In New York

In New York

Monday, 6 October 2014

Plums, Persuasion and ‘Puga does Everything…’

September brings a holiday and a family visit

Time for a Catch up - Part I - We Holiday in Dorset

I think the holiday in Dorset was a success. For a while there it was touch and go, and there were definitely some hairy moments in the beginning, but it turned out well. We were pretty much in the middle of the countryside and basically right next door to a farm so the quiet was broken only by the whinnying of horses and the gentle lowing of cattle. At night we could actually see the stars. Roch and I sat in the garden and watched swallows soar and once we saw a sparrow hawk glide. A neighbour brought us succulent Victoria plums just off the tree. It felt a long way from busy London. 

In the evenings we heated up one of the freshly prepared organic frozen meals supplied by Manna Kitchens and settled down to watch an episode of Orange is the New Black. Tom and Kate showed me the YouTube phenomenon known as ‘Puga Does Everything’, which records the adventures of a pug dog called Puga/Maya (who actually can’t really do much at all) in their continuing campaign to persuade me to adopt a pug into the household. These YouTube videos are accompanied by a catchy tune which is still ringing in my brain. ‘Puga does everything’ sings - er - Puga. Much hilarity generally ensued as we observed Puga attempting to stir a cake mixture or make a horror movie (my personal favourite).
I blame myself for #hairymoment1. Tom and I had crossed the courtyard to the building which housed the heated splash pool. Bliss. Just the two of us, horsing around, racing (he won every time), playing pool volleyball…Kate had stayed in the cottage with Roch. Tom and I called a halt to the frolics reluctantly when we remembered there was no mobile phone signal and headed back across the cobbled courtyard through the sunshine. We entered the cottage in the nick of time.

Now, I should have mentioned that the hoist provided was, indeed an ‘Oxford’ hoist but what I failed to realise was the importance of having an Oxford standing hoist. I thought we could use just about any hoist. Rookie error. Don’t judge me. When I saw it first, I saw that it was different but I thought we could make do. So Kate had tried to make do in my absence and had manfully done her best with our sling and their hoist but it took the three of us to literally grab him and manoeuvre him safely onto the toilet. The hoist was seconds away from toppling over with Roch still attached, in the sling. It only took one use of the hoist to show me what a potentially serious mistake I had made. It shook us all and I really regretted it. I felt I had put Kate in a terrible position, and I had certainly put Roch at risk. Happily, no harm was done and with the help of the proprietors of the cottages and the wonderful Jane at Pluss, a standing hoist was in the cottage by 9am next day, Sunday.
Kate and me on The Cobb
So Sunday started well. This was the day we chose to visit Lyme Regis.  I myself was keen to visit Lyme and walk on the Cobb. For all you Jane Austen fans out there – which of you could resist seeing the mediaeval steps from which Louisa Musgrove jumped and fell upon the Cobb? Looking in the guide books under ‘access’ it is clear that Lyme is a very hilly place but the fact that the seafront has level access gave me confidence. Unfortunately we couldn’t have picked a worse day to visit. 
There was a music festival and the only parking to be had was in a car park outside the town, at the top of a hill. We had been driving round the town for ages and were all hungry and stressed but we parked up and attempted to enter the town on foot. I say attempted as it soon became clear that it was going to be a dangerous business getting Roch’s wheelchair down to the seafront. In fact, we had to call a halt to the procedure. We then realised that the hill was too steep to allow for the wheelchair to return to the car safely. 
 #Hairymoment2. Well and truly stuck. Off I went, toiling up the hill in the heat, to retrieve the car. We decided to make one more attempt to find parking down by the seafront. I drove into a tiny car park, which was full. My heart sank. How on earth was this making Roch feel? I couldn’t believe that we might just have to drive away from a town because he couldn’t enter it in his wheelchair! How much easier would it have been if he could have walked along with us, through the town and down to the Cobb? Out of the corner of my eye I spotted the solitary ‘disabled’ parking space in a corner, occupied by a small passenger van. The back of the van was open and I could see a young man inside. With a fervent prayer I asked Tom to hop out and ask if he was parking or leaving. Yes! He was preparing to leave. What a lucky break. It wasn’t long before we were sitting at the edge of the beach, eating delicious fish ‘n chips. With a cold beer for Roch, in no time the day had been retrieved. I don’t think anyone who isn’t disabled themselves or who doesn’t have some experience of caring for a person in a motorised wheelchair, can possibly understand the difficulties and frustrations involved in simply trying to do what everyone else takes for granted.
By the way, in spite of all, Lyme was lovely – a real seaside feel to it. Strolling along the seafront in the evening sunshine with our Mr. Whippys – what a treat. By the way, when I saw how steep and treacherous those steps are, I had to shake my head. What a foolish, headstrong girl Louisa Musgrove was.

Roch enjoys some real ale at the wonderful Udder Farm Shop restaurant

Check out the following if you are thinking of taking a break in beautiful Dorset:  Accessible accommodation in beautiful, peaceful surroundings, run by the charming and helpful Ann and John Heath

https//  Delicious pre-cooked, frozen organic meals and desserts  Just - 'Yummy...'  Equipment hire in Devon and Dorset. Excellent, friendly and professional service.

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