces, and I currently have the attention span of a gnat. Nevertheless, I remain optimistic and know this is only a temporary blip. I’ll soon be back on form and communicating with everyone a bit more efficiently. Don’t expect miracles too soon, though.

So, that’s where I’m at right now. Please, bear with me a little longer till I get my oomph back. I’m managing to read one of two of your posts but can’t get my brain enough in gear to comment. I feel like I’ve got a head full of rice pudding. Don’t ask me to expand on that thought further.

In the meantime, thank you all for your kind comments and for caring about me. I do love my WordPress family. Have a great rest of the day (unless it’s the middle of the night where you are). Love to you all. Ellie xx 💖🥰💞

Home From Hospital

I just thought I’d pop in briefly to let you know I’m home from hospital now. My friend came and collected me from the hospital this morning and was kind enough to stay some of the day at home with me. You’ll be pleased to hear my operation was successful. There was a minor complication, but the hospital really did look after me well. I have to visit my GP in ten days to have my stitches taken out. I’m also on antibiotics, still somewhat wiped out and have very little energy. Not surprising, though. Early days yet.

I was lucky to have been on a reasonably quiet ward, or as quiet as wards can be, with the general hustle and bustle of hospital staff being as busy as they are. That, along with a variety of pings and beeps from hospital equipment. The doctors and nurses were all lovely, and so were the care workers and cleaners, and I feel grateful for being cared for so well. What would we do without the NHS?

My home help, a good friend, is coming over a couple of extra times over the next week to make sure I’m okay and see if there’s anything I need. It’s very kind of her, and I appreciate it. My neighbour got some shopping in for me yesterday, so I’ve got food, although I’m not very hungry. The hospital food was yummy, and they even had a good choice of vegan meals which surprised me. I think food always tastes nicer if someone else has cooked it for you!

I probably won’t write much for a few days yet as I’m still pretty exhausted. I don’t think I’ve got all of the anaesthetic out of my system yet, either. I will try and catch up with some of your recent posts as soon as I can. I’ve missed you all being part of my life. It’s funny how people we don’t really know away from WordPress can become a big part of our lives.


I’ll say night-night now as I’m going up to bed early. I might even let Peanut, my cat, come up with me as I think she missed me while I was away. A neighbour popped in a couple of times a day to ensure she had enough food, water and a clean litter tray. I missed her too.

Mostly, I wanted to thank all of you, my blogging buddies and readers, for your very kind comments and good wishes – I’ve just had time to read some of them. It’s lovely to know people care, and it means a lot to me. See you all soon. Xx .💟

Hospital Break

TO ALL MY READERS AND FELLOW BLOGGERS,

UNEXPECTED NEWS

This brief but important post is to let all my readers and fellow bloggers know that I’ve unexpectedly got to go into hospital for an urgent operation tomorrow 😢. I’m being picked up first thing in the morning, so, as you can imagine, I have an awful lot to do to get myself ready for my inpatient stay. The hospital estimates that I’ll be there for anything up to a week, depending on how the operation goes.

I sincerely apologise to all my blogging friends that it’s unlikely that I’ll be able to read your posts from now until I’m home and recovered again. However, if, after my surgery, I’m feeling well enough, I’ll try and catch up with some of you from the hospital as I’ll have my phone with me. You never know, I might even feel up to writing a short post from my bed!

In the meantime, please, stay safe and well and keep writing all the beautiful pieces that you all do so well. For now, take care of yourselves, and I’ll look forward to catching up as soon as I’m able. Thank you all for your understanding. Group hug 🤗🤗🤗 – Ellie xx 💜💖💙

Fashion Shopping for the Reluctant

Photo by freestocks on Unsplash

I thought I’d share this piece I wrote for part of my coursework just for something different. I had to choose something I found boring written from someone else’s perspective.

How about we meet up in town for a coffee, Ellie? It’s about time we had a good catch-up. Let’s go to Costa – they make excellent coffee there, and the cakes are delicious. I’ll meet you at 11 am outside Boots.

11 am came, and we met as planned.

Darling! Lovely to see you again; how are you doing? You look a bit tired; too many late nights? Let’s go and queue up at Costa’s – they’re bound to be busy. You grab us a table and park your wheelchair; I’ll get the coffees. What cake would you like? They make a fabulous carrot cake.

Well, that was a perfect cappuccino, and that cake was amazing. Is that the time? I wanted to go to a few shops to look for a dress for the office party. I love shopping for clothes. You don’t mind coming with me, do you? I thought you might like to help me choose. Let’s go to River Island – they sell very stylish things there. They’re a bit expensive, but it’s worth it to get something fashionable, don’t you think? I don’t want to turn up in something boring and old fashioned. Ooh! Look at that dress? It’s down the end of the shop – let’s go and have a look. And, it’s blue, my favourite colour. You don’t mind if I go and try it on, do you? No, I didn’t think you would. I won’t be long; you wait there.

Fifteen minutes later

Oh, I’m sorry I was so long, darling. You should have seen the length of the queue! I decided against that dress; it made me look frumpy. Let’s try somewhere else. We can go to H & M. They’ve got some lovely clothes in there too; they’re very stylish and cheaper than River Island. This is so exciting! Oh, look at that red top over there! I think I like that more than the dress. It’ll go with my new black trousers. I bought them in the sale at Matalan last week. I think they’d look smart together. I’ll just go and try it on. I won’t be long; the queue doesn’t look as long as in the first shop. You wait here.

Four minutes later

Nope – this top isn’t right either; it makes me look too wide around the bust. It’s such a shame; it looked so lovely on the mannequin, too. How about we go to Next? It’s only up the end of the High Street. Come on. Next is a bit pricey, but it is for a special occasion; I don’t mind paying more. Goodness, it’s getting busy everywhere. I suppose lots of people are shopping during their lunch hours. Ooh! Stop a minute. Let’s pop into Primark as we’re passing. Look! They’ve got a beautiful yellow top in the window. That’ll go well with those black trousers too, and it looks so summery. Yes, I know it’s a bit crowded to get your wheelchair through, but I’m sure you don’t mind, do you? I’ll head off to the changing rooms; you catch me up in a minute. Okay?

Ten minutes later

Ellie!? Oh, there you are. Come into the cubicle with me; you can have a proper look. What do you think of this? Don’t you love it? Do you reckon this colour suits me – come on, be honest? Personally, I think it’s my favourite item so far. You wait outside the fitting rooms while I get changed out of it. Why don’t you start queuing up; it’s a long queue? I won’t be long; I’ll be as quick as possible. Save me a place. We won’t have such a long wait to pay that way. Well, that was a bargain, wasn’t it?

Oh, hang on a tic; I’ve just seen a necklace in the window; it’ll go brilliantly with the rest of my outfit, don’t you think? I don’t know why I didn’t see it before. Wait here. I shan’t be long. The queue has died down a bit now.

Twenty-five minutes later.

I’m so sorry, Ellie. Isn’t it typical? I was standing behind this woman in the queue, and as she went to pay, she couldn’t find her credit card. The checkout girl asked if she had any cash or would she like her to put it back for her. She confirmed she had money and got her brown suede purse out of her Marks & Spencer carrier bag. Then, she asked the cashier if she’d mind taking coins as she didn’t have any notes. And then, would you believe it, she emptied her purse and counted out a mixture of pound coins, 50ps and copper and then realised she was short of £3.50! Honestly, you should have seen the checkout girl’s face! I could tell she wasn’t impressed, but she was polite and offered to put the necklace back on the stand after serving the other customers. It was my turn next, and by now, the queue had backed up all the way to the customer service till at the end. That woman got some filthy looks from the people behind her. I’d have been so embarrassed if that were me, wouldn’t you? I hope you didn’t mind waiting for me for so long; I knew you’d understand. Do you fancy another coffee? I’ll put that necklace on, and you can take a photo of me wearing it and then share it on my Facebook page. You don’t mind, do you? Oh, damn, there’s a queue for coffee now. Just our luck! Let’s call it a day! I’m glad you didn’t mind coming with me. I knew you’d enjoy it. We had such fun together, didn’t we?

Family Moving In!

(Image courtesy of Pexels)

Well, that was a blow! It’s Sunday afternoon. I’ve just had a very long phone call with my son, Tom. He was married about 16 years ago and had two children, but that didn’t work out, and he split up with Karen after ten miserable years together. Since then, he’s been in a relationship with a woman called Kim, but that’s not working out either (after six years). Tom and Kim had bought a big house between them as Tom has got my two youngest grandchildren, aged nine and seven. I call them my ‘little ones’ because my daughter and son-in-law have ‘my girls’ who are older. Kim has three much older girls still living at home. As a Mum, I sensed something was wrong quite some time ago. I hadn’t said anything, but Tom just called to say they’re definitely splitting up. The house will have to be sold.

Tom had a question to ask me. In fact, it was a huge ask. He said the big house would have to be sold so that he and Kim could afford to each find somewhere smaller for themselves. Until then, he can’t stay in the house with Kim as they’re not getting on well at all.

“Can the children and I come and stay with you for a few months, please?” I wasn’t expecting that! I’ve been living alone very happily for many years, and as much as I’d love to see more of them, I need and enjoy my space and privacy. I like that it gives me plenty of time to do some studying and writing. What on Earth do I say? We talked at length; “Can I think about this for a couple of days, please, Tom”? Tom was willing to do that, naturally. I love them all very dearly, but suddenly going from living alone to having the house occupied by family will be a bit of a shock, to say the least.

There’ll be a whole heap of things that will have to happen first if I agree. They’ll have to sleep in my only spare room, a junk storage room. It’ll need clearing out, decorating, carpeting and new beds and furnishings to make it habitable. It hasn’t been touched for decades. The garage will have to be cleared of ‘stuff’ so that Tom has some space to store furniture etc. It’s going to be chaos. I hate having decorators in because of all the mess too.

I’ve now got a couple of days to think about all this. I really don’t know what I’m going to do. It’s come like a bolt out of the blue. Tom is an adult, so I didn’t ever expect to be playing the role of Mum again. I’m not sure I can go ahead with it, but what else do I do?