Friday, 21 July 2006

Mini mazes

I never did get round to ordering broadband as the day got full up and the evening is blogging catch up. So BB will have to wait until after the weekend's neuro-toxic drug dose.

I went to the hospital for my regular check-up this morning. All is well, keep taking the tablets, keep out of the sun (!). In today's 27C I was dreading it because the waiting area in Rheumatology is hot even on a sunny day in January and the consulting room is small and hotter and the examination room is a hot stuffy tomb. All is changed. Either Air-Con has arrived or the windows have had heat reflecting treatment, or both. Also the lighting is different, so now I don't get Lupus related face burn from the fluorescent overheads. The waiting area has had a make over; comfortable high seats with wooden arms (not that I transfer into one) connected to corner tables and planters, all tastefully arranged in flowing curves to maximise use of space. No space left for wheelchairs. That's right - no space. In a hospital ! The only place for me and one other wheelchair to park was in the circulation area, where people circulate, walk to and fro, stand and talk. In the way.

On the way out I took a mini diversion in the maze that is the local hospital, to note waiting areas in other departments. All had the same arrangement of new chairs, linked tables and planters. All wheelchairs, whether from other hospital departments with porters attached, or individual wheely's own, were parked in circulation spaces, no space anywhere else.

So the first of today's mini mazes that took up time and energy was PALS. Patient Advice and Liaison Service. The very helpful liaisonesse was equally stunned, having heard of DDA, and she is going to ask the Estates Manager why (oh why oh why) and (here it comes again) would I be interested in joining a consultation group for such things. Yes, I would be very interested, count me in. Again.

Home ward. I love the point in my journey when I leave the busy B road and turn off to go over one of the infrequent majestic ancient stone bridges that cross the mighty Stour river. From traffic to lush meadows, in a space of just a few metres. Cows, trees, water, birds, calm, quiet. Meandering driving slowly through my village looking through the spaces between the houses towards the fields, I spot a large sign on a stile on a footpath - NO DOGS - painted in large blood red letters on a black board. That is ridiculous. All the village dogs and their owners, well behaved, the owners cleaning up and the dogs keeping the owners on leads, all use that footpath, as do rambling visitors from all over the area. It is an essential link in a larger popular walking route.

The steps on this, today's second maze, no, not really a maze, just another diversion of energy; were phone calls to the rights of way team at county hall, to locals with an interest from whom I discover that there has been (allegedly) intimidation of walkers by the landowner, including (allegedly) intimidation of the parish council footpath liaison officer, and (allegedly) to a new village incomer with dogs. Phone the lady who has the determination to sort this out, firstly to reassure her of their rights, but secondly to explain why dogs are a grey area in rights of way law, but intimidation is a definite no no, and thirdly to say the landowner has a bit of a reputation and usually carries a gun for rough shooting of rabbits on his land. Not of people on leads with dogs (allegedly). So let the professionals from county hall deal with him first. No, perhaps a protest meeting in the middle of the footpath that goes through his land with all the dogs and owners, not the best way forward at this stage.

My next trick will be getting the landowner's locked gate next to the stile, replaced with a wheelchair accessible 'kissing gate' so that I can join in. When the ground is baked hard in the summer. It is wonderful up at the top of his field, looking down onto my cottage and the village, the river running behind the gardens, the valley sweeping up the other side with a line of mature trees on the horizon.

Perhaps that is what irritates the land owner. Other people using his land.

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