In case you can’t tell by the title of this post I have a very love/hate relationship with London.
I think I went for the first time about three years ago, and before that I’d tried to avoid it because the thought of being a physically disabled, not-very-fast-moving girl in such a big and busy city scared me. Oh, and the fact I have no sense of direction didn’t make me feel any better.
Fast forward three years, and I’ve just got back from my third visit there with my family. The thought of being a a physically disabled, not-very-fast-moving girl in such a big and busy city still scares me. I’ve only ever taken my wheelchair and not even tried to take my walking frame yet, but I know that if I ever decide that I want to brave it alone then I’ll have to because I can’t push myself in my self-propelling wheelchair very well.
Doing London in my wheelchair isn’t pleasant; not for me anyway. When I’m sat in it I tend to come up to people’s waists, and when all you can see around you at busy times is bodies everywhere that are far taller than you it can feel quite claustrophobic and makes me very nervous.
However, because I only ever go to London for holidays, I think about all the fun things that I do in London and all the places that I like to go when I’m there like Southbank and Soho and I think ‘yes I like it here’. Until, that is, I either have to find my way back to where I’m staying or to the next place I need to go and the cycle starts again.
I don’t know if I’ll ever have the guts to do London alone, but I do know that I don’t feel ready just yet, and I think that’s okay for now.
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Hello and welcome to Fun Fact Friday, a place where I share facts about myself that aren’t linked to my Cerebral Palsy. Today I’m going to post a list of some of the countries I would like to visit:
These are just a few of them.
Have you been to any of them, pr do you live in any of them?
Sorry things have been a bit quiet around here lately, but there’s a reason for it.
I spent most of last week on holiday in London. It was the first time I’ve been there and I’ll admit that I was really nervous about going because of the size of the place and how busy I thought it would be.
Thankfully, I went with some members of my family who go to London quite a lot so they know their way around fairly well. They’ve been trying to get me to go with them for a good couple of years now and I’ve always refused out of fear of the unknown, but I finally decided that it was time to face my fear and go experience the city first-hand.
I have to say that I’m very glad I did. I took my wheelchair with me rather than my walking frame Martha so that I wouldn’t get too tired from walking and so that I’d be able to see more things. I would’ve liked to have taken Martha instead, but I didn’t want to spoil my holiday by overdoing it.
In the end I was really glad that I did go because I had a really lovely time. I got to visit lots of nice places, see lots of nice things and I found that the public transport wasn’t as bad as I thought it might be once you figured out where you were going.
Don’t me wrong, I didn’t like all of it. Lots of places were really busy and crowded so I don’t think I would’ve liked to try and walk through them. Some people were really nice and moved out of the way as best they could, but the amount of people who stepped over my wheelchair footplates to get past me was also quite a few, and this is one thing that really annoys me because I personally find it quite rude.
One of my favourite days was the day I spent the morning that I spent in a park. My little sister spent ages pushing my wheelchair up and down some humps that I think where there for people skateboards and bikes to use; went with me on the swings and helped me down the slide. Other members of my family helped me do other stuff like sit on a zip wire. I took lots of photos of this stuff so I’m going to do a post dedicated to that later on.
The holiday was nice while it lasted and I think I’ll definitely visit London again at some point.
Getting the bus is difficult. In fact it’s more than difficult, getting the bus is hard. They don’t always have ramps, don’t always sink low enough to the pavement to lift my walking frame on, and there isn’t always enough room to fit her on safely and out of the way of the other passengers once I’m on it. Right now, I’m sitting here and I feel sick because I know that on Monday I’m going to have to face this on my own. I’m so nervous I don’t quite know how to put it into words.
It’s not the first time I’ve got the bus alone, I did it all the time when I had my last job and that was hard at times, but it did get easier once the drivers and regular customers got to know me. This time it will be different because it’s the first time I will have done it with Martha, who is bigger than my last walking frame Betsy was when I used to do it with her. To make things even more daunting for me I’ll be using a bus route I’ve never used where none of the divers will recognise me and the help I need. I’m also going to have to rely on them to tell me where to get off. This is something else that I don’t like doing.
How difficult taking the bus is for me depends on a few main factors:
- Whether or not the bus has a ramp
- Whether or not there is space for me to sit down with Martha in a place where no one will trip on her
- If there are pram/wheelchair/other walking aid users before me (I just have to wait until a bus comes along with a free disabled space otherwise)
- How low the bus dips to the kerb
- How high said kerb is for getting Martha off the bus safely
A lot of these factors vary from bus company to bus company and area too so it’s not like I can develop a strategy to deal with every journey.
It’s not so bad if there’s someone with me who can fold the frame up and carry it on for me but I can’t do this myself and on Monday I have no other choice but to travel. I know that it is a battle I’m just going to have to keep on having with myself until it doesn’t scare me anymore. The more I use the same routes the less worried I get.