The general opinion yesterday was that I “look really tired”. First I met up with a friend and they said it, then the other person we were with came along and said it a couple of times yesterday. And someone at the event we were at asked me if I’d enjoyed it saying I looked tired. I was chatting to one of the journey care staff at Oxford who knows me and she went “oh Emma you look really tired.” Finally when I spoke to mum when I got home she asked if I was tired.
I’m still pretty tired today but less so. Yesterday everyone got simply told “yeah I am.” Today I am thinking of jokey responses.
I spent the last three days (Monday to Wednesday) in Birmingham for the TPAS Conference 2012. TPAS for those not in the know (which included me until recently) works with social housing providers to involve tenants in the running and decision making of their housing provider.
It’s not something I would have thought to go to but I was asked to go. When I was told all my expenses would be covered, two nights in a hotel, workshops, disco both nights and a swanky awards do one night I was like let me think… Yes!
There were I think between 400 and 500 people there, a mixture of involved tenants and staff. I went with another tenant and a member of staff. I knew them before but enjoyed getting to know them better. We laughed a lot the whole time including about some really silly things. It was good fun and non stop!
The hotel was very nice… Pretty swish with thick carpets and some very blingy lights. If you think Pat Butcher’s earrings you get the idea of the sort of thing I mean. They gave me a 12 page accessibility document when I checked in but I feel relatively sure that no OT was harmed in the making of the accessible room I had. It worked but although everything I needed was there and useable there were errors like if you sat on the shower seat you couldn’t shut the screens and the bathroom flooded. Never mind, I’m sure housekeeping enjoyed cleaning my bathroom for a second time that day after my early evening shower.
I realised how much I don’t know but I also learned a lot including:
* I really hate wheeling on carpet
* The TPAS Angels (help staff) are brilliant at helping me at the breakfast buffet. I would ask for something and they’d stick loads on, usually more than I asked for because “it’s only little…” I missed them this morning!
* More than $1 Million is spent in FarmVille everyday. I went to a writing workshop which showed a video on 24 hours in social media It was really good and I think I can do a lot with what came out of it but that FarmVille stat freaks me out. (the title of this blog comes from this workshop where small groups of us came up with a headline to describe the conference)
* I am very lucky in the help and support I get from my housing provider. I knew that already but hearing storied from tenants from all over the country brought that home. Particularly the stories from other disabled tenants, some of which infuriated me.
* I knew that there are a lot of changes coming in social housing but I hadn’t realised just how big and in some cases scary they are.
* That I would rather do almost anything else than hear a particular speaker again. He was so boring and unable to answer the questions people were actually asking him but instead the one he wanted to answer.
* But that I would really love to hear another of the speakers again because she was brilliant. Plus when she got everyone standing for somethng she had thought about it and was like “if you can’t stand put your hands in the air if you can’t stand.” which is good because so many times can’t stand means not included.
* Just how important resident involvement is. I do it because it gives me opportunities to do things I enjoy or am passionate about but it’s about so much more than that.
* And that I really, really hate wheeling my manual chair on carpet.