Project 365 – Week 1

One of my goals for this year is to complete Project 365. One photo a day, everyday, for a year. Or at least to give it a really good go. It’s something I started doing at the beginning of last year but gave up on by the 4th or thereabouts because most of my photos were on my phone which went missing and I lost them all. So this year I’m trying it again.

Here are my first week and photos

the view as i wandered home. blue sky, buildings, cars and the power station in the distance.
Day 1
I took this on my way back from the supermarket. I wanted to take something to show how blue the sky was because it felt like it hadn’t been nice like that for ages. And then I realised that on 1st January 2014 I wouldn’t have that sight. The power station is due to cease generating this year and then be knocked down. A lot of people think it blights the landscape and it probably does BUT it was also an integral part of my childhood. In part because my Dad worked there for many years but also because you can see it for many miles. When we would be coming back from holiday we’d watch out for it and want to be the first to call out “I can see the chimney pots.” The saying was always that we weren’t home until we saw them. It might seem strange but I think I will miss seeing it in the distance.

the control and charger for my powerchair.

Day 2

This is the control and charger lead for my powerchair, whilst my chair was charging. The charger wire are showing a little bit. I took this because I wanted to send it to someone but as I’m writing this I’ve just realised I never did send it. Oops.

a large Christmas tree outside in the dark, lit with blue lights

Day 3

The Christmas tree in town, lit up. Mostly because I didn’t expect it to be there still and it is kinda pretty.

dinner

Day 4
Last night’s dinner. Pancetta and roasted veg (mushrooms, potatoes, carrots and peppers) cooked in olive oil and garlic. Very yummy. I use frozen veg and small new potatoes that don’t need prepping. Plus, pancetta that comes ready cubed and garlic granules. Out of the packet, into the oven tray and onto the plate. Easy.

My TV showing the Fraggle Rock ident on the screen.

Day 5
CITV (children’s ITV) turned 30 this week. To celebrate they’re having an Old Skool weekend and showing programmes that span the whole period – mostly old shows that aren’t on any more or older episodes of current shows (I think). I watched a bit. I didn’t make a particular effort and when I looked back at the listings I missed several of my favourites but it was cool to see stuff like Funhouse again. Fraggle Rock was something I really wanted to see so I took this picture of my TV with the Fraggle Rock ident on the screen. I have to say it was a little disappointing (but I was kinda distracted at that point) but I still freaking love the theme tune!

Inspiration Porn

Tonight is the yearly Children in Need appeal here in the UK. BBC One is taken over by a telethon for about seven hours. The idea is to raise money to help disadvantaged children. So you see video clips of children from other countries walking miles for water, young carers helping their mum or dad and disabled children doing things too. And it’s a given that those children will either look sad or have their story told using emotive language such as “suffers from…” Or “whilst other children are playing little Johnny must…”

Interspersed with those clips are famous people doing silly stuff, frequent updates on how much has been raised and brief mentions of members of the public doing sponsored silences. Locally a lot of schools have had PJ days to raise money. Those can sometimes be funny and a child I was a big fan of Children in Need.

Now? I hate it.

This is what’s known in disability circles as “inspiration porn”

Inspiration porn is something which is designed to highlight the differences disability brings and invoke pity. In some cases this pity is to raise money for charity, in others it’s to encourage people and sometimes it’s designed to make them think. It’s a bit like the ultimate embodiment of the phrase “there’s always someone worse off than you”. I am disabled and therefore, automatically, my life is terrible, I am an object of pity and you have it much better than I do.

The phrase that will be heard a lot on telethons is “can you donate to make a difference to a child like little Johnny” invariably after they’ve just told you how terrible his life is. The inference being that if you can’t you obviously don’t care about him.

It’s the picture doing the rounds on Facebook with the “the only disability in life is a bad attitude.” Attitude is huge. But I can’t put on my Bolshie face, wheel up to the local shop that doesn’t have wheelchair access and stare the step down until it magically turns into a ramp and lets me in. And as much as I do my damnedest not to let my CP stop me that doesn’t make me amazing and I’m sure as hell not inspirational. The idea behind that I believe is that it makes nondisabled people think “if she can do that with all she goes through why am I moaning?” And such like.

Or it’s the advert at the train station which shows a little boy in a wheelchair with the phrase “he wishes he could leave this behind too.” And the details of how to donate to one of the disability charities. Because clearly he’s trapped by his chair. The idea as with all of these is to make you pity him. Only when I saw that poster I was sat in my wheelchair. On the train as it pulled out of the station. Fail.

Disability does make me different to other people. Wearing glasses makes to me different to other disabled people. The fact I like to dye my hair, live alone and am a big NCIS fan makes me different again from other glasses wearing disabled people. It’s a fact of life and a characteristic of me as any other for anyone else in the world.

I knew, growing up, that at least one of the organisations I was involved with had received money from Children in Need (although I don’t think it was ever featured). But I never realised that I was one of those kids. One of the ones who were shown “leaving the confines of their wheelchair behind for an hour once a week whilst they ride a horse.”

I’m glad I didn’t realise. It took me a long time to become the vaguely confident outgoing person I am now. It would have taken longer if I’d grown up with the knowledge that my life meant I was an object of pity who needed charity lives a terrible life and who is held up to others as a reason why they’re lucky. Because obviously the fact I survived being deprived of oxygen at birth at a time when the medical world wasn’t as developed as it is now means I’m terribly unlucky.

More than your charity I want your support. And for me that comes from being treated with respect. From people recognising who I am and my individuality, not making assumptions and letting me be me. That’s going to make more of a difference to more of those “children in need” then all the money donated in it’s entire 30+ year history.

If you want to help people donate direct to organisations and bypass those events that thrive on making people feel bad.

See the girl, see the truth, see the life. Accept me and those like me. I’m here living me life. Like you I’ve only got one shot at it and I don’t have a choice but to do what I do. I’m here to enjoy myself, not to inspire you or be pitied. Open your eyes and say no to inspiration porn.

>Somethings are more important

>I had hoped to update my blog this evening with the news that I had won NaNoWriMo for the third fourth (was sure it would be the third but then after I hit publish I looked on the NaNo site which says otherwise) time.  But that was not to be.

I am so close to winning that it’s pretty much a given that will happen.  Just not today.  I have about 4K left I think.  In all honest it’s a bit of a mess though as I’ve ended up writing bits of both the projects I considered dong for NaNo and a tiny bit of a short story that landed in my brain part way through the month.  Not great but I am very much enjoying the writing.  I hope to continue writing daily because regardless of the quality or whether I do anything with it, I think I’m getting a lot out of it.  Even if I did write so much yesterday that I had to force myself to stop as my fingers ached.

Instead I went to bed last night with the idea that I’d leave the alarm off and sleep until I woke naturally. End result being it was midday before I woke properly and got up.  I did feel a hell of a lot better for it!

Then I popped briefly to the supermarket and since then I’ve been mostly watching Downton Abbey on DVD and knitting.  My DVD player appears to have a problem though as they had a very green tinge to them!

Apart from that I went to my parents house for a lovely lovely roast Lamb dinner with the family.  We watched a film there too.  I forget what it’s called.

I just put the computer on to do more writing but when I logged into Y! Messenger (which I set back to auto log in, something I ought to do with MSN) and now I’m chatting with an old friend who I’ve not spoken to properly in months.  It’s very nice to catch up 🙂 and somethings are much more important then writing 😉

>Brief check in

>I’ve got lots going on and lots to think about and I’m feeling rather frazzled just thinking about how busy next week looks like it’s going to be.  I’m fine but I don’t want to blog about all the stuff I have to think about at the moment (mostly because of one person who might be reading this).  I’ll be back tomorrow with more of an update but for now a few bits:

I liked the new Torchwood but thought it wasn’t dark or sexy enough.  I think I probably need to rewatch Children of Earth however because I felt a bit like I’d missed something…  It’s certainly a very interesting premise and I just hope spacing it over 10 episodes isn’t going to make it drag at all.

And I absolutely loved Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows part 2.  There was a second showing about 40 mins after we came out.  I gave serious consideration to go to grab my prescription as planned then getting a sandwich and going back for a second viewing but I didn’t.

I’m on google+ if anyone wants to add me.  Emma Crees.

>Please Vote For Me/Us!!!

>I wasn’t planning on this entry for a few more days but I got e-mailed a ready written version and I’m all about the lazy lately so here goes:

Gone Sailing

The Farmoor Reservoir Pontoon Project needs your vote to help disabled sailors.

 

This project has been fundraising for the past four years to provide a stable pontoon with improved access for disabled sailors. It will also create a larger harbour area which will benefit beginner sailors and windsurfers, especially youngsters, when the winds are stronger or are offshore. We have now raised £120,000 towards the Pontoon Project and are planning to construct as much of the structure as we can afford by next April, but we really need your help.

 

The Big Lottery Fund – ITV People’s Millions

The People’s Millions is a partnership between the Big Lottery Fund and ITV, in which viewers vote for the project they want to receive Lottery funding. Five grants of £94,000 are up for grabs this year in each our region and there are eight projects to vote for.

 

We have been shortlisted to take part in the televised competition with a chance to win £94,000 to pay for an electric lift to provide safe and easy access down to the pontoon. The lift will enable disabled people to use the pontoon under all wind and water level conditions. We will be competing head to head for the funding with one of the other eight projects.

 

Last week an ITV camera crew came to Farmoor Reservoir to film our disabled sailing activities in preparation for editing a short piece in support of the lift. On Wednesday 28th November, ITV Thames Valley region will broadcast short features on both projects during their evening regional news programme at 6.00 pm. The public will then vote by telephone for the project which they want to win the money – the loser gets nothing.

 

PLEASE VOTE FOR US!!

 

How to vote (You don’t have to be in the ITV regional area to vote!)

 

We need your support, so please watch ITV on Wednesday 28 November 2007 and then cast your vote. Ask all the members of your family and all your friends and neighbours to do it too!

If you can’t watch the television you can still vote. The voting lines will open at 9.00 am on Wednesday 28th November and close at midnight. We can only vote for our project on the day of the broadcast. The number to phone to vote for our project will be published in the Mirror, or on the Big Lottery Fund website: www.biglotteryfund.org.uk/peoplesmillions from 9.00 am. We will also send out an email giving the number on the Oxford Sailing Club announce list.

 

Please use your landline and mobile phones to help us win the money. You can phone up to three times from any number; best to avoid using a switchboard number! The result of the voting will be revealed the following day during the ITV 6.00 pm evening news.

 

Thank you very much.

 

All of us on the Pontoon Project Team at

Accessible Sailing, registered charity number: 1114130.

[Image description: Gone Sailing Logo. Black type on a white background. I think it’s Times New Roman The top row says Gone with the O replaced by a wheelchair (in grey) and underneath it says sailing in a smaller size font. It went a little bit pixelated when I grabbed out of word and saved it as .gif]

Small note from me: I’m not overally happy about asking this but please, please pass this message on to anyone and everyone who might be interested. And huge apologies if you’ve already had this from me about six thousand times.

>Well, thanks, I think…

>“They’ll want people who are really into sailing.  And obviously they”ll want to film a wheelchair user.”

“Yeah that’s why they asked me – because it’s the most visually obvious of our disabilities.”

“No – they asked you because you’re a mouthy cow.” 

– My mother’s take on why I was asked to be filmed sailing for The People’s Millions.  It’s nice to know she has a high opinion of me, isn’t it?!

And yes, I’m more than likely going to be on TV again.  It’s all really rather exciting! *squees loudly*