By Chris Hicken, Habinteg tenant, Oldbrook Scheme, Milton Keynes
So we are all coming to terms with what is being called the “new norm” - trying things for the first time or reviving things we had consigned to the deep dark recesses of our minds and they are slowly coming back into the light!
I have had the pleasure of being in Habinteg Housing for the past 21 years, which I share with Janet, my wife of 44 years and Whiskey our untrained, non-assistance dog. We did have children cluttering up the bungalow for a long time, but now they have left (love them really and we have some super grandchildren). Our youngest granddaughter was with us earlier in the week (she is nearly 2) and her Mum asked if Papa (me) could have some ice-cream and without prompting she said “No Papa is on a diet!! ‘Out of the mouths of babes.....’
All in all, being in an adaptable bungalow certainly helps especially during the Covid-19 lockdown when we are spending more time in the property than usual. Spending more time in the wheelchair has got me to appreciate the property more. The wide corridors and doorways mean I can roll into any of the rooms with ease. Wide front and back doors enable me to go out onto the patio or out into the street (happy Dog!!!)
The accessible kitchen means that I can sit in the wheelchair to burn more things on the cooker (food and hands!) or access the microwave when the ‘ding’ tells me that it’s time to eat.
Another brilliant feature about the Kitchen is that in one of the fitted drawers is a pull out tray at wheelchair height brilliant for doing ‘mise-en-place’ (that’s geeky chef French for having somewhere to open the pack prior to putting the ready meal in the oven!)
Although shielding restrictions have been relaxed, we are still being very careful and are limiting our visitors to immediate family only. I have a daily routine which I find is very useful as it brings structure and purpose. Having served in the RAF helps. I can make my bed using the obligatory hospital corners and my clothes are sorted into groups and hung on identical coat hangers, which all face the same way (not sure if that is training or being very sad!)
What takes up my time? Apart from the normal morning bathroom related activities (we have two bathrooms so I can take as much time as I want!) medication is taken and emails are checked and responded to. There are a couple of Zoom meetings during the week, which keep me in contact with people. There is also Super Scrabble and online word games that keep me busy.
Monday is internet shopping day. Brilliant because you don’t have to wear a face mask or stick to a one way system. Also we can look at all the cakes and chocolate goods without buying… that is apart from egg custards or dark chocolate, which is good for you, and its fruit and nut content, which are part of your 5 a day!
Tuesday is dog grooming day or ‘Nice Dog Day’. At the moment this task is very easy as he has had his post lockdown haircut. Also there are not so many clumps of fur to hoover up. This is one of the highlights of Whiskey’s week as he knows there are biscuits at the end. In fact I’ll do anything for a biscuit!!
Thursday, the shopping comes, another exciting time for the dog as he knows there is a Dentastix for him. He gets so excited that every time he sees a food delivery truck going to our neighbours he has to go and see if they have something for him!
I get to be a grumpy old man sometimes, especially watching the news or some game show when contestant gets a question wrong and the correct answer is obvious to anyone from the age of 3 and up. COVID-19 reports usually do it for me especially when the Government are thanking people for staying at home and an earlier news clip shows packed out beaches!
But as the late, great, Sir Terry Wogan used to say, “Mustn’t grumble.” I have started watching ‘Dad Jokes’ on YouTube. What do you call a dog that can do magic tricks?
A Labracadabrador! God told Noah to build him a 7 storey boat and only fill it with Koi. Noah said “So God what you want is a Multi-Storey Carp Ark?” and finally did you know that theft from multi storey car parks is wrong on so many levels?
With that, it looks like Matron is bringing the drugs round. Hopefully, Covid-19 will be soon under control. Until that day, stay safe, stay strong and be happy.
Find out more about our #ForAccessibleHomes campaign at www.habinteg.org.uk/FAH.