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The Curious Case of Number 11

I ordered something from Amazon a few days ago.  This morning I got an email that it had been shipped and would be here by Thursday. Then I got another email that it was out for delivery.

It came to 3:30 and time to leave for sailing (early due to the dark nights) and I didn’t have a parcel.  I knew it wouldn’t fit through the letter box but I wasn’t desperate for it so if it ended up back ats the depot it wasn’t a big deal.  Off we went on the off chance we could have a sail and I put it out of my mind.

Usually I don’t have my phone connected to the net when I’m out as it drains the battery and I dont feel the need to be online all the time.  But there was basically no wind and sometimes they send emails calling it off (to be honest there was so little wind I didn’t see the point but knew one of the guys I share a lift with would want to go see so thought why not).  So I had my phone online and my emails set to sync.

We got to the hill down to the reservoir.  You can see it at that point and it was so flat it looked like a mirror.  Nothing was moving.  We got to the reservoir and one of the other girls who does sailability was on the water but wasn’t moving. A kids session runs at the same time and none of them were moving either apart from one randomly swimming and the safety boat heading over to tell him that’s against the rules.

So we had a chat with a couple of others (none of us got out of the car) and then we decided to go home.  And as we’re almost home my phone beeped with an email.

Amazon Logisitics

My parcel had been delivered to my neighbour, Lucas at number 11.

Only:

  • I don’t live anywhere near 11 (number wise).
  • I don’t even know where 11 is
  • I’m 95% sure my road is even numbers only.
  • I don’t know anyone called Lucas who lives near me.
  • And most people use their back doors only due to where the car park is and there are steps down into the majority of the back gardens.

So it’s fair to say I was thinking that this wasn’t going to go well and getting my parcel back was going to prove tricky.  I suspected they’d delivered Lucas a parcel of his own and just given him mine too without trying someone closer. Maybe they hadn’t even tried to give it to me. I decided when I got back I’d get in my powerchair and do a lap of my road and if I couldn’t locate 11 (as seemed likely) or I could but couldn’t get to it I’d call customer services.  It’s one of those things that’s an issue when you’re disabled that no one else ever thinks of.

My friend helped me carry my sailing bag back round to my front door and there was a bright orange “sorry we missed you” card on the floor. I ignored it, I knew where my parcel was.  Lucas (whoever he is) at 11 (wherever that is) had it.  But my friend, knowing me and knowing that’s what I’d do grabbed it and read it.  And seeing it said “parcel behind bin” she pulled that out for me too and handed it to me.

So it would appear that “Lucas at number 11” is no more than an autocorrect fail.  It’s either that or he’s a little tiny hobbit living in a secret flat behind my bins.

Random Bullet Points of Life

For the small things in life worth mentioning but perhaps not worth an entry of their own

  • I have several part written blog entries and a few others that I’ve thought seriously about but not posted. These may or may not see the light of day.
  • This week is likely to be the last sail of the season.  They’ve not said as much but given how early we’ll have to be off the water I can’t see managing the week after.  I both am and am not ready for the season to be over.
  • I have some exciting plans for the off season
  • For the past few weeks I’ve been writing a new 101 in 1001 list.  It’s over four years since I last had an active 101 in 1001 list and I think this is a very different list to the ones I’ve had before.
  • Current powerchair mileage is roughly 135
  • I’ve been enjoying watching the paralympics but am sad they’re over and wishing I’d made the time to watch more.
  • Earlier this week I raised a small and tangentially access related niggle with someone. Good: they really got it. It’s not something that can do anything about but perhaps my raising it will prevent it happening again. Bad: I felt the need to start said conversation with “I know this is kinda bitchy but…”
  • A friend from uni and I went to see Mamma Mia the Musical in Birmingham. It was excellent. If we’d been able to go on the date we were originally supposed to (I changed the tickets as engineering works would have meant rail replacement to/from Leamington Spa) I would have tried to get tickets to go a second time. But unfortunately we went to the matinee on the last day.
  • There doesn’t seem to have been a lot of reading going on lately. Basically unless I’ve been on a train it’s unlikely I’ve been reading.

An Unexpected Revelation

At CAB today we did some training on how to support clients who are appealing disability benefit decisions. What to do, what type of information to put in the various letters (for mandatory reconsideration) or forms (for appeal).

And the subject of getting dressed came up.

So we covered  the need to check how long it takes, do they avoid certain items of clothing or look for certain fastenings because that’s the only type they can put on (for example I can dress myself but I mostly wear trousers I can pull on and don’t wear socks as I can’t get them on and my shoes sometimes fall off as I struggle with them).

Then someone raises the point of needing to sit down to get dressed.  Someone else said “yes, because that’s not the normal way to get dressed.”

The conversation moved on pretty quickly but I was sitting there thinking “What? Sitting down to get dressed isn’t normal?”

I did kind of know that – I’ve seen many friends and family members get dressed standing up but at the same time it surprised me to hear something that’s my normal described as not the normal way of doing so.  It probably shouldn’t have done but it felt like a bit of a revelation. I think I’d been kind of assuming that sitting to get dressed like I do was normal and it was the ablebodied people with their insistance on standing to get dressed that were the unusual ones.

I mean, really, why do that when you could just sit down somewhere comfy?! It makes sense to me. But if society wants to see their weird hopping from foot to foot and trying to balance as the correct way to get dressed I’m not going to argue with them.

I would so hate to be normal after all.

Spotted at the Sailing Club

There are, perhaps, five Tuesday evening sails left this year.  I personally suspect only four but five is most likely and the most it could be is six.  Although the person who runs sailability always says when asked “we try to keep sailing until the clocks change” I think I’ve only ever sailed in October once.  In a way I look forward to the off season and what that will bring – I have a couple of very exciting things planned for October and later in the year.  But most of me isn’t ready for the hot day, sunshine and sailing to come to an end.  How can it be practically September already?!

It’s been a good year for sailing – very few have been cancelled due to the weather, although there have been one or two where sailing has run but I’ve chosen not to go on the water once I’ve seen the conditions.  But as much as it has been a good year I did go through a real spell of feeling like I lost my confidence in sailing and had to fight to get it back.  That was more of a trust/anxiety thing than because of any particular bad experience and as much as I could go into the exact in and outs they aren’t really relevant any longer and don’t matter.  In the last weeks conditions have been gentler and the sun has been shining and slowly – very slowly – it’s been coming back and I’ve been finding my enjoyment of the water once again.

A big part of it was a general loss of confidence (and higher levels of anxiety) that I seemed to experience when my powerchair broke and everything shifted in my life unexpectedly as a result of that.  Sailing confidence is back but I’m still working on my confidence in the new powerchair.  It will come, it’s just taking longer than I’d like.  I do think that I’ll always struggle somewhat with anxiety and confidence though and especially with sailing because by it’s very nature it forces me to do something that can be a huge trigger for me (I tend to find it very difficult to feel safe if I’m not in my wheelchair).

And tonight I got to watch another gorgeous Farmoor sunset.  In the past couple of months I’ve mostly been getting lifts from my Dad so I’ve not seen many as we don’t stay for a drink after meaning we’ve been away before the sunsets.  But tonight we did – and Dad fished my phone out of the car for me to take some photos.

Sunset over Farmoor Reservoir

Boats in silhoutte as the sunsets

The First 50 Miles

Last Wednesday I did my 50th mile in my new powerchair.  I was in Bournemouth for the day.  I’ve been meaning to write this entry ever since but I’m finally doing it because if I don’t I’ll have to write it tomorrow and title it “the first 60 miles”

In that time I’ve

  • Been for coffee with two different groups of friends
  • Wandered around town a lot just trying it out and seeing what it can do.
  • Done errands and supermarket trips and other boring things.
  • Realised that I will not be able to get my hair cut in this chair
  • Got on a train for the first time in nearly three months
  • Made three separate train journeys one of which involved changing.
  • Went to Reading for shopping and treated myself to new perfume
  • Took my nephew on a wheelchair accessible roundabout at the park
  • Been to CAB
  • Made a second trip to Reading to meet a friend for lunch and cocktails (and accidentally bought two books whilst there)
  • Had a day out in Bournemouth with another friend – we walked along the sea front a bit, had lunch on the pier, visited the Oceanarium and walked through the gardens.
  • Been on a bus
  • Officially made it longer than I did with the Salsa before damaging it (two weeks to the day after I got the Salsa I did a couple of hundred quids worth of damage. The Jive is undamaged)

I’m not planning on going to Bournemouth again (I would but I feel like we’ve done it and I have other places I’d like to go), I’m unlikely to go on a roundabout again and I won’t be going on another bus.  I desperately hope not to damage it. But the rest is on the list for things to do again.

train station platform

two cocktails (margaritas) one empty, one full

the sea at Bournemouth

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Penguins at Bournemouth Oceanarium

Me in my powerchair on Bournemouth pier with the sea in the background. I'm wearing pink and purple

 

r-net powerchair control showing 50 miles travelled