Stoke Mandeville - birthplace of the Paralympics, and therefore much in the news of late. On Tuesday the Paralympic Torch Relay will begin from here on its way to London for the start of the Paralympic Games.
Over the last few weeks I have been to Stoke Mandeville many times, visiting my sister who has been in hospital there. She injured her back in a car accident whilst on holiday in France, and eventually ended up in Stoke Mandeville Hospital. Last week she had an operation on her back and is now recovering, and hoping to get home soon. She has received good treatment in the hospital, which is renowned for it's expertise in spinal injuries, so it was the best place for her to be treated. But it has been a worrying time for her, her son and the rest of the family. This explains why I have not felt inclined to maintain this blog for a few weeks, but will try to get back into it soon.
The Stoke Mandeville Stadium, the national centre for disability sports, is right next door to the hospital, and we had a little wander around there a couple of days ago.
The statue of Ludwig Guttmann, founder of the Paralympics, is currently on display in the foyer, but will be moved to the hospital after the games.
Other figures were also on display. I believe this is the Paralympic mascot, Mandeville, and friend.
We were allowed to wander freely around the centre and view some of the facilities.
Outside, the stadium is being prepared for Tuesday's coming together of the Paralympic flames from all corners of the UK and the start of the final relay to London. Seats were being set up for the event. I have also seen several film crews there throughout the week. As the storm clouds were gathering for a downpour, we didn't linger long!
I have just heard that my sister is coming home from hospital today, which is very good news. She will be able to see the ceremonial start of the torch relay from the comfort of her own home.
(Apologies for the poor picture quality - they were not taken using my normal camera, but on Mr PL's phone.)