Polite Small Talk

I meet usually at least two new people each week through CAB.  If I see them as clients I can often find out a lot about them.  They rarely learn much about me.  I do tell them my  name but often that and the fact I’m sat there in a powerchair is all they learn about me.

I also do resident involvement stuff with the housing association I rent from.  I’ve made one really good friend through that and I’m friendly with several others.  But I’ve met loads of people there.  And also because I’ve done disability awareness talks there for staff and tenants there have been a few occasions where I’ve had to stop people and say “sorry I don’t know your name.” and it’s been a case of “oh I forgot we hadn’t be introduced, I was at the such and such talk you did.”

The thing about both situations is that they lead to a lot of polite small talk.  I’ve never been a massive fan of Polite Small Talk.  And it came to me recently that most of the Polite Small Talk I experience is actually quite ableist.  Well, actually it came to me this evening when I was thinking about writing a ranty blog called “it’s ableism when…”

Today I was chatting with a taxi driver on the way somewhere. Started off he was saying how much easier my chair is to secure into the taxi than a lot he gets and then he was telling me about going somewhere with a disabled friend of his and the venue not knowing how to cope.  What was I planning to do when I got to my destination? That sort of thing.  But then his next gambit in the Polite Small Talk that filled my journey (and which until that point sounded interesting because I’d been hearing about the friend incident and thinking “I must look into this group.”) was “so how long have you been in a wheelchair?”

Ableism disguised as Polite Small Talk has also recently taken the form of “so what do you do?” perfectly reasonable and the follow up “how do you get there?” was also acceptable. But then it was third time’s the charm for the apparently necessary ableism component when they then expressed obvious surprise at the news I go in my powerchair with “oh you can do that by yourself can you?”

In years past there’s also been a rare gathering with my family and another.. Work, and “I hear you’ve a new place” and such like were used for the rest of my family.  I got the all time Polite Small Talk gem of “so have you been affected by any of the disability cuts?”  implied in that was not only “I don’t care enough about you to want to know anything personal about you.” but maybe even “I hope so you lazy scrounger”

And finally, another throwback.  It’s gotta be the always annoying “oh but I was really hoping you could come.” and/or “but it’s only 2/4/15/245 steps we can help you up them, I’ll be really disappointed not to see you.” whenever I decline an invitation because the venue isn’t accessible.  If you really wanted meant that and were really hoping I’d come you’d have found an accessible venue.

(I’m wondering now if I’ve ever blogged the story of how the words “oh don’t let that stop you.” basically changed my life but not in the way the idiot who said that expected)

Apparently people with mental health problems just need to “tell someone”

So Robin Williams has died.  Suicide.  And that’s sad as any death is.

Facebook is full of posts with his picture sharing phone numbers and websites of helplines.  Ones telling people that “suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem.”  And declarations that if you’re feeling down, if you have depression to make sure you tell someone.  Friend’s saying that they hope their friends feel capable of telling them.  And similar on twitter and other places.

Here’s the thing: I have a depression diagnosis and I have a lot of anxiety at times which has been recognised by medics although it’s never been given a label like GAD (generalised anxiety disorder).  It’s more than 11 years since one of my friends finally convinced me to go and see a GP about the way I felt.

I’d told someone.  I’d told her.  But she couldn’t physically make me go to the doctors and get help. She kept telling me I needed to and encouraging me to for at least six months.  I’d probably been depressed to a certain extent I had to do that myself (and unfortunately that meant things deteriorated because I didn’t go until I got scared about what might happen unless I did).

Then I went and told a GP.  It wasn’t my GP because my mine was a male and I thought a female doctor would be easier. It was a first step but it wasn’t the solution facebook seems to be suggesting it was.  Telling her wasn’t enough.  I needed her support but I also needed meds and I needed time.

That first type of antidepressants made me ill so I ended up telling most of my carers although I’d not meant to.  Several of them said “me too.” and I was shocked.  Telling people might have been easier if I’d known how common it was. I felt less alone.

I went back a few weeks later for review and I did tell my then GP because really I loved my uni GP because he also had CP and he got a lot of what I went through.  Over the years he’s been one of the few medics I’ve never had to convince that my depression isn’t caused by my CP. He’d seen me a lot in the months before for UTI and chest infections and I don’t know what else routine stuff.  And he apologised to me for missing my mental health problems.  It meant a lot to me but I wasn’t surprised and I didn’t blame him.  I’d hidden it.

And since then over the last 11 years I’ve been on and off of antidepressants.  I’ve told a lot of people about my mental health.

I’ve told friends.  Family. Doctors, counsellors, social workers. Carers and some other people too.

Sometimes it helps a lot.  Sometimes it helps a little.  Sometimes it doesn’t help.  And unfortunately sometimes it makes it worse.

I’ve had the response:

That I’m being silly

That I just need to stop taking antidepressants because they “are addictive and bad for you.”

That of course I’m depressed because I’ve got CP, what do I expect?

That things that have triggered bad times are in the past and I need to move on.

That I’m worrying about nothing

This too will pass

“you think you’ve got it bad I’ve blah blah blah” from a friend who kept telling me to tell her when things were bad.  She still does that now and she gets annoyed if she ever finds out I’ve not told her stuff.  But I’ve never, in more than 11 years since diagnosis been able to have a conversation with her about my mental health problems without it immediately being turned into something all about her.

Offering to listen and encouraging me to tell you about my problems is huge.  But I need you to actually listen.

How could you help someone in a mental health crisis:

Don’t use cliches like this too shall pass or the one I keep seeing today “suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem”.  Robin Williams had been undergoing treatment for various mental health conditions for over twenty years.  He had a real, serious illness not a temporary problem.  Calling it that belittles his suffering.

If someone tells you don’t try and make them tell you exactly what it is they have to be depressed or anxious about.  Mental health conditions can and do defy explanation.

Also, don’t make assumptions about causes.  I’m sure some of the counselling I’ve had would have been more effective if I’d not spent so much time trying to get it though the counsellor’s head that the fact I can’t walk had nothing to do with my mental health. The assumptions of a supposed link between my physical disability and my mental health condition make it harder in fact.

Only make offers of support that you genuinely mean.  If someone offers me the chance to talk but then tells me all of their problems rather than listening when I try to take them up on it I usually end up feeling worse because I feel alone and I’m worried about my friend.

Support takes different forms for different people.  I have issues with medication compliance.  Someone demanding to know everyday if I’d taken my meds (something one of my carers tried) didn;t help me.  But when I had a friend who was also struggling with med compliance we would tweet each other and check in every day or two sort of “I’ve managed my meds today, how’re you doing?” that really helped.

Don’t try to force a particular therapy or drug on someone.  Fluoxetine might be really great for people who have depression that worsens around their period.  I was on fluoxetine when I first started raising that issue and it didn’t help.  Sertraline did but all I kept being told from medics was “fluoxetine is good for that, perserve” until finally one switched me to sertraline for another reason.  Friends told me fluoxetine was good too.  It was good for me but it wasn’t the answer.

Just because you recovered doesn’t mean I will.  I care about how you’re doing but when I’m really struggling telling me that I only need six months of antidepressants doesn’t help.  And actually, the standard treatment isn’t six months of antidepressants.  it’s treatment until condition improves and then for another six months to ensure no relapse.

If the person in question is able to lead you in what support they need try to follow them.

But don’t, ever just tell someone to “tell me” if you have a problem and expect that to be the answer.  It’s a first step that you can take to helping them.  Telling you is a brilliant first step for the person with mental health condition.  But living with/treating/recovering from/whatever a mental health condition is a long, long journey.  And it needs more than that first step of talking about it.

Can you actually hear yourself?

Sometimes I think I should start carrying a dictaphone or similar around with me everywhere and recording my conversations.  Because just lately so many people have said things to me – people who I know – and have come across so ableist that I’ve been shocked.  And in a couple of the cases I’ve known what they’ve actually meant and suspected that if I made them listen back to what they said they may well realise how inappropriate their wording was.

In two of the three most recent cases I feel confident that the other person in the conversation didn’t mean to hurt me and was just wording things wrong (and in one case was trying to play devil’s advocate).  But that doesn’t take away the sting and the hurt in hearing people I have an ongoing relationship with (in most cases by necessity although they are friendly relationships built I thought on mutual respect and in at least one case I could maybe see actual friendship developing if we met in a different setting) say things which lessen my worth and discriminate against me because I’m disabled.  I’m not less but their careless comments suggest I am and show a thoughtlessness I didn’t expect from most of them.

Those comments hurt more than similar ones from complete strangers.  Because I’m not just a random girl in a wheelchair to them.  They know that I’m Emma.  And we don’t know each other well so they may well not know very much about Emma but in almost all cases they we’ve known each other a couple of years and we know enough about each other for them to have a pretty decent idea of who I am and what I believe in even if they don’t know all the ins and the outs of what makes me tick and my day to day life.  And those comments that hurt me aren’t being said by the stranger on the street or the woman in sainsburys but by someone I volunteer with. Or who I sail with or who goes to Thursday night crafts or the disability group I chair or the NaNo group I’m part of or whatever.

I can, often, come up with some snappy response that makes it clear it’s inappropriate and ableist.  But sometimes it’s not appropriate for me to do so.  Or I can’t because I’ll lose my shit completely if I do so.  and sometimes like one occasion this week I can’t actually respond properly because I’m just blindsided and left gaping that someone would have the sheer audacity to think that was acceptable. So I flail and try to say something but don’t actually manage to respond how I should. So I just get silently frustrated and wonder if they can actually hear what they’re saying?

And then I think how handy that mythical dictaphone may come in because if I could play it back and make them realise what they’ve said I probably wouldn’t need to say anything at all.

 

Thank You

I’m quite well known for not noticing people waving to me when I’m out and about. Or not knowing who people are when they know me.

Part of that has to do with the fact I meet so many people through things like CAB. I’m usually the only person they deal with but depending on if I’m doing appointments of gateway (10 minute triage like interviews) I might see up to 4 people in one session.

The big thing in training for CAB is confidentiality. One of the points made about it is that due to that you shouldn’t acknowledge clients outside the bureau. That’s easier than it sounds because more than likely I don’t remember them or I think “hmm I know them from somewhere…” There are obviously the odd memorable person. Regulars and such like. But the number of people I’ve met and introduced myself to who’ve then gone “I know you helped me at CAB” and I’ve not known them is huge.

One day recently I was doing some jobs in town popping from place to place.

And in one of them someone saw me and said “oh! Good Morning.” As they walked past.

I replied “Morning” and continued what I was doing.

30 seconds later they reappeared in front of me to say

“You really helped me a long time ago but I don’t think I thanked you properly.”

All of a sudden the stuff in front of me didn’t have my attention any more. I’d been only half listening expecting the usual “bizarre and probably inappropriate comment to a wheelchair user” I so often get. Not that.

I said they were welcome and asked “at CAB?” They said yes and that it’d been “years and years ago”

I’m wracking my brain but I’m getting no where on who this might be so I asked how long “years and years ago” was

It turns out years and years ago was so long ago they had to think for a minute before they could answer. And so long ago I really can’t have been advising for long when I saw them.

We talked for a few more minutes. I had to admit I didn’t remember them. They said how much of a difference I’d made, how often I’d seen them and how grateful they were. They thanked me again and left.

I thanked them and left as well.

Because that made my day.

I can’t write any more about this. Because of confidentiality. But also because even with several days of thinking later I can’t remember them.

A word of advice

For those who don’t know me.

Don’t try offering me unsolicited advice or helpful suggestions about my wheelchair and then go off on me when I tell you’re wrong and calmly explain the reasons why I do what I do and/or can’t do anything else.

Telling me where you saw me cross the road is dangerous is one thing. Repeatedly screeching at me that I’m going to get myself killed when I tell you its the only place I can is upsetting. And talking to me like I’m stupid and telling me that I do have a choice and could cross the road elsewhere is another that shouldn’t happen. Suggesting that you know I can cross elsewhere because you’ve done it with a buggy when I tell you why i can’t and the guy selling drinks backs me up on it begins to make you look like an idiot. And it ruined my evening by hanging over it.

There are good ways of giving me unsolicited advice. Both of these happened to me.

Tell me that you spotted a possible loose bit on my powerchair as you queue behind me in a shop. Back it up with the fact that you work as a wheelchair technician, that its nothing to worry about but worth getting tightened because its very expensive to replace should it fall off. Bonus points if you tell me how to do it.

Or

Sit opposite me on the train. Tell me you don’t mean to interrupt or worry me but you’ve noticed one of my tires really needs air. Listen when I thank you but tell you the tires are solid (but I agree it does look like its flat). Comment that my chair looks like a good bit of kit. Optional: proper English small talk for a few minutes about isn’t it cold and am I travelling far before I go back to my book and you return to your paper.

Writing this has made me remember this funny incident from 2007

Success and a mind boggling moment

I think the problem I’ve been struggling with is mostly resolved.  But strangely having been told that I’d made a difference for the disabled people who come after me it’s actually possible that this solution will just benefit me.

I know they plan to implement this with any other disabled people who can’t use the standard way of doing things. But the cost involved means they’ve had to come up with a solution other than the one they hoped to. Which due to the set up means it could be difficult to implement for others.

I’m waiting for one more answer and to see if things go as planned but I’m happy things have taken a giant leap forward and feeling much more positive.

Although slightly bemused by some of the conversations I’ve had about it. Including one where it was implied that it was a shame I’m not more disabled than I am because then this would have been so much easier for me. I’m convinced they didn’t actually mean or realise what they said but… It’s a definite first for me.

The mind, it boggles

>Ask a stupid question…

>Get a stupid answer!

For various reasons I went out yesterday without the fugly clown shoe like cast shoes on top of my casts


Fugly cast shoes. The ones I have now are too big for my feet (the ones I had that fit went missing when left at the hospital for the few days I was out of plaster earlier this week) hence the clown shoe description.

I went to the supermarket. I was wearing my red skirt which perfectly matches my red casts. Because clearly, matching your clothes and casts is important (unless I want to wear my favourite skirt which clashes but I love, that is…)


And whilst I was in there a woman I didn’t know stopped me and asked what I’d done to need the casts.

I said, nothing, there’s nothing wrong with them.

And she made it clear that was a totally unacceptable answer.

I just went “it’s a fashion statement”

And she gave me a dirty look. But she didn’t get a chance to say anything other than to call bye to my back as I moved away.

I am more than happy to talk to people about being disabled and answer questions. I always have been. But only if they are asked for legitimate reasons.

My life is not public property. Being disabled, using a chair and having my legs in casts don’t people the right to ask questions simply to satisfy their own nosy tendencies. But when I refuse to answer, people are put out.

It did feel good to put her in her place and especially to be flippant whilst doing so.

>Monday Music – Born This Way

>I first started thinking about using this song for a Monday Music last week after the comments made by Philip Davies in the House of Commons (he said that disabled people should work for less than minimum wage as they are less productive.)  People were tweeting how they were not worthless and it came to mind.  But in the end I tweeted a link to a video of Bruno Mars, Just The Way You Are.

Then it turned into a bit of a week when people make stupid comments about my disability.

First, earlier in the week someone was saying where the disabled loo was at the event and another person went “where’s the normal one?” to be honest I found that kinda funny but she was totally and utterly mortified when she realised what she’d said and apologised repeatedly.  I’m sure she was much more bothered than I was.

Then on Saturday I asked someone “so… how are you?”  The gestured at my wheelchair and then went “well… better than you.”  I said “I’m fine.” and she said “I know you are”  That did make me want to roll my eyes but it’s someone I know well who hasn’t been at all well, who didn’t look good and said it in such a stiff upper lip “mustn’t grumble” type way that I understood and let it go.

A bit later I was out for a bit of a wheel and an acquaintance stopped me to ask if I wanted a push.  I said no and we chatted a bit.  We’ve known each other a few years but only on and off and really don’t know each other that well.  Our conversation went a bit like this:

“How long have you been disabled?”

“From birth.  I’ve got CP the same as [a CPer we both know]”

“oh how tragic.”

“What?!”

“Well you were whole and then there was an accident with your birth and now you’re disabled”

“I’m whole now.  And anyway a lack of oxygen at birth was never gonna turn out well.  Better disabled than dead.”

She got called away at that point which was probably a good thing.  I was very annoyed by that conversation.  Being disabled doesn’t make me less of a person.  But I didn’t lose it with her because I didn’t feel I could and also I was shocked by the way the conversation had gone.  Now I’ve had time to think about it? Not happy at all.

I’m a sailor, a writer, a volunteer CAB adviser, a knitter, a friend, a daughter, a sister.  I’m messy, I’m opinionated, disorganised and loud.  I dye my hair crazy colours, spend too much time on twitter, read crappy fanfics and go to bed much too late.  I lose track of time reading too many books, like Doctor Who and want to start watching Grey’s Anatomy again.  I eat too much chocolate and drink too much coke.  I’m learning to crochet and have piles of unused scrapbooking materials.  And yes I have both depression and CP.  And I use a wheelchair.  But none of those make me any less of a person who spends all their time on their own two feet.  The most important thing?  I’m me.  I’m Emma.

So for this week’s Monday Music I’m sharing Born This Way.  Originally by Lady Gaga, this is the Glee version.  Mostly because the Lady Gaga video is really annoying (the song doesn’t start for several minutes into the video) but also because, basically it’s Glee.  I love the tops they wear too.

It doesn’t matter if you love him, or capital H-I-M 
Just put your paws up 
‘Cause you were born this way, baby 

My mama told me when I was young 
We are all born superstars 
She rolled my hair and put my lipstick on 
In the glass of her boudoir 

“There’s nothin’ wrong with lovin’ who you are” 
She said, “‘Cause He made you perfect, babe” 
“So hold your head up, girl and you you’ll go far, 
Listen to me when I say” 

I’m beautiful in my way, 
‘Cause God makes no mistakes 
I’m on the right track, baby 
I was born this way 

Don’t hide yourself in regret, 
Just love yourself and you’re set 
I’m on the right track, baby 
I was born this way 
(Born this way) 

Ooo, there ain’t no other way 
Baby, I was born this way 
Baby, I was born this way 
Ooo, there ain’t other way 
Baby, I was born this way 
I’m on the right track, baby 
I was born this way 

Don’t be a drag, just be a queen 
Don’t be a drag, just be a queen 
Don’t be a drag, just be a queen 
Don’t be! 

Give yourself prudence and love your friends 
Subway kid, rejoice the truth 
In the religion of the insecure 
I must be myself, respect my youth 

A different lover is not a sin 
Believe capital H-I-M (hey, hey, hey) 
I love my life, I love this record and 
Mi amore vole fe yah 

I’m beautiful in my way, 
‘Cause God makes no mistakes 
I’m on the right track, baby 
I was born this way 

Don’t hide yourself in regret, 
Just love yourself and you’re set 
I’m on the right track, baby 
I was born this way 

Ooo, there ain’t no other way 
Baby, I was born this way 
Baby, I was born this way 
Ooo, there ain’t other way 
Baby, I was born this way 
I’m on the right track, baby 
I was born this way 

Don’t be drag, just be a queen 
Whether you’re broke or evergreen 
You’re black, white, beige, chola descent 
You’re lebanese, you’re orient 
Whether life’s disabilities 
Left you outcast, bullied or teased 
Rejoice and love yourself today 
‘Cause baby, you were born this way 

No matter gay, straight or bi 
lesbian, transgendered life 
I’m on the right track, baby 
I was born to survive 
No matter black, white or beige 
chola or orient made 
I’m on the right track, baby 
I was born to be brave 

I’m beautiful in my way 
‘Cause God makes no mistakes 
I’m on the right track, baby 
I was born this way 

Don’t hide yourself in regret, 
Just love yourself and you’re set 
I’m on the right track, baby 
I was born this way, yeah! 

Ooo, there ain’t no other way 
Baby, I was born this way 
Baby, I was born this way 
Ooo, there ain’t other way 
Baby, I was born this way 
I’m on the right track, baby 
I was born this way 

I was born this way, hey! 
I was born this wayy, hey! 
I’m on the right track, baby 
I was born this way, hey! 

I was born this way, hey! 
I was born this way, hey! 
I’m on the right track, baby 
I was born this way, hey!

>No means No. #disability #awareness

>This afternoon Dad and I went racing.  We were looking at the horses who were about to race when the sun went in and it got cold.  So I told Dad that I’d go inside the building next to where we were.

That involved wheeling over to the building and then up a relatively long ramp (luckily it had switchbacks in it so it wasn’t too steep).  It wasn’t the easiest thing I’ve wheeled up recently but I’m slowly trying to build up my strength in my chair so I stuck at it.

Partway up the ramp goes past an outside area where people can have drinks.  A man called over to me

“you alright, girl? Do you need some help?”

“No, thanks.  I’m fine, it just doesn’t look like it.” I replied.

“Sure?” he queried

“yes, sure.  It’s good for me.”

“It probably is.  I wish my [family member] had your attitude.”

“yeah?”

“[they’ve] just given up.”

“Oh, I couldn’t do that.  I’ve always been disabled so I don’t know any different.”

I forget what he said in response to that but our conversation ended there as I was past the bit where he was sat having a drink.  I was pleased by that conversation.

That ramp should probably be considered two because on one of the switchbacks you go into the building but then have to go straight up another bit to get to the facilities.

At the top of the ramp a steward was standing and saw me on the ramp wheeling up.  He spoke to me too.

“Can I give you a push?”

“No, I’m fine.”

“it’s no bother.”

“really, I’m fine.  But I tell you what would be a help.  Could you open that door for me?” (I couldn’t see it clearly but knew it was there)

“it’s already open”

He then grabs the back of my chair over my protestations and wheels me approximately the last five metres of the ramp.  Which is basically no help and totally infuriating because he made a snap judgement that just because I’m in a chair I need help.

I’d love to meet more people like the first guy, that was a confidence boost for me.  I hope to meet very few people like the second!

>Oxford Regatta 2010

>Behind yet again and I have a few other entries which need to stand alone planned.  So just a few thoughts this evening to catch up a bit.

The Oxford regatta was last weekend.  It was my last regatta of the year most likely and I’m not sure how many I will do next year, if at all.  I find them quite hard because although it’s a disability sailing event my disability and the set up clash rather a lot.

I made it out once on Saturday and was that cold and sore afterwards that I had a load of clonus and it was hard to get me out of the boat as we weren’t using the hoist for various (annoying) reasons.  As a result of that and something that happened with another sailor it was decided on Sunday that there was room for my challenger on the new pontoon with the 2.4 people so I did my patented falling into the boat to get going from the beach and then went from the pontoon for the rest of the day so they could hoist me.

 I did enjoy the sail that morning although I definitely pushed myself beyond my limits which may not have been a great idea.  I’d decided part way through that there was no way I would make it out that afternoon and so I was going to sit it out that morning and keep going until the end regardless of what I probably should have been doing.  Unfortunately it was blowing squalls which made the sailing a bit more challenging. And I’d lent my hat to a friend and borrowed my Dad’s to wear myself.  His favourite one.  Which blew away, never to be seen again.  He wasn’t very happy about that.

Then someone else snapped at me and I was tired and cold and a bit damp and it all felt like a bit too much.  But my Dad and I made up later and I had some lunch which warmed me up.  Surprisingly I was the only one who sat out the afternoon, although several people did come in early. From what I’ve heard everyone struggled with the cold and the weather that day.

We came back a bit early and I spent two hours lying under my duvet not really awake but not fully asleep.  Still felt a bit cold after that – so much so I actually took my temperature but it was normal.

Sunday the weather had improved a bit but it still wasn’t overly warm.  I managed both sails that day although wasn’t out for the entire time in the second one.   I was much happier that day partially because I didn’t get wet at all but also because it was a bit warmer.  And hoist transfers make things so much easier!  That turned out to be a Very Good Thing because when they got me out the boat the final time they hoisted me into my chair and I then tried to stand up but I barely got my bum off my seat (but just enough to pull the sling out).  Had an hour to chill or so and then tried to get my towel out from under me and my waterproof trousers off.  Usually I stand up, move the towel and pull my waterproofs down and then someone helps me get them off completely. Not that day. Stood up, my friend grabbed the towel and that was all I could manage.  Stood up again and she ended up helping me pull my trousers down as well as off.  Too sore and stiff for much else!

I must admit there was a very hard moment when someone asked if I’d chickened out by coming in early. I did point out to her that I was in a lot of pain and that was why I came in.  She realises that it was something she shouldn’t have said, I’m sure, and probably didn’t mean anything by it. But I don’t think she realised just how hurtful it was.

That’s one of the things I dislike about these regattas is that to a certain extent they focus a lot on coming first etc which is important.  But what about personal achievement and pushing your limits?  That matters too.  I’ve always thought that the fact you tried is one of the most important things when it comes to disability sports.

But this entry really needs to end on a happy note.  I won one of the races for my class and came second in it for the regatta.  To be completely honest, that was out of two people but I didn’t come last overall!!  I was given the medal and cup for second despite that and got to go up and shake hands with the Lord Lieutenant of Oxfordshire.

One of the guys from our sailing club said to me afterwards that the cup for me was more for getting out there and trying and pushing my limits than for coming second of two.  And that’s how it should be.