The first “Grand day out” of 2017…….

So, in the spirit of beginning 2017 with a positive mental attitude, this week was designated as the week for doing things with a smile on my face. We decided to try out a few ‘outings’ disguised as assessing their wheelchair accessibility and with this in mind, off we went to the big smoke aka Cardiff………..

Firstly, the task began with actually getting there; not as simple as it sounds when you’re with a partner who in every other way is a little darling but when it comes to the A470 combined with the Coryton roundabout then leading to the Bay bypass with ACTUAL cars on the road and it’s a recipe for disaster and a minor nervous breakdown! We had the ‘driver’s choice’ music on the stereo for calming purposes, plenty of mints to avoid the dry mouth and the satnav on nice and loud so no mistakes could be made. And apart the moment when we had the unfortunate phone call over the speaker from NatWest bank asking me if I wanted to change my mortgage at the exact same moment as a real plonker decided to try and cut us up on a left turn by the Millenium Centre, we managed to arrive at the multi-storey in one piece.

A bit of calming time was in order for the two of us so off to the restaurants of Cardiff Bay we went. Thanks to the wonderful internet, a BOGOF voucher was on my phone and pretty soon, two glorious plates of food plus two deliciously named Iguana Cosmos cocktails were in front of us. The lovely waitress said she would put us in the window area, obviously because we were the most attractive looking couple there, I put it down, yet again, to the lovely fur headband Father Christmas bought me, it’s soooo cute…….

Once the food was over, it was time for the show. Now if there’s one place in this world that I absolutely love, it’s the Millennium Centre in Cardiff. All the wonderful architecture, the gleaming wood, the wonderful acoustic there, everything, I’ve always loved going there. But for us wheelies too, it’s also a fantastic place to be. The expanse of flat surfaces, no bumps, good loos, decent bars and restaurants and most importantly, really good views from the wheelchair seats. The staff there are also really friendly and helpful and everything is just, well, good! It’s one of my favourite places as it was somewhere I used to go to a lot before, before the wheelchair, in my ‘old life’ and it’s somewhere thankfully I feel really comfortable in now as well. I feel like I’m on the same level as everyone else, I don’t need help for anything, I don’t feel different and in fact i just feel ‘normal’ again. This is such an unusual feeling that I am at risk of getting far too ‘giddy’ and doing a few doughnuts in the foyer and a few wheelchair loops outside the Glanfa Stage! P subtly reminds me that it may not be wholly appropriate as it’s rather busy and people’s toes and ankles may be at risk and cleverly distracts me by moving a chair in the bar so I can just glide in, take a metaphorical ‘seat’ and order a glass of wine.

The show was, as hoped for, incredible, bringing back many a memory for P as the musical was based on songs by one of his teenage favourites. I loved it too and even the encore, which for me is usually the annoying bit where everyone stands up to dance or clap leaving me unable to see, was brilliant. I just made my way to the top of the aisle and did a bit of woo-hooing and arm waving and nobody minded! Mind you, the door attendant did get confused and opened the door for me instead as I think she thought I was leaving; she obviously isn’t used to the enthusiastic wheelchair crazy lady who just wants to ‘bop’ like she used to do!!

With one last roll into the bar (well, why wait outside queuing for the car park when you can wait inside in the lovely warm eh?) we sat and took in the atmosphere that follows such a brilliant night. A few likeminded people sat with us there, all of us chatting with each other about what those songs meant to us and how much we enjoyed it all. Relaxed and chilled, it was a lovely reminder of past days and I really felt like my old self again.

Upon arriving home, it really hit me that there were still things that I could do; I could still go to places I love and I could still enjoy myself albeit with some tweaks here and there. For the first time in a very long time, I ended the day with a smile on my face and a happy heart, it almost felt strange as I hadn’t felt that way for such a long time but it was a real lesson in how to adjust my life and more importantly maybe, my way of thinking, to get the best out of what is now my life.

This weird new life where, no doubt the pain tomorrow will be worse and will take a few days of quiet recovery to be controlled again but which still can be looked on with positivity.

And do you know what? I’m going to do it all again, soon, very soon indeed……….!