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Thursday, July 10, 2008

Walking, Wheelies, and Wildlife.

The idea for this Blog has been with me for a long time already; at first to incorporate my One Handed Booklet somehow to or in this blog. You see, whatever I intend to do in or with this blog, it will always get back to wheelies somehow.

A short history perhaps:
Living in the beautiful area of a National Park, in the centre of The Netherlands where I was growing up, one could not resist the temptation to explore the woods in which my childhood village was set. It was the ideal playground for me and my sister. And even after my brain-haemorrhage and the intensive rehab, it could not stop me to learn to walk again as soon as possible. This still took a few years.
The fact that I walked to and from everywhere later on, in cities, towns and in lovely natural settings too, my left knee gave up first in 1981 after walking a CNN march in Amsterdam, quite soon after doing one in Bonn. They warned me then to take it easy and warned us that my physical condition would not keep me walking for ever and that at one point I would need wheels again. This was not alarming news to us, perhaps being aware of it helped us in that it did not come as a shock when I kept collapsing in 1994.

And since 1994, I’ve always used my wheels as a means to keep doing the everyday things in my life; going out for walks, enjoy life and most of all, enjoy nature. Unfortunately, we had to leave our previous cottage, Riverside. It had a small, tidal, river on two sides bordering our garden of one third of an acre. Most of which was more or less useless as it would be underwater at spring tides. We did see an Otter basking in the Sun on a boulder in the river, at one point, and we had a Kingfisher living at the river which flew into our greenhouse one day. This gave us the opportunity to have a good look at the poor stunned creature, which was able to leave its box and the greenhouse soon after it had recovered from the shock.

Sometimes I do miss being able to go places where my wheels cannot go, but how does it help me to dwell upon that?

Last year my friends organised a holiday cottage for the two of us for a week, in the polders in Holland, so that we and my mum could see each other again and celebrate our {75th and 50th} birthdays together, something we had always wanted to do because our birthdays are only a week apart. My friends, who only lived 4km from my childhood’s home in the same woods, took me out in the car into the forest, where we drank tea in this little wooden tea-house, situated halfway between their home and my childhood’s home,. Here my mum, sis and I would have a drink before walking the other 2km to go and see them with a basket full with Chanterelle Mushrooms, gathered along the way. Nora would cook us a lovely meal with the yellow mushrooms.
I had not been here for at least 42 years and it was amazing to be back in the round teahouse, which had still stayed the same. Nora then drove us all around the area I grew up, through the forest, the village, and the bogs, Leusderheide, between the village and Amersfoort.
And yes I would have loved to get out of the car and go for a walk here again, but this was not to be.

It is all about acceptance and learning to be content with what Is there, and what you can still do.
Enjoying Birds in particular, is one of the easiest activities for those with restricted mobility. Which is why you often otherwise see bird tables in the grounds of nursery homes.where they can observe the antics of the little birds, hungry for a nice meal. Hospitals should have them too. Watching birds is a lovely activity and it helps pass the time too.
Watching Wildlife is a little more difficult for wheelies, depending on where you live. I should perhaps have stuck to Birding On Wheels as title for this blog, as these are what I see most.
The other wildlife I get to see is Insects like Bees and Wasps, Flies, and then there are the Butterflies and Moths, searching for nectar around the Wild Flowers I see along the road. The Moths which I have found and seen recently were all found inside my house though. Just this morning I found my fifth Small Magpie Moth, on the window sill in the living room, where it had been trying to find a way out but failed
So why did I stick with Wildlife On Wheels and Not Birding On Wheels? Okay, I might not be in a position where I can go and see much other Wildlife than Birds, but Birds is not all that I’m after on my {st}rolls. I plan my route along and to those places where I can not only expect to see Birds, but also Wild Flowers, my other love.
After having had 8 Moths inside my kitchen since January, another interest was born. And hence I decided on Wildlife On Wheels.

And here are a few visitors to the garden this morning, the Chaffinch and Robin hopping just 1metre from me taking pictures of them, the Fennel and a little Moth on the window.

My young Jackdaw, its brownish plumage makes it look like a Hooded Crow hereMale ChaffinchOne of the 2 young Robins


  1. Yoke - thank you for sharing your experiences with us. I only hope that, if I were in the same circumstances, that I would be so positive; as you obviously are.

    Your tales of your "cups of tea" in your tea "roundhouse" brought a smile.

    I'm really enjoying your blog - thank you.

  2. thank you, Tricia; I owe my positive thinking to my mum. after returning home from the rehab, she gave a jotting bloc to me with two columns. She said to write down onthe left what I could not do any more, on the right what I was able to do still.
    The left side grew and grew, and as she knew in advance, left outgrew right!

    I was only nine then, but a list at age 50 would have the same results!

    I will talk about this more when I do a post on The One Handed Booklet.
    but at 9 I already realised that if I did not accept my disability, then no one else would accept me!
    My father never accepted my disability though. He lived in Munich, and I had failed him.
    c'est la vie.


  3. I too am enjoying you're blog and pictures. I like the way you write.


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