Last year at about this time of year, we took our two getting-on-in-years mothers to south Devon for a week. One being 90 and the other 94, neither is particularly mobile and both have their own little foibles [don’t we all?]:
- “I like a single bed”;
- “I like a double bed”;
- the settees must be high so they can get back up again (modern ones aren’t, of course);
- neither can handle steps well (just like Daleks), nor a steep slope, come to that (unlike Daleks);
- bedside lights must be bright otherwise they can’t read (most energy-saving bulbs are too dim);
the list goes on.
Challenge #1, which Francine indefatigably rises to, is finding suitable accommodation. That’s not easy since most places are geared up to families.
Challenge#2, a puzzle I must solve, is getting all the required travelling paraphernalia – two rollators, set of crutches, walking stick, toilet booster seat etc. – into the car such that we can also cram in four pieces of luggage. Somehow, I managed it.
This year, we decided to go for a repeat performance, this time in Cornwall. It’s a few years since we’ve been to Cornwall. Francine once again gamely sets about finding suitable accommodation and, after about a week of effort, finds a candidate. “Has it got a sea view?” Arghhhh!
Finally, the day of departure is upon us and we’ve gathered a mountain of stuff to stuff into the car. If only I could remember how I solved the puzzle last year! Actually, this year I have two additional little items to cram in: Francine’s camera rucksack and tripod bag, as if there weren’t enough to carry already. After a couple of false starts, it’s in and we’re off.
I was in one of those cruise-along at-lorry/truck-speed moods – it makes the driving less stressful and, I like to think, more comfortable for my aging passengers (the mothers, not Francine). Cruising into Cornwall takes about five hours so naturally a natural break is needed. We pulled into our favourite M5 southbound service area.
Challenge #3. Getting our mothers to the toilets requires the rollators. The rollators are necessarily behind everything else so before they can be extracted from the car, I first have to unload four pieces of luggage, one camera rucksack, a tripod bag, crutches, walking sticks and a toilet booster seat. Off roll the mothers. Four pieces of luggage, one camera rucksack, a tripod bag, crutches, walking sticks and a toilet booster seat must then be returned to the car before everything can be left securely. Finally, I get to join the rush for the toilets.
Much relieved and with two hours still to drive, we settle down to our first Cornish pasties for lunch. We even found a table outside in a peculiar commodity called sunshine.
Now repeat challenge #3 in reverse: unload four pieces of luggage, one camera rucksack, tripod bag, crutches, walking sticks and a toilet booster to make way for the rollators; reload four pieces of luggage, one camera rucksack, tripod bag, crutches, walking sticks and a toilet booster seat – if, of course, you can remember how they went in.
We arrived in Cornwall at Fentrigan Manor Farm, our chosen accommodation for the week, with that ephemeral sun of ours still shining. If our year runs true to form, that will be the last we see of it.