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Monday, 3 August 2009

The seat in Farr School Woods

We drove down the road a half mile to Farr School Wood to see the seat my mother had donated in memory of Angus. Highland Council have given money to Strathnairn Community Council to make a place here, and this March we chose a half way spot on the path laid inside the wood to place a bench. When we visited in March the small wheels at the front of Mum's wheelchair caught in the sandier stretches of gravel. This time I didn't need to push her. She went under her own steam using a Swedish walker* with sturdier wheels. At the halfway mark we found the bench with a little brass plaque for Angus. I set my camera on its timer and ran back to sit beside my mother, while the terriers scurried around us.
As we sat chatting in the conservatory just now I was looking at a rollator catalogue. "It's ridiculous! Except for the one you've bought every one of these gadgets has got tiny wheels. How does anyone go walking on country lanes or across meadows? These are all for flat floors, malls and car parks!" My mother said "I was told by the mobility people here I couldn't get a walker like this one because there was no demand. But there's no demand because there's no expectation." "So the cost stays high because there's no volume market despite there being more old people around than ever before" "People don't want to go walking on rough tracks like me" said mum; leaving unspoken her opinion they might be lacking something. "That just can't be," I thought. "Anyway they said they'd try and find me one. In the end I just got on the web, with help from Sharon, and had this one sent direct from Sweden. I had the same problem with you two as small children. Nothing I could use in the fields until I found the goat cart. I pulled you all over the place with that."
With my sister, Bay, in mum's goat cart in 1944
*Nearly £700 but Mum doesn't have to pay VAT so it was closer to £550. How could this be used by others? To make such things more available UK local governments would have to do a
CBA to justify even part purchase. A suitable focus for scrutiny? In terms of cash saved treating broken bones and strained ligaments not to mention well-being there's a case for paying up front to save the public purse. Here's research to just that effect sponsored by the Swedish Ministry of Health and Social Affairs using a grant within their National Action Plan for Geriatric Care.
* * * John M sent me the circular for one of our events in Australia later in the year. It's exactly what I would have wanted - but for the thumbnail portrait that makes me look too smug and neat.

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Simon Baddeley