Our Edinburgh Ambassador
Kirsteen, our Edinburgh Ambassador on her favourite places, getting around and rhododendron buds
It’s March now and the days are getting longer. The Botanics are open till six o’clock and this makes it easier for me to visit.
The Botanic Gardens are one of my favourite places. I live quite nearby and can borrow a mobility scooter to get around. They are available to any disabled visitor. A small donation towards the upkeep of the scooters is suggested.
I am enjoying the early signs of spring – the snowdrops and the swelling buds. I am especially keeping my eye on the rhododendron buds. The Botanics has a large selection of rhododendron species which flower throughout spring and early summer. I love these large showy flowers.
If you are disabled getting around is a big problem. Each person will have different degrees of disability and different aspirations, requiring different solutions.
As a child I had various trikes and bikes with stabilisers. They gave me exercise and a lot of fun, too.
Later on I had a much more exciting mode of transport – an Outrider trike. This was petrol driven, looked a bit like the quad bikes that farmers use but smaller and fixed in first gear, so that I couldn’t go too fast!
This wonderful machine enabled me to go on beaches, around country parks, bounce up and down kerbs and have some great adventures!
The Outrider was towed on a trailer behind the car and eventually it was replaced by a mobility scooter which can be hoisted in and out of the car boot.
The scooter is a good way of getting around, too, and can be used indoors which was not the case with the Outrider, with its exhaust fumes! However, it can’t go on beaches and I can’t be too adventurous in the countryside.
In addition getting around town on it is not without challenges in the form of high kerbs and cobbled roads, which shake me and the scooter to pieces!
So, getting back to the Botanics, being able to borrow a large, comfortable scooter and roam around a beautiful garden is wonderful and last time I was there, some of those rhododendron buds had opened into amazing pink blossoms!