too much of a good thing?

I went out to the union bar again last night. Brandies is it’s name, and I must admit it’s not at all like how I had always imagined bars. I thought they were small, crowded places, carpeted in red with mahogany furnishings. To be sure, a small part of brandies is like this: the bar itself is indeed mahogany and equipped with the quintessential pull-taps, but away from the bar, the room opens up into a huge hall, suitable for dancing. There is a stage, and two pool tables in one corner.

As a person who, back home, spends evenings in his room on a p.c, I have decided that its high time I experience what I call ‘bar culture’. Brandies is just round the corner from where I now live and, as I don’t fancy the prospect of sitting alone in my room of an evening, it seems I can just walk to brandies for an evenings entertainment. It isn’t so much the alcohol – for I never drink more than 2 pints – as the people whom I meet there. It seems a good place to make friends. Why then do I feel so guilty about it? Why is my brain getting so puritanical on me. Argh. I sound like my mum.

Anyway, last night I met this bloke. I had got there early, after tea, and the place was nearly empty. About eightish I got chatting to a mature student – a family man waiting for his rugby-playing wife. We chatted about all sorts of things: he was a decent, helpful guy, unafraid to call me names. I decided to tell him about my current PA problem, and he said he might be a possible candidate. He sounded well-suitable, but I thought it prudent to proceed through official lines, so I asked him to look for the add in the local press. It will probably come to nothing, but at least I have yet another cool new friend.

nuke the bastards

I was curious. I just found a link to the video of the beheading of Armstrong. As a student of history, I’m familiar with state beheadings. They’re usually swift affairs with a well-swung axe or guillotine, but this was beyond words. Whatever respect anyone had for these insurgents – these cowards who can no longer be called human – is gone. If I didn’t know it would jeopardise the life of Kenneth bigley, and probably the lives of innocent Iraqis, I would urge the total annihilation of these scum. I’m usually anti-capital punishment, but I want these people dead.

Unversity tempests

The demons of last night are gone

For last night, I cried;

Something I could not do even when Andy died.

Strange, how the morning’s watery sun casts new light

On new room, new bed

On this brave new world I thought I didn’t like.

But the new morning brings hope;

And a rational mind To chase away the Caliban.

True, dad shouldn’t have come to check on me,

It set me bursting into a storm of tears, homesick already.

But now I have this place to explore

New people to meet. Friends to make.

n

Anyway, I got to the bar in tact, and the first thing I notice was that they were setting up for a disco in there, and as such there were two or three security guys in case of trouble at said disco. “aha” thinks I, “a person off authority, whom I can trust. I’ll ask him to get me a beer”. I did, and a while later I was sitting at a table at the edge of the dance floor, a beer in front of me. Smeg, that tasted good!

At one stage, though, one of the security guys asked me if I had a ticket. I hadn’t, so I paid him the £3, which was cool because everyone else had to go back outside to buy tickets. I could stay sat on my arse! Hahaha

Pretty soon I got chatting to a few people. We were talking about what we were studying, whether I was going to dance (I told them about Glasgow), and although there was a typical “what is your condition” question, it was pretty cool. I think strangers get used to me pretty quickly, and within ten minutes we were chatting naturally. I think they were surprised to see me up on the dance floor though.

About half an hour later, the room was getting crowded, and a bit dangerous for wobbly old me. In the corner, there was a security man, standing on a chair, watching for trouble. I sat myself next to him, tugged his leg, and asked for another beer. He got my money, and soon returned with beer, straw and change. I asked him to put it on a nearby table, and got chatting to those around me. I must admit, I saw some very provocatively-clad girls there! Ahem.

I got talking to one girl from Portugal, also doing film, and the rest of the evening was spent just chatting, watching the proceedings, and sipping beer. The disco ended at about 11, and I asked my new friends if they would mind walking me home, as I was still a bit concerned about walking out alone. They did, and after we had said goodnight I was able to put myself to bed ok, making sure the lightwriter was on charge.

Thus, although I reckon I still need a PA, now I know that I can go out myself, the need doesn’t seem as urgent as before. I think I’m going to enjoy university.

helm, take us out.

well, this is it. Today’s the day I head for uni. we’re heading for alsager in just under an hour in order to set my room up etc. I’ll be sleeping at home tonight, but today’s the day we set everything up. Don’t know when I’lll be able to blog again, but I intend to blog from uni.

It feels as if this is the beginning of a great adventure: a ship finally about to leave its moorings for the high seas. the bags have been packed. the decks are clearr. all hands prepare to weigh anchor. take us out!

ghandi

I just watched the film Ghandi with dad. It’s a truly excellent film. I just want to say how much I’m in awe of this softly-spoken man, and how much I admire his methods of non-violent protest. I wanted to see it partly because I like Richard Attenborough’s work, and partly because I wanted to try to use the British Raj as a frame of comparison for what the Americans are doing in Iraq. In this era of the war on terror, where I feel neither the terrorists nor the Americans are in the right, we could do with a “great soul” like his around.

Often, I refer to the current state of affairs as a war of vengeance for 9/11, and I am reminded of Ghandi’s words: “an eye for an eye makes the whole world blind”

I’m getting scared

Let me start this entry with a confession: I don’t like staying away from home. I’m a complete wimp about it. I like being with my parents and my brothers, safe at home, with my room, and my bed. It is for this reason that when my parents wanted me to try staying a night or two a week at school, age 14, I cried my eyes out.

Never mind that there were kids half my age who stayed all week, something about Resi made me want my mummy.

See! I’m a complete wuss!

Why oh why am I now, age 21, starting t feel the same feelings of apprehension about university? I’ve been through this with myself again and again: if I don’t leave home now, when will I do it? Do I want to be the only 50 year old still living with his parents? No. therefore this is something I must do, for both mine and my parent’s sanity. To be sure, part of me is looking forward to it: more freedom than ever before, cool people to talk to, bars etc.

And yet there’s that old familiar tingle in my stomach which tells me to stay in bed and hope the problem will go away. What if I don’t find out where lectures are? What if I forget something? What if I’ve missed something I’m supposed to know? All these things are now going through my head, and I’m not sure what to do. Frankly, I’m scared.

I’m also scared that I’ll bottle it, and ask to be taken home. That must not happen – leaving home starts now, or it never will. As much as I worry about the big, wide world, I really do not want to say home all my life, never to see thhings like the amason or the great barrier reef. I cannot – I must not – be a wuss all my life.

cool quote

“He who joyfully marches to music rank and file, has already earned my contempt. He has been given a large brain by mistake, since for him the spinal cord would surely suffice. This disgrace to civilization should be done away with at once. Heroism at command, how violently I hate all this, how despicable and ignoble war is;

I would rather be torn to shreds than be a part of so base an action. It is my conviction that killing under the cloak of war is nothing but an act of murder.” – albert einshien

free drinks

I hate when people pat me on the head. It’s silly! Folks think I’m aged five, rruffle my hair, and talk down to me. I hate it, and it makes me want to kick their condescending little asses. But there are times when such behaviour is useful, and even endearing. I’ll explain:

I know this fine old English pub, called The Swettenham Arms. It’s way out in the countryside, down quaint little lanes; Dad says he found the place in the old CAMRA guide, and we sometimes went there when we were little. Last summer, I discovered the place, although well outside walking distance, was well within reach of my wheelchair, so I decided to mount an expedition to have a drink or two there. The thing was, although I offered many times, the owners – kind, elderly people – wouldn’t let me pay for drinks. They refuse o take my money, but they talk to me, hold my cup steady etc. and even though they sometimes talk down to me, they’re so nice that I don’t mind.

I was over there this afternoon: the bar keeper helped me with my Pepsi (free) and, as we chatted, stuffed two mint chocolates in my mouth. I think they were a bit surprised to find that I am going to university, and was able to enquire about the pub’s history (it’s 16th century), but, although their voices became less patronising, the chocolate still kept coming.

It’s such a nice place too. Just past the pub, the road gives way to bridal path, which leads one through some very picturesque scenery for five or six KM, but brings one out on the main Congleton-Homes Chapel road, which is too dangerous for me to go along. Also, directly behind the pub is a gate to a nature reserve, which I’m yet to explore.

As these people were so kind to me, I think it necessary to convince dad to go their more often, as I feel these kind people need to be paid somehow. If we buy a meal or two there, my conscience would be clear. I’m sure many of my friends would say that these folks were being highly patronising, but I just cant resent them if they are so kind.

a long weekend in london

No doubt you will have gathered, from my lack of entries, that I’ve been away since Wednesday. Mind you, I’m not the most frequent of bloggers, so you may just have thought that I was just being my usual lazy self, but let me assure you the former was the case. I had an excellent time down south, and we did more than usual this time.

When we go to visit my Yaiya, its usually just for two or three days, and we nearly always simply hang around her house (either that or I get left behind while my parents go shopping). Tres dull. This time, however, was different – we actually went places!

The first day – Wednesday – we went to the famous science museum. Mum had to work, so myself, Luke, my cousin Cyril and Dad took a bus into the city centre, which is a rare event in itself. At that time, we did not know that most new London busses are adapted to accommodate wheelchairs, so I thought I had to get out of the chair to get onto the bus. This was ok, as I needed the exercise. The museum itself was fine, and not too crowded, although I did get rather peeved when a woman pushed in front of me to use a computer that I was just rolling up to. I think she heard when I shouted the word “bitch” at her fat arse. It was strange, though, how much that little incident irritated me: I was fuming all afternoon.

The next day, however, was the coolest from my perspective. I had arranged – that is, cajoled dad and Luke into arranging – to go see Becca for an hour or so. Why she agreed to let us all into her house I do not know, but it was very cool to chat with them for an hour or two. Not for the last time I wished I had brought my Lightwriter, but we managed. My parents seemed very impressed with both Becca and Katy, and they were quite taken when she told them she had chosen not to be ambulant. It was Kate’s decision to, use a chair more than walk, which would surprise many able-bodied people, especially if they cling to the medical model. All in all, it was a very enjoyable couple of hours – far better than those spent watching the chronicles of Riddick.

If Thursday was the coolest day from my perspective, then Friday was the coolest from Dad’s, for he got to walk around a farm chomping apples. We had all driven – yaiya included – into deepest, darkest Kent, to a fruit farm. I couldn’t resist, upon arrival, asking for a scone with cream and jam, for I had gone all nostalgic for all things British: the sun was shining, cricket was on the radio. We toured the farm, with a very learned guide, who let us taste all the different types of fruit grown there for research purposes. However, not satisfied with the small chunks the guide gave us, dad took to picking his own from the tree. As for myself, given half a chance I could have made one hell of a mess of the plumb trees.

The next day, I woke late, but still in time for breakfast and a walk into Harlesden for the regular surplices we get while in London. It is, by the way, the only place we have found which sells straws by the hundred. That afternoon, myself, Luke and Cyril went into the city centre for the Liberty Festival in Trafalgar square. This was a large disability festival, full of disability culture. While the disabled have a few things to be angry about, the festival was peaceful, filled with music, comedy and dance. Katy was there, and introduced us to her friends. I got to see Francesca Martinez perform, which I had wanted to see for some time, although from what I could tell she had not adapted her act for the occasion. I missed my Lightwriter, as it was noisy and communication with Katy et al was difficult. It was also very hot, so after about an hour I decided to be merciful to Luke and Cyril and go home. Nevertheless, it renewed my pride in who I am, and reminded me that I belong to a huge, great community of disabled people, who face just the same problems I do.

You lot know my attitude to religion by now, but Sunday was the anniversary of my Bappou’s death, so we went to church. It was the typical Sunday sermon, after which we took communion, and went to eat in a nearby ‘Armenian’ restraint. I certainly cannot complain about not eating well this week, as we ate at a Mexican resteraunt on the way back from Kent, giving my Yaiya her first taste of Mexican food. I think she liked it.

Well, that’s about it: we had a slow, relaxing, Sunday afternoon, and got home just after 10pm. I still miss Bappou each time we go down there, but this time I had a lot of fun. I also have a new mobile phone, which I am still learning how to use, and trying to resist the urge to throw it across the room in frustration.