The Changing of the Guard.

In just over 12 hours I have an appointment with wheelchair services to have my new wheelchair fitted.  If all goes according to plan it comes home with me and my action 3 stays there.  Policy is that wheelchairs returned to them go to the workshop and get refurbished before being reissued.  I doubt they’ll even bother to look at mine because the reality is I use my wheelchairs to death before they get replaced and it’s fit for nothing but a trip to wherever it is dead wheelchairs go when they’ve served their time.

I’m looking forward to it and very hopeful that the new set up will be better for me.  And I’m really looking forward to having a wheelchair cushion for my powerchair and one for my manual again after six weeks of just having one and having to switch it every time I switch which chair I’m in.  I went for another Jay 2 Deep Contour in the end if anyone is wondering.

This is the longest I’ve ever had a wheelchair for – Facebook told me that my assessment for it was 8 years ago this week and it took another three months to come after that – and I’ve been feeling a bit introspective this evening. I talk about how my manual chair is for home (mostly) and I use my powerchair for going out. And I had decided that I’d like to do more going out in my new manual. 

But thinking back over the last 7 and a bit years it’s done a lot more than help me at home. I’ve used at funerals and friend’s weddings. It went to Birmingham for a three day conference, London for an awards ceremony and Cardiff for my sister in law’s hen do. I was in it when I went to the hospital to meet my nephew. It got me on theatre trips, shopping and to many other things. I’ve used it (and abused it), fallen out of it, done many a thing my wheelchair team would disapprove of, been told that the repair team like coming to me because I really use my chairs and they know whatever I’ve done I’ll have enjoyed it. And basically lived.

My chairs are a part of my body. Always there, always working to keep me moving. My powerchair is the hero, the one people see, and the one that does the big stuff. It’s the celebrated one and people worry if I’m not in it.  My manual chair that’s the quiet one in the equation that allows me to live and thrive as an independent woman. But it’s a key role, unseen but oh so necessary.  I need it as much as I need my powerchair and I can’t wait to see where I’ll go with the new one.

A blonde haired toddler having a go at pushing a woman in a green fleece in a manual wheelchair(This is one of my favourite pictures of me in my manual. I went to Millets Farm and having seen his Daddy pushing me my nephew decided he wanted a turn.)

One Summer In Tuscany by Domenica De Rosa

Today I am kickstarting my return to book blogging by taking part in the blog tour for One Summer in Tuscany by Domenica De Rosa. And I don’t think I could have picked a better book!

Patricia Wilson’s carefully composed ads for the writers’ retreat she runs at her thirteenth-century Italian castle promise so much. But while the splendour of their surroundings and chef Aldo’s melanzane never fail to wow the guests, huge maintenance bills and bad news from the bank threaten to close Patricia down. It’s make or break time for the Castello.

Each of her seven aspiring authors arrives with the inevitable baggage alongside their unpublished manuscripts. But this August something is different, and soon lifelong spinster Mary is riding on the back of Aldo’s vespa, and smouldering odd-job man Fabio has set more than one heart racing.

As temperatures rise, the writers gossip, flirt and gently polish their prose by the pool. But with ghosts, scorpions, and some unexpected visitors to contend with, one thing’s for sure: neither the Castello, nor Patricia, has ever seen a summer like this.

I think this is probably going to be a short review because I really enjoyed it and don’t want to spoil it for anyone. In fact you should all just ignore the rest of this review and go buy yourself a copy to read instead.

I will start with two things. The descriptions of the food in this book were amazing and left me really hankering for some Italian food, specifically a big bowl of pasta with a glass of wine on the side. If you can, those would be the perfect things to have whilst reading One Summer In Tuscany.

And as much as I really found the creative writing tutor to be a bit of a “love to hate him” character some of the things he said about writing in the book made me think and made me want to pick up my own long neglected novel attempts.

One Summer In Tuscany was the perfect book to lose track of time with on a warm summer day in the garden. If, like me, you aren’t getting away this summer it’s the next best thing to an actual trip to Italy and I highly recommend it.