Two rarely seen finished objects

A couple of weeks ago I blogged about how I have the curse of the unfinished object.

Well, since then I finished two of the unfinished projects I mentioned (and attempted a new project but it didn’t work)

20160115_181402.jpgHere is the hat I made with my knitting loom.  This picture shows the colours best I think – it’s a chunky colour changing yarn in shades of pinks and purples with a little black.  Because the loom knitting is done working in the round it’s done solely in knit stitch but comes out in stockinette. I finished this a few days after I wrote the above linked blog post.

20160131_180349.jpgThis is the finished scarf.  I started this a few days before my sister’s wedding back in September, finished the knitting yesterday and sorted out the ends this afternoon. It’s made with the same chunky yarn and is knitted in garter stitch on 12mm knitting needles. It’s quite wide!

20160131_180427.jpgClose up on the stithces of the scarf.

20160131_180934.jpgA matching set! Me wearing both the hat and scarf together.

A Month of Blogging

After blogging everyday this month I’ve got no ideas for things to write today that I can actually write.

I’ve got several books to review but none are finished.

I’ve got a craft project to share but I need to weave the ends in before I can take pictures (and I want this blog posted before my takeaway arrives otherwise I’d wait and do that)

I’m going to be writing for a new website. But that hasn’t launched yet so there’s only a short intro post to see there.

It’s fair to say I’ve enjoyed my month of daily blogging and I’ve gotten a lot out of carving a slot of time each day to write and share thoughts here.  I’d been losing my love for the blog and I think this challenge has given me it back.  It’s also introduced me to several new blogs that I enjoy reading.

My mental health has been suffering for the last few days/week – it often does at this time of year and the weather hasn’t helped that – but there’s a part of me that thinks if I hadn’t been making the effort to blog each day it would probably have been worse.

I also suspect that a few of the posts I have written this month have been reaching and are probably pointless to anyone who reads them.  Written simply for the sake of writing and so I can say that this is a challenge I achieved rather than yet another thing I said I’d do and then didn’t. I’d like to do a daily blogging challenge again at some point however.

Over the last few days I’ve been thinking about what happens with this blog going forwards. Do I want to write on a schedule or keep blogging daily or go back to my prior as and when writing.  Or do I want to do something in between.

Part of me would love to keep blogging daily.  I think it’d be pretty cool to get to the end of this year and have a post for every single day.  But I think I’d need to get a lot more organised in order to do that. And having said to someone a few days ago that I’m trying to be more realistic this year, the realistic thing is that’s a goal I’m not likely to keep up for a whole year.

So in the name of both realism and self care I’m going to blog more. But I’m probably not going to blog daily.

“Well”

Earlier this week I was talking to an acquaintance who was saying I handle things very well.  They’d been around when I’d found myself struggling with access woes a while ago and been impressed with how I handled it. It’s not the first time since that this has come up. They mentioned that I’m not the only disabled person they know and the others get angry in ways I don’t. I think it is – or was meant to be – a compliment.

I’m not sure I did handle it well. I’m not sure it’s a situation that can be handled well – life doesn’t come with a handbook for what to do when yet again the wheelchair access you’ve been promised isn’t there.

And these are situations that often seem to end up with victim blaming “oh well we weren’t planning to invite you but we had a spare space” was one line I heard last year “We don’t get many wheelchair users” is another I’ve heard many times before and of course there’s last week’s “you’re using the wrong door“.  “Trying to do something nice for you” “my brother’s best friend’s mum’s sister uses a wheelchair and she can manage” and many other comments along those lines have been said over the years all of which give the idea that it’s not actually the lack of wheelchair access that’s the problem, it’s me that’s the problem.

So sometimes I handle something quietly and with a calm I don’t feel.  Because whilst I’m not worried it’ll cause a scene but the memory of that victim blaming cuts deep and can’t be forgotten. I don’t want people to stop inviting me to things because of that and some reactions have made me worry that might happen. Or because I might start crying if I don’t.

Occasionally experience has taught me that in those particular circumstances things might not be ideal – so I’m prepared for shit access. And nothing helps you handle it well better than a complete and utter lack of surprise.

But there are two other reasons why I may be reacting to an access problem better than you expect.

Because this my normal. And sometimes you’ve paid the money, looked forward to the event and made the journey. You’re there and you can do nothing but make the most of what you’ve got.  Do what I can, enjoy what I can and consider afterwards whether it’s a lesson learned, a don’t go there again, a complaint or an “actually that worked better than hoped.” Because sometimes, rarely, but sometimes nonetheless people are faced with a wheelchair user struggling and access being worse than expected and really come up trumps with help and solutions to improve things.

Or perhaps I’m just exhausted. Tired of having this problem all the time and lacking in the energy to make a fuss once again when it’s unlikely things will change.

 

 

Thirteen Favourite Instagram Photos

I just scrolled all the way back through my Instagram feed and found some photos I’d forgotten about. There is a massive gap in my feed however as I stopped using Instagram for the better part of a year. So for Thursday Thirteen here are

Thirteen of my Favourite Instagram Pics

Flower related mistake

A photo posted by Emma (@funkyfairy22) on

Milo

A photo posted by Emma (@funkyfairy22) on

A wheelchair full of presents was waiting for me when I arrived at my parents house Christmas morn

A photo posted by Emma (@funkyfairy22) on

Welcome to Narnia

A photo posted by Emma (@funkyfairy22) on

Guess what me, @selcaby and @green_knight got up to yesterday? So great!

A photo posted by Emma (@funkyfairy22) on

#animal #cow #farm #nature

A photo posted by Emma (@funkyfairy22) on

A photo posted by Emma (@funkyfairy22) on

Guess where I went yesterday? #London #nofilter

A photo posted by Emma (@funkyfairy22) on

Waiting for the #wheelchair tech. Two new castors please!

A photo posted by Emma (@funkyfairy22) on

Yum #treat

A photo posted by Emma (@funkyfairy22) on

#France warming up. Not really sure why they’re bothering. #wwrc

A photo posted by Emma (@funkyfairy22) on

Today’s Auntie Emma and Henry pic #babystagram

A photo posted by Emma (@funkyfairy22) on

My Red Pen

I’m a writer. I can’t really remember ever not being a writer even if I didn’t do it regularly before my late teens. It’s in my blood.  And as a part of that I’ve been involved in Tenants’ Times for a while (a hyperlocal newspaper for people who get their housing through Soha Housing). Since June I’ve been editor and on Monday proof read the second edition I’ve edited.

It’s interesting and I mostly enjoy it.  We’re completely volunteer run which does make for some challenges and I tend to find the last few days before the deadline stressful. But on the whole it’s good – I enjoy working with the team, got back in touch with an old acquaintance because of it and I tend to learn things each time.

As part of being editor I have a funded place on the NCTJ Foundation Certificate in Journalism. That involves a one day session (10am – 3pm usually) once a month and some work in between times.  As yet that hasn’t covered anything to do with proof reading but has touched on gathering and recording information, writing a news story, writing for digital media and law for journalists (at a basic level)

So it’s fair to say that a lot of my time over the last few weeks has been spent writing (or looking at other people’s writing) and working out how to improve it. Does it make sense? If someone came to this completely new to the subject would they understand it? Are all the pieces going in to TT (as we call it amongst ourselves) in the house style? Is it factually correct? Are there repeated phrases or is it too wordy etc?

I feel like I’m good at those changes.  I’m not the only proofreader and some of the others are better at the nitty gritty of grammar then I am – that’s an area I could do with improving.  But everything gets looked at by at least one other person than me, sometimes two or three others. So all in all we do a good job.

One thing that’s tricky is knowing where the line is between making changes to a piece in order to make it fit the space (trim the odd word etc) or making it clearer and mutilating someone’s work so it’s not their own any more.  I’ve had that done to me and it sucks.

But now it’s done and TT is off to print in a few days. Time to switch off put my “red pen” (I do it electronically) away and take a break. Focus on blogging and the journalism course and maybe, just maybe, some fiction writing.

Only I still find myself thinking as an editor and itching the change things.  I read blogs a lot. I read several yesterday. I didn’t enjoy them as much as I usually would.  As I read the blogs I kept wondering “Does this achieve what they wanted it to?” and “oh repeated phrase there, they should change that.” and “Hmm could maybe have done with a bit more punch” etc.

I’m trying to comment more on the blogs I read but I think I better stay away from them until I do manage to put away my metaphorical red pen.

 

Blog, Interrupted

One of the modules that’s part of my Foundation Certificate in Journalism is about writing for digital media – pretty much blogging. So I’ve been thinking about my blog in different ways to I usually would.

Last week I spent some time going through the various drafts on here. And I deleted most of them. To be completely honest several of them I couldn’t even remember what the point I wanted to make was. I think I deleted something like eight unfinished drafts going as far back as last spring.

I left two.  One I will finish. Definitely.  I’m annoyed with myself that I’ve not posted it yet especially as several people helped me with it.  The second I can’t remember what it is unless I click out of this screen and over to the drafts section to check. And I can’t be bothered to do that. So I should probably delete that too.

Oh actually – As I was writing this I’ve just remembered what it is. Yeah a version of that will probably appear but not in the form it was taking in the draft – I was much too ambitious with that.

I was surprised how many drafts I had and it seems like a good idea for me to try to keep better track of what I’ve got part done.  The same applies to books for review, I don’t do too bad at keeping track of those but I could do better at getting the reviews posted.  Especially when I’m doing challenges like this daily blogging challenge and sometimes struggling to think of things to write.

But as much as I’d like to do that it remains all too easy to get distracted by the internet or other things and not finish (sometimes not even start) what I write. Because actually there’s a third entry in draft now too. The one I started and then stopped when the timer went for my dinner. I could easily have finished it when I’d eaten but by then I’d lost my enthusiasm for it.

So tonight, instead of the story about a metaphorical red pen, the advice I want parents of disabled kids to know, or some links to my favourite old blog entries, it’s a tale of a blog – interrupted.

Reading Down My TBR Pile (2016 Edition) – Week Three

This week has been a good reading week! Lots of books read this week and they were all good. Lots of long sessions of reading too – I’ve been missing those and I’m glad to get back to them.

First I read Wickham Hall by Cathy Bramley.  I’ve now read all four of her books and enjoyed them.  It was definitely worth waiting for this to come out as a whole novel rather than reading it in 4 monthly installments.  I don’t seem to enjoy books as much like that but it is very hard to resist them when you know it’s an author you enjoy so much.  It was fun and enjoyable and I read huge chunks of it staying up much too late to do so.

Read My Own Damn Books logoThat’s a bit of a fail at my reading my own damn books challenge though because I bought it this year. Still at least it’s not languishing on the TBR but I bought it and read it within a week. If I could do that sort of thing more often I’d be pleased.   I also used one of my audible credits to get Spectacles by Sue Perkins. But I did go to Waterstones yesterday after lunch with a friend and came out without buying anything.

Back to the books.  I’ve finished Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows.  I enjoyed it as much as the first time and I really enjoyed listening to them all over a short period of time.  Good stuff but I’m a little sad to be done with them and almost not sure what to do with myself now. Nothing to listen to while doing other stuff but not quite ready to start a new audiobook.

Finally I read The Hurricane Sisters by Dorothea Benton Frank. And Oh My Goodness it was good. I started that yesterday and finished it today it was that good.  It’s been on my TBR for over a year and I’m really wishing I’d got to it sooner.  Of the three books I read this week this is the one I’d recommend the most.  And now I’m off to Amazon to see if she’s written anymore.  I want them if she has.

I’m linking up with It’s Monday, What Are You Reading? with this post.

It's Monday! What Are You Reading

The Noise Next Door

I love live comedy. And with an arts centre only a few minutes wheel away that does great comedy at a reasonable price (plus bonus free carer tickets for whoever goes with me) I’m lucky enough to get to go often.

Last night was the first live comedy of the year – The Noise Next Door – and it was good. Capital G Good.

A friend and I saw them do a short set (maybe 20 minutes) as part of a comedy club last year. We tried the comedy club twice and weren’t overally impressed with it – the first time was OK and having seen these guys we really wanted to see them again. The second time was just shit.  So no more comedy club for us. But as soon as I saw they were coming back to do a full show I knew I wanted tickets and my friend wanted to come too.

I’d been a bit unsure whether they’d hold up to a full show but I needn’t have been concerned. I laughed the whole way through. A lot. The Noise Next Door are an improv comedy group. I’d thought it was just musical songs because that’s what they’d done at the comedy club but it turns out they do scenes as well.  I did enjoy it all but I enjoyed the songs most – but my history with comedy started with an act that did musical comedy and it’s always been something I love.

Sometimes after I go to comedy my Dad will ask afterwards “what sort of things did they do jokes about?” I’m sort of hoping he doesn’t do that next time I see him. Because as awesome as it was (and it was) I’m not quite sure that it is explainable. They took suggestions for a job, a type of person, and a famous person and ended up singing a song which if they gave it a title would probably be “Gordon’s Wank Shop.” And that was just the first part of the show!

Absolutely hilarious, laugh so hard I almost choked (because it seems I still haven’t quite thrown off my cough – I thought I had until I started laughing that much).  But I’m pretty sure you had to be there.  I’m definitely putting this group on the list to see again if they ever come back.

An Evening in the Pub

I wasn’t going to blog about this but one of the others on my journalism course suggested I should.

Earlier this week a bunch of us from CAB went to a pub in a nearby town to eat.  It was our post Christmas, Christmas social (we always have it in January).  It’s not a town or pub I know. But based on what I’d heard of the access I didn’t have alarm bells ringing

Then we got to the pub and as my colleague drove past the main entrance and into the car park I could see it had a step. I didn’t know about that step.

Across the dark car park we go. I’m hoping I’m not about to wheel into a pothole I can’t see and tip myself out – the downside of the manual is it tips so much easier than the powerchair. And we try to go along to the back entrance. But the path in the beergarden is narrower than my chair and so my wheels are sinking in the mud where it’s been so wet. I can’t wheel myself through it and nor can anyone else.

Round to the front to look at that door. It’s not happening. Two inch step and a then a tight right angle turn to go through another, narrower door that no one thinks my chair will fit through even if we could get me up the step.

I’m beginning to think I’ll be ringing my Dad to come get me. I don’t know that I’m going to get into this pub.  But then a staff member appears and she suggests getting me in through the kitchen.  It wasn’t level and I needed help to bump up and over the lip and negotiate the tight turns in this old, listed building.

At last, surprisingly, I am in the pub. I greet my colleagues and get a drink.

Then I go to wash my hands because they’re muddy from the attempts at crossing the garden. I come back out of the disabled toilet with clean hands but the knowledge that I won’t be buying the “next round” I’d said I would. Because for some reason there’s only one grab rail in there. By the sink. So I’m making my drink last and putting up with my thirst and hoping I don’t need a wee.

I did enjoy the food and it was really nice to see everyone and have a proper chance to chat. I saw several people I’d not seen for ages (possibly not since the last social in the summer in one case) and met someone new who volunteers on different days to me. It was good.

Then it came time to leave. As they were getting me out, a different staff member was helping. He made some comments, I forget what, and I said “I was told you were more accessible than this.” And he told me the problem was that I was using the wrong door. Wheelchairs always use the front door. “But that’s got a two inch step.” says I. He didn’t reply to that but as he moved out of my way and I wheeled towards the car I heard him tell one of the others that they might look into getting a ramp.

The person who organised our meal emailed me a couple of days later to say she’d sent the pub a message to thank them for our lovely evening. She copied part of the managers reply (who might have been the person who helped my out, I’m not sure) and he apologised for the difficulty in getting “the wheelchair” in and said they are going to look into what they can do to make the front door better accessible within the limits of how old the building is and it’s listed status.

That’s brilliant. I’m pleased that they saw my difficulties and say they are going to try to resolve them.  I’m even more pleased that it didn’t take me writing a letter or making a complaint afterwards to do that.  I won’t go back but it’s nice to think that maybe, just maybe, another wheelchair user who comes after me won’t have so much faff and struggle.

But I really would love for someone to explain to me just how people forget to mention (or don’t even notice) the bloody great step to go in.  Because sadly places do that all the time. And I just don’t get it.