"Very successful Artisan/Collectables MARKET on Saturday" says the Rochester City Centre Forum (apparently a joint effort of the council and the High Street traders) on their FB page.
To which I replied: "Very successful, except for those of us who are wheelchair users and find ourselves barred from the footpaths. What you can't see in that top picture is that it is the exit from the disabled car park and the pavement is blocked in both directions, as is the kerb-cut directly in front of that stall - to use the kerb cut safely a wheelchair user needs to start/finish at least as far back as the orange box visible in the picture. In fact it was significantly worse than that when I was in Rochester about 4PM on Saturday as the stall had boxes down the side that meant there wasn't even space to squeeze a narrow wheelchair like mine between the lamppost and stall, taking the unsafe approach down the side of the kerb-cut. For anyone in a wider chair or a powerchair, forget it. Remember, the space in front of the stalls is going to be occupied by customers, so there is even less space available. I ended up having to hop off the kerb, which nearly threw me out of my chair and didn't even try to use the entrance on my return, despite that being my normal route back to the car.
The steep camber of Rochester High Street makes it difficult to wheelie from road to pavement without risking tipping - I can't do it at all if I have the anti-tip protection deployed on my chair - and many people have chairs, powerchairs or scooters which are completely incapable of kerb-climbing. The reality of the choice of stalls which block the full width of the pavement is that they completely block wheelchair users from accessing the shops between them, or even safely exiting the disabled car park.
Rochester High Street is an obstacle course to wheelchair users at the best of times due to paving, camber, and cobbles, but these stalls leave it completely inaccessible. I raised the issue with the Council after their previous appearance, and was assured my concerns, particularly with respect to the kerb cut would be passed on, but this time things were even worse. To use the space in front of the disabled car park, blocking wheelchair users from exiting, really shows a careless contempt for the needs and rights of disabled people."
I had a reply within about an hour from the chair of the Forum. He did promise to do something about the kerb-cuts, but did not impress by first launching into a rant about cyclists on the pedestrianised High Street (why yes, I did know it's pedestrianised on Saturday, that's beside the point, the road doesn't help if I can't get from road to footpath) and then protesting "It's only 12 times a year," and "it's for the community". Do I not count as a member of the community?
Grrrrrrr!!!!ETA: there's now a nebulous "this problem will be addressed", so I asked them to make sure they got a wheelchair user's input as to whether it did fix the problem or not.
Hurricane/ ex-Hurricane/Maybe-Still- a-Hurricane-but-predicted-to-be-a-
I'm not actually expecting trouble tomorrow, there isn't even a severe weather warning for the south east as far as I can see, Ophelia's due to hit entirely the other side of the country, in fact entirely the other side of the next country over, but it needed doing before we get much further into autumn, so it's a good excuse.
Of course the problem with leaving it until the last minute and then deciding to do it is I hadn't gotten around to painting/weatherproofing the wood, and I do want to do every side, not just the exposed ones, because the wood I'm replacing had rotted from the back. So it's all going to have to come off again for a quick paint job once the winds have died down.
Adding to people's concern is that it's 30 years since the 1987 Great Storm, which did hit the South East. There were multiple trees down at the end of my road, one of them on top of a friend's car (though I didn't know her then), but I managed to sleep completely through it, bar the five minutes at god-awful o'clock in the morning when I stumbled downstairs to slam the front door, which had been blown open. I'll settle for sleeping through Ophelia as well.
* I had the burger for lunch. It now comes with 'bacon jam' - it's just as well they told me what it was, because I wouldn't have guessed otherwise. There probably was a very faint taste of bacon, but so faint you needed the hint. Plus what I think were deep-fried, battered pieces of onion. I'n not an onion fan, and positively loathe fried onions, so the fact I ate them at all is probably a point in their favour. But being honest, I'd have preferred a slice of tomato to both of them.
I need coffee. Where's my coffee mug?
Oh, there it is on the floor by the sofa.
On its side, with its complete contents from last night (mocha, so nice and gooey) spread out all over the carpet next to it
Fortunately it lifted after some vigorous scrubbing with a damp towel, but if I thought I'd needed cofffee before that....
The only positive in this is it pooled next to the two external drive also sitting there, not in them,
As I've been seeing this from all sides:
Tattoos No. Historically I've been fairly squicked by them, and my response to a lot of them is still "What were you thinking?", but that's a quality/composition reaction nowadaysand I've seen ones that were utterly gorgeous.
Surgeries Prior to a couple of years ago, none. Since then, had a cholesystectomy (gall bladder removal) and had an infected toe nail removed. Theoreticallly both day surgeries. but the first they kept me in overnight due to pain levels and living alone, and the second I was fine to go home minutes after surgery, but it took me four hours to convince them being a wheelchair user made not being able to stand on one foot less of an issue, not more (and I could stand on it anyway). Trying to give them up.
Broken bones Broke my wrist when I was in my teens, but made such a poor job of it they didn't even cast it. Dislocated a toe without realising it was dislocated, and took so long to notice it's still like that 40 years later. Did bony damage to all my left-side lumbar facet joints in the fall that triggered my hypermobility into high gear, but it took a bone scan with radioactive tracer to find that, which meant not until months later (of course this means there was still active damage months later, so I guess I did a number on them).
Shot a gun Air rifles, at fairs and indoors with friends who owned one (which once led to a two-way ricochet in which the dart I'd fired at the dartboard in front of me skittered along the top of the frame of my glasses - not down the leg, across my forehead). OTOH, every time someone in a Tornado fires the guns or drops a bomb, they're using bits of my code. Possibly, in fact probably, Storm Shadow and Brimstone missiles too, but I'm not 100% certain on those, where I am on the guns and the bombs.
Quit a job No. In fact only ever had the one job. Spent 4 years trying to avoid being forced out of my job for being disabled, yes.
Flown on a plane My first flight wasn't until 2001 (when I was 38), but that was in a glider, so I got stick time the first time I ever flew., Have now flown to various European destinations, plus the Canaries (technically more African than European)
100+miles in car Every time we went on holiday as kids (Torquay most often, but also Wales and Scotland). Up to my parents from here is 300 miles, but I've only done that as a passenger. The couple of times I've driven more than 100 miles myself I've pretty much fallen out of the car at the other endm so I avoid it. Longest trip in motor transport, a 28 hour bus journey from North East England to Venice.
Gone zip lining Probably in fairly trivial format when I was in the Scouts. Not in the extreme sports style. OTOH I have done white water rafting in glacial water, though I wimped out of the parascending off the top of the Hahnenkamm that was the other half of that trip.
Watched someone give birth No
Watched someone dying No
Ridden in an ambulance Yes, had to dial 999 when I came down with acute pancreatitis. Don't think I warranted the blue light.
Been to Canada: ... to Europe: ... to Washington D.C: ... to Florida: ... to Colorado: ... to Mexico: . ... to Las Vegas:
.Been to France: Yes, one trip to Paris and a few cross-channel day trips.
... to America: No
... to London: 40 minute train trip. I usually pass through at least three times a year, I used to go in regularly for shopping trips until mobility became an issue.
... to Blackpool: A few times, oddly never got there when at university in Lancaster, which isn't that far away.
... to Scotland: Once as a kid, and to Intersection, Worldcon 9?
... to Spain .Mainland no, Canaries three times (for sailing school).... to Paris: Work trip to the Paris airshow with an overnight stay. Managed to see most of the tourist highlights very briefly in one compressed 4 hour session while on crutches.
(Other countries visited: Germany several times, Greece ditto, Austria, Italy. Driven across Belgium and bits of Holland - and possibly Luxembourg? - without penetrating any deeper than motorway service stations)
Sang karaoke A few times. The less said the better.
Had a pet growing up: Only goldfish won at fairs. Actually managed to keep one alive for quite a while..
Been downhill skiing No. Nowadays it would have to be a sit-ski (which I would quite like to try, if my body actually did cold anymore), and my hips were already too far gone for standard downhill by mid 20s. Plus acrophobic.
Gone snowboarding With my balance?
Ability to read music Technically taught how, but it didn't take.Never able to envisage the sound. And never a musician.
Ridden a motorcycle Legally not allowed too. The standard UK car license includes a provisional motorbike license, mine doesn't. The conversation with the examiner post car-test went:
"So, do you think you could hold a motorcycle up if you were stopped at a junction?"
"Okay, no motorbikes for you".
Ridden a horse Seaside donkey on Blackpool beach. I was small enough you can't really see my face in the pics because of how far down the riding helmet had slipped. Would like to try it sometime for writing research purposes (one of my friends with the same disability is a dressage rider, so it's possible)
Stayed in a hospital 8 days with acute pancreatitis, having fluids pumped in at one end and out at the other.
Driven a stick shift Standard in the UK. But after failing my umpteenth driving test, my instructor said "I think you should try automatic". He was right, the clutch pedal was one thing too many for dyspraxic me to handle, take it away and my control of the car got much better.
Ride in Police Car No. Don't think I've even talked to an on-duty police officer more than once or twice..
Driven a Boat Canoes, a canal boat, a whiter water raft, various yachts. Did actually apply to joint the Universities Royal Naval Unit, but had to withdraw due to scheduling issues with my degree. A friend once rowed at the Olympics (British Women's 8, Moscow).
Eaten Escargot Not that I can recall. Lots of shelled seafood though.
Seen a UFO If it flies, I can usually identify it. I have exchanged forum messages with someone responsible for one of the more noteworthy black aircraft sightings.https://www.secretprojects.co.
Been on a Cruise Flotilla'd* around bits of Greece a time or three. * ie in a yacht, with other yachts.
Run out of Petrol No
Eat Sushi Only had it from a Marks and Spencers taster pack that I can remember, would willingly eat it again.
Seen a Ghost No.
I've had backache on and off since Saturday afternoon, for no apparent meaning. Despite being the proprietor of the proverbial bad back (and to disabling levels), this is actually fairly unusual for me. My pain control is good enough nowadays I normally have to make a deliberate effort to do something unwise (such as, say, stand for more than 5 minutes) in order to get significant pain. But this has been making itself known even when just sitting.
As the pain is mostly over my kidneys, and with no obvious reason, I started wondering whether I might actually have a kidney infection. And a little while later it occurred to me that I could work that out by putting my back brace on and seeing what happens.
So I did. And no infection, the pain has in fact dropped down to mildly annoying niggle.
So it looks like I'm wearing the brace for a day or two, but man, it took me an embarrassingly long time to get from 'Ugg, back hurts" to "Ugg, maybe wear thing that make pain go away".
And while I can usually reconstruct my passwords, this time it didn't work, which I was decidedly stressed by. Or it didn't work until the second time I sat to work through the possibilities, so fumble-fingers must have mistyped it the first time around. Grrr!
The irony is, I'd been meaning to sit down and systematically extract all of those passwords so that I have a secure copy independent of any password tool. Fortunately I've got most of the important ones listed already, but this is just sods law!!!
Lunch* in town. Had to laugh at the hulking guy at the next table over talking about maintaining older cars: "I used to fiddle about with the choke and the spark plugs. I had no idea what I was doing, but it seemed like the manly thing to do"
*Trout and crab salad with a poached egg. Not as good as the tuna nicoise salad it's replaced on the menu, but not bad. I'll be eating it again**.
** Though next time, hopefully without the side order of backache!
I seem to have been lacking in energy the last week or so, which is probably mostly down to travelling back from visiting my folks - a tiring journey, adjusting back to coping for myself, plus being away from family again and all wrapped up in the end of summer seems to leach the agency out of me. I've even been failing to keep up with DW reading, which is most unusual. Hopefully I can get back in gear this week.
I did get out to a quiz with friends on Thursday, which had quite a setting - the crypt at Rochester Cathedral. As crypts go it was very cosy, they've turned the oldest half (c1083) into a display area for the Textus Roffensis (c1122-24, which contains the only known copies of the codes of laws of Aethelberht, Alfred and Cnut, and minor fripperies like the coronation charter of Heny I), while the area we used , a brash newcomer, built in the 1180s, has just been reworked as an event space - I think we may have been one of the first events to use it. A crypt with a bar gets my vote! Fortunately the refurbishment included a wheelchair lift (doubly so as we had another wheelchair user on our team), though my friends who volunteer as cathedral guides tell me it isn't where initially intended, when they excavated that area they found a completely unexpected Norman staircase and are still trying to figure out where it went to..
A picture of the bit we were in here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/
I went out yesterday for my usual Saturday lunch, which was a little disappointing. I had the duck confit flatbread and the duck had clearly been overcooked, it was tasty, but very, very dry, where normally it's quite moist. So dry I decided to stay and have another drink, which was actually fortuitous. Just as I was finally about to ask for the bill the friend I used to have lunch with every Saturday appeared.. It's the first time she's been out on a Saturday since spring last year, having spent the year nursing her son through terminal cancer. Hopefully it's a sign she's getting her life back to normal. She had her eldest daughter with her, plus her 7 month old granddaughter, who is a little cutie. So we talked babies and it turned out her daughter had just moved house earlier in the week. 'Where too?' I asked, lazily assuming they must simply have swapped from one London suburb to another, and was puzzled when she started with a street number, but then laughed when she completed the address - she's moved just opposite the end of the street her mum lives on, granny is obviously quite firmly on tap for babysittting!
I managed to squeeze past and onto the kerb cut, but no chair wider than mine could have done it, certainly not a powerchair. Okay, the High Street is pedestrian-only on Saturday, so the road was usable, but to get into any of the shops you need to be on the pavement and that pavement is really difficult to wheelie up onto from the road. In fact it's impossible in my chair if I have the anti-tips out, and wheelie-ing is exactly when I'd want the anti-tips. I did manage to get back up the kerb cut on my way back to the car, but I'd seriously expected not to be able to as you would normally want to run straight up the slope to the far side of where the table was and then turn, not crab up the side-slope between ramp and pavement level.
And then the elbow I'd banged while I was away decided it wasn't up to pushing up slopes - guess which way it was all 400m back to the car. Waddle, waddle, waddle....
Not too surprising that I fell asleep on the couch at 8PM, though sleeping through until midday Sunday was unexpected.
I was sarcastic about the stalls to the council's twitter account. Apparently they'll "raise this with the town centre manager". I may go dig up the relevent councillor and copy them into the thread - the High Street's an obstacle course at the best of times, never mind if the council start merrily blocking the pavement every 20 metres.
I didn't see quite as much of my dad as I'd have liked, my sister being away for the middle 10 days limited how often I could get over to see him (or her for that matter), and the one time we tried taxiing over he slept through the entire visit, but still good to see him, and he was on good form and clearly pleased to see me when he was awake, and of course I saw a lot of my mother. Other than that, a couple of Sunday lunches were the only time I stirred from the house.
I think I'm officially declaring today a holiday to recover from the holiday, I'll think about getting back into my normal routine tomorrow. Maybe.
My sister celebrated my arrival home by booking a late holiday and fleeing the country! They hadn't been able to book earlier for various reasons, so I can't really blame her. I saw her for a few days at the start of my stay and I'll see her again at the end, but timing could have been better!
Went to the GP's surgery to pick up my repeat prescription this morning.
"Oh, we haven't done that," says the receptionist. "I was trying to get in touch with you yesterday," (the phone never rang) "It's too early"
Me: "Hang on, we're half way through week 3 of a 4 week prescription and I'm going on holiday* tomorrow."
Receptionist: "It's due on the 29th"
Me: "And I'll run out on the 28th"
Her: "And we'd fill it that week. When did you say you were going on holiday?"
Me: "Tomorrow. In the morning"
She then proposed getting it signed off during the afternoon and me coming back for it (they theoretically shut at noon on Wednesday, and it was after 11:30), but then changed her mind, her terminal must have flagged the doctor was free, and walked it through there and then.
It's never been this complicated before!
Just to make things even more fun, I'd taken crutches rather than the chair and started to feel very wobbly in the middle of all of this. Hopefully just lack of sleep, I crashed when I got home and has to go to bed for a couple of hours. Which meant I didn't get around to going to the chemists til late afternoon. It's a straight roll down a slight incline from where I park, which is just as well as my pushing was pretty crap today. I suspect my shoulders aren't entirely happy after the shed re-roofing, plus my tyres needed blowing up. Getting the prescription was trouble-free, but pushing back up the slope wasn't going to happen, so I got out and used the chair as a walker. That wouldn't have been a problem if my legs hadn't decided to go very wobbly in the middle of the damned road! Fortunately with no cars about.
* Up to see the folks, Dad turns 80 on Saturday, so expect my presence to be intermittent for the rest of the month.
GPs' surgery: Hey, sign up for online appointments and repeat prescriptions.*
Try to use it for a repeat prescription for the first time
System: You have no repeat prescriptions available.
Me: Hi, I tried to get a repeat prescription and it wouldn't have it.
Surgery: Ah, that's because it's a controlled drug and the system doesn't handle those.
It's the only bloody prescription I have! Talk about being as much use as a chocolate teapot!!
* That was the occasion when the receptionist took one look at my handwriting and decided to fill in the form for me.
After I'd peeled myself off the ceiling given the untimely coincidence, I checked and yep, I was locked out of my account. Fortunately eBay has resetting your password well automated, so I was able to reset it and log back in again, just in time to see the item I wanted go for a third more than I was prepared to pay - I'm not too upset at losing it, there was a bunch of stuff I already have in the package, and the item I actually wanted, a set of out-of-print wargames rules, will eventually get an ebook version, so I'd restricted my bid to what that will go for when eventually realeased.
I still haven't forgiven eBay for the wheelchair fiasco, but praise where praise is due, they got it right here.
OTOH I may just leave Paypal disconnected for a while (and I'll be paying close attention to my next Paypal statement).
* Definitely not a false-positive misidentification of me, I hadn't done anything yet.
While standing at the top of a ladder isn't ideal for a wheelchair user, it actually went fairly simply and I was done in a couple of hours. There's some finishing to do, but nothing urgent, and all the up a ladder stuff is done.
I suspect my neck isn't going to be happy later, but for now I'm rewarding myself with beer.
The Intercept has looked into an story Steve Bannon tells about recognising the Muslim 'threat' when his ship docked in Karachi when he was in the USN.
Just one problem, the other details he gives, and the ship's cruise book, show that they were actually docked in Hong Kong. All those Muslim hordes that haunt his dreams? Chinese.
To make things worse, Bannon was the ship's navigator.
Full article here