Archive for June, 2013

The Terrain Hopper

There are long words. Short words. Medium-sized words.

And the thing about words is that, generally, they mean something; although I have to admit I’d be stumped to give dictionary definitions to ‘a’, ‘an’ and ‘floccinoccinihilipilification.’

But I am in a quandary to find a suitable word to sum up the afternoon of Sunday June 23rd 2013. Amazing and fantastic just don’t seem to do it justice at all.

What was the cause of all this? What had me diving – not literally, you understand – for my dictionary?

Well, last week, I was taking a well-earned break from my chronic pain. When I say taking a break from it, I mean I was lying on my bed trying to distract the bastard. The pain. Not the bed.

There’s something about chronic pain that I don’t think anyone can fully understand unless they suffer from it. Politicians seem to be particularly lacking here. And Chief Executives of Primary Care Trusts. And readers of The Daily Mail.

Anyway, I was hanging upside from my trapeze. I find it eases the pain around C5. I wasn’t really. I don’t have a trapeze. I heard a voice calling me.

It was Andy.

“Will you get off your trapeze and come and look at this!” he called.

I creaked through to the living room to find Andy planted in front of BBC Look North. There was a piece about an all-terrain vehicle, The TerrainHopper, which had been spotted in Lincolnshire!

We both watched the piece open-mouthed. Andy from amazement. Me simply because it’s a really bad habit I have. I bite my toenails too.

The TerrainHopper was launched by Sam and Deborah Dantzie in 2010 and is an off road mobility product. The couple have driven their project forward with a passion and vision that led to them self-financing the opening of a manufacturing facility, patenting and launching the All-terrain mobility vehicle.

“I like the look of that,” I said.

“I thought you would,” Andy replied.

“I want one,” I continued.

“I thought you would,” said Andy.

“I’m going to get in touch with them…”

“I thought you would,” said Andy, passing me their telephone number.

After a phone call to TerrainHopper HQ and chatting with Debbie – another person I am adding to my list of Earth angels – a meeting was arranged.

The plan was for me to have a spin in the TerrainHopper, whilst Debbie filmed for a promotion video. It sounded perfect.

The weather on the actual day was… How do I put it delicately… pissing it down… but, thanks to some weather system or other piling in from somewhere to the left of where we live, it cleared up.

Debbie arrived at our home and, my immediate thought was: She’s forgotten the TerrainHopper. Well, this surprise number one. It was in the back of her car. No trailer required. Granted, it wasn’t a Mini, but it as a surprise!

Our first port of call was a nearby woods. My last expedition into woodland was in Nethy Bridge in Scotland. There was a lovely footpath that went through the middle of it. It led straight to the local pub. Andy was convinced it was a magic footpath. The problem with the wheelchair though was it simply cut out on the bumps.

I needn’t have worried with the TerrainHopper. It simply ate up the ground, which was bumpy, muddy and littered with lumberjacks and fallen trees. In fact, the only thing that stopped us getting deeper into the woods was a fallen tree and the sight of a small cottage made of gingerbread.

Next, it was the beach.

I have been to the seaside since being in a wheelchair. In fact, I enjoy a walk (I can’t say ‘wheel’… I’m just going out for a wheel…) along the front at Mablethorpe, followed by chips and steaming hot tea. We both avoid the foot long sausage.

The TerrainHopper just took the beach in its stride. I drove over the dunes, the tufted grasses and drifting sand.

The TerrainHopper caused quite a stir – as did my driving – and something of a crowd built up and then dispersed again – because of my driving.

Everyone who was around stopped to watch it in action. Every comment I heard went along the lines of “That looks über cool! Fancy a go on that! Mind the dog crap!”

From my point of view, whilst the TerrainHopper is ideal for the disabled, I felt it really has an appeal that goes beyond that.

One of the things I loved – other than its very obvious high quality capabilities – was the fact it looked so bloody cool! It felt great to be whizzing around the beach in it and not have to face the looks of people who thought they were watching the ‘stereotypical’ disabled going through their paces on a motorised scooter.

When we’d finished, I turned to Andy and said, “I want one.”

“I thought you would.”


Out on the Dunes

One Trike, Two Ravens and A Whole Lotta Shakin’ Going On!!!


Gillian and Debbie trying out the trike ( key not in ignition for safety purposes

I’m going to start this blog at the end.  Here goes:

What a bloody fantastic day we had at on 8th June 2013!  It was the very first fundraising event for ‘accessthedales’ and it turned out to be a roaring success.

Our initial venue fell through due to unforseen circumstances.  I remember the telephone call.  It went something like this:

“Hello, Deborah, this is the person who owns the venue you were going to use.”


“Bad news, I’m afraid.  It’s fallen through.”


“Unforseen circumstances.”

In something akin to the sort of panic a rabbit in the glare of headlights must feel, I sent out a message on Twitter asking for any help out there.  I was offered a toffee hammer, a bucket of steam and a small wooden stick with a little wax thing on the end.  I think something must have gone awry in the ether of the Internet.

It was then that Gillian Cowburn, an angel upon the very plates of this Earth, at Country Harvest (Ingleton, Via Carnforth, Lancs, LA6 3PE) contacted us and made the very kind offer to host the event.

My husband was initially skeptical and wondered whether this was simply some form of complex ruse I’d put together to get him through the doors of Country Harvest (Ingleton, Via Carnforth, Lancs, LA6 3PE) with a mind to shopping till my wheelchair ran out of power.  Perish the thought – although the last time I was there, I had seen a particularly delicious little cardigan.

There then followed a period of fevered frenzy, which involved a lot of letter writing, more tweeting and some little cheeky telephone calls in search of prizes.

What can I say?

I was bowled over by the donations made by people from far and wide.  The generosity seemed to be limitless.

For example, Yorkshire Trike Tours donated a tour on their three seater Boom trike, which was first prize in the raffle.

Country Harvest (Ingleton, Via Carnforth, Lancs, LA6 3PE) an afternoon tea.

King William the Fourth Guest House of Settle donated a stay in their high quality bed and breakfast.

The prizes simply kept on coming – too many to mention here – along with messages of support.

The one downside in the preparation and run up to the event was something we like to call Red Tape.  Andy, my husband, calls it that too; but he adds some very colourful and flowery expletives too, which I won’t list here.  Again, there’s too many to mention.

The particular Red Tape incident involved the license needed for selling raffle tickets.  I spoke at great length on the telephone to a man in a council department, who sounded very important on the telephone.

“I’m afraid you can’t sell raffle tickets before the day,” he said.  “You’re not a charity, so I won’t allow it.  Besides, I’m very busy with the local elections.  Didn’t you know four people will turn out to vote next week?  I need to focus all my resources on that.”

“But this is to raise money for a Tramper to help disabled people to–”

“My dear, you could tell me your raising money to paint Mount Everest a tinge of green, it wouldn’t make any difference.  I’m a local authority officer.  I’m very important.  And I’m a miserable bugger too.  Goodbye.”

So that was that!

June 8th arrived.  No raffle tickets sold.  No tombola tickets sold.  To say I was nervous would be an understatement.

When we arrived at Country Harvest (Ingleton, Via Carnforth, Lancs, LA6 3PE), we were greeted by Gillian, who swept us up in tentacles of enthusiasm and, within minutes, the tombola prizes were out, the raffle tickets ready and the doors opened.

Yorkshire Trike Tours came along for the day with the three seater Boom Trike.

David Taylor brought along a Tramper, which I stroked longingly on several occasions and which people had the chance to ride out on.  It was last seen heading North towards Nethy Bridge, piloted by a lady with a fetching purple rinse.

Janette Igraine Hustwitt Skelton, The Queen’s Keeper of Castle Ravens at Knaresborough Castle attended with two ravens and a pterodactyl, who live with her.  Being a lady with many feathers to her wing, she also kindly donated two candlesticks and a wine rack, which, being a blacksmith, she’d made herself.  THIS is the kind of generosity I was talking about.

Two former members of The Torture of Comacine death metal band were there playing jazz, much to the relief of Gillian, who thought that it was indeed going to be Thrash Metal.

It was also reported there was a partridge in a pear tree.

Each hour brought new people and new memories.  Andy’s favourite was the couple who won an Ionic Mould Remover on the tombola.

“Yellow ticket 180,” announced Gillian.

Andy was straight on the prize.  He admitted later he’d memorised its precise location and number for just this moment.

“There you are, sir,” he said, handing over the mould remover.

The man stared at it and said, “I’d better find somewhere mouldy to live then.”

My memorable moment was when a lady thought that the actual trike was the prize and was wondering where she would park the trike when she went shopping.

We shut up shop at 4.30pm and drew the raffle.

The money was counted by the manager of the store.

In total, from raffle tickets, tombola tickets and very generous donations, £1010 was raised!

I was moved to tears.  Overwhelmed doesn’t do justice to how I felt (and still feel) about the generosity and kindness shown by so, so many people.

If you ever need to restore your faith in people, then take a good long hard look at the people who donated time, effort and prizes for this venture for no other reason than they believed deeply in what we’re doing at ‘accessthedales’.

And now, in true Academy Award fashion, I’d like to thank the following people/places/organisations who, in their very own ways, have contributed to ‘accessthedales’:

Gillian and all the staff at Country Harvest (Ingleton, Via Carnforth, Lancs, LA6 3PE).

Jason and Judith at Yorkshire Trike Tours

Wheelchair Dave  – Dave Halsall who I regularly have Facebook conversations with at 3 am in the morning, when we are both awake, in pain and waiting for the morphine to kick in.

Janette Igraine Hustwitt Skelton

Dave Taylor The Tramper Man

Andy for marrying me, for not divorcing me, for putting up with me… the list could go on. (Yes, it could  says Andy)

Adam and Kane for the jazz and not thrash metal.

Andy’s mum for buying Andy an iced finger

Andy’s auntie for bringing Andy’s mum up to Country Harvest (Ingleton, Via Carnforth, Lancs, LA6 3PE) so she could buy him an iced finger and spend lots of money in the shop on handbags.  She’s still on the lookout for a good Ionic Mould Remover if anybody knows of one.

An anonymous donator – thank you, thank you, thank you.

And every single person who supported ‘accessthedales’.

Debs and Andy having test drive of the Trike

Debs and Andy having test drive of the Trike

HM keeper of the Ravens

HM keeper of the Ravens


The Yorkshire Trike outside Country Harvest

The tombola table - first round - spot the mould remover
The tombola table – first round – spot the mould remover

THrash Metal until Gillian popped her head outside then it was back to Jazz!

THrash Metal until Gillian popped her head outside then it was back to Jazz!

Andy's mum before she bought him an iced finger

Andy’s mum before she bought him an iced finger

Dave and me - finally we meet after months of early morning Facebook conversations

Dave and me – finally we meet after months of early morning Facebook conversations

Fund Raising Day at Country Harvest 8th June 2013

This is an invitation to all my friends to come  and join me at Country Harvest Ingleton, on A65 tomorrow. Country Harvest is a wonderful  tea shop/ shop which has kindly offered to host a funding day for my ‘accessthedales’. There will be a tombola and raffle. The raffle prizes are fab, ranging from a family ticket to the Deep in Hull, to a cruise on the River Ouse, Cream teas, free night in a hotel in the Dales – the list goes on. Tickets can only be sold on the day,  and the draw is at 4.30pm – so there is a good chance you will win something! YorkshireTrike Tours will be there with their Munstang three seater motor bike and they are giving taster tours around the Dales, The tramper, which I am raising money for will also be there. Hope to see some friendly face

Raffle Prizes

1.Yorkshire Trike tours

2.One night stay for two at King William The Fourth guest house, Settle

3. Afternoon tea for two at Country harvest, Ingleton

The rest of the prizes are in no particular order

North Yorkshire Moors National Park Authority-Moorbus day rover

Dales Countryside Museum

Thorpe Park Spa facilities,whirlppol, sauna and gym for two

Two tickets for Ripon Races

Family ticket on NYMR

Family ticket to Kipling Hall near Scorton, Richmond.

Family ticket for the Deep, Hull

Family ticket Ormesby Hall

Family ticket for how Stean Gorge

Family ticket for fountains Abbey

Family ticket for cruise on river Ouse, compliments of YorkBoat.

Meal for four at Utopia, Broughton Hall

Tour for two people at York Brewery

Family ticket for Yorkshire air museum

Family ticket for Merchant Adventure Hall, York

Family ticket for to Great Yorkshire show

Family ticket for York Reel Cinema

Two night break for four people at sunnybeck or Bankwell cottages

Tea and scones for two at Raven Hall, Ravenscar

Theakston Brewery Tour for two adults

Gift voucher for personalized hoodie from Stadium

£20 voucher to spend at Charles Bathurst Inn, Arkengarthdale

Family ticket for Jorvik Viking centre

Family ticket for home match at Bradford Bulls

Alex Lochhead traditional acupuncture at York or Harrogate

Alex Lochhead traditional acupuncture at York or Harrogate

Family ticket for  tour of Wensleydale Creamery

Family ticket to Falconry centre, Thirsk

Family Rover on Wensleydale Railway plc

Family ticket for Eden Camp, Malton

National trust voucher for any property in England, Wales or Northern Ireland

National trust voucher for any property in England, Wales or Northern Ireland

Family ticket for Belton House Grantham

Family ticket for Beck Isle Museum, Pickering,

Family ticket for Nunnington Hall, York

Family ticket for Nunnington Hall, York

Family ticket for Nunnington Hall, York

Clapham adventure, caving trip for two

Family ticket for Fairfax House, York

Family ticket for for the Kirklees light railway

Family ticket for Nunnington Hall & Rievaulx Terrace

Family ticket for Nunnington Hall & Rievaulx Terrace

Family ticket for Nunnington Hall & Rievaulx Terrace

Family ticket to East Riddlesden Hall

Family ticket to Bronte House Museum

The tombola is something special. You will not find a can of baked beans or a half bottle of aftershave! There is a chance to win signed copies of Julia Bradbury DVDs, Keith Melling’s ‘Artist in the Dales, beautiful patch work cushions, wine and chocolates…the list goes on!  I have been over whelmed with the donations that have been given to support my personal challenge to raise £7000 to buy a tramper for the Dales.

Received this email this morning

Hi Debbie

 I hope you are well.

 I just wanted to wish you the best of luck with your fundraising day on Saturday.  I’m really sorry I can’t be there as I would have loved to have met you.  Let me know how it goes.

 Best wishes

 Rachel Briggs

Access Development Officer

 Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority,

Yoredale, Bainbridge, Leyburn  DL8 3EL