Saturday, 28 August 2010


I love shopping…. Oh I do so love shopping.
Not the b o r i n g supermarket shopping, or the sort of shopping where you must come back with something specific, like a birthday present for great aunt Gertrude… I mean real shopping: clothes, shoes and/or handbags. Actually forget the and/or…. Let’s just go for the “and”!
There’s the excitement of waking up in the morning, knowing that an expedition is planned… that luxurious moment when you snuggle under the duvet, planning what it would be best to wear. Matching underwear, obviously (and I don’t mean making sure the saggy-elastic, droopy, much-washed-grey knickers go with the fraying straps and safety pinned bra) I mean proper matching stuff. Then you've got to find something you can whip on and off easily in a changing room frenzy, and not woolly socks in case you find that gorgeous floaty, filmy dress which makes you look like a goddess that you’ve been looking for all your life…

Ok, here you are, ready to go… and this is when reality hits. I’ve just remembered. I hate shopping now.
I hate the fact that I can no longer go shopping alone. Yes, it always was much nicer going with a friend, someone to giggle with about how daft you look in those lycra cycling shorts, but it isn’t so much fun when you have to go with someone just to help you get your wheelchair up the steps in less enlightened premises, or where the kerb has a car parked just in front of the only bit that slopes down for pushchairs and wheelchairs to gain access.
It isn’t so much fun when you spend 20 minutes driving around before you finally manage to park in an empty disabled bay because all the others are occupied by someone not actually displaying a valid badge, then not being able to get to the lifts in the car park because the door into the lift area opens outwards and you cannot reach the handle anyway.

I hate shopping now; there are just so many shops you actually can't get into because the doorways are just too narrow, and if you are wheeling yourself you lose the skin off your knuckles on the door frame. Then there are the shops that have displays in the doorway that mean you actually can’t get down into the body of the shop (The Works is dreadful for this).

I hate shopping now; You can never actually see the majority of items on sale because they are displayed so high up, or you cannot manoeuvre between clothing rails because they are so close together you’d have to have a wheelchair that does the squeezy thing like the Night Bus in Harry Potter.

I hate shopping now, because people always seem to drop clothes on the floor, that then get caught in your wheels, and you can’t go forward or backwards, and couldn’t even reach the clothes to pick them up, unlike the person who dropped them (Primark is dreadful for this)

I hate shopping now that people apparently can’t see you all the way down there and walk straight into you, then glare at you as if you should have taken evasive action despite the sheer unmanoeuvrability of the iron sided chariot compared to their workable two legs!

I hate shopping now that you can’t try on anything you do manage to find, because you can’t actually get into the changing rooms. They are either too small, so that you might get in there, but you’d spend all your time with your nose pressed up against the far wall, unable to turn around once in there! If you could move about, the rails to hang the stuff on are all so high up again, you’d have to be an ace basket ball player to stand (Oh, to stand!) any chance of getting any clothing onto the hooks. So there you are, clothes draped over your lap and nowhere to put them (obviously the floor is out of the question as you’d never be able to pick it back up again!), so how do you try on the rest of the stuff? Sometimes there’s a chair in there, so you can put trailing hangers on that instead while you squiggle and worm yourself into your item of choice. You can never actually see what it looks like however, cos the tiny mirror is behind you, showing a fab view of a wheel chair encased bum!

I hate shopping now that when you have finally succeeded in selecting something, and you need to queue at the Please Pay Here point… you have to wind along the barriers
that turn sharply and are too narrow to fit a wheelchair comfortably.

I hate shopping now that when you finally reach the front of the queue you can’t get to the till to pay for it because there is a huge pile of goods surrounding the payment point which means the closest you can get the wheelchair seems to be in the next county! If you are fortunate enough to get close to the till…. You can’t reach the counter anyway!

I hate shopping now that I always end up feeling like a second-class citizen.

I hate shopping.

Monday, 23 August 2010

Some People are never satisfied!

Well, as some of you may know, the big five-oh is swiftly approaching. I’ve tried hiding behind corners and even considered climbing a tree to confuse the scent (not easy in a wheelchair!), but every time I look over my shoulder, there it is, doggedly following my every move. Relentlessly stalking, with a predatory stare in my direction.
So, I took a deep breath and decided to face up to it, to stop running away and to confront the beast. I looked into its greedy yellow eyes, squared my shoulders and took a deep breath, announcing firmly “My name is Siân, and I am nearly 50”.
Right, now that I’ve accepted it (doesn’t mean I like it, of course) then the next step is doing something about it, right?
I’ve perused the Internet, choosing an appropriate surprise birthday gift from my family… a beautiful silver moonstone necklace, a mere snip at …how much??? Mmm, not really that special after all, is it …?
Now… celebrations. Does one go for the intimate meal à deux, soft music, flattering lighting, obsequious waiter and unintelligible menu, followed by an even more outrageous bill? Scratch that one then.
Maybe a select group of close friends and/or family at a local restaurant – although then there’s the question of who sits next to who, problems with chatting to the person at the other end of the table, who’s driving and who’s drinking, old resentments leaping out as the wine flows faster... Maybe it would be better getting together in the comfortable surroundings of our own home instead. Scratch that last… think of all the tidying up and cooking beforehand, and the cleaning up and sorting out afterwards. We'd probably never get the stains out of the dog!
Maybe a huge surprise party…. Get hubby to hire some place somewhere, and invite everyone I know, then pretend to be surprised when my intimate meal à deux turns out to be a very public repast à deux hundred!!!! Oh no, just imagine that, all the people I have spent a life time trying not to mix together… all there together, telling gleeful tales of what I did when I was 4, regaling each other with stories of how I got kicked out of Guides, it’ll destroy my image of smart, sophisticated career girl…(Mind you, that image only exists in my head – in reality I’m fat, frumpy, jobless in a wheelchair and now fifty to boot!!).
Thinking about it, I realise that I do not actually want to celebrate being fifty, having attained half a century on this earth… half a century, can you believe how long that sounds, how old that makes me feel?
No, no, no! None of the above scenarios please. I absolutely do not want any form of acknowledgement whatsoever of this impending doom. Not a single balloon, banner or badge bearing the joyful proclamation “ Birthday Girl” or worse still “50 today”. I do not want a birthday cake, burdened by the weight of fifty candles; I do not want pats on the back with comments such as “Fifty eh, how does it feel?” or “Fifty is the new forty”. I’ll tell you how it blooming feels… ****, and as it happens I liked the old forty, thank you very much. In fact I still haven’t got used to being thirty, if it comes to that…. No, I hereby declare I do NOT want any of you to treat this day differently to any other… perhaps with the exception of a little chocolate cake (no candles) just as desert or something, but with no singing or anything… is that settled. Okay, thank you.

Just got back from holiday to find a letter from the hospital… My operation has been arranged for the 11th November. My birthday is on the 12th…

That means I’m going to wake up post operatively, on the morning of my 50th birthday, on my own, no balloons, no cards, no banners or badges, no pressies or hugs, no party, no get together, no celebration or going out, no romantic meal with hubby, or knees up at home with friends, nobody singing while I’m cringing … My birthday plans are just totally RUINED!!!!

Site Meter