My walking frame and the beach

Summer is well underway here in the UK (apparently), and slowly my Facebook Timeline is featuring more and more pictures of my friends enjoying their holidays. Some jet off to far off places and taunt me with the photos of places I’d love to go. Others stay closer home which makes me equally jealous. It has been way too long since my last one, but that’s not the point I’m going to make here. Today, I want to talk about the beach.

Sand, it seems to me, divides people into two camps: those who love nothing more than lounging on the beach all day (and why not – you’re on holiday after all), and the people like me, who can’t stand it

I dislike sand for all the obvious reasons – it gets it your shoes, sticks to your skin after you’ve been in the sea, and blocks up the plug hole when you take a shower. However, it irritates me most of all because my walking frame just doesn’t like it. Place Martha (or any of my other frames, for that matter) on the beach and they just won’t move. The wheels simply aren’t big enough to plough through the stuff, and my wheelchair isn’t much better either. My family have figured out that if they pull it backwards on two wheels then it will move, but it’s very tiring for them so I feel really guilty, especially as the beach isn’t my favourite place to be anyway.

Then I have the option of walking along the shore, but I don’t find that great either. I can do it if I have a couple of people to hold me up, but the thing about sand is that it moves underfoot so I often end up hitting the deck anyway and getting covered in the stuff.  I don’t think I need to tell you how unappealing I find that. I still think I’d dislike beaches even if I didn’t have Cerebral Palsy because I suppose you could say they’re just not my scene, but I think that just makes me even less approve of sand.

Don’t get me wrong, I have played on the beach as a kid, and have some great memories (my personal highlight was the time that a seagull decided to follow my sister). I’ve played in the sea, built sandcastles, and collected my fair share of shells but that was a long time ago. These days, I find that I’d much rather sit by the pool with a good book (or four) and do the odd bit of swimming. The irony is I’d probably get a far better workout trying to stroll along the shore, but hey ho.

The Betsy Chronicles

Betsy and I at my graduation
Betsy and I at my graduation

Before my blue Nimbo Frame Martha came into my life, there was Betsy. She was my silver Kaye Walker. I promised you all that I’d tell you all her story one day and now that day has finally arrived.  If you’re a bit confused and want to find out why I choose to name my walking aids, you can check out this post here. If you want to just hear more about my old one Betsy then grab some snacks, pull up a chair and I’ll tell you.

As I’ve said before, she was given to me the day before Christmas Eve in 2011 and went into retirement last month. Usually these frames last longer than that but she was given to me second hand. I didn’t mind. I got a new frame when I needed it and that was all that mattered to me. I was in my final year at university by this point was making an effort to do as much walking as possible so I made sure we had some good times before we had to go our separate ways.

I like to think of Betsy as my frame of firsts. She came with me on lots of work experience placements, was there on the first day of work at my last job and came with me when I got the bus by myself for the first time. This last one didn’t go so well. It’s safe to say that catching the bus alone is not my strong point, but that’s a story for another time.

Oh, and she will always have a special place in my heart for being the frame that I used to get across the stage at my university graduation, which for me was the most symbolical moment  of my life so far.  It was the moment that me, my family and endless physios and doctors had been working towards all my life to date. People said I wouldn’t, people said I couldn’t and others thought I was just too lazy and would rely on my folks to do it all for me forever, so I upped-sticks, moved away  and went on an adventure to prove them all wrong. In that moment, I knew I’d made it. We all made it, and Betsy was there every step (or should that be roll) of the way. For that, I will love her forever.

My new Nimbo Frame Martha
My new Nimbo Frame Martha

There are a few ways that the Kaye Walker differed from my new frame Martha, aside from the fact that she was silver and not blue. My Kaye Walker didn’t have a seat on the back. This meant that I couldn’t always sit down as much as I would have liked, but it also made the frame a lot lighter than my current one. It meant that my arms didn’t get as tired when I was using it (guess this means I should probably work out more, huh?) and that it was easier to lift it up and down kurbs, and for me to deal with every time I got the front wheel stuck in a pot hole (this happened more times that I would care to admit).

It also means that the frame is less compact and takes uo more room in the car  but it was all still worth it in my eyes. Like I’ve said before I can now take rest breaks as and when I need them, sit down if I need to take notes when carrying out interview and I’m guaranteed to have somewhere to sit. To me it’s totally worth it even if it does mean I have to grow some muscle and buy less shopping on my trips out. In the end it’s probably better for my body and (my bank balance) anyway.