To next door and beyond?

“How about you aim to get out the house once a day,” said Husband. “To get a little bit of exercise? You don’t have to go far.”

“That’s a good idea,” I said, struggling to remember the last time I’d been out the front door. Five months ago? Maybe six? These days a ‘big’ trip means a visit to the back garden. I more or less live in ‘lounge wear’ and have stopped brushing my hair.

Chorus playing

It was a sunny morning yesterday; a chorus of birdsong was playing, the trees shaking out their luxuriant hair as if the air itself was pulsing with new life, new beginnings.

“Have you seen my Zimmer frame, love?” I hated even the words. “Let’s call it the Beast of Burden.”

“Fine. It’s under the stairs. I’ll get it out.”

It took me a while to get down the steps to the front door, even clutching onto the banister. It took even longer to get shoes on my feet.

“Shall we maybe just forget it?” I said at one point, unable to get up off the stairs.

You can do it

“No, you can do this.” He gazed at me with anxious blue eyes.

Could I?

Legs trembling, I clung with both hands onto the rough plastic handles of my dirty old Zimmer frame and tottered to the front gate. The scarf I’d wrapped around it last year to cheer it up looked pathetic, forlorn. Like Christmas decorations in July that you can’t imagine you ever either needed or wanted.

Stopping every few steps to rest and lean more heavily on my Beast of Burden (the Zimmer frame), I couldn’t help hoping nobody I knew would see me.

Eventually, I got as far as next-door’s driveway. And turned round to totter home again. Where I collapsed on the sofa.

I’ve got a way to go.

My aim is to get strong enough to walk a section of the Cevennes hills in France. I’m hoping that, despite my neurological disabilities, I will be able to cover some of the same ground that fellow Scot RL Stevenson did more than a hundred years ago with his much put-upon donkey Modestine.

Just a few small differences. Instead of a donkey, I will be relying on the Beast of Burden and my husband. Money raised will go not to Cevennol innkeepers, but to an MS charity. If Modestine appears along the way, I will do my best to be the one who stays in charge.


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