Chris Rattenbury's Lockdown diary

It was pretty clear a few days before the lockdown was announced, that it was imminent. My first reactions before it was announced was to go and buy some boxsets to watch from my childhood, as day time tv wasn’t going to be particularly good. I got the A-team & Allo Allo. Watched both boxsets….still have the theme tunes stuck in my head!

When the lockdown was announced, I think my initial reaction was, how long is this going to last & what can I do to keep occupied within the rules. I was very lucky that I had booked shopping slots right up until the mid of April. There was a constant changing of products, because of the panic buying. Once my shopping slots had ran out, trying to get another one was a nightmare & I’m in a fortunate position where I am able to get to the shops if needed. In that respect that hasn’t been a problem for me personally.

I knew I could deal with the lockdown quite comfortably due to being in and out of hospital over the years and the recovery that goes with it, again I was very lucky in that sense. I can’t begin to imagine what it has been like for others that have had to adjust to things they are not use to.

After watching the boxsets, I had become a bit lazy & comfortable which in all honesty wasn’t like me if I was fit and well. I am not a big tv watcher unless I’m ill or recovering from surgeries etc.

Thankfully I had a little pep talk from a friend and basketball teammate called Ella. Ella put it to me that I had no excuse for not using the time and exercise rules for not getting myself ready and fit for the London Marathon in October. Ella was absolutely right and it is what I needed to hear to get out of that laziness. So then I started going out pushing 5 miles a day in my fab Ottobock Ventus, when the weather allowed me to in the hour guidelines.

This totally transformed my lockdown. On the days that the weather wasn’t brilliant, I was doing the WheelPower yoga videos, which can be found on YouTube. I’ve never done yoga in my life and it’s incredibly tough, but a great help for any wheelchair user looking to stay flexible.

Ella, then started making wheelchair workout videos which can be found on YouTube. I did a couple of her videos and have being doing her live zoom workouts through Access Adventures every week and sometimes twice a week. These have been brilliant and have shown you can use almost any household object to workout with! It certainly filled a void in missing doing weights in the gym.

As the London Marathon has been rescheduled, there was a national campaign for charities to get people to do something in relation to the number 26. I did a 26 minute wheelie in the ventus, raising money for WheelPower.

So now the exercise rules have been relaxed, I have been doing as much as 13 miles a day in my Ottobock Ventus and have done a couple of 26 milers too. I have put this chair through so much rigor and terror these last few years & it has not let me down once. I even hopped off a tram in Czech Republic in it, I took a life time to land, I’m not a light lad and the Ventus did not flinch, it was almost saying to me, is that the best you got, try harder to beat me!

I would like to finish off by saying thank you to our amazing NHS, Keyworkers, Carers and Emergency Services during this difficult time. Please everyone stay safe.