On the Road

On the Road

john connor

It’s 4 a.m. and, unsurprisingly, I’m laying flat on my back.

Yesterday, I had a whale of a time and now I feel like a beached one.

I’m not in my own bed because I’m staying in a tres jolie bed-and-breakfast in Northern France.

The trouble is the bed is exceedingly low and I have nothing to grab onto. I need a wee. Help!

I wake my long-suffering wife and we improvise a 15-minute Laurel & Hardy slapstick routine to maneuver me into my wheelchair. Once there, I remain. It’s by no means the first time that I’ve had to sit up all night. In my hitchhiking days, pulling an all-nighter on a Greyhound bus, I considered it luxury travel. Unlike sleeping in a tent, it was warm, dry and remarkably soft! Getting toughened up to upright sleeping in my youth turns out to be tres practical now that I have MS. Sometimes, like now, I have no other choice.

In truth, it was an ambitious escapade.

My friend Nigel had researched an amazing wine shop 10 miles from Calais. We were going on an up-market booze cruise before Brexit made such a trip fiendishly complex. (OK, we used the Channel Tunnel, but the phrase still counts!) Plans evolved and instead of trying to do everything in one day ― it was wine shop, eat out in the evening, sleep and then the next morning, a tad of French grocery shopping in the sleepy village of Ardres. We were so laid back we were too late for the boulangerie (boo) but made the crèmerie (hurrah).

I’d perused the in-depth wine list and decided, like going to a good restaurant, to throw myself on the mercy of the establishment. We were met by the English avuncular proprietor, Guy Boursot, and proceeded to spend three hours tasting our way through his suggestions. I’ve done a bit of wine tasting. I grew up in an off-licence (liquor store), but not one like this. All the wines were good; it was just a matter of choosing your personal faves. At times like this, being in a wheelchair has its advantages ― comfy, and even if you were able-bodied, less chance of drinking too much and falling over.

In the past couple of years, I’ve hardly ventured away from my known hangouts. Home, work or going to friends or family residences. Three new venues in the space of a few hours turned out to be physically and mentally taxing. The wine shop was a dream for the disabled: No step and a floor entry smoothed for wheelchair access. The B&B was all on the ground floor, but there was a step into the room and the shower cubicle was too high. Breakfast required a wheelchair trek across a pebble driveway, grass, a narrow path and then an enormous step. I made it, but it turned into a communal effort. The restaurant again required me to clamber up one step, something I can usually manage easily, but not when exhausted.

It’s now a few days later, and I’m finally recovered.

I loved the trip, but I’m glad I’ve got nothing planned for the moment.

We are talking about Copenhagen and the reopening of the world-famous restaurant Noma.

I never learn.

***

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John Connor BNS Writer
‘In 1982 John Connor was a stand up, sketch writer & journalist – crap at all three he decided whilst watching a man performing with a paper bag on his head that as nobody else was going to write about stand up he would’. ‘Comics’ Papermac 1990. In 2009 John Connor was diagnosed with MS. In 2017 John Connor still produces/directs his own live 27 year old resident topical comedy show at London’s Comedy Store – ‘The Cutting Edge’. He was also a leading UK Casting Director specialising in comedy – including one of the hippest shows ‘Black Books’ [double BAFTA winning Situation Comedy Award] & for at least a decade the biggest sitcom on British TV ‘My Family’. TV & MS was a step too far – and we know how hard any step can be. Luckily his satirical show was a built in part time job & with the election of Trump is now in the zeitgeist. John now writes “Fall Down Get Up Again” – an irreverent journey with MS.
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John Connor BNS Writer
‘In 1982 John Connor was a stand up, sketch writer & journalist – crap at all three he decided whilst watching a man performing with a paper bag on his head that as nobody else was going to write about stand up he would’. ‘Comics’ Papermac 1990. In 2009 John Connor was diagnosed with MS. In 2017 John Connor still produces/directs his own live 27 year old resident topical comedy show at London’s Comedy Store – ‘The Cutting Edge’. He was also a leading UK Casting Director specialising in comedy – including one of the hippest shows ‘Black Books’ [double BAFTA winning Situation Comedy Award] & for at least a decade the biggest sitcom on British TV ‘My Family’. TV & MS was a step too far – and we know how hard any step can be. Luckily his satirical show was a built in part time job & with the election of Trump is now in the zeitgeist. John now writes “Fall Down Get Up Again” – an irreverent journey with MS.

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