For the first time in what feels like a very long time I went out into a public place which honestly felt a little strange to begin with after all this time isolating. I’ve only had two days out prior to this day during lockdown – the last one back in August so it’s certainly going to take a little while to get use to things again. I went to a beautiful country park called Rufford Abbey with my mum and sister who had been out in public a handful of times. I forgot how pretty and scenic it was there, we even found some blossom trees which are perfect signs of spring. We were very fortunate to have a break in the weather for a few hours and have not only sun but some warmth following a week of typical rainy English weather. Nothing like the May we had last year. By this time last year, we already had numerous barbecues and picnics in our garden.
I’m typing this at the start of both ME Awareness Week (the chronic illness I have and also why I’m wearing blue heels in the photo) and also Mental Health Awareness Week. Being inside for so long, like a lot of people, I think we are ready to get back out for the good of our wellbeing. I know I certainly needed these few hours of not only fresh air, but a change of scenery too. That being said, I think its only natural to feel a little anxious about going back out, socialising once more and getting back to some form of normality. On the way to the park, we were talking in the car how weird and different it was when social distancing, masks and all the protocols came into place but how all of these lifting will feel even stranger. On May 17th, another milestone in lockdown lifted and a personal milestone too as I had my second dose of the vaccine. We’ll be able to go eat out, go into people’s homes, hug our loved ones and even start booking in for exciting things like theatres again. Just in time for my second lockdown birthday. This is very exciting but a lot of people may be feeling quite nervous so I think that’s important to keep that in mind.
One thing is for sure though, I know I’ll have my trusty WHILL Model C ready to take on whatever the next few months bring my way. It was my first time taking my WHILL to this park and the terrain certainly is varied including fine gravel but like usual, it handled it perfectly. The only surface that wasn’t so fun were the cobbles, but I think all wheelchair/mobility scooter users understand what I’m talking about. It made light work of them but wow does it shake, rattle and roll! We got an ice cream from the parlour there (masked up) and I opted for the tub instead of cone as I didn’t want to shake it off. Overall though, it absorbs more of the shake than my previous chairs so I’m not complaining.
Little kids often look (as adults do too) but the kids often ask, “why is she in a chair” and this day was no different but one little girl asked her mum, “how does she move?” which is certainly a new one and it really made me smile when I overheard her. I move with the power of WHILL technology and I think it is a pretty awesome way to move. It truly is a pretty incredible design and piece of kit, now that I’ve got one myself, I don’t know what I’d do without it. I was thinking about how the little girl wondered how I move and I think that she was left a little bit puzzled when she saw me because she couldn’t see anyone pushing the chair. Not only that but combined with the WHILL’s sleek and stylish design along with it being a lot smaller and less bulky than your usual powerchair perhaps it just isn’t as obvious. You see the person first and foremost rather than seeing the chair.
I love how the WHILL looks and the fact that it is super stylish. I would say it adds to my style choice, not hinder, distract or take away. For me at least, it adds. I feel so confident when I go out in my chair; I feel so comfortable and proud which at the end of the day is how your chair should help you feel as it’s a liberation not a restriction. An older fellow’s companions asked for details of my chair as they were looking into a replacement for his current manual wheelchair. One of the guys was particularly excited when we informed them that it could be controlled via a smartphone app.
We primarily went out to take photos of a couple of gifted dresses for my Instagram page plus the dress I’m wearing in these photos for a special ME Awareness Day themed post. Any excuse to get dressed up is a good excuse to me and an even better excuse to get outside! Hopefully there will be more opportunities and more sunny days to allow more days like this. I think summer this year is going to look very different to last year’s lockdown version. I hope you all have a beautiful May full of growth and recharge before the summer months of, hopefully, making up for lost time.