Good morning everyone,
I shall be shutting down the websites and social media accounts at the end of the year. The email address will stay active and I will look at a new social media account along the lines of Mark & Missy.
Not sure what I'm going to do with myself now :(
Good afternoon everyone,
Just when I thought things were sorted I get some sad news. I don't want this to sound negative or blame anyone, I'll try and explain the best I can...
Just after posting this mornings update I had a phone call, its the end of an era.
In March 2013 I was lent my scooter and trailer by Beamer, it has always been the case that the kit belongs to them and in away I've known this would happen one day. Because of where I'm moving to it would cost myself and them a fortune to ship it backwards and forwards to Salisbury and Inverness. I have been speaking to Beamer over the last few weeks to see if they can keep me going whilst in the "Arctic Circle", they are only a small company, six people and a dog called Chunky.
It has been decided that I should return the scooter and trailer before I go north to keep costs down, sensible really.
It is therefore and end to my fund raising and travelling around Great Britain on my mobility scooter and Missy, Ishall still do my War Memorials though it will have to be by car :(
I'd love to get my own Tramper TWS so I can get out and about in the forests where I'm moving to, I'll have to wait and see and save some pennies...
So, I need to do a lot of thank yous:
First of all to Chris, Sarah, Tristan, Peter and Chunky for giving me the opprtunity to do something unique on a wonderful machine and keeping me going on it for so long.
To everybody at Liscombe in Newport for keeping me warm and dry over the years. Sealskinz have done the same. Some of the companies that have sponsored me no longer exist, if anybody reads this from them, thank you, I can't remember the rest at the moment.
Another very big thank you needs to go to you, for donating, allowing me to stay, charge up, feeding me and Missy, in fact thank you for everything you have done to help me and Missy.
Good morning everyone,
Last week was like being on a rollercoaster again but I'm glad to say that things are finally starting to settle down. The car is now ordered, that really was a nightmare to sort! The bathroom floor hopefully went in yesterday and then the rest of the fittings can go in. The removal company has been booked, this will be for the 17th December, they will also be picking up my trailer as they pass Cheltenham. Theres lots going on...
Elisabeth, the young lady who has been sorting everything out has sadly been admitted to hospital, this was on Sunday and I hope she feels better very soon. Before things went wrong she has managed to get some wood and coal donated for my fire, thank you to those that did this.
I've signed and returned the tenancy agreement, this starts next week. I've been trying to sort out the Personal Independance Payment which I'm apparently entitled to, this has been going on since may last year! Anyway after four phone calls trying to sort out an appointment I've finally been told I don't need an assessment! I was told by the DWP to tell ATOS that I'm to have a home visit, they refused on Health and Safety grounds! Apparently they won't do a home visit because of my PTSD!
As things have started to settle down I've managed to get on with some more work on the IWM database, I've created more than 2 million entries for places, streets and post codes, kept me quiet for a short time :D
Other than all that its now time to start the hurry up and wait stage ;)
Good morning everyone,
I had hoped to do an update Friday morning but other than problems with ordering the car not a lot else had happened, since then a few more things have happened...
I had an update about the cottage friday afternoon, the plumber has been sent the money for the materials to do the bathroom, I'm hoping that this will be started this week. Elisabeth Bate is ordering wood ready for the fire, old whisky staves, this is the first thing bought with the money you have crowd funded for me, thank you.
I have found the last few weeks hard at times with everything going on with the centenary of the Armistice and the car, not surprisingly my head has been all over the place, not all of them good.
The car, for around three weeks now I've been trying to sort out a car ready for when I get to Scotland, I will need it to get backwards and forwards to hospital, as wonderful as my Tramper is I don't fance a fifty plus mile round trip when its hammering down! I started off by checking with Motability if I could order at one dealer and collect at another, yes its an easy process but both dealers need to agree to it. Inverness no problem at all, in fact have been wonderful trying to sort it out, Cheltenham don't want to know, I can only guess that they won't get any money for doing the paperwork. On wednesday after going to Cheltenham and being told the news I phoned Motability again, I explained everything yet again and after a lot of toing and froing was given the go ahead to order the car in Inverness, send all my paperwork through by email. Thursday, the dealer in Inverness was told no I have to be there in person to order the car, on speaking to Motability again I was told to ask them if they would come down to me or could I get a taxi to them, its 500 miles! I was not impressed by this as you can imagine, I was also told to go to another dealer to order the car, again by taxi, the nearest is Hereford! After more than three hours on the phone it is still not sorted, hopefully it will be today.
On Wednesaday I'm being taken over to the trailer so that it can be emptied, this is just so that it will be easier to lift on to the van. Having been working on the Scottish data I'm looking forwards to getting out and about again collecting some money for the charities and recording the War Memorials, well once I've got a new leg :D
On the 1st January 1919 the ship HMY Iolaire sank off Stornoway with the loss of around 205 men, they were all returning home after surviving the war. When I was in the Na h-Eileanan an Iar (Western Isles) I found almost all the graves of the men who perished, I also went to the Memorial near The Beasts of Holm which the ship struck. I decided not long afterwards that I would like to return to it on the centenary to pay my respects, this was a long time before I finished the coast and had no idea of what lay in store for me! in the middle of this year I had begun to think that it would be impossible for me to get there, with inadvertantly moving to Scotland it may be possible to go, it does depend on finances but I've already found some disabled and pet friendly hotels ;)
I don't think there is anything else at the moment and again, thank you every one who donated to the crowd funding for me.
Good afternoon everyone,
I had hoped things would settle down and become a little less busy, only slightly has it! Saturday was the Gloucester Vetrans Breakfast in the Toby Carvery in Brockworth where Phil Glanville brought "Tommy" with him, he has made Tommy from scratch using a manaquin and authentic World War One clothes and he looks absolutly brilliant!
I've had an update from Tom at the British Limbless Ex Servicemans Association (BLESMA) about the cottage, the funding for changing the bathroom to a wetroom has been sorted and work should hopefully be starting soon. There are other bits going on, the kitchen is being refitted, ramps, light switches are all being sorted, there is apparently a power point being put outside so I can charge the scooter!
The car options have changed and it now looks like it will be a Mitsubushi Outlander PHEV, a 4x4 that is a hybrid. I need to sort out the ordering in Gloucester and collect it from Inverness, a few conversations on the phone to Motability and should be able to be done :)
I've managed to get some work done on the Imperial War Museum system at last, my monthly hours are right down with everything else going on! In a way it has been theraputic to do some boring work :D
Good evening everyone,
Its been another busy couple of weeks, I don't think I've had a day where I have to meet or see someone, most days its two appointments, I could do with things slowing down a bit, I'm absolutely shattered...
Still to do are the Department for Work and Pensions, apparently I should have been getting a benefit of some sort, I also have a meeting with the Financial Assessment and Benefits team, I think that is what its called and I'm not sure what its about.
One of the many meetings was with the Councils Homeless team in Gloucester, until 1000hrs this morning I was supposed to be leaving Wheatridge Court, to where I had no idea! Anyway I'm now here for next three to four weeks until the cottage is ready. I can honestly say this particular bit of everything was very stressful!
Things are starting move with the cottage, quotes are coming in for the work that needs doing, moving my stuff and trailer there. In a lot of ways its all out of my hands, its all in the hands of BLESMA and Elisabeth Bate :D
I'm still looking at cars, the Kia Niro PHEV looks to have gone out of the window, the down payment of £2.5k is well and truly out of my reach, after a suggestion by my brother and some from yourselves I had a look at the Mitsubushi Outlander PHEV, a bit better as its only £914 down payment, we have a test drive Tuesday after next. I suppose I'd better explain PHEV, Plugin Hybrid Electric Vehicle, looking at these as I've done 32,000 miles on my wonderful Tramper TWS, electric all the way for me, oh I bumped into another one today in Gloucester :)
I hope you have been watching the Invictus Games, I'm biased but its wonderful, I don;'t watch the Olympics, I watch some of the Para Olympics but watch all of the Invictus. I saw an interview with Dan Richards, one of the cyclists who lost his arm and he said that the injury was the best thing that happened to him, I know exactly where he coming from, having an injury opens up many doors to a different life. With out being injured I would be stuck in a job I would probably hate, instead I've seen parts of Britain that most people never get to see, I've met many thousands of wonderful people, had many ups and downs and pushed myself further than I would ever imagined!
Anyway, enough for now...
Good afternoon everyone,
Apologies to family and followers on social media who have already seen some of this news. It looks like the housing problem may have been solved, it's not definite but it's looking hopeful. A cottage on the Moray Estate near Inverness has been found and can be adapted for wheelchair/disabled access. It also has the possibility of a very long lease, possibly 10 years. Elisabeth Bate is going there on Tuesday afternoon to photograph the inside cottage for me.
Some people have expressed concern about the rural locality of it and how I would cope, if you think about what I've done over the last 5 1/2 years I've spent a lot of time on my own with only the cats company and only the fleeting meeting of other people, it wasn't until I went into hospital this year that are had constant companies it were. Before starting on my travels I spend a lot of time on my own in the countryside whether it be fishing or wildlife watching and photographing wildlife, the fishing was sometimes up to 3 weeks on my own on the edge of a lake or river. Most of my contact like now is done via phone or Internet, these two things of me the world of very small place. The cottage is roughly 6 miles from Nairn and Forres, and all the major supermarkets are fairly close, it's not like I'm moving to St Kilda ;)
It has a number of attractions for me, dolphins, otters, ospreys, red squirrels, crested tits and many more bits of wildlife that I love and doubtless Missy would love to kill! There is an unexpected bonus in the fact that the War Memorials are under recorded in north-east Scotland so I love plenty to do. It's a shame the Western Isles, Orkney and Shetland are well recorded, I might have to find another reason to go there again...
One of the problems I will face is getting the scooter and trailer to Conicavel, I would normally have driven it all the way there but without a leg (to stand on) I can't connect and disconnect the trailer so it will need to be transported there along with me and Missy. If it all comes together then I will be travelling with trailer in the summer around Scotland doing the War Memorials and laying up in the winter is the most sensible way perceived doing it at the moment.
Scotland like Wales also offer free prescriptions for a few medications I have to take now, Scotland also has a better prosthetic provision than Wales.
Tomorrow will be another busy day, Jon and Anita Long are coming to see me again to help fill out forms for the war pensions, a deterioration claim, is losing your leg a deterioration? And personal independence something or other claim. As I only live on my war pension which includes mobility supplement I'm apparently entitled to other benefits, no idea what these are, I just plodded on for years scratching by on my pension.
If anybody is interested in where the cottage is you need to go onto something like Google maps and type in Conicavel, my Internet connection here is dire and I can't pull up anything other than the street plan, street being the operative word! I have however been sent some photographs of the outside try to get these online.
Good morning everyone,
A very busy couple of days form filling and trying to find somewhere I can live with a grumpy black cat ;)
Ok, important bit of news that I was told yesterday, I will be at Wheatridge Court until around the end of October, I need to find somewhere by then. I filled out housing forms with Habinteg, Home Seeker, Swansea Housing, Hereford Council and a few others that I can't remember, I've again been searching for a bungalow, or now I've been told a park home as some of these are accessible, still no joy on that front.
I've also been spoilt over the last couple of days by friends and and parents of friends who have also been trying to sort out my health needs etc. Thank you to them. I also emailed the Agents in Hereford about the cottage asking if they can let me me know if it becomes available again, no, new GDPR rules prevent it after 3 months :(
Some people have asked where I want to live, well anywhere from Unst to Scilly, not a flat, quiet and nt a city...
Monday was the 27th anniversary of my injury and I also had a follow up hospital appointment with the stump, I met the surgeon who I thought had done the operation for the first time since the morning of it, I thought he had done it, no Mr Chapman the plastic surgeon had done it whilst he watched, either way I'm grateful to them for getting rid of it, its been dead and a problem for so long, well enoughe said.
Today I just want to sit queitly and catch up on my work for the IWM, I've had enough of getting frustrated trying to sort out a roof!
Good evening everyone,
Things are moving slowly, I have been to the estate agents today and signed forms for checks on me and prove who I am. I have given the agents lots of information about what I do in the way of voluntary work etc for the landlord. Its now a case of hurry up and wait...
I need permission for Missy to be allowed to at the property and if need be pay double the deposit for her, does that make sense? As I'm homeless since April they may require six months rent up front, that woud be a problem for me. I'm told I can apply for housing benifit from Herefordshire Council, if I can this would be a great help.
All I can do now is wait for the phone to ring and hope for good news...
Good evening everyone,
Its been one hell of a rollercoaster week this week! I've been sad, happy, angry, frustrated and very, very tired! One thing to remember is that the hospital staff that were to do the operation and the ward staff all knew what I do and how I live.
It all started last week when Occupational Therapy and Social Services when they came to see me and decided that Wheatridge Court would be suitable to go to whilst I continue my recovery and get myself sorted as to how I go forward with my life, I need to change some aspects of how I live and fund raise.
I was sent to Wheatridge Court on Monday for a visit and assessment, all good and things looking good, 30 on-suite bedrooms fully accessible, four kitchens and the best of all Missy and the scooter would be able to go with me, I was feeling good about going there and freeing up a hospital bed, all I had to do was wait for a bed to become free...
Whilst at Wheatridge Court I had a call from Swansea City Council Housing who informed me they would put me on the adapt list (adapted housing), because of the "trouble" I had at the old flat whenever I went home I asked not to be put in a ground floor flat, I informed them it was documented that it made me ill last time, it fell on deaf ears I suspect.
The hospital discharge team came to see me and decided to lay down "the law", I would if need be have to rehome Missy, take the first available property that I'm offered even if unsuitable and keep the scooter outside the propeerty, the insurance would be invalid if I did this and was not with it as it were. I made my feelings clearly known on this. It was to be the first of many let downs!
They later returned and told me a bed had become available at Wheatridge Court and I would be going tomorrow, happy man and and happy staff on the ward though they would miss the donuts ;)
My brother picked me up and we went to the trailer and grabbed essentials from it and then went and bought bedding for Wheatridge Court, the onlything I needed to really get before going there.
Up early as normal, breakfasted, and freed up the bed by 0830hrs, tablets, one box ordered and would be dropped off at the Discharge Waiting Area where I was being taken at 0900hrs to await transport.
Whilst sitting in the waiting area one of the discharge team arrived and said there was a problem, there was no funding, don't go anywhere whilst they try and sort it. I think it was a couple of hours later the ambulance crew turned up and loaded me, I had heard nothing more from the Discharge Team and hadn't given it another thought.
I was dropped off at Wheatridge Court just before lunch, I unpacked my stuff from the scooter and popped to the suermarket to get some basic essentials. On returning I was collared by the Bursar who told me he needed to see me as there was a problem, it turned out funding had been refused, I was to be returned to the hospital! Whilst with the Bursar he informed me that I had refused accomadation in Swansea, to refuse accomadation you need to be offered some! I haven't been offered any! Social Services (known for years by many as the Gestapo) had closed the case. I was in limbo and bed blocking.
I was taken back to the same ward and even the same bed, well once they had moved another gentleman, the ward staff were worried that I would be upset with thema and there was some concern on the ward they had done something wrong, no it all points at Social Services, nothing to do with the ward staff, like me they were told I was going to Wheatridge Court.
The order in which people came to see me is a bit confused as my brain was a mess though it all happened.
It started early, people coming to see me, I'd had a bad night with the head, I was killing faceless people, this is a common re-occuring problem with my PTSD and causes me some distress, although there is sometimes something satisfying about it. A conultant and his team were one of the first apologising for what happened and forms would be filled to stop it happening again, not sure whether to beleive this...
Then the Discharge Team came to see me, I was to be discharged back to my trailer, strangly I was happy about this, I could have Missy back and its what I know and like. I told them that I would need a O/T visit to see what I would need, there was also a step into the toilet. I was heading outside to get some fresh air when Matron appeared by the lifts, she is lovely and is one of the main people for arranging permission for me to have Missy visit. Kim one of the O/T also appeared at the same time, I can't remember how it came about but I showed them a video of me and the trailer, the midden hit the windmill! It turns out that the powers that be thought I lived in a large trailer with facilities of my own! Instant reaction was I'm not going back to that, size, impractability as I'm not allowed to use crutches, I'm on a campsite with public access so adaptions would not be allowed to be done.
Things started to get a bit more frantic on the ward, I don't know if it was because of me or someone poorly had been admitted. The Discharge Team again came to see me and told me I should have had something in place to live upon on discharge, I had, my trailer, I was given no information about what would happen after the operation by the hospital, well other than a visit to the Bristol Enablement Centre about what will happen with the future prosthetic provision, again remember, staff knew how I lived when I came in.
Again a visit from the Discharge Team and this time they told me I had refused accomadation in swansea, NO, I was not injured in the Army and wouldn't get any help from military charities, there was no blue touch paper to light, I exploded, I was injured on the 1st October 1991 whilst attached to the United Nations in Cyprus, it is well documented and in my notes, the amputaion process was started before all the trouble with infections in my leg, they exasperated the matter! I demanded to know who told them this! She would not tell me.
By this time I had a stinking headache and was struggling to cope, my PTSD really had started to kick in and I curled up on the bed and tried to shut the world out. Again people were still coming to see me, I can't remember who now.
When I was up I wasn't allowed off the ward without someone being with me, they even tried locking the doors which have been broken for a few days.
I woke later and and went back to looking online for somewhere to live that is wheelchair accessible throughout, not a flat and would allow Missy. I have been looking since before being addmitted for somewhere just on the off chance. Its best described as looking for the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow and hens teeth in the same location...
I found seven properties in the whole country that were wheelchair accessible throughout for rent, I can't remember all the locations but some were County Durham, London and Hereford, ah Hereford, a county I know, well west of the city anyway, I spent a lot of time as a teenager on the Powys/Herefordshire border (Radnorshire) I used to fish the River Wye after leaving the Army at Bredwardine (famous for the first brick built bridge) for Barbel and watch Otters and lots of other wildlife.
I emailed and rang the office to see if it was still available and allowed animals, it was available but didn't know about animals.
Another bad night with nightmares/terrors. Adam, the ward manager came to see me and apologised for what happened, I told him it was nothing to do with the ward, they were not at fault, I asked him who had told the hospital I was not injured on service, he informed me it was one of the charities I fund raise for, though he was not 100% sure as it was an acronym title for the charity.
I am still extremley annoyed by this lie and the other one about having refused accomadation in Swansea!
I had an email from the Agents that pets wern't allowed, the straw that boke the camels back! Before shutting down I emailed back saying she is more than a pet, she is my PTSD Support animal. I turned the phone off, shut the laptop, put the scooter up against the door and curled up on the bed...
I don't know how much time passed but I came round, I can't really say I was woken, by banging on the door and people shouting my name, I must have moved the scooter as the door was open when I woke up, it was around 1800hrs. I turned my phone on and a flood of text messages, WhatsApp, emails and missed calls came in! I started reluctantly going through them, they were mostly from Tom at BLESMA about the bungalow and the Royal British Legion Village, the bungalow viewing was booked for Saturday 1315hrs. Confusion on my behalf as I thought it was out of the equation as animals wern't allowed! THE RBL Village wanted to know when I served and as it was put what Ops, now I'm not sure if it was Operations such as Op Banner, Op Granby etc they wanted to know about or hospital operations, I plumped to list the former, the squaddie in me kicking in.
Another bad night, a combination of killing people when I did get some sleep and clock watching, I didn't want to miss my lift to Hereford to see the bungalow!
Chris from BLESMA arrived and we headed off to find the bungalow. We arrived in Tillington and initially drove past it because I was looking for a building in the photograph, as it turned out that was from the side away from the lane. We were slightly earlyand Chris had a walk around the outside in the rain and as I found out later was rather envious of it :)
The agent arrived and my first question was is Missy allowed? No answer on that, lets look at the property, I will use the word ideal, it was ramp access with wide front door that opened inwards to a small hall, kitchen/living room off to the left, bedroom and bathroom to the right. in the living room and bedroom there were two large patio sliding doors that also served as windows on to a decking area. The doors inside were all sliding doors. I would take it unfurnished though I would need to get a new single bed as y beds wouldn't fit in storage when the boys emptied my old flat.
I still don't know if Missy is allowed :(
Bungalow in the centre of the image and overlooking the Orchard
The accessible one is on the right
There is an upside to this accomadation if Missy is allowed, I haven't done any fund raising, memorials or graves in Herefordshire, Powys, Worcestershire or Shropshire...
I think what I will need to do is as my mother has been telling me for thae last few years is, travel arround in the summer a couple of weeks at a time staying on campsites and hole up in the winter or just travel locally.