I travel a lot by train. It mostly works well. There are systems in place to support disabled travellers and as someone who uses them often I know how they work and at my local station and the two I’m at most often I know a lot of the staff who do disability assistance. Trains are easy.
Except when they’re not.
There’s a writing course in a couple of weeks. It’s an all day thing in a country hotel somewhere and someone I know is going. I’d sort of like to go too. I say sort of because I don’t get my hopes up about these things before I suss the accessibility. And this is a no. Not least because the nearest train station is only manned part time. Up until midafternoon.
It’s not the only event I’ve seen mentioned lately that I’ve wondered if I could go to and ruled out (although the other one is possibly doable – it just has somewhat overwhelming logistics.)
So when the possibility of going to a one day workshop came up (not a writing one) I was tempted. Birmingham or London were the choices and I said I didn’t have a preference for which it would depend on various accessibility concerns.
To be honest I didn’t hold much hope. I knew getting to both London and Birmingham is doable but it’s what comes next that’s the problem. So I suspected I’d have to decline.
I got the details of the venue in Birmingham today and thought the name seemed familiar. Then I looked at the directions. It’s five, ten minutes wheel from New Street Station. And it’s somewhere that 10, 11 years ago I went to for a CAB training session (I can’t remember what it was on, maybe debt? I can remember that I read my precourse material on the train there and they’d used Star Trek: The Next Generation character names for their examples in the case study and spelled at least one wrong).
It’s accessible. It’s I know it’s accessible not someone has told me it’s accessible keep your fingers crossed it actually is accessible. I know where it is and how to get there and I won’t have to faff with taxis.
Of course it’s not a guarantee that I’ll get to go there or that if I get there it all works out. Accessibiity doesn’t work like that. But it is one of the reasons why I haven’t, quite yet, had all the optimism and willingness to try travel and going new places stamped out of me.
I’d have a lot more of it if the bookish and writing events I’d like to go to for fun were the ones that turned out like this though!