A new growing year, a new year to grow!

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Its been a strange winter after 2018 and the late Beast from the East in February and March I was really expecting Winter 2019 to be a very very cold one, Snow, Ice and Arctic blasts galore!

It wasn’t… In fact, I think it rarely got below -2 and only on more or two occasions did we get anything colder than -5. We didn’t even have to turn the outside taps off! and we had 3 days of snow with no more than 3 inches. To be honest, we didn’t have a winter we just had a very long Autumn, it was just cold and wet from November to February!

This gave me lots of time to think about my YouTube Channel and the new direction my Vlogs are taking. I still plan on focusing on the allotment and #AnyoneCanGarden ethos, but I also plan on showing off some of my other hobbies and interests. Metal Detecting, Fishing and My love of exploring Historical places.

Last Year was awesome, having the TGA Maximo. (mobility scooter) really got me outside and adventuring and I plan on doing so much more this year. I have already started going around with my children when the hunt for Pokemon, but I have more and more adventures planned including Fishing a lot more in 2019 and all being well getting up The Wrekin! (A Hill in Shropshire)

The Maximo was a huge help on the allotment last year too and already this year its done over 20 trips up and down my plot carrying all my equipment, compost, and manure. I have managed to rig up a cart/trailer system and its more than capable of hauling 3 bags of compost from my car to the plot. No more wheelbarrows for me! (Video Below)

As for my other Hobbies, the one that is exciting me the most (after the Allotment) of late is metal detecting. Its been a real joy to get outside with some wonderful people and search for history… In fact, it helped my mental health so much over the winter.
I have rarely fished in the winter, as just sitting in the cold isn’t good for my muscles, but being able to walk about a little swinging the detector has, at times, not only been possible but really enjoyable. I’m yet to find anything truly exciting but when the odd Georgian coin or musket ball pops us I get so excited.

This has got me thinking about the mental health benefits of just being outside, and how the allotment, fishing and metal detecting are perfect hobbies people can do to improve their health in 2019. Hey! I like an Xbox Game and a binge watch of Netflix as much as the next person… but I will admit it’s not conducive to a good mental state, in fact as much as I like “screen time” it can’t beat outdoors time.

So 2019 will not just be more of the same… it will be an improvement and hopefully inspire a few more people to get a mobility scooter and get outside, get some compost and start growing or go buy a fishing rod or metal detector and start exploring the outside world.

As always, please check out my YouTube Channel, too many videos to list since the last blog, but a small selection is a bellow.

You can also follow me on Instagram.
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The easiest raised bed/pond ever!

My Grandad wanted to do some DIY again, so I introduced him to Woodblocx.

Late Spring my grandad had mentioned that he wanted a new pond. He’s had 3 or 4 over the years and all has dug himself. In fact, he was planning on doing the same thing again!

Well… he suffers very badly with back and mobility issues and although his mind thinks he is mid-20s, he sadly is a little older. So I put my foot down and told him it was a silly idea for him to dig a pond, at best it was going to lead to weeks of sleepless nights in pain and days bored to death recovering inside… at worst, well. We can guess the worst case scenario.

Then I saw an article on Woodblocks and that got me thinking, I preach #AnyoneCanGarden and I honestly believe that, but can anyone do DIY? Can anyone build?

My Grandad loved his DIY, he built extensions to his house, garages, sheds etc all from scratch. he has probably owned every tool ever invented… he may have even used half of them, but over time as his health deteriorated so has his lust for building things, he still will do small jobs and loves to potter on mini-projects but he stays well within his physical comfort zone, and I don’t blame him!

So I spoke to Woodblocx and mentioned this and asked them if they thought if their pond/raised bed was easy to build. They were so sure that my Grandad could build one, they sent him one and just asked that I film the footage. I have to say when I asked them if they “wanted anything” they just said to be honest!

So here is the footage, possibly the easiest pond build I have seen and my grandad was so impressed he honestly believes he could build a house from Woodblocx! – Needless to say, I’m trying to hold his grand plans back!

 

Winter’s got me thinking… Vlog direction.

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As expected winter has been quiet on the Allotment… its been all about looking after the chickens as very little is growing, this has lead me into thinking just where I want my Channel to go?

YouTube all started for me as a video diary, but now with over 300 subscribers its lead to me creative juices flowing. I am learning more about YouTube, an hour shooting and editing video and now want to do the best job I can with the resources I have.

I will still be mainly focused on the Allotment and plan on uploading 2 videos a week Friday at 19:30 and Monday at 19:30, I aim to be more focused with less waffle, edited nicer and will try to keep my footage to under 10 minutes. I want a good 10 mins people can enjoy rather than 25 minutes people are turning off from.

I also plan on featuring my mobility scooter more, It is becoming a more important part of my life, it has helped me do so much in 2018 and can only see it taking me further afield in 2019. So look out for at least 1 video a month dedicated to an adventure on the Maximo!

Now… This takes me into a slightly different direction. I want to include my other hobbies. After all my channel, I hope, has developed into a means of inspiring others to accept disability and get outside and adventure, so I want to add more of what I do!
This means more fishing, more history, and metal detecting.

The plan here is that at least once a month I will upload a video of one (maybe even all three) of these hobbies. Obviously, this is all dependent on weather, just what I’m doing that month and, the biggest factor, my condition, but I see no reason why I can add something of interest!

I hope you continue to enjoy following my journey and hopefully I gain a few new followers interested in my other hobbies.

So until next time, Happy sowing, Tight Lines and Keep Swinging beepers!

Falling into Autumn.

Hello! Apologies for the delay blogging but as I have always said, the blog is only ever the little brother to the big sister that is my Vlog, So if you would like to keep up to date on my adventures please follow me on my Youtube Channel. and Please subscribe.

Summer has been great although very busy, our family holiday was fantastic as always and It was the first Holiday I had taken my mobility scooter on. This was a game changer for me and my family, in fact for the first time in a long time I felt I had a “proper holiday” we were so active I think we managed to get 2 weeks worth of holiday into seven days!

On the Allotment. – Looking back on 2018
The allotment has really developed over the last 12 months, it has been a series of 30-minute jobs here and there, on my good days, but when I look back at where I was at the same point last year you can see some major changes, and all I think for the better.

Another reason why the YouTube Vlog has been so helpful, it really gives you a great perspective on just what you have achieved, and for me, it beats any notes I could scribble in a diary.

The Chicken “compound” AKA Peckingham Palace has really developed to, and we have seen some new arrivals and sadly lost one, but I am very happy with how things are progressing and hopefully if I can find some more coops and runs on freecycle I can expand the palace further next year giving the chickens even more space.

I feel that this year was a successful year in terms of return for my investment, my allotment is a hobby so I always factor out my time, I enjoy my time down there so it is not like work and the allotment is always juggled to fit around my family life. Most of the time I am able to reuse, recycle and freecycle items so very little is spent on tools and equipment, so the only real outlay I have is Chicken food, Seeds, plants and the occasional purchase of fertilizer in the form of bone meal etc.

For next year I have already managed to get £85 worth of Wilko Seeds
for £10 in their end of line sale! BARGIN!

This year I sat down and did a rough calculation. I broke even after the cucumber and tomato harvest, so everything else from the plot was pure profit. Every strawberry raspberry, apple, cabbage, chili, and bean was FREE!

If you factor in the chickens I’m even better off, we eat a lot of eggs in our house, always have, but now we have our own hens our cost is around 50% cheaper and they are far better quality.

To be honest, if I was able (physically) to treat the allotment as a “job” I strongly believe I could really push to a form of urban semi self-sufficiency and the plan for 2019 is to try to do a bit more.

Watch this space!

Dreams come true at RIAT 2018.

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As some of you may be aware in 2017 I won a scholarship to learn to fly with the fabulous charity FSDP. If you didn’t then I have Vlogged about it and you can find them here.

I was at Riat in 2017 but at the time I had not yet started my scholarship and so was still in a very difficult place mentally with my disability. So for all of the 2017 show, I sat in the VIP marquee, it was a great day but all the time I was aware that so much was going on around me, places, people, and planes to see. But back then I couldn’t walk the distances and was adamant I was not going to use a mobility scooter.

This year and 12 months down the line, and as I’m sure you know, I have fully accepted my condition and its limitations on my mobility and so I was going to see as much of RIAT as possible. obviously, for the Maximo, it was a breeze.

RAF Fairford where the USAF (US Airforce) is based is a huge runway and I believe it is the only runway outside the USA big enough to land The Space Shuttle (when it was still flying). This runway has the biggest planes in the world land and takes off from it daily, in fact when I was flying at Kemble (near Fairford) last year, I was in the air, twice, at the same time as the B-52 Stratofortress. It was just several thousands feet higher, thank goodness!

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Anyway, enough about the Aeroplanes, Although they are really blinking cool! #GeekAlert because the truth is that without my mobility scooter I wouldn’t have been able to see hardly any of them up close and personally.

In fact, I was so chuffed with the whole new experience that I even took some photos of the Maximo alongside a few planes, why you may ask? And i’m sure many of my fellow spectators thought the exact same thing.

Well… We all marvel in technology, I have already discussed how I feel there hasn’t been a better time to be disabled in the UK with the tech advances we have today, even compared to 10 years ago. but many of us with a disability rarely stand in ore of advancements to “disabled living” yes B-52, The Red Arrows and the F-35 raptor are beasts of engineering, A1 in their field and spectacles to marvel at, but to me, so is my Maximo.

Yes I know, it sounds soppy or even like a product pushy, but she is. If five years ago you’d have told me I would be using a scooter I’d have ignored you, but also if you had told me that I would have a scooter that fits in the boot of my car and will go over pretty much any terrain and it would reignite my need to explore with the family, I’d have told you it wasn’t possible!

A lot has happened to me over the past 12 months thanks to FSDP and TGA Mobility and I know I’m very very lucky not everyone will get their pilots wings in life, but we have to keep trying, we have to keep living and we must not let anything get in the way of doing the things we love.

So I will sign off as always and say if you think you need a mobility aid or a scooter DO IT! because #AnyoneCanExplore

 

Using my TGA Maximo. Urban or rural #AnyoneCanExplore


I have had a few questions regarding my TGA Maximo, as you are aware with the help of TGA I am trying to raise awareness of the benefits of mobility scooter and squash any stigmas people have about using one. (please see my other blogs)

Obviously, everyone is different and everyone has very different needs, this is just in life without factoring in disability, health and any other specific medical issues. Whats good for the goose isn’t always good for the gander!

That being said, I honestly believe that now, 2018, is a great time to be looking for a mobility scooter/wheelchair if you need one because there is so much choice. TGA alone has something for everyone. Seriously take a look!

Obviously, my Maximo won’t suit everyone, but for me it is perfect. It was very important for me to have something that could go almost anywhere but be compact enough to fit in my car. I drive a Hyundai Tuscon and it fits in the boot nicely, easily lifted by myself and my fiance. so when we go out as a family we don’t have to be limited anymore a

Yes the Maximo is larger and heavier than your standard folding scooter, but it was never intended to be a “standard scooter” it’s like a “mico-off roader” bridle paths, potholed country lanes, woodland walks and even a water logger allotment have all been conquered by me and my Maximo. You couldn’t do that in a standard scooter, I know, I have tried. But at the same time, the Maximo is compact enough that I have even taken it around IKEA for the day.

Now if you have no desire to go exploring the countryside, walking the dog or chasing the chickens around the allotment then have a look at the other models, Like the Minimo. Because with the help that is available to us these days Exploring you surroundings has never been so accessible, remember #AnyoneCanExplore.

Anyone can explore, anyone can garden!

If you follow me on Twitter or YouTube. you are no doubt aware that I have a goal to get more people to accept disability and accept help, in my case, it was the help of a mobility aid, specifically a mobility scooter and since I’ve had my scooter the TGA Maximo
I haven’t looked back, in fact, I’m wondering why I didn’t use one sooner.

As you may have seen there was some interest from my local newspaper and that was quickly picked up by BBC Radio Shropshire who wanted to do an interview! I know, crazy isn’t it, little old me on the wireless!

Jokes aside its amazing news as its getting the message out and the whole point of me blogging, vlogging and talking openly about disability and accessibility/mobility were to encourage other people to do the same.

So if you’d like to hear my Shropshire-Twang please give it a listen, but more importantly if you can share this, share my blogs and share my youtube videos. I have no great wish to be “internet famous” but if we can get one more person out and about, accepting disability and living life, then we will have done a great thing.

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For anyone interested in the mobility scooter I use it is the TGA Maximo.
and you can find full details and specs at www.tgamobility.co.uk

Summer is here!

After the hard winter and crazy spring, Summer is officially here.
I won’t bore you with too many details as those who watch my YouTube Vlogs will know all about it. Shameless plug! www.youtube.com/rossminton

Spring has basically had everything from snow to a heat wave and flash floods in between. A town 6 miles away from Newport, Shropshire me had 2 feet of water flow down the high street the same day we had a muggy dry may afternoon.

What is more bizarre is that Newport has never flooded according to my Grandad, who was born and raised there and now in his seventies.

But in between the weather anomalies, the family and I have taken full advantage of the unusual heat wave. we have been out and about so much we are already into profit on the National Trust membership. Every year we work out how much our membership cost and divide that by the entrance fee to Attingham Park (our local site)
This year we had to do 7 National Trust visits to break even. We are already on 10!
So we are now into FREE DAYS OUT! WOOHOO! 

This year 2018 my local town Telford is celebrating its 50th birthday, created as a new town in the 1960s by merging all the small local towns and villages. Oakengates, Wellington, Dawley, Newport, Donnington, Ketley, Wombridge, Hadley to name a few.

although “Telford” is a new town, the area is rich in heritage. Wellington is where Charles I raised his banners to start the civil war, Wombridge & Lillishall are the sites of monastery ruins lost in the reformation and many of the local villages can be traced back well into Saxon times, pre-Norman Conquest of 1066, but what we are probably most notable for is Ironbridge.

Lots of people lay claim to being “the birthplace of industry” but Ironbridge (Telford) is. fact. Coalbrookdale on the banks of the River Severn was where Abraham Derby I first discovered how to cast iron using coke and set up a furnace in Coalbrook dale as Shropshire Coal is apparently very low in sulfur. many years later, his grandson, Abraham Derby III would cast the worlds first Ironbridge in 1779.

The Derby family lead the way and by 1796 Charles Bage designed and built the Ditherington flax mill in Shrewsbury just 10 miles away which is known as the ‘grandfather of skyscrapers.’ So I like to think no Ironbridge, no skyscrapers!

Anyway….. history lesson over.

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To celebrate Telford’s birthday the local council have been running a series of events. one of which was a duck hunt in Ironbridge in aid of charity. Let’s go quackers and local artists have designed a series of giant rubber styled ducks all which have an Ironbridge twist! – I won’t spoil it as you may want to visit.

Ironbridge 5th May-8th July and then in Southwater (Telford Town Centre) from 14th of July. letsgoquackers.co.uk

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The root takes you all around the gorge and is fully accessible, so I took the Maximo and Family out and we had an amazing day, including lunch in one of the many pubs Ironbridge and the surrounding area has to offer.

For anyone interested in the mobility scooter I use it is the TGA Maximo.
and you can find full details and specs at www.tgamobility.co.uk

Spreading the word…

Everything seems to have really kicked on over the last few weeks, after all the wet weather of early spring, suddenly we have had this fantastic early summer and as there saying goes “make hay when the sun shines!”

Well I haven’t been making any actual hay, but the allotment has gone from strength to strength, the garden at home has really started to come into its own and we have already had 3 BBQs. (although thats down on last year… we do love a BBQ in our house, but thats a whole blog in its self)

But more importantly I’m back in the world of design and its great being creative again. plus my blog has gone from strength to strength and has been picked up by a The local paper The Shropshire Star, BBC Radio and a disability news-letter who really liked the message I’m trying to get out, taking the stigma out of mobility scooters.

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My Nan & Grandad have proudly pinned this up in their kitchen.

To be honest, I’m still a little amazed that people want to hear my ramblings, don’t get me wrong, i’ve always had opinions, anyone who follows my personal twitter account will know that.

I was brought up in a family that always told me to ask questions and voice opposition if you have one, which is not always common place. In fact over the years many of my friends/girlfriends who have met my family have always found it odd that we can sit around the dinner table and have quite heated debates on politics, life, football and religion get annoyed with each other and then go back to dinner like nothings happened!

This is obviously why I have a side to me that is capable of seeing both side to an argument and can quite easily debate a subject that I personally may not be in favour of, which makes me wonder why I didn’t have a few short words with my self 4 years ago when I refused to seek help and get a mobility scooter then, but by the same token its also why I now have this major urge to get this message out thats – MOBILITY SCOOTERS ARE NOT FOR OAPS! – I will be screaming this from the roof tops before long.

The truth is the more I use my Maximo the more i’m realising just how crazy my stubbiness was. In such a short space of time already we have had so much fun as a family and been to so many new places its really has justified my hashtag #AnyoneCanExplore because its true.

Its not even about grand days out or high octane trips up your local mountain…. (Which I am already planning!) but just hoping out on a whim for a few hours is now no longer a chore that requires 24hrs bed rest.

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The Wrekin, (1335ft) from Wellington Cricket Club. I will be going up it again! 

Only last week my partner suggested going to a local market for a rummage amongst the useless tat and out of date biscuits. 2 years ago I would have passed this up, even the draw of a three kilo box of broken hobnobs for £1 wouldn’t have been tempting enough to get me up and walking around the market, but with the Maximo it was so easy.

We wizzed around had plenty of banter with the market holders and I even left with a kilo of black pudding! (Hey! I’m from Shropshire, yes we really do eat it, don’t judge me!)

My point, sorry I know we have wandered somewhat… is that these little adventures to the shops, newsagent, the park or local black pudding seller that are essential to life, its these moments of interaction, exploration and freedom that separate life and living from just existence and existing.

Its no secret that one of the toughest punishments you can bestow on a human is solitary confinement. So don’t punish yourself. If help and its offered, accept. If you need a mobility aid, get one and go on a mini adventure.

 

You wouldn’t peel a potato with your bare hands?

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It’s 2018 and there are so many technical advancements, none of which are essential to life but all designed to make living easier and more enjoyable. We humans are have become very adept at making life easier, from stone tools to the electric can opener through to the invention of the wheel and the car a huge part of living is adapting one’s lifestyle and using what is available to us in order to get the most from life.

I was born with a rare muscle condition which affects my mobility and over the last few years, its deteriorated to the point where many of the hobbies and interests have had to be put aside. Actually, I’m not being truthful, it’s not just hobbies its life.

Life has been put on hold. I have missed days out at the park with my children, I’ve missed family days out to the sea-side, we as a family haven’t been able to explore the local woodland, national trust or other location like we used to, because of my own pride.

I love being outside especially with my family but when my family has gone exploring I have sat it out, waited on a bench, in a cafe or back at the car because I just can’t do the walking and I don’t want to slow them down. I want to play on the park with my children, push my daughter on the swing and teach my son how to climb a tree, but just getting to the tree is painful.
My issues are clearly mobility, there are literally thousands of mobility aids on the market, Why aren’t you using one I can hear you scream! Well, my stupid pride wouldn’t let me. “I’m not having a scooter” “I’m not getting on one of those” was a constant reply every time someone suggested a mobility scooter, let’s be honest, they don’t exactly have a good reputation do they? Wrong! So so wrong in fact.

I bit the bullet and quite frankly can tell you. no one cares, in fact, every stare and glance I’ve had since being a scooter rider has been positive given with a smile and several comments of “that’s cool!” One little boy even asked his dad “Why can’t we get one of those. Then one trip out while my children were on the park a little girl came over in her wheelchair she got up to play on the playground but first she walked over to me and said “I like your scooter, my mommy says when I’m older I can have one too” This one little girl helped me see just now silly I had been.

I soon realised that I had wasted the last 4 years of my life, I hadn’t been there for my family in the way I wanted to be. They had missed out on the fun times with their dad. The fun days out are important, years now it will be those days they remember. They certainly won’t remember the days I sat on a bench and waited for them to return from the park.

It was clear to me that if my pride is holding me back then there are others in exactly the same position, but there was literally nothing available to spur me on or point me in the right direction.

So I decided to blog and vlog about my journey with my TGA Maximo. The best thing about living now is there are literally scooters for everyone from full offload scooters that will cross a plowed field to light and nimble scooters for shopping and drinks around town. I have one in-between a folding scooter with suspension but she it fits in my 4×4. It is exactly what I want for my lifestyle and interests. we’ve developed a bit of a bond too because of the freedom she has given me.

The best thing about being a scooter user is the freedom and spending my time doing the things I love. My longest journey to date is 7 miles. When was the last time you did 7 miles without the car? I’ve seen wild deer, played with my kids on many adventure playgrounds and spent over 4 hours touring an RAF Museum to name a few, I’m already planning my spring/summer adventures.
I have started to live life again and after all isn’t that what technical advancements are all about?

There is a reason someone invented the potato peeler and why there is one in every kitchen and If you have mobility issues there’s a reason you should consider using a mobility scooter, try it! Go to a National Trust venue, many hire scooters for £5, have a day out and if you don’t enjoy yourself feel free to tell me.

Or if you read this and still aren’t convinced go to your kitchen now and throw away your potato peeler!

 

Just a Shropshire Lad & his adventures.