lifestyle, Musings, Wheelchair life

It’s All The Same Really

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.

But pretty.

A photo of my garden. There is a stone bird bath with water fountain spraying up. It is surrounded by bright coloured flowers and plants at different heights. It backs on to a brown wooden fence, and bright blue sky can be seen just above.

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.

A view of the rectangular lake surrounded by paving. There are waterlilies in the lake. A grand band stand can be seen at the end in the distance and the sky is bright blue.
Looking through the trees into the park. There are not many people around, there is lots of green space, a smooth path and blue sky.
A close up on clusters of bright pink flowers on a large tree.

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.

Am image to pin. Title text It’s All The Same Really is at the bottom in grey text on a cream background. The same photo of Eaton Park lake is above.

16 thoughts on “It’s All The Same Really”

  1. Wouldn’t it be great if along with the increased accessibility provided by pandemic Zooming (though not to everyone, of course), in-person places would have given greater thought as to how to accommodate people? I hope your fave spot gets that ramp back soon. I have also thought that the whole going out thing is less exciting–and more tiring. I am happy to no longer have to sing in a mask at church. That was tricky. Happy Summer, Gemma!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You’d hope all the extra time and refurbs being done, that access might improve too. We shall see when I ‘get out there’ properly.
      Masks are still a legal requirement here, well for the next week anyway. I must admit I’m concerned about ditching them. Although I imagine singing in one is difficult! We’ve not been allowed to sing either, at funerals even. It’s ok to at the Euros though, even in pubs…

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’m definitely keeping up the masking at grocery stores and other crowded places where I’m hanging around (and not singing). I don’t miss the frequent colds I got before COVID. And…I’ll be looking for your access assessment when you really get out there. Hopefully these new sneaky variants don’t pose too much trouble. Ugh.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m very glad you’ve traversed to the other side of your front door safely and that you’ve enjoyed some time in the garden, too. I’ve bloody loved the warmer weather we’ve had and the chance to remove a few of the excess layers of clothing. I’m hoping those warmer, sunnier days return soon. It’s great you’ve been able to see your nieces as well.

    Eaten Park sounds lovely. The shop with the unmasked hooman not so much. I’ve been going out throughout the pandemic and being painstakingly careful, but on every trip there’s been at least one instance of a ‘covidiot’ and then stress levels rocket.

    You’re right about how the pandemic makes us think outside the box. I think it also shows that we can adapt to change, even if we can’t picture ourselves doing it. A small silver lining perhaps.

    You’ve braved a Maccy Ds. And a restaurant. Wow! I can’t bring myself to do outside food and drink yet. I keep wondering about people breathing on it, then I wonder if I’m being irrational. I think my marbles fell out a long time ago. I don’t know how well these vaccines will have worked for my dad on immunosuppressants so I don’t know if it’s safe enough, but I know the efficiency of vaccines is something a lot of people in the chronic illness community will be concerned about.

    Namaste Village is a cool name for a place, even though it doesn’t sound all that zen during the current period of inaccessibility. I think you missed a trick there though. You could have had a couple of staff lifting your chair up like some princess before winging it through the door, all without a helmet or crash pads. I don’t know why you didn’t find that idea appealing.

    I’m glad the return to the Great Beyond hasn’t been too much of a shock to the system. My mum thought the same when we went to the corner shop recently. Like it was strange, but not as strange as she’d expected.

    I’m waiting for the day I can stop dousing all the groceries in Dettol. I hope it’s soon because I’m starting to think I might never be able to stop myself doing it. I’m going to get a tool belt and fill it with antibac wipes, Dettol sprays and hand sanitizer, then whip the Dettol out like a quick draw pistol fight in a Western movie.

    I hope there are a few more trips out you can do safely over the next few weeks and months. Seeing friends and loved ones will be good for the soul.

    xx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m still waiting for the warm days to return, I love them too. Feel so much healthier and motivated.
      I didn’t actually venture in to Maccy D’s, I don’t do that at the best of times! But it was good to bring a little variety back in life with eating out at the restaurant. Weird but not weird, too.
      You’re not the only one with a few marbles missing, I do wonder about the effectiveness of the vaccine on people with various conditions. No two bodies are the same. And how I reacted to flu last year, even with the jab, it’s still concerning.
      I’m imagining you out on the twin with your to belt now, zapping people if they get too close!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I think progressions have all halted too. We went for an outdoor meal last night- first in aagggggeeeessss! No indoor dining yet of course. The staff were rude and I would frighten you if I told you how they served us. Let’s just say we were asked if we wanted forks.
    Yes. Forks.
    I love your pictures though – Norwich looks lovely. And your garden🌻🌻

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Thanks for sharing this with us…some of us take for granted things that you can’t, and having an accessible entrance destroyed to make more room outside is very unfortunate…here in the US, there seems to be a trend toward allowing restaurants to continue to serve outside…in LA, that means virtually year-round…even though I was “one and done’d” with J&J in April, it’s still weird to be around others without a mask, but that is what’s happening here tomorrow…we will see! Glad you are safe!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. We are still all required to mask here, even those that are fully jabbed. Not that I mind for now.
      The outdoor dining is happening a lot here too, safer with the virus. However streets filled with tables and chairs is also difficult to navigate in my wheelchair. There will always be some compromise to do. But unfortunately it’s the minority that tend to be left behind.

      Like

  5. That’s shocking that the unmasked person thought it was acceptable to lean over you, and I’m sorry to hear the ramp tale. Some things really don’t change. Still, I’m glad you’ve had some adventures and been able to catch up with friends.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think there will always be people that don’t consider those around them because they’re too focused on themselves. And as much as I hate to say it, access is forever going to be some form of obstacle.
      It’s good to finally have that little bit of socialising though, and normality. Be it a normality I hope had improved.

      Like

      1. Yes, when I was out and about with a guide dog, I was forever getting pedestrian rage because of people who were too self-absorbed to give her space, sometimes coming close to treading on her or hitting her on the head with their bags. The short time I spent on crutches also showed me how poor some people’s spacial awareness is. Today I had a coffee with someone not from my household – these little things that we may have thought nothing of in the past are suddenly feeling like something completely new again!

        Liked by 1 person

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