Isle of Wight day 4 – Osbourne House

Another blistering hot day and off we went wobbling our way down the roads to Osbourne House (via the chain ferry as we took a wrong turn and turned a half hour drive into an hour and a half, and a pop in to Waitrose for a sandwich to take).

This is one of the star attractions of the island – Queen Victoria’s family home. Overall I was rather disappointed – mainly because of the way we explored the grounds due to poor signage. This it seems is a common gripe on Trip Advisor – to which I added my own at the end of the day.

Osbourne House

Being English Heritage, you are greeted with the unavoidable ‘buy English Heritage membership’ booth and a run down of the benefits for disabled people. Thanks but no thanks. You are cleverly pushed through the gift shop to the ticket desk. Finally we got in and you are greeted with roads and an expanse of not a lot. To your right is their mini bus stop and a sign to the left points you along the road to the house.  Most people seemed in the 60’s plus with the odd family and we tried to find a place to picnic. The map said there were tables by a play area but we didn’t see them… we headed off towards the house. It was just road and an expanse of grass (I was expecting some kind of manicured lawn with plants and paths and a fountain or something grand). A few people sat on the dried out lawn. Eventually we headed for an alcove feature thing which had a seat in it.

After our not so grand lunch (because the cafes were sandwiches and ice cream or full waiter service) we debated on getting the mini bus to the Queens Beach – but the sign was covered up so we assumed it had stopped running perhaps. So we  we did a trip to the loo (terribly signposted) and walked back to the entrance. Here we took a mini bus to the Swiss Cottage (not accessible for disabled people and no photos of what it was like around the outside – in fact no information boards about anything on the property). You could order your picnic lunch (very basic) at a cost of  £20.50 from the kiosk here. We settled with bottled water. A walk past a lovely walled picnic spot (not mentioned in the maps) a vegetable patch, meadow and museum of things collected., shot and stuffed or gifted to the royal family finished that corner of the grounds. I really liked the museum but some things in the glass cases can’t be seen from a low wheelchair height. I was impressed with there ramp though – it was wooden and the floor was carved to match the tiled outer path that it ‘took over’ from to lead you inside. Very well done in keeping with the building. From here it was a ten minute walk (well that is what they claim) through a wood, to the beach. I don’t know how long it took us, it was pretty steep and allowed a good half an hour for the midges to take chunks out of us.

Osbourne HouseThe beach was very pleasant, pretty empty with a kiosk selling ice cream and some tables and chairs outside. A few brave people were standing in the water. It is another ‘short’ walk to the bus that takes you back to the stop at the front of the house which we had seen boarded up! You can take the bus or walk another 1.2 K up a huge hill. Whilst on the bus you have a little commentary on the sewerage system for the house. It got a chuckle on the bus if nothing else.

So our trek around the property took 4 hours – and we arrived back at the house just in time for it to close. So we never even got in (it shuts at 5 even if the rest shuts at 6). I can see a common theme to our holiday here.

All in all, better sign posting would have really helped (and other’s were muttering the same thing). Ah well.

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Isle of Wight – Day 1 Godshill

We were about 5 miles from Godshill – named as such because it is claimed the church foundations were to be placed where a pub now sits … but overnight the stones were miraculously moved to the top of the hill.  We arrived late in the day with the aim of having a pub lunch, looking around the shops and visiting the model village which had got 5 star ratings on Trip Advisor. I also downloaded every App available for the Isle of Wight just to make sure we had some digital information on hand. I’m sorry I did thought because they all turned out to be rather rubbish.

We dodged the busy traffic (pavement was hit and miss up the street) weaving between pavement and narrow road. Some of the shops had already closed on the way up so people were hiding out in the remaining tea shop that was open. We went up the hill and found the cottages, then onto the church and we had it all to ourselves pretty much.  A sign on the church said a ramp was available behind the organ to get in – but Kevin couldn’t see it. I sat in the porch and took pictures of gravestones.

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Anyway, the Model Village said it was open until 6 in late July and that is what we had aimed to see. We went on the 14th of July but at 4.45 was told it was closing at 5… so not late enough.

We headed back down the dodgy road (a bit scary) and into the pub for tea. My small portion was huge and I happily munched through a pile of nachos and a cauliflower and ‘something or other’ cheese crumble. It was baking hot with temperatures of 27-30 degrees all week.

So that was day 1. We headed back to our holiday cottage to melt a little bit more.

To Lock – or not to Lock – my answer?

To Lock – or not to Lock – that is the question? – Accessible Outlook.

Here are my personal thoughts on whether accessible (disabled) toilets should be locked with RADAR keys.

You may recall a previous blog about my unbelievable experience of the (not locked) accessible toilet at a service station being used a dressing room by a wedding party [update and again here at Premier Inn]!

I need super accessible toilets which are unisex and large enough to transfer to the toilet from 90 degrees. Accessible toilets are scarce and hard to locate in the configuration I need at the best of times as the layout and space inside them varies.

I also have to transfer in bare feet and grab onto rails. I need a toilet that is cleaner than most, hasn’t been used to deal drugs in and isn’t soaked in pee and poop or have yucky stuff smeared all over the parts I have to grab onto.

Unlocked toilets can be vandalised, used to deal / do drugs and drunk people often poo and pee on the floor amongst other things. Locking them can go some way into make them safe, clean and available quickly – especially if people need to use catheters, pads, bags and other things. Even parents with toddlers often use unlocked ones and leave them in a state.

I do not think toilets in shopping malls and hotels are exempt from people who show no respect to keep facilities safe and clean and I value all those locked with RADAR keys.

24 hr ECG

Yesterday I started my 24 hr ECG.
It was snowing and I became a Popsicle just getting into the car. Ironically the Cardiac Investigation Unit is through the hospital, then outside the back miles away from even the closest parking!

Once again Maidstone hospital excelled itself in staff who couldn’t give a toss. Last time I had this done they lost the results. This time it’s still looking good for the same thing happening.

The room was small and not very accessible and the nurse slapped it on like I wasn’t even there. She barked out my name and the ward I had to take it back to. That was pretty much her communication limit. She slapped on the electrodes. No checking it was attached well or explanation what the test was. She kind of threw the unit on my lap, told me not to shower or have a bath and that was that.

It made transferring a bit trickier but the unit is quite small with a belt clip. I had to clip it to my top. The left electrode came off partly in the process so we tacked it back down – not sure if it will have recorded properly. Also snagged it on my wheelchair and nearly ripped them all off. Between that and the electrodes digging into my collarbone all night it was pretty uncomfortable in bed. I don’t remember it that bad last time. I was quite pleased to get rid if it today.

Tomorrow hubs will return it to the Noro virus ridden ward :-/

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Holocaust Memorial Day – My pledge for 2013

Last year I wrote about working with survivors of genocide. For 2013 I will build my bridge by continuing to talk to people and write about equality for disabled people.

“Many people consider tackling the issues of equality and fairness to be the province of anti-discrimination law, of advocacy groups, or of government, to be addressed by discrete, often marginal programmes of activity directed at particular groups. But the greatest impacts on the opportunities open to individuals are made by everyday decisions in every part of society, most of which apply equally to everyone.”

Equality and Human Rights Commission, 2010.

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Lazarus Mobility / Collins Mobility warning to customers

Summary: This is a warning for potential customers of Lazarus Mobility now trading as Collins Mobility and online as lazarusmobility.com. The company is based in West Yorkshire, UK.

Mr Collins, who runs the company, said he could supply us with a product (Biobidet). The product shipped was not the product ordered (different make  – Blooming Bidet). It was returned in the same packaging, immediately, on the promise of a full refund.  It has taken many phone calls, letters and e-mails to get Mr Collins to pay us even a partial refund and he has not responded to a small claim court to recover the money owing (over £300).

Customer Service has been appalling and it is our opinion that Mr Collin’s attitude of  “I do it because I want to help people (having an impairment himself) ” is not enough to run a business appropriately and within the law.

UPDATE:

A full refund was eventually made, settled out of court. Mr Collins continues to trade on E-bay under http://www.ebay.co.uk/usr/srcmobility – and is currently listing this item as a ‘Blooming Biobidet’.  Blooming Bidets are manufactured in Korea by NCCM Corporation and sold to selected distributers around the world. They are not from the company ‘Biobidet’ brand as inferred by srcmobility.