After six months of working, sleeping, and not leaving the house, we’ve all been due a staycation. For me, work has been such that a sustained period of ‘time off’ wasn’t going to happen, so I’ve had to make do with the odd day out here and there, and a lot of time in bed reading. I know, I was always such a wild child…
Having moved up to Yorkshire two years ago from London, I am utterly delighted to be able to explore the countryside properly, and whilst my legs may not be up to miles of hiking, my ‘Merida’ (my WHILL Model C) and I still delight in taking on fields, tracks, cobbles and pretty much any other terrain we can find.
Last month, I shared how my mother had finally joined me in also getting a WHILL, leading to many races and general double takes from passers-by. Luckily for me, my parents live in Derbyshire, which is *almost* as pretty as Yorkshire (sorry Derbyshire), so I’ve been able to try and make up for the many months of lost time when we weren’t able to see each other by going to visit some glorious National Trust properties such as Keddleston Hall, which has a series of lovely ‘walks’ through forests and over fields.
If you follow me on Instagram, you’ll have seen us taking these on, whilst my poor dad struggled to keep up with his Nordic walking poles – I maintain he just felt left out on the mobility aid front, so got himself some kit. We made up for leaving him for dust by making it to the ice cream stall just before closing, and a real benefit of powerchair use presented itself; with only one hand needed to steer, I had a hand free to carry ice cream! Amazing that’s not on the brochures, to be honest.
In all seriousness though, it is still a scary time for many of us, and we are left balancing our very reasonable fears with a need for human interaction and fresh air. Whilst going to the pub or a restaurant may understandably seem like too risky a step at this stage, and anything indoors involves facemasks and all the challenges those can pose (mask-acne is a real thing); having the ability to get outdoors and explore our amazing countryside has really helped my mental health and enabled me to see the people I love without worrying so much about the risks of proximity to other households.
It’s a whole new kind of freedom, thanks to my Merida; (and Morgan, my mum’s WHILL).
Finally, Merida and I popped up in the Yorkshire Post this month, talking about my new role as deputy leader of the Women’s Equality Party, and why I fervently believe that we need more disabled people in politics. You can check out the article here.