“Special Needs”

Language around disability is a really tricky thing. Some terms are acceptable to some people and completely unacceptable to others. Some are fine for disabled people to use amongst themselves or to refer to themselves but problematic when used by strangers.  And there are times when disabled people argue amongst themselves about the terms.  People first language and identity first language are two of the biggest culprit’s there.

One term that I’ve been saying I don’t like and arguing against for the last few years is “special needs”  I can explain why I don’t like it but it’s something I find others always agree with although some people do come to see my point after I explain even if they don’t agree with me.  Basically as a disability specific term it makes no sense.

For the last few days I’ve been reading The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime by Mark Haddon.  I finished it this evening and it’s safe to say it’s one I’ll be thinking about for a fair while.  The main character is Christopher, a teenager with Asperger’s Syndrome.  I’m not qualified to comment on his portrayal – I liked him as a character but I’ve heard and read various things from people who are on the autistic spectrum that it’s quite problematic. Which unfortunately isn’t that unusual when a disabled character is in a book.

But that’s not what I wanted to blog about.

There’s a moment in the book when Christopher is talking (as narrator) about the term “special needs” and it basically sums up what I’ve been saying about why I don’t like the term. It was a big “yes!” moment of validation for me. So instead of explaining my dislike I wanted to share the quote. It’s one of those that if I was sharing a link to it on twitter I’d probably just caption it “this.”

“All the other children at my school are stupid. Except I’m not meant to call them stupid, even though this is what they are.  I’m meant to say that they have learning difficulties or that they have special needs. But this is stupid because everyone has learning difficulties because learning to speak French or understanding Relativity is difficult, and also everyone has special needs, like Father who has to carry a little packet of artificial sweetening tablets around with him to put in his coffee to stop him getting fat, or Mrs Peters who wears a beige-coloured hearing aid, or Siobhan who wears glasses so thick they give you a headache if you borrow them, and none of these people are Special Needs, even if they have special needs.”

– From The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon (chapter 71, page 56)

You Know You’re a Knitter When…

…you spend a long time being ranty about the difference between knitting and crochet.

I was sent a review copy of The A to Z of You and Me by James Hannah.  It’s being released today (12th March) and it was a good read with an interesting style that felt different and refreshing.  I don’t want to say I enjoyed it because it was a tricky subject matter and whilst not upsetting it wasn’t particularly comfortable.  It did make me think and was skillfully done which avoided it being an upsetting book.  Plus it managed to surprise me unexpectedly at the end.  I have seen other reviews saying it made people cry but frankly I’m not a big crier at books.

When I was sent the book I was told that a key part of the plot involves a blanket that’s been made for the main character.  And as a part of the publicity for this I was sent a learn to knit kit (I knew how to knit already though) to make a square and send it back.  The idea being that people would read the book, review it and knit a square then send them back to the publishers.  The squares would be made into a blanket and the blanket would go on the book tour.  Or something. I made a square and sent it off but I’m not sure what’s happening with that.

So anyway I was on the train yesterday on the way to go collect my new glasses.  And I’m reading the A to Z of You and Me.  I’m liking it but I’m very aware that having just reading the amazing Letters to the Lost as good as The A to Z of You and Me is (and it is) it’s a pale comparison.  If I’d read it first I may well have been a bit more wow about it.

Then I got to a bit where someone is crocheting and I’m thinking “hmm crochet?” and a bit confused because knitting had been mentioned to me. But I figured well, maybe she does both (I do after all).

Then a bit later the blanket is introduced.  And it sounds like an absolutely amazing blanket.  The sort of thing that (if it were real) I’d not have the patience to make, let alone the skill.  Although to be completely honest my lack of patience is a big part of why I lack skills.

But this amazing blanket is actually crocheted. And I swear at that point I had to stop reading for a few minutes and be ranty in my head about knitting versus crochet.  I thought it several other times too.  I found The A to Z of You and Me to be quite a fast read because of it’s style which broke it down into small (letter based) chunks.  It probably would have been a quicker read if I’d not for my knitting versus crochet rantiness.

That’s not to say that it ruined the book because it didn’t.  Or that it’s not worth reading because it is.

My point basically is it’s a good book but in a unrelated tangent that; seems unexpectedly to be very important to the crafter to me, crochet and knitting are different things.  And after seeing yarn bombing moments in the book I’m sort of tempted to do some of that but I don’t think I have the nerve.

Perfect by Rachel Joyce

I received a review copy of Perfect by Rachel Joyce via NetGalley. I’m not compensated for this review beyond my free copy and this review is in no way influenced by the fact I was asked to write it.

Here is the synopsis:

In 1972, two seconds were added to time. It was in order to balance clock time with the movement of the earth. Byron Hemming knows this because James Lowe has told him and James is the cleverest boy at school. But how can time change? The steady movement of hands around a clock is as certain as their golden futures.

Then Byron’s mother, late for the school run, makes a devastating mistake. Byron’s perfect world is shattered. Were those two extra seconds to blame? Can what follows ever be set righ

OK so first I must admit that I thought the two second thing was a fictional joke and at the end of the book would turn out not to be true. It turns out however it’s real and since 1972 when they were first added 25 leap seconds have been added to our clocks. You can read more about that here. But my mind? Officially blown.

This is the first review I’ve written in a long time where I’m not quite sure what to say.  All the way through reading this book I was really liking it and thinking how good and powerful it was. This is Rachel Joyce’s second book.  Her first is The Unlikely Pilgramage of Harold Fry.  I’ve not read that and as I was reading Perfect I kept thinking “I need to read her other book really soon.” and wondering if I was right in thinking my Mum has read it (answer: I don’t know, I kept forgetting to ask her).

Mental health issues play a huge role in the plot and whilst the ones covered aren’t similar to my own struggles with depression and anxiety I did think they were realistic and I could relate to some of what the characters were going through.  For at least one of the characters in the book their mental health was very disabling and their experiences of being “different” don’t match mine in that my own disabilities are physical but bits rang a bell.  I must say that the need for disabled characters in books who are realistic, not the stereotypical object of pity, inspiration or the hero or villian is something I truly believe I need and something I’ve blogged about a few times before (probably more than a few times come to think of it).  There do seem to be a lot more books out there nowadays that not only attempt this but manage to do it and do it very well.  And I’m really, really pleased about that.  But it seems to me that the focus is solely on either autism or mental health problems.  Both are important conditions  and both should be included in fiction and films and the media because it does help to show that disability is just a normal thing that happens and doesn’t need to be hidden away or feared or pitied or whatever.  But I do wonder where they physically disabled characters are?  Where are the people like me?

When I got to the end of the book there was a big twist as there often is in a book.  I didn’t guess it and in fact I’m relatively confident in saying it’s so obscure I doubt anyone could.  I felt a bit put out by that twist though because it didn’t seem to do anything… and I’m not sure I understood what the point of it was.  So it’s a bit disappointing and has left me wondering if the message I want to give in this review is “this is a good book that I liked” or “the ending was so confusing I don’t think it’s worth reading.”  And I’m not sure if I do still want to read Harold Fry either because the internet rumour has it there’s a similar WTF twist in that.

Thirteen Authors I’d Like to Read More by in 2014

I love to read. I love new books and new authors but I also love to return to old favourites either new books by authors I’ve enjoyed before or rereading books I’ve read before.

I also love reading blogs and am partial to taking part in the occasional blog meme. So we have the first in what I hope to make a regular series. I’m calling it A Bookish Thursday Thirteen. This is thirteen authors I’d like to read more of this year. It’s in no order other than how they came to mind.

Holly Smale – Geek Girl and Model Misfit were two of the best books I read in 2013.
Haruki Murakami – his books are brilliant. Usually weird and in places hard going, they mess with your mind and make me think but are enjoyable.
Charles Dickens – because I feel like the classics are an area of my reading I neglected in 2013 and I’ve not really read any Dickens
Peter David – he basically writes the best Star Trek books
Elinor M Brent-Dyer – she wrote my childhood favourite series, The Chalet School. I still haven’t read some of her obscure works and I’d like to reread some of the chalet school too
Diane Chamberlain – I didn’t read a single thing by her in 2013 which is strange because she’s one of my favourite authors. I’ll have to rectify that because I just bought several of her books in the 12 days of Kindle sale.
John Green – I’m torn here. I read five of his six books in 2013. And I loved them. I’ve got the only one I haven’t read and I really, really want to read it. But at the same time I don’t because I don’t want to have read all of his books.
Roald Dahl – I’ve read pretty much all of his children’s books (I’ve not read Henry Sugar I think and I suspect I’ve missed others) but having discovered he wrote for adults too I’d like to try one and see how it differs.
Marina Lewycka – this is probably a sign of how behind the times I am but on Christmas Day I borrowed A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian. I blew through it before I returned to my parents house for Boxing Day lunch less than 14 hours later. Plus mum has some of her others so I can borrow them which is a win.
Sarah Addison Allen – I’ve read and loved all of her books. I’m not sure if she’s got any more coming but she’s the one I’ve been keeping the closest track of (shed be tied with John Green but frankly if he had another book out half of twitter would scream with joy so I’ve no need to obsess there)
Lisa Genova – because both of the books of hers I’ve read has been unputdownable
John Steinbeck – several years ago an acquaintance lent me Tortilla Flat. I liked and read some of the others of his which were on the 1001 books to read before you die list. I liked several of those more and ended up on a John Steinbeck kick. I’ve not read any by him for a few years, I think I’d like to see what I’ve missed (I hear East of Eden is brilliant)
Ali Harris – because a girl needs her chick lit. And she writes some of the best I’ve read.

>A quick note… #100daysofwriting #fiction #amwriting #ukwriters

>I just lost all the stuff I rote to go before todays piece. Not sure what happened but luckily I have today’s piece still. Pretend like there’s a blurb here about the fact I was reading something in email format and that this was meant to be quick but really took off and was very enjoyable to write.

Also: I’ve just noticed that my blog is now appearing on a .co.uk blogger domain. Weird. Not sure what that’s about and not sure I like it.

Anyway.

A quick note…

[# start a new message below this line #]

Dear you,

Hey, how’s you? I’m just taking a break from the grind of daily life here on Jupiter and thought I’d send you a quick email to see what things are like back there on Neptune.

Jupiter isn’t what I expected it to be. The landscape is much less red than I’d anticipated, I had to stop the kids taking their crayons and colouring everything red. I was all disapproving of course, you have to be don’t you? But secretly I agreed with them. It’s disappointing when things aren’t like the brochure. So far I’ve resisted the urge to steal the kids crayons though. I make no promises if things continue like this though. It’s strange Earth is called the blue and green marble isn’t it but the landscape isn’t like that and that didn’t bother me when we went to visit but it bothers me that things aren’t red here on Jupiter. Then again red has always been my favourite colour.

Did I tell that we decided to take a detour and visit Earth on the way here? None of us had been before and him indoors was very keen that we go and do the pilgrimage think, see where the species originated that sort of thing.

It was all a little bit ridiculous looking for our ancestors when even as far back as his great grandparents none of his family was even born on Earth. I did enjoy it but it wasn’t as amazing as people make it out to be. I didn’t experience any amazing connection to the place or great sense of being back where I belong. Him indoors tried to pretend he did but later admitted in a pit of despair that he hadn’t. He’s been a bit down ever since. Still the kids had a great time.

Well, I’ve nearly finished drinking my Tycho Tea (the real thing is so much better than that imported crap we used to drink on Neptune, they just don’t compare. I think even you would like it) and I need to get back out to the gas plant. Considering this whole planet is a gas giant you wouldn’t expect so many people to have to work at getting gas we can use to power the place but we do. Practically everyone on the colony over the age of 9 is expected to put several hours in each week on top of whatever other job or responsibilities they have. I was really angry when I found that out – yet another thing they don’t tell you in the brochure. But actually it’s not hard work and I quite enjoy it.

Right, my neighbour, Athena is at the door waiting to walk over to the gas plant together so I really had better go.

Much love to you and yours
From
Me xxxxx
(and mine) xxxx

P.s. this really was meant to be an extra short note to basically say hi. Looks like yet again I’ve failed at that. Strange that at school my robot teachers were always complaining that I never wrote in enough depth but in the emails I couldn’t be concise to save my life. Thank God we get free cross solar system emails for volunteering to come here. I dread to think what this would cost to send. Oops, there I go again wittering on. Athena is getting impatient waiting for me. Hope I haven’t bored you too much. I really am going to press send …. Now

[# your message has been successfully sent to you@natteringonneptune.sol #]

[# start a new message #]

Dear Me,

Thank you for your quick(!) note. It was lovely to hear from you. Here is my actual quick note in return.

We are all well. I’d say we are missing you but really we are enjoying the quiet! Ok joking aside its weird without you here and we can’t wait to visit! (they don’t make visitors work in the gas plants do they?! Might have to have a rethink if they do.)

Neptune is boring as always but we did have snow the other day.

Love,
You xx

P.s. for future reference this is what a short or quick note should look like!

[# your message has been sent to me@jauntingonjupiter.sol #]

>Rattle #100daysofwriting #amwriting

>Written on a just under 15 minute train trip home after an afternoon of food and chat with the girls in Oxford. First time I’d seen two of the three since December. Fun times.

Rattle

I’ve got a right rattle going on he said

What sort of a rattle she asked

A chesty one

Oh you can buy chesty rattles then can you? I didn’t know that. I’ll have to look out for one.

You’re going to look out for one?

Yeah, of course I am, I’d love to have one.

Um… What?!

I would. Seriously. Sounds like it could be a lot of fun.

Fun?!?! He fumed. Fun?! It’s not fun. It’s horrible. I hate it. I wish I could get rid of it.

Oh so maybe you could sell it to me?

Would that I could. I could definitely use the money.

I’m working on this new piece you see and I think a rattle might be just what it needs to finish it off. She mused thanks for that I’d been completely stuck for, like, actual days on what was wrong with. A nice deep chesty rattle could be just the thing.

She looked over at her companion expectantly but he simply held up a hand signalling her to wait. He couldn’t speak just then as he was in the middle of a really bad coughing fit.
As she listened to him cough and struggle for breath, realisation dawned

Oh shit. She exclaimed. I’m an idiot aren’t I? You weren’t talking about a rattle as in an instrument but a rattle as in a bad cough. Oh. I’m so embarrassed.

Don’t worry about it he said smiling at her.

Suddenly she started laughing at herself. Her companion joined in and they laughed and laughed. Until the laughter made him cough again.

♥ Emma

>A Chest of Drawers

>I seem to have gotten my fiction writing mojo back, yay! I’m very pleased :-). I’m less pleased about the fact I seem to have lost my reading mojo but, well, you can’t have it all.

Something else I’m pleased with is this piece. I started off wanting to work more on description, particularly of a setting. I’d also been thinking about an analogy I used a while ago to describe what the spasticity in my quads is like at the very worst times. This seemed to take on a life of its own as I wrote but for better or worse is the end result. It needs a better title!

Day 44 of 100 days of writing

A Chest of Drawers

Over in a dark corner of a nondescript hall there stood a set of drawers. The drawers were dusty and had a neglected air about them. That was unsurprising for as busy as that house was with people continually going in and out, here there and everywhere, it was weeks since anyone had ventured into that corner.

The drawers weren’t particularly special – cane drawers that appeared woven. Darker than the word cane would lead you to believe with a black metal frame. The unit is tall, reaching almost to the ceiling, with the option to add an extension on to give more storage. Nobody knows who bought the set, as far as anyone can remember its always been there. But whoever they were they must have been optimistic on the day they bought it as the extension found its way into their trolley. Half hidden in pieces underneath the unit it lies, never to be used.

The drawers themselves are very deep. It’s difficult to see everything they contain without taking them out completely. And once you done that, finding what you wanted and several other lost things if you’re lucky, it’s even more difficult to put the drawer back in place. It’s not unusual for there to be a gap in the unit for months, waiting for someone with the patience to make the multiple attempts needed to get it back in place.

Nothing special was kept in these drawers. They held the things people had forgotten about. Broken things they claimed they’d fix “soon” but never would. The “it might come in useful someday” items and those in the “it was too good an offer to pass up, I’m sure I’ll find a use” category. Unloved, unwanted and unnecessary things.

Most of the drawers were unique in contents. Continue a mix of things you’d be unlikely to find in any other house across the land.

Except one.

The one that had pride of place. Place most often being the floor.

This was the drawer that appears in some way, shape or form in every house. It’s the mess of wires. Old phone chargers, one for a camera and an unidentifiable USB cable. A laptop charger or two and – wait a minute – is that the electric hook up from that caravan we got rid of ten years ago? Controllers from a games console believed long gone and some headphones (broken of course) complete the mess.

It’s impossible to count just how many leads are in that drawer. A veritable haven for old cables keeping them safe from the dreaded landfill. And a walk through the history of electrical goods for anyone taking the time to look through it properly. Which no one ever did, instead just tearing through it quickly looking for whatever needed before giving up in frustration.

The wires and cables have become a living, growing being you see. All wrapped round each other and tangled together. The older ones watching over the new and those that still worked guarding the fragile and broken ones.

If someone hunting through the drawer grabbed something and pulled hoping to find a way of unravelling the tangle they’d find it impossible. Pulling just caused them to tighten up even more and made more of a mess. Finding an actual end was a bit of a mission within itself. And even if a searcher did find an end it rarely did any good.

everyone who searched would end up frustrated and empty handed. This was a drawer who meant business. The cables, leads and wires were a family. And they were happy where they were. In a dusty chest of drawers in a neglected corner of an otherwise busy house.

They remained in that drawer for over forty years periodically welcoming new members. No one could ever separate them,

♥ Emma

>Unreasonable Adjustments

>I wrote a while ago about entering some creative writing competitions.  I heard yesterday that I didn’t win the last of them.  Which I’m totally fine with, I didn’t expect that.  I did pay extra for a critique and whilst a little hard to read it is very useful.  I do agree with a lot of what the critique says although this remains a piece I am proud of.  I thought I would share it below.  As yet I haven’t made any changes. Feedback is welcome

Unreasonable Adjustments
“You have the run of my home”  said Lady Howlett ending her welcoming speech and sweeping gracefully from the room.
The run of this house? If only.  Claire thought.
The idea of spending a night in a haunted house and winning £1,000,000 for doing so had seemed a great one.  An easy way to make a lot of money and probably have a laugh as she did so.  The night had barely begun and already it seemed there was a problem.
They’d known when she applied that she was a wheelchair user.  She’d been assured that there was access.  Even when she’d asked pointed questions about ramps and whether she’d be able to get her wheelchair into the disabled loo, they’d stuck to their vow that they could accommodate her. 
All she needed to worry about, they told her, was whether she really could spend the night in a certified haunted house.  The fact that they made such a big deal of it being “certified” had amused her.  How did they get it certified?  Claire didn’t believe in ghosts and she’d hoped to prove they didn’t exist.  The people who certified it as haunted weren’t trustworthy.  It wasn’t as if the council had rules and regulations (no less than two sightings a week, for a year) and an official haunted house inspector who had to sign off on these things.  She’d thought it would be easy.
Claire hadn’t been surprised that the access wasn’t exactly as she expected.  It rarely was.  However, this was something she hadn’t encountered before – surprising given she’d been in the chair for 42 years and thought she’d seen it all.
The gravel entrance hadn’t phased her, nor had the steps.  Ramped access is often around the back, by the bins, or otherwise out of sight.  So she’d waited. 
Angelo had returned about half an hour later and with the help of another silently hulking man had carried her up the steps into the house.  She’d protested that a lot as there’s nothing worse then being in somewhere you can’t get out of and knowing you’re trapped.  Her words had been ignored and she’d been taken against her will into the house.
There she was, apparently, she had the run of the house, but in truth, she probably didn’t.  It looked as though she wouldn’t be able to get out of the room she was in without help.  Everyone else in the room was milling around looking at the windows and heading towards the door.  They were all ignoring everyone else as well.  This was going to be a long evening.  A boring evening it seemed.  Just one hour later Claire realised just how wrong she’d been.
****
First, she’d decided to have a good look around the room they were in.  It was a big room with lots of art on the walls so that took a good 15 minutes.  She was one of two people left in the room at that time – the other person was steadfastly ignoring her so she simply did the same.  That was unlike her; she was an extrovert and found it very hard to shut up.  Something told her however that this wasn’t the place to go making friends and being nice, it wouldn’t go down very well with the other contestants.  Getting out of that room proved easier than she expected.  The step she thought she’d seen turned out to be nothing.  Strange, but she accepted it.  It wouldn’t be until later that she realised just how strange that was.
Then Claire had figured that seeing as she was going to be there all night she’d go find out where the loo is.  It’s always worth doing these things ahead of time.  Particularly when you need a disabled loo – don’t want to be discovering that it’s locked and no one knows where the key is when you’re absolutely bursting for a wee. 
She didn’t expect that this was the sort of place where it would people would be having sex in it if it wasn’t locked (why was that, was there some sort of weird places to have sex scorecard doing the rounds? 50 points for a disabled loo!) but you never know.
That was the first sign that the steps weren’t the only problem she was to face that day.  She never found the loo. 
She spent thirty minutes looking for it.  To be fair, it wouldn’t have taken that long to search all the places she did but she kept getting distracted.  Firstly, by all the art and other things she spotted.  Lady Howlett had some really unusual – and unexpected – items in her home.  And secondly by a really strange feeling.  It was creepy – a cold sort of tickly sensation crawling up her back and making her hair stand on end.  She shook it off – she had to, she didn’t believe in ghosts!  There would be an explanation she knew, she just needed to find it.  But first to find the loo.
At the end of the thirty minutes, she came across Angelo standing silently at attention in the hall.  Claire wasn’t sure why he was stood in that particular spot in front of a blank piece of wall (she was later to realise, the only blank piece of wall she saw in the entire house).  Wandering over she spoke to him
“Hi Angelo.  It is Angelo, isn’t it?”  He didn’t answer, didn’t even blink.  Unnerved she continued “Um, well, anyway.  I was wondering if you could tell me where the disabled loo is?  I’ve been looking for a while and I’ve been everywhere I can see.  But I can’t find it.”
Angelo shrugged as though he didn’t care.  It was a strange sight and it infuriated Claire.
“Maybe you could go find out where it is if you don’t know?” she asked, she’d experienced this lack of knowledge from staff members before – too many times to count.  “Only I know there is one because I asked before I came.  The person I spoke to told me there was one and I’d be fine.”
Angelo stared at her for a full minute.  Just when Claire was beginning to think this was useless he suddenly moved his left arm and pointed.  He didn’t say a word and after waiting briefly to see if there was more to come Claire simply turned and started going in the direction he pointed. 
She was very confused and more than a little angry not least because he had pointed back the way she came where there definitely wasn’t a disabled loo.  It seemed she had no choice but to do that. 
A few minutes later she was beginning to calm down and she suddenly realised that she’d come further than she had before.  In fact there hadn’t been enough building to go this far before.
Claire didn’t believe in ghosts.  She really didn’t.  But she was beginning to get a little bit freaked out by all of this.
Suddenly a little bit ahead she spotted that familiar sign that signifies disabled parking and disabled loos worldwide.  The little guy in the wheelchair with his arms out in front like a zombie.  She was pleased she’d started looking for the loo when she had because now she really was heading towards the desperate stage of things.
Opening the door, Claire couldn’t see any of the usual items you’d expect in a disabled loo.  No bins or grab rails.  And, no loo.  She figured that maybe it was a bit further on so she went in.  The door slammed behind her ominously. 
Wheeling back and then back further Claire was astounded by how far she’d come.  She’d been able to see that this was a big room but hadn’t expected something as big as this.
All of a sudden, Claire felt a weird buzzing sensation surround her.  Her vision went fuzzy with lines all across it.  That lasted about two, three minutes (although it felt a lot longer).  Her ears will filled with a loud ringing sound something like church bells.  The result was that Claire was very disorientated.  As quickly as it had started, the sensation finished.  Claire shook her head to clear the residual feeling.  And realised that somehow, unexpectedly, she was back outside the house on the gravel driveway where this had all started.
Screw scared of the ghosts, Claire was scared by what had just happened.  And more than a little pissed off.  She shouted and shouted for help, shouting herself hoarse in the process.  But no one came.
Claire waited all night.  It wasn’t until just after dawn that anyone came.  Angelo turned up at that point along with his hulking companion.  They carried her, protesting, back up the steps into the house and deposited her in front of Lady Howlett.
“Well, Claire, yet another failure to spend the night in my house.  I am disappointed.  No million for you.”
She explained to Lady Howlett that this wasn’t fair, she hadn’t wanted to leave the house, she’d just wanted to go for a wee.  
Lady Howlett made no response to Claire.  She just turned to the two men waiting and said
“Get this waste of space out of my sight.”
They picked her up and carried her from the room once more.
****
Lady Howlett had expected that to be the last she heard from Claire.  After all, she’d never had anybody come back at her for failing to win the million before.  She’d also never had a mouthy, independent wheelchair user as one of her contestants before.
Claire, however, believed in complaining.  Spending most of her life in a wheelchair had taught her that you often were treated badly for being different and that you were just expected to “put up and shut up.”  The way she’d been treated by Lady Howlett and her staff was appalling.  If she didn’t do something about it, some other wheelchair user was going to have the same horrific experience at some point in the future.
First, she’d tried writing a letter, and then a second when the first was ignored.  Unfortunately, that didn’t get a reply either.  Unfortunately for Lady Howlett, that is.
Claire’s next step had been to speak to the Equality and Human Rights Commission.  They’d been shocked to here of what had happened and had helped her to put in a case for disability discrimination.
Seven months after that, the case came to court.  Neither Lady Howlett nor Angelo appeared to dispute the charges.  That resulted in Claire automatically winning her case, which the tribunal described as “one of the worst cases of disability discrimination in years”
Claire learned that it really is worth making a stand when you need to.  She won £2.1 Million pounds for the discrimination and because she lost the chance to win the original £1 Million prize. 
As for Lady Howlett?  She never held another of her “Haunted House Nights” nor was she ever heard from again.  Claire liked to think that was because she’d learned the lesson of treating people with respect, and that you should, always, always make reasonable adjustments to accommodate people who are disabled.  Truthfully, however, she’ll never know.