Friday, 28 March 2014

Universal rules…

I mentioned in my previous post that parking in London is extremely difficult, even if you are disabled. Most people think that Blue Badge rules are pretty easy to understand but that is simply not the case. In the borough of Islington for example, badge holders can park for an unlimited time in permit bays or on double yellows yet in the borough of Westminster, I would get a ticket. Confusing or what? It’s no wonder that I mistakenly thought I could leave my car on double yellow lines for longer than 3 hours in St. Albans last year. You can in North London but not in my home city, just 22 miles away.

The need for universal rules when it comes to using a blue badge becomes more obvious everytime I visit the Heart Hospital in Westmoreland Street (situated in the borough of Westminster). On my past few visits, my dad has had to wait in the car for a couple of hours because there are only four or so places for disabled people to park. The rest are off limits. However, the borough of Camden allows badge holders to park on permit bays and double yellows outside Great Ormond Street Hospital. There’s just no consistency.

That’s why whenever I visit places I’m unfamiliar with (such as Fulham for football), I always check with a traffic warden before leaving the car. The signs are as unclear as the actual rules themselves. The problem is parking enforcement officers are visible when it is time to give someone a ticket but disappear from sight when you want to ask a question. Almost like they do it to annoy us.

Another issue is that some boroughs have specific badges you can apply for if you’re disabled and live in the area. There are certain bays where just the normal badge isn’t enough. A green badge for example is needed as well. I don ‘t get this as the Blue Badge can be used across Europe (we used it in Germany and Spain) but it’s not recognised in some parts of London.

Blue Badges do come with a booklet telling you where to park but all rules come with a warning that it may differ according to geographical location. That is clearly not helpful to anyone. I just wish a committee would agree a set of rules, which can be applied nationally. I can park in a permit holders bay when I visit the Emirates tomorrow so it’s stupid that I won’t be able to next week when I go up to Everton.

Bye for now! 

Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Third time lucky…

Those who have been reading my blog since I begun writing nearly two years ago will remember that I had a couple of issues with trains back in 2012 (you can read the posts here: and here:

Following the second incident, I wrote a letter of complaint to First Capital Connect (FCC), which sparked a meeting to discuss the problems further and get more of my feedback to determine how FCC could improve their service for disabled customers. However, I wasn’t convinced by the rhetoric so decided to give trains a miss for nearly two years. I hoped that my next journey from St. Albans to St. Pancras would be third time lucky but I didn’t realise that I’d have to wait until March 2014 to find out if any positive changes had been made.

I didn’t boycott trains conciously (in the same way that I am boycotting Pizza Express, VUE cinemas and BP garages), I just could not be bothered with the hassle that getting a train could potentially cause. Driving to London is normally easier, providing there is adequate parking available. When we went to Madame Tussauds though, there was no designated bays and the rules of street parking in the Capital is a sticky subject so I decided that catching the train would be the best option.

There are no issues to report in this post and although I do enjoy a good old moan, I was relieved that my whole journey was problem free. When the man got the ramp out at St. Albans, I reminded him to tell St. Pancras that I was on my way so they would definitely be ready this time. I also noticed that as we passed through stations like Kentish Town, there were ramps on the wall so if there was an emergency, I could get off. Perhaps FCC did listen to my suggestions.

My positive experience has definitely restored my confidence in using trains. I am even thinking about getting the Eurostar to Paris when the weather is a little better.

Bye for now!

Monday, 24 March 2014

A second season ticket…

As you all know, summer is a very boring time of the year for me. Don’t get me wrong, I love the weather (something dreamy about a blue sky) but my life becomes directionless in the off-season. That’s not an overdramatic statement because at the moment, my calendar and everything I do revolve around the fixtures. When the football comes to an end in May, I will have nothing to do or look forward to. Last year, I passed the time by going to Borehamwood and watching the Arsenal Ladies from time to time, which I enjoyed very much.

Entry is only a fiver or something ridiculous but I discovered that a season ticket is only £17.50 for concessions so I figured I might as well get one. This includes all home league games as well as cup ones so it’s great value for money The first match I’m going to is the Champions League Quarter Final second leg against Birmingham City (I’m watching the first leg as I write this) on Sunday. This means the season does over-lap with the men but luckily enough, the fixtures don’t clash so I will be able to attend both, like this weekend.

So, that’s two season tickets for me meaning that I’ll be going to see Arsenal all year round. That is the life! I just hope it is a good summer weather wise as there is nothing better than watching football in brilliant sunshine. I also hope Arsenal Ladies are successful this year. They have been the best for nearly all of my life but didn’t win the title in 2013 (won the cup double mind). Sadly, quite a few of my favourite players have left so it will be difficult. Hopefully though, they’ll give me something to celebrate this year should the men fail over the next couple of months.

Bye for now! 

Friday, 21 March 2014

Level Playing Field…

As you all know, I love football and visit a lot of stadiums all in the name of Arsenal but it may surprise people that access to these grounds is not always the best. That’s why organisations such as Level Playing Field ( exist, to act on behalf of disabled fans who can sometimes get a raw deal at matches. I know you’re all probably thinking, why’s he moaning? A player gave him his shirt at full-time on Sunday. I know. I was (and still am) very happy but my match day experience is not always that great compared to a regular supporter.

This BBC investigation (starring another wheelchair bound Arsenal fan) flags up a few of the difficulties disabled fans face when attending games: I also read an article on the Able2UK website which reiterates all the points:

The problems I encounter take place almost exclusively away from home as the treatment of disabled fans (not being biased) at the Arsenal is impeccable in my opinion. The only issue I have with the Emirates is wheelchair users who are positioned at the back of the Lower Tier like myself have their views slightly obstructed and cannot see the big screen. I know it’s not a major flaw but demonstrates a lack of planning. Liverpool can trot out the excuse of “Anfield is old” but the North London club cannot as the stadium was only completed in 2006, making it less than a decade old.

The recent media coverage has made people, including Parliament, sit up and take notice. A House of Lords committee met to discuss and respond to the BBC report: Like all things, improvements aren’t going to happen overnight but at least Westminster are now aware so can investigate the matter in full. I agree that with all the money circulating in the beautiful game nowadays, there is no real reason why stadia cannot be adjusted to accommodate disabled fans. We are as passionate as everyone else…

Bye for now!

Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Happiness turns to anger…

The past three days have been mental to say the least. If you don’t know already, the Arsenal goal-scorer gave me his shirt after the match on Sunday (here’s the best video that captures the special moment: I have received so many messages and I still can’t fathom why. It’s been really nice but luckily the bombardment is slowing down. However, I was always aware that reality would bring me back down to earth with a bump. I suspected that Chelsea would be the ones to rain on my parade when we play them on Saturday, not the government.

I’ve mentioned before that I, like many other disabled adults, am forced to pay a contribution towards the care that I receive. Now, I see that as wholly unfair because other people who receive benefits for whatever reason and do not need carers are not having to stump up £40 a week (doesn’t sound a lot but it is to someone who cannot work and relies on benefits to live). This is clearly a penalty against those who need 24/7 support. I don’t want carers but the rate my Friedreich’s Ataxia is deteriorating means that they are necessary and I don’t have a choice.

I don’t think people with permanent disabilities should have to contribute towards care full stop but what is worse is that yesterday I found out that they want £40 a day off me, instead of the previous £17. To say I’m confused is an understatement. None of my circumstances have changed. If anything, I’ve got less money nowadays as I buy my own food/clothes and pay my way at home. I haven’t suddenly become rich although the people at Direct Payments suddenly think I am. They even said I would lose my benefits and face prison if I didn’t pay towards my care.

Sorry if this sounds a tad over-dramatic but it strikes me as a less overt version of the way Nazi Germany treated disabled people. Obviously, the government do not round-up the handicapped and euthanize them but they seem to keep having sly digs. Either with this or the bedroom tax. Everyone knows that people cannot have decent lives without money so I see various measures being introduced which will gradually squeeze us out. I would say it’s the Conservatives trying to wash their hands of disabled scum but all political parties are just the same.

You probably don’t agree but this situation is causing me so much stress that I just had to vent. Looks like lady luck gives with one hand and takes away with the other.

Bye for now! 

Monday, 17 March 2014

A day to remember…

Yesterday was probably the best day of my life so far. Fair enough, it wasn’t a trophy so the celebrations may have been a tad too much in some quarters but a win over the old enemy at their stomping ground is enough cause for excitement. However, the classic 1-0 victory was merely the tip of a massive iceberg about to shake up my world. As I wrote in a brief message last night ( the goal-scorer Tomas Rosicky came up to me at full-time and gave me his sweat drenched shirt.

Not everyone who reads this blog has Twitter/Facebook or even likes football so might not realise that I seem to be everywhere at the moment. The picture has been doing the rounds as well as a clip on YouTube ( My brother and I are also in a video on the official Arsenal website ( The response has just been overwhelming and quite frankly absurd. I mean I got the shirt and I’m very grateful but what’s so special about me? Last night and today, my notifications have been going through the roof. 50 per minute and there’s no let up.

Just to answer the question about what I am going to do with it, the answer is that I wish to print out the picture and put it next to the shirt in a frame. My friends have said about getting Rosicky to sign it but I’m not sure if that’s too greedy. I’m satisfied with just the shirt as it is unique and I definitely feel special. I’m still buzzing and feel like I’m in some sort of dream. Please don’t wake me up, at least until we’ve won the double.

This post will probably stoke the fire even more as people will no doubt contact me after reading. This has been great PR for Wheelchair Boy as there has been an influx of new readers who will hopefully become less ignorant about disability. Everyone who knows me is aware that I am a bit of a media whore who likes the idea of fame so I’m probably in my element. It’s true. I am constantly smiling and keep randomly laughing. Nevertheless, I now realise that being in the spotlight (even if it is online) is difficult. I’m not ignoring people. Just cannot reply to everyone. Sorry.

I’m so happy right now. Words don’t do it justice.

Bye for now!

Friday, 14 March 2014

Meeting the stars…

As I briefly mentioned in last night’s post, I went to Madame Tussauds on Wednesday. We had complimentary tickets given to us by Thorpe Park following my negative experience back in October. However, they run out at the end of this month and we didn’t want to waste them, even if they were free. So, after a successful train journey (I’ll post about it soon) to St. Pancras and quick taxi ride to Marylebone Road, it was time to enter the world famous wax museum.  I’ve been desperate to visit all my life but haven’t managed to. The wait was definitely worth it.

Seeing pictures of the models doesn’t do them justice. Most of them are incredibly accurate and look so real. I’ve never met most of the celebrities but I was concerned that it was the real person who was going to jump out. Luckily no one was real otherwise I might have had to get changed. As well as taking loads of photos (some were rude), I decided to make some wax hands in the shape of 2-0 as a nod to Theo Walcott’s gesture towards Tottenham fans back in early January. Trust me to shoehorn something Arsenal related into the day.

Access wise. I had no problems. The lifts were all working and the staff bent over backwards to help us.  That’s important to me because if there were issues, I would have enjoyed my time less. The only part I could not access was a slow moving ride but I don’t think I missed out on much.

I have selected a few photos, which will hopefully give you a taste of the brilliant day I had. If you haven’t been before, I’d recommend going, as it’s the original and by far the best. I’ve been to Louis Tussauds in Blackpool before (taken over by Madame Tussauds now) but that was atrocious by comparison. I saw a few dodgy models such as the Robbie Williams one but overall, the museum of famous people is a great way to spend a few hours in London.

Bye for now!

David Cameron has got such a punchable face...
Had to cup golden balls...
The names Boy, Wheelchair Boy,,,
The rumours are true...

Thursday, 13 March 2014

Almost 6 hours later…

I’ve had a busy couple of days for one reason or another (hence the lack of posts recently) so I thought I’d explain what has been going on in the life of ‘Wheelchair Boy’. I’ll start with my trip to the Heart Hospital on Tuesday. At the end of January, I had a 72-hour ECG and I was simply going to see if the doctor had any concerns arising from the results. However, my appointment was at 11.15 and even though we arrived half an hour early, was not seen until 15.00.

The waiting around wasn’t due to a problem with my heart because I was fine thankfully. It was just because the NHS is clearly understaffed and cannot deal with the sheer number of patients. I had another ECG and Echo before seeing the doctor. Both tests are pretty simple and should be done within half an hour. We waited around for ages though as the tests were done separately. I’m sure some people were seen who arrived after us but I couldn’t be bothered to kick up a fuss.

After all that, we went up to the main clinic waiting room where we sat patiently (no pun intended) for another couple of hours. Luckily I had my iPad and phone with me so wasn’t totally bored. When I was called in, it wasn’t the main doctor. Instead, a doctor and trainee from his team. Always a good sign as it means my tests results did not raise any worrying issues. She told me I was stable, booked me in for next year (all being well) and dismissed me. Yes, we waited all that time for a brief conversation but she gave positive news regarding my condition so I was happy.

We left the hospital at 15.30 so by the time I got home, had dinner and wrote a post for my football blog, it was time for the Arsenal on the T.V. Yesterday was another long day which prevented me from writing a post but I’ll tell you all about my exciting trip to Madame Tussauds tomorrow.

Bye for now!

Monday, 10 March 2014

Not happening…

There are three searches currently going on in my life but I’m having absolutely no luck with any of them. I only started looking for a holiday back in January but it’s nearly summer (the glorious weather over the weekend proved that) so time is running out. Typing in ‘accessible villa California’ throws up so many results that I just want to give up and accept that I’ll be having a staycationn in sunny England s. Maybe I’ve limited myself by deciding that I want to visit the West Coast of America. Perhaps, I’ll have to stick to getting a disabled friendly villa with a private pool in Europe. Tried and tested Spain anyone?

My second search is for a place I can move out to. This has been a hope of mine since I turned 18 and could legally live independently of my parents. However, that was put on the backburners as University would offer me a way out.It did and having a small room in student accommodation was probably the best part of my Brunel experience. But that particular adventure ended after a few months and I was soon back home. For the past year and a bit, I have been onto the council, housing associations, parliament and even private landlords but no one is interested in the slightest.

The quest for love is also on going and has been for most of my life. After years of trying, it’s still proving the most difficult search of them all. I’m still online dating (as that seems to be the way people meet nowadays) but I find it immensely frustrating. I start chatting to a girl then she disappears or we’re talking for ages and getting on but she doesn’t want to meet. It’s like don’t message me in the first place. I know that women think they’re letting you down gently but it has quite the opposite effect. I’d much rather be ignored so I know where I ‘stand’.

Unlike with the hand cycling, I’m not raising the white flag but I just thought I’d update you all on my various searches although one word would probably suffice. RUBBISH.

Bye for now!