Makes you open your mind to accessibility

9th Jul 2012
My mother-in-law is up at the moment from deepest Devon. She's 87, has most of her faculties but is finding it difficult to walk and her sight is limited. She doesn't complain though. The wheelchair has to go everywhere, and it changes your view about things. You've heard the accessibility people banging on about this and that then suddenly you are up to your neck in bumpy pavements, ramps that threaten to throw her out of the chair, steps that are too high. It makes you think.

We'd like to have gone to a game fair or two. But with a wheelchair it is simply not on. Fields are out of bounds. Grange-over-Sands is another nice flat promenade walk with good accessibility. But they'd been there already.

So we went to Morecambe. Parked at the North end. From there you can walk what must be about three miles along the prom, which has been beautifully developed and easy to use for people with non motorised wheels. Morecambe is improving, but that's another story. On your right as you walk south is Morecambe Bay. Magnificent. On your left are some dreadful sights of decrepit shops but I'm sure it's getting better. Gradually. Stay on the sea side. Literally.

It's a good workout, pushing the chair a few miles. There are some improvements I'd like though, like higher handles because I'm 6'4" and it's a long way to stoop down. The handbrakes aren't that good, though the footbrakes are. On the plus side it's a very light chair and my wife can easily lift it into the back of the hatchback.

We had our picture taken with Eric Morecambe. Don't laugh. We had coffee accompanied by a giant (and I mean giant) custard cream which we shared between three of us, sitting on the seafront. We had lunch in the much improved Midland Hotel; the one where they shot a Poirot TV serial years ago. We watched a very good Punch & Judy and saw a demo of the RNLI rescue service. And we capped it all with an ice cream from Bruccianni's which has been going since the year dot. They still have the same furniture and an amazing interior probably since the 20's.

And the sun shone for a change. All in all a good day for a wheelchair walker.