Ely Parade

It’s all been rather quiet and I’ve mainly been recovering from the physio session from hell the other week. Yes it really has taken that long for my back and knee to recover and I can’t believe all that pain came from stretching exercises. Of course I did my patriotic bit and watched the Jubilee Celebrations on TV, and I have to say thoroughly enjoyed it all. Today was the Annual Ely Parade, which includes a service at Ely Cathedral, where Cambridgeshire ACF (Army Cadet Force) supports the Cambridgeshire Regiment, Old Comrades Association. I had been wrestling with myself since last night trying to decide whether I would do the photography in the wheelchair or try my prosthetic leg. This was my first Cadet Photography job since the amputation, which I knew was going to be tricky. The prosthesis would give me more manoeuvrability but I walk slowly and would be using sticks, this makes carrying and using a camera difficult. I would also have had trouble sitting anywhere to ease the leg and groin, I would have ended up on a hard surface like a wall or seat in the Cathedral, not good for my bum. Using the chair limits my speed and where I can go but it is easier to take photos and I have a comfy chair to sit on. If I had worn my leg and needed to take it off it would have been very difficult, even though my Mum was with me. In the end I opted for the safe option and went in the wheelchair which I think was probably the best decision. I had only put my leg back on since the physio session yesterday, to iron my uniform, so I need to get back into wearing it again.

When I arrived obviously all the cadets where looking at me which I expected but all the Instructors were fine and chatted away, which was great. I was checking out a location for photography when an American guy (could have been a tourist) came up to me and shook my hand. He thanked me for my service, I quickly told him that I was not in the Forces just with the Army Cadet Force. He said that any service was good and thanked me again. I knew it was going to happen at some point as a person in a uniform with a leg missing is likely to have lost it in Afghanistan. Part of me wishes I had lost it that way, at least I would have gone to DMRC Headley Court (Defence Medical Rehabilitation Centre) where I would have got a decent leg that fitted, instead of the painful one I have on the NHS. Still, it didn’t happen that way and I have to work with what I’ve got and do the best I can with it, which is what I think I am doing. They changed the whole parade this year from past years and it was really difficult for me to get about and snap any decent photos. To say I was frustrated was an understatement and I had to work hard to get about to find positions to get some good shots, with large crowds trying to do the same thing. I went into the service at the Cathedral and even though it is dark inside, and a tripod is ideally needed, I hoped I could get away with a few handheld shots. It had been a very long afternoon and I was glad when it was all over and I could come home. I felt like just crawling into bed when I got in but had a bath with the rickety bath chair to unwind a bit. It’s no good I am going to have to try and get walking on this bloody leg and ditch at least one, if not both sticks. We have the Cambs ACF Open Day in a couple of weeks and although I won’t be able to do a full day with the leg on I would like to do as long as I can, and get as many photos done as possible, before I have  to take the leg off. Let the practice begin!


Cambridgeshire Regiment Chapel, inside Ely Cathedral

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