Tag Archives: balance

Backseat Van Driver

Still panicking about wonky eye, still waking up half-blind, stumbling my way to the bathroom. But luckily I had my work site visit yesterday, where we trundled 40-odd miles down the road to visit a possible job.

We stopped off in Starbucks for a caffeine refuel and catch-up before setting off. Boy, I needed that caffeine and I wish I’d had that chocolate croissant for the sugar before I got back in the van.

The boss drives his van like an absolute maniac. ┬áHe is a man possessed. You know all those jokes about ‘white van man’? All true.

‘Are you going to stop?’


‘Um, it’s a red light.’

‘Oh, yeah.’

‘Can you slow down?’



‘Can you pull back from that little old lady?’


And so on, all the way there. Down the motorway, along winding roads and hairpin bends. He is a nutter. So much for my relaxing day trip. Anyway, we got there in one piece, legs wobbling and looked around the job. Beautiful area and it was lovely to be out in the countryside. A couple of hours later and we were back in the van (gulp) and drove home.

I am now officially a back-seat van driver. Just out of curiosity, I had a look at all the other vans on the motorway. Most were going faster than us and most of the drivers were eating, talking on the phone and joshing with their labourer all at the same time, so maybe the boss wasn’t all that bad.

We popped in to another quote before I was dropped off home and I passed the time waiting in the van by flicking through a builder supplies catalogue. I’ve picked out the waterproof jacket I want and a possible new pair of boots (sadly only in grey or black). I’m toying with the idea of a reflective vest. The boss just sighed when I told him.

I’m not really getting the hang of this builder look, am I? When I worked last weekend, I put my pile of newspapers on the dashboard before we drove to the job. I get the feeling he wasn’t very impressed to have his usual Sun replaced with the Guardian and Times or when I pulled out my lippy for a quick touch-up…

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Walking Stick Chic

Gandalf has one, Charlie Chaplin was famous for his and Brad Pitt was recently spotted with one. So why am I so reluctant to use a walking stick when I need to?

This came up for discussion last week in the Fatigue Management course, when I wailed about how scary it was to walk to the loo in a busy pub or restaurant (I have been known to trip and fall spectacularly, in full cartoon-mode). I can sit there for hours, carefully plotting the best route, working out how slippy the floor is and counting how many people I could quite possibly fall over in front of. If I don’t know where the loos are, I will send a friend first and extract every last bit of information from them. ‘How far did you say? Big plant to watch out for? Carpet or wooden flooring?’. And so on.

The suggestion from the group was that I should carry one of those folding ones in my bag and just use it for extra balance when I need to. It’s a huge psychological step though, isn’t it? It’s almost the same as the first time you go outside with a pram – you think everyone is looking at you and it takes a while to get used to it.

And how on earth do you actually walk with it? I think I may need a few trial runs. I will go out when it is dark, in dark clothing to a very dark place and give it a go. Do you put the stick down first, then walk or walk then put the stick down? What’s the rhythm? What if I trip over the stick?

I had a chat with a friend a while back about this conundrum. She put her hand on my arm and said, ‘Daaaarling (she’s a bit posh), never fear! Why do you think all the best ballet teachers have one? It gives them authority, it is chic and makes a statement’. Fair point. So the last time I was in town, I scanned the crowds, picking out every single person with a stick. I failed to find a single chic person. The majority were eligible for free bus passes. Where are all the young people with sticks? Where do they hide?

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