“Poppy, Are You Ready Yet?”

Buying a mobility scooter has been a journey in itself. An emotional journey, a realisation that one has moved into another phase of life, the fear of the downward spiral, the reluctance to be defined by disability, an image problem one could say. It was a long and painful journey of approach and retreat.

This journey came to a head while staying on Darwin’s waterfront. We were visiting family, spending precious time with a two year old granddaughter. We made the big step of hiring a mobility scooter. There were lots of smiles at the sight of (I hate to say it) an elderly man on a scooter with a child in a pusher alongside. Interestingly, it was the little kids, the boys, who were most fascinated. They would point it out to their parents. Clearly they wanted one as a toy. Each morning as we set off for coffee in the Darwin Mall our excited little granddaughter would say: “Are you ready Poppy.”

And for me and my husband it was transformative.

We had fun together for the first time in a long while. No more of (as had been our pattern travelling the world) “You go off, I really am quite happy sitting in this coffee shop while you have a look around, take as much time as you want”. Well, that was never going to happen – it’s too unkind to leave a partner sitting there while others covetously eye the table, and the waiters do what they do to try and move people on.

As soon as we came home from Darwin, we continued that journey, off to Dandenong, back to the lovely Joanne to purchase a comfortable all-purpose scooter. My husband was very attracted to the glamour model that I likened to a small car, but fortunately his love of supermarkets tipped the balance towards a scooter small enough to manage the aisle of our local IGA.

It was so much fun and good for both of us. I was walking again, keeping up with the scooter, always a person who needed exercise. I could see that I would soon lose the weight I needed to lose.

We weren’t done there. We had a taste and we wanted more: to restore the lost wonderful experience of Travel, to do things together again. So within weeks we took another journey to Dandenong to purchase a Luggie Travel Scooter. Recently, we took it with us all the way to the UK and France. A friend made a great wrap to protect it during luggage handling and our travel agent helped up to obtain the required airline approvals.

"Poppy, Are You Ready Yet?" 1

In the UK, we stayed with family in a commuter town south of London. We could scoot to the station, take a black taxi from Charing Cross to our destination, and explore our old and favourite haunts again for the first time in years. We visited Northumbria and Uzes in Provence and many other places.

Yes, as we were warned, our Luggie has no suspension and the cobblestones were a challenge. Yes, I had to lend heft to the struggling battery when the hill was a bit steep. When we remembered to take the charger, we were able to top up while we had lunch in a cafe or a drink in a bar. No one minded sharing their electricity. I gave thanks daily to the ‘Master of the Universe’, that at 73 I could still lift the scooter in an out of the car. More often than not there were willing helpers, including my husband.

Would you believe, he still spent a lot of time sitting in coffee shops and wine bars? The town square in Uzes is an absolute delight, and he fits right in. Besides, like most men, he loathes shopping.

“Poppy, are you ready yet?” Yes we are. On our way.

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