The latest reasons 48 disabled people have to lose their homes. 

Please forgive typos writing on a bus with huge headache. 

Deputy  ceo has announced on air 48 disabled people including me will lose their homes because a 24 hr bus stop on the gate, 4miles from London is poor transport. Also 1 out of 48 doesnt have room for his daughter tk stay! And 1 has dementia they have provided no care for dor 22 months saying ‘we can’t move her because she is ill’! Her dementia has altered my whole wellbeing. She is trapped in one room she gets lost in every night. It it cruelty. 

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A Public Letter to Thomas Pocklington Trust

Following the Radio 4 interview I was talking on and raised some excellent questions to the trust I am openly sharing my response. 
Dear Keith,
In a follow up to the Radio 4 interview I would like to ask why you think losing me my home will help the employment and transport access of residents?
I am self employed and working, despite having to put my performance career and studies on hold from conditions living here. 
I am healthy, have no intention of having children that require more space and working just like the tenants at Lodge. 
It is brilliant that you are helping blind people with employment needs but I had to give up everything I had invested in my future because of my health deteriorating as a direct result of Nigel Colbert’s management of a tenant with dementia. 
I can not believe you had the audacity to use [name witheld]on air as a reason 47 others shouldn’t be here. Maybe you could have recognised over a year ago that you needed a plan for someone blind with dementia that you are leaving alone scared and lost every night. 
I am not eligible for any London borough housing registers. I have heard nothing on my case. I can not even go to my home county as I have not been living there. To move back to rural Essex means my nearest hospital is an hour and a half journey by two buses. It costs £50 to get to London in the morning and I would never be able to perform as I would finish too late to get the last train. How independant and ‘making my own future’ is that?
You mention transport in this area as an access issue- it is 24 hours a day and free! I am from a rural area where buses and trains are once an hour and stop at 8p.m, have unstaffed inaccessible stations and no audio onboard buses. Moving to Roehampton was my independence. 
I came to this city to be a performer and a scholar no matter how blond yet you have compromised, possibly ended that. I am now undergoing Councelling (I was also denied by your management) and am facing homelessness. 
I currently live in a studio that has everything I require and can afford. I have support and security I will lose. 
Tell me why Thomas Pocklington Trust LTD has taken everything I have the independence for and should have the ability to continue. 
The manager tells me he doesn’t think you have compromised my future in any way. 
Why should lots here have to be moved because A few are ill? You don’t even pay for our support, outside funding does. 
If the building is not suitable then where does the sum of around £48k a month from us go exactly?
Why was I not housed at Lodge in the first place as a young working woman? Why are tenants here being suggested the Lodge as part of their rehousing but others are not?
Lynsey Weaver

Sent from my iPhone

Dementia

Nora wasn’t her real name, it was the name of the lady who lived in the flat before me but she died. Other than her post for cash prize draws and Christmas suppers at the rotary club, I know nothing of Nora. She is gone and when this is published fully so too, most probably, will be the flats themselves. It seems ok to pass her name up one floor and give it to the saddest case of an elderly lady that I never had the pleasure to meet: only hear.

I wish I could tell her history but I have less than fragments. If I change her name can I change her past, give her an intoxicating one. All the gossip fragments crumbs said that she was from Nigeria and was deaf in one ear from an accident. So let me retell her again with some sweet dignity that the Blind House denied her.

I like to think of Nora aged twenty five in a hot Nigerian city. a shocking pink floral scarf twisting in a mound on her head and eyes that saw. Eyes that didn’t crease when she let out her crisp bleating laughter. At everything she laughed at from hidden giggles to wild, unstoppable cries her eyes only widened and swallowed the world. Nora walked to buy food daily with a turquoise string bag sailing at her swinging hips. On a Saturday she would stop to buy fresh cut mango form a street stall and holding its waxy skin to her cheek for a piece of coolness under the awning, she would laugh at the world. Her favourite observation since she had been a girl, collecting a mango on Saturday mornings was the delight in watching people getting lost. There was always at least one lost person if she waited long enough, taking small bites on water cooled fruit. Some would get lost in short steps and turn in jagged mis-steps to find their way along the stalls. They would look so certain for a pace or two and then turn and pretend it was the other way they needed all along. Nora liked to pretend there were no stalls and just watched how funny she found their confused movements. Her favourites though were those who pretended they knew their way across the market only to come passing back again, and back again. She couldn’t work out why the lost made her laugh only that she knew exactly where she was with that fruit stirring her smiles and that she would never be lost. Of course none of this amusement and knowing of place on her expression will ever be seen, was ever seen. I caught her face once in the shadows of her bedsit. No story can make her not lost. I keep getting told dementia means forgetting but the nights I heard Nora’s confusion in it song of slams and crashes I can only tell you of a woman who became very lost in the smallest of places.

Aerial Hoop Vlogs

I have started weekly aerial hoop vlogs on youtube. These are following my progress on getting back on the hoop after long term sleep deprivation/sleep paralysis and chronic fatigue. I may be fatter but I’m not staying down on the ground. 

Here are the first 2


Peace in the City

Tucked away in Covent Garden is a small space of clam. Inner Space meditation centre runs free meditation and self awareness courses and classes and were the first people to teach me meditation. To me, meditation is like needed a warm bath after a day on your feet to relax your muscles only for the mind: our biggest muscle that has enough to do aside from all the thoughts and images we fill it with.

So after all the stress of my housing situation and its somewhat authoritarian attitude from management (a bit like when school teachers used to tell you off) I found myself returning to the shop in need of some calm. Guided meditations on Youtube have been helping me a lot the last few weeks to take a moment out but I wanted get a cd of something longer.

I was recommended for something a litter deeper to try their CD called ‘The Jewel’. It begins with a visualisation of sitting at a control panel and turning off switches with each part of the body. Combining this with the music I always picture a retro space movie imagery, a bit Barbarella, which instantly puts me in a better mood.

Wanting to say everything seems to be falling to bits without cornering the woman in the shop to my life woes I pointed out how being partially sighted in the West End is a bit like being on an assault course and was invited to use the Quiet Room downstairs. This is probably the quietest and calming room you will find beneath the crowds and traffic. I enjoyed the music and glowing wall like a hot sun going down.

Tonight I went to a talk hosted by them in ‘Letting Go and Moving On. It was really enlightening to hear the reasons I think deep down we know but ignore or argue on why we cling on to things that prevent us going forward. My broken record at the moment is ‘I am recovering from 2 years sleep deprivation from a drunk and a dementia patient who lost me my career and study and wore me down to being a zombie.’ I’m sure it’ll make Christmas number one. I have to let go of all this difficulty around me caused by the actions of living in supported housing. The fact that I finally took the plunge to get a new flat that feels like a lovely home and to be told I have to lose it has been a low blow on their part.

Recently I have been thinking of relocating to Edinburgh, the most beautiful place I have been where I feel I can breath and laugh. I want to focus more on low aerial dance and that is something I don’t fit the criteria or budget for in London. However it is hard when London feels so great right now.

On Monday BBC Radio four are visiting my flat to interview me and my ex neighbour. We have amazingly put aside our difficulties to try and fight this awful rehousing. But I am so tired of fighting. I asked the receptionist if we could use the lounge and she said she would get a member of the facilities team to ring me. I did not say why I needed it. Nobody rang so I went to the office and was immediately told I can not use the lounge for media purposes. In fact I was told the lounge can not be booked at all which is bizarre considering all the music rehearsals we privately book it for in the past.  What is even more bizarre is the facilities manager tells me he has warned that I want it by the woman incharge of rehousing us (the one who sugguested I should live in mental homes that don’t exist!) and all this is rather strange considering I never mentioned the purpose.

I rang rehousing lady who denied everything as always and said booking the lounge was nothing to do with her department! So how did she know I was doing a radio interview? See the daily petty stresses they put on us renting here. I like meditation- there is only the present you breathe in and everything else goes away. 

 

 

 

 

‘God Save You’ (because you are blind…at least I presume you are)

I’ve begun to learn that the most difficult thing about losing my sight in very complex and technical ways is not my lack of visual awareness but the perceptions of others.

Waiting for the brightly lit lift below Hungerford Bridge I stood behind the people already waiting and didn’t understand why no one entered as the doors opened. By the time I realised they were even talking to me that I ‘deserved’ the lift far more than they did and were waiting for me to go first, the doors and shut again. I got that usual, infuriating clasp of my coat without asking and poked towards the lift.

For all the public that treat people with white canes as though they are in dire need of help, how do you think I got to be in the same spot as you on my own, upright and human looking, in the first place? Did they think I live outside the elevator and these were my first steps of the day?

The left on the level before me and the old man said ‘God save you.’

‘God made me like this!’ I said back as the doors shut and as I ascended shouted to the lift door ‘Why on earth do I need saving?!

The only thing that I need saving from are the illegal evictions, without eviction notices, that the Thomas Pocklington Trust are using to remove 47 of us visually impaired people because it has decided we no longer qualify to live in supported housing for visually impaired people (anyone in the media or legal professions feel free to contact me on this travesty).

I don’t need God to save me. I don’t need pity for being disabled- I need a frigging lawyer.

There are women drowning to seek asylum and you think your deity needs to save me just because I can’t see? Me who is in my mothers fur coat in the most expensive city in the world living rent free on free travel costs and an iPhone in my pocket, wandering on my own safely, free to go wherever I choose, you think I deserve saving for the sake of two eyeballs? I don’t need the pity. I need a stick to tell my brain what I step on and although it can be scary as hell to not fall, in reality I’m probably back of the queue on God’s saviour list. It’s just the presumptions that somehow my life is less than those giving the blessings. I Know they are just being nice but it only adds to the frustration and feeling if difference, something lesser than their place in the city. 

My trek across London began on the 211 bus that takes forever but shows me the old brick and backstreets of Fulham and Hammersmith. It’s a favourite thing of mine on bored afternoons. You see if God saved me from disability then I wouldn’t have free travel.

At the road alongside the County Hall I seemed to be the last to realise the amount of people hanging around the normally dozy route to the river were actually evacuated from a fire. With tunnel vision the first thing I notice is that the Starbucks (my second home) I wanted to write in was taped off. What happened to Starbucks, I gasp not seeing the three fire engines and cordoned off road next to it. It was just after the violet hour where my eyes feel a little drunk in the dimness of evening and I was concentrating more on getting around people. Then I saw the fire crew were up on a cherry picker above the roof. I asked a bystander what happened and he tells me there’s been an explosion and really big fire.

I look at the building- no fire, no smoke. ‘I don’t see any flames, I’m not blind,’ I say holding the stick and in reply in this surreal sort of laid back tone tells me there are really big flames. I presume he is taking the piss and exaggerating, thinking like everyone else that with a white cane I see nothing. If there were no people to bump into I wouldn’t even use a cane, I would dollop around London in my own little 4 inches square view of the world.

The Southbank has been my wandering and writing territory for so long but at night with nearly no night vision and the crowds as walking black cut outs in the tableaux of lamplights and kiosk signs it gets tricky. I used to write in the Royal Festival Hall every day but now it seems so busy that I left to wander Foyles for a bit and head over the bridge.

One end of Hungerford bridge has a lift and the other end a step free route beside the train tracks and through a little tunnel I used to sing in with an autoharp. It ends at what seems like London’s most hidden market above Villier Street and pops you out through a gap in the wall you barely see, into Charing Cross station. I’ve been using it for years as the stairs down the bridge are terribly lit and like some torturous version of a game on The Crystal Maze. I have always referred to this route as the ‘not-so-secret-secret-walkway’ – tonight the end is concreted up. The market stalls are gone and I felt like I was in one of those weird dreams or I had just imagined how it used to be.

How can transport for London block out the only disabled access route off a bridge?! I took the stairs with my stick and not enough lighting like that scene in Indiana Jones when they cross the bridge in the jungle. Yeah, I never thought something as simple as walking down some steps would be such a mental challenge of not wanting to sit down and cry until given a piggy back to the pavement, but I made it one piece. At least I can walk. What happens to disabled people who cross the bridge, the whole length of Villier St through the tunnel and just meet a brick wall at the other end? Who ticks the boxes for these decisions? I circled the grey walls while everyone else hopped onto the escalator I can’t use in the deluded hope that maybe there was a grey elevator hidden in the greyness.

When I eventually got off the bridge a very plummy posh woman stepped in my way and asked if I knew where I was going in the tone of voice only used for people coming out of a coma. I snapped yes at her but wish I’d said ‘no…I just thought I’d wander around London blind on my own  for no reason.’

Reading all this you may think I hate London, the city I always described as my greatest lover no real person would separate me from. But even with it’s do-gooders who seem to think sight loss means brain loss, it all gives this kind of elated craziness: the feeling you get when you step of a fairground ride a bit giddy, a bit frazzled but laughing at it all.

I have a neighbour who tells me living in London is not about old buildings and museums but the people on it. Stood above the middle of the Thames watching buses pass over Waterloo Bridge at night and the hologram effect of St Paul’s I can’t help but wish that for a while London emptied of people. I had no one to try not to trip or walk into, no one to steer me around without asking or patronise me to make themselves feel good for helping the poor little blind lady with the terrible dress sense.

I would love that scene in the movie 24 Days Later when London has been evacuated and only one man left. I would run and leap around without hesitation. I think that’s the thing with damaged vision: the constant hesitations.

Someone one told me that the day you stand on Hungerford Bridge and look at the view down the river and don’t find it magical, that’s the day you shouldn’t be in London anymore. The people passing by are all semi invisible trip hazards but I can turn my back on them and I still see that view, still see the details on the Cathedral and the posters on red buses a mile away but I turn around and have to go back requiring a stick on the stairs.

On another bus that driver gets fed up at children ringing the bell over and over, he starts cracking jokes on the loud speaker, ‘keep ringing I can’t hear you.. did anyone hear ringing?’ Those tiny city fragments that make you smile in dreary weather.