I know, I know, I’m in a wheelchair. It hasn’t slipped my mind. A windmill isn’t known for its great wheelchair access, those winding stairs would be a mission.
It’s ok, I’ve got it all sussed. Let me paint you a picture….
There’s a large field with just one pear tree standing in the centre, a lake runs to the left with a windmill standing tall. The grass is cut short, not a mole hill or pot hole in sight. Definitely no shingle. The windmill is falling apart a little, the pale green paint cracking with age. Bluebells and daffodils scatter the garden.
Situated just outside of the city and a few miles from the beach it’s the perfect location.
It’s a converted restored adapted windmill (obviously). I like old buildings with history and a story, a life. I won’t be building anything new.
A big arched double door entrance opens onto a large open-plan ground floor living area. Down the centre of the windmill stands a magnificent glass elevator that leads to all floors. And because lifts break (I know this all to well) there will be a spiral ramp around the outside of the windmill, helter skelter style, again leading to all floors. No possibility of getting stuck!
The top dome, do you call it a roof on a windmill? That doesn’t seem grand enough, will be made from that glass that turns dark or clear. I don’t know the techie term, but you know what I mean. This will be the master suite, my abode. It will be filled with all the gadgets you can imagine, some that haven’t been invented yet. At the touch of my phone screen lights will come on, doors will open, the lift will be called, books will jump off shelves, a brew will be poured and my glass dome roof thing will become clear. I could go on…
Maybe my fascination with windmills was born from my love of the Moomins. Or maybe it was the game we played as kids, spotting windmills on the way to the seaside. The more we saw, the closer we got. I’m also obsessed with Jonathan Creek. Windmills and I are meant to be.
In reality I’ve lived in the same terraced house for almost 34 years. (I’m almost 34. Oh wow I actually am). I have an extension, my own little reasonably sized room with an en-suite, in the garden. I say in the garden, it takes up the whole of the back garden, so we don’t really have one anymore. I haven’t seen upstairs in well over 25 years, only in photos taken of my cats, who now assume the rooms are theirs. Then there’s the makeover photos, I get to see new decor on a phone screen. I can’t fit properly in the kitchen, when I do, nobody else can exit or enter. It’s a long slim kitchen, and I’m not long and slim. I’m more square and the size of a doorway. If I’m in the kitchen baking, well in the kitchen doorway directing baking, and there’s a knock at the door, there’s a whole lot of manoeuvring before the visitor gives up and walks away. If there’s a fire, there hasn’t been a fire, I’m a good baker. So far.
But I like my house, it’s a home. The family home, where I’ve grown up. There are memories and traces left. Mostly scratches on doors made by me trying to turn corners. I’m currently in no rush to move, I like my semi-accessible space even if it has its limitations.
House hunting can be quite a challenge when you have wheels. A challenge that would be made a lot easier if there were more accessible homes and if listings were improved and the word accessible wasn’t used so lightly.
Accessible means so many different things. I’m starting to hate the word. One word is not enough. How can you define something as accessible when you don’t know a persons needs. This one word needs breaking down into explainations, step-free, one-level, working-lift, wide-doors, open-plan, wet-room, turning-space.
I’ve only got to count how many family and friends houses I can get into to realise how too few accessible houses there are. Oh and getting into their bathroom, that’s a whole other mission. Newly built houses now have to have a step free entrance and downstairs toilet. Apparently this is access.
I see these big open plan living spaces on American sitcoms and crime shows. That’s the real dream, because let’s face it the windmill probably isn’t going to happen. A space where I can wheel round freely, park my wheelchair at a house party or watching somebody’s tv without being in the way.
I’ve just realised being climbed over is one of my biggest pastimes. There’s just never enough space. Cafes, houses, the cinema, the bus, gigs. There’s always somebody clambering over me.
An open living apartment on one level (with a fully functioning lift) or a bungalow, that’s the ideal. Oh and a kitchen island, who doesn’t want an island in their kitchen?!
This piece was written in response to Lorna’s ‘Dream House’ writing prompt over at Gin & Lemonade.