Saturday, 29 May 2010

Doesn't recommend the Tube on Crutches

My odyessy on crutches continues, while I learn to understand the issues which people who have mobility difficulties have when out and about.

The day starts off, with me having to "walk" on crutches to Great Knolly's Street from Jackson's corner, I don't know about 3/4 of a mile, because I left something on a bus and had to pick it up. Usefully Reading Buses doesn't have a bus stop near the depot. Then I had to walk, stomp, back to the station. I had to get from Paddington to the Imperial War Museum. So for those that don't know the Tube trip is simple stay on the Bakerloo from Padders to Lambeth North.

Get to Paddington, stomp to the Tube, ah, only way down is steps of escalator, it is easier to use the Bakerloo exit near platform 9 and 10 but this has steps. Stomp to the gate and go down the escalator. With crutches I take up a bit of space on the escalator and a kind chap waits behind me as he can't get by me. This poor chap is sworn at by a woman aged about 20 as she tells him to get out of the F+++ing way. All this because he was giving me space. The Tube was fine except, despite being on crutches no one wants to let you sit donw so stood for 20mins.

Get to Lambeth North easy, except you have to get up somesteps to get to the lift, only one working. Then another 1/4 mile stomp to the Museum. Oh at the Museum, which I love, the lifts don't work and there are a million steps.

So feeling a tadge worn out and have to reverse the whole thing to get home. Almost exactly the same, except there are no seats on the train. While I am wondering whether I can cope on crutches for 30 mins a lovely lady gives up her seat. Thank you so much.

Get to Reading so have to get a bus home, a simple yomp from the Station to Jacksons Corner, another 1/4 mile. Then the bus home and another 1/4mile yomp up Hamilton Rd. Was done in when I got home.

So my judgement, the Tube is utterly useless if you have any mobility difficulty, if you aren't being abused by pushy Londoners, none will give you a seat and there are about a million steps. Reading Buses are ok, except the bus stops are not quite where you want them, especially in the centre of town.

BUT Reading Borough Council, STILL hasn't replaced the bus shelter by Alfred Sutton and my arms hurt allot. So if you have mobility problems, don't go on the Tube, get a Taxi.

Saturday, 22 May 2010

Where's The Bus Shelter Gone?

Still struggling about on crutches, although tried give them up yesterday and ended up in screaming agony. So won't be giving up crutches just yet.

Now I have a better understanding of what it is like to have your mobility impared I also understand what it is like when our new Conservative/Liberal Council don't replace bus shelters.

The shelter outside Alfred Sutton has yet to be replaced as I discovered after yomping up their one morning. Imagine my surprise when, with beads of sweat popping out of my forehead and my muscles aching there was no where to sit down.

I rang the Council who promised to call me back with an answer as to when it will be replaced. They did call me back but to say that they didn't have an answer. I waited for an answer and of which there was none. So asked the Evening Post to follow the story, which they kindly did. They didn't get a more sensible answer than I did. So am now campaigning to get the shelter replaced. I will be off crutches in 5 weeks, I hope, but people will still need to sit down in this important bus shelter. If you want to join me, email me on:

Tuesday, 11 May 2010

Not Enjoying Crutches

Am yomping slowly about, bus service ok if you are on crutches. Going up hill on crutches is utterly murderous and I don't recommend it.

In fact apart from being a pain, being on crutches is quite constructive. I have now got the opportunity to see life as others sometimes see it and I have to say it makes life bloody hard work. From not being able to rush upstairs to change when I am wandering about the house in my underpants when I thought no one was at home and then my youngest daughter brings her friends home, to the strain involved in getting the 17 in to town, hobbling to Market Place to get a bus to Uni and then hobble from the bus stop to lectures. Very very hard, come back broken bones all is forgiven.

The worst of it is that yesterday I hobbled to the bus stop by Alfred Sutton knowing that I could have a stop there to find that it had gone......Rang the council today to find out when the bus stop would be replaced and was told soon, how soon, no one knows.......

Saturday, 8 May 2010

A 50% reduction in the number of operative legs

What a week it has been. I had planned to do some light tidying up after the election, however a reduction in the number of operative legs has slowed me down.

I probably mentioned that I fell off my bike early on election day. I came off at about 8.30 and my foot/ankle swelled up. It hurt like anything.

As it was so early I then had to knock on doors, deliver leaflets, knock on doors, walk around Newtown and St Peter's Road. In fact I think I walked around every road in the Ward. Hobbled around alot.

After polls closed I went home, changed and went to the Henley General Election  count where I was standing as a paper candidate for the General Election. I was standing up until about 3.30 in the morning to receive the result, came third BTW, drove home. In the morning I went to a conference at the University, where I was speaking. Half way through this, I rode to the Rivermead for the count, got the result, rode back to Uni, gave my paper. Got home about 5.30. For various reasons I didn't get to A+E until this morning.

The result, a broken foot, apparantly in an odd bone, well that's politics for you, and 5 or 6 weeks in plaster. This will cut the campaigning down a bit, but I hope to be able to do a few things.

Friday, 7 May 2010

Oh What a Night.....

Well the final votes have been counted and I lost. The Greens, despite their tendancy to make things up and run false campaigns, won by 600 votes.

So what does this mean....basically we carry on. I will keep working on the Ward, keep serving my neighbours and try again next year. In the meantime, I think I might have broken my ankle and have been told by the first aiders at the count to go to A +E. So the plan for the next few hours is, A+E, Beer, Bed.......

Thursday, 6 May 2010

Long Day 23:00 Not over Yet

Started at 5.30, 23:00 not finished yet.

Spoke to hundreds, hundreds went to vote, fell off my bike and feel like I've done something serious to my ankle, see the swollen article on the left. Jo B you were completely right it was dangerous what I was doing.

Got a good reaction from the voters.....a great day for democracy, yes, a great day for me, I don't know yet, find out tomorrow.

Thanks to Emma, Angus, Anneliese, Jon, Ann, Vicki, Peter, Helen, the Borg, Saleem, Bash, Haji, Ejaz, Tammy, Hanna and her husband, Simon, Keith, Sarah, Shirley, Andrew, Greg, Mike, Hester and countless others who helped me today and worked to make today a great day. If I have missed someone deepest sorries.

Wednesday, 5 May 2010

The Day Before the Poll

Tomorrow is make your mind upday. We all have the chance to decide who runs the country. In 1983 Neil Kinnock said on the eve of Poll:

""I warn you not to be ordinary. I warn you not to be young. I warn you not to fall ill. I warn you not to get old."

These words remain true for the Conservative Party and Cameron today. In the Country, in Reading and in Park Ward the Labour Party has an unrivalled record of success and achievement.

In Park these are these are the major projects which we have done over the last 5 years. This does not include small projects, filling in pot holes, getting lights fixed, working with students, working with communities, spending time with older residents, speaking to parents in the playground, talking to shop keepers, the list goes on and on. A record of hard work.

So it is your choice you might be thinking about voting tactically or even for another party, however if you vote something else nationally you will get a Conservative MP and Conservative government. If you vote something else in the local election you will give Reading a Conservative council. The choice is stark, Labour or Tory.

Tuesday, 4 May 2010

Saying Goodbye

Had a day off campaigning because I went to the funeral, in Wales, of my Auntie Sal who died last week at the age of 100. Pictured left.

She was born in 1910 and it is amazing the changes that she had seen in her life. Born just after Lloyd George's "People's Budget" of 1909, she saw great social change and great social upheaval. She was also the last of my relatives who was born before the First World War.

So she lived through the First World War, the Vote for Women, The General Strike, The Great Depression, The rise of fascism, The Second World War, The introduction of the NHS, the Suez crisis, the swinging sixties, my arriving on the scene, the 1970's, Thatcher's mayhem and then the 97 Labour Victory. She saw the height of Empire, the collapse of British Imperial power and the growth of Europe.

The 20th Century was known as the people's Century and she was a representative of the "people", of those ordinary citizens that strived through difficult times to build a better world for those of us born later to enjoy.

Her life saw the UK move to a fairer and fairer society. When she was born women didn't have the vote, was one of the first generation of women to receive the vote and died the week before we all have the chance to vote to keep society fair or move backwards to the Tory floppy haired and photo shoped election promises.

I don't know who Sal voted for or even if she ever voted, but I will miss her and she is now a lost link with my family's past. I do now that the world she lived in has become fairer and fairer and I want it to become fairer for all not for the floppy few or damaged by false campaigners.

So on Thursday, do the right thing, whether you live in Reading, Park Ward or somewhere else, vote for a future fair for all, vote Labour.

Monday, 3 May 2010

Who should I vote for?

I had an interesting phone call today. Someone called me and asked me who they should vote for. After telling me that he was going to vote Labour nationally and was thinking of voting something else locally.

We had a great chat, but I put it to him straight. Its either vote Labour or give the Council to the Conservatives. If you want the Tories to run Reading, then fine, but vote for them straight. It will be more honest. So that's our choice on Thursday in the Council and in the Election. Vote Labour and see a country and a town, Fair for all, or get a Tory administration and Tory Government.

I know its a secret ballot, but I am prepared to advise that I will vote Labour in the local elections and the General Elections. I don't want to live under a Tory administration locally or nationally so if you don't want to either vote Labour. As the Meerkats say" Simples"

Sunday, 2 May 2010

Enjoying the Rain In Wokingham Road

A great morning with the Sikh community. Took part in the Gurdwara's Vaisaki celebrations and this was a great opportunity to spend more time with this community and talk with them about their needs and aspirations. We also spent a lot of time talking about how cold it was and how dreadful the weather was.

It was great to be invited to take part in the parade, walking up the Woky Road with the procession. We were mainly talking about education and cultural identity. Very interesting.

After a quick bite to eat have popped home to write this and then to spend the afternoon canvassing with Anneliese Dodds our Labour PPC.

To make a change from the standard picture have put a slideshow of them below.

2010-05-02 05:49