Synthetic Substitute

 

 

Notes from a small dog – Black and white

Sue Vincent's Daily Echo

nick-and-aniShe got up this morning and squeaked. She’s not supposed to squeak, but it seemed about all she could manage. She tried a whisper, but that didn’t work out too well either… more of a frog sound… so she’s pretty quiet this morning, though there seems to be a lot of groaning going on. Serves her right for spending so much time on the phone when she should have been playing with me.

That’s bad enough, but there are strange things going on. My boy… the one who has allowed a cat into his life… he seems to have  lost the plot. He’s phoning her  up to talk about the thing. He’s even sending her pictures of the fatuous feline!

Once upon a time, he was all mine. There was no doubt about that at all. Now? It just keeps going from  bad to worse. He’s started whispering when he…

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Trip Up in the Sun

This year has been emotionally gruelling for me. From within a situation, you can become overwhelmed, not knowing which way to turn. I needed to take a step back and reassess my priorities. So, I booked a flight to Tenerife. I cast my mind back to my wish to go travelling so decided to see this as a test run. I deliberately didn’t make plans, no itinerary, no expectations. Was I going to find myself? Lose myself? Only time would tell…

I was waiting for the taxi early Monday morning, around 2 AM I think. I was “bricking” it. I have never been out of the country on my own, much less in an electric wheelchair, which is in itself, quite restrictive already. I’d not slept for some time, so the stress was already starting to take its toll. I only became more nervous when I saw Stansted airport looming. To say I was daunted would be the mother of all understatements. It reminded me of venturing into the corporate world when I had only been a factory worker. I asked myself am I biting off more than I can chew? When I had checked in and was waiting to board the plane, a helpful member of staff came over and informed me that it was unlikely I’d be able to transport my cumbersome electric wheelchair, being that it doesn’t fold down. Brilliant, my test run had potentially crashed before it had even taken off. He explained that he’d see what he could do, so I boarded the plane hoping that my wheelchair would be waiting for me in Tenerife.

When the plane landed four hours later, I got off the plane and my wheelchair was indeed waiting for me. Happy days! I pointed at it to the Spanish staff member who didn’t understand much English. He understood enough, though, to inform me that it wasn’t mine. I had quite a compelling argument as to why it WAS, but he couldn’t understand it. I sat in the wheelchair and firmly refused to budge while he had a debate with his colleagues. I’m not sure what the outcome was, but I managed to “steal” it and get out of the airport, and waited for a bus. For some unknown reason, I’d decided to stay in Santa Cruz at the other side of the island. The right bus came but wasn’t equipped to take my wheelchair. I waited for the next bus and had the same problem. And the next, and the next. I decided to call the local bus station and enquire. They explained that there are only two accessible buses for this long journey, that I’ve missed the first and the next is in a couple of hours. Looking at the hundreds of people going about their adventures freely, and me not even being able to get out of this airport, I was feeling lower than low. Couple that with the tiredness and stress, and I was a mess. When the accessible bus finally came, the driver had to drop everything, holding everyone up, to operate a complicated lift system. He got me onto the bus and strapped me in like a useless piece of meat. This wasn’t what I’d envisaged his trip to be like at all! I got to the hotel after having a meltdown and feeling about as upset as you could possibly be. I was cheered up immediately when I got there and got a much-needed early night.

I did a bit of research and found out about a local beach which had been made accessible. I took a bus (all of the inter-urban buses are accessible) and went to the nearby beach. It was lovely and I sunbathed for most of the day. I got chatting to some people who are employed simply to help the disabled visitors. They explained how they can take me out into the sea. I expessed how I would very much like this and they dumped me in the sea and left. THIS was more what I had in mind!

I went back to Santa Cruz in high spirits and sat “people watching” outside with some rum. I then went back to the hotel, did some more research and made some enquiries. The rest of the holiday became a bit of a blur. I know that I went to see the new Star Wars movie a day before UK release.

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I also went on a tour of Teide National Park. I was able to take some great photos.

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The tour guide said, “Hey, I’ve got a gift for you.” He handed me a piece of obsidian. I don’t know if this is merely coincidence, but from here the holiday became amazing and I managed to make some tough personal decisions. Since looking at the symbolism of obsidian, it is told to remove negativity and help cut attachment cords. This great day was rounded off when I went to take a closer look at the National Auditorium. I thought wouldn’t it be cool if I could see an orchestra play here?
I went in to see if there were any tickets available for anything during the duration of my stay. The girl behind the desk explained that there was only the gospel choir playing within the date range I’d given her. Then added, “The Symphony Orchestra are playing tonight…” Amazing! And they were just that.

I got a reply back from one of the enquiries that I’d made; I’d explained my mobility issues to a company who specialise in paragliding from Teide. They told me it would be entirely possible. I arranged to be picked up from my hotel, armed only with a walking frame. The lead up to this experience yielded this beautiful picture:

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Here is me doing the jump:

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Feeling a sense of elation, I went back to Santa Cruz and found out just how generous this Spanish are with their glasses of rum. I woke up the next day regretting having made this discovery. With the state that I was in, I resigned to just get a replacement case for my sunglasses and go back to the hotel to feel sorry for myself. As I was rolling up the street, I thought I’d heard English sounds emanating from a couple up ahead. Having only spoken to Spanish folk in the manner that you would talk to a baby, I was missing exercising my vocabulary. I stalked them for some time until they sat down by the side of the road, on a shop window ledge. I approached them and we got chatting. They were a couple, Taciana from Argentina, Joe from New Zealand. They explained how they had just travelled across Europe, paid for only by music. They fascinated me, living a life I had dreamed of.

They were currently busking to raise money for a guitar for Joe, which he normally played while Taciana (or Tash) sang. They had a speaker and microphone but the adapter for these broke, so Joe went in search of a replacement. They said I was welcome to stay and watch Taciana sing a cappella while he was gone. I did this.

She sang a Spanish song, and it was beautiful. I could hear her passion for life in her voice. I can hardly comprehend someone going to such lengths, simply to enjoy this world. I then got thinking about how I am only where I am, because people have helped me. It’s time to give back. I approached Tash and told her that I would buy them the guitar. When she’d finished telling me that I didn’t have to do that, she was over the moon and couldn’t wait for Joe to get back. She excitedly managed to give him the good news and he disappeared yet again, this time to procure a guitar. Upon his return, wearing a smile like the Cheshire Cat, we set off so that they could buy me some drinks to say thank you. Joe’s smile didn’t fade, apart from when he started beat boxing and playing his guitar while walking; he had so much music pent up in him. They are my kind of people; we had the best conversation about life. They played me a few songs, some of which Joe had written himself, one which he dedicated to me as it resonated with me. It was called I’m Not Stuck in the System; I’m sure most reading this know that I indeed should be, should have been written off with no hope of life. Of THIS! We went back to the spot where we had met, and they sang with their new guitar, to raise enough money so they could buy me dinner. I loved watching passers-by taking joy from these two, a woman even grabbing the guitar and singing a song! We had dinner and agreed to meet the next day.

When I met them the next day, they were with Bart, a nice Polish chap who was travelling in the same manner. I saw the Law of Attraction at work, as these sort of positive people seem to group together. We all went for a drink and everybody passed the guitar around and laughed (apart from me, I just laughed).

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Then the “guitar grabber” walked past and did her thing. She grabbed and sang. She is filled with an immeasurable energy and love, which is highly infectious.

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She said that she was having a party in the mountains tomorrow, and that we should all come! I said that I would get us all a taxi up there, but the next day she was to turn up at my hotel having procured the use of her friend’s minibus. I went off to the mountains.

That night I saw a side of life I have not yet had the privilege of knowing. It was a group of people, many of whom had never met, whose only motives were to make sure that everybody had as good a time as they did. It was like I had known them for many years, and it was an honour to be accepted in this way. I stayed up till 5 AM, drinking and singing and laughing, enjoying more happiness than I have done in a long, long time. They next day, I was sat on the porch, overlooking spectacular views while the fiesta continued (minus the drinking!) Joe started playing with some beats he’d made from scratch with an app on his phone, which was connected to a speaker. I got excited and asked him to play my song, which I promptly recorded. I can’t believe that this music sprang out of nowhere without warning, most of it being improvised “on-the-fly”. This sort of thing has been happening constantly, but I was too busy enjoying it to be recording. Caution, the following video contains some naughty words (the picture is the amazing view I was looking at):

P.S The guitar get’s amazing!!

My only regret is that I didn’t re-book my flight and stay for longer. I have taken a lot from this holiday. One of the main things I noticed was my differing reaction to the two amazing events of the previous day. I have been recording the summary of the days events using a dictaphone. When describing the epic paragliding experience, I was quite calm and reserved. However, when I was describing the invitation to the party, it started, “OH! MY! GOD!” So, it appears that I get much more fulfilment from amazing people than I do amazing experiences; that amazing people to me are amazing experiences! The other main thing I took from this holiday is a note I wrote to myself, to be repeated to me every day:

Look at the things people overcome to experience this beautiful world. They mainly contend with money, you don’t have to. Instead, you have mobility problems. Swings and roundabouts. You owe it to yourself to not waste this opportunity.


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This has to be my favourite picture from Tenerife – some of my new amigos

This trip lifted my spirits beyond belief and reinforced that there are endless possibilities if you can only dream them.

What is love

 

I was recently asked, “What is love?” I realised then, that I do not know the answer, only that I believe true love should lead to happiness. After thinking about this for some time, I have concluded that this should never be asked in a relationship unless there is something missing. Love is like ageing, it happens to everyone, and is not something you would try to analyse unless you are concerned with what is missing. But what does the “full package” look like?

My ideal is best illustrated by the lyrics of a song by Howard Jones:

Love is letting each other be who we are without fear of censure. Love is not wanting the other to become a clone of ourselves. ‘Other’ offers resistance, pushing us to find what is self. Love is actively embracing our equality and pushing each other to realise our full potential and make our full contribution to the world. Love is facing forward, both fighting for a common goal – both strong, both independent and positively choosing a knowing dependence. Love is always leaving the door unlocked and continuing that love when ‘other’ may choose to use the exit. Love is letting go and wishing well. Love is aching joy. Love is the safe haven. Love is arriving home.

I think Aristotle was onto something too when he said, “Love is composed of a single soul inhabiting two bodies.”

I have a confession to make. I went to see the Trolls movie at the cinema. It’s funny how kids’ movies often have deep and meaningful messages. The movie finished by explaining that you can’t ingest happiness, it is already within you. To ingest something, you take in something external. If love is happiness, should I be searching for it within myself? After all, nobody else has been with me more, through all the good times, the bad times, knows all my hopes and dreams, and has the power to completely change every aspect of my life. So, is love where you combine your happiness with someone else’s, to create an elevated state of happiness? Or does love help you to find your happiness within? Or both?

I would LOVE to hear people’s opinions.

THANK YOU

I cannot properly express the gratitude I feel for the way people are coming together to help me realise my dream. I dream of independent freedom.

I thought freedom would forever be out of my reach. Being reliant on an electric wheelchair is very restrictive; steps become your nemesis, electricity a necessity. The other option is to be completely dependent on somebody pushing me in a manual wheelchair. Both the options will not allow me to traverse rough terrain. Not that I MYSELF am doing any traversing, I am just sat there, motionless, feeling disconnected to the world passing me by. I thought this would always be the case.

I moved down to the coast because I love the sea; I loved walking across the beach, felt connection and relaxation for my soul. After my attack, I had resigned to never being able to do this again. I grew up playing on Ilkley Moor – again, I thought this would forever be out of my reach. I love nature, used to love family outings walking through the forest. But no more. Can you imagine never being able to enjoy the things about this world, that mean the most to you? I have to live with this dark tragedy every day. Until recently, when there was a glimmer of light. Below is a picture of me, taking MYSELF through Ashridge Woods:

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I hired a Mountain Trike for the weekend. It was like a dream come true! I took MYSELF over ROUGH TERRAIN, through an environment I never thought I would be part of again. I only had it for the weekend, so didn’t get the chance to do a fraction of the amazing things I’d like, but the possibilities to propel myself to my dreams are ENDLESS. I need this fantastic piece of kit in my life and thank everybody IMMENSELY for helping in so many ways to make this happen. My mum has set up a campaign HERE to raise funds for it. I have trouble comprehending how generous people have been already, both in donations and in sharing it around. I am eternally grateful. It is so true that “for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction”. Seven years ago, I experienced the darkest parts of humanity. Now I am experiencing the brightest parts.

Thank you.

Awesomeness

Hello strangers!

I know I haven’t been on here for a while. But once I’ve explained why, maybe you’ll forgive me.

It’s been quite liberating, brutally selling all my possessions through car boot sales and eBay. I hope to soon have nothing but dreams and freedom to pursue them.

I’d been forward in stating my intention to go travelling. But let me show you why; I was shown the most profound 5:30 video I have ever seen. Here it is:

It spurred the thought process where I asked myself, “Have I really worked hard to make the most of this miracle I have been blessed with, to sit here and stare at these four walls?” This got me thinking, about how I was surrounded by nice materialistic things. All the things that I have been led to believe that their attainment would lead to certain happiness. But I have them and am not happy.

So, I weighed up my options. Continue with my safe but unfulfilling life, and always wonder what could have been, or face soul crushing fear. Fear of the unknown. But I realised something at this point which made it all okay; if you’re in a situation where you can’t know all the things that can go wrong, equally you cannot know all the things that could go right.

I’ve been quite privileged to be able to look back over a group of extreme situations, condensed over the last few years, and clearly see what has transpired. Applying this life lesson makes me smile even when facing the bitterest, most painful situation. I have learned that if something isn’t going your way, keep in the back of your mind that “life” is steering you toward something better. Remember, though, that it is only steering; you still need to provide the momentum to keep moving forward. Always try your best and believe in your dreams. This mindset has propelled me much further than I ever thought possible, to the start of an unimaginable dream.

On the subject of propulsion, let me fill you in on the amazing discovery I’ve made this weekend. As you may know, I am confined to a wheelchair when “out and about”. Most people can push the rims of these useful devices to propel themselves. Frustratingly, I do not have the coordination to do this.

I am quite exhausted after a weekend of propelling myself through Ashridge Woods and Stowe Gardens. I have hired a piece of equipment to test its suitability and it is simply AWESOME. It can handle most terrains, hills, is transportable (on planes for instance…) and most importantly, I CAN PROPEL IT!!!

Enter the Mountain Trike.

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This is my favourite picture from today. The beautiful catalyst responsible for showing me the life changing video pointing me to my dreams, sat on the equipment that can take me there.

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All change

Sue Vincent's Daily Echo

It doesn’t feel right yet, switching off the alarm clock before I go to bed, but I could get used to it easily enough. The alarms didn’t go off, because I hadn’t asked them to and the novelty of not being dragged from my bed by their screeching is one I appreciate. For the past seven years, it is that ear-assaulting noise that has started my day, seven days a week, apart from my time in the north and the occasional research trip. Today, however, my services are not required.

The past few weeks have been busy ones. While both I and my younger son have been moving and getting settled into our respective new homes, my eldest son has been clearing and decluttering his home prior to leaving it. Nick has mentioned his plans to see something of the world and is busily making his preparations. We’ve worked long…

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DEAR WORDPRESS FRIENDS – I could really do with your help in sharing this around :-)

When I saw her, it was love at first sight. She is very high maintenance though.

When we began our adventure together, my current best friend knew the “ins and outs” of the maintenance meaning me and my new love could just enjoy our time together. Then I fell out with my best friend and learned just how much I didn’t know…

It has taken me until this point to simply get the things and knowledge I need to consider starting her up for the first time. I then began to look into care, maintenance and repair and to say I am daunted is an understatement! Anybody who already knows these things, I take my hat off to you.

For me, this is inevitably a long-term commitment, and one which I fear I cannot honour. I am selling my house and everything in it to explore the world. In addition, the slightest mistake could lead to permanent damage. This is not the machine for “trial and error”.

So I decided to grudgingly part ways with her. She currently resides on eBay. The problem is that although this is an awesome machine, she will only appeal to a select few. Of those people, most will not have the money to begin this relationship.

So, I am hoping to witness some WordPress community spirit in action and would be eternally grateful if you were to re-blog this. I am hoping that if enough people are introduced, she will have a good new home. Thank you.

Source: Custom Super Truck HPI Savage XL with Axial32 RR-1 COMPLETE KIT + ACCESSORIES | eBay

The Beginning is Near

This was just too amazingly relevant not to share (click on the link to see to what I’m referring to). It describes the mentality behind my extreme “dream catching mission” perfectly. I stumbled across this website (by chance?), specifically an article which simply contained a picture and a quote.  Together they make a reassuring and inspirational combination 🙂

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The Privilege of Solitude

There are revelations hidden within your inner Fortress of Solitude

To make the right choices in life, you have to get in touch with your soul. To do this, you need to experience solitude, which most people are afraid of, because in the silence you hear the truth and know the solutions.

It’s very rare to be able to remove yourself from a busy lifestyle, from the copious expectations associated with living. I was way too busy to even remotely consider solitude. But as it’s done so many times before, “life” steered me towards what I unknowingly needed, which differed completely from what I wanted. On face value, it would appear that my life was destroyed. However, I see now that I have been privileged to be able to take a step back from my life, assess it from a detached perspective and make a conscious decision on its direction. I am very grateful for the faculties I have been allowed to keep and enhance. I feel it is now my responsibility to fully utilise them.
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