Oh. My. Word.
I am hopping with excitement. (Metaphorically speaking).
Because I have the best commission request ever.
A cartoon showing an Extreme X8 all-terrain wheelchair in use - which of itself is pretty awesome.
But the best bit?? I get to try one out!! Purely for research you understand. Not because it looks like fun and I like joy-riding. Honest!
You know how you accept that your disability stops you doing certain things (whether it is standing, or ironing, or mountain climbing or whatever) and you kinda forget about them and get on with all the things you can do? Well, being properly in the countryside, with green and views and that sense of freedom and beauty that I love about being in the middle of no-where is one of those things. Yes, I can go along paved/tarmac'd paths, and even some moderately uneven paths for a few hundred metres sometimes. But not go on a proper walk to somewhere out in the sticks, where I can just be. At least, not without being hauled about by a small army of helpers and caused significant pain/injury - which kinda spoils it. And anywhere that has no path or involves hills - forget it.
Anyway, as I said, I'd accepted that proper rurality wasn't an option. I watch Julia Bradbury on TV as she visits places in the UK that take my breath away. My heart aches because I won't see them for myself - but at least I can see them through the screen.
Until I found out about these. Suddenly the beach is a possibility. So is going out in the snow. So are picnics in the hills and hiking across the moors. And the lake district. And....I can't put it into words properly...but....being able go through a bluebell woods, or pick a wild flower, or go to the edge of a stream and watch the tiny fish...things like that are...special....and....and the thought of being able to just do things like that without help, just do them, is.....so beautiful it makes me want to cry.
So I've decided: if, when I try these wheels they are as good as they sound, I'm going to try getting outdoors places to have them for hire. Places I loved as a child but thought I would never return to. Places I go in my dreams but thought they were out of bounds.
I am under no illusions about places struggling to finance these, but even if only a few places got them, how much difference they could make to so many lives. Including mine. And while some places do have off-road wheels available, to the best of my knowledge there aren't any that do near me. And I want this to change.
So perhaps this small commissioned piece could end up with a more far reaching effect on my life than a simple payment. And perhaps it could result in new freedom for others too.
I will, of course, keep you all updated!