This time a year ago I was on leg two of my world tour. Malta had started my “I’m going to die let’s see the planet” tour. Bratislava was then my home for a few nights.
A year on, and it’s a trip to Calderdale hospital to give a blood sample, be annoyed at the lack of disabled parking spaces and be very kindly offered a seat by a chap of a similar age who worked for Halfords. I took it.
The disabled parking frustration was interesting. I seem to recall being thoroughly pissed off by car parks with numerous empty disabled spaces and no normal availability. How times have changed. Seeing things from the point of view of the partially disabled is certainly eye opening. Railings on the wall in Calderdale hospital are a major benefit to me with my walking stick. So few buildings offer such welcome support.
Bratislava was chosen as a destination for a handful of reasons. Cheap flights from Leeds. An apartment in the centre for £40 a night. A vague fascination with Eastern Europe, not that Slovakia is that far east. And a scene in the James Bond film The Living Daylights, which I subsequently discovered had been filmed in Vienna!
I walked for miles. Saw most of the city on foot. Climbed hills up to the Castle. Ate street food and pondered the fall of communism and how this city appeared to have thrived.
And identifying my excellent mobility of just a year ago made me sad. My lung cancer hasn’t given me a cough yet. It’s just attacked my bones. And somewhere between then and now that mobility has declined dramatically. To the point where, on Saturday, Chris started a conversation about wheelchairs. I’m not ready for that. But I wasn’t ready for the walking stick I now rely on. It might yet become an idea I have to get used to.