Monday, March 31, 2014

This weekend saw me watch a video, that left me hopeful for the future. Everyone that knows me, will have heard me say that I can cope with all that MS throws at me, but not walking? THAT, I find so very hard to cope with. But this man, Hugh Herr, seems to hold the answer. He said something very interesting....people weren't broken, technology was.

He looked to remedy this and as he is the head of biomechanics at MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) he is well placed. And as a double amputee, he understands EXACTLY what is needed. And he's looked to remedy it. An amazing man.

Please watch the video here. It makes me hopeful for the future.


Saturday, March 29, 2014

This weekend saw that homosexual people can get married. On reading a bit around this topic, I was surprised and shocked to read of some opinions that were anything but supportive. But then again, I wasn't surprised at all.

As far as I am concerned, if two people want to commit to a life together, then go right ahead. It's no business of mine, or of anyone's. Marriage is does not need to be differentiated because of the sexuality of the couple. People that are committed to one another, and a life together, is good for everyone. We all stand to benefit. We cannot divide or ostracise a section of our community if we all want to live happily and peacefully. But we cannot help ourselves, can we? We have historically always ostracised some section of the community. Wether it's because of gender, race, sexuality or ability someone always gets it in the neck. And who benefits from this? Because it always results in trouble, disharmony and unsettled communities.

The one good bit of reading I did come across was by Sandi Toksvig.....she knows what she is talking about from personal experience. You can read it here.....

In my reading, I looked for ridiculous laws, and found that in France it is illegal to call a pig Napoleon. There was no mention of eating it though, so I guess that is fine.
I don't know how true this is, but it made me laugh.

It has also been mentioned that wedding cards have upped their game. This said by a friend who was attending a wedding today. Good good, long may things continue to improve.

Now, I have the house to myself, so I best go. I plan to eat crisps, drink Ame, and listen to Elbow. Enjoy your weekend.

Monday, March 24, 2014

On Friday I did something that I'd said I'd NEVER do. I went out with a friend to a shopping centre and I used a mobility scooter. And it was AWESOME! And so was my driving actually....apart from when I hit a wall. And got stuck in a lift. Hey ho.

But it meant that I could go to more shops, look at more things, and just generally not get so knackered! Normally, I use a wheelchair, and wheel myself. And despite the fact that my chair is light, comfy and turns on nothing, it is still so very knackering!

I went alongside the canal (there was a wide flat path, but it still felt a bit risky!) and out for lunch, and I was basically grinning the whole time! It was a sunny day too, which made it for me. Scooter + sun + leather jacket + new purchases = freedom and smiles! Now I've broken the back of my scooter fear, I'll be doing it again. It took me quite a while (years actually) to accept that I NEED something like that in my days. It's not what you picture yourself needing EVER, is it? And I did fight it. But at the end of the day, getting out and about wins hands down.

The only thing that confused me was that I noticed there was a difference in how people were towards me. On the scooter I found that people were more chatty and like the scooter was invisible...I was just me....What's that all about?'s to the next outing!

Monday, March 17, 2014

About a week ago I watched The Best of Men. This was the second time I had watched it, the first time being when the Olympics and Paralympics were here, in England. For those of you not familiar with The Best of Men, it's about the Mandeville Games and how they went on to develop into the paralympics. The man that started all this was Dr Ludwig Guttman. Dr Gutmann was a Jewish German specialising in neurology, who came to England in 1939, and he settled in Oxford.

He worked at Stoke Mandeville, where he set up a ward specifically to care for the amount of people from the forces that found themselves with varying degrees of paralysis, due to injuries sustained in the war.

The biggest hurdle he faced was changing the view of others, including the medical profession, that despite the injuries that these people sustained, they could still contribute and achieve.

Guttman felt it was essential to restore hope and self belief in his patients, as well as practical retraining so that when they were well enough to leave they could once more contribute to society. And with this in mind, he decided to introduce sport to help rehabilitate his patients. Gutmann knew the benefits would be psychologically positive to his patients. One thing led to another and soon the Stoke Mandeville Games had begun. Initially this was with only two teams competing, made up of men and women.

 Word spread about the Stoke Mandeville Games, and in 1952 competitors arrived from Holland. By 1954, you could add Australia, Canada, Finland, Egypt and Israel to the list.

Rome, in 1960, held the first paralympic games, with athletes from 21 countries.

Over time the games have continued to grow with categories to include blind people, and amputees, and those with cerebral palsy, and still it continues to grow, with new games being added. In 2012 more than 4200 people from 164 competed in the Paralympics, and in Rio de Janeiro in 2016 there will be more games added, to a total of 22 sports.

I should think that Guttman is pleased with the legacy that he left.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

So today is International Women's Day. I am ashamed to admit that that this was the first year that I had heard of it. Especially as it's been running for about 100 years.

So what's it all about? It's about equality, or rather recognising inequalities, and wanting to set them right. In some countries it's recognised as a national holiday, and in some cases this day is taken as holiday, for women only. One of the things that triggered the start, and indeed the need for this day, were issues such as voting for women. But that battle has long been won, won in 1918 (here in the UK, anyway.)
So do we still need International Women's day? Yes. Because battles are still needed to be fought. Like the battle for equal pay. This battle has seen Birmingham City Council sell the NEC in order to settle a bill, a bill created by their lack of equal pay. Why would a man be paid more than a woman, for doing exactly the same job? Why? I'm yet to hear a reasonable and understandable response to this question. Probably because there isn't one?

Click here to read a very interesting article

for mobile viewers click HERE

And in the spirit of equality, yes, there is an International Man's Day, on November 19th. This day looks at men's and boy's health, and promoting male role models, amongst other issues. And no, in true equal styleeee, I didn't know about that either.