I am so aware that everyone’s accessible needs are different and I know for sure that the following house is not automatically suitable for wheelchair users. I feel like I need to put that out there before I start because I’ve had that excited feeling so many times, only to find out there is no roll in shower available. Spoiler alert: there is no roll in shower available.
I selected my accessible needs on Airbnb and watched as 26 options came back for the whole of the United Kingdom. Might not sound too bad, but sift through the ones that aren’t actually suitable and others that we definitely cannot afford and you are left with very little to choose from. In the end I think there were only 2-3 that suited our needs. But all you need is one right? Note: I just like the way Airbnb works, I have tried many other options as well but this is where we found our place.
Carnell Garden House is situated within Carnell Estate, South Ayrshire and it is beautiful. The grounds are kept to an exceptionally high standard, with many places to walk on your doorstep, perfect for bringing four legged friends with you. In my opinion, any place that lets the doggos join is a total winner! They literally had the time of their life and I loved just watching them, thinking also that they were going to be as depressed as me to leave. Our trip was Friday – Monday and I am pretty sure that all of us could have stayed longer.
Both entrances to the house had ramps and were easy to use for Andy. There are a few stones to the rear before you get onto the grass but thankfully that was no problem for Andy’s chair as it was only a few weeks ago that he called me to say that he was stuck and wheel spinning on stones near our house. Kind of funny when you look back now but the poor lad was there shouting “help” for about fifteen minutes before a neighbour and his son came to push him out.
The house has five double bedrooms (4 king size I think) and the beauty of going away with us is that we get to pick first! The biggest room also had a rise and fall mechanism on the bed (like I asked for on Airbnb features) so that one was ours. It is crazy how much it helps to have this feature, although when looking, Andy never thinks it is a priority. OK it isn’t essential but Andy self-catheterises in the middle of the night and without the ability to sit himself up, I need to get up, pull him forward and then hop in behind him to hold him up. Eh, no thank you! The other alternative is that he props himself up and sleeps upright which is neither comfortable or good for pressure. So yeah, a profiling bed is a total winner for us both! It is also a huge room which is so refreshing as our own bedroom at home is so cramped that I need to move the chair around to get past all the time.
I brought my wee physio pillow away with me because I knew that I would sleep better and I was right. Super comfy bed, luxurious bed linens and the perfect height for Andrew transferring. Perfect. At home Andy can transfer independently (most of the time) but if the bed height is too low he really needs my help and I love not being needed!
The other bedrooms were also beautiful and so well thought out with everything you needed. The small touches throughout the house were well noticed by the whole family.
As I previously mentioned, the only shower in the house (there were three other baths) was not accessible. It would maybe work for a child who could be lifted slightly but the other option was a bath hoist in the bathroom beside our room. Andy would maybe be able to attempt this but with his lack of stomach muscles he would need more assistance than just me. This however didn’t pose a problem for us as he still very much has his pressure wound and is restricting himself to one shower per week. Also, as has been pointed out on my Instagram, he doesn’t have the annoying problem of washing his hair the way most women (or long haired men) would have. He can do that quickly over the sink and he’s sorted!
It was pretty clear when looking at photos that he would have plenty of room around the rest of the house, I mean look at that hallway!
The dining room was set for the seven of us, with a chair taken away for Andy which again was a small touch that we appreciated a lot. Dog beds were left out for the puppers and the hosts could not have been more helpful. There were plenty of different garden games in the sun room and a hot tub that we requested to use for the weekend. Tennis courts were also available for use, but unfortunately Mum and I were cooking dinner that night and didn’t make it down to show off our skills. According to the others, it was pretty sketchy getting Andy back out of the courts and up the grass hill so maybe don’t plan that in as an accessible option.
To be able to get away to somewhere that was easy to live in was honestly amazing. We had the best time and loved living that slow country life for a few days. We will definitely try to make it back again, we will just need to fill the house as otherwise we couldn’t afford it. A good tip for anyone travelling to a self catering house is to order food in advance. We ordered a Tesco delivery to arrive shortly after us on the Friday which meant we didn’t need to leave as soon as we got there to get it all and we ate very well for the whole weekend, not overindulging that much for once.
I know that these probably haven’t been the most exciting blogs posts for those who don’t have accessible needs but for me, I would read 145283 of these if I could. It means so much to me to be able to read someone else’s experiences with all the fine details that others might not think about, so I hope I have achieved this for you. If anyone has any further questions, please do ask and I’d be more than happy to help out.
On the note of pressure wounds, we would really appreciate if you could continue to pray into this with us. It ain’t going anywhere and we are desperate for healing. Andy is half way through a twelve week course of antibiotics to deal with ongoing osteomyelitis. This means a daily 11am call from district nursing and an extremely low immune system due to his gut getting a beating. We understand the severity of it all so we know the antibiotics are necessary but I cannot wait for them to be over, to allow for better gut health.
I have loved finding time to blog again, thanks so much for catching up!