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MMF - Keeper of Mustelids, with added P.M.A., is now in a relationship.

It's been a while since I posted anything serious here, for which I apologise. Life has rather taken over. In fact, it is just as well that I'm not working, otherwise I'd not fit it all in.

So. What has been happening?

Firstly, I was <goodluck) enough to be given a mobility scooter last July by a family friend. Needed a bit of attention, but meant I could actually get to cover more than a kilometre a day. This was a real benefit, especially as it meant my girlfriend didn't need to drag her knuckles on the ground like some Neanderthal. It also meant that we could get out and about more as, being a travel scooter, it could be taken on the smiley - bus, train and tube.

It's first real try out was going around London doing the Bookbench trails. This put it through it's aces and showed that I'd been sensible getting a spare battery for it, as the Greenwich trail killed the battery very quickly. Without it I'd have been stranded at the observatory. Primrose Hill was also a trial too. It couldn't cope with steep slopes or hills.

It also meant that when I went to my annual holiday in Broadstairs, to my Dad's for Broadstairs Folk Week, I could both get to events, and spend more time with the family. The last weekend was also my G/f and I's first anniversary (Is that English? smiley - huh)

October - January was another trail, this time it was a trail of London's new Routemaster buses, decorated to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the London bus. Not full size buses, but 1m high scale versions. These were placed in different areas of London, on dedicated routes. It was so good to be able to complete trails, unlike previous ones where I'd be too tired and would run out of time.

At the same time was the Paddington Trail. This was another fibreglass art trail, of Paddington Bear, to promote the Paddington Bear movie. This was great fun, and as usual, a number were't there when I went looking. This was the main cause of my tiredness on previous trails. smiley - goodluck my GG friends would post updates on social media to cut down on time hunting, and also whether they were disability friendly.

It was around this time that my G/f became fascinated with The Battle Bus. This is a restored 1914 Type B bus that actually went to the Front in WWI, carrying troops. Over 1,000 were built and deployed by General smiley - bus company. so we happily went travelling following it where it went. The best was a weekend in Brighton for the Veteran Heavy Goods and Commercial Vehicle run. A soggy day but we missed most of it, thankfully. We saw it on quite a number of occasions subsequently, and my G/f was smiley - biggrin when sitting on it, or chatting to Tim, the driver, and Cattriona, his 2IC.

And then there was another trail. This time in March, again promoting a movie. Shaun the Sheep.This was a trail of 50 Shauns again dotted around London.

Another great jaunt around London. So set off on Thursday 30th March. Managed 5 sheep, then catastrophe. The scooter broke down at Leicester Square. Not just a temporary break.A terminal one. No power. The drive had gone. Worse, the rear offside wheel kept locking every 2-3m. My poor G/f really struggled pushing it from there to Trafalgar Square so I could get it home.

Now came the fun. Attempting to get a new scooter in time for Easter as my G/f had taken time off so we could get out to do all the Shauns. The one I had ordered was the Shoprider Wispa.

It didn't work out that way. I must have bought from the company previously and they were attempting to deliver to my old flat. It eventually arrived 10 days late, so put paid to our Easter. Luckily it took the same batteries as my previous scooter, so it saved a little. However it was slower and more unstable than my previous model such that I 'capsized' it twice and, eventually, had to return it and get a totally different model, but one that was faster, more stable and had a greater range, so opted for the Pride Go-Go Traveller LX.

I don't use the basket, and have a mirror, lights and anti-static strip fitted, as well as carrying a spare battery. However I didn't get this until later. Read on.

It now meant I could complete the Shaun trails. smiley - somersault

May led us to Bristol, and the 2nd part of the Shaun trail. This involved 70 Shauns, but over a greater area than the ones in London. We had almost 3 days to complete it. A tall order.

Our first real trail was in Ashton, in Somerset. We followed the trail, as laid out, only to find it was taking the long route, all uphill. And yes. I ran out of juice 100m shy of the golf clubhouse. And it was a warm day. My poor G/f was once again employed as Sherpa, pushing it to the club house3 with me holding on behind. Once there (around 30 minutes of stop-start pushing/crawling) we made it. Thankfully the proprietor very kindly allowed us to connect to the mains and get some power into the beast.

After an hour we headed off again to Clifton Suspension bridge. Here I was head down, staring at the pavement and cursing the dawdlers/ gawkers that were getting in my way. I do NOT like heights. At all. So no photographs of the Gorge or the River Avon. Managed around 7 Shauns before she died again. This time, we man-handled her onto a taxi and got her back to the hotel. It was then that I decided to spend £130 on a spare battery. We managed 46 of
the 70 Shauns, but luckily all 120 will be at Covent Garden, so we can round up the part of the flock we didn't see. Hate not completing these trails!

May was also when my G/f went on her annual holiday to Japan for 2 weeks. And no, I don't go with her. Too expensive, not overly interested and it is her holiday. I'd slow her down, with many areas being inaccessible, and she deserves a break from me. But smiley - goodluck there is Skype!.

A couple of years ago, whilst visiting my regular haunt, Royal Botanical Gardens, Kew, which I probably visit around three times a month, I chanced to meet up with a crowd on a Treasure Hunt, which they won. Afterwards I met the organiser, who asked if I'd be happy to help him in setting.checking the clues. So during June and July I was out checking them, weather allowing.

Then, in July, we visited the G/f's father both to see him, and also to slay another trail. this time, Go, Go, Dragons. I didn't have my scooter this time, but did avail myself of Shopmobility. A great help. Another completed trail, with the massive help of the G/f's father.

And there were two other trails to follow, this time celebrating the 800th year of the Magna Carta, with Barons. One was in Salisbury, where again, I availed myself of Shopmobility, while the second was Lincoln.
The Salisbury one was tricky, as it is very hilly, and one part, that I wear not allowed to use their scooter on, was Steep Hlll. And it was true to it's name. Unfortunately it had to be tackled as there were two Barons half way down. It was very hairy. Not the hill. But scary. I had to put the scooter at it's lowest speed, feet out and gently coax it down. The pavements had large smooth flags so occasionally the scooter would skid, while the road was sets/cobbles which are extremely uncomfortable to drive over, and cause the bladder to become very uncomfortable. Halfway down we found the Barons, but in such a place I couldn't photograph them. Enter my assistant, the G/f. Unfortunately the second half of the hill was too steep for the scooter, or at least, I wash't prepared to risk it. This meant getting the scooter, and me, onto the road, as there was no drop-kerb. Thankfully there was a family with two adult men in the party, so by leaning on one, and the other and his wife carefully pushing the scooter into the road, we managed. The rest went without a hitch.

The Lincoln trail faltered before we'd even left King's Cross as the train we were booked onto was defective, and entailed a change at Newark. Unfortunately the link for the Newark-Lincoln train only worked once an hour . There was another train going to Newark, but arrived as the Newark-Lincoln train was leaving. Thankfully Virgin kindly laid on a taxi to carry both of us, and the scooter. Lincoln is a small city, so I didn't need to avail myself of Shopmobility. The weather looked inclement but cheered up as soon as we left the station. Had a great time, but would have liked to visit for longer. Much better than Salisbury, that seemed fairly bland for a big city. far more to see in Lincoln.



August was another trip to Broadstairs and Broadstairs Folk Week 50th Anniversary, and my 49th There was also the Sculptures in the City trail. This was the 5th trail to be arranged, including works by Damien Hurst and Ai Wei Wei. The latter was very hard to photograph, and we went on a day when the skies opened and in 10 minutes I doubt we had an inch of dry clothes between us.

Another trail was 5 Rugby Balls in and around Twickenham. Theses were decorated in the colours of the four home Nations, and a fifth with Try-It on it. Unfortunately I could't find a link, only the Richmond planning application.

So that is the bulk of the excitement I've been having.

However all has not been fun.

My mother has been diagnosed with a combination of dementia/Alzheimers, so there have been visits to the Big and Little Houses (aka Hospital and Dr's surgery). On top of that, she was also diagnosed with lung cancer. Due to her history of heart attacks the former cannot be helped with medication, and the latter meant surgery was out, but smiley - goodluck radiotherapy cleared it. Unfortunately she now has intense pain in the lower left side of her abdomen, which may be another cancer. Awaiting further tests. Myself? I have been diagnosed with tendonitis in the right shoulder, plus smiley - tennisball elbow and, ironically, fiddler's elbow in the right elbow. This has probably been caused by my walking cane, and exasperated by the paddle on the scooter, so on Co-Drydamol in the morning, and Co-Codomol in the evening, plus Ramipril for high blood pressure, and Ranitidine for reflux.

With my Mum and I paying visits, as well as sorting other things like Power of Attorney etc it has kept me busy.

Just to put the cherry on top, I also had to sort out my ATOS claim, plus monies the Council said we owed (which they thankfully backed down on) and now I have my PIP tom resolve as my DLA expires in January. smiley - sadface

So, as you can see, I've had a very busy year.

And apologise for not being about much, particularly for not using Trello, or staying in touch. I would very much like to get back to being involved with the h2g2 artists, and finish some of my entries that are incomplete.

I'm hoping next year may be a little quieter, but I'm not too optimistic.

I do post on THAT other social media site, purely because it is quick and easy, as well as the odd Twit, for those interested, and hope to be back soon.

smiley - smoochsmiley - smoochsmiley - smoochsmiley - smoochsmiley - smooch to all.


smiley - musicalnote

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