Sunnier Climes – Part 1

Could be anywhere, couldn’t it? It’s actually Southend-on-Sea – 2018

Southend comes in for an awful lot of stick. Anyone in Essex, UK, will probably know this fact. It’s often known for its levels of crime, often violence and perhaps, even thought of as a rough and scruffy seaside town. However, I just love it!

My story here is an account of my holiday in the summer of 2018. Having not had a holiday for over 15 years, this was to be quite an adventure! I’d packed up ready to set off; the large rucksack on the back of my wheelchair, (called George back then), bursting at the seams. I must have resembled ‘the bag lady’ as I set off with bags hanging off of every arm and projection on my wheelchair. I was determined to ‘go it alone’ and without any help or support. This sense of independence meant a heck of a lot to me.

Twenty minutes later, I arrived at the train station. The guard brought the ramp so that I could get on. The carriage was packed with animated holiday makers all heading for the coast to make the most of the beautiful sunshine. It was a scorching July that year and I was so excited and eager to get to get there. Two exhausting changes of train later, I arrived at my hotel. It was a pretty smart place and I stood out ‘like a sore thumb’ with my scruffy carrier bags packed to the hilt with everything I needed. Nevertheless, the proprietor and his wife were extremely polite, well-spoken and very warm and welcoming. I checked in, bundled into the small lift and was shown up to my room. I was surprised at how plush it was; roomy too, so plenty of space to park George for charging. The sun streamed through the window and my view from there overlooked the sea (see photo above). Golden Samphire grew out of the cliff face adding to this beautiful picture and I wasn’t far away from the Cliff Lift which had a scarily sheer drop to the promenade . Twenty minutes later, I’d unpacked; gone down to the bar for a refreshing glass of tonic water with elderflower (my favourite ‘tipple’ as I don’t drink alcohol) and headed for the beach.

The beach was gorgeous; certainly to me not having had a whiff of fresh, salty air for so many years. I so wished I could have gone for a paddle or felt the stony sand between my toes. This was a bit difficult when using an electric wheelchair, so it had to remain a dream of mine. However, not for one minute deterred I drove along the prom taking in the sights and smells – stalls selling hot doughnuts, pink candy floss, chips and burgers. There were stalls laden with buckets and spades, rubber rings, summer hats of all descriptions, flags and the good old seaside windmills on sticks. I loved these and bought two and asked the seller to stick them out of the back of my rucksack. I was just like a big kid without a care in the world! And so, I continued along the front literally with the wind in my sails, feeling very joyful and thrilled to bits with my holiday so far. I took lots of photos as this was for the sake of happy memories to come and sure evidence I’d achieved an ambition. However, the fun wasn’t over yet.

I could see the Sealife Centre in the distance and planned to go there the following day. The famous, old Kursaal was also in that direction. For today, I was just admiring the views and feeling the vibes and energy of the place which, by then, was swarming with holiday makers. I could just about make out an attraction happening ahead with a queue of people waiting to take part. As I got nearer, a mischievous thought took shape in my mind. I took a photo of what was going on and then, cheekily, posted it on my Facebook page with the following caption (below) …

And now, for my next trick!!

Now, bearing in mind I’m a wheelchair user, this would have been impossible but I couldn’t resist having a bit of fun with my friends and family! Well … one day … you never know…

More of my travels to come in Part 2

20 thoughts on “Sunnier Climes – Part 1

  1. Well you don’t let much hold you back 👍

    Looks like a place my people are from.

    1. Hi John, Thanks for your comment. I guess I am very determined these days. However, this has come, originally, from a place of pain, trauma and abuse, helplessness and self-hatred. I used to write about these feelings a few years ago, but somehow, through being hurt over and over again, I just got to the point that I’d had enough of being in that place. I came to the conclusion that I didn’t want to spend the rest of my life feeling that way. I’d been used and abused for enough years and didn’t need to make things worse by being so unkind to myself. I’m not saying it was easy at all; quite the opposite in fact but it’s been so worth it.

      Please, don’t get the impression that life is all roses for me now because I still get bad times and deal constantly with anxiety and sometimes, depression. I might not be able to swim across the ocean but I am learning to paddle. Take care, John. Ellie

      1. You’re resilient and you’re only a human woman. I don’t expect perfection from you. I just respect and admire you.

    1. Morning, Mick. Thanks. This was probably my last holiday for the foreseeable future as I have a cat now and I can’t bear to leave her in a cattery. I’m not too keen on having a stranger in my house either (I don’t have anyone nearby who could pop in to keep her fed and watered). I have a truly lovely neighbour but she’s terrified of cats! I might go just for an overnight stay in a B&B if I can find an accessible one, that is.

      Ollie hadn’t been ‘born’ back in 2018 – I had George then. Ollie is now coming up for retirement and I’ve got to part with him in April as he’ll have come to the end of his lease. My new one is going to be exactly the same make, model and colour as I’m so used to driving that version (I guess it’s much the same with cars – you get the feel of them and know where the controls are and what their turning circle etc is). I think my new one is going to be called Alfie. I can only keep my wheelchairs for three years although, I’d much rather hang on to them until they’re reached the end of their ‘natural’ life! X 🙂

      1. A short stay away can be as good as a longer holiday – it’s just about that getting away and eating and sleeping somewhere new.

        We haven’t tried them, as a neighbour feeds our cats when we go away, but have you seen the cat feeders with timers on them? You set them to open at different times so your cat can have several meals left for them. I think you can buy them with up to four bowls in them, i.e. to last two or three days.

  2. I think you’re probably right – it would be good to go somewhere just to experience a change of scenery and it would be really lovely not to have to wash up at the end of the day! The hotel I stayed in back in 2018 wasn’t fantastic at providing vegetarian choices for meals though, let alone vegan, as I am now. I’ll have to check that out before I go next time. Mind you, there are a lot more vegans in the world now as opposed to how many there were in 2018 – it’s really taken off now. I know there are a lot of new vegan cafes and restaurants in Southend now, so perhaps, I’ll get something to eat out. Hark at me, anyone would think I had my hols all sussed out already 😀

    I’ll definitely take a look at those cat feeders as that would be a great option and would enable me to go away for two nights although I wouldn’t leave her for longer than that. Thanks for the idea x 🙂

  3. A very beautiful blog!!
    seems like a fun adventure without any worry!!
    It’s before covid and it seems to be very peaceful
    As you were narrating your trip, I was imagining all that cause you narrate really well!
    You are a great story teller.
    Keep sharing, I will check out part 2 as well.

    1. Thank you so much, Devang. That’s very kind of you to say. It was a wonderful holiday – the first on my own for decades! I’m glad you could visualise where I was – I’d hoped this post would be a fun journey for my readers to follow. When you read part 2, you will see that the holiday wasn’t entirely without its hiccups—nothing I regret, though. On looking back, I remember that particular incident with delight and humour! I will drop into your blog today to read your latest post – I’m looking forward to reading it.

      1. Your blogs requires proper time investment. I mean I refrain reading them in a haste. I read, visualise and enjoy them. You are a great writer, cause you write very smoothly. It feels like you are actually talking when I read your blogs.
        My latest blog is not health related, I published it yesterday

      2. Thank you. I do spend a lot of time writing a post. (it can sometimes take me all day to work on it until I am satisfied with what I’ve written). I’m a bit of a perfectionist! I like to do this because I want it to be a pleasure for my readers’ to read and follow the story. I really do appreciate the care you take to read and comment on my posts – you are always so kind. I look forward to reading your post shortly. Ellie 🙂

  4. awe elly this sounds lovely, a beautiful sunny holiday just what the doctor ordered. I am glad you got to go and enjoy yourself. I think we’re all big kids at heart. I am for sure! X

  5. “This was a bit difficult when using an electric wheelchair, so it had to remain a dream of mine.” Ellie, some dreams can far exceed one’s experience. Miss you, understand you are busy and be safe.

    1. Yes, you are quite right, my friend. I’m sorry I’ve been off the radar in a way. I’m miles behind with all my blog reading and today, it’s 41C in the shade and I’m just too hot to do anything. I’ll have to try and catch up a bit after tomorrow (that’ll be 42C!) when the temperatures drop to 30-something. Still very hot, but compared to today and tomorrow, it’ll be a dream! The problem is, the more I get behind with reading blogs, the more they pile up in my inbox. I think I’ll just have to settle for starting again when things are a bit more settled here. We’re not used to these temperatures. My love to you, Tangie xxx 💖❣💖

      1. Wow! Ellie, the blogs will be here when you are able to catch up. Use the encouragement you gave me and take care of you and business first.

      2. Thank you for being so understanding, Tangie. I will take your advice (I currently have 42 emails in my inbox so it’s a bit overwhelming). I’ll never get through them all. Hopefully, it’s going to get cooler as the week goes on. Xxx 💖

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