It’s been an eventful few days I tell you. I crossed to the other side of my front door 7 days in 10. Most of those I got further than my garden, some of them I even left my town, and one of them I went inside a restaurant. But we will get to that later.
The sun has arrived. That’s one reason for my latest adventures. The main reason being the levelling out of local Covid cases.
As you’ll be aware I started shielding in March 2020 along with a few million other high risk Brits. There’s been the odd pause in government shielding advice, and it officially ended in March 2021, but myself and many others have continued to be cautious, limiting our social contact as much as possible. There was that time back in August when I went for a graveyard wander. That was pretty quiet.
I can’t say I’ve struggled with the isolation really. I’m good at keeping busy without being busy. I’m also pretty stubborn, and when I decide I’m doing something I do it. And so I knew way back when that I was in it for long haul. I would see this thing out best I could.
Depending on your perspective you could say I’m one of the lucky ones, getting my first vaccine in February, I was fully Pfizered by the end of April.
My view is that now is my optimum time to get out there. The vaccine having had its time to work on my immune system, but not yet starting to wear off. The cases and hospital admissions slowly levelling locally. And the sun being present, meaning perfect for outdoor stuffs.
I saw my first friend of the year for a lovely catch up in my garden. It felt like months had passed but also like it was only yesterday that we were chilling and chatting. She bought me a Starbucks iced tea, because that’s part of the conditions when visiting me now. Another pandemic gain.
I’ve said this many times over the past year, but I’ve really grown to appreciate my garden. It’s something that not everyone has the pleasure of, just sitting outdoors in an open green space. It’s no castle grounds by the way, it’s pretty tiny.
My nieces stayed for a couple of nights. I must say it’s been weird not seeing them so often, they look different every time.
What better activity for kids than a picnic in the park. Eaton Park Norwich was the perfect spot, it has a great sandy play area for kids with swings, climbing frames, those weird bouncy rocking chicken things and the scariest roundabout I’ve seen. It also has beautiful gardens, a lake to wander around, and smooth accessible terrain for the wheels. There may have been a My Whippy too.
We went for a little meander around town the following day and got slushies, who doesn’t love a slushie?!
I went to the shop (not on the slushie day). It wasn’t nearly as thrilling as I expected. I got peanut butter, hummus and teabags. Some unmasked human impatiently reached over me. There’s not much more to say.
I went to a different friends garden. I’ve known said friend for over 20 years and never been able to access her house, but I’d still never been to her garden before. Silly really isn’t it?! Takes a pandemic to make us think outside the box. That’s because you just go out, that’s what you do in normal times to socialise with friends. It’s what I did anyway, mainly due to houses being so inaccessible.
Before I visited she sent me a little video tour guide of the driveway, gated access and patio, so that I felt confident of not getting stuck somewhere and ending up with coffee by the roadside. That would work too though.
I went to McDonald’s on the way, picked us up a drive thru (their spelling, not mine) to picnic on in her garden. In the rain. Yes, it decided to rain not long after I arrived. Luckily she has a giant brolly, and when I say giant I mean it. We socially distanced huddled under it to eat our cold fries. I didn’t have fries, but.
Maybe being inside would have been nice, and dry. But had we actually went to McDonald’s I wouldn’t have met her cats would I?! And I’m all about the cats.
I went to a restaurant. This one took a bit of consideration, my first indoor adventure where my mask would have to be removed. A slightly pointless trip otherwise.
It was just my Mum and I, who met my uncle. So only one risky intruder at the table. We opted for my favourite restaurant, Namaste Village. Not only is it extremely delicious, but it’s also rather spacious, and accessible. Or so it was pre pandemic.
Parking just across the road I had a good view of the restaurant as we approached. Something wasn’t right. Where once there was a large cement built-in ramp beside the steps to the doorway, there was now…. Nothing.
A staff member was just coming outside, and after asking where the ramp had gone, he informed us that it was removed to make space for a marquee and outdoor seating while indoor dining wasn’t allowed. There is now no outdoor seating, no marquee, and no wheelchair access. We explained that it is in fact illegal to make a perfectly accessible building inaccessible. They are apparently in the process of purchasing a new ramp, and extremely happy to lift myself in my wheelchair up the steps. That wasn’t happening.
After a mini staff meeting they came up with the plan of me going round the back, via the kitchen entrance, where they would awkwardly prop a random piece of wood up a step to create a makeshift ramp and temporary accessibility. Well I’d got this far, I was at a restaurant I was happy to dine in, I wasn’t going anywhere else, and besides, life had been fairly lacking in risky manoeuvres and daredevil stunts lately. I was in.
The place was quiet (we went early for this reason) and the food delicious.
The world hasn’t changed much during my almost 15 month life pause.
The recent going places is nice, but hasn’t been nearly as weird or exciting as I’d expected. The seeing people was great, just what I needed. The open air, the greenery, the freedom. But the shops were the same, the McDonald’s just as much of a let down, and accessiblity still as big of an issue as always.
It’s all the same really.