Next verse, same as the first.

I went to the supermarket this evening.

And I saw something and it made my heart sink.  I thought about writing a blog post about it and how it’s such a “you know you’ve got CP when…” moment. And it is and it was and it’s actually kinda funny now I think about it but was annoying at the time.

But the reality is the exact same thing happened a few years ago and I wrote about it then.  It was probably a much funnier entry than I’d have managed to write about it today.

So I’ll just link to it – A you know you’ve got CP when moment from 2012, that repeated tonight.

A Powerchair’s Eye View

I’ve been lent a gorilla pod after a couple of us who are working on a video project wondered about the possibility of using one to mount a camera on my powerchair.

It works really well mounting the camera on the armrest of my powerchair and I’ve enjoyed playing with it.  But the videos make it very clear just how bad the squeak of my chair is – the tech who came out last week did succeed in replacing the wheel with the busted tyre but his attempt at sorting my squeak was a big failure. Here’s a powerchair’s eye view of my trip to the park this evening

(video of a park.)

I did take a really good photo in the park though (although I took my phone out of the gorillapod to take it)

My shadow on some grass - my seat riser was up to it's highest so the shadow includes the workings of that.
My shadow on some grass – my seat riser was up to it’s highest so the shadow includes the workings of that.

I haven’t yet been able to get the gorilla pod to grip on to my manual chair. I don’t have arm rests on it and there’s very little in the way of frame it could go on and the bits I’ve tried haven’t worked. I think that’s a problem with the chair rather than with the gorilla pod. If I can get it to work before I go to the sailing club on Friday for the Challenger regatta I may do a quick “spotted at the sailing club” video. I suspect that a gorillapod would almost definitely work to mount a camera or a phone onto a challenger and would get some excellent video/photos (might need a bigger one). But I don’t want to try it for fear that as soon as the boat heeled over my phone and the gorillapod would be in the water. I do need a new phone but that’s still a risk I’d rather not take.

I strongly suspect I’ll be treating myself to a gorillapod of my own when our project is over and I have to give this one back.

On buying books

I buy books. I buy lots of books. And I borrow them from the library and friends and download freebies from Project Gutenburg or Kindle, receive free review copies and enter competitions to win books. I read lots of books too but I don’t always read the books I have.

So I have many books (probably hundreds) that I haven’t read.  It’s part of why I’ve been doing my weekly Reading Down My TBR Pile entries.  And it’s hugely overwhelming.  I look at my bookshelves and I know that I will never get to the point where I’ve read all my books because I have too many and I just can’t stop buying more.

When I was reading earlier this afternoon (The Year of Reading Dangerously by Andy Miller) I came accross the perfect quote about that.

“Buying books would be a good thing if one could also buy the time to read them”
― Arthur Schopenhauer

Wouldn’t that be great?

Reading Down My TBR Pile – Week Nine

Not much to report this week.  As well as the one book I read I’ve been listening to an audiobook still but have a few hours to go before I finish it.

But in good news: the one book I’ve read was true “reading down my TBR pile” because I have no new additions to report.

I Can’t Begin To Tell You by Elizabeth Buchanpaperback, 498 pages, on TBR for 3 weeks, read in 8 days.

I’m not sure whether I’ve read anything by Elizabeth Buchan before – I know I’ve looked at a couple of her books when shopping but I can’t remember if I’ve read them or not. Can’t shake the feeling I might have but not convinced I have.

This was historical fiction set in one of my favourite time periods but covering an aspect I’d not considered and know little about along with another aspect I’m very interested in. Those combined together to make a meaty read packed full of substanced which kept me gripped to the end and left me wanting more.  This is quite a long read and has relatively small print so I knew it was going to be packed with content and was just hoping it was going to be worthwhile content.  And it definitely was.

It left me wanting to read more historical fiction and also more by Elizabeth Buchan.

Random Bullet Points of Life

For those little things worth recording but not worth a blog entry of their own.

+ I’m writing this while waiting for the powerchair technician to come out.  One of my tyres has a couple of splits in it (one serious) so needs replacing.  But it’s a castor and you usually have to replace the whole wheel. Plus, Mum looked over my whole chair earlier and it seems another castor has a chunk out of it. Not sure if that is going to need replacing too.

+ I have been sailing a grand total of once this year.  Hopefully I’ll get to sail tonight but if I’m honest I sort of doubt it.

+ I have finally learned how to crochet granny squares and am really enjoying them

+The remainder of this entry is written following a delay when the powerchair technician arrived

+Or it would be if I could remember what it was I was going to write


Reading Down My TBR Pile – Week 8

I nearly skipped this week because when Friday came around I hadn’t quite finished one book this week – I’ve been listening to an audiobook as well as reading this week which meant lots of reading but no progress on the finished side.  But as I have now finished a book I thought I should write a post rather than skip a week.

In terms of adding to the TBR mountain (it’s not really a pile). I received one book free to review which I plan to start reading this week and I treated myself to a new Star Trek book.  Which is the one book I’ve finished this week. I started reading it the day after I downloaded it to my kindle.

Because sometimes I skip between books and pick them up and put them down I thought I’d start making a note of how long it takes me to read things.

Star Trek: The Next Generation: Takedown by John Jackson Miller ebook, 369 pages, read in 7 days, on TBR for 1 day.

Oh Star Trek. I do love a Star Trek book. And The Next Generation is my favourite.  I enjoyed reading this and would recommend it.  This book focuses mostly on now Admiral Riker who is based on the USS Aventine captained by DS9’s Ezri Dax for the majority of he book.  There were some great scenes with Picard and other TNG characters but I’d have loved to see more of my TNG favourites.

I’m a professional cynic but my heart’s not in it

Ages and ages and ages ago someone got really annoyed with me because I reminded them that I have access needs. They knew it and more importantly the person doing the organising of that event knew it and as they put it I needed to trust they both because I knew both they and the other person wouldn’t forget. They even went so far as to suggest that my asking was insulting to the third party doing the organising.

Which frankly is bollocks but was just another example of this particular person thinking they understood disability and saying ridiculous stuff, much of which was well meaning but inappropriate.

The hilarious thing about that is that if the third party they were so insulted on behalf of had been part of the conversation with the reminder they wouldn’t have been insulted and would have got why I worry and always have to check. Because the third party has a disability that means they have had periods of needing a chair.

I was thinking of that long ago conversation recently when events dredged it up from where it was lost to the depths of my memory and the years past since then.

I was invited to an event. Asked the person inviting me does it have wheelchair access? They didn’t know. I located details of the venue and sent an email, started looking at train times and the like while I waited for a reply. There is access to all but the loos at the venue. If it were local ish to me I might have risked it but it would have meant a few hours on the train so I decided against.

A couple of weeks later I was invited to another event. Decided I definitely wanted to go to that and was very excited. I’ve been to places near there before and knew it should be straightforward. Had a quick look at train times because it was a CAB day – way after my CAB time but I wasn’t sure if I’d fit before in with travel time. Had a quick look at hotels because if I could find a cheap one it would be cheaper than travelling home late at night (would need a taxi from Reading probably). Then I looked at the venue website. It looked great. But I can never quite bring myself to trust on access – experience has taught me otherwise. So I looked for the contact details. I never made it that far. Right above the phone number “sorry we don’t have wheelchair access.,”

Excited to really upset in one quick movement.

And then yesterday I was booking to go to a meeting. I looked at dates for London and for Birmingham sussed out travel for both and decided which was best. Put my name down and got an email back quickly saying I had a place but they needed a phone number in case of last minute problems. So I winged one back with my mobile number and mentioned I use a chair. I didn’t expect it to be a problem because of the type of  event and the venue website screamed “new building that’s going to be accessible.”

But the email I got back said they couldn’t guarantee there was wheelchair access.  Ugh, stress. I suspected I wasn’t going to get there and I was thinking what a waste of time all the logistics I looked into were. They have since confirmed to me that there is, in fact, access. So all is good.

In all three cases it seems that the person doing the organising either didn’t look into access, possibly because they didn’t think to or assumed no one with access needs would want to, or were unaware of the accessibility (it turns out with the meeting that the organiser and the replying to emails admin person weren’t the same and one knew the other didn’t)

This is why I’m cynical about access.  This is why I’m uncomfortable allowing anyone but me to be the one to make arrangements. This is why I always have to ask and I find it hard to trust.  It’s not how I want to be but it’s how life and bitter experience have taught me I have to be.

As Blur sang “I’m a professional cynic but my heart’s not in it…”


Reading Down My TBR Pile – Week 7

Week 7 already!

Admittedly I’ve not been great at not buying books in these past 7 weeks so I’m not sure I’ve done such a great job of reading down the TBR pile as I might otherwise have done.  But I’ve read several books that have been languishing unread for years and seem to be doing better at buying books and then reading them soon as opposed to shoving them on the shelf and looking at them thinking “I should really read that…” for months and years.

I bought three books this week (well, two but one was in a pack with a second shorter book for free) and read two of them on the day I got them. I’ve yet to start the third.

Hold Me Closer: The Tiny Cooper by David Levithanpaperback, 200 pages on TBR for 1 week

This is a companion book to Will Grayson, Will Grayson.  It’s basically the script to the musical that Tiny writes and produced in Will Grayson, Will Grayson.  It’s laid out in script from and so although it’s 200 pages long it’s actually much shorter in many ways.  This was a weird one because I liked reading it but I really wasn’t sure what the point of it was and it felt like a bit of a cop out of a book – written because it would sell rather than to tell more of the story of Tiny Cooper and develop him as a character.  And yes, I know that’s harsh of me.

The Stolen Weekend by Fern Britton paperback 65 pages, bought and read on the same day

The Stolen Weekend was free when I bought Fern’s new book.  It’s basically a short story (I think at 65 pages it’s too short to call it a novella) and it’s cute and fun and a quick read.  Often when I read short stories like this I’m left feeling a bit short changed and as though they were rushed.  This was perfectly paced and just the right length so I was pleased. This was the first book by Fern Britton I read and judging by it I should enjoy more by her.

Appleby Farm: Part 4 – Love is In The Air by Cathy Bramleyebook, 110 pages, bought and read on the same day (publication day!)

After I read part three of Appleby Farm last month I felt a bit like there wasn’t going to be any point of me reading part 4. I was convinced I knew what the key moments were going to be in part 4 and I didn’t know if I wanted to spend another 99p to get the next installment.  Well, I did buy it and I did read it and I loved it.  I was surprised by the ending and the big angsty fight I’d be expecting to dominate didn’t happen. That wasn’t disappointing, it was good.

I’ve enjoyed Cathy Bramley’s books having read all three of them.  Ivy Lane was also released in 4 parts but I waited until it was out as a whole book (I received a review copy of it in that form) and read it in one go on one day.  I enjoyed reading Appleby Farm in parts but I think I preferred the whole book way I read Ivy Lane.  That said I enjoy Cathy’s style so much I’m not sure I’ll have the will power to avoid the parts of her next book and wait for it to come out as a whole.

The Love Shack by Jane Costello paperback, 484 pages, on TBR for 1 week.

I read almost all of this on the trains to and from Birmingham last weekend and then lay in bed this morning and read the last 100 or so pages.

Jane Costello was one of the authors at the blogger event I went to in March and I’ve been looking forward to this ever since I heard her read an extract.  It was a fun book that made me laugh in places and kept me smiling.  I really enjoyed so many of the characters and it’s the best book I’ve read for weeks.  Again, I thought I knew pretty soon into the book what one of the key points of the ending would be but ended up being really surprised and loving it more because of that.

Third Time Lucky? Yes.

Just wanted to post a quick blog to say that it was indeed third time lucky and I not only made it to Birmingham yesterday but there were no problems at the theatre and after a lunch at Pizza Express Rachel and I were able to see Dirty Dancing.

It was good!  It wasn’t what I was expecting and wasn’t the most musical like musical I’ve ever seen but I enjoyed it and I’m glad we went.  I’d say that I’m not adding the soundtrack to the vast collection of musical soundtracks that fills my iTunes library but I seem to remember saying that after another friend and I saw Shrek last year and then about six weeks later I did buy the soundtrack after listening to it on youtube a few times.  So I’ll just say I don’t think I’ll be buying the soundtrack.

And as always Birmingham Hippodrome was very accessible.  It’s so quick and easy to get to from New Street station too so I think we’ll probably go to something there again.

Third Time Lucky?

There are many things I could write about for BADD this year.  Incidents from this week included as well as things from a while ago and just general observations.

I could tell you about being screamed at in the middle of mcdonalds for taking too long in the disabled toilet.

I could tell you about the person who called my parents when she couldn’t get me on the phone (I was at CAB and apparently the call was too urgent to wait)

Those are my two things from this week.  But mostly I’m thinking about tomorrow.

I am – hopefully – going to see Dirty Dancing with my friend Rachel who I was at uni with.  I know that Rach is looking forward to it.  I’d say I’m looking forward to it but that would be a lie.  I’m looking forward to seeing Rach.  To lunch at Pizza Express and a catch up.

But I’m looking at the emails we’ve been sending sharing train times and plans and seeing the “We’ll have the time of our lives” she’s signed a couple of emails off with.  And it makes me smile.  But I also wonder if we actually will.  Will we get there?  Or will it be yet another shitty experience of disablism from a theatre?

Because this will be my third attempt to see Dirty Dancing.

I was supposed to go see it in December in the theatre in Oxford.  For my birthday. The whole sorry story was blogged about in my blog post from January titled “Attitude is Everything” with a little bit of a funny follow up in another post titled “I believe

Basically the lift in the theatre broke, they were appalling at getting it sorted and kept implying it was my decision not to see the show when I refused to use their alternate access for genuine fear of being killed by it.  It was the most ridiculous thing and the worst incidence of disablism I’ve experienced in a very long time – not least because it was somewhere I’ve enjoyed going for years and previously had very good times at and good access/inclusion experiences.  Those previous experiences made it worse because they were so unexpected.

And it ruined my birthday.

That lift was then fixed only to break again on the day we should have made a second attempt at seeing it. And more ridiculouslessness ensued.

I’ve been joking with people that this time it’ll be fine – after all Birmingham Hippodrome has two lifts!

But it’s the evening before my third attempt and I find myself worrying that maybe it won’t.

I can accept that my experiences with the theatre in Oxford mean I can’t go to musicals as often any more because I don’t feel safe going there now.  But if the same were to happen with Birmingham not as often would become basically never and that would be very upsetting.

It’s probably a ridiculous and unnecessary worry.  But it’s the scar that disablism has left behind.