Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Access Issues

Well, I was just fined £80 because the clock for my blue badge was set slightly wrong. By about fifteen minutes - if that. I had tried to set it more clearly, but obviously hadn't managed it (that's on account of being disabled and not always having particularly good fine motor skills). The bastards at the Council from Hell are going to get an extremely sarcastic letter - this is the third time this has happened to me in about the past four months, and the tickets were cancelled on the other occasions as they were proven not to be valid. Penalising actual disabled people with actual permits because you can't be arsed to fine the non-disabled people who park in blue badge spaces after 6.30 (we once had to phone the council about the people sat illegally in the space outside our house *all night*). Wankers.

Today was the day of access issues - some negative experiences, and some positive. We went to the Transport Museum in Covent Garden, where we were delighted to find out that not only do Freedom Pass holders go in free, but so also do their 'carers' (we took the freebie over challenging the terminology. We are bad people). Two for the price of no one. Very nice. The museum itself is beautifully accessible. Sadly, the people who were there were rude rude rude, and seemed to set out to make me feel like I was in the way all the time. Nonetheless, we saw some great stuff. Tube trains from the 1920s and so on. Fantastic. The Girl, the transport geek, was particularly enthralled. We have pictures of me sitting next to Routemasters (for those of you who don't live here: those are the now-defunct, so-called 'iconic', massively inaccessible buses that everyone's all nostalgic about, but which are rubbish). Well, we liked the joke, anyway.

Then there was Pizza Hut. Oh, that was interesting. Crips can access their upstairs area. The lunchtime buffet is in their downstairs area. They brought me a few slices of limp pizza with toppings that I didn't fancy, and I managed to reach some tomatoes and a bit of cucumber at the ridiculously-positioned salad bar upstairs. Lovely. I got pissed off and we went home.

Then we wrote a letter to our social worker - well, actually we just played with the letter I used for DLA to illustrate just how rubbish I am - in an attempt to get more support hours. The social worker, who came last week and is A Nice Man, is trying to get me a proper 'care' package for when I'm in Leeds. We shall see if this is actually achievable, once it goes to the (probably illegal, but what can you do) panel of shadowy experts where it is decided whether or not I am worthy of more hours. Hmm.

Then we went to the post office, where a woman who clearly had mental health problems was making a (rather violent) scene and being ignored by a very British bunch, and I was conflicted about it, and worried about her. And then we got back, having left our car for exactly fifteen minutes, and found we had a ticket because the clock showed 5pm when we had actually left the car at four minutes to five. I had been attempting to get it say 4.45. I thought I had been successful. I should know better than to let something like that slip. Nonetheless, since there isn't a marked interval for 'five minutes to' on the clock, and because I was *clearly trying*, and because if I try hard enough I can make it sound like discrimination which it certainly feels like, I am going to write and shout, metaphorically, at the wankers at the council. 

And that was the end of my day of access issues. Tomorrow: Greenbelt, where I am on the Access Team, which is just as well, as they clearly need a crip to sort them out over there. I may or may not survive nearly a week in a tent. I will let you know.


grace said...

What a day! But I hope you have a wonderful, wonderful time at Greenbelt. One of these years i'll get there, I'm sure. Also... I've tagged you for a Kick Ass Bloger award Go and have a look :-)

yanub said...

I'm confused. What is this bizarre thing you have to do with clocks and badges? A blue badge is like our blue tags, yes? You hang it in your windshield? Where does the clock come in? We just park wherever there is a legal space and get left alone for as long as we are there. Where do you put the clock? And why? It makes no sense to my American brain that clocks would be involved in non-metered parking.

Anonymous said...

Ooh, I envy your opportunity to visit the transport museum (no matter how flubbed up the end result may have been) simply because it was CLOSED for renovations when I was there, and I don't anticipate the opportunity to get to London again for a long time.

And yes, I'm also confused about the clocks on the blue badges.

Naomi J. said...

Those who are confused about clocks: it's quite simple, really, when you work out that because Britain is so ridiculously small, we have no parking availability anywhere. So as well as general 'disabled' parking spaces, of which there are very few, there are restricted areas at which blue badge holders can park for limited times - usually three hours. Hence needing a clock to register when you arrived. Therefore, set the clock wrong, and you're in trouble. We're still working on whether or not we can appeal the ticket...

Grace: Thanks for the award, which I shall check out!