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  • Writer's pictureClaire

9. Trying another Train Journey ...

Updated: Nov 25, 2023

Two weeks after returning from my idyllic trip to Jamaica Mildred and I were headed to Manchester for Tikaani’s, mummy’s Hen weekend. To say I was apprehensive is a major understatement. I was still recovering from the flight home from Jamaica and was totally exhausted. It also involved a lengthy ‘train journey’. Now we all know how my first train experience in a wheelchair went… not well at all! So, as you can imagine, anxiety levels went through the roof and I was tad concerned. The upside to the trip; it was with with people I knew, and so I would be in good hands with my bestie in charge for the weekend. When we worked together, we had some epic shifts but that is a whole new blog in itself!

With my Jo looking after me I felt pretty safe. Thankfully, the train had ramps for me to get on and off and the staff were brilliant. Given there was a gaggle of alcohol fuelled females on board they were incredibly tolerant. The train’s final stop was Manchester so there was no massive rush to get me off, which, given the amount of prosecco consumed by all was no bad thing. The prosecco was purely medicinal you understand.

We were booked into a Premier Inn, which was a short walk (well, ride for me) from the station. I love a Premier Inn because they are somewhere you can always guarantee a good room, with a comfortable bed, the accessible rooms are also generally larger than a normal room. I do feel rather grand when I have lots of parking space for Mildred and all my baggage.

The Hen day theme for fancy dress was Alice In Wonderland. Jo and I went as Tweedle Dum and Tweedle Dee, because we would obviously be joined at the wheelchair for the day! The day had been planned with military precision. It consisted of a cocktail making experience, which was followed by a meal and ending the night in the Manchester Bird Cage Nightclub. The cocktail making was a little difficult to access, as it was up a flight of shiny wooden stairs. I made my way up on all fours - so very dignified and embarrassing. Mildred followed me up shortly after ... carried by a Barman. (that option was offered to me too, I felt Mildred's needs were greater than mine!)

Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum enjoying the fruits of their labours ...cocktails

The minor stairs hiccup served to make me quite self-conscious, far more than the fancy-dress costume! Thankfully, there was only the Hen party at the cocktail making class and the staff involved were lovely, which always helps! The meal went off without a hitch after I’d got down the stairs on my ass. The table was a good height for Mildred. Meaning I was able to get close to it and I wasn’t sat so high up I had to hover over my food.

A lot of ‘on-lookers’ gathered in the nightclub. We had changed into black dresses to go, so I foolishly imagined people wouldn’t notice me. Wrong again! It appears a lady in a wheelchair in a little black dress, 'dancing' is something to be stared at. However by the time we’d been in there an hour or so I became oblivious to their rudeness, and had an absolute ball chair dancing.

despite Mildred and I being subjected to numerous stares (rude) chair dancing is definitely a thing!

The Sunday was a free day and much as I would have loved to have spent the day in bed with a hot water bottle, that was not an option. so instead of traipsing all around Manchester, we decided to hit Primark. My bestie and I love a bargain and we ended up spending the whole day there. Well apart from when we had a delightful afternoon tea in Debenhams. It was all giggles until we realised that the numerous large paper bags, we had filled with goodies were going to have to be transported home on the train. Good job there isn’t any weight restrictions with British Trains we’d have failed them. Epically.

The best bit of the weekend ??? Well, that was being on the right train home surrounded by people who loved me and I’d not ending up miles from where I needed to be on my lonesome!

Having tried a Train journey again I came to the conclusion that trains are actually not so bad after all... It’s just automobiles I have serious problems with. I’m hoping that one day that will ease, and I can enjoy a trip up the motorway. Who the hell am I kidding … no one enjoys motorway driving!!

The next installment is a cheap two week, all inclusive break to Malta with my son. If you’re interested to hear how that went, then please pop back, it's not a marathon read at all. It is however, a good excuse to make a nice cup of tea, cut a huge chunk of cake and put your feet up for five. Much love as always Flairey. x

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