disability

Online Christmas Shopping During A Pandemic As A Disabled Person

Online Christmas Shopping During A Pandemic As A Disabled Person – On the high street as a full-time wheelchair user, shopping is difficult at the best of times. Throw in Christmas and it is a whole new ball game. Being in a pandemic and lockdown leaves me no other choice but to buy online! Do I prefer this to doing my shopping on the high street? What did I find to be the best and worst parts of shopping online for Christmas gifts?

I hate high street shopping at any time of the year. People, access, stupidity all add stress to what should be a normal part of my life! If you are an able-bodied person reading this, how many times in one shopping trip have you NOT been able to gain access to a shop because of steps? How many times have you NOT been able to browse around a shop due to clothes rails being so tightly packed together they hit your shoulder causing severe pain? Gone to a counter to pay and been ignored because the counter is so high you are NOT seen? Exactly!! I can experience each of these EVERY TIME I go shopping.

Benefits of Shopping Online

There are many benefits to shopping online.

  • It’s stress-free.
  • You can visit many different websites at the touch of a button.
  • Browse 1000’s of products in a short space of time.
  • You are not worrying about the next person bumping into you or clambering over your wheelchair.
  • Queue jumping because “they didn’t see you there”!
  • Best of all, left out in the cold because you can’t get into the shop!!

Online shopping gives you the freedom to search for what you want at a time that is right for you. Websites don’t have “opening times” the same as physical shops do! So, if you want to shop for a pair of socks at 2 am, you can!

If like me and you use a PC, then another benefit is you can have several tabs open comparing the same item across different sites to check for delivery time/charges, price of the item and of course returns policy. Can you imagine doing that on the high street, even if you’re not a wheelchair user? I love the fact I can sit at my desk, a cup of tea beside me and settle down to browse gifts for family/friends in the warmth of my own home.

The Downside of Shopping Online

When shopping online, images of products are of course going to be great looking. After all, the company is trying to sell you their product. You only have to read my review of Tapi Carpets to see the issues you can have.

  • You can’t feel the item – Texture, material
  • Smell the item – Some fake leather products can smell really bad
  • Colour is not always the same when viewing on a monitor
  • Judge sizing when shopping for items such as clothing.
  • Solitary experience.

I have bought things that look great online but once received, the material is of lesser quality, or the item is smaller, or worse, turns up broken or faulty. I have bought a Christmas present that looked a good size and quality online but having received it, I know it’s going to be a big disappointment to the recipient! No doubt it will have to be returned. Sometimes you just want to see an item in the flesh.

I have done 90% of my Christmas shopping online this year. I’ve used brand company websites, eBay and Amazon. Companies I’ve not been familiar with and I have to say, I’ve only had two incidents. One, where an item arrived broken and another replaced by a lesser quality item than what was advertised. Both of which have been sorted fairly easily.

Security Measures in Place

Online Christmas Shopping During A Pandemic As A Disabled Person - Safety - A as a padlock T as a key

Online Christmas Shopping During A Pandemic As A Disabled Person – Making sure you are aware of the pitfalls of shopping online is paramount! There are many ways things can go horribly wrong.

  • Identity theft.
  • Spam emails.
  • Fake websites.
  • Fake products.
  • Cloned bank card – To name a few.

However, research is everything! It is important to gather as much information as possible about the company you are shopping online with. Once you have done these checks a few times, it will become easier to spot a dodgy website/product.

  • Check websites address for HTTPS – If the company’s web address starts with HTTPS (especially on checkout pages), then you know your information is being sent over a secure network. – What is HTTPS?
  • Pay with Paypal where possible – If you pay by Paypal, the company you are purchasing from will NOT have any information regarding your card details. Only your name, address, email address and phone number if supplied. The beauty is, you don’t even need to have a Paypal account to do this.
  • Use a recommended website where possible – It’s always good practice to use website friends and family have used. You will know if they had a good or bad experience.
  • Check delivery and returns policy – Things can go wrong and for this reason, always check the returns policy and make sure you agree with the company’s terms. You don’t want to get caught out when things are too late.
  • Can you find the company address? – The Gov.uk website, says the following: Before an order is placed, you must provide: your business name, contact details and address, so it is helpful if you can find this as a lot of companies show pricing in GBP but originate and send products from another country.

Conclusion

If you do your research and check out the website the best you can, you should have a fairly pleasant experience. Yes, things will invariably go wrong, that’s life but you shouldn’t have too much of a problem getting the issue resolved. I will most definitely be doing my Christmas shopping online next year!

May I take this opportunity to wish you all very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! Please look after yourself and others. Here’s hoping next year will bring better things to all.

Santa in his sleigh with raindeers

More Info

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Non-disabled person standing between two wheelchair users asking "what's wrong with you?"

When I’m Asked What’s Wrong With You?: Should I Take Offence?

When I’m Asked What’s Wrong With You?: Should I Take Offence? As a disabled person myself and a full-time wheelchair user, I am often asked by complete strangers, “what is wrong with you?”. Some people take great offence at this, yet these same people bang on about how ignorant ableds are! Can ableds win?

What’s Wrong With You?

I was on holiday last year and I experienced good and bad attitudes from non-disabled people.

When I'm Asked What's Wrong With You?: Should I Take Offence? - Front of cruise ship with blue interior lights

The good side (in my opinion): It was at the end of a wonderful ’80s themed night aboard a ship I was cruising on with my family (read my review). We were finishing our drinks after dancing the night away to all the popular 80’s music when the lady sat at the next table asked me “do you mind me asking what is wrong with you?”. I replied, “no, of course not”. I genuinely didn’t mind.

I went on to explain how I was born with my disability Arthrogryposis, how this affects my daily life and how my husband is my carer etc. etc. She seemed genuinely interested and even asked more questions when she didn’t understand something. She was amazed when I spoke of the barriers disabled people face on a daily basis by society/buildings etc. I explained this was why I loved cruising, as it was one of the more accessible holidays available to me. She couldn’t understand why access wasn’t better.

I spoke for quite a while, not realising how passionate I had become explaining why I do the things I do and how my disability affects my outlook on life. So I wrapped things up and said goodnight.

The bad side: (again on our cruise, we (my family) had a great but tiring day at port this particular day. I was making my way back to my cabin and while in the lift alone, this lady got on at another floor and immediately starting complaining to me how sore her feet were and how she had walked and walked and walked the whole day. How she couldn’t wait to take her shoes off and rest her poor feet. Now maybe it was because I was tired but all I wanted to shout at her was “at least you bloody well have legs that you can use to walk and walk and walk!”.

Should I Get Offended?

Should I get offended? I suppose this question can’t really be answered with a simple yes or no. It boils down to the individual’s perception of they deem to be offensive, the same way as asking “did you find that joke funny?”. Each person has their own idea of what is funny, the same way as each individual find some things offensive while others do not. Me personally, I’m not offended if someone genuinely wants to know. But that’s the key for me if the person asking is genuine!

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Offend: To irritate, annoy, or anger; – Cause resentful displeasure in: – To affect (the sense, taste, etc.) disagreeably. – To hurt or cause pain to.

I kinda get it when disabled people say how rude and personal this is but, in all fairness, you can decide how personal your answer will be…..Can you not? I can’t help but feel that some disabled people want their cake and eat it. Some go on and on about how ableds are so uneducated and ignorant towards disability, yet when they take the time to ask you about it, you go all offended and say how rude of them?

When I'm Asked What's Wrong With You?:  Should I Take Offence?  -  Red no entry sign over a blue shaped wheelchair user

I love someone wanting to take time out of their day, holiday, shopping or whatever to ask me about my disability. I hope that I am contributing to helping people better understand disability (well mine anyway), so they may pass this on or prevent discrimination in the future.

Of course, I think it’s fairly easy to know if someone is being false or malicious in their questioning and yes, I totally agree they should not be entertained!

Disability Assumptions

One of the things I do get offended by is the fact my husband wears an artificial left leg and normally the first thing strangers assume is that he has been in the forces and lost his leg. They seem to forget that he may have been born with a disability. I mean, there is no other way to have an artificial limb, is there!!

The other is that I have polio. When I used to walk with my calipers, 90% of people (especially minicab drivers) always assumed I had polio. (Not sure if this was anything to do with a common charity box outside a lot of shops back then that was a young boy wearing one calliper on his leg). I would then have to correct them and explain what Arthrogryposis was 🙂

To me, assumptions are more offensive than just asking me “what’s wrong with you”. I am always happy to take the time to talk to anyone wishing to be educated.

Conclusion

If you want to know about my disability, I will always do my best to explain it to you, provided you are genuinely interested. I understand how difficult and uncomfortable it might be for some, to talk to disabled people. People are only human at the end of the day and are scared of “different”.

I saw a video some time ago where a wheelchair user (male) sat in a very popular area (can’t remember where now), sat with a cardboard sign saying people could ask him anything about his disability. I have often thought of doing this myself. I am intrigued as to what people would ask me.

In my opinion, disabled people who complain and give out about how rude ableds are for wanting to know about their disability don’t have the right to complain and moan about the same ableds of being ignorant or uneducated!

If you liked my blog, why not sign up to my Newsletter so you never miss a beat, or leave a comment below. If there is anything you would like me to blog about, don’t hesitate to Contact Me.

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White circle of petals next to the word Motability on a blue background

Disabled People: Brand New Car Every Three Years!

Disabled people: Brand New Car Every Three Years! The biggest misconception is that disabled people get a brand new car for free. Not true! The Motability Scheme helps disabled people in receipt of the higher rate mobility allowance by exchanging this allowance to lease a new affordable car, Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle, scooter or powered wheelchair.

Motability

In a nutshell, anyone in receipt of the higher rate mobility allowance (such as the Enhanced Rate of the Mobility Component of Personal Independence Payment or the Higher Rate Mobility Component of Disability Living Allowance) can use their mobility allowance to lease a car, scooter, powered wheelchair or Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle from Motability. The lease is normally for three years and five years for a WAV (Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle).

Motability’s standard lease takes care of running costs such as insurance for up to three named drivers (this doesn’t have to be you), servicing, maintenance, breakdown cover and tyre and windscreen repair and replacement. All you need to do is add fuel and go.

Misconception

I’ve had it said to me many many times that it must be so good getting a brand new car every couple of years for free! Yeah, I suppose it would be great but this is just not the case. The look on those people’s faces when I explain that’s not the case and I actually pay for my car on a monthly basis is a cross between shock and disbelief.

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The look on those people’s faces when I explain that’s not the case and I actually pay for my car on a monthly basis is a cross between shock and disbelief.

I give up the higher rate of my mobility component so I may have a car to allow me my independence, rather than having to depend on other people to get my medication, shopping etc. When my son was school age, I was able to take him and pick him up from school. This was paramount to me as he was being bullied at school and suffered terrible anxiety.

Ford Tourneo WAV - Disabled people:  Brand New Car Every Three Years!
Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle

I became a full-time wheelchair user many years ago, not being able to put my own electric wheelchair in our car and drive off somewhere, means I can longer go out on my own. Therefore I am now in the process of applying for WAV (I will write about my experience, once I have received my car).

Further Information

For a full breakdown of who is eligible, how to apply and more help, check out Motability’s website.

If you want me to blog about a specific subject, or just to say hi, please don’t hesitate to Contact Me.

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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 stairlifts, 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

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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!!

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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.

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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!!!

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Greggs Logo - Blue background 4 yellow dots, 2 top 2 below, the word greggs in white to the right

Greggs – Hounslow – Disabled toilet – Free for all!

Having lunch with a friend in Greggs Cafe in Hounslow yesterday, I noticed several customers trying to get upstairs to use the toilets. The door leading to the stairs was locked. Only staff were using the door using a code on the door lock.

I asked a member of staff as to why the door was kept locked. I was told it was because the door was broken. (Didn’t look broken to me as the staff seemed quite capable of using it). This member went on to say how it was ok as customers could use the other toilet…….The DISABLED toilet!!! NO, IT’S NOT OK!!!!!

I have IBS, my stomach could turn at a moments notice and I need to rush to the toilet……Oh but I can’t use the toilet as one of your abled customers is using the DISABLED toilet because Greggs have never heard of a fecking DOOR STOP!!!!!!!!!!!

Come on Greggs, pull you god damn socks up!!!!!!!

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Fanned out 5 pound notes with Money not good for dexterity problems

Is money slipping through your fingers?

24/3/19

I think we’re all familiar with the new money that has been circulating for some time now. These new £5, £10, £20 pound notes are somewhat fiddly buggers, to say the least. If like me, you suffer from dexterity problems, you will understand what I am about to tell you.

I am constantly dropping these notes due to the shiny surface they have, especially when against other notes, they seem to just slip right out of one’s hand! Folding them is near impossible too, they just bounce right back at you and fly all over the damn place. I believe they were designed not to be able to be folded. No, I have no ideas either. I think it was something to do with maybe keeping them in good condition for longer.

The idea they can not tear is obviously a good one. Who hasn’t torn their money by accident! But, because of this, I believe this design is what causes them to be so shiny.

I can’t help but wonder who actually thinks up these ideas and how much research/testing goes into such a major decision. Who is consulted in deciding if these things are suitable? Clearly not the right sort of people!

Do you have problems using the new money? Let me know in the comments below.

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Stacked shopping baskets in blue, red and green colours

Is Your Shopping Basket Accessible?

My local Asda only offers the wheelie baskets shown here:

I suppose under normal circumstances, these would do nicely but what if you’re in a wheelchair?  I find these impossible to use for a few reasons:  

  1. Not easy to steer around the store and manoeuvre your own chair.
  2. When at checkout, I’m unable to reach into the basket as it sits on the floor.
  3. Or they are too big and clumsy to put on your lap.


So I contacted Asda via Twitter and to my surprise, they responded: “Thank you for getting back to us! The store manager has advised as they are only a supermarket they only get wheely baskets, however, he has put in a request for the regular baskets! Fingers crossed the baskets will be available soon”. 

This is great if it happens!  I will keep you updated.

One thing bugs me though in their reply.  They say because they are only a supermarket they get wheely baskets???  Is that not what supermarkets do??  Supply shopping baskets for their customers??

***UPDATE*** 23/3/19

This store now have many baskets that I can use on my lap……..Result!!!!

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Woman shaded all in black holding up two dresses, one pink, one black

Fashion Sitting Down!

Someone on Twitter was talking about having some mannequins sitting down in fashion shops to help people in wheelchairs see how clothing would look while in a sitting position.

I personally love this idea and feel it would be a massive leap forward in the fashion industry.  I have bought too many bits of clothing and found them to look completely different in a sitting position as they do in a standing position.  There are many factors a wheelchair user has to take into account when purchasing clothing:

  • Trousers – How high do they come up the back, are they hipsters?  Are they buttoned/zipped/elastic waist – Some of us can only wear elasticated waist.
  • Skirts – Will the hem hang too far down and catch on my wheels?
  • Sleeves – Are they going to get destroyed by my wheels too quickly?

So, to be able to answer these questions before purchasing an item of clothing, taking it home to try it on (as not all of us are capable of using the changing rooms) then find it’s no good and have to make another trip back to the shop to return said item, would be a massive achievement!!

Yes, obviously there are some mannequins that are sitting down but, is there enough?  I don’t think there is.  We need these to be commonplace, like the wheelchair.

Don’t you agree??

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Black wheelchair with a red colour frame

I Fake my Disability??

There is a culture in today’s world that the majority of disabled people are faking it!  Contrary to belief and we know who started the rumour, (yes the government, so they can condone their actions regarding austerity, ATOS, PIP assessments, UC etc all of which were designed to fail, except austerity of course).  Fakers are few and far between!  Disabled parking bay abusers are a much more common daily occurrence but that doesn’t cost the government money, so of no interest to change or enforce.

The media have contributed to this culture by seemingly creating two types of disabled people: inspirational/sporting “look what they can do”, or lying scroungers.  So if I can’t partake in sport/Olympics and represent my country, I must be a faker?  This is the problem!  What people are forgetting is that our Olympians are sponsored by many different companies, their equipment, (wheelchairs, artificial limbs etc) cost thousands and thousands of pounds to help them achieve their goals.  This IS why they can do what they do, plus the years and years of training they do!!  If you are Joe Bloggs, believe me, you are given what you’re given and made feel you should be grateful for that much.  My husband who was also born with his disability wears an artificial leg, he went to his GP to ask him to sign the form necessary to apply for a freedom pass, the GP responded by saying “how can you class yourself disabled when we have Olympians with artificial limbs”?  Needless to say, he didn’t sign the form!!!!  So when up against attitudes like that, why would anyone want to FAKE being disabled?

Able-bodied people will never & can never understand why we (disable people) NEED the things we fight for, like, accessibility, adapted housing, barriers removed, attitudes changed.  How can they?  They don’t have to live the life we live.  They are blessed with being able to take most things we HAVE to fight for, for granted!!  For example, let’s take something simple:  Busses:  Disabled people fought for many many years to get the wheelchair space implemented, now everyone wants to use it.  Some parents with buggies will not move from that space if a wheelchair user needs it, believing it is their RIGHT to stay put!!  Well let’s see now, the sign on the busses says what exactly:

Salesman selling wheelchair to abled explaining great parking and sympathy

“Should a wheelchair user wish to use this space, please move to another part of the bus”.  So when I am left again feeling downtrodden, embarrassed, a burden, angry, wet & cold, yes I fake my disability.  So, when it’s obviously clear, you are asked to move, this self-righteous attitude some of you have adopted is quite obnoxious!  At the end of the day, you CAN take your child out of the buggy, fold said buggy and move, I CAN’T get out of my wheelchair and sit on a seat and fold my chair, no matter how much I would love to be able to do that.

The hate & personal attacks shown to disabled people is fed by the fact you are made to believe we are receiving special treatment or an added extra.  This then makes you believe we must be faking it to get said treatment.  So…………

When I’m having to have another painful procedure to unblock my catheter that’s caused another urinary infection, or radio-frequency facet joint injections into my spine to try to alleviate my pain, I mean, there’s no guarantee they are going to work!

I am suffering the terrible side effects of the medication I have to take just to keep me alive.

Losing friends because they have no idea what it is like to live my life and have no patience.

Stuck in bed again because I’m in too much pain to be able to move.

Losing the career I love because my employer sacked me due to the amount of sick time I have to take.

The list goes on and on and on!!!

Just because I have a smile on my face, doesn’t mean I’m ok!!

All the stuff disabled people fight for can take many years to get changed or implemented and most are not even achieved.  All we want is to have the same quality of life most able-bodied people take for granted.  The trouble is, the things we fight for often don’t even help as disabled people are not listened to so the entity making the changes rarely ever get it right.  You believe it is special treatment and extra because something has to be an add-on feature because, in the structure of life, disabled people are forgotten about.

YES, I FAKE MY DISABILITY!!!!!!!!

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Sample image of the disabled blue badge

Blue Badge is Changing!

The blue badge disabled parking scheme is undergoing its biggest shake-up since it was introduced in 1970.  Previously, local authorities could not exclude those with hidden disabilities, but granting permission was very much open to interpretation. The changes now give councils clearer guidelines.  Last month, the Department for Transport (DfT) confirmed that from 2019, people with hidden disabilities will be granted access to the scheme too.  Read the full story here.

According to the Citizen Advice Bureaux:  

If you’re disabled or have a health condition that affects your mobility, you can apply for a Blue Badge. 

You can also apply for a badge if you care for a child with a health condition. 

Who can get a Blue Badge 

You’re automatically eligible for a Blue Badge if you:

  • are registered as blind
  • get the higher rate of the mobility component of Disability Living Allowance (DLA)
  • get Personal Independence Payment (PIP) and scored 8 points or more in the ‘moving around’ area of your assessment – check your decision letter if you’re not sure
  • get War Pensioners’ Mobility Supplement 
  • received a lump sum payment as part of the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme (tariffs 1 to 8), and have been certified as having a permanent and substantial disability

If you’re not automatically eligible

It’s worth applying as you might still be able to get a badge. You’ll have to fill in an extra part of the application to show why you need one. 

You should do this if:

  • you have problems walking that is permanent, or that your doctor says are likely to last at least a year
  • you can’t use your arms
  • you’re applying on behalf of a child aged over 2 who has problems walking, or a child under 3 who needs to be close to a vehicle because of a health condition

Source:  Citizen Advice Bureaux 

This raises a few questions:

  1. Will the councils, private car parks, hospitals, high streets etc. increase the amount of disabled parking bays to accommodate all the new users?
  2. Will councils tackle Blue Badge abuse that happens, more effectively?
  3. If the blue badge is now open to people with all disabilities, how will this affect people with mobility conditions and people who need the extra space for wheelchairs?

We all know how difficult it is to find an empty disabled parking bay as it is.  Once this change takes effect next year, can you imagine just how much harder this will become?  I always believed blue badges were for people who had mobility disabilities.  The wider bays were/are for people who need the extra space to be able to get into and out of their cars, for wheelchairs, straightening callipers or something else.  Am I right to assume that everybody with a disability NEEDS extra space around their car?  So, if not, why not introduce more disabled bays the same width as other bays, for those that don’t need the extra space?

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BBC radio Wales written on a red background

My First radio interview!

24/10/2018  

BBC Radio Wales asked if I would give my thoughts regarding a new scheme being brought to government, live on air.  The scheme would be a rating system, similar to the food rating scheme, where businesses are given a rating of how accessible they are.  As you can imagine, I was extremely excited to have been asked, so I sorted out all this information I wanted to speak about and even made notes to remind myself as the interview was going outlive.  I was a little disappointed as I felt the questions asked, were a little flat and didn’t allow for me to talk about the scheme very well but, overall, as my first ever LIVE radio interview, I felt it could have been better.  I need to learn how to put myself across better in future.  Practice makes perfect!

The scheme itself sounds like a very positive move if given the go-ahead.  It will give disabled people the opportunity to see “at-a-glance” how accessible a service provider actually is.  The higher the score, the better the access.  Disabled people like myself do so much pre-planning before going out their front door.  I hate having to go anywhere new, it sets off my anxiety no end.  I worry about so much that could go wrong.  A scheme of this nature would be so beneficial, especially if it carried over onto service provider’s websites.  Imagine how much easier it would be to find accessible places!!

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Inside an aeroplane toilet to show how small they are.

Disabled? Could you use an aeroplane toilet?

16/1/19

Flying, toilets, disability!  Not something airlines think of going together. 

I’m due to travel on an aeroplane later in the year and one of my fears among many is what if I can’t use the toilet.  My flight is 11 hours long, I can’t hold myself all that time!  Ironically, another lady on Twitter is also flying in the near future and was asking if anyone knew how she could find the dimensions of the toilet on the type of plane she will be flying on. This gave me the perfect opportunity to find out how one would go about searching the dimensions of an aeroplane’s toilet.

I contacted the lady on Twitter and asked if I could help, she was pleased for any help.  So I got in touch with the airline she was flying with on her behalf, via email and Facebook, I even contacted Boeing themselves. I’ve heard back from the airline saying they are in communications with the lady on Twitter.  Unfortunately, it’s been confirmed that the airline does not have the information she requested, so the lady on Twitter is hoping cabin crew will take the dimensions and pass them on to her.  I’ve heard nothing from Boeing.  So far, trying to research this information is practically impossible.  Doesn’t give me much hope for when I need the same info from whoever I’ll be flying with!

As disabled people are flying at present,

  • Should information of this nature not be readily available?
  • Why is it so difficult to obtain this kind of information directly from the airlines?
  • Do airlines not have a dedicated department that could deal with these types of requests?

Something all airlines should be asking themselves and then answering publically.

Now we all understand the business concept of making money but when you are clearly making changes that exclude sections of society because of said business concept, surely this can be deemed as discrimination?  So why, are these airlines allowed to not only continue this behaviour but actually make the situation worse?  I’ll tell you why, because disabled people are more hassle than they are worth!!!  Too much effort needs to go into getting disabled people onto the planes.  Airlines are doing all they can to discourage disabled people from flying!!!  Oh and it’s not just disabled people, large people also are affected.  People who may need 2 seats instead of 1, who also wouldn’t be able to small toilets.  So why is there not more public outrage??  I’m baffled!!

What a coincidence, as I’m typing this blog, the lady on Twitter has just got back to me saying she went into the airport and spoke with the airline there and got the information she needed.  Why should she have had to have done that?  Why could the airline give her the info over email?

See, being disabled cost time/money and effort to get the simplest of tasks accomplished!!!!

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Argos self checkout machines too high

Argos say “Good height for wheelchair users”.

26/11/18 – Argos self-checkout machines too high for wheelchair users.

Argos self checkout machines too high

So I emailed Argos regarding their recently installed self-checkout machines.

This is what Argos had to say,”

I know your concern was about the height of the Quick Pay Kiosks. Having investigated further, it seems that the design of the kiosks is historic and none of the current designers know where the guidance was consulted at the time.

We are however aiming to ensure that new designs are more inclusive and I am working closely with the Store Format teams to ensure moving forward this is the case. We are also trialling other technology where you can browse for products and pay on the same terminal and these are more accessible. However, there will always be aspects of Argos stores that are not accessible for every customer, and when it occurs, our colleagues are always happy to assist (which is of course something Argos is required to do under the Equality Act 2010)”.

Hmm, she says the new terminals where you can browse and pay (presumably the ones pictured above) are more accessible.  Not quite sure about that!

I’m in a pretty high seated wheelchair and you can see below, the touchscreens are too high for me to use, it is above my head!  For a disabled person like myself who is unable to raise their arms past chest level and doesn’t have very good dexterity, this becomes an impossible task.  Now, remember, you have to pump in numbers or the name of the item you wish to browse/pay for on this screen.  Gonna take some time I reckon!  Yes indeed, staff may be required to assist under the EA 2010 but try finding one in the Hounslow branch! 

Cazbarr sat next to Argos self checkout machines

Argos said in a further email, replying to my email with a few suggestions:

“I went around one of our stores on Friday in a wheelchair (before your email came through) just to try to get a view of the barriers in store for wheelchair users, albeit it was the Liverpool Belle Vale store that has just been refitted with the Pay at Browse device. While it is a good height for a wheelchair user, the screen while lower than the kiosk that you mentioned, may well present an issue to a user who can’t reach higher than chest level. We will need to give some thought to how we make sure a wheelchair user can get close enough to the screen e.g. get their knees under the desk and still have the screen and the pay point within easy reach”.

Now I’m really not sure what machines she is talking about as it seems she has mentioned several.  As she mentioned the Liverpool branch has just been refitted with the new machines, I can only assume she is indeed talking about the ones pictured above.  Now, this being the case, how on earth can it be concluded these are a good height for wheelchairs??  You would definitely need to reach up past your head.  

The plus side is, Argos haven’t completely disregarded my comments or even my suggestions.  They do say they will give some thought on how to improve things, this is definitely a plus for Argos.

So now the waiting game and in the meantime, I still can’t go shopping independently!!!! 

Any questions, please don’t hesitate to Contact Me.

***UPDATE*** 27/11/19 – Argos self-checkout machines too high for wheelchair users.

Lowered counter with new argos self checkout machines

Argos have been true to their word!! They have indeed installed new LOWER machines in their Hounslow store. I was in the store last week and found these lowered machines to be much easier to use. Unfortunately, the machine at the lowered counter meant for wheelchair users wasn’t working. (I did report this).

The only slight issue is the fact if you’re not careful, you could very well hit your knees on the bottom of the machine. Other than that though, I say, good job Argos.

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Changing places toilet with changing bed with toilet and hoist

Is it really discrimination?

An 11-year-old boy is suing a theme park for not having a changing places toilet.  Now I can see both sides of the coin here.  The story goes:

On one side, you have the parents saying their son should be able to enjoy a day out like any other 11 year old and be able to use the toilet when needed.  Of course, I totally agree.  They explained to the theme park how their son requires a “changing places” toilet.  They also explained at present, to be able to visit the theme park, they must hire a mobiloo to enable their son the day out he so loves to have.

On the other side:

The theme park has said they take inclusivity very serious and always look for feedback from disabled people to make sure what they are doing is right.  Also, in light of the complaint from this lads parents, the park has supplied a mobile hoist and a changing bed in one of their large disabled toilets.

The parents have come back to the theme park saying this is not good enough as it does not meet their son’s needs.

Ok, maybe I’m just plain ignorant here but, am I right in saying a “changing places” toilet has a hoist, changing bed, toilet and sink??  Does the theme park’s toilet have a hoist, changing bed, toilet and sink??  If so, then how come it doesn’t meet their son’s needs???  I’m sure someone out there will have great pleasure in enlightening me!!

So now, the parents are suing the theme park for discrimination??  Do they actually have a case??  Do you think the park has made reasonable adjustments??

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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.

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