Thursday, 29 January 2015

Shaking with rage…

Last week, I read an article in the Herts Advertiser about the newspaper’s temporary re-location to another office in St. Albans whilst building works on their normal residence takes place. To set the scene for those who are not familiar with the Town Hall Chambers (permanent home of the paper), the offices are completely inaccessible to disabled people, mainly because of the large steps up to the front door. I had not really considered it much before until the chair of the St. Albans District Access Group, Robert Hill, pointed it out to me.

I decided to write a letter to the Herts Advertiser seems as the subject of their offices were in the news but they were too cowardly to print it so I thought I’d share it on here:

Move with the times


I would just like to wish everyone at the Herts Advertiser good luck with your temporary office re-location and say that I cannot wait to visit your old offices once you return in four months. Oh wait, I still will not be able to get in (what with Friedreich’s Ataxia meaning that I am permanently confined to a wheelchair).

In last weeks edition of this paper (January 22), you are quoted as saying the Herts Advertiser is ‘the only newspaper with an office in St Albans City Centre’. This is clearly a dig at the other rival papers in the area but all I would say in response is at least their offices are accessible to all. You may feel ‘privileged to be at the very heart of the community’ but the fact is your first-floor office in Market Place is cut off from a part of the community who obviously do not matter; the disabled.

The majority of your loyal readers will not be aware that the normal home of the Herts Advertiser is inaccessible to anyone in a wheelchair or with a severe walking impairment, so you couldn't employ/offer work experience to anyone with a physical disability like me. Surely this is in breach of the Equalities Act?

Can you offer reassurance that this will be rectified when you return to Town Hall Chambers later this year? If not, rather than reiterating that the building is Grade II Listed, can you explain why the Herts Advertiser will not move permanently into 2015 instead of being stuck in the dark ages?


Glen Shorey,
St Albans District Access Group,
Corinium Gate

You can imagine how disappointed I was when I picked up the paper this morning, turned to the Your Views section and discovered that my letter was nowhere to be seen. Talk about censorship. Just because a letter is critical of the Herts Ad does not mean it should be suppressed. Britain is meant to be a fair democracy with freedom of speech being an integral part of society so even if one does not like what is being said, one does not stop said person from airing their opinion. I believe there should be a mixture of voices in the media but perhaps that is why I did not become a journalist in the end.

My frustration that the letter had not been printed soon turned to uncontrollable anger when I read this response earlier:

Dear Glen,
I am sorry to receive your letter, especially given the help and support the Herts Advertiser has offered you over the past few years.Whereas our office space is not easily accessible, that does not mean our staff aren't.
As you will be aware, we are more than happy to meet with readers outside of our office space to discuss stories, and are therefore not preventing any members of the community from accessing our services.
We do not own either Town Hall Chambers or 7 French Row - they are council buildings - so are not in a position to alter them in any way.

Matt Adams

Editor, Herts Advertiser

Now, there are many issues with that reply. Firstly, how dare Mr. Adams (not Matt because that is too formal; we are not drinking buddies) suggest that just because the Herts Advertiser have wrote a few stories about me and printed one article by me, I am not entitled to voice an opinion about the accessibility of their offices. Secondly, he has completely overlooked my point that the newspaper cannot employ a disabled journalist, which is illegal. Finally, I guessed that the blame would be attributed to the council who own the listed building but my question was why couldn’t they move offices permanently? That remained unanswered as well.

Yes, I may have burnt a few of my bridges at the local paper but I do not care one bit. My main aim in life is to make disabled people more equal in society, not to maintain friendships. I speak up for myself and if people don’t like my opinion, so be it but no one is exempt from feeling the wrath of ‘Wheelchair Boy’. Don't worry, this will not be the end of it.

Bye for now!

Monday, 26 January 2015

Why Not People…

Music is a massive part of my life. I don’t enjoy it as much as football but it’s a close second. I try and get to concerts but as with all things in life, my disability makes it that little bit more difficult. Ordinary people can go and book tickets online in under 30 seconds whereas I have to call up a special access helpline. That normally takes ages though as these companies do not realise that disabled people enjoy going to gigs just as much as everyone else so usually only have one member of staff to deal with disabled customers.  I have lost count of the hours my carer or I have spent on hold trying to book a wheelchair space.

I should say that it’s not just music events that put up obstacles for disabled people. However they are the focus of this particular post because I would like to talk about Why Not People?, the first music and events members club aimed at people living with disabilities set up by Jameela Jamil (T.V. and Radio presenter). The idea came about because Jameela was in a wheelchair following a car accident in her youth and has lived first hand in a world that does not make room for those living with impairments. Therefore she understands that it is nigh on impossible for a disabled person to have a good, fun night out without any problems.

That’s where Why Not People? comes in. A number of events headlined by leading international music artists will be created in order to make the enjoyment of music more accessible for the 11.8 million people living with disabilities in the UK. The experiences of disabled music fans are varied. Some will have absolutely no problems but I always seem to face at least one issue, whether that be the booking process or attending actual events. Nothing is ever simple with ‘Wheelchair Boy’ and going to a concert is no different.

Although I don’t have many friends, another obstacle that has prevented me from enjoying music to the fullest over the years has been that it is difficult to get additional  tickets for more than one person. I would normally sit with my carer and then a friend/family member would be separate. Why Not People?  wants this to change by creating ‘exciting events that people living with disabilities can enjoy alongside their friends’.

In order to help enhance the experience of all people, not just music fans with physical disabilities, Why Not People? is committed to introducing new technologies – such as the SubPac. This new piece of wearable technology transfers low audio frequencies onto the body, reinventing the way we experience music.

Founder Jameela Jamil has used her fame to her advantage by calling in some of the finest talent, ambassadors and branding to help put on entertainment gigs that are fully accessible. It was confirmed earlier today when the official website was launched that various artists including Coldplay and Mark Ronson are on board.

To learn more about Why Not People? go to, Facebook and Twitter: The company is only in its infancy but I’m confident it will be a great success.

Bye for now

Friday, 16 January 2015

Guestbook- Entry 4…

Like many people, I have always known the importance of drinking water but I don’t consume enough of the stuff. It’s not that I am deliberately being unhealthy and want to cause irreversible damage to my kidneys; I just have never made drinking lots of fluid a regular habit that comes naturally to me. However, after reading
the following post on the subject by Andrew Atkinson (a director of mobility products specialists MobilitySmart), I have decided to make a conscious effort in my life to drink more often:
‘Are you dehydrated?

If you are, then your mind and body aren’t working to the best of their ability. Whether you’re exercising, spending your time volunteering or filling your days with your favourite hobbies, you’re missing out on feeling your best.

How to Tell if You’re Dehydrated

Can you tell if you’re dehydrated? Most people believe that they’d know, but it’s a fact that a majority of people aren’t able to recognise the signs of dehydration.

In some cases, people are just too distracted to notice that they’re feeling a little thirsty. If you’re concentrating on another task, forgetting to drink is surprisingly easy to do. However, a much bigger phenomenon is also at play.

The human body learns to block signals that it’s been experiencing for a while, even if those signals are the body’s own warning signs. You can test this theory by pressing a finger onto your arm, waiting a while and removing it. You felt your finger as you pressed it onto your skin, and you no doubt felt it for a little while afterwards, but eventually your body becomes numb to the sensation and you no longer notice the pressure. If you’ve been dehydrated for a little while then you learn to dull the symptoms. You might become completely accustomed to the level of thirst, the headaches and the dry mouth that you’re experiencing. As you read about them you may suddenly notice that you’re feeling thirsty, but this won’t always be the case.

Did you know that human beings are losing touch with their body’s signals? You should be able to tell the difference between hunger and thirst, but it’s often impossible to distinguish between the two. If you’re feeling a desire to eat, drinking instead might be more beneficial. Current obesity levels might in part be attributed to people not recognising that they’re thirsty rather than hungry.

How Much Should You Be Drinking?

As a rough guide, women should be consuming 2.7 litres of water per day. Men should be consuming more – a total of 3.5 litres. If you’re currently drinking nowhere near this amount then it’s highly likely that you’re dehydrated, even if you feel entirely comfortable.

Your body is used to what you’re drinking. It’s able to adapt, but not entirely. Whilst you might not feel constantly thirsty, your organs aren’t functioning as well as they should be. Long-term dehydration can lead to a wide range of problems including memory loss, concentration issues, organ damage and the slowing of your metabolism.

Start drinking more and after a week you should notice that you’re no longer able to survive on what you used to drink. Your body now recognises when you’re dehydrated, because it’s experienced the feeling of being properly hydrated. You’ll probably feel much MORE thirsty, but be aware that this is a good thing.

As you start to drink more water, you’ll find that you need to use the toilet much more. This, again, is because your body isn’t used to being hydrated. After a short while, your body will adapt to being hydrated and you’ll be able to stop visiting the restroom as much.

Why is Water So Important?

Your blood is 83% water. Your muscles and your brain are 75% water. Hydration is vital to your health, and if weight loss is a priority then you’ll also be pleased to know that it’s easier to lose weight when you’re well hydrated.

How Should You Drink Your Water?

Fresh water at body temperature is the best possible drink, but feel free to adapt what you’re drinking if you prefer your water to be heated or to be cooled in the fridge. Try not to add too many other ingredients – water is better than squash, juice, tea, coffee or soda – but squeezing a slice of lemon or lime into your water can help to improve the taste without removing any of the benefits.

If you’re struggling to remember how much to drink then you can buy a 750ml flask or sports bottle and use it for all of your drinks. Aim to have filled it, and to have consumed the contents, an absolute minimum of 3 times per day. If you’re using a glass then it can be easy to pour drinks of different volumes or to forget how many times you’ve filled up your glass, but it’s easier to keep track of what you’ve put in your flask and you can take it out and about.

It’s not easy to get into the habit of drinking as much water as you should, but by setting yourself some reminders and keeping track of how much you’re consuming you’ll soon find that you’re more hydrated, more alert and healthier. Drink enough water and your life can be enjoyed more’.

Please feel free to E-Mail me if you would like to appear in my Guestbook. Thank you to Andrew for writing a very interesting and informative piece. It has certainly made me thirsty.

Bye for now!

Tuesday, 13 January 2015


This blog can be of great comfort to ‘Wheelchair Boy’ sometimes because when life gets on top of me (as it has been for the past few days), I can vent my anger at the world by using words. Some people find opening up to someone and speaking aloud their inner thoughts helps to make them feel better. Others can only release anger through fits of violence. Then there are people like me who bottle up their problems, which I’ve grown to realise, is not healthy at all. That’s why I occasionally go off on a slight rant, today being no different.

You know me by now, I’m not one to be getting the violin out and licking my own wounds. Nor do I want sympathy. There are just days when I think the whole world (apart from my family) is conspiring against me. It seems like the people in power, whether that be the local council or private businesses, have already decided my destiny because I am disabled. I constantly get the impression that I should just stay in my family home and not integrate with society until I finally die. That’s what those in charge want, right?

Take my on-going battle with St. Albans District Council to get a bungalow/flat for me to move out into. My whole family have took it in turns to speak with those in the housing department and outline that the provisions for disabled people is wholly unacceptable but do you think they have listened? NO, don’t be silly. On Friday, they called and told my mum they had a place to offer me but it was not suitable for a wheelchair eventhough it has just been built. No wonder I feel helpless and get the vibe that no one wants me to move out ever.

Another thing stressing me out big time is my car. I am deteriorating on a daily basis so transfers are becoming increasingly difficult and unsafe. Therefore, I have decided to try and get a new vehicle with a ramp so that I don’t have to get out of the wheelchair. However, I cannot go back to having a big van like before because I hated that in the end, What with my hearing problems, I used to feel so isolated and cut off at the back. Ideally, I want to sit up the front again but the price for that is ridiculous. Again, it just seems that everything in my life is made that extra bit difficult.

I know that it seems like I’m being a tad overdramatic and have this strange complex that the world is against me but all I’m asking is that you get in my shoes. Assess the evidence and perhaps you’ll all realise that I’m right. Those at the top don’t want ‘Wheelchair Boy’ in society but tough luck, I am here and I’m not going to be quiet. Watch out Westminster Lodge; you’re next on my list!

Don’t worry though people. I feel much better and less stressed now I’ve got my issues off my chest.

Bye for now!

Monday, 5 January 2015

Welcome to 2015....

I’m back. After a couple of weeks of pigging out on chocolate and doing very little  (who am I kidding? That’s been happening for months), I have decided to return a bit of normality to my life in the form of this blog.  Now, I realise that my posts were few and far between towards the end of the year and I can only apologize. I just got distracted and lost interest. Eventhough I’m not going to make a promise to post every day like I did this time last year, I will make a conscious effort to update the blog regularly.

Since my last post, it was of course the birthday of the saviour; ‘Wheelchair Boy’. It was even more special this year as I was 21. Don’t get me wrong, it is great to reach that age and I am grateful as not everyone sadly makes it this far (sorry for being morbid) but I tend  to get quite reflective as opposed to joyful around this time of year.  I just end up looking at my life and thinking if it all was to end now, what would my obituary say. I don’t want to be simply known as ‘a passionate Arsenal supporter who skydived once’. I’d like there to be more but I’m struggling to think  of anything.

However, I realise that the only person who can change the direction of my life is myself. I am the one who needs to knuckle down and get on with my book.  I am the one who needs to try everything under the sun to get my own place and move out. I am the one who needs to find love (being single at 21 is actually becoming  a little scary). I am the one who needs to actually finish writing  a script instead of giving up. Basically, I just need to be proactive so that I get what I want in life. The only thing out of my hands is the fate of Arsenal  but that’s football.

I hope everyone else had a great festive period and has set themselves some targets for 2015. Remember, it’s not about being a new person but just a better you.

Happy New Year one and all.

Bye for now!