All posts by Russ

👍

Fresh from BreathGate, I met a different lady and went to the theatre. I’d booked ‘ Witness for the Prosecution’ Its an Aggie Christie play.
The venue is in the old County Hall courtroom, so its a real courtroom staging a play about a courtroom. That reduced the production costs im sure. ..

It’s good! Has a twist of course. Just been you think its finished BAM something happens.
In fact, after that WAM BAM something else happens.

I’d recommend, for sure.

Thankfully, post Covid, all venues seem to not skimp on the aircon, so the rooms are cold rather than warm. Well that also helps you to stay awake, and keeps your drink chilled.
So many upsides to post Covid life, who’d have predicted?!

The other day I wrote a ‘ feedback email’. I went to an outside restaurant and was asked to use the QR code to order. I did, but it didn’t work. I tried repeatedly, no success. Im no stranger to tech, for sure, but nope, it wouldn’t work. Error error error..

I was there for 25 minutes. No one came to ask / help/ take an order.
Ironically, in a wheelchair, you get LESS assistance offered, rather than more. Well thats mental. People avoid your gaze… and look the other way. Don’t stare at the cripple!
Ok, but do please come and take the poor git’s order?

I left. I hadn’t been approached at all? I mean, what did the staff think I was doing in a restaurant?

I went next door and was looked after immediately, and had some lunch and a drink ( or two ).

So I emailed the first place and was just factual and fair.

Well tonight I’m meeting Lily there, and it’s complimentary, by way of an apology.
And rightly so.
Its 2022 and a fella in a wheelchair is ignored for 25 minutes, in a ‘ nice ‘ restaurant venue?
C’mon.

Glad they owned the service ‘ deficiency’.

Its how it is in business – the complaining customers that you then ‘ wow’ become your most loyal customers thereafter. I know, having had businesses for 20 years.
🤷

♿️🐑

The Perils!

So I met a nice lady. Let’s call her Beryl.
Fun and smart of mind – and come Date 3 there was a proximity, and a kiss.

Well really it was the first time id probably been closer than 3 feet to her.. so I had no inkling…. but her breath was, well, impossible to describe without talking about rubbish bins and fish.
Thats not something im exaggerating. In fact id be being kind.

Managing not to react visibly at all, the kiss was brief ( mercifully ) and we carried on our afternoon for another few hours, probably, though not with any more ‘ closeness’.

Well it very hot, and id not seen her drinking any water/ tea/ significant volume of liquid.. so I put it down to dehydration. I mean, she was very well to do, and took a lot of pride in her appearance, clearly.

I mentioned the importance of drinking water, in general, and particularly now, in the heatwave ..
For a few days I kept asking about drinking.. but didn’t want to give the game away.
I always got the same response though, from Beryl the Peril – ‘ oh I never drink much, I don’t like to have to go to the loo – always too busy ‘
I reasoned that hopefully that was the root cause, but I really didn’t want a repeat at the next date.
For me, officially doubly incontinent ( tho managed ) I have to be less sensitive to bodily function stuff, and be blasé, so I was hardly going to ditch her and not say why.

So I asked if she preferred direct address rather than fruitless beating around the bush, when it came to the imparting of quite vital information ( in this case, critical for her to know, lets face it.. before she found herself ostracised… and im serious, because it was that bad )

So I explained, downplaying the level of toxicity quite a bit, and again labelling dehydration as the likely cause.
If I had awful breath, I hope someone would tell me. If YOU have awful breath, I hope someone has the humanity to tell you. If you really wanna know, nip round mine and I’ll be honest..

Well her ( prolonged ) reaction was, well, hostile. I mean, talk about ‘ shoot the messenger’. The messenger wasn’t so much shot, as torn from limb to limb, and then his pets killed.
I was called brain damaged, unkind and spiteful. She was apparently tired of ‘ spiteful men’.
At that point I was clearly in a no win situation – take it back and admit to spite, or press on and still be judged spiteful.
Well either way I was apparently an evil man, but at least if I didn’t back down I might save her social life. …
So I didn’t back down. I was just factual ( but downplayed the ‘ knockout factor ‘ of said breath )

We actually met again, though she stayed a yard away ( maybe mercifully ). Still though she labelled me unkind.

What she hadn’t admitted ( and I don’t know why ) was that she actually had toothache, and had also even fainted.. 3 times. Derrrr.. a connection maybe? Tbh its a wonder I didn’t faint when I breathed it in.. but im made of sterner stuff, clearly.

So a ‘ horrible’ dental infection was diagnosed.. and treated.

Now if you ask me, as embarrassing as it may have been for her ( and no, it wasnt for me ) I did her a big favour. What if she’d fainted whilst driving? Death to her and others, id imagine.

Rather than thanks, I got hostility for telling her. Apparently I shouldn’t have. But clearly she had no clue. …

In the to and fro, it all got a bit insulting.
I was evil … and spiteful… and she had Death/Shit Breath. I mean if someone is going to call me that enough times, im going to hit back.
By then, this relationship clearly wasnt going to go anywhere! 😂

She’s met another fella, and thanks to me, he wont politely excuse himself and scarper.

I stand by what I did – either way it would end, but at least I saved her from social distancing until she crashed and died.

Ahh my life of Do Gooding.
It goes on!

Here we go again.

Ibot means catching buses.
Can’t tell you how much I haven’t missed catching buses.
The law is clear – wheelchairs get priority. No exceptions. In practice however it’s not like that. The filthy looks from ladies with prams, and bus drivers.
Today is a new one. Filthy look from a foreign woman with her ‘ pampered pooch ‘ in a buggy.

Thankfully a passenger got up and had a word with the driver. Otherwise I’d have been waiting for ever. 3 buses had already driven straight past.

Well the film was good..

I went to see Where the crawdads sing, the other night.

For only the second time, I went to the cinema solo. Well it was an impulsive kinda act, and I didn’t actually invite anyone – so hard to be in company if you don’t tell anyone you’re going!

There’s a special wheelchair lift in Westfield Vue. A staff member has to take you up in it, though you can leave by yourself, as exiting ( for safety reasons ) has to be something you can do yourself.

Anyway.. after being escorted to my area, I said to the chap that I’d be ok leaving by myself.
He then said ‘ well you can’t, because the lift button isn’t working. Someone will come and get you. ‘

OK, I said. Fair enough.

Thé film is brilliant. Go and see it tonight!

I did make my way to the lift afterwards, and indeed having pressed the button, nothing happened. OK, so someone is coming anyway.

15 minutes later, I’m still waiting at the lift door. There’s no sign, no emergency phone, nothing. So I googled and found various numbers.
I tried them all. Same message ‘ thanks for calling Westfield **** service.. we are now closed ‘ etc.

Jesus.. so now what am I supposed to do ?

I then called 999.

‘ Which service do you want … etc ?’

‘I am in a wheelchair and stuck in a building. It’s not exactly an emergency, but I am stuck ‘

‘ Which service do you require though?’

‘ Well you tell me, is that fire brigade or police?!’

‘ Can’t advise you Sir, which service do you require?’

OK – Police then?!

‘ Putting you through’

‘ Hello, what’s the emergency?’

I’m stuck in a building, in a wheelchair, on the top floor. The lift operator has forgotten to fetch me…

‘ Have you called security?’

Yes, I’ve tried but there’s no answer, because they are shut

‘ What are the instructions on the inside of the lift ?’

No idea- I’m not inside the lift! I’m stuck upstairs, with no lift working.

‘ OK I’ll try to call security’

Then ..

There’s no answer Sir, I can’t really help you ‘

The emergency services can’t help me?? What? What’s the point in calling 999 if you say you can’t help someone stuck and in distress?’

Saved by the bell – suddenly a staff member appears. I say goodbye to the ‘ Emergency Services 🤷’ and give the staff fella a hard time.

‘ I came at the end of the film ‘

Oh no you didn’t- that was 20 minutes ago! I’ve been waiting outside a lift door and have called 999.

He proposed a complimentary ticket. I said no… and I’d be calling The Sun.

It’s not about the money. It’s about the service!
If I was the fragile type I’d have fallen to pieces!

I did calm down, and I apologised for giving Ahmed a hard time. It hadn’t been Ahmed that had taken me up 2 hours earlier…

So a few complimentary tickets later, plus a refund, I left.

Clearly it’s against the rules to take me to the top of a building I can’t escape from. but it’s a worse failure to then ‘ forget when to get me out ‘

Not even going to the cinema is straightforward, clearly. Well definitely not by myself!

Disabled blimmin life.

Hamming it up.

I went to see Hamilton last night.

There’s a lot of publicity about it. Must see/ unforgettable etc etc.

It’s a rap musical about one of the ‘ Founding Fathers’ of America. A lot of the FF’s went on to be President, but Hamilton didn’t, though his influence has been ‘ a bit forgotten by history’.

Most of the cast are black. Historically of course, slavery in America was very much alive and well at that time, and blacks were very much ‘ second rate citizens’ ( officially! ) until the 1960’s and even beyond ( unbelievably ). Obviously lots would argue that they still are.
So to cast most of the influential people of that era with black actors is a little odd.

Rap music is by definition fast paced. You have to listen again and again to tune into the meanings ( I think ) so to act a complex historical ‘ plot ‘ about many characters that aren’t at all familiar to you ( especially in England, because we aren’t scholars of American history, as a rule ) with rap … isn’t a great formula in terms of being understandable…

Given musicals TEND to attract, well, a less intellectual crowd than say a play by Shakespeare, I can’t really see how the format can work, in terms of attracting large audiences.

I mean, it was ok… it was lively, there was no spoken dialogue at all, other than some narration at the start.

So it’s a fast moving storyline, acted in fast paced rap, about a lot of people that mean little or nothing to a British audience, played by a cast that’s ‘ colour inaccurate’.

Doesn’t sound like a formula for success, does it?

Theatres are often full of people who seem to ‘ loudly guffaw ‘ at ‘ jokes’ in the script. Either they have unusual senses of humour, or they are hamming it up as much as the peeps on the stage are. Last night was no exception. This play isn’t a comedy, for sure.

If you are American, have studied early American politics, and are familiar with the characters in this play, like rap music a lot, like musicals, like a crowded theatre with long, long queues for the lavvy… then you should DEFINITELY see this production.

If you aren’t the above, see something else.

Like ‘ The Emperor has no clothes’, perhaps ?

Great wheelchair accessibility, btw.

5 years.

Five years ago, tonight, I was helped into bed, after watching a film with my then help, Stella.
I watched her close the door behind her, and gave it an hour or so.
Then I got my legs into a cross legged position, and then pushed a kitchen knife into the inner top of my left leg.

When I pulled the knife out, the blood came out in a jet, as if from a hosepipe. I remember thinking ‘ blimey, this’ll definitely work!’
And shortly after, I imagine I slipped into unconsciousness.

Unpredictably, and definitely unexpectedly, Stella got a message from Pia, asking her to check on me. I’m told that Stella said ‘ he’s fine, he’s in bed ‘
But she apparently checked anyway, finding me unconscious, in a pool of blood, and to all intents and purposes, almost dead.
Well that was the plan!

Stella apparently plugged the wound with something, and then gave me chest compression, as I’d stopped breathing and my heart had stopped.
With her other hand (?) she called 999.
Not long after I was apparently on a stretcher, in a helicopter..

To wake up in a hospital, to wake up ( alive ) was pretty confusing and actually very unwelcome.
I’d got my affairs in order etc, including written a Will.

My only thoughts for a while were ‘ right I’ll have to do this again, but properly in the middle of the night, so that there was ABSOLUTELY no chance of ‘ being saved ‘ again. Well I didn’t want bloody saving.. ! I’d made my choice, and was very hacked off that my choice had been overturned.

Would I do it now? No I wouldn’t. But it’s only since October 2021 that suicide stopped being my inevitability.
It’s still a novelty to not feel that way, and I didn’t ever think a non suicidal mindset would ever materialise, and still a shock to ‘ feel happy’, I can tell you!

Had I still been walking around healthily, then I’d have had for more options as a way out method…
But had I still been walking around healthily, I wouldn’t ever have had those thoughts in the first place!
Anyone reading this who has dark thoughts, and is in possession of a healthy body, please don’t waste it. A body that works is amazing gift from Nature. Please appreciate it.

I definitely miss the one I had.

Neil

And it’s a farewell to my school friend, who, along with several others from my school, has been a loyal and supportive mate to me post injury. Neil died suddenly at the weekend. I’d spoken to him only 2 days prior.

Neil Robins was a real character, for sure. Definitely had a criminal leaning.. and an eye for an opportunity.
When he was about 21, he advertised in a Cardiff newspaper, a date site that he had set up ( and it would have been one of the very first sites )
He advertised a joining fee along with having to send in your details and your love CV… and what you were looking for etc.
The joining fee and first instalment was quite a lot but there were it seems a lot of lonely hearts in Cardiff .. so the cash poured in.

Except he didn’t actually arrange any dates for anyone, but still cashed the cheques.

I think he possibly banked on no one complaining, as back then it would have been embarrassing to admit you had to resort to a date site to find a girl/ fella… but someone did complain, and then went to the police.

Neil went to jail for fraud.

I remember being told the story when I was about 22, and just finding it hilarious, given I was in school with the criminal mastermind.

Imagine if he’d actually set up a decent site, and it endured? As one of the first, he could by now be in charge of an empire… and be like Hugh Hefner.
🤷

RIP Neil x

Ibot got.

IBot got!

Now on a train back.
Lord knows what will happen next 🤦‍♂️

Gina is in charge of my other chair, that has the Triride attached. Not having any spatial awareness or coordination, it’s a mixture of hilarious and bewilderment just watching her ‘ push it along.
I manage to rarely collide with anything whilst in charge of it, despite not being able to look behind me…. Gina manages to collide with everything despite having control of her whole body, and being able to look behind her.
🙄😂

Surrounded by male passengers with ‘ very nice ‘ man bags.. they do like a bit of ‘ can’t see why only women can carry a clutch purse’ here in The Netherlands. #Howverydareyou!

Dire

If you think the UK has a problem with its railways… jeez try Belgium.
Absolutely hopeless.

Currently stuck in Brussels and no one knows anything at all, it seems.
My next train has been cancelled but ‘ the assistance’ doesn’t seem to have a plan for what I’m supposed to do next.
I’m going to get to my destination way too late to receive the iBot training that’s compulsory to have.
Honestly it’s ABSOLUTE CHAOS here.