London to amsterdam via chester

I assure you that I have not died. I haven’t been eaten by a lion or run over by a monster truck or anything. I’ve just been busy – very busy. It feels like ages since I sat at this desk; so much so that the keys feel weird.

Anyway, where to start? More to the point, what to put in and take out. I feel like I’ve been all over the place, but I’ve just been in London, then Amsterdam. Last week I was at Lyn’s in London; we had a great time, as ever. I got to meet Lyn’s neighbours, dan and paula, who turned out to be excellent people. in a bizarre twist of events, a week ago last Wednesday I found myself in a taxi, with Lyn, Lyn’s p.a zita and Paula’s dad from cornwall crossing London to get my passport renewed. I had forgotten to check it’s expiry date (never knew passports went off); mum noticed as she was packing for me and quickly arranged for me to pick up a replacement in the capital. This meant a trip across the city with Lyn; but we were short of a PA. so, Lyn’s neighbours dad was staying next door, and he stepped in to avoid a shopping trip with his wife. What an awesome day that was. I also mannaged to meet James cullis down there – I’ve been talking to him for a while, and we finally managed to meet in person near the london eye.

Last Monday, new passport safely in my bumbag, I caught the train from Euston to Crewe. Dad picked me up from Crewe and took me to charlottes in Chester. I know it would have been far simpler to travel up Tuesday with Lyn, but in London I need my electric chair, but I can’t take tat thing on an aeroplane. So back up north I came, swapping bags and chairs on the way, meeting charlotte in Chester. The next day, her dad – truly a capital fellow – took us up to the airport where we met back up with Lyn and her PA Esther. And then the fun began.

As with my blog about the Paris trip, writing a step by step account would be far too tedious, although it feels like we didn’t do quite so much this time probably because it was a slightly shorter trip. Highlights included watching a dude play a guitar angrily, getting woken by some very tuneful bells every hour, and getting scared shitless by a cake. I am never going near cake from Amsterdam again. Never never bloody never! We also went to see an improvised comedy show; Charlie got us free tickets from a couple of her friends who live out there. It was a nice gesture, although I don’t actually remember much about it, but that’s another story.

We did intend to go on a canal tour too, but although the jetty had a lift none of the boats where wheelchair accessible, so that was a non-starter. I would have been OK, as I can get out of my chair, but Lyn can’t. it was a pity as I was looking forward to cuddling Lyn as we floated down the canals.

Amsterdam, then, is an amazing city: Crazy as hell, flat as a pancake and full of tourists, but nevertheless amazing. A trip with Lyn was long overdue, and charlotte once again excelled herself. I hope they both liked it; I’m pretty certain they did. Whether we’ll all take another trip together remains very much to be seen, but I certainly hope we do. We flew home yesterday, and after attending a Halloween party last night at charlie’s, my parents picked me up from Chester this morning. It’s been quite a couple of weeks.

admin and people-management skills

I think the old adage that there’s ‘never a truer word that’s said in jest’ holds especially true of thisOuch article. It’s author point out that many disabled people have acquired excellent admin and people-management skills just by managing their own lives. Many such skills are surely transferable into other areas of life. Why is it, then, that disabled people find it the hardest to find employment? I can think of two or three of my crip friends who would make excellent managers if they had the opportunity.

re-establishing old links

I enjoyed yesterday very much. You know, I’d given up on seeing Becca ever again; I kind of assumed she thought I was a prat. But no: she invited me up a few days ago in order to facilitate a meeting between me and a prospective new PA. Steve came to mine, and we headed to beccas together.

She’s living with Phoebe, her p.a. I’m not too sure of the precise arrangements, but it seems to work well. Becca is pretty much as I remembered really – still very into disability politics, rights and DAN. I’m seriously thinking about getting myself into the Manchester scene – they told me about several people, including Claire Lewis, who I’m rather eager to meet.

Becca has a very cool van with tail lift and hand controls which I may be forced to steal – it was awesome. We went to the Trafford Centre in it for dinner.. it was nice to get to know Becca again, as well as phoebe and Steve; I know things won’t be like before, and neither of us want them to be, but it felt good to re-establish old links and to create new ones.

all 6

It has been something of a nonentity type of day. Mum’s at work and dads away on business so I’ve just been stuck here at home. Did a bit – quite a lot actually – to my thesis, spoke to a few people online, but that’s about it. I guess the most noteworthy thing that happened today was that I’ve been in contact with the six women I respect the most: Becca, Kate, Charlie, Esther, Lyn and mum. Amazing!…Ok, maybe not.

events

I guess the next few days should be interesting. I go up to meet a prospective new PA on Tuesday. Interestingly, he’s a good friend of Becca, so she’s acting as a gobetween in Manchester. As well as getting a new PA, it’ll be good to see Becca again after so long.

Then on Friday I go down to see Lyn. It feels like ages since I’ve seen her, and I’ll get to spend the whole week with her. Then, a day or two after, we go to Amsterdam together.

I don’t know why it is, then, that I’ve felt so low these past two days. I’m worried about my thesis, and I’m worried about my future. I miss the freedom I had at uni. Oh well – I have Tuesday to look forward to, then Lyn on Friday. It’s getting to the stage again where I see any trip out as an event.

goodbye to the normals

This sort of reminds me of myself as a child. Whenever I got angry with my parents – basically when they’d told me off, or when I wanted some attention – I used to ‘leave home’. Off I’d go, cuddles my monkey in my hand, up the road. Unlike the kid in the film though, I used to turn back when I noticed nobody was following me. Although I did manage too petrify mum and grandma once by going missing round the mere for a couple of hours.

things are moving on

Yesterday was interesting. I went over to Crewe to meet with Alan, then to Esther’s. she invited me to a show at the lyceum called ‘That’ll be the Day’ – sort of a review of old 50s rock/pop songs. Kind of cool. I stayed the night at hers and dad picked me up this morning.

My master’s thesis is starting to move again. It should be done soon. Alan has emailed mike Pearson to be my second marker – he’s an old friend of Lyn’s at the university of Aberystwyth. I hope that counts in my favour and that he’s not too harsh a marker.

Alan seems to really think I should do a PhD. I’m still very much in two minds about it. It’s not something one undertakes lightly, and I’m not sure I’m up to it. My masters has lasted long enough as it is. Another question is what to do it on? There is plenty of room left for more research into cinephilia and fandom, but part of me wonders whether I should try to link my disability into that; it is, after all, a highly personal discourse. Another question is where – Alan says I should move on from MMU, and, as much as I love the place, I agree. But this would put the whole idea of moving to alsager on hold, unless I did it at staffs uni, stoke, and I don’t even know whether they’ll take me. I’m loathe to do that – I really want my own place as soon as possible, with my own big bed with a Lyn in it! It seems I have much to think about.

as I see it

Perhaps I better explain how I see things personally. I start with the central premise that all people are equal and are of equal worth. From this it follows that, given that we are all different, there is no such thing as ‘normal’. We do, however, have different abilities and skills. Thus I think that everyone should be treated equally, and think it unfair that some people get paid vast amounts more than others when we all contribute to society. For example, why are footballers paid so much more than teachers? Teachers are vital for education, working bloody long hours, but footballers just run around a field for 90 minutes. My views are also tainted by my disability: you don’t have to have a job to be said to contribute to society, and indeed why do you have to contribute to society to have rights? I have known people who cannot get jobs, yet have just as much right to wealth as anyone else. This leads me to a left of centre stance, with higher taxation for the rich to subsidise the poor. This leads me to believe that power must be central to regulate all this. on the other hand, it would be more democratic as everyone would have equal access to education and therefore power. We need to get rid of the gap between rich and poor in order to maximise human potential. We need to get rid of the class system and the perpetuation of wealth in the hands of the few. The contradiction, however, is this: how can we respect the rights of people to live as they whish, while at the same time imposing higher taxes upon them? It all depends on people being altruistic and putting equality before greed.