Friday, March 7, 2003



At some point in this month, spring arrives. You would never think it here as it's been so cold, although lovely sunshine all day.

Seeing the sun reminds me of the days long gone when Arf and me used to get up early and go to the coast and have a swim in the sea followed by hot chocolate and a doughnut! I think the swimming was really just an excuse for the goodies afterwards.

However, since having the old brain tumour and then being diagnosed with MS, these halcyon days seem to have disappeared - crowds and mobility problems in actually getting down to the sea have put us off the idea and only blissful memories remain.

How many of us rely on such memories to make ourselves realise that we were once part of the 'normal' people who took such outings for granted? Why did we ever give up doing these things? Was it pride? Shame because we are 'different' in our wheelchairs and dependent on our crutches? Or fear that once there, we might fail to actually get near the water, never mind about getting ourselves in it?

So! One day, last Summer, we woke to a beautiful sunny morning, took a deep breath, got in the car and off we went! Having a blue badge for the car made parking close to the sea a doddle! Then it was out with the wheelchair and crutches (which are attached by velcro to the chair!), and down a steep slope to near the water's edge.

Arf got me there quicker than he intended because of the slope but we were there! I used my crutches and with bare feet and legs set off across the warm sand - sinking more than I intended at times! - until I reached that watery heaven!

I felt the water lap against my feet and ankles, the sand seeping between my toes and my crutches sinking once again, this time in the sea itself! I had arrived! The feeling of delight was indescribable - I was free and laughed out loud causing couples nearby to wonder what Arf was really doing! What he did forget was to take his own shoes off and roll up his trousers! So guess who was the wettest!

After a while, fatigue took its toll so we trundled back to the chair and then Arf had to push me back up the slope! He deserved a reward, so a luscious cappucino and a scone with more butter than you've ever seen brought him back to his former self! The grin on my face stayed all day - I didn't need memories anymore, I had the real thing!

I didn't actually swim but I paddled in that water - a treat I'd put off because I thought my pleasure wouldn't be the same. It was 100 times better! Lessening my expectations and feeling more joy because I dared to try is a winner and can't be beaten.

Don't let your dreams beat you! Just be prepared to come down a step or two on the ladder leading to them. Oh! Some really good news! Gwen, who you all know and love, sent me an email telling me she is much better now!

How's that for brightening your day?!