Life, photos but not the universe

wheels and chairs

an unholy combination?

I am not absolutely brilliant at working out how to fold up wheeled gadgets, people for the perambulating of.  On one occasion I had to ask several passers by how to fold Grandbaby’s pushchair to get it back in the car.  We had quite a little pushchair workshop going on in the car park there until somebody turned up who actually knew which button released which joint.

Well, Barney has a habit of  approaching me with a winning smile and a mournful look in his big brown eyes and saying “I suppose you wouldn’t like to …..?”  Sometimes he’s right in his supposition, for instance I can’t really say I like doing stamp pages.  And certainly I wouldn’t claim to feel unalloyed joy and excitement at the plan to take him to the stamp fair in Wokingham tomorrow. But who could resist a hobbling person with big brown eyes?

However I don’t mind taking him as long as I don’t have to spend two hours there myself and a bit of research revealed that quite possibly we could hire a wheel chair to make this perfectly feasible.  So today I went to Newbury and collected a wheelchair.  Not without a certain amount of anxiety about its weight and its buttons and catches and releases.

Rather to my surprise, it was really quite simple to fold up and its bits appeared to detach quite easily. What’s more, although not light, it was a fairly manageable weight and I got it into the boot of the car without too much trouble.  (Not at all like the aforementioned pushchair which seemed to me to have been designed resist any kind of intuitive approach and needed at least an engineering  degree, a manual and several years practice to operate it.  Not to mention the physique of a weightlifter and a back brace to boot).  Of course, it may all be quite different tomorrow when I’m trying to get the wheelchair back together in the car park at the stamp fair and Barney is champing at the bit in his eagerness to wheel himself from dealer to dealer.

The whole thing went very well.   Barney wheeled himself into the school hall and vanished among the stamp dealers’ tables and I trotted back out to the car to drink my coffee and eat my sausage sandwich and then spent a happy hour visiting a young niece and another wandering up and down the length of a chain link fence behind which was a bluebell wood and somewhere in the depths of the wood, a pond.  I thought some quite unfriendly thoughts about rich Berkshire landowners who keep their ponds shut away from the eyes of wandering photographers and considered using a deer track which unfortunately involved a steep bank and a small but muddy stream.  In my youth I would have trespassed blithely and possibly even lithely but knees and things make this kind of thing quite impossible now.  Anyway, people* are quite entitled to stop all and sundry and nosey old photographers from wandering in their woods if that’s what they want to do.  I just wish they wouldn’t.

We are spoilt because our own biggest local landowner, the late Mr Palmer (of Huntley and Palmers biscuits), set up a trust to maintain his vast woodlands and to allow people to walk in them.  And we are also blessed with Bucklebury Common which has the greatest number of public footpaths per square mile in England!  Or something like that.  And out here in the rougher edges of Berkshire, the fences are less obtrusive and more battered and even sometimes subtly enhance a view instead of blocking it aggressively.

Anyway, there’s a fence and a hint of bluebells in Royal Berkshire

And there’s the woods at Grimsbury castle which belong to the Palmer Trust in rural Berkshire.

At least the glorious afternoon sun is free and available wherever you are : )

Now I have to get us sorted to go out.  Barney is having his plaster adjusted this afternoon and then we have to return the wheelchair (it was only hired for the weekend and other people may need it for shopping today).

I hope all your wheels work and your all paths are unwired.

*Even unnaturally rich people who own acres and acres of beautiful countryside**.  I just hope they actually wander about in their own woods occasionally and appreciate them.  And I do realise that they’re really frightened of being overrun with hordes of beer drinking homeless bods and shrieking armies of picnickers, all leaving trails of beer cans and plastic bags. Not to mention youths on mountain bikes and motorbikes churning the paths to mud.  Once or twice I’ve approached owners of woodlands and ponds and gorgeous gardens and been given permission to wander.

**I do hope none of you fall into this category – not that I’d want to deprive you of your acres of course!

May 15, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | 5 Comments