Long gone are the invalid carriages that used to drive my Dad nuts by holding up traffic or parking anywhere blocking access to where he particularly wanted to go.
Things have certainly progressed since then and everywhere you look these days, you’ll see someone on a mobility scooter. We have even seen a couple with HIS and HERS plates having a race in the car park.
In the late 90s, ill-health determined that my father-in-law have one, and we bought him some fluffy dice to attach to the front and a flag for the back of his ‘under-training’ dodgem.
He saw the joke, mother-in-law didn’t.
Hubby and I met them for lunch one day when they’d given it a test drive down to the local supermarket cafe about half a mile away. It was decided to pile everything and everyone in the car afterwards, but there was no room for me, so I ended up walking back to their house on my own.
When he died, Mum inherited the scooter, removed aforementioned dice and flag, and used it often. Never having driven a car, motor bike or even a moped, she was dangerous! Although the thing only had a maximum speed of 4 miles, she threw the switch to this setting every time and shot off out of the garage at breakneck speed.
After a year or so, she decided it wasn’t fast enough and bought one with an 8 mile speed and distance capability of 20 miles. That was when she remembered to charge the batteries, so it was no surprise when she ran out of ‘go juice’ and had to get someone to call Hubby for roadside assistance.
Running out of power was a regular occurrence, and she complained to the company that sold it to her that the battery wasn’t holding the charge (what charge I hear you say) .
They presented her with a bill for £150 for a new set, and when they failed as well (quelle surprise) they gave her the old ones back, but no refund and a courtesy charge of £40.
She never was any good with money, but at least she discovered what the little red and green lights meant and what the cable was for.
The garage wall would tremble in terror at the sound of her rounding the corner by the gate at warp speed. She would simply aim for the open door, take her hands off everything and hope that the scooter would stop before it hit anything. Most of the time she misjudged it and Hubby put an old mattress at the back of the garage to stop her doing any damage to either it, herself or her trusty steed.
However, she insisted he remove it because it reduced her stopping space. She always hit it, despite his repeated suggestions that perhaps she should reduce her speed , slowing down to a gentle and refined stop instead of the likelihood of being catapulted over the handlebars and ending up in a heap on the floor.
The garage door also shook off several coats of paint over the years, and each time we visited, there would be scratch marks and dents where before there had been none.
I rode it once. I reversed and nearly took out the washing line prop, and I was only doing 2 miles an hour! Going forward, again at the lowest setting, I felt uncomfortable, unsafe, and it scared the hell out of me!
As soon as mother-in-law got on it, it was like the parting of The Red Sea as everyone got out of her way.
Still, it got her out of the house, she was able to take herself shopping and down to the chemist under her own steam.
There were an awful lot of twitching curtains in her road though whenever she went out on it.
We’re convinced it was the local Neighbourhood Watch grapevine sending out a chain of warnings that the Demon Scooter Driver was again on the loose and coming their way!