Thursday, 14 April 2011

Attempted Burglary

Early hours of Wednesday morning Em was woken up by someone trying to break into our bedroom window. They snapped part of the bottom lock, making a rather loud noise. She didn't get to see what the person looked like just a torch shining through the window, she turned on the light and they scarpered. The police were rang around 5:05 and they were around pretty sharpish, unfortunately the people got away.

All of Wednesday and part of today was spent with various kind of police coming to our flat to look at the window, find out what happened. The back of our flat there is a ditch then a field, on the other side of the field there is a dodgy estate that is known trouble. Up until recently there hadn't been that much trouble around here. There is only a small fence between us and the ditch. Apparently there should be a 6ft fence there rather than the stupid one that is currently there. There needs to be more lighting around the back of the block as that is really dark.

Wednesday the CSI people came around with their cameras and dusting equipment, they took many photos and spotted the poor mouse that Bilbo had killed. They looked at the window and said that the part shouldn't have snapped so easily, the policeman that came around today reiterated this. They both said that even if it was on the night vent the part should have held up and that it was reasonable for us to expect to be able to use that vent and still feel safe. The fact that the housing repair person tried to fob us off and not replace the part was wrong, the policeman said. He is going to go back and talk to the other policeman that came and see what they suggest but the windows might need to be changed!

I was told that there should have been some defensive planting around the bottom of our windows because then it wouldn't have happened. If you are stood several foot away from the window you wouldn't be able to pull hard enough on the window whereas if you are right next to it you have enough force to pull rather hard.

The policeman said that outside our big glass door should be sectioned off and more defensive planting around the bit that is sectioned off, so we would have a little space of our own just outside that door. He wasn't impressed that the main door to get into the block didn't shut properly all the time and he could have just let himself in if he wanted to.

The police have been very efficient and responded quickly. Cannot fault them on this occasion. Now to tag everything and write on it all with UV ink that I was given.

Tuesday, 12 April 2011

NAS Self Advocacy Booklet Launch

5th April was the launch of the NAS self advocacy booklet, rather early morning bleary eyed I made my way to Bristol Temple Meads station to make my way over to London for the day. Assistance onto the train was arranged for the way there and went smoothly, I got a wheelchair spot for my powerchair and my friends and the others were seated around it. The journey itself was fine, although having to lift my powerchair out of the car was rather painful. On the London side was rather more interesting, trying to get a powerwheelchair and 4 passengers into a taxi was a challenge and a half, in the end we had to take it apart and put it in the front of the cab, but we managed it.

The launch itself was rather posh being held at the Wellcome Trust near Euston station. We had a spot of lunch before the main event started. The food that was provided was very tasty, I had some roasted red pepper houmous and potato wedges.

The gathering was in the basement of the building and was in a room that wasn't too brightly lit and was rather nice and quiet considering the amount of people there. There were people from autism organisations, the police, and some learning disability organisations too. There was supposed to be some press there but that didn't happen in the end.

When the event started the authors (myself being one of them) sat at the front of the room. The booklet was introduced, what it's intended use was and such. After the introduction each of the authors gave a small speech, this was the part that I was most nervous about. I gave my speech and while I was rather nervous inside apparently it didn't show. I got lots of congratulations on my speech and was asked if I wanted to do more public speaking!! The few days after I was getting emails saying how natural and relaxed I was doing my speech, it couldn't have been any further from the truth.

Getting back was rather interesting though. First there was the issue of how we were going to get back to Paddington, we thought we would get the bus but we missed the one going to Paddington and the next bus with the same number didn't go as far as Paddington. It was hit and miss as to wether the next one was going to be the correct one so we had to get a taxi in the end using the same method as on the way there. There was a mix up with the seating on the train on the way back which meant that the wheelchair spaces were double booked on the train we wanted to get. When we went to the assistance place we asked if the assistance could be changed because of that fact, to get off at Bristol Parkway instead of Temple Meads, I thought they would say no as it was only 15mins before the train. Instead they were rather receptive and took us straight to the train, the person was rather nice and understanding. It made my journey home that much easier as I could just chair from the station rather than having to get a 45min bus ride then chair at the other end.

I am rather glad to have been able to take part in the self advocacy project and will be willing to take part in more projects ran by the NAS.


6th April Emily and I made our way up to the Birmingham NEC for NAIDEX 2011. I knew that it was going to be rather large but didn't quite prepare myself for how large it was. I think had I known how large it was I would have made it a 2 day thing, being already low on spoons from the day before I found trying to get around the whole place very tiring. Maybe next time 2 days would be better as I could take more time and perhaps not plan anything the day either side of it.

There were quite a lot of interesting stalls there. I got to buy a funky blue badge holder from Blue Badge Company my one is navy blue with sparkly stars. I particularly liked the sensory stalls particularly the one that had the bubble tubes that changed colour and you could change the colour with a switch that was in a cube. They had a chair that vibrated to whatever the sound was on the screen like a rocket, could be done to music and so on.

We managed to meet up with Robin for some lunch and he trundled around with us for the rest of the afternoon. It was so much fun, he really makes me laugh sometimes. It was a pleasure. I finally got to give him back his hoodie which he left at our house almost 3 years ago and has come on 2 housemoves since then. Hopefully it wasn't too covered in cat hair!!

I got to try out a lightweight manual chair with e-motion power assist on the wheels and I must say that I think that I could actually push myself in that. In other manual chairs even really lightweight ones my joints have a habit of falling out all over the place. I need to look for a longer term solution as my powerchair isn't going to hold up for too much longer. The axel of the front wheel is rather warped, the batteries are shot and the right motor is on it's way out, getting it repaired will cost me more than I paid for it. I have a referral to wheelchair services but I'm not sure how long that will take to come through.

Some other interesting products were the such and such products, there was an attachable handle that you could slide onto the side of glasses that they are in the process of testing. With a few of the kinks sorted out I can see that would be a great product, being able to clip it onto any glass rather than having to ask for something special would be nice. The fact that it didn't look particularly "special" also appeals to me. A lot of items that aid with the whole not dropping glasses/anti spill all look rather childish and "special".

I had a look at the Trabasack stall and their stuff looked rather great too. I imagine that could be rather useful as well. The fact that you could stick velcro to stuff and then stick it to the tray I could see would be rather handy. It was not only functional but rather nice looking too, with some funky colours.

There was a really nice chair that we tried out that reclined so far that you could have your feet above your head. I really liked that, it was like being in a marshmallow so comfy. Myself, Emily and Robin all seemed to really like it, if I had the £1.8k to buy one I certainly would. Being poor I can't see that happening anytime soon.

I managed to meet up with some other people from twitter albeit in a rather frantic way. Unfortunately because of limited time I didn't really get to meet as many people as I would have liked and the people I did see wasn't for very long. Hope people didn't think I was too rude not stopping to chat to them.

There was a stall that sold weighted blankets by Protac that were filled with ping pong balls,I was a bit sceptical about them but when Robin explained to me how they worked it made a bit more sense. I think if I had the chance to try them for a bit longer I would be more convinced by them. I liked the look of the vest version that they had in their information that they gave us. I could see how they would be useful and will be recommending it to a friend of mine who currently carts around a massive weighted blanket, if she had the vest version maybe it would be better and the blanket for when she is at home?

I'm sure there were other things that stood out about that day that aren't coming to mind right now. At the end of the day we went back home to Bristol with many many bags of free stuff and information. It will probably take me a few weeks to sift through it all into potential items that I would want. I would definitely say that it was worth going up and having a look around for ideas. It was a good but very tiring day.