I definitely have the Ideal Husband and no, you can’t have him ! After 43 years of marriage I can say this with confidence, although it was not the ‘normal’ kind of wedded bliss that I had been expecting. For starters, within a few years of getting married, we moved lock, stock and a barrel-shaped me (pregnant with my daughter Gemma) to the South West of Ireland and shortly after she was born he left to work on an oil rig in the North Sea rotating a month on/a month off, so he was only at home six months of the year. In the meantime I had to cope with three small children, one enormous dog, two calves, four goats, two sheep and numerous chickens and ducks with the nearest shop 14 miles away ! Thank goodness I had no symptoms of my Rheumatoid Arthritis then – or maybe I did, but just didn’t have the time to think about it !
So my Ideal Husband came and went in and out of our lives, though when he was there he crammed all the jobs normally needed to be done over eight weeks, into four. He chopped wood, milked cows, took the goats (in our car!) to the Billy for you-know-what, built chicken coops and sheared sheep and then returned for a well deserved rest to be boss of an oil rig in far off countries. I’m sure a few people got fired who didn’t deserve it!!
I was diagnosed in 2000 by which time my kids were aged 25,23 and 21 and had mostly left home, except for the odd crisis, such as being ditched by a boyfriend/girlfriend when they had to return to mother on a temporary basis till the dust settled again. By this time I saw even less of my man as he became a Drilling Superintendent and roamed from country to far off country working and no longer came home on a regular basis like before. Mind you, I really quite enjoyed being on my own at home because if I felt unwell I could just stay in bed or take my time over whatever jobs needed to be done.
However being on my own meant that whilst I had a hip replacement, gallstone removal, a knee replacement, two broken feet, a broken shoulder and a broken wrist plus a touch of skin cancer, he usually wasn’t there. Mind you he would always attempt to grab a few days home too make sure I was still breathing, but it wasn’t something you could rely on as, hey presto, he was gone again ! During these times of bad patches for me health wise I came to rely on my eldest son Jason and his wife Debbie more and more as they lived about 20 miles away and when I was good enough to go, off I went to visit Pat in whatever country he happened to be in ! I discovered that it was a simple matter to fly to anywhere with the help of the airlines and I got to visit amazing places around the world and meet amazing people.
If he was really busy on a job far out in the Sahara desert, for example, and I was post first foot operation, he paid for me and my girlfriend to go and visit my daughter Gemma living in Far North Queensland for six weeks and unfailingly phoned 3 times a day for an update on my progress ! My second foot operation coincided with the bottom dropping out of the oil industry at the end of 2014 so suddenly I had a full time husband at home – what a novelty after 42 years of marriage !! As I was in a wheelchair, apart from looking after me, he had to do all the cooking, all the housework and shopping which were all whole new experiences for this rough, tough oil man and, what is more, he took to it like a duck to water ! I stand in awe of his competence – he’s much better at household chores than I ever was!
The only thing he isn’t good at is gardening and as I am now not able to remove so much as a weed from our large garden, I got myself another man to do the gardening and he has saved the day. This paragon of all things green has proved himself invaluable and treats our garden as his own so I can thank my lucky stars that I now have two ideal men !!

My lovely husband Pat !
Our garden


Here I am, having just got over Christmas and New Year and it’s only five weeks till Valentine’s Day! My thoughts are supposed to be turning to thoughts of love, but it’s taking a major effort just to cope with the aftermath of the celebrations. Lots of deep breathing needed and walks taken around the countryside to de-stress whilst husband hoovers up all the glitter I’ve spread around whilst trying to take all the decorations down. I think he’s more stressed than me after seeing me attempt to stand on a step ladder to get down the Christmas lights – I didn’t know he could move so quickly !!
Pushing Valentine’s Day to the back of my mind leaves my thoughts free to plan my six-monthly trip to see my Rheumatologist in Dublin. Quite a bit of planning has to go into this as we live about 300 miles away on the Beara Peninsula which makes it a full day’s outing. The train leaves Killarney – 35 miles away – at 07.40, so I have to get up at 05.30 to have a shower, get dressed and have breakfast and be ready to get into the car at 06.30. By this time Pat will have taken the two dogs in to the kennels the day before and I have to make sure and leave the 2 rescue cat’s food in the larder for my friend Stella who will pop in and feed them in the late afternoon. I will also have booked two seats on the normally busy train to Dublin courtesy of Irish Rail. We catch the train up and back because I get free train travel for me and my ‘carer’ , (i.e.. husband) and the trains are clean and comfy and I can wander around if needs be. They also have large, wheelchair friendly loos with doors that slide right back and reveal all, if you forget to lock them !! (Did this happen to me? – of course it did !). I’m usually not awake enough to make sandwiches and flasks for the trip, so we avail of the trolley service for the much needed cup of coffee! This particular train – and the one we take back – goes straight through from Killarney to Dublin and takes just about three hours. I always download a rented film or two to my IPad a few days before and can watch these en route as well as avail of the free WIFI on the train and before you know it we are pulling in to Heuston Station.
During my various operations I had to go to Dublin by myself occasionally as Pat was away in far off climes and the Irish Rail staff were absolutely brilliant, especially if I was in a wheelchair or in walking boots. They would assist me on to the train and send the ramps with me in case I had to change trains and they always informed the staff at Heuston that I was coming and they decamped me into a taxi to the hospital !


My Rheumatologist at the Blackrock Clinic is efficient, friendly and young enough to outlast me !! I have to provide her with my latest ‘bloods’ and a list of any changes in my symptoms since I last saw her six months ago which she questions me about. Her assessment of me is always thorough and unhurried and she always writes down (with a copy for me) of how I should proceed both with medication and personally as I definitely am one of those people who forgets everything given half the chance ! I come away feeling relaxed and updated on my RA and it’s worth every minute of the long journey up and back. With Pat to drive me home from Killarney we arrive slightly exhausted around 9pm having hopefully remembered to collect the doggies en route !


Here we are only a few hours into 2017 and I’m beginning to hate it already! It’s the same old New Year’s resolutions over and over again. Loose weight, give up sugar, walk more and organise your life and I know perfectly well that by March I will have forgotten all of them ! So I’ve decided to add a few new ones which might be easier…………………
1. MAKE NEW MEMORIES. The old ones are great but I need to make new ones too.
2. TRAVEL as much as I can. This is getting progressively more difficult now, having to live off a pension. I went to the Greek Islands last year, but that seems so far away in the past and I want to go again, so I’m going to start a small savings account specially for it ! The great thing about travelling is it makes you appreciate your home when you get back. I was once told that what you really want from life is waiting for you back home, but right now in the depths of winter I feel like I could lie on the deck of a sailing boat in the Aegean and make a whole new home. Rubbish I know, but great to fill my dreams !
3. BE KIND. I need to switch my focus to others and always be kind. Did you know that being consciously kind releases oxytocin which will give you an emotional high and reduce your blood pressure ! Being kind to others is paradoxically a way of being kind to yourself, though it has to be done without expectation of getting a pat on the back !
4. BUY A NOTEBOOK and write down your feelings, bits of conversation, pieces of poetry that move you so that you can refer to them on your black days when chronic pain and feeling unable to cope get you down. I especially write down strange things that happen to me when I travel – hence the Blog,
5. SET A GOAL FOR EACH MONTH and keep to it. This is where the old perennials of loosing weight, eating less, no sugar, etc. etc. come into play. Write down your weight (how terrible is this for a suggestion ?) at the beginning of each month so you have something to work towards. At the moment I try to walk in and out of the bathroom and not let the scales catch my eye, so now I have to actually weigh myself and write it down……………. I feel quite faint at the thought of it !
7. I was going to put down EXERCISE MORE but my husband and mentor tells me that as I loose all this weight, I will be able to walk further and thus get fitter and fitter ! Perhaps I should get one of those step counters and right down how many steps I take each day to see if I am progressing, or if I am in truth actually getting worse ?? Maybe the shock of seeing how heavy I am will spur me onwards and upwards, but I’ve a long way to go before I could actually smile at the results !

One thing I have learned over the years is that what I want out of life is not the same as when I was 30 or 60. You just have to embrace all the changes as life goes on. Having RA has not been all bad and I’ve had some great moments and made great friends and it’s these more recent memories that are part of me now. For example, after 15 years of numerous operations, come March 2017 it will have been two years since the last one on my foot and not another one on the horizon ! I seem, at long last, to be settling down joint-wise and just getting to be a regular old bionic granny – Hooray and A HAPPY NEW YEAR to you all !

Me taking notes all at sea !
The Aegean Clipper – in Greece !


For a total of four years, Pat worked in TUNISIA based initially in their main city of Tunis, so as a result I spent a number of Christmases there. Although in the main Tunisia is very hot, in winter the temperature drops to below freezing sometimes, necessitating a warm jacket at the very least!
Going there for Xmas has one big advantage – it’s Muslim and they don’t celebrate Christmas – so absolutely no glitter or glitz, or Santa or reindeer. You leave it all behind in Paris or London or wherever and arrive to invigorating sunny days and heady nights where only  lights sparkle in their watery reflections.
Of course, there is the advantage of being able to go and spend Xmas Eve at a hotel like The Residence (my favourite hotel in the whole world !) who go over the top with glitter and glitz and French food to die for with not a turkey or a cranberry in sight. I remember one menu which said it had ‘poached wolf’ for the main course ! Now there still are wolves up in the mountains, but I had never seen one and on enquiring from our Tunisian friends found out that the French word Loup was actually a kind of fish and had just been literally translated !

We usually return there on New Year’s Eve and take a room for the night as their floor shows are legendary. Tunis is the original home of Contemporary Dance Schools and past pupils return for this one night to Tunisia to show off their mind-blowing skills in order to welcome in the New Year. One time when we went the whole show was put on in the huge Roman swimming pool with scantily toga-clad young men brandishing real flaming torches as they walked down into the water. After a good sleep in the preceding afternoon, I usually manage to stay up till about 3am and then wander back to our room to the scent of Neroli which pervades the entire hotel and sleep soundly till noon. Poor Pat has to be at the office by 8am, but he manages to sneak out without waking me and leaves me to my dreams.


Breakfast on New Year’s Day is spent beside a small indoor pool filled with floating flowers and a huge inverted Xmas pine tree hanging upside-down over the pool. Not a single decoration on it, but a high up window is opened and the local wild birds come down into the tree to feed on the resin and chirp and sing their small hearts out. Formidable.
On a couple of occasions when Pat has been away in a country I can’t visit due to visa problems, I have spent Xmas Day with my family here in Ireland and then jetted off to AUSTRALIA on Boxing Day to spend New Year with my daughter. This is indeed strange as they have all the Xmas paraphernalia at the hottest time of the year. Santa’s and glitter all over the place at loggerheads with the burning sun. Up in tropical Port Douglas, Far North Queensland where she lived it was also the ‘wet season’ so it was necessary on New Year’s Eve to put on a sparkly glamorous blouse on your top half and an old pair of shorts on the bottom half as when it rains there it can come up to your knees in seconds and somewhat dampens down the firework displays – but good fun and all part of the Ozzie experience as the water quickly drains away ! Also there is nothing like a boat ride out to the Great Barrier Reef to celebrate New Year and swim and snorkel in the warm waters of the Coral Sea whilst everyone at home freezes ! What a wonderful and amazing country it is !
But regardless of wherever you are, I hope you have a wonderful pain-free Christmas and manage to take it easy and reflect on all the good times you have had and those to come – as they surely will.


A great many Christmas’s over the past seventeen years have been spent travelling as in the Oil Business Xmas is just another day and my husband was expected to work, so I just had to go out and join him wherever he was.
Romania was an eye-opener for me. I flew to Bucharest where Pat met me and we stayed, briefly, at a hotel called The Hotel Concrete ( a lot of Bucharest is made of concrete!) and got up at 4am to drive to Craiova, Romania’s 6th largest city and capital of Dolj County, which is situated near the east bank of the river Jiu in central Oltenia in the far South West. The landscape is spectacular, heavily forested with chestnut and oak trees in the mountains and interspersed with beautiful villages. The roads were interesting and about the width of our 4×4 hire car.  It was not unusual to meet an oxen pulling a cart, complete with a sofa on the back and most of the family on board coming in the opposite direction!
We were booked into a small hotel in Craiova run by a marvellous family who invited us to spend Xmas Eve with them. This is their main celebration and consisted of about 30 relatives, no alcohol, and about 20 ways of doing pork – all of which we had to sample!  Only a couple of the younger girls spoke some English and Romanian is extremely difficult to understand, but it was an evening filled with laughter and even some Russian Orthodox monks singing deep throaty Russian Xmas carols!  The outstandingly amazing thing about industrial Craiova are its Xmas lights.  Over 200 trees are all lit up, so are the streets and the central square become a fairy-tale skating rink – I’ve never seen anything like it anywhere. The temperature hovered around -10 and it snowed endlessly !


On Xmas day we had to visit a couple of rigs up in the mountains and then we took ourselves off to a local ski-resort which had an interesting road which a snowplough had cut in the side of the mountain and if you didn’t have a 4×4 like us you had to walk up (and then ski down! ). There was a hotel at the top serving tripe soup (- one look made me resort to bread and cheese )- but it’s a National dish if you want to try it ! On the way back all the local villagers were dressed in national dress and carrying baskets of food to one another houses trudging through the snow. It was like passing through another century and quite unforgettable.
I’ll tell you about other Christmas Days in my next Blog, but right now I want to wish you ALL a Happy pain free Xmas and hope Santa brings you everything you desire !


I try not to complain too often as it does nothing for my Rheumatoid Arthritis except push up my blood pressure and make me more aware of my chronic pain, but there are times in my life when I just want to scream with the injustice of everything !  Strong words from but let’s see if they were deserved……….
I started off yesterday for my morning walk down to the bridge. The sun was shining and although it was still cold, it had definitely improved over last week. I grabbed my walking poles and was just experiencing the sheer joy of being outside in the bracing fresh air.  Fifteen minutes later I reached the old bridge and that’s when I saw it.
To start with I couldn’t make out what it was caught on the middle bridge support all pink and bloated.
It was definitely the insides of a body and I forced myself to look some more, though my stomach felt like heaving, just in case it was human. Then I saw the small brown head of a female deer caught there as well.


Some idiot hunter had obviously shot and gutted this doe (which was probably pregnant at this time of year), then thrown the bits he didn’t want over the bridge where it was caught on the central support. This stream used to be our water source until we drilled a well, but there are people downstream of this bridge that still pipe water from it. Goodness knows what a rotting deer carcass will do to the water that they drink, though I don’t suppose the morons that chucked it in there give a toss for others.
I took photos right there and then with my IPhone and went back up home quite sickened. My husband Pat came home shortly afterwards from walking the dogs and had also seen it. This was a favourite spot for the dogs to swim, but no longer. The perpetrators were obviously long gone, although it was a fresh kill and , no doubt, will sell the meat on to restaurants to make a quick buck before Xmas and there are still places around that will buy meat from an unknown source and quite illegally.
I hope the poachers and the purchasers choke on it. And yes, we did report it to the Garda (Police).
Hopefully next week I will be back on my Blog in a better frame of mind………


Always, always pick your airline carefully AND the type of aircraft- especially for long-haul travel. Our nearest airport Cork has only two major airlines, with no Business Class to take you to either Heathrow, Schipol (Amsterdam) or Paris where you can hook up with long-haul airlines I can tolerate sitting squashed into a crowded plane on short-haul for possibly 3 hours, but not longer.
When I first flew to Australia by myself, just two months after my hip replacement I flew with Malaysian Airlines from Heathrow and have no complaints at all except that it was a Jumbo jet and business class was upstairs. A wheelchair took me to the door of the aircraft and I was helped by a number of exquisite tiny hostesses up and into my seat Walking around room upstairs was limited, but apart from that – no problems. The lady in the seat next to me was totally blind and I was amazed to find she flew alone 4 times a year to visit her children in Melbourne !! We helped each other at the stop over in Singapore by looking after each other’s hand luggage whilst one or other of us had a much needed shower and change of clothes. What a wonderful person she was and she greatly inspired me to travel more often !
To get to Port Douglas in Australia from Cork I have to first fly to one of the major airports above, change planes and fly to Singapore. Change planes again here and fly to Brisbane, then change planes again and fly up the Great Barrier Reef to Cairns. At the end of a very long day (night) that last flight is quite amazing and a definite sit-by-the-window one!


Travelling alone is really very easy as long as you book a wheelchair from start to finish and long-haul flights are only excellent at meeting you from the plane, bringing you to the Business Class lounge, collecting you in time for your onward flight, etc. etc. As I have already said, if you travel Business Class there are large showers with all towels, toiletries etc. provided and free food and drink, plus comfy seats to wait in. A change of clothes is a good idea here too.
My next trip to Oz was via Hong Kong with Cathay Pacific. I had this great idea that I could cut out one plane flight by flying to Hong Kong from Heathrow and then directly down to Cairns, but there was a seven hour wait over and because the new landing strip stretches out into the ocean, it was about a half mile walk back to Duty Free – no good for me at all to fill the endless wait. Also despite a good search the only Western food I could find was cheese and biscuits !! The flight itself from Heathrow was also in a Jumbo Jet, but this time with the strangest zip-like seating necessitating full-harness seat belts for take off and landing. The seats were tiny (I am 5’10” tall) so much so that my feet stuck out into the aisle where everyone tripped over them ! Never again !
It was after this trip that I found out it was possible to Google your flight and have a look at the airlines and their specific seating and choose a seat that did not back on to the loo ! Everything was downhill from then on !
I booked the next trip with SINGAPORE AIRLINES, all the way through to Brisbane from Heathrow with a stop over at Singapore and what a great idea that was. The plane I chose was an A380 which is really HUGE, but the seating in Business Class is 1-2-1 making for the largest seats I have ever seen and a 7’ bed, which is even better ! The food and service definitely give it the right to call themselves THE GROWN-UP AIRLINE and travelling with them makes it a really enjoyable experience, and if necessary you can sleep all the way over and all the way back !! It also has plenty of space to take a walk around in – something I find necessary to save me getting too stiff.
The only drawback with travelling Business Class is that it is about twice as expensive as cabin class, meaning that I have to save up between trips and not visit my daughter more often than I would like, but it is well worthwhile in the end !


Here in SW Ireland after a balmy autumn with hardly a drop of rain, we have suddenly been plunged into winter with icy frosts and wind straight from the Arctic and our local mountains are covered in snow. So I thought it timely to come up with suggestions as to how to cope with your RA and the cold.
It goes without saying that you should dress warmly, preferably with several layers as this traps and warms air between them from your body heat. Trousers and thick socks are fine for me, but if you wear skirts, then warm woolly tights will keep your legs snug. I have difficulty putting on socks if I am not near my bed and my sock-putter-oner so I tend to wear Ugg boots that don’t require any socks as they are full of sheep wool and can be pulled on easily. A word of warning though, Ugg boots come in the inside or outside variety and the former wont survive the latter !!
For outside a woolly hat, gloves or mittens. Gloves can also be layered to keep your sore hands really cozy, and a warm scarf can keep your neck and the bottom part of your face warm too ! I also have neoprene mittens which are brilliant and can be worn under gloves.
It’s really important in cold weather to keep hydrated or your system will rapidly cool down. So lots of water and possibly (like me) a hot port of an evening ! If possible try to drink warm water and apply this also to the outside of your body by lazing in a hot bath or swimming in a heated pool.
Swimming is excellent exercise and even if you have chronic pain it is vital to exercise in some manner. Walking at whatever pace you can manage is really good for you and if you have two enthusiastic dogs like me, give in to their pleading looks and get on outdoors for a stroll. I can’t walk very far after my two feet operations, but I try to go a couple of yards further each day. Also I find just getting round the house keeps me active or walking around the shopping mall when we go to Killarney.
Its really important to watch you don’t slip on icy pavements or drives. Get someone to put down salt on the ground where you walk most often and make sure you have good treads on your supportive footwear. I have Fell walking boots that lace up around my ankles. Difficult to get in or out of without a lovely husband like mine, but well worth the effort.
I take Omega 3 and a Glucosamine-Chondroitin supplement daily which seem to help me, and certainly cannot harm. Everyone is always full of helpful advice as to what supplements to take, but I think different things work for different people and if a supplement seems to help, then take it.
Finally there is a lot of debate as to whether people with RA (or even just arthritis) can foretell if a cold spell is coming – something to do with barometric pressure – that will set off a flare up. I definitely ‘feel it in my joints’ when the weather is about to change. The best advice I can give you on this is to immediately book a long holiday somewhere warm where you can laze in the sun, drink long cool drinks and swim off the beach in warm water – and, oh yes, a stroll down the beach at the water’s edge with your feet in the warm sand will do you a power of good as well ! DSCF1259.JPG4 mile beach – Port Douglas, Far North Queensland.


Having been blogging now for a few months and reading all of your blogs out there, I am surprised at how many tell their own particular journey through Chronic Pain. Very few of them offer a way to cope. After all, if you have chronic pain like I do with my RA, then you have it and it isn’t going to go away. You are stuck with it ! So I thought I would devote this blog to what I have learned over the 16 years of my RA and pass my ideas over to you.

The first thing I would offer is LAUGHTER. A good giggle with a girlfriend, an amusing film, a funny thought that brings a smile. You will find that taking your mind off the pain eases it – even if it’s only for a short time.

The second thing is to GET UP and do something positive. Be it a swim (our nearest pool is over 40km away, so no good for me) or a walk outside, preferably in the countryside. Breathe in deeply {- I do this often as I am constantly out of breath !) and look around you at all of Nature’s beauties whilst trying not to trip up ! I put on neoprene mittens and use these to grip a walking pole in each hand. These have the advantage of keeping your stance upright and allowing you to look around instead of looking at your feet ! Whilst my two feet were being operated on and I couldn’t walk for over 2 years, I had the use of a Quingo (see a previous blog of mine) which allowed me to go outside and walk or even run the dogs. What a fantastic feeling that was after being shut inside the house for so long ! Even a rainy day looked marvellous and made me forget my aches and pains!

Knowing that I faced immobility with my impending foot operations, I searched around for some hobby I could do and came up with PAINTING. I had painted 55 years ago at school, but not since then. I made enquiries and found out that a brilliant artist lived just about a mile from me and I asked her if she would teach me from scratch – and what fun we had (and still have) ! A whole morning experimenting with all kinds of mediums and before much time had passed we became, and still are, best friends. I just love the time spent painting – it takes me to whole other place in my mind, away from chronic pain – so much so that I forget all about it for a whole morning at a time. Here is one of my efforts…..


On my May morning walk….. 2017

I spend most evenings WATCHING TELEVISION. Sitting in my chair with my feet up and enjoying whatever takes my fancy. My long suffering husband waits till I go to bed, which is usually quite early, and then puts on all his men-telly programmes !! Freeing your mind up from constantly thinking about the pain you are in, sets you free. If the pain is greater than the programme on telly, then I take to the shower or bath. I have a Bath Knight which lowers and lifts me up and down into the water in our upstairs bathroom as I think it would take the Fire Brigade to get me out of our other triangular Jacuzzi bath downstairs, though I still look at it longingly ! Last time I actually tried it, I couldn’t get out and poor Pat had to strip off and get in with me to lift me out ! We had a good laugh over that…..!

I try to stay UNSTRESSED over as much as I can. With me Stress brings on an immediate sort of mini Flare Up of my RA. I start to feel immense fatigue and full-on pain. For this I GO AND LIE DOWN, put the radio on to Radio 4 and try counting backwards from 100 – or 200 !! This is really hard to do and makes me concentrate on other things and I actually can get the mini flare-up to subside, just by counting backwards ! There are times when I have to take pain-killers, but I try to do without them as we can all do without the constipation that they bring along for the ride !

To sum up, over the years I have learned to control some of my chronic pain with my mind and finding other things to dwell on and it really works. We are stuck with the pain, so let’s make the best of it and certainly love life and all the marvellous things it offers. Experiment with new horizons and keep moving forward in whatever manner you can !


We all fall for those really cheap €1.00 tickets and then find out that it is really 50/60/70 Euro by the time they have added all those little ‘extras’ and it’s only one way. You need a whole other ticket to get home again which for some curious reason is always more expensive ! They all, without exception, have crammed in extra seats and it is hard work and painful to get in and out of the very squashed seating. But in fairness if you are there and the plane is there and the Gods are in your favour, then it can work. But no amount of praying is going to help you if one part goes out of kilter.
My son and I were in Pisa, Italy one January and the Ryanair flight was 3 hours late arriving to collect us to take us back to Stansted in the UK. Ergo, we arrived 3 hours late and, as with all Ryanair terminals, about what seemed like 12 miles from the Departure Terminal ! Ryanair have this quaint procedure that you have to check in and check out for each flight you take. No in-transit rubbish for them !
I had allowed about 3 hours between flights to accommodate my being in a wheelchair, but it was nearing the departure time for our ongoing flight to Cork so we decided to split up. Mark ran to collect our luggage from arrivals and I ditched the wheelchair and trotted as fast as I could to the check-in desk and met him there. But hey, it was 35 minutes before the departure time and they wouldn’t let us on the flight. Pointing out that our lateness was due to the no-show of their own plane got us exactly nowhere. Rule 28b subsection c (of those endless pages which you download with your ticket and never read) say you have to leave a four hour time lag between each flight ! It really does !! It also didn’t help that I had ditched the wheelchair and couldn’t go for the sympathy vote ! We were offered a flight to Dublin that was going later that night and for which we would have to pay and they couldn’t understand why we wouldn’t go there instead – after all, it was Ireland, wasn’t it? No amount of telling them that Dublin is several hundred miles from Cork where our car was parked had any effect. No we just had to buy all new tickets for Cork at a specially high price for ‘last minute booking’, then pay for a hotel to stay in near Stansted and then get up at 5am the next morning – all just to get back to Cork.
If you really want to get frustrated and stressed and set off a full blown flare-up of your RA try complaining on line (or by phone) when you get back………..
My other trouble with low cost airlines is that they all have the smallest check-in hold luggage allowance and yet you can take up to 10 kilos of hand luggage, if you can shift it ! And boy oh boy, do they make you pay for each extra kilo. I have to put practically everything in my hold luggage as I find it so difficult to clutch the things I have to carry. Some airlines insist that you can only take one item through the security check point and I got stopped for carrying a handbag and a book as 2 items of luggage. Unfortunately the book would not fit in the handbag and as I was in a wheelchair and couldn’t go back outside again to buy a larger handbag (as they suggested to my wheelchair handler !) they charged me £60 for the extra item. Daylight robbery !!
Do you wonder that I now save up my cents to travel Business Class which has a whole new experience of flying – especially for the disabled.