On holiday

I took annual leave last week, but as usual I was busy. For me, a holiday is no fun when you are sitting around bored. When I got home from Dublin on Tuesday after the Paul Simon gig, I unpacked my bag and repacked it for Wednesday’s trip to England.

O J and I flew to Liverpool on Wednesday afternoon, and received fantastic assistance in both Derry and Liverpool airports. The assistants were good-humoured and fun, and did their job expertly, until they offered me a wheelchair when I got off the plane. When I politely told them I didn’t need it, the woman just guided me and wheeled my bag in it instead. O J was naturally a bit confused, and kept looking at it.

My cousin and her fiancae just bought a house in Cheshire, so I was excited to see it. It is in a lovely quiet area not far from a village, and you can hear sheep from the field beside their garden. Trains also run past, so between seeing them and lots of cats, O J did a lot of barking!! Cheshire is a place I travel to at least once a year, so it is nice to know that O J can become familiar with an area that he will regularly spend time in. The garden is fenced in too, so its the perfect place to bring a dog. And God does he get spoilled when we are there!

I spent Thursday relaxing while Sarah and Rob went to work. They left lunch for me, showed me where the food and everything was kept, and even put Jaws on a laptop so that I could go online. Hows that for service! They have a digital piano that I tried to play, but couldn’t find the plug and didn’t want to knock anything over by searching too much. It turns out that it was plugged into one of those extention leads that goes through the wall, which explains my confusion and didn’t make me feel so stupid!

I went to Barnton school on Friday, to spend the day with Sarah’s class who I had met last year. O J was a star, like he usually is around lots of children, and they were very excited to see both of us again. They were well behaved and under control, well as much as thirty-eight kids can be. The school was a bit manic with inspections taking place, but all the teachers were very welcoming. O J had a quick run around the field outside before leaving the school. Sarah and I took him for a walk, made brownies and had dinner before people came round for drinks. I hadn’t met a few of them before but we all had great fun!

On Saturday Rob watched O J while Sarah and I took the train to Manchester for a complimentary day at
Double Take makeover and photography studio
We had our hair and make-up done and then had some professional photos taken. The staff were all very friendly, and our photographer was a bit excentric! She took us around the studios to different sets, telling us what she wanted us to do, and surprising us by making it less awkward than we thought it would be. It took forty-five minutes and there was an opportunity for three outfit changes, although we only changed our tops and did too. Most of the photos were of both of us together, and before you ask, they were all civilised and modest 😀
We laughed the whole way through and didn’t take it seriously at all, not like other people there. It was something I would never do again, but it was good fun. I just wish I could have had one professional photo with O J. We were there for over five hours, so it wouldn’t have been fair to bring him and expect him to stay with other people for that length of time. We had to wait for over an hour before going into a room with a big screen to view and pick photos if we wanted to buy any. We almost missed our train back to Cheshire because the girl doing the viewing was so talkative, but the silly train broke down and we had to change anyway. We got a huge happy welcome from O J and a lovely dinner with Rob’s mum when we got back.

Just like the journey there, the assistance at both airports was great, and O J was completely relaxed on the plane on the way home on Sunday morning. The only thing I do have an issue with regarding airport assistance is how inconsistent they can be. Sometimes they board people with disabilities first, sometimes last. In Liverpool they have often brought me to sit in a separate area after check-in. It is away from the general crowd, and you sort of feel like you have lepracy or something! Other times I get to sit with everyone else, where people usually come up to talk and keep me company. Finally, I hate when they think they are being more helpful by taking me up on the wheelchair lift thing instead of the steps. I am completely fine with steps and they are quicker, and don’t slightly freak O J out. Apart from all that, air travel is usually great, and in my experience, much more enjoyable and simple with a dog than a cane.

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9 thoughts on “On holiday

  1. Hi Y'all!Oh my, sometimes trying to be helpful we end up embarrassing everyone. Sigh. I wonder if the lift thingy is because that airport is afraid that accident or injury would be more likely on the stair. So many times one accident becomes overblown and companies over react.So glad y'all had a great holiday!Y'all come by now,Hawk aka BrownDog

  2. I've had people try to put me in wheelchairs too at airports-it happens in North America as well. LOLIt sounds like you had a lot of fun. :)I hate when they stick me in those "out of the way" rooms too. It kind of feels unsafe. I've started requsting that they don't do that.

  3. I think many times persons who have never been around a visually impaired person don't realize how normal their lives are. In an effort to be helpful they are often overly helpful. At our guide dog school (I'm a puppy raiser) we have some great instructors come in (visually impaired) to teach us etiquette in assistance. They are some of my favorite classes! Sounds like a lovely vacation!

  4. Hi Y'all,It's me Hawk again. If you get a chance to visit me tomorrow, please stop and pick up your Versatile Blogger Award. I know there are "rules" attached, but it doesn't really matter…just thought y'all deserved it.Y'all come by now,Hawk aka BrownDog

  5. Thanks for the award Hawk :)Alexis that's exactly why I think its so important to do disability awareness training, and I'm lucky enough to be able to deliver that to children as part of my job. I wish there were more oppportunities to do it with adults as well.

  6. JenSounds like you had a lovely weekend! I also agree with you about how you never seem to get the same treatment when you travel with a service dog!Anytime we travel with Clive – airport security or personnel do something different so it was very hard on Murray because we are always trying to explain to him as we go and he hates change in routine! For us, it's much easier to be boarded first because Murray then feels safer and less crowded out by people. Asking us to board last usually means that lots of people are staring at Murray and Clive and that toally freaks Murray out!However, no matter how often we explain about how best it would be to deal with Clive and Murray – individual airports always decide to do it their way regardless!Doesn't stop us travelling though!!take careFiona

  7. Lads I have really had great experiences. The worst and most frustrating was when I was visiting England to spend new years with people around two years ago. Tried bording the plane but the staff started disagreeing as to which end of the plane I should be sitting at. I was blocking the way and it was just not acceptable so I told them that they better make up their minds as I was just a hindrance at this stage and it wasn't fair for the dog. Jen, in Gatwick hope I spelt that right they put you in this segregated area but you are in public view of everyone so they can see you but you also stand out if you know what I mean. Heathrow I have always found very good. Sounds like you had a great time though which is great. Don't know how much more flying Ralph will do as he is getting old for it now.

  8. I'm glad you had a good time! I haven't been put on a aeroplane lol like that. I have only been once with my school and that didn't happen. I hope they won't do that when we go to scotland on the boat!What was the photo shoot for by the way?Take care, xxx.

  9. Fiona, I can imagine how stressful the change in routine is for Murray. It would be nice if they just listened to you at the beginning, since you know your child and what works best for him.Nicky not knowing where to put you must have made you feel a bit awkward.Torie it wasn't for anything, just a bit of fun because it was free. You had to pay for the pictures then if you wanted any.

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