STILETTO – a high pointed HEEL on a woman’s shoe or a small dagger.
WHEELS – a medieval instrument of torture or a vehicle for personal mobility.
I have my money back from Wav-EVO – and I will say they were quite prompt about it – so I am on the hunt for a WAV … again! And, nothing’s changed. Five years into my search for something that looks OK, doesn’t cost a fortune and does the job – a simple one to my mind, of carrying me in my wheelchair to wherever I want to go – I still don’t want to take any of the, very few, options available.
Last week, we looked at the only upfront WAV that we hadn’t previously seen – the Volkswagon Caravelle, from Lewis Reed, others do similar conversions.
I am way past expecting something I might like to look at so the boxy transit van shape was neither a surprise nor an immediate turn-off but, my god, it’s big. We had seen a couple and, just the weekend before the demo, EaZyD had walked in and said, ‘ya know, that Chrysler is starting to look good!’ With a Caravelle and a VW Transporter in my drive … I was feeling his aesthetic …
Pondering on how much I was prepared to pay for looks, I ventured into the transporter for a test drive…and, oh dear, I was immediately reminded why I hate those tailgate lifts.
First, is the sheer size of them; second, is the time it takes to fidget your wheelchair into a position that allows the stupid thing to lift; third, OMG, you’re just so far off the ground!; fourth, is the bumpety-bump into and down the vehicle, watching for headroom and width all the way; and, fifth, you have to do it all in reverse to get out! Nightmare, not quick and requiring more space than most London roads give you.
I tried the side-lift which – whilst not as bad in time and space – still requires you to reverse backwards onto a flat plate of metal that you cannot see, lifts you two feet into the air with nothing around you and demands that you reverse backwards into a space that you have no visual of!
Once inside, no problem but to exit, you drive onto said plate of metal which you cannot see, trusting it will be there and that a companion will be your guide as to placement!
I know all of this gets better over time, as you get used to it but, with both of these lifts, our propensity for lateness is going to be exacerbated as is the difficulty of London parking, in particular for, friends who are not regular drivers and not used to wheelchairs. One of my objectives here is to go out more not less!
I will say that, once in it, the front wheelchair passenger position was about the best it has ever been, the drive was comfortable and there was a reassuringly solid feel about the vehicle. For distances, I think it would be great but ninety percent of our driving is in London. It is also a reasonable price … well compared to the Chrysler and the Wav-Evo.
I know now there is not going to be anything that satisfies all my requirements, so, despite the drawbacks, we haven’t ruled the Caravelle out. I am just not comfortable that either of the lifts will do for us. Time to look at the Chrysler again, I think … ugly and expensive as it is!