Friday, November 25, 2011

Walking Frames and Wheelchairs

On the third Wednesday of each November in Britain it is traditional to take your oldest and wrinkliest relative to the nearest garden centre. Had my male staff known about this quaint custom he wouldn't have suggested another day for a trip to his mum's favourite garden centre to buy some winter pansies. As it was, we were all crammed into his car. Me, my male staff, my male staff's mad sister, their mum and mad sister's long suffering hubby. It's amazing how many people you can squeeze into a FIAT 500. I must admit that getting my male staff's mum's wheelchair and walking frame in as well was pretty tough. Mad sister's long suffering hubby was driving and all things considered he did very well to get us there with a walking frame leg in one of his ears, while peering through the spokes of the wheelchair. Still, it was only twenty miles and we didn't run over anyone important.

We arrived at garden centre at the same time as seven other wrinkly containing vehicles and it was a race to get the handicap sticker out and make it into one of only six handicap parking spaces. It wasn't pretty but at least the local panel beaters will have enough work to keep them going for a few months. Then it was a mad scramble to get my male staff's mum into her wheelchair before the others because we knew there would be a race to get to the tearoom where there was only room for six wheelchairs. As it happens we were quickest off the mark. This was due to us having our own wheelchair, so we had a head start while the other wrinklies fenced viciously with their walking frames, desperately competing for the free loan wheelchairs that the garden centre provide. One poor old soul had his colostomy bag punctured while standing next to his son's work vehicle, then the shit really hit the van. So, while they were cleaning that up we made our way to the teashop and tucked into our lunch. I rode on my male staff's mum's lap while my male staff pushed her wheel chair. Fortunately I had a carrot to distract me and calm my nerves as my male staff doesn't have a great track record with wheelchairs.

Amazingly the rest of the visit passed without major incident. I had fun chomping on passing leaves, though some were snatched away from me. I assume these were either poisonous or that my male staff wanted them for himself. We purchased the required winter pansies and piled everyone and everything back into the car to begin the journey home, this time with mad sister at the wheel. Not surprisingly we hadn't got very far when the poor old FIAT 500 coughed, farted and burped. Come to think of it, that may have been either my male staff or his mad sister. In any case we ground to a halt with a resounding "Bollocks!" from mad sister. Post profanity she leapt into action, dialling the good old AA on her cell phone. That's the Automobile Club by the way, not Alcoholics Anonymous, though she is equally familiar with both. My male staff says he remembers when AA repair men wore a smart uniform with a peaked cap and they saluted motorist members of the AA in military style. Two hours after mad sister's phone call a spotty teenager in greasy overalls turned up. With him came a kilo of metal face furniture and an attitude that said "I hope you bastards realise you've disturbed my cocaine break." At last he stuck his head under the bonnet/hood, fiddled about and finally emerged looking even greasier than before.
  "Well?" Mad sister asked.
  "Shit in the fuel pump." Replied the youth.
  "Jesus Christ!" Said mad sister. "How often am I supposed to do that?"  

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