Accessibility is a big issue for us in Pearlie J Towers.
The smallest one has some independent mobility, but is limited,and is likely to become more so as she grows.
We have made some simple fixes to improve things, a grab rail here, a bath step there.
For the last two years we have been wondering, how can we future proof this place?Should we move?
Helpfully Channel 4 programme, Love it or List it deals with just these issues. Presented by go to property experts, Kirstie Allsop and Phil Spencer, property owners decide should they stay and renovate, helped by Kirstie, or sell and move, supported by Phil.
The added jeopardy which is needed to make the show viable is that one seller wants to stay, and one wants to leave. For added excitement Kirstie and Phil are pitched against each other. I am giving nothing away by saying Kirstie nearly always wins, the houses are transformed, moving costs are saved, and Kirstie roundly berates Phil for being a loser.
But today in my house it is very much all about the lovely Phil Spencer. He is definitely the winner (sorry Kirstles).
If you have a child with Additional Needs who has meltdowns let me tell you about the Phil Spencer method of resolving the situation.
Series 3, episode 1. Really pertinent as one of the buyers has reduced mobility.
Picture the scene. Father of Pearl and I watch with interest while Pearl, less interested in property porn than us, plays on her iPad.
The house in question has a tiny upstairs toilet behind louvred doors. Phil decides to hide in the toilet. Kirstie after 17 years of partnering him is not fooled. She slowly advances up the stairs “Phil are you in the loo?”
Pearl’s iPad is dropped. Three of her favorite things are about to coalesce. A sense of anticipation, toilet humour and hide and seek.
As Kirstie approaches the top of the stairs the small one giggles in anticipation. (It has suddenly occurred to me that the scene is almost a complete reversal of the “Here’s Jonny” scene in The Shining, with added toilets and no axe)
The louvred doors burst open to reveal Phil sitting (oh the humanity) on the toilet.
You may never have seen Pearl laugh. When she is really tickled, physically or mentally her muscles tighten, her eyes close, she stops breathing and emits a slow squeal. It is utterly contagious and we all spend an inordinate amount of time trying to provoke it.
Pearl’s reaction to Phil Spencer sitting on the toilet fully clothed, was totally, totally splendid. She cried with laughter, she squeaked, she squealed, she had to be reminded to breathe. She actually threw herself bodily from the sofa and rolled about on the floor, laughing.
Of course we replayed it immediately, and like all classic comedy it did not grow old. It was simply marvellous, we taped her, we taped it, we had it on file for posterity.
This morning during school preparation something upset my lovely girl. I am not sure what as intervening with PODD or using yes/no questions was not even a possibility. (Oh the joy of a non verbal child) Pearl was beside herself, welded to the sofa, the taxi had arrived, fat tears pouring down her cheeks and muscles tight with upset. Something (possibly my refusal to let her have a Creme Egg for breakfast) had gone very wrong. The taxi was waiting, she was having none of it.
I saw the iPad and wondered. Would it? Could it? Could the suave charm and sheer comedy timing of Phil Spencer save the day?
Tentatively I pressed play. Kirstie started up the stairs, Pearl’s tears continued. The taxi was still waiting.It wasn’t going well. Suddenly the louvred doors burst open and there he was, the Man of the Moment sitting in his glory on the loo.
This proved irresistible for a child with a finely honed ear for comedy, the mood in the room changed. The tears astonishingly stop. Pearl begins laughing and decides she must share this comedy gold with her Taxi Driver and Escort.
No matter what happens at the end of subsequent episodes of Love it or List it, no matter how many houses Kirsty radically transforms, know Phil Spencer that you are the winner in our house, and your magical ability to get my daughter on the school taxi this morning is something I for which I will be ever grateful.
Oh and we have decided to List It too!
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