My PA Day: Jon

I am Jon, in my mid 70s and have been a care assistant and PA for over 20 years combined. Currently I’m working as a PA supporting Allen who lives in the Scottish Borders.  

Allen is in his mid 50s, has multiple serious health issues and is registered blind. He also has a wicked sense of humour. 

On three days a week we take the wheelchair for a walk of eight to ten miles around the back roads and hill tracks of the area he lives. As we have done this for many years we get a toot from passing cars and tractors. We are out 12 months of the year in the sun, cloud bursts and snow drifts. Al likes to listen for the local wildlife and the chat with the dog walkers, and occasionally have a husky on his lap. 

A man wearing a winter coat and hat is pictured against a snowy backdrop

Three days a week Allen visits hospital for dialysis. This usually uses up the entire day with travelling and attendance. So he has something to look forward to, we plan our once-a-month adventure months in advance. These are mostly half day excursions within a 30 mile radius and we use the community minibus to get there.  

Here are some of the adventures we’ve been on recently: 

September – today we’re planning our annual walk across the Forth Road Bridge. The minibus pulls into the courtyard and I can see it rocking – I can tell it’s going to be a bit rough on the bridge today. Allen is hoisted in his wheelchair on to the bus and Richard drives us. An hour later we are at the parking area for the bridge. Allen decides we are going to count the buses today as we cross. As we move on to the first section of the bridge we hear a noise like a plane, except it’s not, it’s the cables on the new bridge in the wind. Midway the wind drops, so does the humming. We look below and see a jetski passing below, almost at the same time a passenger train comes across the rail bridge. This year we are later than the past when we have seen giant cruise ships and yachts sailing below us.  

At North Queensferry we turn and head back with the wind in our backs. On the way we meet a very pleasant Hungarian couple, their English is perfect. Just as we come off the bridge we spot the 40th bus, that’s a lot in the hour and forty minutes it’s taken us. Richard helps us on to the bus and Allen falls asleep, the wind has been wild and the tears are still streaming down my face. Back home and teatime for Allen. 

October – we are off to Cramond today, it’s overcast and damp. When we pull into the car park we meet an Irish musician and his dog who are on tour. Allen likes to meet dogs as he misses his working dog. Not many people about, as it’s cold and damp. This time we walk towards Edinburgh for a couple of miles. The tide is right in, so no birds to be seen nearby today. Turning back to the harbour there is a solitary swan and a few herring gulls. In the minibus we all warm up as we head home again. 

November – a storm has raged all night, the roads are flooded. Allen decides to cancel as the rain continues. No trip to Penicuik today, instead we put waterproofs on and head to the local hotel for coffee and bacon rolls. A great treat. 

December – this month we took a trip to Edinburgh at night to see the Christmas lights of George Street and Princes Street. This is something Allen likes to do every year. We weren’t sure if the minibus would be running this year but luckily we made it and Allen got to enjoy seeing the beautiful capital in all its festive glory. 


All in all, we are just two older guys having a ball! If anyone if anyone would like to accompany us in the spring or summer for a walk up the Tweed they are welcome to join us. Please contact us via if you’d like to get in touch.  


Self Directed Support Scotland

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