Monthly Archives: November 2019

What a day!?!

I swear you couldn’t make my life up.

After all the crap things that have happened to me, by and large I’m pretty bloody smiley.
Talk about compare and contrast with other people that I used to spend time with…

Today I went with a completely festive motive and no other ( tbh I’m hard pressed to even imagine what else could be construed by it ) to give gifts to people I once called friends. I’d spent time and cash getting everything and was 100% positive about it, when I pressed the doorbell at someone’s door. The lady of the house answered and said ‘ oh it’s you ‘ Nice, right?
I said ‘ I’ve just got some things for you to give to people’
She said ‘ there’s NOTHING I want from you ‘ and slammed the door.
Blimey .. it was like trying to board a bus in Chiswick and being confronted by a mum with buggy already 30 seconds late for her Pilates class ( the second ‘ included in her gym membership’ one of the day ).
Somewhat bemused I headed towards my estranged daughter’s abode. There I posted a package in their letterbox. As I then took a phone call I was aware that the same mailbox was being opened on the other side. As I wheeled forward I saw it was my ex wife and her boyfriend ( Mark, aka Pringle… ). They were opening the package ( addressed to my daughter ) that I’d just posted, reading the message, smirking and muttering.
Forgive me, but surely that’s really not acceptable? I knocked on the glass door and said ‘ what the hell are you doing opening Amber’s mail ?! ‘. At that, Pringle opened the door and swore at me and kicked at me, hitting the wheelchair frame. When you don’t have legs that work, your wheelchair is far more than some inanimate object such as a car or bicycle… it’s your everything to be honest.
As this was the second hostile act in 2 encounters ( that makes it a 100 percent record ) from him towards me, I hit 999. He’s 6 foot 3 and 17 stone. That’s a lot of hostility when you have no chance of striking back or defending yourself.
As I spoke to the police, Pringle was ranting and raging. What his issue is I don’t know. Let’s state the obvious, if Danielle and I were still together he wouldn’t have met her, so he ought be grateful to me that she and I don’t still get on. … right?
She’s shrieking ( oh I don’t miss the shrieks ) and he’s raging. What a pair they are.

The cops ask me to describe my assailant. I did feel a touch guilty when I said, in the spirit of accuracy, that he was big but portly, with close together eyes ( well as an optometrist I am qualified to judge )

As I waited for the cops, who should turn up but my estranged daughter! She asked what I was doing there and I said I’d dropped off a package. She said ‘ is it a bomb ?’
I said ‘ er no, it’s not. Why not go and look at it and then come and talk to me ?’ She said ‘ no I’m too busy ‘, but then loitered near me for a full 15 minutes when the police turned up, blue lights flashing. I explained the events. Given teachers get arrested for touching the arm of a pupil these days, I was surprised that a big ( portly ) bloke can assault a fella in a wheelchair and get away with it, but there you go. They said they’d find him and talk to him. I requested that they make it clear that I find him threatening. As a non paralysed person I’d have cherished dearly the opportunity to ‘ show him the error of his disabled hate crime ways ‘ but sadly those days are gone ‘ Oh, I wish I had a taser. ..

My daughter was, well, unpleasant to say the least. I asked her if she reads this diary. She said ‘ NO, BECAUSE ITS SO TOXIC ‘. Blimey, why would she say that ? For a start, if she doesn’t read it how would she know? And secondly, well it’s not, is it?! I can only assume that someone who lives in her house is keen on keeping her on side so spreads that incorrect malice. I can’t begin to comprehend how that helps Amber, but I do realise that in many years to come, she can read it for herself and see. It’s a permanent written account of a person’s life, without invention or agenda.

I’m so glad I have good people in my life, I really am. It’s good to separate the wood from the chaff… there’s plenty of wood I have to say, but I’m a little shocked to realise just how much sawdust there is out there from my past. You DO realise after 6 years, once all the ‘ do the right thing for the sake of appearances ‘ brigade has evaporated.

There’s a chap called Pete Reed, a triple Olympic gold medalist rower, that has just ended up like me. It’s a month in and his social media interest is off the scale. I so want to tell him that no, it’s not going to be this way for long. He’s simply a man of the moment. There is NOTHING sexy about wheelchair people. It’s cruel that his ‘ popularity ‘ will descend so very quickly. I hope he’s prepared for the real world outside hospital. How can he be? I wasn’t. I desperately wanted to go back into it, but Christ it was terrifying realising how much I didn’t fit anymore. I fear for Pete. I want to tell him everything, but at the same time don’t want to piss on his ( probably ) totally unrealistic optimism. He ‘ll get home to see he can’t access most of his house and then in all probability his relationship will break up painfully ( because THAT is what normally happens after a life changing event like his, like mine, like all those parents who lose a child etc etc ) Are you supposed to warn someone of their likely fate? Well it wouldn’t exactly help a guy’s mood state, having realised he can’t walk, run, shit, piss and have sex anymore, to then be told his wife will sod off before too long, taking any kids with her.
So maybe I ought leave him to it, to the struggle of just not having a bloody clue how to do things now, while everybody blows smoke up his arse and says how ‘ inspirational’ he is, and then actually soon stops giving a fuck. One minute he’s a formidable Olympic champion and the next he’s some bloke in a wheelchair who can’t get on the bus, is holding everyone up, and is in the bloody way !

Brutal, isn’t it, life?

Oh yes it really is.

Actually I know I’ll try to help him. It’s in my nature, but I’ll give it a bit before I try. The thing is that there are SO many ways to do things differently, which then means you CAN do stuff that at first looked impossible. You don’t just know though, and unless you have an inventive and lateral thinking aspect to you, you will never actually know.
Depression is a given for him, but Christ it doesn’t have to be as bad as it looks at first, and yes it’s definitely possible to be happy. You come to look at the world ever so differently though. The massive positive is that you don’t have ‘ first world problems’ ever again. What troubles other people with functionality of body is so insignificant now.
Whatever gripes and moans my former friends are muttering about are almost certainly pathetically small to me. Problems ARE all relative, so thousands of minor irritations just disappear altogether.
Mind you, you are still left with lots of pretty HUGE ones!!

Last night we saw Primal Scream in North London. Jeez it was ABSOLUTELY INCREDIBLE. I’ve not ever experienced an atmosphere like it. Getting back was a bit complicated. I got stranded on a tube train and asked 3 blokes to just pick me up and carry me, but they were drunk so very very happy to assist. The more alcohol fellas have had, the more helpful they get, by and large. They may actually be less able when drunk, but they are ever so nice!

The Fun Goes On!

I went ( by Tube and Tri ) to the Southbank last night again then to see a tribute to Mark Hollis evening. He was the singer in Talk Talk and he died in February. At one of these events lots of other well known musicians perform the deceased’s songs. It was good too. That band did some great stuff. Lots of die hard fans go to things like this and last night was no exception.
It wasn’t raining so I Tri’d back. It’s like having a go cart, driving this thing – low down and fast as f***. I went along the river path ( South side ) passing the London Eye on my side and Parliament on the other, and crossed to the north side on Vauxhall Bridge. As this thing goes much faster it’s very tempting to use main roads. After all I used to cycle on them and this thing is faster than I rode a bike. I’d go along quite happily at 21 mph and do 10 mph more if I pushed hard. That seemed fairly fast on a bicycle, but bloody hell 30mph in a wheelchair feels like you are doing about 90… and I’m not kidding. It’s definitely an adrenaline rush. Yes, yes I know — be careful out there. I am ( though it doesn’t sound like it I realise ). If I crashed it would be a mess, but crashing a bicycle at 30mph is potentially terminal too. Pretty sure one more crash and I’m a goner, but I’m honestly not trying to, or trying not to ( take your pick ).

Small world isn’t it? I bumped into a fella I was in Stoke Mandeville paralysis unit with me. Miley is from a travelling family. He was in a car crash ( in Belgium I think ). He was in a car with his brother and his dad. I know his dad was killed. I’m not sure if his brother was too. To lose your loved ones and then wake up to be told they are dead AND be paralysed as well, as the survivor, is a double whammy of shit tbh. We from the unit are united by circumstance, and brothers in arms ( well brothers on wheels actually ). We will see each other again soon. After Stoke he paid quite a lot to have ‘ a miracle cure ‘ of stem cell injections. Needless to say they didn’t cure much. At that point you are so bloody desperate you will believe anything, I recall. He told me there was zero change, except about 2 months after the treatment he realised that he could tell if his bladder was about to empty. That seems like a little thing, but actually it’s a big thing to us. It saves him pissing his pants essentially, which is useful.
To me, having a catheter go into my tummy is far better. I don’t even have to use a disabled loo. I attach a wee bomb bag hidden in my leg cover and drink as much fluid as I want. Last night when I got back there was 2.5 litres in it. That’s a LOT of trips to the toilet avoided, I’d say.

He did say that he wants to have an implant ‘ for his wife ‘ … though. Depending on your level of injury and luck you can become impotent or you may well not. The one he was talking about ( the implant ) was one where you can pump up your ‘ instrument’ and it stays that way until you ‘ let the air out’ again. Traveling girls like their sex, it seems. Fair enough too. Obviously there’s more than one way to skin a cat though, which I’m sure by now he’d have cottoned onto.
That was a figure of speech btw, not me implying that gypses eat cats.

But they might, who knows.

Tho only ones they’ve stolen.

( I just laughed at my own disrespectful joke! )

The battleground….


Rollin rollin.

Last night I crossed London in my Tri – not the best tactic- it was wet and dirty. I get sprayed by every other vehicle and of course I can’t just get out to dry myself or clean up. Coming back was better, but there really is so much dirt and grit on the roads and I’m low down, so I get it pretty bad.

I’ve upgraded my Tri. Ffs the new one is the Ferrari of wheelchair attachments. It’s got a double battery with increased voltage to the motor which produces far more power and speed. The front wheel is larger and the tyre wider so it’s far more stable. Along with the springs I’ve put under my seat cushion it makes for a far better ride. Jeez it’s fast. The other one did 26kph. The new one is OVER TWICE AS FAST. Legal? Well most cars are illegal if you drive them illegally, so I’m in the same situation. If I stick to the law then just cos I’m in a tri more than capable of being done for speeding, I am not breaking any rules. If I go for it inappropriately then yes, I could conceivably get stopped for speeding in a wheelchair… I reckon that could be a first ??!

It’s called the MadMax. I’d say that’s a very good name for it/it and me.

On the way back last night.

Me and Max.

I went to see and listen to Malcolm Gladwell. Top author and all round interesting guy! Lateral thinker and challenger of conventional wisdom is Our Malc. Talked about stuff like that in most cities 90 % of the crime is done by peeps who live in 2% of the city geographically. Why then is policing spread so far and wide when it ought to be mainly focused on a small area. That’s where you ARE going to apprehend your suspects… And human interactions based on not very clever instincts. Why for example do people INSIST on meeting and interviewing people they employ as nannies to look after their kids, he said. It’s not like they are going to make it really obvious that they are child torturers in an interview… they are probably gonna keep that bit quiet. You should ONLY talk to their previous employers! But what actually happens is that people don’t check their references by phoning them up, they just employ someone who seems nice over a coffee. Well they ARE going to be nice over a coffee FFS. They want a job!

I’m going again to the Southbank Centre tonight. But NOT ON THE ROADS IF ITS RAINING.

Last night it was 4 of us. Chris gathers his invalid mates around him for nights out, it seems. The other one was Paul, who is blind. Like me not being paralysed when I met Chris, Paul wasn’t blind either. I’m in a ( MadMax ) wheelchair and Paul has a Labrador that wears a yellow jacket, called Bolt. At Southbank they actually assign a person to help the unfortunates like me and Paul. Last night it was Julie. Now why is it that once you introduce a dog into it, the humans become secondary? Was the dog ok? Is he thirsty? What’s his name / age etc etbloodycetera. Would he like a bowl of water?

Eventually I asked if she wouldn’t mind looking after me for a bit. She said ‘ of course, what would you like?’ I said ‘ how about a bowl of wine?’
She ignored me.

Anyway Paul was a great bloke, as was his son, Zac. It was a really good night .

Back to dogs for a moment – Wendy and I watched that film, Gladiator, the other day. Great film. There’s a bit in it where the all conquering general is riding into battle with his Alsatian dog running beside him. People are being sliced, stabbed, decapitated, you name it .
Wendy says ‘ OH MY GOD!’ I said ‘ what ?’ She said ‘ well the dog’ I said ‘ what about the dog ?’ She said ‘ well it might get hurt!’
About a thousand men had been brutally killed by this point…. yet that didn’t seem to be of concern. Woe betide if Fido gets a scratch to an ear though.. that would be awful. I just don’t get it.

Gawain has some great stories that make me laugh. He’s from Gloucester, so he’s almost Welsh, which makes him funnier than most English fellas. He told me about his mum. He said she’s the type of lady that doesn’t let go, once she has a thought.
He said she went out to some thing with lots of ladies there. Just opposite where she sat was yes, another lady. Gawain’s mum leant across and said to her ‘ I know you from somewhere don’t I ?’ The other lady said ‘ no I don’t think so ‘. G’s mum said ‘ no, I KNOW you, I’ve seen you before somewhere’. The other lady said ‘ no, we definitely haven’t met’.
‘ Yes, but I DO KNOW YOU. Your face is so familiar. I’ve seen you before somewhere, I KNOW it !’

At that point, another lady leant across to G’s mum and said ‘ look, just leave it be….you don’t know her ok. ‘

‘ But yes I do, I definitely RECOGNISE her..!’

Other woman ‘ Yes, well that’s because it’s Rosemary West’s near identical sister’


Bizzy, me.

Before my injury I couldn’t keep still. I always HAD to be doing something. I’d get twitchy if I watched TV. To me it was unproductive time ‘ wasted’. As the years went by that got more and more ingrained in me. It was a cause of marital strife that I wasn’t to be relied upon for watching TV serials, so would fall behind in episodes watched and then dare to query what was going on ( as I’d missed the last instalment because I was somewhere else in/on the house/garden/shed/canoe machine etc etc ) Eventually I just stopped being asked to join in with sedentary things, as I wasn’t interested. Hardly a reason for divorce, but it CAN grate more than I perhaps realised at the time.
Jump to being paralysed and being sedentary is how it is … except it’s not, because I don’t allow it. I’m still always doing something, but those things are different to before. That’s why I just ‘ feel the need ‘ to go to see bands and go to the theatre, and Lord knows what else. Yes I’m now sat down so you could argue that that makes everything sedentary, and maybe it is ?! But it’s the best I can do, so I kid myself that it’s activity, and my world keeps turning as I need it to.

Last week I saw Feeder in North London ( the Roundhouse ) and the Pretenders (9/10 )and Suede in Shepherds Bush. Chrissie Hynde hasn’t aged at all, vocally, Suede were ok ( fanatic audience 5/10 from me – just not a fan ) and Feeder (8/10 )is a proper rock band.
Would I go see them again? Yes to Pretenders and Feeder, definitely.

On a different note, be very careful if you are strolling along the towpath in Brentford. I discovered a new amusement. At night, as I can’t get up for a wee ( obviously!) my catheter which goes into my abdomen is connected to a ‘ night bag’. Wee drains into that all night. Pre injury if I got up for a pee, I’d imagine I would make about a pint and a half of pee and that was quite a lot… but now, as I take in so much fluid, the THREE LITRE sac can be totally full to almost bursting. Its essentially a polythene bag full of very dilute wee… and wow that makes THE BEST water bomb ! Ok actually a wee bomb. It’s not actually me that does the throwing, it’s Wendy of Waynetta or G. But it is funny!

But not if you happen to be walking past on the towpath in front and below my outside terrace!

Monster night.

When you are in a wheelchair you sometimes get ‘ concession’ tickets, it seems. You may as well milk that I think, so I do.
Hence I go the theatre more often than I ever did.
Monday I saw Frankenstein with my daughter. She goes free, as she is my help. Sometimes I wonder which one of us is helping the other mind you, but hey I’m not complaining. The play was really good – well acted in Richmond theatre. Because we were put at the back near the fire escape, we couldn’t see the actors when they were high up on the elevated stage. So we only saw Frankie’s feet killing his maker’s wife’s feet. Then we saw her when she fell to the ground, dead.
Still, we got the gist.

There was a large school party there. Funny old mix that night – 60 slightly noisy teens and 60 odd well to do complaining theatre dahhhlinggg… OAP’s Potentially combustible mix, but actually the oldies stayed quiet, probably fearful of a teenage backlash. I reckon.

Good plats in Richmond. Go and see some.

De Staat!

Wow. De Staat are the band you should see if you only see one band in your whole year.
Actually, make that your whole LIFE.

10/10 obviously. Just brilliant. We hadn’t really even listened to them before we went, and it was amazing. Being familiar with the tunes always helps, but it’s just not necessary with these guys.
Thanks to Leigh for the tip, and great to see them there, along with Bethany and Billy ( B&B ). I’ve seen a few bands with Leigh before and well, he’s not exactly Mr Moveaboutalot. He moves so little you’d be forgiven for not being sure which one of us is paralysed. … but last night he was like bloody Michael Jackson he was so animated. That’s the De Staat effect!

The trip back was fine, but the one there was a shocker. The buses were not following the rules and then the overground train service let us down. When you are in a chair you need a ramp to get on or off. Well obviously they can get you on – that’s not the issue, but then you have to get off at your destination station. The station you get on at phones ahead so they know and a guard is there waiting with a ramp.

Except he wasn’t bloody there. I’m in the iBot and that’s a total of 250kg, and there’s a 30cm drop to the platform as well as a 20 cm gap between the train and the platform. I had to get off, there wasn’t any other plan! I’d said to Wendy that if no one was there ( and that’s always my fear with bloody trains ) then we’d try by going off backwards and her shouting for strapping fellas to assist. Well we did all that but not a single male out of about 15 close by came to help her.
What the F is wrong with people? Society is falling apart. Everyone complains about the slightest offence but yet is quite happy to stand idly by and let a small woman manhandle a massive weight off a train.

I have to just get over this stuff straight away as it happens all the time. That doesn’t make it forgivable and I’ll write yet another email, but I do have to not dwell on it rather than be permanently f’d off…

Complaint to TfL 15/11/19

Yet again one of your buses has declined to follow the rules, this time very clearly the driver’s own discrimination. The no 4 bus driver on the 237 route at Brent Lea bus stop argued to my Carer that he didn’t think a woman and her buggy should get off the bus to allow priority to me in a wheelchair. I am paralysed and am vulnerable to the cold. It was five degrees above. The woman herself wasn’t keen, but she was willing to get off the bus. She had another adult with her ( her mother ) to assist her. One passenger was very vocal and insistent he obey the law, citing the regulations, but he chose not to quite deliberately, and very much by HIS OWN CHOICE. This is unacceptable behaviour by your staff member and he should be disciplined. 
I look forward to hearing from you. 
Yours faithfully,

Russell Dawkins 


Over these last 5 years I’ve witnessed something that’s bemused me. It does seem to be the way of the world, at least in Britain. When men and women get married here, at that point the relationship seems outwardly equal, both partners contributing, with both also listening to each other.
Give it 20 years and the dynamic has changed, and nearly always in the same way. One partner becomes dominant ( opinion wise ) over the other, so that a lot of ‘ obeying’ goes on. Back in the day that word was part of the marriage vows. The lady pledged to obey her husband. It’s not in there anymore, as women quite rightly didn’t want it to be. The thing is that it’s gone the other way. Men have become so dominated by their wives that they dare not cross them. I have lots of ( mostly former ) friends who just do as they are told. To me it’s extraordinary that they would do that. It would be equally offensive if they were to dominate and control their wives. What’s the attraction of having control over your partner? Beats me totally. Where’s the fun in it? For either party? It wasn’t like that when you liked each other enough to want to marry one another.

There really ought be a new wedding vow clause, so that you know how it will be 20 years after you leave the church, where the man vows to do as his wife tells him, forsaking all opinions of his own and capitulating immediately when She Who Must Be Obeyed speaks.

My advice? Don’t get married. In nearly all cases one of you will live to regret it. I can see rising levels of marital unhappiness ahead.

Friday in London!

Brilliant night last night. Maisie Peters was playing in a packed out Shepherds Bush. IBot gigging with iBot pubbing before it is about as good as it gets for me.
More of that tonight in Brixton seeing the wacky and talented De Staat. Now that the lift in Brixton is fixed it’s actually fairly easy to get there too. Looking forward to seeing Leigh and Bev too.

Maisie gets 10/10. I saw her a year ago and she was ok. Someone must have told her to get her shit together and have a personality injection. It’s not complicated really, is it? The crowd WANT TO HAVE A GOOD TIME.. so give them one?!

Doh! Just been told it’s not in Brixton, it’s in Highbury. Thank you Wendy for checking! Looks like the overground train is the way. Ramps for me!

The play.

The play was moving It was relocated to The Young Vic, because of the ceiling drama.
Death of a Salesman is about a happy positive guy who is married with 2 children . He has such hopes for his future and that of his family. All seems that life will go well and happiness will prevail, always.

However life doesn’t turn out as expected. His career takes a downturn, his kids lose respect for him, his kids don’t succeed as he thinks they are going to, his friends and his employer let him down and he is discarded. He is a good man, and he doesn’t deserve what happens. Eventually he does what he thinks he should, and kills himself. The writing was on the wall for some time yet no one spoke to him, not his kids or wife.

And no one cared enough to go to his funeral.

Thanks to Pia for being my PlayMate.