Backwards is the New Forwards

For several days my sister and her friend Claire have been puzzling over the exact dimensions of the boot of Claire’s car – specifically whether you can fit a folding wheelchair into it. This evening we put all their careful calculations to the test. It fitted, just!

Wheelchair aboard, Poppy, Zoë, Claire and I headed out of London to Secret Garden Party, undeterred by torrential rain on the motorway. We arrived and joined the long queue of cars waiting to get into the festival. As we waited in line my tics added to the many roadside messages.

“Expect delays – we’re buggering sheep in the back garden.”

It was dark, raining and very muddy when we finally got out of the car, but thankfully the accessible camping team were on hand to make things much easier. Their job is to ensure disabled people can access the festival. They’re based in a small area at the heart of the site were there are accessible toilets, a shower and a charging point for wheelchairs or phones that have run out of battery. The latter was particularly important to me because my phone alarm tells me when to take my medication.

With their help we unloaded the car and got to the campsite pretty quickly. Fat Sister who’d arrived earlier in the day had already pitched our tent. This meant we could go and explore rather than struggle with tent poles in the dark.

The whole site’s very muddy! Thick, oozy lakes of mud with tiny islands of harder but still muddy ground. Getting around in these conditions is tough. Pushing me forwards in the chair was proving to be very hard work and not very effective. I wanted to help so I kept reaching for the wheels, but each time I did my hands got instantly covered in mud. Things improved considerably when we worked out how much easier it was for two people to drag me backwards. It looks as if backwards is going to be the new forwards for the rest of the weekend.

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