driving update


Those of you who have been following my post-stroke progress may be interested to hear how my driving is going. Generally speaking, I have been for the past four years very dependent on others (specifically Tom) for basic travel, shopping, and all the other daily tasks for which a car is necessary, particularly in a rural location. It can be a wee bit frustrating at times. But today I passed a sort of independent-mobility-milestone and it feels pretty good. I have been learning to drive with a wonderful instructor (John) in a small car (an Aygo). I’ve been making reasonable progress, and have even been enjoying the process, though I do feel quite physically vulnerable at times. Our van is bigger and heavier, with poor visibility, and I am definitely much more aware driving it that my left arm remains quite weak. But with Tom I’ve driven in it to a few of the nearby villages, and am certainly improving.


Last weekend I placed a successful bid on a set of four dining chairs in the Glasgow Auction. Tom is away with work at the moment, so he could not pick up my spoils . . . I had to get there myself, and my next door neighbour, Niall, kindly agreed to accompany me. This morning I drove the van with Niall into Glasgow, retrieved my chairs, and drove back home again. WOOHOO! This may seem a small thing, but I can’t tell you how enormously exciting it feels to have got into the city under my own steam and to have accomplished this simple task (relatively) independently.


This is the carver of the set, and it is really rather nice, as you can see. At £30 a pop I think I got a good deal: the seat pads need a bit of work, but nothing more serious than cleaning and re-stuffing the horse hair and embroidering new covers for a couple of the chairs – a project which I shall greatly enjoy. And perhaps when I sit on my chairs I can think about how good it felt to be driving again.

95 Comments on “driving update

  1. congrats on your accomplishment and the chairs are beautiful!

  2. Congratulations, Kate! Well done. Lovely chair, as well…

  3. Great to hear about your progress, Kate. So uplifting. A good score and a good drive. Excellent. Calls for more tea and a sneaky biccie.

  4. Well done you. Learner driving in a city is quite a challenge at the best of times. I still dislike driving after all these years to be honest, though I’m rather proud of my parallel parking. Odd that I should be so much better at stopping than getting going. Sounds like a life lesson.

  5. This is great news! Congratulations on your progress as well as your recent chair score (wow). I will look forward to seeing your embroidery work gracing the seats of these chairs:) Bravo! Encore:)

  6. The chairs are wonderful and the price was great. The driving was stupendous!

  7. I love your embroidery on the chair. Do you have a pattern for that? For a long time I have wanted to make a cusion with that kind of pattern.

  8. A fantastic milestone! Well done on the driving and for procuring such lovely chairs. Anita’s a fabulous auctioneer but I get carried away and won’t let myself go any more :)

  9. What a great accomplishment, Kate. So happy for everyday and every way you continue to recover and move beyond something you wouldn’t have chosen in life. I bet the things you’ve accomplished thus far probably even amaze you. Drove to Glasgow–wow! Continue to dream and move forward. Applauding your victory from California.

  10. Kate, well done with the driving and on a great chair purchase. You might like my daughter’s fabrics if you are considering recovering.. her website is abigail*ryan and the fabrics are all based on her own botanical drawings. She has been buying some retro furniture and recovering them with her fabric and they do look splendid in her studio.
    I love your updates and read them all. I come from Shetland and Foula grandparents and remember well my grandmother knitting Shetland lace and multi patterned garments, all without a pattern.

  11. Very well done Kate, I would not dream of driving in or around Glasgow. I am too used to being in a very quiet rural area nowadays.

    Many more miles of safe driving to you.

  12. Hiya Bruce! Well done, Kate. That is quite an accomplishment! Love the design of the back of the chair.

  13. Very well done! Driving into Glasgow is tricky at the best of times,so when you feel vulnerable,I can’t begin to immagine! Keep going at reclaiming your health and welbeing! Chairs look fab and well worth the journey!

  14. Congratulations on your new mobility. I can appreciate the excitement of being able to drive where and when you want, although for different reasons. For the last two years our ancient VW has been so unreliable that I refused to use it for safety reasons, and my husband stubbornly refused to replace it until last month. Now, I have wheels again, and with spring in the air, it’s like being re-born. Country roads, here I come!
    The chairs were certainly a bargain, and I think your readers will be looking forward to seeing them refurbished.

  15. Great progress, no wonder you are pleased!

    Does this mean the WazzWagon is back on the road?

  16. Congratulations on achieving an important goal in your recovery….your perseverance is an inspiration. So happy for you. Enjoy your lovely chairs!

  17. Lovely chairs – reminded me for some reason of the lovely Icelandic chairs, although they are very different. It is years since I drove, and I have no real excuse! My husband has the car during the day, don’t really need to drive with Edinburgh city centre 15 minutes walk, but I know I have become a bit of a wuss. It is just a small van type size – Peugeot Partner, and I think that partly puts me off. I really ought to drive on our trip to Islay in the summer to allow the whisky fan to partake at the distilleries…

  18. That is a huge thing! Congrats! And the chair looks great, too. Bruce, however, looks entirely disappointed, as if he just learned that despite the fact that the chair is the carver, he had best not practice that on it.

  19. Quite often it’s the little things in life that bring us our greatest joys.

  20. Well done Kate! It is always so nice to see you make another step forward on your journey to recovery. The chairs are lovely, and will be a nice reminder of your latest accomplishment. :-)

  21. Bravo! That’s another on your list of tremendous accomplishments on your recovery journey. I can’t wait to see the chairs after you’ve put your creative touch to them. What a find.

  22. Another milestone! You’ve come such a long way, Kate. Proud of you.

  23. Kate this is such wonderful news and the chairs!! oh my they are beautiful!

  24. I love your embroiderynpattern on the chairs. I would love to make a cushion with the pattern. Were did you find it?

  25. Congratulations! We often forget that feeling of freedom that comes with getting behind the wheel of a car for the first time. I recently had the chance (challenge) of earning another driver’s license (but for a very different reason). I hadn’t realized how much I had missed that liberating feeling! In a way, it was rather empowering. It made all the hassle of earning that new license ENTIRELY worth it.
    And what absolutely beautiful chairs!

  26. Congratulations on the driving and the very nice chairs. Driving is such a huge step.

  27. Wonderful news and congratulations. I also had a stroke in 2002 and was a basket case until I got behind the wheel of my car. Whoopee, I haven’t stopped driving since between our home in Maryland and our cottage in Ontario. Go girl and keep it up!

  28. Congratulations, Kate! I’m so glad to hear of your wonderful progress. First Glasgow, then the world!

  29. Congratulations!! I can just imagine how freeing being able to drive yourself around is for you. I have a thing that keeps me from driving for most days but, on the days I can drive, I just love it and wan to keep on and on. I wish many happy driving years for you.

  30. I’m so jealous of your chairs – what a bargain! And purchased at Anita Manning’s Auction Rooms too. (I am a big fan). She is a great auctioneer. Well done you for driving to the West End! :)

  31. Congratulations on your accomplishments in driving and bidding. Great news

  32. Way to go! That is great. I am so glad you. And I love your chairs. That will be a project you will love. Great news, I am so happy for you. Hi Bruce!

  33. The chairs are just great and so is your determination. Way to go!

  34. Many congratulations on your driving progress, you should be really pleased!

  35. Congrats on the driving!!! I know how you feel having yo depend on others. Independence is always great to have back.

  36. Driving into Glasgow, woo hoo is right!!! Good for you and now you will have the confidence to go
    EVERYWHERE :) And the chairs, esp the carved one is lovely. Good job.

  37. Well done! You must feel amazing and how fabulous is that chair? Worth the bother of a spot of upholstering.

  38. Wonderful news about the driving – it takes a lot of pluck and courage to do things like that again even when you’re recovered enough physically! The chair looks great!

  39. Congratulations – and Glasgow’s not the easiest place, either! (Plus the chairs look like a great motivation…)

  40. I guess driving is one of those things we take for granted until something happens that changes our lives. I’m happy for your accomplishment. The new chairs are very pretty. Can’t wait to see you plans for the cushions. Cheers! Mel

  41. Very well done Kate, particularly for tackling Glasgow! One step at a time. Love the chairs too – a bargain!

  42. I love your chairs! It’s funny, I can drive and have driven across North America, but I rarely get behind the wheel of a car anymore unless forced to by circumstances. I like taking the bus, my bike, or going with others, as I find driving to be generally stressful and a reminder of the irresponsibility of much of mankind! Nevertheless, I can appreciate your perspective following your stroke and living in the country.

  43. Great news on your progress, I too live in a rural location and wouldn’t be without my car so I can empathise. Gorgeous, gorgeous chairs, huge chair envy.

  44. Huge congrats! All these small victories are the threads in a fabric of recovery x

  45. This is absolutely wonderful news, Kate! Well done, and the chair looks gorgeous. Can’t wait to hear more of both x

  46. That’s wonderful, Kate! Though I started reading your blog years ago (before your stroke) because I loved your designs, I must say how much I appreciate you sharing these sorts of milestones here. Last weekend I was actually just commenting to my husband how much more I feel like I know about what is involved in stroke recovery thanks to you.

  47. You are very brave and tenacious (as well as talented, and darn cute!) Keep on keepin’ on!

  48. what wonderful wonderful news! congratulations. love that your new chairs (newly embroidered i should say) will remind you of such a happy memory.

  49. I admire so many things about you already, this makes one more! Very well done.

  50. I’m so happy to hear that you are making such good progress. A large dose of perseverance carries us along, long way!! The chair is lovely–excited to see the finished products.

  51. Well done! I have my learners (at 42 years old!) but am yet to start my lessons. You are an inspirations!

  52. How wonderful to hear of your adventures in the car! A milestone indeed – milestones which you seem to so elegantly pass. The chairs look as though they were a find too…

  53. Such good news! I am happy for you and I thank you for sharing your journey. I also have enormous chair envy.

  54. The chairs are leovly.
    Please remember to show us when you have finished with them.
    It feels good to be independant. In charge of where you take yourself and how you get there.
    Well done

  55. great job! My first drive, as I recovered from my stroke, 2 and 1/2 years ago was a milestone too. Keep it up and that independence will always be cherished.

  56. Well done you!
    The chair looks like a great project with happy memories.
    Best Wishes

  57. I’m so happy for you Kate! It has been wonderful to read about your recovery–very inspiring for me. And now you’ve hit another milestone! Hooray!

  58. Fantastic news! Great inspiration to get the chairs and have to get them yourself. What a proud project!

  59. Woo Hoo for you! So pleased to hear of another giant leap in your recovery. I have followed your post-stroke recovery with much interest and admiration, and rejoice with you over he milestones.

  60. That’s so wonderful! I wanted to say how much I appreciate you sharing these sorts of accomplishments here…though I started to read your blog years ago (prior to your stroke) because I loved your designs (and still do), I was just commenting to my husband last weekend how much more I feel like I know about stroke recovery thanks to everything you have shared here over the last four years. So thank you, and here’s to more driving in your future!

  61. From a fellow knitter in stroke recovery (also left side):
    It will get better! I’m at year 6 ( almost) and can say honestly that it will. BTDT!
    You can, too.

  62. Kate, you may not know it, but you are a bit of a hero of mine. Congratulations on this big accomplishment! My dad is a stroke survivor and I’ve watched through the years how hard it is for him to learn to do things that were once simple and that we all take for granted. His prognosis was never as good as yours and he was much older than you when he had a stroke. The flip side is that almost 20 years later, he is still able to relearn things and while it’s in tiny amounts, still gaining strength and mobility. With your attitude, the next thing we’ll be reading is that you’re flying. Good on you girl!

  63. As everyone else has said “CONGRATULATIONS!!!” The driving is especially exciting and the chairs will be a tangible memory of that first wonderful day of driving in a big city again. I am so happy for you!

  64. It has all been said, but I am so happy for you I have tears in my eyes. Lovely color work on the chairs.

  65. Well done! (from she who can’t drive at all), another step forward. Love to see how the chairs turn out!

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