An Ode To Mobility Scooters


My first post harks back to the very beginning of my University career and will introduce you to two key characters in my life – Pippy, my first ever mobility scooter and Pearl, her little sister.

Those of you who know me from secondary school no doubt remember my whopper of a granny scooter, known to the world as Pippy. She was beautiful, red, shiny, and – in an ideal world – about to play a huge role in my life as a student in London. So in the months spent sitting on my bottom after foot and ankle surgery (willing bones to fuse), I drew up the following plan:

Charge Pippy.  Service Pippy.  Wash Pippy.  Use Pippy every day to get me to and from lectures. Explore London with Pippy. Graduate (probably without Pippy).

It seemed like a fool-proof plan. Until something tragic happened…

Pippy died.

Pippy really had been a great friend. Many a journey to school had been spent slaloming around the bollards in the pedestrian precinct, lapping around the bandstand, and getting the occasional “finger wag” from the local PCSO. Once I actually ran into the back of a policeman’s ankle when neither of us was looking where we were going. He was about to lecture me on careless driving but relented when he saw Pippy (it was love at first sight). The final leg of the journey to school took us through an underpass and one morning we came bumper to bumper with a ride-on pavement sweeper. This became the first of many “I’m not reversing, you are” exchanges and we finally reached an agreement (unspoken) that whoever got half way first had priority. It didn’t take long for him to change his routine and wave to me merrily from the other side of the road!

Pippy and I soon became a familiar sight on the High Street and people were very kind. The local bar managers often said that if there was a problem we were just to go in and they would help. There was one occasion when some of our street drinkers took a shine to Pippy and one of the bouncers (one of those guys with a face that only a mother could love but who had a heart of gold) escorted me half way home. Bless him.

Lesson #1 of life with Emily: Looks can be deceiving and help comes from unexpected places.

Another moment I really enjoyed was when my brother said to me that one of his friends had commented, “Cor, I saw a really hot blonde chick on a scooter in town today.” To which my brother replied “Dude, that’s my sister. Back away!” My brother of course undid the ego boost by adding “He must have been a long way away when he saw you!”  Harsh.

So, sadly Pippy died and whilst the loss of a faithful and trustworthy friend was a tragic and heart-breaking event, there was no time to dilly-dally. I was leaving for University in less than two weeks. After much time spent Googling for “granny scooters” (and discovering that they are in fact called “mobility scooters”), I found the beautiful creature that was to take Pippy’s place. This new mobility scooter was lighter, sleeker, and indeed more practical than the original red beast (although forever alive in my heart), and a week later she was delivered to my door.

Sadly, she too was not to last for long for within five minutes, I had broken her. Yes, VANDAL is my middle name. A conversation with the company she came from followed and with 24 hours to spare, a replacement arrived at my door and we were ready for our Big Adventure. For those of you unfamiliar with London, I will tell you now that it is indeed large and deep and, for those of us not genetically predisposed to walking long distances, a granny scooter constitutes a necessity. And with that, Pippy’s little sister was christened Pearl, and I became the girl with the Pearl scooter.

More to come…….
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