Sunday, 12 April 2015

The Journey to the Lakes -Travelling with Heni

I’m finally here in the Lake District, sitting in the holiday cottage we have hired for the week, on the East coast of Lake Coniston, Cumbria. I think I’ve just about recovered enough from yesterdays travel escapades to begin to put words in type.

Somehow we always seem to have something “fun” happen to us whenever we go away. We once got a tree dumped on our villa during Hurricane Charley in Florida when we took the kids to Disney. Another time we got stranded at sea in a boat in the dark, when we ran out of petrol (again strangely on another trip to Florida!?) Yesterday on our journey here we had a smaller… but probably equally stressful, memory building incident, on the M6 motorway.

 It’s not easy traveling with Heni at the best of time. For starters, whenever we travel with her we need to take LOTS OF STUFF. It usually takes about a week (if not more) to pack and prepare. There is not only the luggage of everyone in the party (nine of us)…but there are the extra bits like Heni’s wheelchair, her all terrain buggy, her portable oxygen concentrator, batteries, tubing, numerous cylinders of oxygen as back up for the journey (here and back). Then there is the nebulizing machine, her medicines, the vita mix to moulix her food, extra blankets and bedding…. need I go on? That’s only the tip of the ice berg. Sometimes I wonder if the effort is all worth it.

Only a small amount of the STUFF we put in the car!

Supply of oxygen cylinders for the journey there and back.

Beginning the packing....(Please BOC can you provide a better way for me to transport Heni's cylinders?)

 Anyhow, somehow we managed to pack it all in to the cars (3 in convoy) and headed out up the M1 and M6 on our journey up north… a journey that on a good day should take not longer than about four hours.

We set out about 9.30am and at 9pm last night we finally rolled into the cottage, mixed emotions in place.

Grateful to have not been the ones in the six car pile up on the M6 only a few miles ahead of where we were, but stressed because of the road closure, sitting on the motorway for hours... and the toll that sort of endurance feat has on Heni.

As is usually the case my thoughts and fears go in to overdrive, trying to predict whatever outcome should come to pass and be prepared for it.

When you are sitting stationary on the tarmac, in lines of back-to-back traffic, you don’t know how long you are going to be there.

Should we keep the engine running and keep the concentrator on and use up all the fuel? 

Do we put her on the cylinders and hope we won’t use them all up?

Will we be able to get off the Motorway if she were to take a turn for the worse? 
She’s getting tired of sitting in her chair and needs to sleep…what do we do? 
What about he oxygen delivery to the cottage …will they leave it if we are not there?

Will we miss the Sainsbury’s delivery and end up having no food? 
Will the cottage we have chosen be suited to our parties needs when we do eventually get there?

Heni on the other hand, oblivious of the potential downsides, was as chilled as ever.  She was a little superstar. She enjoyed the fact that she could get out of her chair and have a sneaky cuddle with dad.  

                               She even quite liked trying to drive the car.

Luckily the other kids were traveling in the other cars and so we had spare seats that we could make in to a bed and stretch her out and let her lie down. SHE had about an hours sleep!

The other kids pulled the truck bed on the landy (Land rover) down and started playing a game of Uno, enjoyed the party atmosphere and the novelty of the situation. 

When the traffic finally got moving again we continued on our way… another two hours of driving ahead of us. As we traveled in to Windermere and approached the waterfront (the first sight of the lakes), the frustrations and set backs  of the day dissipated with the breathtaking view.  

By the time we got to the cottage the oxygen delivery was waiting for us and even the Sainsbury’s man had changed his delivery schedule so that he could arrive after we did.

After almost 11 hours on the road (a long time for us Brits!), three service station stops for feeding, changing and refueling we finally made it here…

Tired from the day but... happy that at least we were in one piece. Worth all the effort? ...Always!


The Motorway service stations/rest stops inspired me on another blog coming up soon.....join me in my rant on "Inalienable rights?"

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