RECENTLY I had the pleasure of going to the Hay literary festival. I love trips away but as a wheelchair user it’s not simply a case of jumping in the car and finding a B&B.

When planning a holiday my biggest nightmare is accommodation. Sadly, rural Wales doesn’t have a Hilton with a lift and a disabled room.

My needs are level access entry, access to a kitchen and a bathroom or wet room.

Hay-on-Wye is basically cute Welsh cottages; think steps and lots of small rooms up and down more steps.

Luckily I was travelling with a friend and he knows how to help me up a step or two so we found a lovely chalet hidden in someone’s garden. Once I was up the steps the chalet was great except for the toilet... although I knew this in advance. But as a wheelchair user sometimes you just have to compromise.

I had to do a leap of faith from my chair to the loo. On other holidays I have had to use the local Tesco when I need ‘to go’. Luckily I can wee into a bottle so urinating can be done pretty much anywhere. True, it doesn’t sound dignified but one of the things about having a disability is that you make do and mend.

Now comes the issue of showering. I did manage one in my four day trip but it basically meant I had to be lifted from the loo into the shower and, trust me, I’m not light as a feather. In the end, it seemed like having a sponge bath by the kitchen sink was a preferable choice.

Luckily the set up at the festival was hassle free. Despite the rain the whole space is accessible with covered walkways with ramps, accessible toilets, and all the venues are wheelchair accessible.

Even the attendants were just as wheelchair friendly; one even making me a coffee to ease my hangover.

The cherry on the cake was my trip to the river. Yes, it was a bumpy ride down, and a bumpy push back up a pot-holed lane and the minefield of sheep poo was an adventure in itself. But with some determination, I found myself on a pebble beach, out of my chair, skimming stones and having a giggle. It’s rare for me to be in these non-urban environments.

It takes the right attitude and good friends to have these times so a big thank you to the owner of the chalet, the staff at Hay and especially my friend who luckily is quite strong and up for a challenge.