>Creative Writing Course?

>We have a new arts centre here that just openned this weekend.  And I went up there today on a reccy.  I only went round the downstairs but it looks great.

They have a gallery space and currently it has an exhibition that I don’t think I caught the name of but basically it’s a “making of…” thing and shows drawings of the plans from the first to the last stage, photos of the site at different stages and some models of how they envisioned things would be, attempts at trying things out etc.  It was very interesting to look at.  The next exhibition planned is an Urban Art one and that really appeals too.  I think the exhibitions will be free so that will more than likely mean I become a bit more cultured.

Also they are going to do some courses – creative ones, dance ones and crafty ones.  I am half signed up for the creative writing one 🙂  I’m very excited about it and hoping that more people sign up because I was the first person to enquire about the possibility of joining.  They are also going to do a book group and I think I will join that too.  But the creative writing excites me more.

Finally, this is the best bit.  I was going through the listings on my favourite comedian’s website looking for gigs in either Reading or Oxford.  Couldn’t find either but to my surprise I did find that he is coming HERE to our brand new arts centre.  And Mum said she would come with.  Booking tickets for that is my job for tomorrow.

I think having the new arts centre here is going to be a very good thing.

>Internet blahs

>I’m finding the Internet a very annoying and irritating place lately.  I’ve heard several stories lately of blogs I follow either being fakes themselves or being the victim of fakers – stealing their photos and passing them off as their own etc. No to mention all the blogs that are spammers and use some of my content… so many of my incoming links are that it’s unreal.

So as you might have noticed I have removed all of my photos from this blog and from my facebook page.  Most will be watermarked and will then return however I don’t have the time, patience or inclination to do all of the 100+ photos that were on here nor the nearly 150+ that were on facebook (some of which but no where near all were both on here and on facebook).  What you won’t have noticed because I’ve only just done it is that I’ve added a copyright notice to my RSS feed.

Can I ask how many people follow my blog through my RSS feed?  Because something I’ve been thinking of is disabling it.  RSS is apparently one of the biggest ways fakers and spammers and blog scrapers get their content.  But I’m still thinking about that at the moment.

The other thing that gets to me at the moment is all the catty, bitchiness that goes on in others comments and some of the clicqueness I see.  But the answer to that is simple, stop reading.  So, for a few days, just for those blogs, I have.

>Surreal Sailing Stuff (Another Attempt At Alliteration)

>Last week at sailing I asked Pam where I could get an entry form for the upcoming challenger national championships from.  She said “There’s this thing, I think it’s called the “Internet”?”

That was so “Pam” and really amused me.  Probably a lot more than it should have done but what can you do?!

Then this week I was introduced to someone new (by Pam) who immediately went “I hear you blog” and told me that Pam had been telling him about it.  He is TAB and sails.  And he has a good friend with MS who he’d like to get sailing but can’t convince.  With her permission (or rather he gave me her number and I went “does she know?” and he said no then called her to tell her what he’d done.) he passed her phone number to me and I now have the job of convincing her or otherwise.   I gave him my blog address and considered the fact that a lot more people I know are obviously now reading this or at least know about it (then spent the rest of the evening going “argh the last entry I wrote was about my periods”).

As an aside here, who do we know that reminds us of?  Uh, that would be me.  Most people reading this probably know but just in case – my friend Neil went on at me for literally a year, possibly (probably) longer that I absolutely *had* to try sailing.  And I spent that year telling him I wasn’t interested.  In the end I said I would go once to try it and then he had to shut up about it.  That was in April 2006 and my third season as a member of sailability is slowly drawing to an end.

Pam then was telling me what she’d heard about my blog and who’d told her.  Literally two people were going “I hear you blog” and I was like “who told you that?!”  And I was thinking “Wow, someone got technosavvy in a week.”  But though I doubt she read it, I am impressed she knows what a blog is.

Oh and then I was asked if the Oxford Mail could take some photos of me getting into the boat.  They are writing an article about the Pontoon Project, I think.  I was told they wanted pictures to show how difficult it is.  I told them they should have taken the photos last week in that case.  A few were taken of me sailing and John, my buddy this week insisted on adjusted my baseball cap as it was hiding my face as I had it (not deliberate, just how I wear it) “We want to see your face Emma”.  I was sat there thinking “I need to wash my hair, I had no warning of this photo thing,  do NOT take it off me.”

I think they wanted to show me getting into an access dinghy but I said no, they could take them of me getting into the challenger as that’s what I sail.  I let them film me being hoisted into the acccess dinghy last November despite the fact thats not what I sail (it’s what I sailed for the first year and a half of sailing then I switched to the challenger) and then regretted it.  I also made a comment about it not being a “look at how disabled she is” thing and they said it was kinda the point but the photog. said he would do something or other I forget what but basically the idea was not make it look too bad.  Plus I think the main focus is on Luke, not me.

So, to sum up.  Sail was muchos fun tonight and I don’t think there will be too many of those nights left this year given the way the nights are drawing in.  But it was also on the surreal side.

>I guess thats why they call it the blues

>I gained four whole lb this week.

Not really sure what happened there.

Mum wondered if it was a hang over from the week before when I expected to gain but managed to maintain; she said that my Dad usually gains weight the week after he splurges rather than that week.

It might be a period thing also.  It’s due sometime soon although I’m not quite sure when (unusual for me) as they are spacing out a bit more.  This is not a good thing from a PMS point of view – I cope much better when I know it’s coming and also I usually figure out exactly when it’s coming the day before because of my emotions and mental state.

But four lb?!  That’s *practically* all the weight I had lost. 🙁

Yes, I’ve got the blues this evening.

>Lose Sight of the Shore

>This is the 700th (public) post on this blog. The post below is a paraphrased version of part of what I wrote in a card to a good friend. As she received it yesterday I will share the thoughts here. It’s not word for word as I didn’t think to note them down before I sent it.


“Man cannot discover new oceans unless he has the courage to lose sight of the shore.” ~ Andre Gilde

The above quote came to mind a lot when we were at Rutland Water a few weeks ago for the regatta. Not the exact wording, I had to look that up. But the words “lose sight of the shore” and the meaning behind them. Rutland is a huge reservoir, it’s 26 miles around if I recall. It’s substantially bigger than my “home” reservoir, Farmoor. By the time we had sailed out to the race area we’d probably sailed the equivalent of to the opposite side of Farmoor if not further.

And there were one or two occasions when I would look out from the racing circuit and have to take a moment to work out exactly which way the shore we had launched from was and which of those beaches had my wheelchair. I’m used to one beach so hadn’t paid too much attention when they said about remembering where you launched from. You go all over the place racing, following a circuit and doing laps. So I got a little turned around.

It wasn’t scary it was just more than I had been accustomed to in terms of distance from things. And it wasn’t my usual place or set up. I had briefly “lost sight of the shore” in some ways. Literally a minute or two of thinking of it and I knew the answer. And I thought of that quote.

But that weekend and all the sailing involved made me push myself and expand my horizons a lot. I’ve never sailed for that amount of time in one go before. I’ve never been out in that much wind before. I’d never raced before. I’d never seen that many challengers all at once before. I’ve never gotten so wet or flew through the water so fast before. And I thought of that quote.

It was fun. It was hard work. It was tiring. It was scary. But most of all, it was worth it. And I thought of that quote.

I got so much out of it. I discovered my “new oceans” and I’m glad I did. But only because I had the courage to literally and figuratively “lose sight of the shore.”

That quote isn’t just apt for me for that one weekend however, I think it’s true of a lot of things I’ve done this year and things I plan to do with the remaining months, weeks and days of 2008.


EDIT, Tuesday: It is well worth reading the comments on this, I really feel like people commenting have understood and furthered what I wanted to say


>Reading everyone elses answers to the questions I posted earlier in the week was very interesting but here are the actual answers…

1) Where did we meet? (Either online or in real life…) depends who you are!

2) Take a stab at my middle name? Jane

3) Do I smoke? No, never have and never will.

4) Color of my eyes?  Brown like both of my parents and both my brother and sister.

5) Do I have any siblings? If so, how many? Two, Ben and Sophie, both younger.

6) What’s one of my favorite things to do? Read, Sail, Swim, Knit etc etc

7) What’s my favorite type of music? I like all sorts of music but cheesy tunes are my favourite.

8) Am I shy or outgoing?  I’m getting more and more outgoing but I think I’ll always be a bit shy because I lack confidence in myself.  That’s a whole ‘nother post I must remember to write soon.

9) Am I a rebel or do I follow the rules?  I’m a bit of a rebel but not all the time

10) Do I have any special talents? I liked shi’s answer that I’m a motivator but I don’t know that I am.

11) How many children do I have? None but I would like them someday

12) If you and I were stranded on a desert island, what is one thing that I would bring? I might bring my knitting or my camera or possibly my challenger  so I can sail away (with a buddy seat so you can come too)

>Thursday Thirteen: The Sailing Edition


Thirteen Reasons I Love Sailing

1 Going wherever I want without my wheelchair

2 And doing so under my own steam

3 The wind on my face blowing my hair everywhere, into my eyes etc.

4 The speed

5 The power

6 The Way the boat rocks down and up and down and up in the water

7 Pushing myself to do more, try harder

8 The point in time when its really really good but also kinda scary

9 The people I have met because of it

10 Sitting on the water watching as the sun gets lower and lower in the sky  and the sky gets prettier and      prettier.

11 Laughing when I get caught in the spray and screaming in shock then laughing even harder when its      more than spray and water splashes up over the sides and soaks me to the skin.

12 Catching the wind just right and feeling the boat take off.

13 The moment when I think it’s going all wrong then look back and realise how well it really is going

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

>How Well Do You Know Me?

>My friend Shi just posted a survey on her blog to see how much her readers know about her.  I answered and told her I’d like to see what she’d answer about me.  So I’m posting this here to see what she has to say and if any of the other people reading this want to take a shot feel free

1) Where did we meet? (Either online or in real life…)

2) Take a stab at my middle name?

3) Do I smoke?

4) Color of my eyes?

5) Do I have any siblings? If so, how many?

6) What’s one of my favorite things to do?

7) What’s my favorite type of music?

8) Am I shy or outgoing?

9) Am I a rebel or do I follow the rules?

10) Do I have any special talents?

11) How many children do I have?

12) If you and I were stranded on a desert island, what is one thing that I would bring?

>How to help an Emma up off of the floor

>The thing with dealing with Emma’s, especially us crippled Emma’s, is that sometimes we like to have falls.

Falls when transferring are particularly popular and a not uncommon subcategory of that type of fall is the one where the Emma lands on the footplates of the wheelchair.  Sometimes this is due to missing the seat of the wheelchair, other times its a simple loss of balance/trip/whatever and hit the ground or similar fall.  Either circumstance has the same results. When this happens with the Quickie manual wheelchair this causes particular problems due to the presence of ankle straps on the footplates.  This is due to the bolt/screw/thing thats a bit spike like which holds the inside edge of the strap in place and seriously adds to the “ow” factor when landed on.

When an Emma has a fall it is necessary to get them up again.  Most Emma’s have learnt how to do this without help or with minimal help only.  Thus, the main instructions fall into two possibilities.

Situation One

If the Emma is conscious and talking await instructions and then most importantly follow them.  This may require a period of calming down if the Emma is crying as can occasionally occur.  Again, many Emma’s have learnt to deal with the situation before having an emotional reaction but this is not always possible.

Instructions given may not appear to make sense to you however trying to do other than as asked can and usually will make the situation worse.  It also causes frustration in the Emma which isn’t a pretty sight.

Emmas generally find it useful if someone checks on them approximately five minutes after the situation is resolved.  The “Do then deal” mentality they have learned means that an opportunity to stop being the strong one should they need it and have someone to lean on emotionally is very useful at this time.  A hug may be administered at this point too should it be needed.

Situation Two

Should the Emma be unconscious or otherwise first aid or an ambulance should be arranged.  Also should there be a lot of blood an ambulance should be arranged which may be contrary to the given instructions.  This is the only circumstance in which the instructions given by the Emma can be ignored safely.


I fell at sailing tonight and although I am able to get myself up and talk others through what they need to do to help me it was difficult as my instructions confused others.  Basically I landed on my footplate and said I would pull myself up on my arms but would need someone to move my chair out from under me at that time.   They preferred to try to move it more under me and try to get me back in that way.  They were worried I’d get wet (we were at the edge of the water).  Which actually was the last thing on my mind – I had to get up off the ground and I was already wet enough that I was planning to change.  I really wished at that point that they’d been given an instruction sheet on “How to help an Emma up off of the floor”

The way I get myself up is to get on the ground, roll so I’m lying on my front then move to all fours and with someone steadying my wheelchair if available move my arms from the ground to the seat of my chair then pull/push myself to my feet and twist so I’m the right way round then sit.

When I was younger I could do the same thing without a piece of furniture to help.  I learned to do that when I was about four and at nursery school.  I’m told that I was so excited that the next time I saw my physio was at nursery and I told her “I’ve learnt to pick myself up” and immediately threw myself on the floor to show her.

>Things to Think About.

>It was really nice to see Auntie Sheila and everyone this afternoon and I did feel a bit more cheerful when I was out.

I think part of the blah down-ness might have come from the fact that I’ve not done very much of anything other than computer time, knitting and a bit of reading over the last few days.  I definitely couldn’t have been in the bureau this week.  Overdoing it at the weekend and then spending a lot of time at home recovering is not a good mix for me mental health wise.  I guess those two mornings a week where I’m in the bureau do make a difference to me after all.  I knew they did but I didn’t know it.

The stupidest thing about all of that is that out of the seven days since I came back from the regatta I’ve had three days where I’ve done propery stuff, two where I’ve done bits like go to sainsburys and only one where I have been at home all day.  I guess it comes down to what you’re used too and truly an hour out and the rest of the time at home, usually alone (days I went to sainsburys) isn’t great.  I’m used to MORE.   Doing and being MORE is what makes me happy.  But I couldn’t have managed MORE this week.

Is that what they call Catch 22?  I’ve never been able to get my head around that much as I’d like too.  Several people have tried repeatedly to explain it though.  And talking of that, I think that might be one of the next books I read its been sat on my shelf for years.

Time for a paradigm shift me thinks.  I’m not sure how I’m supposed to do that though.

This next week is going to be pretty busy I think so that should shake some of my blues away.

When I was talking to Auntie Sheila earlier we were saying about how there are some very lonely people in this world.

I would never have said that I was a lonely girl.  But then thinking about all this this evening and that conversation and everything that goes with it, maybe I am?  I’m never bored (or not usually) because I have plenty to do and plenty going on around me.  Maybe, just maybe, all of this comes down to a touch of loneliness though?

Something to think on.