I want you to know that I am usually a pleasant person. I don’t always complain about things. I know a woman who complains at the slightest little thing. For example, she ordered tea in a cafe, and complained that it didn’t come in a china cup! Me… I don’t care what kind of cup the tea is in, as long as the cup is clean, and has no cracks.
But I have, very recently, had cause to complain, and my complaint is about the tourist attraction, Sale Water Park.
It is a beautiful place. There is a lake, a Visitors Centre with a cafe, and a nice restaurant halfway down the side of the lake, called The Boathouse.
Anyway, the Manchester Metrolink Trams, now run to the Water Park, so yesterday, because the writing group I attend (Sale Scribblers) was cancelled, I suggested to my husband, that we go on the tram to the park, for a day out in the sunshine.
Well, the first bad thing that happened was that the toilet at the Visitors Centre, was blocked up. The woman in the cafe was apologetic, but, even though I have a walking stick, she refused to let me use the staff toilet.
“We’re not allowed to let customers through the kitchen, because of the hot pans.”
but who was to know? I certainly wouldn’t have said anything to anyone, and her boss wasn’t there to object! Besides, there should not be just one toilet in a busy tourist place! She could have just let me use the loo, instead of telling me to walk down to the restaurant, and use the one in the water sports centre, attached to the restaurant. But that was just what she told me to do!
So I had to walk to the next loo. It’s actually not that far. I followed the path to the lake and into the wooded area. It’s the only footpath there is, and then… I came upon the stepping-stones!
Just as I said, there is no other way to go. In order to proceed towards the restaurant area, you are forced to go across the stepping-stones. Now I know that many people do not have a problem, but I do, because my balance is bad and that’s the main reason I always use a walking stick. I managed the first two steps, with some difficulty, but the third was a step too far. The space between the stones was too much. I lost my nerve and was truly afraid. My husband tried to help me, and a passer by did too, but I couldn’t cross the water. I managed to get back the way I had come. Then, the only way to get to the toilet, was to re-trace my steps to the Visitors Centre, and then walk along the road.
The road is dangerous! It has no footpath, and the cars are coming along all the time, both ways. So that was another nerve wracking moment in time. But I got to the toilets eventually, although my day was ruined.
The Water Park is not ‘disabled friendly’. Because it is a country place, it’s not flat, but there are no ramps anywhere, only steps, that is bad enough. But the stepping-stones are lethal. They are often wet, and anyone who is bad on their legs could not cross them, neither could anyone with a pram or pushchair, and if you were in a wheelchair… Forget it!
This is not good enough, in this day and age. I am no carpenter, yet even I can see that you only need a thick plank of wood, placed across the existing stones and secured at either end, then you would have a bridge, which would be much safer than those stones!
Where there are steps in the park, there also needs to be ramps, to allow access for wheelchairs and people pushing babies in prams or buggies.
And before anyone says, you can drive along the road, to the restaurant and toilets, let me remind people that not everyone is fortunate enough, to posses a car. Alan and I don’t have one. We have to walk or use public transport, so when we used the road to get to the restaurant, we had no choice, but to walk along it, and hope that the cars would not hit us.
Once again. This is not good enough. The Water Park could be a great place to visit, if it was accessible to everyone, but it is not. The problem is, that people just do not speak out, when there is a problem facing people with disability, or people with young children who need to be pushed in prams or pushchairs. If more people did, I am sure something would be done. It is a shame that the park is not a better place, for those of us who are physically disabled.
So I have complained, and am trying to get the word out there. I know this blog is a bit more downbeat today, but I hope you all understand why.
I wish you all a lovely day
I will post again soon
Best wishes from Mari