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Old 05-13-2018, 03:51 AM   #76
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Saturday 5 May – part one: what a whizz with a wheelchair!

I don’t think either of us had the greatest night’s sleep. I thought the bed was fine, but Mark was complaining about that. I was bothered more about the noise in the room from someone else, let’s just put it that way. Mind you, he said the same about me, so I guess we were both as bad as each other…

We were up at 5:00am, just as the alarm went off and got going with a nice cup of tea, before we watched the sun literally rise. It was so neat to be up early enough to see it creep above the horizon.








There was still mist handing over the ground in the distance as well…




We headed downstairs to check out, with me paying the £4.20 (about $6) for Mark’s one beer that wasn’t complimentary (we’d already paid for that before Stefano decided everything was complimentary) and then we headed through to breakfast. It was deserted in here…




We’ve stayed here a number of times and never seen it so quiet before. However, there were lots of trays around, so I guess a lot of people had already been up.

We had fun and games getting some juice. There was only pink grapefruit (no thank you – far too tart for me, I like sweetness ), apple (which I’m allergic to) and orange, but the orange was coming out as pretty much water. Apparently it all gets mixed in the machine. Well, that wasn’t working and fair credit to the staff member, she spent ages sorting it out, so we kind of felt obliged to have a glass once it was working…

We filled up and then we made our way into the airport terminal. Again, it was quieter than we’d expected, still busy, don’t get me wrong, but nowhere near as busy as we thought it would be, given it was a Bank Holiday weekend.

We headed up to special assistance, having done a recee last night to work out where it was. There was only one other couple there, much more civilised than Heathrow, which I’d used a couple of times last year, at about this time of the year, almost straight after the freak accident that started off this latest course of events with my ankle.




Within a few minutes, a charming guy was there with my wheelchair and it turned out he’d only been doing this job a month. You wouldn’t have known. He was already a complete whizz with the wheelchair and did a great job of manoeuvring it around. There was a family/assistance security area, which we thought was really good, and even better we discovered that if you had a member of your party with autism, you can get a lanyard and use premium security for almost no wait.

We were quickly through the boarding pass check and then into security. The guy helped get all my stuff into the trays and through security and then pushed me through in the wheelchair through the metal detector, which was very tight, shall we say? I took his advice to keep my arms inside very seriously indeed!

Then the wheelchair got wanded down, which I always find interesting, given presumably it’s airport property? Then my protective boot and tennis shoe (on my left foot) got the same treatment, before I was checked over. It was all very painless and one of the women doing them (I had two) asked about what I’d done, while the other cheerfully chatted to me about how badly she’d broken her arm in a car crash and what her sister had done – fallen off a Wii and broken a bone in her foot so badly, she’d actually shaved some of it off.

Next: “if you have any doubts, now’s the time to say something…”
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Old 05-13-2018, 08:34 AM   #77
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Glad you were able to get through security without incident.
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Old 05-13-2018, 09:30 AM   #78
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Beautiful sunrise photos! I'm glad the wheelchair worked out well for you. That is something about the security lady's sister!
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Old 05-13-2018, 10:12 AM   #79
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Ouch! Shaved bone from a fall from a wii!?
Glad it was a smooth trip thru security.
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Old 05-13-2018, 11:39 AM   #80
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Lovely sunsets and the trip's barely begun It's a little awkward in situations like the juice - once they've made a fuss, then you have to have some even if you're over it at that point
I'm glad the special assistance and security went well. A good sign.
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Old 05-13-2018, 12:11 PM   #81
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tara O'Hara View Post
Beautiful sunrise photos! I'm glad the wheelchair worked out well for you.
I really hate having to admit defeat and use it, but sometimes it is definitely for the best.

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That is something about the security lady's sister!
Scary stuff, huh?
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Old 05-13-2018, 12:11 PM   #82
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Ouch! Shaved bone from a fall from a wii!?
not that I play on our wii any longer, but now I definitely won't!
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Old 05-13-2018, 12:13 PM   #83
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Lovely sunsets and the trip's barely begun
Do you know what? It probably was the best we had this trip... we did have some nice skies the rest of the trip, but nothing quite so stunning...

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It's a little awkward in situations like the juice - once they've made a fuss, then you have to have some even if you're over it at that point
I'm glad the special assistance and security went well. A good sign.
It was certainly a good start... well to that point anyway, let's just put it that way...
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Old 05-13-2018, 12:54 PM   #84
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Great photos of the sunset! Too bad with the juice situation, but at least you got to enjoy some. Glad the assistance in the airport seems to be going well for you so far.
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Old 05-13-2018, 01:20 PM   #85
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You’d think sunset and sunrise are similar, but they’re really not. It is something different to see it come up rather than go down. I don’t know why?!

Glad the breakfast and airport weren’t super crowded! And that the wheelchair area is so nice at Gatwick. I remember (mind you, not in person, just feedback) when Gatwick was an airport to avoid. So nice to see it change like this!
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Old 05-13-2018, 03:03 PM   #86
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You’d think sunset and sunrise are similar, but they’re really not. It is something different to see it come up rather than go down. I don’t know why?!
Oh gosh, they are both completely different. I think I prefer sunset in all honesty, but that's only because I think usually out of the two, it's the more spectacular.

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Glad the breakfast and airport weren’t super crowded! And that the wheelchair area is so nice at Gatwick. I remember (mind you, not in person, just feedback) when Gatwick was an airport to avoid. So nice to see it change like this!
They have invested literally billions in it over recent years. We went through a stage where every time we went up there every few months the whole darned thing had changed. They were just constantly refurbishing it. Mind you, in some ways, I miss the old Gatwick - when it had a Disney Store and a Universal store. It was nice to have those and more high street stores that most people want to shop at. Unfortunately now the shops there tend to be aimed more at people who have more money, shall we say?
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Old 05-13-2018, 06:41 PM   #87
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Beautiful sunrise! Glad the day is off to a great start!
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Old 05-14-2018, 01:44 AM   #88
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Saturday 5 May – part two: “if you have any doubts, now’s the time to say something…”

We were quickly through security and taken over to special assistance. I was very impressed, as we were checked in, and I was given a buzzer, exactly the same as the some of the ones you get at a Disney restaurant to tell you when your table is ready. I was told we’d be taken down at about 7:10am, but they’d page me when they were ready, which was so much better than at Heathrow. There, we were just stuck at special assistance, and we hadn’t had breakfast, so we were desperate for food and it was as if we were asking for the world when we said we needed to leave the area to go and get some. Gatwick really are scoring way above Heathrow today!

I went to use the bathrooms and on the way back, I got a shot of special assistance airside… you can even see Mark looking bored.



He told me I was to go into Harrod’s as they had Harry and Meghan stuff in there. They only thing was a bag…




… but I was still glad I had a look in there, as they had lots of other cool stuff.




I headed back to wait for our call, which was due around 7:10am. A woman came over to ask if I was Ok with stairs and I said to begin with, but then she told me there were two flights to go down. I think not in the boot! She told me that if I had any doubts, now was the time to say something, so I did.

I saw a lot of scurrying around going on, and I felt bad, but I didn’t want a whole plane load of people waiting behind me, pressuring me. I think it was the right thing to do in the circumstances.

In the end, my buzzer went at about 7:25am. Graham and Sarah had already texted to say they were waiting at the gate, so I had a feeling we wouldn’t be the first to board, as normally happens with special assistance. Oh well, there’s nothing we can do about it. We set off on the buggy, then headed down in an elevator and through to an area which seemed to be for special assistance only.

There appeared to be people on about three or four different flights and the others were leaving before us, so we were the last to have our passports and boarding passes checked and we were then the only ones waiting. However, we didn’t wait long. Our driver was soon along and we had a minibus to ourselves, which was neat.

When we got to the plane, we knew it was ours, as it had a ramp up to the plane, rather than steps. I felt better with that and the driver kindly walked behind us, so no-one could come up behind me and hurry me.

We must’ve been amongst the last to board, which was very frustrating, as there was me trying to get my boot off and Mark was desperately trying to find space for the hand luggage. In the end, he put his case until the seat in front of him and managed to get mine up above us. We saw Graham and Sara there, so that was something.

We were soon out taxiing, although we had quite a wait before a fair few other planes before we could take off.









Finally it was our turn and we were in the air…






I was pleasantly surprised by how clear it was in the sky today…





Next: is that Paris?
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Old 05-14-2018, 08:54 AM   #89
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Well it's nice that they do provide such good treatment for you. But it's weird that you were the last to board. Indeed, usually those with special assistance get to board first. On the other hand, you didn't have to sit in your seat too long before take off, which I guess is good too!
Very clear skies - hope it lasts for the whole flight!
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Old 05-14-2018, 09:09 AM   #90
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Sorry you were last to board. Not usual for someone who needs assistance and extra time!
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My Previous TripsAUG '16 - POFQ, APR '12 - POFQ, JUL '10 - DL, AUG '09 - DCL Western, AUG '08 - POFQ/BC, AUG '06 - AKL/BC/DisneyWonder/Poly, DEC '05 - AKL, APR '05 - AKL/BC, DEC '04 - AKL, MAY '04 - AKL/BC, MAY '03 - WL/BC, MAY '98 -offsite, MAY '94 - BC, AUG '85 - Poly, AUG '83 - Poly, AUG '81 - Poly, JUL '79 - World Inn, JUL '76 - World Inn
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