Despite the Goldfish losing so much weight we continue with our regular outings to give the step-monster her respite days.
A friend lent me her late father’s wheelchair while we wait for the one social services say they will provide. I take the Goldfish down to Threave Castle just outside our town to see the Ospreys, which are nesting there.
The gates along the path are a bit of a nuisance but we eventually work out an effective method. I stop the chair, open the gate away from us, the Goldfish pushes it further open with his walking stick then as he removes his stick I rush through before the gate closes.
From time to time the Goldfish offers to get out to give me a rest! I assure him it’s no bother – though it is much harder work than I anticipated. The path is supposedly ‘accessible’ but I don’t think many wheelchair users make use of it.
As we round a bend and the castle comes into view, it’s worth the effort as the Goldfish is delighted, saying he’s never been so close to it before. I vaguely wonder if I could get him into the wee boat which ferries people across but dismiss the idea as daft. We move on to the Osprey viewing platform where volunteers have set up a telescope trained on the nest across the river. We are very proud to have ospreys nesting here and Wee-sis and I are regular visitors in the evening, as are lots of local people so it is quite a social outing. At first the Goldfish can’t see anything but once the telescope has been adjusted I hear him exclaim and know he has seen the bird on its nest. He looks round at me, beaming with pleasure.
We return to the car park – it is harder work going back as there is more uphill work but we manage. Great workout for my arm muscles! A large banner advertising the Ospreys is hanging outside the visitor centre. The Goldfish reads it out aloud then says: “Ospreys, my, they would be something to see.”
For our second wheelchair outing I took the Goldfish out for lunch and then to Kippford, an attractive little village on the Solway coast popular with tourists and yachtsmen. This time we had his new social services wheelchair, which came very quickly. I have to say our local social services have been great, especially the CC – we struck lucky when she was on duty the day the referral for the Goldfish came through.
I parked the car, heaved the chair out of the boot, attached foot-rests. I then re-attached foot-rests correctly – have never learned left from right. I extricated the Goldfish from the car and into the chair then discovered the seatbelt was under the cushion. Tried again and this time was successful in strapping him into the chair.
I pushed the chair across the road to the pavement side but I couldn’t get the chair up the kerb onto the pavement. An elderly couple walking past came to my rescue. I thought the man, who looked older and more physically frail than the Goldfish, would have a heart attack. I thanked them profusely and set off.
It was a nightmare. The pavement was not flat but had a steep slope on one side so I was constantly fighting the chair’s inclination to veer towards the road. At least it was fairly warm and dry and the Goldfish could admire the boats in the harbour and comment on the fact they would ‘cost a few pounds’. A few thousand, more like. At the top of the village we had a much needed ice cream before returning to the car. This time, I stayed on the road as much as possible so I didn’t have the constant strain on my arms and back. I should soon be super fit, pushing the Goldfish in his chair.