Matilda!

Earlier this week I went to London, had a wander round by myself (getting slightly lost) and then met up with friends (including a very excited almost 7 year old) and we went to a matinee of Matilda the Musical.

It was fab.  I did expect it to be funnier than it was – I had high expectations for that because Tim Minchin who is a musical comedian (and one of my favourites) wrote the lyrics. But when I thought about it afterwards he’s known for clever humour. And this was certainly fully of clever lyrics with humour woven in.  I would much rather have that than it be full of cheap humour.

The staging and the effects were brilliant and the songs catchy and fab. I’ve downloaded the soundtrack and been listening to it a lot since I got home.  It’s a couple of years since I’ve seen a musical and wanted the soundtrack (although to be fair the last musical I saw was Mamma Mia and I already had the film soundtrack or I’d have got that) The cast, especially the kids were spot on.  It just worked really well which given that three of the last nine or so musicals and the last play I’ve seen have been disappointing was brilliant.

I would highly recommend going to see the show and it’s definitely going on my list of shows to see again if it tours.

Readathon October 2016

Morning, morning

Feels like forever since I’ve updated my blog. I keep starting posts but then changing my mind or not having time to finish it. I have two versions of the same post in drafts, neither likely to ever see the light of day.  Mostly it’s been a stressful few weeks and I’ve been trying not to whinge too much on my blog as at least one of the people who have caused that stress sometimes reads my blog.  I have been whinging a lot on the phone to certain friends and also on twitter though.

I’ve also started a new 101 in 1001 list (I think I may have already mentioned that but I’ve decided not to post the full list online).  This time round I still have the big major wow goals but I also seem to have included substantially more lower key or even self-care goals.  One of the goals I’ve got on there is to dedicate one day a month to reading for a year.  As today is Dewey’s 24 Hour Readathon (it starts at 1 my time I think) I thought today would be a good day to start that goal.

I’m still not reading anywhere near as much as I used to or I’d like to be but since the beginning of the month I have listened to two audiobooks so that’s good.  I really enjoyed them too.

I will be back later to update throughout the day with my readathon progress but for now why not go over to the readathon site and read the warm up post I wrote – Tips for When You’re Down and Out.

Update 14:18 The readathon is just over an hour old and I’ve listened to an hour of my audiobook – The Last Summer by Judith Kinghorn.  I’m enjoying it so far, it’s about a girl from a rich family who falls in love with the son of one of the servants and is set just before the start of World War One. The premise seemed a little cliche but actually it’s anything but and I’m glad I chose it.  It sort of puts me in mind of Downton Abbey but has much less to do with the actual servants.

Time for a break for lunch now.

Update 16:01 Three hours into the readathon and I’ve listened to another 35 minutes of my audiobook. I’m still enjoying it and I’m pleased because I’ve nearly hit my audiobook goal for the day (I wanted to try and listen for at least two hours) but I think I’ll leave it for a while now.  A quick break to sort some washing out and then if you need me I’ll be curled up under a blanket with a glass of cranberry juice and my kindle.

Update 19:54 After I wrote my last update I took my kindle and went to bed to read. But I only managed to read about 5% of Star Trek Prey: Hell’s Heart by John Jackson Miller before my tiredness over took me and I drifted off for an hour or so. Shouldn’t have gone to bed! I listened to a bit more audiobook after I got back up and I’m up to 1 hour 50 minutes of listening.  I was getting pretty disheartened at that point about my progress as I had little motivation for actual reading and beginnning to think I’d make this an audiobook only readathon but decided to put the dinner on and pick up Matilda by Roald Dahl (preparation for going to see the musical this week).  I ended up reading that cover to cover in a stupidly quick timeand loving it.  I was a bit surprised by how much I’d forgotten and rereading it I can see why one of my friends really doesn’t like Roald Dahl’s books.

I’m taking a break to eat and I’m not sure what’s next. I might reread The BFG, I might read more of the Star Trek book I started or I might pick something else up.  I’ll definitely listen to at least a little more of The Last Summer so I can hit that 2 hour goal.

Update 23:05 I hit my 2 hour goal for listening to an audiobook – in fact I’ve now listened to 2 hours 30 minutes. That’s probably it for audiobooks. I may put it on when I’m in bed but it depends how soon I go to bed and how tired I am.  And then I read all of Comfort and Joy by Cathy Bramley which is a Christmas e-novella in her Plumberry School of Comfort Food universe. I liked going back to Plumberry and I hope she writes more with those characters.  According to amazon that has 120 pages.  I put some Christmas music on in the background while reading that and had myself an Archers too. It was a lovely way to spend an hour or so.

Update Sunday 10:58 am Usually when I wake up before 9 on a weekend I try to go back to sleep (especially when I didn’t go to bed until gone 1) but I woke at 8:20 and stayed awake. Since then I’ve listened to 38 minutes of The Last Summer audiobook(or another 3 chapters) and read another 16% of Prey. I’ve read 21% of that now.  It’s worth noting that I listen to my audiobooks at either 1.25 or 1.5 speed so I’ve listened to more of the story that the hours I’ve listened for)

I know there are two hours left of the readathon but I think I’m done because I want to go out.  Later I want to do some crafts so I’ll probably put the audiobook on in the background and I anticipate finishing Prey.

Stats:

3 hours 08 minutes of audiobook

2 books 350 pages

1 partial book – 21%

So Take Me As I Am

(title is a lyric from the Meredith Brooks song Bitch)

A couple of weeks ago I was asked how I’d enjoyed a show I went to by a member of staff there who I know. I had enjoyed it but there had been one thing that had happened – which was tangentally access related – that had really irritated me.  It was totally inconsequential and unlikely to be repeated but it had had an impact on my enjoyment and they asked so… I said “If I could just make one slightly bitchy point….”

More recently than that I discovered that the actions of someone else have left me with a huge mess to sort out. I feel more than a little screwed over and beyond frustrated as I did everything I was supposed to do but the person who was supposed to do the next part didn’t and because they didn’t do it at the correct time they now can’t.  And I’m the one who will lose out if it’s not done so I need to do it.  Their failure makes me look bad.

I was ranting to a good friend about that and I said “I know that this is really bitchy but I hope X happens because of this”

She stopped me and said “that’s not bitchy at all.” and made some other comments about thinking I’m acting like a bitch when I’m not.

I say stuff like that all the time when I complain or raise issues.  Phrases like “I don’t mean to be a bitch but…” cross my lips all too frequently.  And really they shouldn’t.

Complaining or raising issues in a constructive or fair way is nothing to be ashamed of. It’s only right and I’m sure that if able-bodied people had to deal with half the crap I have to they wouldn’t be half as calm and dismissive of it as I can be.  Recently a few things have happened which have made me realise just how abnormal my version or normal really is.

A third issue – one of disabled toilet accessibility – reared it’s ugly head. I really thought all the able-bodied people around me were blowing it out of proportion.  It was just one of those things. It happens and it’s irritating as hell and it really shouldn’t but what can you do?!  There were a couple of ways I could work around it and I’d almost never go there again anyway as I was unlikely to have a reason to.  I knew I should complain about the issue and have something done but it happens a lot of places and I was in the middle of dealing with the second incident I mentioned above and just didn’t have it in me to do anything about it.

When one of the people running the event (not the venue) asked me about it I did tell her about it. I told her it both was and wasn’t an issue and had to stop myself talking it down. I don’t think I did a good job of that. And one of the things I told her about was how I worry that people will think I’m alway moaning or never happy.  That I’ve heard those phrases along with “ungrateful” and “argumentative” many times and “you have to understand we’re doing our best” and “we don’t really get many wheelchair users” are among the stock excuses.  It grinds you down.  I wonder, sometimes, if part of the way I so often almost apologise for my complaints or put myself down by phrase it as “being a bitch but” is because subconsciously I think that’s the only way I’ll be taken seriously.  I think the person I was talking to go it and she reassured me they don’t think that about me.

Only.

Later in the session another member of staff wanted to ask me about it. Fine. They wanted to know – was there actually a problem or was the problem that I have a new wheelchair and I’m not used to it yet?  I took her and showed her how it wasn’t big enough for my chair and she got it. But talk about proving my point!

I wish that was my only example of that sort of thing from recently.

It’s not – last Sunday a well known pizza chain refused to serve me because they had a booking for a short time later that they’d chosen to book all of their (small) downstairs for and they had no lift. They had no desire to come up with a solution (I could see from how they had it laid out that a small rejig could have fitted a table for me and my friend in too) and didn’t even apologise. It was clear that they considered I had the problem not them.  And a request I made early this week to another organisation for an explanation why something had happened resulted in my receiving an email Friday that didn’t explain it and basically suggested I should put up and shut up. Again, I was the one with the problem not them.

My friend above who made the comments about thinking I’m being a bitch when I’m not is right, I should stop doing that.  But it’s a bloody hard habit to break when society is desperate not to take me as I am but to blame me for it instead.

Miles on My Tyres

I’ve had my new powerchair for two months now.

I don’t want to write very much as I’m stressed and I’m tired and I don’t want to write a moany post about everything that’s going on.  It’s not been a good week or so in many ways as it’s been stupidly busy and there were some unexpected problems both minor and not quite so minor (although it’s not all been bad as amongst all the stress I managed two trips to Oxford to see friends and an evening out at a Jo Caulfield show).

What I did want to make a note of somewhere and my blog is as good a place as any is the fact that as of this evening I’ve done 184 miles in the new powerchair. And a hell of a lot more miles in it if it counted ones done on the train – when I was talking to a couple of my CAB colleagues about it several weeks ago one of them was so shocked by how many miles I’d done that she actually asked if it counted those miles or not.

I did 95 miles in the first month and 89 in the second.  I was really hoping as I was pottering around this evening that it would tick over and be 90 miles for this month but I’m pleased by what I’ve done and achieved this month.

It includes two trips to Reading, two to Oxford and one to London. I  got on the tube when I was in London with no problems too which is great.

Month two also included me calling the wheelchair tech in a panic because my footplate had broken and then calling back an hour later after Mum had managed to fix it.

And unfortunately it also included another “oh shit” moment with the chair.  So I’ve had it two months and I’ve had two of those moments. I’m desperately hoping I don’t end month three at a three for three stage.  That was the day I went to London – at the end of the day when I’d done all the tube and all the stuff I’d been unsure of managed to drive my bloody chair off the side of a ramp coming off the final train of the day. I don’t know 1) How I didn’t fall out of my chair – I ended up balanced partially on and partially off the ramp as luckily I managed to stop with just one wheel off and 2) How they managed to get me back on the ramp – it too a combo of the guy helping me, the train driver and me trying to drive my chair that did it I think.  The next twice I travelled I was met by two people off the train but when I asked if this was a new thing they’d be doing with me due to my near miss they didn’t even know about it.