I honestly don't know where the first 3 months of the year have gone!
Much of the festive season was spent down south with family and friends enjoying a slightly slower pace of life and catching up on rest after another big year.
I'm not sure if I have mentioned it previously, however my ever dedicated family had been working tirelessly, in the lead up to Christmas, to complete renovations that ensure the entire house is now wheelchair friendly. Including a inclinator for the outdoor staircase, a large double bedroom with accessible ensuite and increased living area so greater manoeuvrability is possible.
It's hard to put into words just how humbled I was and am with their incredible commitment to facilitating my quality of life. The house in Broulee was built by my father and uncle and completed the night that I was born 34 years ago. So as you can imagine, it holds a very special place in my heart. We all have incredible memories there and now can look forward to more exciting times in the future.
Thank you for such a special Christmas present.
With the introduction of kayaking into my life, I spent a couple of incredible afternoons out fishing and cruising in the rivers nearby. It's hard to describe, however the feeling of being able to access nature with limited mobility devices is truly liberating.
In the same sense, I have been working towards reducing my dependence on flotation devices in the water. By the end of my time away, I could manage 100% independently, once assisted into the water, as long as it was relatively calm. Encouragingly, once I had my hand paddles on, I could freely change from swimming freestyle to treading water, with my arms, (for want of a better description) then transitioning into backstroke. These advances have increased my confidence and enjoyment in the water threefold.
As always, table tennis was a big part of the holiday. Here is a very amateur video example of what two handed, quadriplegic, table tennis looks like. Link
Over the New Year and first week of January two of my great mates were married in Orange and Bowral respectively. Needless to say, both were phenomenal weekends celebrating and catching up with so many old friends from home and abroad. Here are the before and....
After what seems like an eternity, Sarah and I finally moved into our new apartment towards the end of January. Although there is still some work to be done, overall the place is fantastic and we are both very happy. Domesticity is firmly set in with trips to IKEA, afternoons strategising over furniture placement and agreeing on hanging pictures and photographs all part of the fun.
A car which seems to tick all the boxes has also recently been identified and acquired with a date locked in for the modifications. Finally, I will be back on the road.
Finally, over the last 6 weeks or so I have spent some time working with Moore Park Golf Course, Centennial Park Foundation and Ottobock (the manufacturer of the Paragolfer) to provide permanent equipment for disabled golfers at the driving range. Apart from having a Paragolfer on permanent loan, we have also managed to convince the Foundation to fund a new Paragolfer, for use on the range and potentially the course, as well as two automated ball replacing machines. The combination of the two will allow wheelchair based and other disabled golfers to operate almost 100% independently on the range and potentially the course.
Although the automated ball replacing machines haven't arrived yet, here is some footage of me in the paragolfer - link
. In addition, similar to last year, I've spent time practising in another potential golf cart called the Solorider. I'll leave it up to you as to which you think I hit the ball from better!!!! link
Both are incredible pieces of machinery and I feel truly blessed to be able to swing a golf club again after so many years away from one of my favourite sports.
Finally, I introduced another wheelchair based golfer to some of the new equipment. It turns out he actually holds the world record for hitting the longest drive out of a wheelchair. Better still, he is sponsored by Titleist (one of the premier golf brands in the world). You can imagine how much my eyes lit up when I found out that piece of information. What do you think of my technique?