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“All I wanted to do was sit down, the bits between the chairs were very stressful”

Ex-pat MSer Elen Evans explains how a simple trike gave her back her zest for life

me and viking.jpgI have been living mainly in Barcelona for 10 years now, Spain for 14, and outside of the UK for 21. I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS) at the beginning of my travels but was so determined not to let it stop me.

Who'd have thought I'd name an inanimate object? Who'd have thought it could change my life in so many ways?

I’m talking about Tracy the trike, pictued right – blue and sporty, regal and grand, brought to Barcelona on an EasyJet plane somehow…by my old school friend Matt (he wouldn’t let airport security halt his mission!).

Tracy is what helped me get back to feeling proud of who I am, enabling me to look around and soak up my surroundings, enabling me to move from barrio to barrio in the city I live in, letting me look at my friends while they are talking to me, giving me space to forget, just for a moment, that I have MS. Such a small thing changed my life so completely. I felt low before Tracy. I lacked hope, I couldn't see how things were going to get easier. All I wanted to do was sit down, the bits between the chairs were very stressful and never a pleasure.

Having Tracy the Trike has taught me how important it is to find a way of coping with this life, how important it is to make it comfortable and manageable, whatever our circumstances may be, whatever cards we have been dealt.

One night they came and stole her. Unfortunately, in Barcelona, if you have a good bike and you lock it on the street it will get stolen. Tracy was locked with two hard-core chains when she was stolen but they obviously came at night with heavy-duty cutters and a van, and took her niftily away, never to be seen again.

ruby_25thOct2014.jpgBut, I then found Ruby, the red trike, and all my colleagues at work chipped in because they knew how devastated I was that Tracy had been nicked. I bought Ruby second hand but she is reliable and six years later I still have her.

A wrote a poem inspired by my feelings about the bits between the chairs


The Bits Between the Chairs

It all looks so peaceful,

Full of gaps and space,

Air and light.

So spacious,

To you.


But the bits between the chairs

Pose a threat,

They present an abyss

Of loneliness

Of empty space

Of solitude,

To me.


"You're on your own, love"

No support

No helping hand

Just me

And the space

And the uneven gait

The wobbling

The falling

The shaking

No holding

All alone

And lots of eyes

Looking, judging, questioning.


A crowded space


So busy,

To you.


Full of support

Full of rest

Full of help

Not there to test

There is no threat,

To me.


The bits between the chairs

Are long and difficult

Never ending, it seems

But something to lean on

Gleams brightly,

So brightly

So nicely

So gently

So kindly

To me.