Monthly Archives: May 2019


Yesterday I had cause to talk with a surgeon, who I had never met, but who knew from reading about it, my medical history, from my accident, through my paralysis, through my depression, through my further ( disastrous for me ) surgery, through my stoma and catheter procedures, through my proper suicide attempt, through my further major spine surgery, along with my divorce and loss of home and business and children all happening concurrently, to then meet me in person, expecting to meet someone who looked like they’d been through all that… but instead, he said met ‘ such a positive, well adjusted and smiling man ‘, so surprised was he that he strongly felt the need to tell me as much.

I thanked him for his kind words and said that 5/6 years is ‘ the standard time’ to ‘ begin to accept and cope and come to terms with ‘ paralysis, so actually I just slotted in to the usual hole.

He said ‘ I don’t know if you realise that if you hadn’t had the accident and injuries you had in France, near a specialist hospital, with advanced air response services to get you there, instead having had your crash in England, then you would have died that day for sure ‘
I didn’t know that, no, I said, in fact experiencing mixed feelings at that moment, but certainly being aware that those feelings were at least now mixed, rather than feelings of ‘ Jesus, what a shame I hadn’t crashed in England then ‘ …

So it seems that I’ve brushed ever so closely with certain death twice so far, along with brushing with possible death quite a few times more..

I would seem to be like the proverbial cat then, in terms of number of chances I’ve had, and used up….
I wonder what’ll happen to me next? I can’t imagine it’ll be plain sailing from here, as my condition does lead to ‘ complications ‘ further down the line once you are 60 plus.

I have to get as far as 60 first, I thought, what are the chances of that?!

Last night I saw the incomparable Dido ( she’s a singer ) in north london with Pia. We had all sorts of ‘ fun’ trying to get to a place in the venue from where I could actually see Dido, rather than just see the backs of people standing up in front of me, but we did manage it, and she really was brilliant. I’m not the type to have a thing about famous people/ ‘ stars’ but Dido, and er Rachel Riley ( from Countdown ) well those 2 are the exception to my Indifferent Rule.

Wendy and I are on an Easyjet flight to Portugal as I write. A ‘ holiday ‘… it’s been a while since I’ve had one of those, but yes, this is actually feeling like one! Blimey, watch this space..

( in 15 days it’ll be exactly 6 years since I had my accident. Last year I completely fell apart on my ‘anniversary ‘ and sobbed like I never have before. This time around I don’t think it’ll be that way actually, but then again who knows? I didn’t expect to react how I did last year, at all )


I live next to a canal, and today there is some drama program being filmed, with scenes of a girl on a narrowboat, maybe 50 metres from me. I’ve got no idea what production it’s for, but blimey they aren’t half making a meal of it. The film crew on the launch ( that has a 300 bhp outboard motor – why? The speed limit on the canal is about 4 knots and there is no current?! AND they have a safety boat with a fella in a wetsuit…) numbers 10 people, all wearing capsize survival clothing and life jackets, and they have just taken a shot of some action on the narrowboat. I was prepared to see the ‘ heroine ‘ of the film being murdered and pushed overboard, or maybe Godzilla bursting up from the depths and biting off her head….. but no, the shot that they filmed no less than 4 times was… wait for it…. her friend coming from below deck and giving her a mug of tea in the sunshine.

Mmm it’s no wonder that telly stuff costs are crazy high then, given no doubt there were another lot of costume and make up peeps also hiding in the narrowboat too. Obviously daft elfnsafety rules are to blame… the world has truly gone mad.

PS! I hear now that’s it’s a zombie film that they are making. There’s gonna be the Undead round my manor then soon. I wonder if they need any zombie extras in wheelchairs? I’d be ideal for that role, without make up.

Couldn’t care less…

There’s a fair bit in the news at the moment about a care home and the abuse that went on there. As I have had the misfortune of a disabling accident, and then surgical misadventure that has left me dependent on carers , I am qualified to comment I feel on this. The irony of the meaning of the job title… the ‘ carer’ bit. All too often the ‘carer’ really doesn’t care, except about the paycheque bit every week.

I’ve had some very dodgy characters ‘ looking after ‘ me. Some were simply of very low intelligence, which made them unsafe and unsuitable, but a few have been scheming and vindictive ( like those highlighted on the news recently ). The worst case, in my own experience, was one Linda Warren, a Zimbabwean woman who was ONLY in it for the money, and actually it is well paid, especially considering how little some Carers actually do. Take the job title ‘ live in carer’ What that means is that they live rent free in your house, and have zero overheads, and if they can help it do nothing more than sit around in your home. They are often not even contracted to do any cleaning ( other than a bit of tidying up ) driving, shopping, aren’t allowed to lift anything heavier than a cup of tea etc etc. What they are often exceptionally good at is watching TV and being on their phones to friends and family. For the pleasure of their company it’s standard to pay around £130 per day to an agency.

Linda was a live in carer of mine. She hadn’t had a ‘ care’ job before but promised, and put in writing, that nothing was too much trouble, that she had boundless energy, had single handedly brought up 3 children, had run organisations, been a leader of men etc etc. She seemed too good to be true really….

And guess what?! If it looks too good to be true… then generally that’s exactly how it turns out. For a few weeks she was positive, enthusiastic and dedicated, but she just couldn’t keep it up. She had always had a maid in Zimbabwe, so hadn’t ever had to clean her own home, let alone that belonging to someone else. She hadn’t cooked or bought the food, or even made her own coffee – the maid did all that. It became apparent all too soon that doing ‘ menial ‘ ( but ordinary and normal to those of us in the UK ) was beneath her. Very quickly she came to comment on how she ‘ was just the domestic ‘ – a description that bewildered me because I rarely saw her doing anything that resembled a ‘ chore ‘.

I haven’t ever written about Linda, and her maltreatment of me, because I just wanted that memory to go away, but she reared her ugly head again recently when I had sight of things she’d written about me that were extremely unpleasant. I dismissed her, you see, after about 2 months, as her attitude got worse and worse, and her unpleasant nature emerged. The final straw was when she refused point blank to help me into bed one night. Given I couldn’t get into bed myself, it wasn’t something that was negotiable, and I pleaded that she just assist me. She said ‘ no, it’s not my problem, you’re on your own ‘. Having very few options indeed ( read none ) I said that if she didn’t help I’d call the police. She said ‘ sure, go on then’ having assumed that the London police were as corrupt and unreliable as those in South African countries….

When they turned up 5 minutes later, all 3 of them, and put it to her straightforwardly that she was guilty of abuse by not doing her job ( looking after/‘caring for ‘ a disabled person ) and that if she didn’t do it they’d have to arrest her ( and if I had further problems they were just a phone call away ) she did change her attitude and became very cooperative. By then though I’d had enough and avoided her as much as possible until I found someone else and got rid of her. True to her nature though, she had to do what she could to wreak harm, a year after her dismissal. I’d actually contacted her ex husband, after she’d gone, as Linda had this very clever way of making you doubt yourself, and so I wanted to learn more about her past. It turns out she’d been sacked before for being really objectionable, and her ex husband told me ( very unemotionally ) that he couldn’t think of a single job Linda was less suited to than caring for another human being.

It alarms me that Linda has carried on working in the Care industry. I tracked her down recently, after her recent intervention in my life, and see she is working for an agency that just employs women from Zimbabwe. The agency promises hard working mothers who have left their families to work in the UK. In the small print it seems that even the live in’s are entitled to 8 hours complete break in every 24 hours. Think about that though – if someone needs a live in carer, there’s every chance of it being unlikely that for 8 hours every day they are completely fine to be alone…..! The small print details ‘ companionship’ care at £130 a day, ‘ with no personal care ‘ So that’s £130 a day for company, without them doing much for you ref giving you a hand with washing or dressing. For that it’s far more, and if you ‘ disturb ‘ the carer ( who it says, may be ‘ exhausted after a full day’s work – that’ll be watching telly with you ) it’s £11 every time you ask for help.

I think that job suits Linda down to the ground. She was ‘ exhausted ‘ most of the time, after the first 3 weeks. As a one time extreme athlete I don’t think I’ve EVER said I’ve been ‘ exhausted ‘ ?! And that’s after say running marathons or kayaking hundreds of miles…. I mean exhaustion is surely when you have absolutely nothing left ( at all ) isn’t it? Watching telly and making cups of tea isn’t going to induce mild fatigue, let alone worse. Linda was allegedly a cycle multiple national champion previously, so more than most she should brush away a little workload like tv watching excess?

So back to the original point to this post – I’ve completely not been surprised by the ‘ revelations of psychological abuse ‘ in the Care Homes. The majority of Carers are really not true to their job title. I’ve had some lovely ones, but the likes of Lee, Stella and G are most certainly the exception rather than the rule. I’m able to voice my concerns and act upon them, but most people being ‘ cared for ‘ are not so able. It’s scary, it really is. Most ( white ) elderly people who need help in this country will not be looked after by their families, but will end up in Care. My advice? Avoid that at all costs – seriously. There are other ways out, as unpalatable as that may seem. When you are young, fit and able you can’t imagine being old and/ or incapable… but be warned, it’ll come to most of you.

May bank holiday.

We went to the All Points East festival on Friday night.
That involved a Bus to Kew bridge, a Bus to Kew Gardens, a Train to Hackney Wick
and then a 1.5 miles roll to the venue, by which time my iBot Battery was on half, and I still had the challenge of getting back….
Thankfully (!) I could get recharged on the platform at the venue, the organisation having the nous to realise that lots of wheelchairs run on electricity. Full credit to All Points East for that one.

After an hour, and contrary to the weather forecast, it absolutely chucked it down for an hour, and we were in the open, with no coats or umbrellas ( my bad … ).

But I had had the sense to keep some emergency tarpaulin in my bag, which actually was there to use as an improvised stretcher in case I needed to be carried at some point, if some accident had befallen me.

So whilst cuddling closely to Wendy under our tarpaulin, as the temperature had dropped and the woven type tarp was semi permeable to water, a lady about a metre from her said ‘ are you alright, is your leg alright?’

Wendy had been jiggling her right leg to keep warm.
Wendy said ‘ bit wet, but yes I’m fine, thank you ‘ putting on a brave face when in fact she was cold and soaked …
The woman then said ‘ oh, well in that case, can you keep your leg still, because the vibrations through the ground are making me feel sick ‘.
So just think about that… this woman is at a festival, headlined by The Chemical Brothers, essentially a ‘dance’ act ( as in heavy persistent bass beat ) and she is complaining about an 8 stone lady tapping her right foot to keep warm ( whilst sat down ) with rubber soled pumps on. Perhaps that was her disability, and eligibility for access to the disabled platform, being f’ing intolerant?

Anyway, it is quite funny, at the same time!

Walking/ rolling from Victoria park to
Hackney Wick Station took an 1 hour, Wendy running for the last half mile. The festival organisers, in their wisdom, declined to use all 8 exits clearly labelled on the park hoardings, and directed all 10,000 people through the same exit instead, it taking half an hour to just get out, and travelling in the opposite direction to our next destination, the train station.
Consequently there was no train to Richmond – the delay getting out meant we had missed the last train.
So train to Willesden Junction then instead, and then the 220 bus to Hammersmith, and then the N9 bus to home, 2 hours in all and back at 2.30. None of that is at all bothersome, but it does beg the question of ‘ is it worth it?’ I suppose. On balance it was though, the Brothers and Hot Chip ( the band not the snack ) were both brilliant.

Last night, after going to a ‘ Food festival ‘ in Syon park ( well I got free tickets so why not ), we made home modifications to my iBot. It’s gotta be 10 years old and one of the bits which are not custom made for the user ( especially when you buy it second hand on EBay like I did ) is the seat and back rest.
My back is totally f’d up, not straight and full of metal, so the standard car seat typa seat gives me sod all support. Soooo, having got a new backrest from Wheelchair Services for my replacement wheelchair which I’m due after 5 years of being in the same one, I effectively had a spare ‘ shaped for me’ backrest. It’s quite large, the backrest, and if you keep it, on the off chance you’ll need it, then the chances are that it’ll take up half a cupboard in your small flat for the rest of your life.
Lightbulb moment then – try to get the back part of the iBot off and get the custom backrest on instead…Me, unable to move that much, and Wendy ( not altogether experienced mechanically ) succeeded in stripping off the existing upholstery and securing a perfect backrest to a brilliant old iBot, so that now when I use it I’m not wobbling around like a Weeble anymore.

Result! Vast improvement and zero cost other than about 10 industrial cable ties ( the world’s most useful invention – other than the incredible in every way Wendy 😉 )
I do get a kick out of reusing stuff and benefiting greatly in the process…. #Recyclingnotthrowingstuffawaythatsbloodyuseful.


I’ve been going on a public speaking course for 6 months. There was a monthly class, which did see the number of attendees shrink from 9 to 5 at the end.

Most people were there because they felt they really needed the coach to diminish their morbid fear or inability to write a speech and then perform it in public. Personally I wasn’t there for those reasons. I enrolled as the opportunity arose and at the time I was in a dark place in my head. What I’ve done consistently these last 5/6 years is to try, to try hard to make the best of my situation, and to try to make my life one that genuinely makes me smile.

I do think that I have got there, or at the very least I am GETTING there.

There was a tragic twist. One ( pregnant for the last few lessons) lady that attended most sessions, who was there to counter her fear of speaking in front of people, had to use what she had learned to write and perform a eulogy at her husband’s funeral. They went on holiday a few weeks ago and during the night he got up to use the bathroom, but collapsed and died once inside it, not living to see his unborn child ( due shortly, God willing )

Life can be cruel, can’t it? I know that more than most I think.


Just been to see Jess Glynne in Shepherds Bush. It was a postponed WarChild benefit gig. A girl came on stage to talk about the war in her African country and the effects on the terrified children there. The West London audience kept chatting throughout her delivery… ‘ well, we’re not here for charity, we’re here for Jess Glynne ‘ … enough said I think.

Jess sang her hits, including the one where the main message is ‘ I don’t wear make up on Thursdays ‘. Wow, what an inspiration to girls she is… that one day of the week where she has such humility that she doesn’t wear make up… I’d bet that that isn’t actually factual.

Did Jess mention War Child at all in the hour or so she played? Er, no, she didn’t. She said ‘ are you all having a good time?’ quite often, and ‘ I love you guys’, but mention the reason she was there ? Nope, I think she had forgotten? But it’s ok, because she doesn’t wear make up on Thursdays

Jess can sing for sure, but she’s definitely lowbrow ( bless her ..) Last night Mr P and I went to another POS night and the first speaker talked about the fact ( FACT ) that the future of human nutrition is an insect diet. They are incredibly rich in goodness ( protein ) and dead easy to ‘ farm’ as they naturally thrive in huge numbers in a small space, and probably don’t have that much consciousness of their situation ie that they will be eaten. I’d guess that fate is inevitable as an insect.

Jess probably earns a few million a year, and really is as thick as… and the learned lecturer probably 45k a year to educate students in the future of human survival.

That’s a bit skewed I’d say. but that’s just my opinion.

Tut tut.

With still no verdict in my own case, I head to the nearest magistrates Court to be an observer again.

The Court says it’s accessible and is a one storey building that’s new’ish.

However when I get there and follow the signs to the wheelchair bit, I’m told that out of 5 courts, only one is accessible and today there is a private hearing… which I can’t see.

So that was a waste of time then! Never mind.

Monday night.

So last night then.. when I went to a Pint of Science talk with Marky P, my girlfriend Wendy ( having opened 2 doors for me to get out ) found herself locked out of my flat. She had had the foresight to carry the keys, but not the foresight to wear her knickers ( and had on only a sweatshirt that was down just below her bum cheeks ).

So there she was, somewhat reluctant to reach up high to try to release the jammed door catch ( on account of avoiding a ‘ show ‘ that might attract every male within a mile ).

Eventually a tall fella turned up and tried ( telling her that ‘ next time you ought to wear some shoes ‘ – ha, if only he knew! ) to release the catch. That didn’t work so Wendy considered climbing over railings of 3 adjacent gardens ( weh hey another show ! ) but eventually someone let her in a side door…

That excitement aside, Marky P and I came second in the Pint of Science quiz ( knowledge of Thames Bridges tipping the balance our way I think – at last my kayaking history has been useful for something ).

The talk was about plastic pollution in the Thames, and the contamination of water by humans with antibiotics. In some countries the concentration of antibiotics in rivers is HIGHER THAN THE DOSE YOU NEED IN YOUR BLOODSTREAM TO CURE YOUR INFECTION!

Jesus, what a mess we are making of the World 🌎