Alison, Jack and I were joined by Steve on Wednesday for our `st-roll` and as the weather has taken a turn to the colder side of the temperature scale and because Jack is not allowed inside the Stonemasons, we decided to try a different place to have our lunch. We came off of the cycle path a round a mile or so from where would normally leave it for the Stonemasons at Donyatt Halt. Donyatt Halt is the old platform from when the railway used to be there, and Donyatt has a cracking little old pub only probably a quarter of a mile from the platform which is very handy. No problems with me getting my wheelchair inside and of course, they allowed Jack to come in and lay down which was nice. The food was good, the menu was not as extensive as the Stonemasons but that is to be expected, but the Steak and Kidney pie I had was fantastic so if you find yourself in that area then I can recommend you having some food in there. We stayed talking for a while after we had finished our meals and then `st-rolled` back to the bungalow for a cuppa.

It is a little frustrating now pushing on the cycle path. I know where certain prominent objects are and to that end you know how far you have been and what is coming up. it is not much like exercise any more either to be honest as you can’t keep a constant pace on the chair because of camber and slope. Don’t get me wrong, it is nice to get the fresh air but it would be great to be able to keep a pace to gain a CV workout which would not only help me loose some of the circumference I have put on but also get out to different places. Something that does go round in my head is how many times I used to run down the cycle path and also the speed at which I could walk it. A question that rolls around is why can I not go faster, after all, I have wheels. Pushing any kind of distance always gives you too much time to think about things which can, if you are not careful, start to get you down. This will be my third Christmas in a chair, the first was me in a hospital bed in the front room of our old house which was hard, I don’t mind admitting it. None of the whole sneaking around associated with Christmas eve as that has been taken away from me, not having the kids run in and jump on the bed with excitement which whilst some may say I was lucky to have avoided, it is what is an important part of Christmas when your kids are young. That is just two of ┬áthe things that spoilt Christmas 2011 but I had to appreciate the fact that I was actually around to enjoy it.

Christmas 2012 was in the Bungalow, our first one here obviously and we made it as good and special for the kids as we possibly could. we had a real tree which the kids had chosen after visits to several garden centres. They had some great presents from “Father Christmas” and from us aside forom those from other family members, we had sold the house and were able to splash out a little with some that we had put back for that purpose. This year we were hoping to have had some kind of a result on my insurance case from my accident which would mean that we would have been able to have a pretty good Christmas and whilst it will be a better Christmas than a lot of people will have as there is always someone worse off then yourself, it will not be the one that I was hoping for. Again I can not help thinking of how the other party will clearly have a bad Christmas from financial hardship due to not being able to work. Oh no, my mistake, they were not injured were they so situation no change. I believe I may have mentioned in the past that I find it disgusting that the law of the land states that you must have insurance to protect persons or property from injury or damage in the event of an incident and yet there is no law in place to protect the persons or property from the insurance companies from ignoring the responsibility that they have. I have come to the conclusion that insurance premiums are simply legalised theft. They know you have to have it and they therefore can charge what they like and indeed charge ridiculous amounts of money for you to cancel the policies you may have with them as they appear to make their own rules. Anyway, rant over for the time being.

I have tried to do some floor to chair work in my home but I can ┬ánot for the life of me seem to be able to get it right. I can’t quite get the technique right which is really frustrating. I honestly thought that I should be able to remember how it was done and continue to practice until such time as I got it sorted but this does not seem to be the case. I learnt a hell of a lot in the four weeks I was able to get at Stoke Mandeville but had so much to try to fit in it was inevitable that bits would be forgotten. Jo did a hell of a job and I was fortunate to get to be able to do some rehab there, again the thoughts of “If only I had gone there first, things could have been so different” do go on in your head. It will be back to Youtube to watch the floor to chair transfers again to remember how to do it I reckon. I have the theory it is just the practice, I struggle with my legs, even though I strap them together I end up fighting with them and they end up falling over which is a bugger when you are trying to get yourself upright and `balancing` on them. Time I think will be the key here, as I said, Jo worked so hard to get me to be able to so many things which was amazing, I had a `wish list` when I was there and I did not think I would do any where near what we achieved so I can’t complain really.

Tomorrow, (Saturday), in the evening is the Sjt’s mess Christmas do which I am looking forward to. It will be the last one as part of the battalion due to the changes. My Wife is unable to take me though and so I have asked Dobbsy if he he minded taking me, he gets the meal and drinks and although it is a free night out for him, he unfortunately can’t drink. Today though, I have spent most of the day in bed with a raging headache and bunged up. A distinct lack of energy and motivation which has been a real pain in the arse but I can not miss tomorrow evening’s doo as it is the place where I get to see old friends. As we will no longer be part of the battalion from April I think there is only one more opportunity to see those who are not senior ranks, and that will be at the battalion skill at arms meet, the shooting competition. As I am unable to deploy in to the field on exercise any more, I don’t get to see anybody so I am looking forward to that. Something else I am looking froward to is the 17th of next month. Unless anything drastic changes between now and then, I will be going to RAF Brize Norton where I will be doing some familiarisation abseils in preparation for an abseil next year that I hope to be able to arrange for some fundraising. A senior rank from the Royal Marines and his team are going to set the equipment and test/rehearse. Then I shall arrive and be briefed. Then I will be put in to the harness and they will teach me what I need to do and I will practice. The paperwork and organisation that the guy has had to do to allow this to happen is no small tasking for which I am really grateful, but none of this would have come about had it not been for Graham, an RAF Sergeant who I met on one of the aircraft digs, the B-24 Liberator that we did near Lyneham. He spoke about enquiring in to the possibility of this when we were talking about the abseil that I had arranged but which the insurance company would not allow. He went back to work and made his enquiries and I honestly did not think that it would be granted permission but it has been approved and the date is set, and I am very much looking froward to it. I am also looking forward to sharing the experience with you.

Good afternoon all.



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