cazbarr

Group of wheelchair users chatting. Wheelchair service user group text above

Queen Mary’s Wheelchair Service User Group

Wheelchair Service User Group – The Wheelchair Service at Queen Mary’s Hospital, Roehampton have meetings quarterly for their users of the service to help shape how the service is provided. If you are a client of the W.S and would like to be a part of this group, all you have to do is contact me on my Contact Page. The Wheelchair Service is based at Queen Mary’s Hospital and is for people registered with GPs in Wandsworth, Richmond, Kingston, Spelthorne, Merton and Sutton.

Wheelchair Service User Group poster advertising the group meetings and contact details

If you have a GP in the boroughs mentioned above and would like to become a client of this Wheelchair Service, please visit their website for more information: Wheelchair Service website.

The service provides wheelchairs, buggies, pressure distributing cushions and associated special seating for people of all ages with a permanent disability affecting their ability to walk. It is an ‘open access’ service and registered clients can contact therapists for information and advice as necessary. The Wheelchair Service based at Queen Mary’s Hospital is for people registered with GPs in Wandsworth, Richmond, Kingston, Spelthorne, Merton and Sutton.

Drop me a line to find out more. Contact Page

Cazbarr signature that flashes on off
Train speeding through a station

Wheelchair user travels on a train for 1st time!!

Wheelchair user travels on a train for 1st time – I travelled on a train but will I do it again!! – I have been a full-time wheelchair user for over 15 years and I have NEVER travelled on a train…..Why? Fear!! Fear of being crushed, fear of being trapped in the doors, fear of my wheels getting trapped in the gap, my list of fears were endless! That was until 2 days ago when I faced my fears and went riding on the trains with a lovely man called Alan (@AlansTweets).

I met Alan at Twickenham station, where we were to start our journey. I arrived early so I could take a look around inside, to familiarise myself. Not much to see really, just a few ticket machines and a ticket office, which was closed.

We took the lift down to the platform and asked a member of staff if we could have the ramp for the next train heading to Clapham Junction on the SWR (South Western Railways) line. Not a problem, the train arrived and we got on using the ramp without any incident whatsoever. I have to say, I was extremely surprised as to how much room was available for wheelchair users, both Alan and I (both wheelchair users) had more than enough room to park our chairs.

Wheelchair user travels on a train for 1st time!! - Alan and myself sat in our wheelchairs in the disabled spaces on the train.

During our journey, Alan spoke about his experiences and the pitfalls that can happen. He said, “The key is to stay calm and be polite but firm when dealing with mishaps”. Very good advise indeed! After all, you can’t expect to travel problem free ALL the time, thing are going to go wrong, that’s called life! But, if they do go wrong, just stay calm and deal with it the best you can.

Wheelchair user travels on a train for 1st time!! - Cazbarr sat on the platform in front of a parked train.

We arrived at Clapham Junction where we jumped onto the Underground. Now I hope I have our journey correct below, it was hard taking in all this wonderful new information at once. I was like a big kid taking in all the new sights/sounds etc around me. But I think our journey went something like this:

Twickenham > Clapham Junction – SWR
Underground – Clapham Junction > Waterloo
Underground – Waterloo > Westminister – We popped out to take a look at Big Ben
Underground – Westminister > Victoria
Victoria > Twickenham – SWR

I tried my best to remember everywhere we had been, take in the sights AND remember where & how I would travel in the future and ask for assistance.

I have to say I was not looking forward to travelling on the underground, this was my biggest fear. Crowds, pushing/shoving all the things we all know about the underground. But I have to say, (ok it was approx 2:30 pm) but the underground was pleasantly not as busy as I had expected it to be. Don’t think I would ever attempt to travel in rush hour.

Wheelchair user travels on a train for 1st time!! - Big Ben clock with scaffolding

We arrived at Westminister as I asked if it would be possible to see Big Ben. We went outside the station and low and behold, what was staring me in the face? Big Ben haha, I never realised it sat right outside the station. So, we didn’t have far to go.

My only memories of train travel/underground, was as a child when my Mum would take me to Great Ormand Street hospital and we would have to use those big, rusty, caged lifts where the doors had to be slammed shut and then the big iron gate door had to be slid across. Scary days really (for a toddler). My one attempt at train travel as a late teenager is not one I am going to go into but be assured it probably was the reason I never attempted it again until now!

We then travelled back to Victoria to get on SWR back to Twickenham. Again, no problems at all……..Until we reached Twickenham and no-one turned up with the ramp! I pressed the red button so someone would be alerted to our dilemma. We spoke with whom I believe was a guard, explained our situation and then this announcement came over the train: Link is to a video Alan made of our journey, this is the announcement: https://twitter.com/i/status/1238576905135296514

Well, you can imagine how upset we both were over this. I think Alan was going to email about this. It was unfortunate that this had to be the one lip in our whole journey. Everything went lovely and smooth without any problems and then that happened!!

Will I do it again? Damn right I will. I can’t thank Alan and wife enough for taking time out of their busy schedule to take me on the train and show me how easy it can actually be…..Thank you to both of you.

Any questions, why not drop me a line using my Contact Page.

Cazbarr signature that flashes on off
Cazbarr written in black with a big pink C over the top middle

The One AND Only!!!

Dear fans, if I may call you that! The name (Cazbarr) was picked because it was unique, no-one else seemed to have the same anywhere. I was the one and only. I spent weeks trying to work out a good, catchy name and this is what I came up with. Can you imagine how gutted I felt when I realised this was no longer the case 🙁 Other people are now using the same name (yes with the 2 R’s) across the web. So now I have to use (Real_Cazbarr) if I can’t use just Cazbarr. Just doesn’t have the same ring to it though, plus my branding is now made difficult too! (Can individuals copyright their alias?) I may look into this. Of course, if anyone reading this has an answer, please do let me know.

If you are interested in what I talk about, do NOT confuse me with anyone else. I don’t wish to be accused of saying or doing something that I haven’t, purely because it was said or done by someone called Cazbarr!!

To clarify what avenues I use to publicise my thoughts/ideas/moans etc, please check out the following:

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Real_Cazbarr (There is another Cazbarr on Twitter, who is NOT me. I am Real_Cazbarr. Please don’t confuse us.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/IDontShutUp/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/cazbarrcaz/

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC1g_ChZF7lyjHWE5egEnosw?view_as=subscriber

Please don’t hesitate to Contact Me if you have any questions, or wish to see something on my website.

Thank you.

Cazbarr signature that flashes on off
Social media written in big blue letters with lots of social media describing words

Why Do You Never Finish What Your…….

Ok, my pet peeve is when I am browsing my social media accounts and I read something someone has started talking about, ranting about or explaining, I read through all the comments only to find the original poster has not concluded the rant, story or explanation!!! WHY, WHY WHY do you do this???

I am reading your post because what you have to say is interesting to me, do I not want to know how the story ends?? Of course, or else I would have continued scrolling!!

I have found that this happens a lot when people are moaning about something that has gone wrong for them. Accessibility, customer service, bad service etc. It would be extremely helpful to those of us that have read your post to know if you managed to solve your issue and if so, how?

I appreciate you may have posted while on the move but at least come back to those of us that have commented/read your post and give an update. Otherwise, you could run the risk of people thinking you are out for attention/sympathy!! Which of course we know a lot are!!

Cazbarr signature that flashes on off
Hands holding a piece of paper with VAT at the top and coins and paper money in the background

Are You VAT Exempt?

Did you know, as a disabled person, you may be exempt from having to pay VAT on certain items?? Neither did I!! According to Gov.uk website:

If you’re disabled you’ll generally have to pay VAT on the things you buy, but VAT relief is available on a limited range of goods and services for disabled people.

VAT relief that may be available if you’re buying goods because of your disability.

Source: Gov.uk

You’ll only be able to have eligible goods VAT-free if you’re chronically sick or disabled and the goods are for your personal or domestic use. You do not need to be registered disabled or eligible for any other benefit to qualify for VAT-free goods.

Goods you can buy VAT-free

This section has information on the goods you can buy VAT-free because of your disability including:

  • medical and surgical appliances
  • invalid wheelchairs and mobility scooters
  • equipment to aid the hard of hearing, and low vision aids
  • specialist beds, chair and stair lifts, rise and recline chairs and other lifting equipment and sanitary devices
  • goods that have been designed solely for disabled people
  • computer equipment
  • emergency alarm call systems
  • boats
  • parts and accessories


You can hire or lease eligible goods VAT-free if you’re disabled.

Your retailer or other supplier is responsible for checking if the goods are eligible to sell VAT-free.

Medical and surgical appliances

You’ll not have to pay VAT when you buy medical or surgical appliances that are designed solely for the relief of a severe abnormality or severe injury such as amputation, rheumatoid arthritis, learning difficulties or blindness.

Appliances that can be bought VAT-free include:

  • invalid wheelchairs
  • certain types of mobility scooters
  • leg braces
  • neck collars
  • oxygen concentrators
  • specialist clothing
  • specialist footwear
  • wigs

Items that you cannot buy VAT-free include bandages, plasters or other wound dressings and dentures (unless you buy them from a dentist or other dental care professional).

For full information, please visit: www.gov.uk

Cazbarr signature that flashes on off
Four red lines with pictures of gir using plastic straw, changing places toilet, blue badge, CEA card and Reserved parking sign

Are Disabled People Asking Too Much??

Disabled people know only too well how hard our lives are on a day-to-day basis. This is before we even leave our own homes. So, is it any wonder we fight for changes that will improve our daily living? Things like:

  • Blue Badge Parking
  • Plastic Straws
  • Changing Places
  • Accessibility
  • PIP

The list truly is endless of the battles we face every single day of our lives.

All of these things help us be as independent as possible and live as best we can, but…………I have read some disabled people’s comments on social media that have me thinking are we becoming an expectant lot of people?

Example 1: A woman was moaning about not being able to use a discount voucher she received for her birthday, as she was already in receipt of a company/venue discount due to being disabled.

So she was expecting to be discounted twice??? Was it really unfair of the company/venue to decline her birthday discount? Turn the tables around……Is it unfair she gets a permanent discount where other users do not??

Unfortunately, I can’t remember the company/venue and no more information was given regarding the circumstances.

Example 2: Another disabled person was moaning at the fact that they had to pay in a car park even though they had a blue badge.

According to The Blue Badge scheme: rights and responsibilities in England, found on the Gov.uk website:

A Blue Badge will help you to park close to your destination, either as a passenger or driver.

The badge is intended for on-street parking only.

Off-street car parks, such as those provided by shopping centres, hospitals or supermarkets are covered by separate rules.

These separate rules say:

Off-street car parks (such as supermarket, hospital or local council car parks)
Off-street car park operators should provide parking spaces for disabled people. However, it is up to the car park owner to decide whether badge holders can park free of charge.

Do not assume you can always park for free.

  1. The blue badge is not a permit for FREE parking everywhere and automatically!!
  2. If one reads the information supplied, one would not look like a tit complaining about something that is not a given right!!!

Yes, I am fully aware of how expensive life as a disabled person is and yes, of course, every bit of help is gratefully received but…….I can’t help feeling that some, not all, disabled people want the sun, moon AND stars!!

Cazbarr signature that flashes on off
Big street sign with Las Vegas all lit up

Vegas Wheelchair

My long-awaited Vegas trip is approaching fast where I will be rocking the night away with Billy Idol. In preparation for this, I have bought black and red velvet material, lace trimmings and gold chains. No, not for anything kinky lol It’s to dress up my electric wheelchair, something I have done before.

I’m fed up that companies won’t recognise that disabled people (wheelchair users) have personalities and some of us wish to convey our personality through our chairs. After all, my wheelchair is an extension of me is it not? Plain black is not my style….As you will see.

So, what do you think? I have to say a BIG thank you to my hubby who slaved over the sewing machine for many days to make these covers for me. Something I could not have achieved without him.

Cazbarr signature that flashes on off
Pandora logo - Pandora in black text with a crown above the letter O

Pandora as Faulty as Their Bracelets!

I was bought a Pandora bracelet roughly 2 years ago and over time I managed to fill it up with charms. Over this period of time, I took my bracelet into Pandora a couple of times to take advantage of their free sonic cleaning. I wanted to keep my bracelet in as good condition as possible. The trouble was, each time my bracelet came back to me, it never seemed to be as clean as before, the silver still looked tarnished. This got so bad I contacted Pandora and their reply was non-committal, to say the least!!

I wrote:

Dear Sir/Madam,
I have had my Panora bracelet for approx 5 months now and have had to take my bracelet into my local Pandora store for a professional clean at least 4 times, as my bracelet has tarnished very badly.

I took my bracelet in for a professional clean only on Friday (2/6/17) and as you can see in the pictures I have enclosed, this did not clean my bracelet, you can see my bracelet is still very tarnished? This is the same result every time.  You will also notice that the tarnish does not seem to affect the charms, just the clasp and the safety chain.  (I can confirm my bracelet has never come into contact with any chemicals such as perfume, detergents, hair spray etc).
We all know silver tarnishes over time and a good clean solves the problem and brings the item back to its former glory.  My bracelet was “professionally” cleaned yet it is still tarnished???  I wear other silver jewellery on a daily basis and do not seem to have a problem with tarnishing.  I am now thinking, is it just Pandora jewellery!!
 

I would love to buy your new bangle but do not wish to spend the money on something that is going to look cheap on my wrist as I am afraid this will tarnish also.

I would like to know if there is anything you can offer/do to fix my bracelet as I am extremely disappointed with having a tarnished black bracelet.  Even the shop assistant said it looked like the silver was coming off but felt this couldn’t be the case as it is real silver.  
I took my bracelet to my local store within the first week of having my bracelet due to the tarnishing and they replaced the bracelet.

Pandora responded:

Dear Caroline, 

Thank you for taking the time to email PANDORA and I’m sorry to hear about your bracelet and charms. I can completely understand how disappointing this must be for you, especially as you have such a collection. 

For the purpose of addressing your issue fully I would like to briefly outline the PANDORA warranty policy that all our stockists are trained in. PANDORA warranty on all silver items is two years, on gold it is two years and leather items it is one year. This is to allow an ample amount of time to discover any manufacturing faults with an item and rectify it for the customer free of charge. 

PANDORA jewellery is made from 925 sterling silver and 14 carat gold and these metals will naturally tarnish.  As such, tarnishing is a natural process and is not considered the result of a manufacturing fault, as is also the case with skin reactions. Factors which contribute to this are; the metals coming into contact with damp environments, prolonged exposure to UV light, and contact with perfume, body lotions, detergents, bleach, and secretions of the skin. Tarnishing can be prevented by regularly polishing all jewellery with a polishing cloth. It is worth noting that Pandora packaging is not tarnish proof and even when jewellery is not being regularly worn we would still advise to polish it to prevent tarnishing from occurring. 

I understand how disappointing this situation must be, so I would recommend taking the items back into your nearest local PANDORA store. Many PANDORA stores also have ultra sonic cleaning services available in store that can carried out for free, should this not change the appearance of the items they can also be sent to the European goldsmiths for assessment and professional cleaning.

I hope that the store are able to help further, but if you have any more queries please don’t hesitate to get back in touch.

These are the pictures:

So please, is this really just normal tarnishing after just 5 months? If so, why does it not improve with professional cleaning? Why does my other silver jewellery not tarnish, which HAVE come into all sorts of chemicals on a daily basis? Just doesn’t make sense to me!

This went on for a while and in the end, I had to give up as the situation was making me ill as I was still recovering from my heart attack. Pandora had made it perfectly clear they wanted nothing tarnishing their good name/reputation and would not agree that there was a fault with this bracelet.

I turned to Twitter recently to try again, once again a brick wall, oh they were nice at first suggesting taking it for a clean, contacting Cust. Serv but once I had explained I had already done this and sent them pictures, I got nothing further…..Not another correspondence from Pandora!! Complete radio silence!!

One can’t help feel Pandora’s Customer Service is as faulty as their bracelets!!!! So now I am stuck with a dirty ugly looking bracelet, I won’t be purchasing any more Pandora products, not with service like this!!

Cazbarr signature that flashes on off
Empty wheelchair space on a public bus

Wheelchair Space on Buses – Row Continues!

Even after a landmark court case win, disabled people are seemingly still fighting for the wheelchair space WE fought to have implemented on buses!!

Quote: In February 2012, Doug Paulley, a wheelchair user, tried to board a FirstGroup bus from Wetherby to Leeds. The wheelchair space was being used by a mother with a pushchair and a sleeping child. She refused the driver’s request to move or fold the pushchair and so the driver told Mr Paulley he could not board the bus.

Mr Paulley successfully sued FirstGroup at Leeds County Court for unlawful discrimination against him due to his disability, but this was later overturned on appeal. The case was then heard by the Supreme Court, which has given its final verdict today. The Commission has supported Mr Paulley at the Court of Appeal, and at the Supreme Court.

David Isaac added:

“Public transport is essential for disabled people to live independently, yet bus companies have not made it easy for this to happen. This is a victory for disabled people’s rights. The success of this case means bus companies will have to end ‘first come, first served’ polices, increasing peace of mind for disabled people.

“This has been about correcting a confusing policy which has caused untold problems for disabled people.

“For years, wheelchair users have been deterred from using vital public transport links because they could not be sure they will be able to get on. Today’s judgment will make that easier.” – Source: EHRC – David Isaac said Today’s judgment will make that easier……How? The law is still not specific enough about the wheelchair space! It should be made a law that buggies can use the space but when needed by a wheelchair user, they MUST move or fold down their buggy and if they refuse, they vacate the bus and wait for the next one. I mean, parents don’t mind that happening to us at present, so I say equality is the way the go!! Let them know what it’s like to sit in the pouring rain on a freezing cold winters day being refused access to bus after bus because parents don’t want to move their buggies. Now before I’m lynched, I know full well that there are many parents only too happy to move, I thank each and every one of you for this. It is the ignorant, self-important ones I’m on about. They just turn their heads and completely ignore everyone!!

The signs on the bus say:
“Priority wheelchair area – This space is reserved for a wheelchair – The wheelchair must be placed facing forwards resting against the support or backrest with the brakes on. – Please give up this space for a wheelchair user.

Baby Buggies – Buggies can use this area if it is not needed by a wheelchair user – Please move out of the wheelchair priority area if necessary. – Buggies may need to be folded a busy times.

So what part of PRIORITY WHEELCHAIR AREA – This space is RESERVED – Please give up this space for a wheelchair user. – Buggies can use this area IF IT IS NOT needed by a wheelchair user are people not understanding?? The sign seems very cut and dry to me!!

If you went to a restaurant and sat at a table marked “Reserved”, you would be moved by a member of staff, yes? So why can’t bus drivers/companies make buggies move from this “Reserved” area?? It really isn’t rocket science!!

TFL say: Buggy users and other passengers may use the wheelchair space, however if a wheelchair user wants to board the bus, other passengers and buggy users will be asked to vacate the space or fold their buggies.

On many buses the space is big enough for the wheelchair and buggy to share, but the wheelchair user does take priority and must be correctly positioned in order to travel safely. In some circumstances buggy users may be asked to fold their buggies and wherever possible fold their pram.

Yeah right!!!

Cazbarr signature that flashes on off
Cazbarr written in black with a large pink C over the top

Welcome to Cazbarr!

Thank you for taking the time to visit my site.  It took me some time to decide whether or not to create it.  I have to say, there were a few up’s & down’s in the making of my site.

I have more to add in the coming months, so why not bookmark me, or leave a comment and let me know what you think 🙂  Obviously if there is anything you wish to know or discuss, please do drop me a line.

I have had to re-create my website from scratch due to Adobe getting rid of their website builder programme, which I had been using. With this in mind, some of my blogs will have 2 different dates, one when I re-created the blog here on this site and another, from when I created it on my previous website.

Cazbarr signature that flashes on off