Is Heaven Wheelchair Accessible ?

One thing I want to know

Will I be able to go there ?

When it’s my time to go

In my turbo powered wheelchair

Is Heaven wheelchair accessible ?

Will the Pearly Gates be opened

To allow in my wheelchair ?

Or will I still be stuck

At the bottom of the Stair ?

Is Heaven wheelchair accessible ?

Will there be a ramp there

To allow me to go in ?

Or will I be turned away

For some forgotten sin ?

Is Heaven wheelchair accessible ?

The alternative is scary

With me going down below

Into the fires of Hell

Where the burning embers glow.

Is Heaven wheelchair accessible ?

Even if I go to Hell

I would be slightly miffed

Instead of Eternity in the bar

I was stuck in the Bloody lift !

Is Heaven Wheelchair accessible ?

Copyright © Ian m Allan 2016


Focusing Canon & on & on & on.

It sat in the top drawer waiting for a sunny day. I had bought it months ago thinking it was a good idea. After all, my weak hands had tried the shutter button and that seemed all there was to it.

Slowly, it began to dawn on me that this incredible piece of kit deserved more than the customary summer outing to record packed beaches of striped deckchairs and kiss-me-quick hats. I really had to do something about learning what do do with this little box of photographic technology.

I duly learned about camera settings and all that that entailed. Terminology like, Shutter Speeds, Aperture Value, ISO and endless jargon seemed to fill my mind every day as I tried desperately to grasp the concept of how so many elements had to be accurately set in comparison to each other in order to produce an image which was acceptable rather than just a hazy blur.

Steering my turbo-charged Tesco trolley along undulating pavements of Cliftonville has become a daily extreme sport with frequent near-death experiences thrown in to add a bit of excitement. I will, of course ,be eternally grateful to the local Council for providing me will ample opportunity to road- test or more accurately pavement test the durability of my powered wheelchair.

It is when things crack or ping off in a multitude of different directions that I begin to wonder how much of this chariot of fire will be left remaining.

Recently, I decided that Cyclops should be taken out to see if I could capture images similar to those adorning various glossy magazines. My enthusiasm was impressive as I took off from home in a cloud of dust, narrowly avoiding a head-on collision with a postman’s bicycle with postman balancing thereon shouting something unintelligible but nevertheless full of gusto.

Before long, I had extracted the camera from its protective bag and I looked at the bewildering array of dials and choices of settings. I began to remember my recent studies of valuable information like the higher the ISO the more sensitive the sensor becomes to light and the grainier the images become. Having grasped the relation between the three elements, Aperture, Shutter Speed and ISO I then discovered that the all important focusing had also to be considered as part of the mix.

It wasn’t long before I felt inclined to take my first outdoor photograph. That, I was soon to find out, was where the fun really began. Bringing my turbo trolley to a standstill, I then took off my gloves, extracted the camera from its case, took out my glasses, dropped my gloves then as I put my glasses on I saw the glass case sliding downwards before plummeting to the ground. After looking skyward hoping for Divine intervention I managed to hold my camera and point it roughly in the direction of my chosen subject, a bird, only to find that the beautiful little tweet tweet had got bored and buggered off !

This initial foray into the world of photography has only increased my enthusiasm and created a new colourful world which I can build on. I am frequently seen out and about looking for interesting subjects to photograph and hopefully, will continue to do so as long as I manage to keep dodging the traffic on zebra crossings.

The Temple of Doom

This is a piece which will hopefully convey what it is like to go away for a week on Respite where the facilities do not always live up to expectations. There seems to be an unwillingness to consider that the residents might just want to feel part of the 21st Century.  In the isolated cases where broadband has been supplied it has been so poorly installed and maintained that one can wander aimlessly around the building in a worthless attempt to come close to a wi-fi signal. GCHQ it most certainly is not !


I just knew it wasn’t going to be the Algarve Hilton when I checked into the Residential Care Home for a week of Respite. I had left Chateau Ghillie earlier that morning feeling like Indiana Jones going to his Temple of impending Doom. Building up my excitement to fever pitch, I couldn’t wait to enter and explore the building which as it turned out had as many corridors and rooms as the Egyptian lost subterranean labyrinth of Hawara.

Situated about as far from human civilisation as it could be, I was already forming an escape plan as the stout wooden doors clanged shut behind me. I was then cheerfully escorted up to my first floor room which complete with en-suite ablutions would be my nocturnal dwelling.

It had always struck me as odd that the facilities provided in some of these places seem to be geared up to cater for disabled people who have no creative abilities. The whole concept of communication seems to owe more to William Caxton than Microsoft. Quite obviously, the wonders of micro fibre broadband has been completely lost on the inhabitants of this remote tribal outpost. Determined to find a library of such wealth of intellect I was saddened to find the solitary MDF bookcase dominated by the complete works of Mills and Boon.

I looked upon this experience of, ‘I’m Disabled, Get me out of Here’ as a kind of half-way house between Costa Fortune and Cameron’s Workhouse. A ll I needed do do now was to sample the fine-dining immediately before dialling, ‘Authentic Pedro’s Pizza from Zanzibar’ just off the South Circular.

At least the entire workforce of the London Weather Centre had prepared me for the annual outing of the Great British Monsoon, a prediction which I had taken rather seriously after the previous year’s drought had rendered me motionless when my rear tyres had defiantly stuck to the melting bitumen.

Armed with my new camera, I set about learning all about its functions and creative features of this piece of kit. Up until then I had been a ‘Point and Shoot’ operator but having acknowledged that modern technology had moved on a few paces I set forth on ‘Creative Mode’.

Just as I was giving up on my ‘National Geographic’ quest, I purely by chance stumbled , or more correctly, careered uncontrollably into the car-park of a public house. Just then the doors swung open and a disability ramp was laid before me by a cheerful young lady who worked in the afore-mentioned watering hole.

After a few half pints of the foaming ale, on account of the fact that my week hands cannot hold full pints, I happily trundled back towards the Temple of Doom where I arrived sometime between a fire-drill and afternoon tea.

Respite is of course intended to provide a break for one’s carers as well as for the client, but on the whole, I have found that these places could do a great deal more to enhance one’s creativity and well being even for one week.

My Turbo Powered 4×4

How it Began (1)

Ten months into my year in hospital following a Neurological illness, I was introduced to my new mode of transport ; a four-wheeled jet propelled wheelchair. During the preceding ten months I had been made aware of the concept of impending death on many occasions during my hospitalisation. However, as the sling carrying me from my bed was gently lowered into the four-wheeled chariot I knew that this was going to get silly.
I had become aware by this time that a male ward in a hospital could be an interesting source of humour and endless creativity. Humour in the face of adversity and suffering is well-known but even I was surprised that a centre for the sick could have so much comedy potential.
During my first few minutes at the controls of my new four-wheeled trolley, I had demolished a bedside cabinet and ploughed into the side of a neighbouring bed which was occupied at the time. After a few runs up and down the ward without further misfortune, I was escorted by an Occupational Therapist to a little-known department somewhere at the rear of the estate which was called ‘Medical Physics’.
The interior of the Medical Physics Laboratory was like the set of a futuristic movie. They had everything in there to customise wheelchairs to suit the needs of the patient. If any need could be fulfilled by moulding, cutting, bending, re-wiring or by any other creative means, these were the guys to do it. I was inside there for about an hour while pieces of hi-tech plastic were moulded, switches were added and wired in and the wheelchair’s control consul was linked to a computer.
“We can programme the speed to any amount using the computer.” Einstein assured me. “What about 30mph?” I cheerily asked, thinking that would at least have some comedy potential.
My plans were thwarted when this speed was firmly rejected on the grounds of Health & Safety !
I was only allowed a top speed of 4.5 mph which would have been great if I could have got rid of the decimal point !
As my battery powered trolley is classified as indoor/outdoor it is not supposed to be driven on the roads, only upon the pavements and walkways. It is one thing to be putting my foot down, so to speak, and tearing along perfectly straight and smooth hospital corridors – It is quite another to have the freedom of paths and pavements as I was soon to discover.

This Blog will be regularly updated with details of my everyday near-death experiences while perched precariously on my motorised Tesco Trolley.