I confess my experience of horse riding is limited; in fact I’m not even sure I have ever actually sat astride such a beast, a donkey on a beach perhaps. On the other hand there is photographic proof of my childhood self sitting on the back of an ostrich; with a terrified look on my face! En famille we visited an Ostrich Farm in South Africa and witnessed 2 men racing ostriches; those birds might not be able to fly but my can they leg it at speed should they ever find themselves involved in say a bank job or getting the last ‘must have’ toy for an offspring on Black Friday.
I definitely wasn’t side saddle on the ostrich or any other animal; no I’m speaking of the ‘aides for the disabled’ specifically the desperately unattractive perching stool. I have two such items: one in the bathroom (that I have accessorised with a colour coordinated bath mat) and one in the kitchen (which using extra-large bull-dog clips makes an excellent place to hang tea towels – see above). The idea is that one ‘perches’ on the stool (the seat is slanted forwards) when performing domestic/personal tasks that an otherwise healthy person would stand to undertake.
In the bathroom it works quite well as the sink in recessed into a ‘vanity unit’ with half of the porcelain vessel protruding so you can get your knees under it. Aside from the current minor problem – the sink has come loose and moves away from the unit if one leans on it – the arrangement works pretty well (for me that is, I notice it usually gravitates towards the centre of the room when visitors are in residence. Quite why people don’t take advantage of this energy-saving device when it’s on offer mystifies me; but then as a convert to the automatic vehicle I don’t know why everyone doesn’t drive them! OK it wasn’t a choice initially – my left leg is dead as if made of wood (something substantial not a fast growing conifer more a solid oak) and consequently can’t be relied upon to keep to the Highway Code.
But the one in the kitchen is more tricky as the units are all flat so the only way to use it is to essentially ride side-saddle as if attempting to preserve ones dignity or perhaps pretend one isn’t actually deigning to perform such menial tasks! As a result it’s a bit of an uncomfortable ride with ones knees facing in one direction and shoulders twisted right-angled to face another direction. So until recently I’ve largely used the stool to put shopping bags and the laundry basket; spending innumerable moments huffing irritated as unless positioned exactly centrally it’s always in the way when trying to open one of the drawers either side of the hob. And then volcano like Cruella erupted and everything changed.
The volcano outpouring flowed; like water on bare electric cables my nerves began to short, to shrivel and to cease working. The diagnosis is of course mine not that attributable to the neurologists who consider the problem to be entirely pain related. In their defence the pain has indeed manifest itself in the old favourite nerve and muscular varieties with a few ‘oh f*ck’ me moments when first experiencing the new innovation. I could never have predicted that discomfort could be quite so exciting!
Nor I suspect could the elderly gentleman getting out of his car, at the same time as me (in the special parking bays, who got the full benefit of the new five-star gem which was as if being simultaneously stabbed with a blunt knife(in my left thigh) whilst catching a myriad shower of glass shards. Oh I omitted to say that the glass shards were piercing the muscle as if it were a helium balloon – the result of which was I omitted a shrill squeak and my leg collapsed with me only marginally avoiding sitting on the tarmac! I’ve never been so glad to drive a car with high bucket seats although the high sides are a tad of a surprise when accounted at speed! Up yer jacksie! Now that’s impressive (Cruella) lady; frankly the message has been received so I’d been grateful if you could take five (years) and let me adjust or pause for breath; now please don’t make me beg? Morrisons car park is no place to make a show of oneself! (OK this is the branch that made national wide news when there was a fight over the last frozen turkey a couple of years ago – one of those occasions that has auntie saying ‘all life is here’!)
The purpose of taking you on this mental side road is to explain why I have had to use the perching stool in the kitchen. After disembowelling a pomegranate (well four actually – to think people used to take pleasure from partaking of a pomegranate using only a hairpin) my spine was ‘in half’ (as we say in Barry). Starring menacingly at the remaining mangoes and pineapples I thought I can’t go through two more hours of this – and yes it does take me that long these days as my dexterity is that poor! Coupled with my need to actually look at the knife blade – next time you are preparing vegetables/fruit think about how much of the time you are actually not watching what you’re doing; like you my brain used to be wired sufficiently to multi task without having to watch what you were doing. Kind of like an internal supervisory monitoring function; ones personal health and safety checker.
But I’ve found a solution enabling me to virtually sitting straight on; now I bet you would never have come up with this one! Be honest and be impressed with the lateral thinking. There are two steps: one open the cupboard under the work top enabling me to put my right knee and foot inside it and two open the washer/dryer – (and no mum I didn’t put my foot inside this wonderful new innovation that has revolutionised my life) – and put my left knee inside it. Result a much more comfortable chopping experience!