Monthly Archives: November 2018


Having gone to Oxford to see a band ( and my girlfriend ) I was surprised to find that in the O2 Academy Oxford there was absolutely no strategy for wheelchair users… it’s quite hard to see anything when everyone in the venue is standing up except you …

Blimey, yet another email sent then.

Well if you don’t point it out and complain then nothing will change will it?

Cast, the band, were really upbeat and good- like all the bands I’ve seen from Liverpool.

7/10 for Cast and definitely worth the trip.

2/10 for the O2 Academy.


Dear Sirs

Im writing to complain bitterly about the situation that your system put me in. I am Paralysed ( after a terrible accident ) and wheelchair bound. I wanted to catch a train to see my girlfriend, in Oxford.
I went online to book a train, via your app. I did so and then booked assistance, with ramps and a space for someone who cannot get out of his wheelchair. Ramps were arranged at both ends of my journey.

When I got to Ealing Broadway Station, to my shock, surprise and horror, I couldn’t access the station, as all entries apparently have stairs and there are no lifts!
Please explain to me how you can let a passenger in a wheelchair book help onto a train from a station that he cannot possibly get into. This situation makes absolutely no sense at all. I had to miss my booked train and get to Paddington station ( 7 miles away, which I did by wheelchair on the roads ) then talk to the people there about getting a different train, and rearrange ramps at both ends for a different train journey.
I’m still incredulous that there is nothing in your booking system that prevents this happening, and also incredulous that a main station like Ealing Broadway isn’t accessible in the first place. I’m on the train now and feeling extremely nervous about arriving in Didcot and your system letting me down again, with me being stuck on the train, totally unable to get off myself.
Please advise what you are going to do to remedy this situation, how you intend to restore my confidence in SW Trains, and how you are going to recompense me for the way you have made me feel.

Yours faithfully,

Russell Dawkins.


Today I’m catching a train. Trains make me nervous as I am TOTALLY reliant on the rail staff being at the right place at the right time, with ramps to get on and off the bloody thing. If they don’t appear I’m either stuck on the platform or stuck on the train. You have to pre book it all, so in theory it is going to work… but there’s always that very large element of doubt in my head.

Perhaps one day they’ll have accessible trains? Or at least one carriage, or a raised section of platform like they have now in the accessible tube  stations… we live in hope then.

Last night I also missed something, again through  the fear of an unknown. I’d been invited to something where I didn’t know anyone, in a bar. For me there’s the issue of ‘ well what if people don’t talk to me, or aren’t that helpful if I’m on my  own. Far from everyone is, so I sent an email with my ‘ concerns’ to the organiser. She didn’t reply, so I’m guessing that she felt uncomfortable with the situation too. So I didn’t go.

Ahh this wheelchair thing!

Well I never.

Fully aware, kind of, that I’ve not said much recently?

I’ve not been at my best, you could say, for a while, but I am ‘ recovering ‘.  I have been doing stuff, for sure. As I’ve oft said, distraction is everything for me. It stops the black dog from hounding around my mind.

I went to the cinema the other day. Never been to see a film by myself, and thought that sounded a bit tragic, but once in there I reckon most other people were by themselves too? And let’s face it, watching a film isn’t supposed to be sociable is it? It’s about you and the screen. Anyway i saw Bohemian Rhapsody and it was pretty good. Old Freddie struck me as a really decent guy, as did all the other band members. It’s funny that in those days ( not long ago ) being gay wasn’t really acknowledged by the public. I mean really? You can’t get much gayer than Freddie, with his moustache and flamboyance, yet none of us really thought about him being gay. I remember being told he had AIDS and it was a genuine shock, as didn’t only gay men get that…? Bonkers in retrospect.

Theyll be telling me Elton John is gay next.

Bit chilly isn’t it.

As the Arctic conditions descended on Britain I made the slight error of Tririding across London without gloves last night-  never mind, I survived, though also got caught in a nasty rain storm. As Wendy got me this leg warmy rain cover thingy I was saved from certain hypothermia- yet again Wendy to the rescue then – all credit for forward thinking. As I have a life long habit of dressing in the winter as though it’s the summer, I can sometimes get caught out by the cold ( although I never seem to learn my lesson… I just tell myself to man up, rather than wear more warm clothes ).

One day I’ll probably die and people will say we did tell him, and now look, he’s dead.

I’ll blame Pia for giving that tramp my jumper last winter ( from beyond the grave obviously ).

Friday night!

Helped into bed and then loads more bleeding out of my willy…. that wouldn’t bloody stop. It would seem that the nurse managed to damage a blood vessel close to my urethra then, and moving me opened the vessel again.

I called 111 who asked me a zillion irrelevant questions, and then the blood stopped flowing.

I really didn’t want to go to hospital again as I know how unprepared they are for paralysed people. The blood started then stopped again and the advice was to see what happens overnight. As Wendy is with me what might happen is that she gets covered in my blood too. As she grew up in Africa helping her parents run the bush surgery she’s very relaxed about blood, as am I.

Lets suck it and see.

Well, not literally in this case….


I looked down just now to check that my catheter, which goes into my abdomen about 2 inches below my tummy button, was ok. It looked like I’d been stabbed, there was so much blood in my pants, and of course totally painless to me.

Anyway, largely kinda wiped off now. I suppose it just had to all work it’s way out of me.

My front tooth also fell off yesterday… it being a veneer/ crown thing fitted 4 years ago ( and apparently indestructible …. yeah right ) so I glued it back on with superglue, As there were 2 pieces and I’d already glued the bottom bit before I even found the top bit, it’s not exactly perfect, but it’s passable ( from a distance ).

All in all an eventful 24 hours of bodily malfunctions then.

On the upside we saw Sigrid the other day in Brixton. Wow what a talent she is. If you go to one gig this coming year, go to see her. Just going from strength to strength. Having seen her about February time previously, she has transformed into a superstar in the making

10/10 for Sigrid- best artist this year, for me.

Calm then Storm then calm.

I got my wheelchair back! I never thought I’d be so pleased to see a bloody wheelchair, but yes it seems that’s the way it is now.  They got the broken seized on wheel off and I have a spare wheel on there, and blimey it’s far better for it. I’ve realised that the broken one has been breaking for a long time, in retrospect, making the ‘ ride’ not great. With a change of wheels it feels very different.

That positive had to lead to a negative of course, and that came with the catheter change that I had today. I bled a lot internally, the catheter blocked with clotted blood and I was stuck with a full bladder and no way to drain it. Thankfully the nurse came back out to my flat within an hour, and resolved it, to my huge relief. Thoughts of ‘ here we bloody go again ‘ were rampant in my head, but actually not this time.

I have to thank my close friends for their love during a difficult time for me, and my parents and brothers, but most of all Wendy, who is a definitely a shining gem.

Thanks too to Fanny, who without knowing it also helped.

Big kiss for Fanny then.