On my Birthday ‘Day’ my two brothers were taking me out for lunch at nearby Brockencote Hall. A favourite family get-together location, and it was, as usual, a lovely meal in very pleasant and relaxed surroundings.
It was great to meet up with them both, and I had a lovely surprise when Mike came to collect me in the Triumph TR7 which he bought as a bit of wreck from a barn somewhere and has been restoring himself over the last few months. It has been a labour of love, but with a terrific result.
It was his first outing in it, and it wasn’t strictly finished as it was still awaiting the fitting of its new hood, but unexpectedly the day dawned hot and sunny, so he quickly screwed on any missing bits and brought it out for its inaugural run. It was perfect weather, and though it has been many years since I have raced around in an open-topped sports car I have to say it was great fun.
Sadly Sally had needed to pop up to the Farm to sort out something so I wasn’t able to wish her farewell and thank her for all her kindnesses, and though Mike drove us there we had missed her by minutes, and of course even if we had passed her on the road she wouldn’t have recognised us in the different car anyway. So I had to leave without saying goodbye.
After a splendid and rather long lunch it was back to Mike’s to spend the night before he drove me to the airport for the flight back to France. It was lovely having the chance to see the family and find out how my niece and nephew were getting along with the dreaded ‘exams’ and though both seem fairly relaxed about it all I know they are hard workers. I expect they and their parents will be pleased when the stress of it all is over for another year and they can, hopefully, enjoy a laid-back summer.
My flight from Bristol was a morning one, and wanting to be certain we did not get held up in traffic we were up early and on the road well before six, but it was an easy journey down there and we were soon parked up. With my previous experience of Bristol airport I suggested Mike went in search of a wheelchair so I could arrive looking suitably in need, which though improved in stamina, I still very much was. In fact we had made such good time that we both decided a coffee might be in order before Mike departed and I was left to take my chances with the Bristol Airport staff.
Back down at the Disability Assembly Point Mike parked me up and I waved him off. I have to say I fared much better than on my arrival and a super young guy arrived to push me to the check-in point. He had been working at the airport for around a year, and was absolutely loving his job and it showed. My check-in went smoothly and quickly, and afterwards I found myself in a corral with other folk needing assistance, where we calmly and quietly waited.
Now – I am not certain if it was the same guy who supervised the pushees and pushers last time I was at Bristol airport, , but he arrived asking who was for the Limoges flight? – and once again there were five of us. Like obedient school children we raised our hands.
“Okay” “Who needs to be pushed in a wheelchair?”
Hmmmm. Five ladies and gentlemen – all in their late 60’s to 90’s sitting in wheelchairs in a corral marked ‘Disabled Assembly Point’.
I straight away said “Me”
“Its only just over the road – less than 50 yards.” Was the disgruntled reply. But I was having non of it, and probably following my example neither was anyone else, and it was a good job as it was more like 150 or 200 yards, which is nothing when you are fit, but quite an effort when not, plus I would have had my luggage to take care of. I wished I had my cheerful young helper from earlier in the morning.
When he couldn’t get any of us to relinquish our chairs we were grudgingly trundled out to the rusting machine which would fork-lift us onto the aeroplane.
Once again there was a delay in being able to be seated once we were in the aircraft, but this time I had much more standing ability and was finally shepherded down the aisle complete with my baggage which was jammed in the overhead locker for me and I was ready for the flight, which this time I shared with a couple going on holiday.
I have always been proud to be British, well I feel English actually, but my comparisons with the French way of doing things is denting this somewhat. Of course it is all down to individuals and their personalities ………. but………