Monday, 28 October 2013


It’s always this time of year that my annual cold strikes. Once again, the flu jab that I receive every 12 months has seemingly come too late and I am feeling rather bunged up at the moment. It’s so bad that I probably won’t make it to the Arsenal tomorrow evening (unless anyone knows of an instant cure). So, I just thought I’d drop in to say I wouldn’t be blogging until I’m better. My sinuses are so blocked that I can’t think properly. Also, I have no energy so just want to rest instead of sitting at a computer typing.

Bye for now!

Friday, 25 October 2013

Star struck…

On Wednesday evening, I went to Elstree studios to watch a T.V. show being recorded (something I’ve done a few times before) and confirmed that I am an embarrassing idiot when it comes to ‘celebrities’. The programme in question was Fake Reaction, which has already had one series on ITV2. The game show basically involves the guest’s completing absurd tasks and the opposing team have to work out who is pretending. Matt Edmondson (who?) presents with team captains Ellie Taylor and Joe Swash. I must say that Swash is a great, down-to-earth bloke because he came over to me and introduced himself but none of them are A-List or even B-List celebrities.

So why do I get all shy and in awe around these semi-famous people. By the way, I’m not being rude by suggesting they’re not proper celebrities. It’s just that I start acting as if I am meeting royalty or even more impressive, a godly figure like Dennis Bergkamp. I can’t strike up a conversation with them eventhough they’re normal people. For example, I know Joe Swash supports the Arsenal but I got scared to say anything and just said “Hello”. No wonder people think I’ve got a mental disability. My point is I am impressed by lesser known stars.

This is not the first time I’ve spoken with a celebrity at this type of show. I went to A League of Their Own a couple of years ago and completely clammed up when Freddie Flintoff came up to me. He asked me if I was enjoying the show and instead of talking to him like an ordinary human being would, I answered with “Yes, it’s good”. Hardly a brilliant response. Also, we saw James Cordon after the show and I wanted to begin some football banter (because he supports West Ham) but suddenly became sheepish when I shook his hand.

I also am amazed when I see famous people doing activities that I do, like going to watch the Arsenal. When I sat near Dermot O’ Leary at the Emirates, I kept looking at him because I couldn’t quite believe that he was so close to me. A recent example of me getting star struck at the football is from Tuesday evening when my brother and I got in a lift with Sir Trevor MacDonald (who I’ve just discovered is a Spurs fan?). I wanted to congratulate him on his recent documentaries about prison life in America but again couldn’t speak. It’s as if I think that anyone who has been on T.V. is from another planet.
However, I must say even the steward was in awe; smiling like a little kid.

Enough about me being a fan boy and onto why I believe Germany will win the World Cup in Rio next year (you heard it hear first):╬▓ball/

Normally, my predictions have been a waste of time but I done well last week and hopefully will get even more correct this weekend:

Bye for now!

Monday, 21 October 2013

I want to ride my tricycle…

Back in April, I announced my plan to complete the London Marathon in 2015. A bold statement and as some people expected, I soon realised that taking part would be an impossible dream. I’ve been going to the gym for about 6 hours every week and definitely feel stronger than I did a few months ago. However, I haven’t improved self-propelling my standard manual wheelchair so it came to my attention that maybe a hand cycle (I use that machine the most) would suit me better. Imagine a wheelchair. It’s awkward to push the wheels from a seated position because you have to get your hands right back then thrust forward where as with a hand cycle, my arms are in front of me and it’s a simple turning motion.

The problem with the London Marathon wasn’t the 26.2 miles because I could manage that… eventually but instead the issue was the strictness of the race. Gone are the days when a man dressed in a deep-sea diving costume could take about a week to complete the course. Now, one of the many regulations that athletes called for in order to make the event ‘professional’ was that runners had to finish under 6 hours. That’s never going to happen. Especially if you consider that only certain models of wheelchairs are allowed and hand-cycles are not permitted. It would probably take me a day or two to push myself through London in a standard chair.

There is a wide range of hand-powered trikes available, the majority of which cost in excess of £2000. That’s why I can’t rush out and buy one. I have to make sure it’s right and raise enough funds before making such an investment. I visited a friend who also has Friedreich’s Ataxia on Thursday to try a couple of his hand-cycles. I preferred this one: because it is a more comfortable position to be in for a long period of time. Plus, I found it easier so could quickly build up speed. Just waiting on a few details and then I can visit (one of the) companies who makes them to try it out again.

Like I said, before I finally decide that the trike is the one for me, I need to work out how I am going to fund it. I’m thinking about organizing a quiz night to raise the money but would like to use this blog to see if any rich, generous readers are out there. It would be much appreciated.

When I do get the hand-cycle, I am going to do a 10KM charity bike race in May so although the London Marathon is a no go, I still want to put my body to the test and do something to make myself feel proud (as Heather Small would say). I haven’t done anything remotely impressive since my SkyDive three years ago.

Bye for now!

Friday, 18 October 2013

I can’t work…

Now everyone my age has either gone back to University for the second year, started a course after a gap year or have a full-time job, people are beginning to question what I do with my life. Saying I’m a writer and speaking about bits I’m working on such as this blog doesn’t seem to be enough. That is evident from the patronising facial expressions and judgemental body language I receive. It’s easy to say don’t listen to others but when you get the feeling that you’re a drain on society everyday (encouraged by the Conservative party’s use of the word “scroungers”), it’s hard to feel anything but a waster.

The important fact that I wish everyone would understand, including certain members of my family, is that I didn’t choose to be disabled so this unemployed lifestyle (if you want to call it that) is not one I opted for. My condition simply means that I wouldn’t be able to cope physically and mentally with a job. This may sound as if I’m pulling out the sympathy card and that’s why I don’t start explaining that I can’t work when asked. No one is more gutted with those three words than me. Just over a year ago, I had big plans for a future career in the media but my Friedreich’s Ataxia has got worse and I’m not the same person.

Some people with Ataxia do work but the crucial thing to remember in life, not just disability, is that everyone’s different. Degenerative conditions such as FA are by their very nature changing all the time so no two suffers are exactly the same. Last year, I had way more energy but now simple tasks such as having conversations take it out of me (hence why I don’t speak much). Going to the gym is another example of where I struggle afterwards. A session usually wipes me out of action for the next day. This week again illustrates why I can’t work. Twice I’ve had to wake at 8AM (not early to a normal person) and by 11AM, cannot keep my eyes open.

Yesterday, I was reading through my Arsenal membership details and noticed that my occupation read indefinite wheelchair user. At first, I laughed but then thought about how true that was. Having a disability is like having a bad job. Most of the time, you cannot stand it and depression can set in. Occasionally, it is bearable and you accept that it is a part of life. People look down their nose at you even though it’s the last place you want to be. The final piece in my analogy is that it doesn’t seem to be hard work but it drains you physically and emotionally.

I hope that makes it clear why I don’t have a job and can only write blog posts such as the one you’ve just read or this opinionated piece on Jack Wilshere:

Admit it, you missed my Premier League predictions last week but I can happily say that it’s back and so is proper football:

Bye for now!

Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Dark days…

I don’t often regress back to GCSE English but today I did, more specifically to the concept of Pathetic Fallacy. The term basically means that the weather reflects the mood in a literary piece (it can’t be ever said that this blog doesn’t teach you interesting trivia). For example, most fictional stories end on a positive note so will often have the sun emerging from behind the clouds to emphasise this. Apart from showing that I did used to listen in class and would win one of the numerous quiz shows on daytime television, the rain this afternoon got me thinking about how the changeable British weather affects my mood.

I woke up this morning feeling positive and confident that I would have a productive day completing a few jobs off my ‘To Do’ list. However, my mood was obliterated by the depressing sound of raindrops falling against my bedroom window. It seems absurd but if there is a blue sky to look up to, I feel happy where as the cold weather drains the emotions out of me and makes me grumpy. Most people prefer the sun and feel gloomy in the winter so I’m not special (for once) but I was pointing out that my life is one big example of Pathetic Fallacy if that makes sense. The weather outside usually symbolises my mood, unless Arsenal lose on a sunny day than my theory can be disregarded.

Even though the weather lady just said the forecast for tomorrow is “good for October”, it feels as if winter has started earlier this year. It’s not just the miserable conditions that reduce my get up and go, it’s also the fact that days are getting shorter with darkness beginning at roughly 6 PM. Basically, what I am  saying is I hate the cold and life would be so much better if it was summer all year round. Nearly 20 years and I still haven’t got used to the famous English weather; I don’t think I ever will.

I’ve never heard of this song but know who Eurythmics are and the title fits in with tonight’s post so figured I should include it:

Bye for now!