2016,  powerchair,  trains,  travel,  Uncategorized

Have Powerchair, Will Travel

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!


  • Fran Macilvey

    Dear Emma

    I feel a bit ….put out for you, that every time you have to think of doing something outside your usual routine, the main deciding factor appears to be – can I manage the logistics? It is the same for me, but nowadays, I tend to decide first to do something and then work out the logistics.

    If you know someone who is going, can you go together? Car share? Hire a local minicab at a special rate? Go with a friend? I’m sure you’ve thought of all these, but still. I hope you go, and enjoy your time.

    Lots of hugs!


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