If asked what attribute I would most like to have, I would probably say “strength.”
Okay, that’s just today,
on another day I might opt for the kind of face which always looks as if you are smiling, even when you’re not. Or the ability to play amazing music like our church’s musical director today who filled a gap in proceedings at this morning’s
service with an extempore interpretation of a well-known Easter hymn on the piano which sent shivers down my spine and caused my friend John and I to instinctively turn to exchange glances of shared wonderment and appreciation.
Today, I choose strength, not mental strength, you understand, but sheer physical strength. Here’s why. Yesterday we were invited to a barbecue with The Neighbours. We always feel extremely privileged
to be asked to join these regular gatherings of family and the closest of friends. It makes us feel, well, special. It was, indeed, perfect barbecue weather and Mr B and I had no other plans for Easter Saturday, having rather worn ourselves out the previous
day, trying to keep up with the Trio of Rampaging Rascals. Thinking about it, I could have done with being Strong of Arm and Leg that day, too. Little wonder that I failed to win the potato and spoon race until Faris the Rascal stepped in to impede the progress
of sister Tala so that I could slip through to the finish ahead of her.
Anyway, back to the barbecue. My main concern was whether or not Mr B’s new,
wider wheelchair would fit along the side passage leading to The Neighbours’ beautiful back garden. In consultation with our Hosts With The Mostest, it was decided to do a recce. But without Mr B on board, as this had tremendous Stress Potential should
the wheelchair be too wide for easy passage. I did have Plan B which was to bring out of hiding an old, narrower wheelchair stored in the garage which we could use if pushed. No, I mean if we were pushed, not the wheelchair - though thinking about it, that
also makes perfect sense. Only I knew Mr B wouldn’t be so comfortable as he would be in the new wheelchair and, unlike me, he wouldn’t be able to hop from one garden chair to another to ensure I could catch up on all the news from the other guests.
Actually, to say I would hop from chair to chair is going a little far, especially as I would be presented, on arrival, with possibly the largest glass of sparkling white wine you have ever seen. Either my doubtful reputation is going before me or The Neighbours
also thought I needed strength.
In the end, our recce proved that there would be absolutely no problem wheeling Mr B and his new, wider wheelchair into the garden,
with just a millimetre to spare when negotiating past the drain. So when four o’clock arrived, there were neighbour Matt and friend Gavin on the doorstep, ready, willing and able to Do The Necessary. Problem solved - and a splendidly sociable afternoon
to look forward to, with the best of company, delicious food and beautiful surroundings.
There you have it - for other people, moving Mr B from place to place
looks super easy. Think of all places we could go, people we could meet and things we could do if Mr B was more of a pushover for me. I have never been that much of a Push-along Expert but, owing to the Still Recovering Shoulder, I am worse than an (Easter)
chocolate tea-pot. Lord, give me strength...
Tomorrow we are setting off on a short break to a Holiday Centre where I am assured all Mr B’s needs will be
met in full, including willing volunteers on hand to push him in his wheelchair wherever he wants to go. It promises to be incredibly liberating for both of us as well as being the first holiday we have had together for more than six years.
I am reliably informed that we will be able to Wheel And Wander through the gardens and down to the waterfront, where we can watch the ships sailing in and out of Southampton. It
will remind us, I tell Mr B, of that long ago holiday in Tenerife when we sat on our hotel balcony for hours with a G & T, watching the Fred Olsen boats come and go.
It’s just a few days but I am sure I will return feeling less tired, more relaxed and even - quite possibly - stronger. It won’t do much for my face or my ability to play the piano - but you can’t have everything, you know.
I feel stronger just thinking about it...