Archive for December 21st, 2011

Going Home for Christmas

I’m heading home for Christmas and I’m pretty excited. The normal anxiety provoked by meeting well meaning people who always ask “What do you do?” Is out weighed by my excitement to see my family.

This year (thanks to a lot of forward planning & saving) we have been lucky enough to go to London before heading North to Yorkshire. We saw the ‘Nine lessons and carols for godless people’ last night at the Bloomsbury theatre. It was great, there were so many wonderful acts, it really started Christmas with a bang. It also introduced us to the phenomenal talent that is Grace Petrie. She was a beautiful cross between Billy Bragg & Frank Turner. Isy Suttie sang an ode to the seminal ITV children’s show, Nightmare (love her!). Everyone else (Robin ince, Simon Singh, Martin Austwick, Jo Neary, Jim Al-Khalili, Richard Herring, Alan Moore, Lucy green, Helen Arney, Matt Parker, Gavin Osborm, Josie Long, Scroobius Pip & Mark Thomas) were stellar too.

The theatre didn’t have labelled directions to an accessible loo (or staff that could take their place) which made life hard until we found a manager that did know where it was. The staff were all very friendly and when asked tried their hardest to help. Still, it was clear they were not accustomed to wheelchair users.

The following day we got a train from Kings Cross to York which was not the most enjoyable experience of my life so far. We got to the station with me in rather desperate need of the loo – I only get a little notice before an accident is on the cards sadly. So we made a dash for the only accessible toilet. There was a woman walking around looking at it so I quickly asked if she was waiting. She said it was locked. A quick glance showed it was part of the Radar scheme. I mentioned in the fire she could ask for a key from staff whilst I pulled mine out. She said she wasn’t disabled. With that I pointed her towards the reams of ladies loos on the platform & opened the loo for myself. When I got out there was a queue. The heavy door shut behind me and being in a rush I told them they could get a Radar key from the main desk or that the ladies was close by. It was then a rather angry lady decided to call me a rather rude name with a base in my disability before shouting that they didn’t want to walk & didn’t care it was the only accessible loo. Naturally my PTSD got triggered off and my other half quickly removed me from the situation.

We got on a busy train which was v.stressful as people would insist on blocking my wheelchair in with their cases out blocking the access to the nearby toilet (my life revolves around toilets these days). Every time I had to ask someone to move their bags I got shot dirty looks or passive aggressive comments. The train manager was no help either. To make things worse, when we arrived at York the assistance I had booked (I need ramps) wasn’t there so I was suck waiting for 5 mins whilst my other half hunted down help.
It’s experiences like this that really put me off leaving my house. What should have been a fun trip to the theatre & train ride home was made super stressful by my disability and other peoples attitudes towards it. I’m hoping for more fun now I’m with my folks.
I’m going to go have a drink and scoff some Christmas fayre. I hope you all have a very merry Christmas and a fabulous 2012.

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