The home straight

Not the best sleep ever, but saw my kids going to school for the first time in 7 months. 

Yes, I’m home for a 3 day weekend, having been taken to a talk last night in Wimbledon, by Frank Gardner, the President of The Ski Club of Great Britain. 
Frank was shot, whilst working as a journalist/ correspondent in the Middle East in 2004 ( I think ). 
He’s a low level incomplete paraplegic now, so had feeling and limited leg use, but, he said, lots of pain in his legs. 
Obviously a public schoolboy, Frank was in good company in front of this particular audience. Corduroy trousers and Barbour jackets were plentiful in the crowd. 
It was apparent to me how few people there made eye contact with me, and how the lady that ‘greeted us ‘ talked to Jerry ( with me )  about the disabled facilities, rather than tell me about them. 
It didn’t offend me, but it was a little odd. 
They didn’t know that 7 months earlier id certainly have been the fittest , probably the tallest, and maybe the best skier there… 
Aside from Frank, who stood with a Zimmer frame, I was the only Wheelie there, and I sat at the front. 
Frank thanked me for coming, and asked  ( publicly ) if I’d tried skiing yet. 
I explained that I had – as possibly the only guy to have tried it whilst still in hospital – and said that by Day 2 I was fairly flying. In my short delivery I explained that I was being ‘tethered’ by a guide, then somehow managed to blurt out ‘ if the f’ing F’er had let me off the leads I’d have gone a lot faster’… There was a short murmur of laughter followed by an uncomfortable silence. 
I think it’s fair to say that I’m probably the only person to use the F word twice in 2 seconds in a public speech at the hallowed premises of the 110 year old Ski Club of Great Britain…..
Frank didn’t ask me any more questions. 
Roy, Jeremy and Ian then took me away to a gastro pub –
which was really, really good, sitting us in a dark corner so I couldn’t shock anybody else. 
Ian then completed his all day long volunteer driving duties by taking us all home. Thanks Ian, top job buddy. 
I also saw Terry Rodham  yesterday – about 2 stones lighter than he was – he’s training for The Welsh Ironman race in aid of my charity – and looks about 10 yrs younger for it. 
And I saw Tele for lunch – Tele ‘s an old mate and a Greek. A ‘man’s man’ traditionally, he’s one of those that has surprised me with his level of sensitivity and thoughtfulness since my accident. 
He came to see me in Toulon in July and has been regularly since. Always great to see him. 
I’ve also seen ‘Mad’ Nicola, her lovely friend Sam, who brought me dinner on Wednesday, and Kev and Sally who cooked and served a fantastic shepherds  pie, and also my Uni buddy, Adam Sharp, a real laugh as always. 
So I’ve had a full week you could say, and when I go back to Stoke Mandeville, I’m being moved to a single room. 
Wow, a bit of privacy for the first time in 5 months. 
Party time? Who’s in?

3 thoughts on “The home straight

  1. But don’t get me wrong, everyone
    There were a few friendly faces there, and Frank himself was a good bloke.
    It was a fun night, and glad I went.
    I suppose I’m generalising, but so far, it would seem that the younger people are, the more at ease they seem with the wheelchair thing.
    Time will tell, I guess. 🙂

  2. Hello there, one of your customers here. I passed your Feltham shop today and the staff seemed to be quite busy. I was thinking that I could be a spy for you. I could visit your shops and see what is going on. LOL. I could report back to you. Sorry to go on to another subject. I have always quite liked the idea of working undercover and being a spy.. This could be my chance. Love x x x x Agent M..x x x x

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