Posts from the ‘experiences’ Category

Disabled Invisible? Or the Government and Media Blind, deaf and Dumb?

The 11TH of May 2011 will go down in history. Sadly, only a small sector of the British population will be aware of why.

The conservative government are bull dosing a welfare reform through parliament that will effect hundreds of thousands of sick and disabled individuals. Not only are local councils cutting services to their disabled constituents but the government is putting disabled people under siege by dramatically changing the benefits they are entitled to claim.

Not only will the long term sick and disabled only be allowed to claim Employment support Allowance [esa] for twelve months but the transformation of disability living allowance will not be recognised as something that helps disabled people live their lives. Taking the mobility component from people in residential care who are able, with that extra financial support, to visit friends and families and go to social groups that improves their quality of life, will reduce them to emotional despair. With that component gone, it will leave many isolated and unable to keep in contact with relatives and friends whilst participating in social activities that keep them integrated and active.

The extremely generalised assessment process neither assists those in need or accurately assesses disabled individuals needs correctly. And if found “fit to work” physically, is not to say someone is mentally prepared or actually able. Putting disabled people in to the “lion’s den” of the commercial workplace is going to destroy people. Having rejection upon rejection, while being virtually “bullied” by job centre Plus advisors so they can meet their targets, will mean many people are placed in frightening situations and pushed into a potentially soul destroying path.

Imagine, applying for a job, being interviewed over the telephone only to be told, when you have a disability that they are not sure how they can accommodate your needs, time and time again. Regardless of laws against discrimination, some of the reasons employers cannot employ a disabled person are not always their fault. For blind people, working with money is not practical, employers wouldn’t feel comfortable with money exchanging hands from a blind person to a sighted or vice versa in case the notes are not accurately identified or fraud is being committed. Blind people’s assessment of their own money often takes longer than that of a sighted person, so time pressure would be on them. And that’s if the technology, such as a cash register is accessible. Many are not and never will be in our lifetime.

Wheelchair users can only access buildings with ramps and lifts. And in fire situations, lifts can never be used. Not many employers are willing to take a risk of putting a wheelchair user on the sixth floor in case there is a fire. Some organisations have a buddy system but even if their intentions were their, many insurance companies would not cover the company for such circumstances.

The assessment deems myself “fit to work” if all criteria I have read and been informed about so far is accurate, because I have a guide dog. With the RNIB recently publishing a statistic 92% of employers would not employ someone with a visual impairment, where does that huge misconception that employers have no issue employing the blind come from? do the people behind this horrendous attempt at assessing disabled and sick people for work take into account that despite wanting to work, many being qualified, the employers are not able to for physical or legal reasons employ the disabled. And do these great minds who have created this ludicrous test not think that just because someone has a guide dog or a wheelchair that it can suddenly change employers or insurance companies minds? Changing the “being able to walk” criteria to “being mobilised” was a very devious thing for this government to do. Many disabled could “mobilise” themselves but for how long or how successful are many other questions that are not addressed.

Maria Miller, minister for disabled people, [if she can call herself that], stated that it is a system that is not working if there are more alcoholics and drug addicts claiming DLA than the blind. Well, Miss Miller, if your government has your way under personal independent payments, there will be very few blind people claiming dLA’s successor. Not to mention the fact that the statistics tell a different story? This is people’s futures, Ms Miller, not Jack and Ori.

The media have done nothing but promote the government’s propaganda efforts by publishing in various news sources that 94% in the Mail and 75% in the Daily Express incapacity benefit claimants are deemed “fit to work”. That figure blows my mind. Take away the fact for many disabled, they want to work but are refused employment because of their disability or lack of support into work, what about those suffering from cancer, HIV, MS, chronic arthritis that physically cannot work efficiently every day? That represents only six percent of incapacity claimants? Well, of course not. As usual, the press are promoting government support for tight reform with miscalculated, misinformed, and mostly outright . wrong statistics

The media proved yesterday how much they didn’t care about this society’s disabled. The only major news programmes to cover the march were ITV evening news who did a good piece of coverage and Channel four’s news at seven. BBC had mentioned it during the day but it was missing from it’s popular six o’clock showing on BBC 1 while it was covered on it’s website reasonably well. Sky News, one of the biggest news channels in the UK and streamed around the world mentioned it maybe once but nothing on their website at all. They were able to cover all the things going on in Libya, many foreign stories, even the sentencing of actress Lindsay Lohan but nothing on its website about the thousands of disabled marching through London to protest against the cuts.

It angers me that only the Guardian have been forth coming and extremely supportive of 11TH May protests; having constant updates on a live blog and several write ups both on its online distribution and paper broadsheet. A huge thank you to the Guardian, ITV News, and Channel 4 for having some great coverage of the protest and even interviewing Liam Burns, the shadow work and pensions minister.

None of us expect to be top of the hour news, or front page in the news papers but for crying out loud, we are still here, in our millions as a disabled community! Can this government not hear us? Do they not understand? If they want to cut the deficit, which we all agree on, why target those of us who fight enough in our every day battles with discrimination! I know cuts need to happen, but why are they cutting the quality of our lives? Why are they not recognising blindness as a disability, assessing it below even the threshold to gain a place on the into work scheme under the new ESA benefit, despite having input from organisations such as RNIB who feels their input has been ignored? How can they “assume” that my guide dog makes me more employable than a cane user who may have more sight? How can they say someone with MS can work for eight hours every day if they don’t see them in pain and unable to get up for work because every muscle in their body hurts? How can an abled bodied so called health professional, who is repeatedly passing people fit to work who clearly are not, capable of assessing someone if they’ve never dealt with that disability, some even come across it? If they are not willing to understand and take a fifteen minute snippet with a rigid questionnaire to assess someone’s abilities, it is clearly just a tick in the box and one more person off the sick and disabled list, the better, right, Mr cameron and co?

They say they’ve had conversations with organisations about these changes, but if that was true, then how was it that staff from over forty organisations representing disabled people across the board were marching alongside those people on 11TH May? Richard Leaman , Guide Dogs own chief executive marched alongside clients, dogs and staff alike to protest. Do you think if Guide Dogs as an organisation had agreed to the governments extraordinary changes that he would risk his reputation and the one of his organisation just “for kicks”?

Miller talked about the drug addicts and the alcoholics claiming both DLA and incapacity, and the media have publicised that fact over and over again, but what about those who are disabled who are going to get theirs cut? We didn’t make a life style choice to be blind, lame, deaf, or feel as though our body was on fire, we didn’t abuse the system so then why are we being punished, ignored, sidelined and forced into another system that has not worked for many?

I’ve claimed job seeker’s allowance. I claimed it for almost three years! During that time, neither I nor the job centre could find work. The disability employment advisors did not understand my needs as a blind client or how my blindness would effect me in the work place. No information was accessible to me. Not leaflets, their computer systems, the forms I had to sign every two weeks. It was only through my own research that I attended the royal national college for the blind and transferred to incapacity benefit. After I’d left college, I still couldn’t get work. And despite continued efforts to search, apply for different jobs, I am still unemployed. I was never understood and felt abandoned during that time. Ms Miller speaks of disabled people being abandoned on the current system, so what is she doing then? Throwing many into a system that is not designed to support people with extensive needs; Throwing them into a world of ignorance that no government has tried to change. She says attitudes have changed toward disabled people, really? I must have missed that evolution. We’re still pitied, avoided because people fear the unknown, shunned by others because we’re deemed too needy, patronised because we’re seen to be unintelligent and treated like second class citizens as we always have been, the media have only enhanced that point this week. And society’s attitudes have changed? Just because children are being educated more within mainstream education Ms Miller, it does not mean society’s attitudes have changed just because we’re not locked up and hidden away. The stigmas toward many disabilities still exist and many VI children are segregated within VI units within their school along with other special needs children. Being taught in the same building does not make society’s attitudes toward them any different!

Last year I started a home study degree which was funded by the university so I did not have any fees to pay. Because of the increase to come in for tuition fees, the scheme was cut at the end of my very successful first year. I couldn’t afford the fees and was forced to withdraw. I have and continue to try to gain work or qualifications to be “more employable” on a qualification basis but the truth is, unless my blindness miraculously disappears, or the attitudes of society, the employer’s being educated and insurance companies not deeming disabled people high risk enough to boot premiums to a devastating price change, I will remain unemployed from the mainstream workforce. I take offence to the many headlines calling incapacity and DLA claimants “scroungers” or “lazy” as While looking for work I’ve done everything in my power to gain employment. I’ve attempted study, I volunteer to gain work experience, I blog and participate in accessibility podcasts to widen my knowledge and experience while educating and informing the world best I can about blindness, access technology and guide dogs. I do not sit around, or enjoy four or five holidays to Spain, I do not own extravagant items or go out every weekend to clubs. I’ve tried, I continue to try to make my life productive and full but I can’t single handedly change the attitudes of employers.

Unless I gain employment within a sector for visually impaired or set up my own business, which I eventually would like to do, I will be punished for being blind and become isolated because I cannot fund my disability.

I keep hearing the phrase, “Genuinely disabled,” yet I and others seemingly do not fit into that category. As I stated earlier, the current assessment for ESA would maximumly gain a visually impaired person nine points or less and fifteen is required to qualify for the into work program. So, I clearly am not “disabled” according to these guidelines and to the media who have deemed many claimants to be “scroungers” and have insinuated “faking it”. What an actress I must be, to have faked blindness all my life!

Many do abuse the system and those people need to be caught out, no one would refute that. And that is why we are not asking this government to leave things the way they are but to listen, understand and implement changes suggested to them by the people who know. Realism and practicality need to be adopted here or else the government has outrightly broke its promise to protect the disabled and vulnerable in our society.

As MP Hunt said, stop providing abled bodied, healthy individuals from pushing out three or four children at the tax payer’s expense. If people want to reproduce, they should pay for them. My parents have worked every day of their lives and have contributed to this system and they, like others who are parents of disabled people are angry that it is more socially acceptable to get pregnant and have a child for the sole cause of living off of benefits when disabled families are having support, care and benefits cut.

Miller talks about the numbers of alcoholics and drug users on DLA and incapacity benefit, well stop them claiming it! Children born with disabilities don’t have a choice, soldiers fighting for this country don’t have a choice whether they are hit or not, police and fire service people do not have a choice if they are hurt while on duty, and yet those without the choices are the ones being punished.

This past few days, I’ve felt disappointed, angry, concerned, surprised, shocked and proud for a variety of reasons. Proud of the ones marching; proud of the efforts by those who couldn’t make it who have expressed themselves on the web; proud of some journalists who have maintained their integrity by reporting the events as they are. I was surprised how quickly my MP responded to my email that I sent her only the night of the march and even more so of her support. And yet I’ve been saddened, shocked and rather disgusted with the lack of coverage by many media outlets. No need for breaking news but it still happened! It was one of the biggest, if not the biggest march of its kind in regard to the disabled people in numbers present at a protest, and that wasn’t news worthy? I was also disappointed by the lack of response by some visually impaired people I know. Some were fantastic online yesterday and others I know marched while some remained quiet and as though it wasn’t happening to them. You may not believe writing to your MP will work, or that you’ll lose followers or friends on social networks by mentioning it, but if they’re real friends or interested in what you have to say, isn’t that better than being ignored by the government? I’ve heard people say it won’t have made a difference, maybe not but maybe it will open some eyes. It’s our future and if we don’t help shape it, then we have no real future to call our own.

Miller in my book represents nothing but an empty promise and a cruel and misconceived idea of what disability and sickness really means and how it effects those with it. She was more interested in the prime minister’s question time than the people she’s meant to represent. Even in a committee meeting about the welfare reform, she was vague, unable to give detail or straight, decisive answers to questions posed to her. Cameron’s conservatives are ignorant and malicious. Despite what they’re telling the media the reality of the assessment process, changes to DLA put the disabled in poverty and isolation, stripping them of dignity and independence. No wonder their precious media won’t report it and are more interested in US politics, affairs abroad and war because it’s not affecting them. If Hunt had denied Murdock the deal for Sky, we’d hear about that all right in its entirety but a few blind, wheel chair bound, deaf and sick people are invisible to them. Why hear the cries of the needy while you’re sat eating your finest foods and enjoying your life? Why take notice of a bunch of disabled people, “We’ll get over it,” right? Why take from the rich, corrupt bankers when you can target the ones in need? It seems they have enough money to bail Greece, Ireland, Portugal and others out of debt, give money to the rebels fighting in Libya, donate millions to countries in need and all because they neglected their own people! I feel for other countries plights, but Prime Minister, you and your government are meant to be the British government, here to make Britain better, but you’d rather help other country’s people than your own vulnerable and disabled people! If you want to cut the deficit, give us a chance to live and change the attitudes of employers and society as a whole, because without those changes, we’ll remain invisible to all while we suffer.

If that’s the society we live in, then by God help us all. Because wait until they cut child services more, or petrol prices rise again, that will be top news. I hope anyone who has blatantly ignored this demonstration of courage and pride by the disabled people of Britain never finds themselves in a similar situation. Because where will your loyal government be then? Helping Pakistan, or fighting in the middle East, or bailing out European countries or lending money to some superpower, and giving you nothing!

“The Invisible Disabled,” it seems so but I pledge to you I will not go unnoticed and neither should you. The women who fought for women’s rights were taken seriously eventually , and some would argue there were many more but many were too afraid to fight the system then. Let’s fight for our right to live good qualities of life and to gain opportunities like everyone else. Change society’s attitudes for the better, Clegg and Cameron, don’t change our lives for the worst.

[note. I am totally blind and cannot comment in detail on how people’s disabilities effect them. Hope I grasped the concept of anger we’re all feeling]

Interesting entertainment links

That’s a Cut, SunnieDae1
Broken Britain’s We have A Dream Speech, hardest Hit
Hardest Hit, Day of Action, Scope for Equality


Guide Dogs, In my Eyes

[Note to Reader] I live in the UK so all information is correct as I am aware only as a guide dog owner from the Guide Dogs For the Blind Association in the UK.

Guide dogs have been a huge part of my life ever since I can remember. My first memory of knowing what a guide dog was and how it related to my life was when I was seven years old and at the Adam Brooks hospital in Cambridge with my parents at an eye check up. They had a huge ornament of a guide dog in harness standing in the waiting room at the eye clinic and my dad took me over to show me what it was. I felt the smooth impressions of the labradors face, the big ears and the smooth curves of it back, on which sat a harness. I proceeded to ask my parents what it was for and they told me to raise money for guide dogs which I then asked what a guide dog was for and why it wore a harness. My parents explained it was to help the blind get around but even then, I don’t think my parents would truly appreciate the length to which a dog could assist their daughter in the future.

I was seven then, and recently had lost my sight completely and so this news that I could use a dog to get around and break free from the new prison that I’d been placed in because of my eyes made life seem a little easier to handle at my young age. I kept this memory with me for all this time and twenty years later, I’ve been a proud, successful guide dog owner for four and a half years.

Although my journey is barely beginning with the association, I feel its time I shared my own guide dog story with you all.

The rules have changed along with procedures even since I became involved with the association. And surprisingly, my journey began before I even contemplated a dog. I was taken for a visiting day to the local Guide Dogs centre that was in Bolton when I was around nine or ten. I only really remember the puppies in the kennels, jumping and being playful. My experience then was limited but I think I had already decided that I’d love to have one of those four legged companions walking by my side.

At thirteen, our local mobility service had been stripped of several mobility officers and so a long cane instructor from Guide Dogs taught me long cane work for a few years. We chatted lots about guide Dogs and dogs in general. I’ve always loved animals, their innate ability to be loyal and non-judgemental always touched me.

Friends and family continued to ask me through my younger teenage years if I had ever considered getting a guide dog and when I said yes, they automatically asked: “at 16?” I always knew I didn’t want a dog that young. I’d rather be out with friends and doing things a regular sixteen year old would do. Since then, the rules have changed and there is now no lower limit to apply for a dog. But even with that limit in place, I wanted to have freedom and wanted to go off to university with no responsibilities. Maybe if I’d had a different personality, my choices may have been different.

However, once at university, I started wondering if I had a dog would my mobility be increased? I was in a different town, with limited mobility sessions and the area was difficult to work in with a long cane. So, I called up Guide dogs and asked to have a talk with someone. That someone turned out to be my old mobility officer who worked at Guide Dogs. After a long chat with him, I knew even then I was not ready for the responsibility of a furry friend. I had plans to do an exchange programme to the US and he advised me to wait until I came back.

I heeded that advice and after my exchange a two month trip, I finally decided I was ready for the responsibility of a dog. I knew I more than ready for the mobility adjustment but nothing could have ever prepared me for the real experience.

The assessment process began with an application form which I completed in December of 2004. In the January I had a general assessment shortly followed by a mobility assessment where a trained mobility officer walked with me on a route to check my safety and overall mobility skills. After I’d cleared that section of the assessment a guide Dog mobility Instructor came out to assess how I would work holding onto the dog’s harness. The guide dog Mobility Instructor is the person who trains the dogs in the advanced part of they’re training, where the dogs are placed in harness and taught to guide effectively. A double ended handle was used with the instructor acting as the dog would. It felt strange and even that could never prepare you for the real thing. The instructor also did a further application form with me and went over information about every aspect of owning a guide dog. Feeding routines, spending routines, to things I liked to do, social activities, my level of possible work load with the dog. This is to help the team recognise when a suitable match comes in. There’s little point giving an older person a dog that wants a high work load and someone with a hefty work load having a dog with the desire to only walk to the local shops and back. The matching process is a very good one and many around me have suggested my match was perfect because of my personality.

I was twenty-one when I applied for a dog. After four months of assessment I was placed on the waiting list. January 2006, I received a call from the guide dog mobility instructor [GDMI] who had assessed me for the dog section of the assessments. She told me she may have a possible match and could she bring the dog out to meet me.

The dog and instructor arrived and we went on a route I knew well with me holding the handle of the dog’s harness. This was incredibly scary yet altogether amazing. I relished in the idea that one day soon I may have a dog at my side. This little labrador wasn’t for me though. She was sweet and not really cut out for the lifestyle she’d be living in. I liked her but as I suspect the instructor knew, there was little potential of bonding.

A week or so later, she called again and said she had another dog. In bounced Bailey. He literally jumped through the door, a ball of energy and excitement. I remember my mum saying she didn’t like him because he was so boisterous but I fell in love. He followed me around the house, even upstairs and the walk out with him was incredible. Bailey and I bonded and after a month, my GDMI called with the great news that we would be going onto class.

The Guide Dogs for the blind Association has changed over the past ten or so years in how training is done. They used to have residential training schools but the majority of teams either train in the home or train at the a hotel and the surrounding areas. So off I went to Bolton, as the old centre was still there then and waited patiently in my hotel room after eating lunch and meeting the other potential guide dog owners. And in bounced Bailey again, full of love and affection. I was so happy and couldn’t wait to start our training.

We were taught obedience skills, the voice commands of forward, down, sit, wait, stay, come, steady, and taught to control our new friends. Feeding and grooming and learning how to spend our dogs correctly was covered and a health care session was held to educate us how to take care of our new friends, filling in vet books and how to contact Guide Dogs if our dog had to have treatment outside the realm of normality. In the UK, Guide Dogs is a charity and depends solely on donations from the general public and generous businesses to keep the services and production of more guide partnerships going. Vet bills and food are covered by the association if the person is not in a situation they can pay for those things independently. You can opt to pay for one or both of these financial areas if you are able too and would like to contribute. It’s a great service and means that people are not discriminated against for enhanced mobility if they need and want it.

So, after the two weeks we were permitted to take the dogs home for a further week of training and settling in at home. I was excited and nervous. I loved Bailey already but I was uncertain if I could cope with this new responsibility once at home.

He seemed a little unsure when we got home and his instructor had left. It was just he and I until the Monday when she would return to train. I cried like a baby the next few days. We had trouble with his spending due to a heavy snow fall and unfamiliar surroundings for him. But once we were out and about with the instructor, as the dog and you are housebound until you are qualified, it felt great to get him on the harness and working in my home environment. After three days of training at home, I was pronounced Bailey’s owner, and he my guide Dog. We were fully qualified and I could now work him independently with continued checks from his instructor for around a month and working reports submitted for six consecutive months with a check annually after the six month period.

Suddenly walking down the street felt like a breeze. No more catching lamp poles, bollards, shop displays on the pavement, Bailey guided me down the centre of the path, turned left or right on command and when asked to find doors, he would. Finding the crossings to get across the streets safely was now easy as he walked up to it once asked to find it and put his nose on the pole. A quick feel for his soft wet muzzle told me the pole was there and I directed him to the kerb and we waited to cross. On my forward command he moved straight across the street and I didn’t drift dangerously or feel unsafe or uncertain with him by my side.

There are myths, or not necessarily myths but different ways of doing things in associations around the world. Our guide dogs are asked to find objects, such as doors, crossings, or post boxes, and kerbs. We don’t instruct them to go to a specific store but Bailey at least with my experience usually tries to preempt where you want to go if walking on a certain route. He often gives my secrets away and I sometimes think smells of places have him wanting to enter those establishments, pubs and Starbucks or bakeries are usually the culprits. Others would argue it’s because I frequently visit starbucks that he wants to go their but I maintain its the scent of coffee that he may recognise, as we frequent a few different Starbucks around Manchester. He’s not trained to find an empty seat, just a seat and so you have to use other senses to know if someone’s seated there already. He does not dictate when we cross the street, I’m in charge of knowing when its safe, however, if I’ve not heard something that is coming he is taught to ignore my command. He’s rewarded when he’s found something or got through a difficult section of a route with a piece of his dried food and praised vocally and physically by a pat. He is asked to lay under tables or at the side of me in restaurants or cafes and many other public places. The dog does not have a GPS system in his head and usually goes off my body language for when its time to get off of the bus, collecting things together gives him a strong indication.

Bailey helps me primarily with my day to day navigation in familiar areas. His instructor will come out if we need to adjust or learn new routes. She’ll also check on us once a year to see how he and I are doing as a partnership. The aftercare never stops with Guide Dogs here in the UK. She’s on hand with virtually any problem I may be having with working with him while the health care team are always on hand if we have a health issue.

Bailey’s worked with me for almost five years and I can’t imagine life without him now. Sadly, he will retire one day but that is still in the future hopefully. Once he’s slowed down, wanting to take an easier life Guide Dogs will assist with the process and be on hand to support all the way. I will apply for another dog as I value the mobility a four legged friend can offer but Bailey shall never be far away. Depending on my own personal circumstances will depend if he can stay with me but plenty of people, including my parents who Bailey has lived with for the whole time he’s been with me are more than happy to keep him during his retirement.

I have so much respect for this organisation. Earlier this year I began fundraising for them so that they can keep offering a number one service to guide dog owners present and future. My thanks to them for what they have given me, not only with the enhanced level of mobility, the confidence I have going places independently with him by my side but the incredible companionship I have from him and the world class service and support I receive from the Greater Manchester Team. If I ever had the money to sponsor a dog myself, I would because everyone deserves a Bailey or one of his thousands of brothers and sisters treading the pavements of the UK. Let’s hope the patter of paws continues on our UK streets and the many campaigns the association is involved with continues to blossom and changes for the way the visually impaired community move around with their furry companions is nothing but a success.

Leaning Post

Loving someone is about just that,
Taking your heart and knowing the facts,
Delving deep into the truth beneath,
And accepting all of the good and bad within.

Hoping for someone to right a wrong,
Could take forever and time is long,
To be responsible for just your life,
Will cause you less pain and much less strife.

No one can control another’s actions,
No matter how bad the choice and what may be sanctions,
But if you know what you do and why you have done it,
Then at least you’re straight and not in the shit.

Taking a heart that’s troubled and healing it well,
Will make you happier and lighten the spell,
The confusion and pain that plagued that heart,
But without their consent their pain shall never part.

Holding a hand that’s been severed away,
Made to cry for someone before and can no longer say,
How much the pain is ripping through the core,
Only that hand will know what is more,
Painful for it and the right thing to do,
And even the saint inside of you won’t do,
Help has to come within and stand alone,
So pride can rise above and sit on a throne.

Allowing a weeping head to rest so still,
On your shoulder for the charge of no bill,
Is an act of solidarity, it is true,
But the head has to rise and walk away from you.

An ear can be advised and directed which way to go,
But a mind may not listen and say only “so?”
But the choice of the message gone through that brain,
May lead to less stress and even less pain.

So to give something back and say thanks very much,
Is a gift we can bestow and touch
The life of someone else for one moment in time,
But the action we take is purely yours or mine,
We can take the open door and lead ourselves through,
We can stand stagnant like soot in a floo,
We can take the open door and venture our way down a path,
And see what the future brings, tears, hopes and laughs,
But the moral of the tale as it may be told,
Is you can give advice as valuable as gold,
You can hold the broken halves of a heart,
But without the will it will never start,
You can tell the ear what it needs to be told,
But you can’t tell the mind its for sale if it’s been sold,
You can rest a weary head on your shoulder and weep,
but you can’t force the legs to walk up a hill so steep.

Step back and allow the responsibility to fall away,
Let the other person deal with their problems today,
And look in the mirror for a second or two,
And ask yourself for a moment, “How the hell are you?”

The future is not Bright, it’s dull!

Respect seems to be a dying breed these days. And it’s not just the thuggish youths hanging outside of stores, trying to intimidate shoppers. It stretches far deeper than that unfortunately and I dread to think where it will end.

When you have a four year old child tell you that your dog “smells” and comment on his peeing habit in his own garden while you also have the knowledge that the same four year old child has called their mother a “fat pig” to no consequences, you fast realise that this child is the negative portion of our future generations.

At the risk of sounding as though I’m harping on about the “Good old days”, to which I would have often swore I’d never do, things were much more expected of us as children. The old phrase that my elders continually blurted on about when I was a little girl, “children should be seen and not heard” has a touch of glamour to it now. If I’d acted as that child had then my parents/grandparents or aunts, uncles and even friends of the family would have berated me and punished me for my lack of manners. I wouldn’t have dreamed of speaking to someone in such a negative way at any age, even now, “you have nothing nice to say then don’t say anything at all” springs to mind but the children of today are far too bold for their own good.

Unlike the masses in our society, I despise bad behaviour and even more lack of good manners, and bringing in yet more cliches, “manners don’t cost anything” I can honestly see the good my parents and family on the whole did for me instilling decency into me as a child and young adult.
I do not think it cute for a child to be disrespectful and speak out of turn amongst adult company nor do I think it appropriate that this child was out alone without adult supervision.

Which brings me to my next point. Why do parents not watch their beloved little darlings while they are out “socialising” with those good and decent individuals of the world? Why are these hoards of children allowed to rome our streets tormenting us well mannered human beings and innocent decent smelling dogs? These children are never alone either. They usually have many siblings that are experienced in the art of torturing the good and decent people of the world with their bad behaviour and ill manners. And are never supervised. While the parents sit indoors gazing into the antisocial box of the TV world, their offspring are out showing off their talents in disgrace and disrespect.

We live in a sad society where good children are assumed to be disrespectful and badly behaved and ill-mannered because of the masses of irresponsible parents who would rather watch Jeremy Kyle than supervise the three or four children they have created purely for a means to an end.

I implore the government to put an end of this disrespectful society and enforce some discipline back into the generations of irresponsible and ill-mannered animals that patrol our world pretending to be human. send them to an Island somewhere or take away their benefits and put them in a sweat shop, teach them the reality of life and make them pay for their children’s bad behaviour and take responsibility for their shoddy parenting.

Does Money Mean You’re rich?

The attitude we have toward our lives has a great impact on how we live!


Whether you agree with that statement or not, a lot of people are living proof of it. This week, the newly elected minister for Education in the british parliament made a statement that insinuates poorer children do worse than children from more privileged backgrounds. But is this true? How much of our lives is down to fate, effort or where we were born?


My parents, as many others of my friends were working class families. Most of my friends have gone on to university and several have or soon will have high paid jobs. Many of us did extremely well academically but does that mean then, our parents were rich? Financially no, they were not. but their attitude toward working and education was inbred into us. I disagree highly with the minister’s comments. I do not believe class difference or whether your parents are pulling in fifteen thousand per year or one hundred and fifty thousand a year, how much your parents instill into you on the ethics of working hard and trying your best can be the same.


Children’s innate intelligence can help and yes, financial stability can improve a child’s education with private tutors etc, but does that mean then that richer parents will have more intelligent children? No, the ability of parents to be parents will help a child develop intelligently and their constant support and encouragement to do better for themselves will encourage a positive and ambitious attitude rather than the never aiming for anything and repeating the cycle of poverty all over again.


Giving children self esteem and the ability to be ambitious and strive for the best is what counts in their development. We lead by example. If our parents strive the best and encourage their offspring to do the same, it is more likely the children will succeed.


However, if parents, like many do in this country right now, sit on their backsides and show their children how to play the benefits system and allow them to truant from school, never encouraging for extra curricular activities while giving up completely on discipline, then the children will leave school with poor exam results and no ambition to be something worthwhile.


I don’t believe just because you are poor you are unable to be something better. The attitude you have is crucial to prosper. You don’t need money to be rich, and I know this from personal experience. Hard work, effort and determination is what gets people by in life, not whether they were born with a silver spoon in their mouth.

My Happier Life

The golden sun slipping through the blinds,
In an air conditioned room,
To wake you up from a rest so short,
But enough to keep you going.

Up and dressed,
Set for a busy day,
Heading outside and breathing in the scents,
Sweet grass,
Breakfast being made,
The fresh smells of the day.

The sun beating down even so early,
The campus so busy and buzzing,
Coffee and a quick snack in the cool
Of the student’s union.

Past the smells of the rose garden,
Listening to the gushing fountain,
A bell begins to toll
And you most definitely know,
That the day is just beginning.

Lunch time on the quad,
Or else watching TV inside,
Chatting with friends old and new,
The sun high in the sky,
Sweater shoved in your backpack,
And arrangements formulating.

Studying quietly in the lab,
Checking emails while bored,
The smell of paper and flowers fill your nose,
As you wait for the best part to start.

Jump in the truck,
Ride to the store,
Pick up some dinner or order in,
Shower and change,
Phone ringing hot,
Party time is just beginning.
Worked all week,
Play hard at the weekend,
Different day,
Different place,
Familiar faces,
But always the same,
party hard, watch a movie, go to the mall,
Or watch the football or basketball game.

Weekend morning always spent with a starbucks,
Eating at Fuzios or getting a jamba juice,
The life I had was so rich with so much,
Fun, love, happiness and friendship,
Trust, joy, confidence and more.

Hug a friend when she cries,
Hug her tighter when she smiles,
True friendship more valuable than diamonds,
True friendship makes my heart sing,
For it is not the places, the fun or the parties,
The smells or the sounds indeed
That make a place what it is,
Its your friends.

Miss my life,
More than true,
Miss my friends,
incredibly accurate,
Hold my heart forever in Cali?
Without a doubt it will always be home.

how Fast is Technology Advancing?

As we reach the end of another decade, and I look around my room, I began to ask myself how advanced technology has become.

It’s safe to say, our grandparents wouldn’t ever have believed they would see the day where a television was flat and had the crystal clear pictures that we receive with the advancements of High definition Television nowadays. It’s probably safer to say that they didn’t even believe everyone would own a television when they were children, or even realize they could exist let alone many of us having a working television set in each room of the house.

Talking on the telephone was a task you undertook for emergencies and long distance calls during the era most of our grandparents grew up, so the fact most of us walk around with cordless house phones and sit on the bus or train chatting with our friends on our mobile phones would come as an amazement to most people over the age of sixty.

Gadgets like the microwave would blow most people’s minds before they were introduced. DVD and CD players would spin people’s thoughts out of control. And Satellite navigation would direct people into disbelief had they been told during the 1930s or 1940s that those things could exists. Yet, most of us have these items and much more in our households.

It is true to say, technology has advanced in the 20TH century but even since the late 80s technology has come along at such speed, it almost is scary.

I remember the first games’ console my dad had during the 80s, it was a keyboard and disc drive and a joie stick connected to the television. Just in those twenty years since we had our faithful amstrad I have seen the video games market advance in leaps an bounds. Now, a games’ console not only delivers high quality graphics and sound quality, coupled with a huge choice of gaming but now you can save your game on a huge built in harddrive and if you’re bored, play with other gamers from all around the world.

I can remember during the late 80s/early 90s when the internet was first being discussed on the news. The information highway as it was being called sounded so futuristic and now most of us have daily access to the world wide web either through broadband connection or our mobile phones.

During the late 90s, most teenagers were grappling for the newest release and biggest craze hitting society, the mobile phone. And now, you didn’t need a contract to possess one of these highly desired commodities, the invention of prepay mobile phones meant that most teenagers could own one and “top up” their account as and when they needed. Would any of us have believed then that within ten short years, we’d be not only calling and texting from our phones, but sending pictures/sounds and surfing the internet on our increasingly smaller, more stylish and function filled devices. Now a phone won’t only just do those things but with the invention of the “app store” we are able to do more and more on our phones, such as find the nearest bank or ATM, look for restaurants and find recent reviews, get a taxi number or compare prices of products in the store all on a device you can fit into your pocket or bag.

And even computers have revolutionized since the room sized device of the 1970s. Now, we can carry a small computer around with us and with the recent invention of the dongles, can now use the mobile networks to surf the internet wherever we want. Write our school reports, chat online and watch a movie if we so desire is all now so achievable as the advancement of technology has improved for the computers.

If someone had told me while I was playing my tapes on my old stereo as a small child that one day I would be able to carry photos, music, movies, games and audio books around with me on a small device, that would compete with the size of most lighters, then I would have been astonished. And those musical devices with each release becomes more technical and stylish and not only bigger in capacity but smaller in size.

My room, like most people of my generation is forever changing and the devices are getting smaller and more advance each year. And yes, technology has advanced considerably within the 20TH century but the speed at which technology is advancing all of the time is phenomenal. Touch screen phones seemed impossible but before we know it, all we’ll have to do in order to turn a channel on our tv set is say so and it will. Nothing surprises me anymore and I do believe, I’m from a generation that will always expect bigger and better things. as I said earlier in the article, our grandparents will continue to be amazed by our technical advances but my generation will expect those advances and keep demanding bigger and better things.

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