So the City to Surf (which claims to be The Biggest Fun Run in the World) maintained its impeccable record of producing a textbook summer day in the middle of winter and almost 85,000 people participated. Participation being the keyword as a couple friends of mine and I took a slightly more unconventional path, avoiding any inclines and sharing the “spirit” of the day with many of the innocent bystanders.
It is consistently one of the great days in Sydney. However, I was seriously put to shame by the wheelchair rugby team who flew past whilst I was being decadently pushed along with a cold beverage in hand.
With comfort and confidence growing as I drive around locally, I took the opportunity to take Sarah down to the south coast to the picturesque Bawley Point where some family friends had generously offered us their house for the weekend. I know it is a given for most, but being able to finally pick my fiance up from work on a Friday and drive her away for the weekend was a real treat. We even managed to take our little friend with us.
It really is an amazing new lease of life. A recent addition of a second wheelchair now means I am 100% independent leaving and returning to the house. I have solved my biggest challenge of how to lift the wheelchair into the car by always leaving the second chair in the boot. Basically, I just pull up next to the driver’s seat and manoeuvre, through a combination of a standing transfer and lifting my legs, into the car. On arrival home the chair is therefore waiting perfectly in the downstairs carpark exactly where I left it.
The only slight frustration is having to rely on someone at my destination to retrieve my wheelchair from the back. Either way, it is working fantastically and it feels incredible to be able to start paying back a few lifts that I have been the beneficiarty of over the years. Another happy customer below.
I also have some incredible new e-motion wheels for my manual chair which cleverly assist my pushing by engaging small motors within the wheels. Like most things in life though, there are definitely trade-offs as my exercise is reduced when the power kicks in. In addition, they add almost 15 kg of weight to the chair which means lifting it is infinitely more challenging.
Since returning from the UK I have been establishing further contacts in the world of golf which recently led to an invite by Golf Australia to attend the press release for the ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open in Melbourne. Having met many of the golfing dignitaries in attendance all the honorary guests (including me….randomly) were invited to a putting challenge for benefit of the photographers and media.
After the CEO of Golf Australia, the Minister of Sport in Victoria, an LPGA women’s professional golfer, Dr Handa (the major sponsor for the event) and Peter Thompson (arguably the greatest Australian golfer ever) all had missed their attempts I was handed a pink handled putter to try my luck. Not having the Paragolfer which I normally stand up to putt from nor my glove which straps the club in my hand, I was particularly worried about even making contact. Hanging off the side of my wheelchair and trying not to drop the club, the photo below depicts the reaction after my turn. It was definitely one of the more memorable putts I’ve ever made.
With the great man, Peter Thompson
I was particularly lucky to have a tour of the Titleist factory as well which was a serious highlight especially since they have supported me so far with clubs and other apparel.
The more I research and discover about disabled golf in this country, the more I believe the only way to deliver a sustainable golfing initiative is to develop a multi-disability Golf Association which provides a focal point for players, media, investors and golfing counterparties to hone their commitments. Clearly a worthwhile and potentially very exciting venture.
The other reason to be in Melbourne was to meet with a strategic performance company who are looking at setting up operations in Australia. Time will tell whether this opportunity fully arises.
On the speaking side of things, I have a few gigs coming up which am excited about and hoping to deliver more regularly.
Finally, after years of promising, for Sarah’s birthday, I whipped up an old favourite, chicken and mushroom risotto. For those of you who know, probably not the most quadriplegic friendly dinner to prepare as it involves consistent stirring and attention over a long period of time. That said, it was absolutely worth the wait, although not clear from Arthur’s reaction in this photo.
Hope all is well in your camp.