Thursday, 31 March 2011

That Paralympic Show

The second series of That Paralympic Show will begin on Saturday at 1.25pm on Channel 4. The magazine style programme is part of Channel 4’s build up to the London Paralympic Games where they have won the coverage rights. It’s a light hearted look at various Paralympic disciplines and athletes, but cleverly introduces the public to disability sport. The last series was an enjoyable watch and I would definitely recommend tuning in whether you are sporty or not. Apparently, as part of the first show, professionals will be taking on our blind football team.

Olympic Ticket Care/less

Continuing on from my previous post regarding Olympic tickets for disabled people I have done some further research. It turns out that if a disabled applicant is unsuccessful at obtaining the additional carer or companion ticket they request, then they are entitled to a full refund. This could still be a problematic and unfair situation. For able bodied people and those in a wheelchair (who automatically receive an additional free carer or companion ticket), when they receive notification in June that their application has been successful, they are certain to be attending the games. However, the visually impaired and those with a disability not requiring a wheelchair will then have to make a second application and play the waiting game all over again. I’m finding the free carer or companion tickets that are subject to availability the biggest flaw in the application process.

Until 26th April 2011 you are able to withdraw your application or edit its contents. After much deliberation (these Olympic tickets are causing allot of deliberations), I have adjusted my application. By ordering four tickets at £65 and potentially getting two more free subject to availability, I’m short changing myself, when only four of us want to go. On the flip side, I would have definitely had four tickets depending on whether my application was accepted and would be spectating at this once in a lifetime event. My new application is for two tickets at £95, which is the second highest band. Tactically thinking, I should have more of a chance of obtaining tickets, it works out cheaper than my original application and the seating should be better. Unfortunately, if I receive notification that I’ve been awarded these tickets, it’s not a certainty I can attend. I will then have to apply for two additional carer or companion tickets and cross my fingers very tightly. Logically, this price band should mean more tickets will be available, but we will have to wait and see!

To view the official ticket information for disabled people at the London 2012 games, you can do so here: Ticket Information for Disabled People

Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Olympic Ticket Debate

Applications for the 2012Olympic tickets have been open for a few weeks now and close on 26th April. Tickets for the Paralympic Games will go on sale in September. Supposedly, to make applying for tickets fair, they have left applications open for six weeks, but one thing that is noticeably unfair is the discrimination towards non-wheelchair users. As a big sports fan and athlete the Olympics and Paralympics have been an exciting prospect for me, as I would like to watch the Olympic Games before competing in the Paralympics. However, buy 1 get 1 free tickets is only open to wheelchair users, which left me riled and confused on what tickets I should purchase.

Since I have the strong belief that I will be participating in the Paralympics, it meant I would be limited in what Olympic events I would be able to watch, as hopefully I’ll be busy in preparations. Therefore, long ago I decided I would like to watch a morning session of athletics that involves the men’s 100m heats, as although athletics begins in the second week of the Olympics, I know it’s always near the start of the athletics action. On Saturday 4th August 2012 the morning session of athletics includes the men’s 100m heats, men’s 400m heats, women’s 3000m steeple chase, women’s pollvolt qualification and a couple of women’s heptathlon field events. This looks like an amazing day of athletics with chances to see Usain Bolt and Tyson Gay, but hopefully witness Oscar Pistorius make history in the 400m, whilst having the opportunity to see Jessica Ennis on her way to glory. But wait, I’m not in a wheelchair, so what tickets do I apply for?!

Back in November I questioned London 2012 about this and received a vague email about them needing to know how many wheelchair spaces they would have to allocate. So, I assumed that by the time that tickets would be available that the issue would be sorted. Just before applications opened I heard an Intouch programme on Radio 4 talking about whether visually impaired spectators would receive a discount and to my annoyance they were just as unsure as I was.

So, when tickets were released I had several dilemmas. Do I purchase four tickets (remember my brother is blind too) and hope they refund my money at a later date? They state in their disability information that visually impaired people will be seated near to the action, so do I just buy the cheapest tickets? After much deliberation I decided to buy four tickets at £65 each, which is the middle price band. I desperately want to see this session of athletics and felt that I had more chance of obtaining tickets if I avoided the cheaper price bands. I also had no choice and had to purchase four tickets to ensure that my whole family could attend. Ideally, I would have liked to purchase two tickets at £95, knowing I would get two free and in the knowledge I would have a very good chance of being successful with my application.

Then last night Intouch were discussing Olympic tickets again. Apparently, if you are visually impaired or have another disability that doesn’t require a wheelchair then you should only apply for tickets for yourself and then if you are successful at a later date you can apply for carer or companion tickets for free. These carer tickets are not guaranteed and I would think for a popular event like the men’s 100m I have applied for there would be little chance I’d be successful. I read all of the disability information prior to applying for my tickets and at no point did I see this suggested hence buying four tickets. However, I’m not sure I would have risked only purchasing two tickets and potentially I could be left with not enough tickets for me and my family. On the other hand, I may end up with two extra tickets now or who knows I might not get any and just be bitterly disappointed.

Say a visually impaired person just bought one ticket and then was unable to get a free companion ticket they would be left with a variety of access issues. If they went alone; how would they negotiate the crowd? How would they find their seat? Once seated how would they find the toilet? How would they find food? How would they make their way out? How would they know everything that was going on? There will be commentary for visually impaired spectators, but what about the added extras like whether or not Usain Bolt is wearing gold coloured spikes or if Tyson Gay is doing his usual ritual before the start of a race!

Nobody is denying that wheelchair users should not get a free companion, but the discount should be readily available to all disabilities requiring extra support in order to make the once in a lifetime experience the best it can be! If you would like to listen to the latest Intouch programme regarding the ticket debate, you can do so here:

BBC’s Intouch 29/03/11

I believe the email they refer to is mine, which I sent them after the last show.

Tuesday, 29 March 2011

March Injuries

Here’s my monthly summary of painful injuries, all in the name of athletics!

Ankle – Had my injection on the ankle I sprained over a year ago today. They have only injected local anaesthetic, as they are not sure whether my damaged ligament that showed up on the MRI scan 7 months ago and still showed up as a grade 2 sprain today, is causing my discomfort. I’m not a doctor, but surely that is it! I can’t run for 48hrs, which is a bit rubbish, but hopefully if this injection cures my pain for the short-term they might actually treat the problem. In other ankle news, I sprained my right ankle at the beginning of the month, by accidently standing on a hurdle leg during training doing drills. However, like a normal sprain it didn’t last long and is back to normal!
Calf – I managed to injure it without even doing anything! I got what I thought was cramp a couple of weeks ago, but the pain remained and the calf muscle just remained super tight. I’ve had two massages last week to loosen it off.
Achilles – I can’t tell whether this one has been cured or not. I don’t ever seem to have Achilles pain anymore, but sometimes have a stiff heel, which isn’t much bother.
Shins – Still have shin splints, but they are improving, as I’m managing to do full sessions with less pain each time.
A cold – This has to be the worst injury ever! No training all last week because of it, was pure torture!

Friday, 25 March 2011


After I posted yesterday I thought I would browse my blog a bit. I’m not a very technical person, so you’ll never see anything fancy on this blog other than basic entries and the odd link now and again! I haven’t really got a clue about the various settings, but the stats link intrigued me. I’ve never looked at it before and was pleasantly surprised. Ok so I’m not rivalling Su Bo or Justin full of himself, but overall i’ve had 3434 hits since I began writing in August 2008. Today I’ve already had 5 hits, 11 in total yesterday and 307 last month. It appears my main audience is the UK, which makes sense since that is where I live! However, I can’t believe in the last week I’ve had hits from the USA, Japan, Iran, Moldova, Germany, Denmark, Hungary, Russia and Ireland. I’ll have to do a post on the Eurovision Song Contest this year, which I love watching! Anyway, thanks to everyone who takes the time to read my blog, there’s something quite exciting to know it’s worldwide! I’ve said in the past I write it purely for myself, but if others find it interesting or amusing, even better!

Thursday, 24 March 2011

Just a Pass

Last week I received notification that I had passed A174 Start Writing Fiction with The Open University. Originally, I planned for the module to count towards my English Language and Literature degree, but since I enjoyed it so much I have decided to count the longer, more advanced course, A215 Creative Writing to my degree instead. A174 was a 12 week course and worth 10 OU points whereas A215 takes a standard academic year and is worth 60 OU points. I need 360 points to complete my degree and by June I will be halfway there.

As I mentioned A174 was an enjoyable course, but as I predicted I did not do exceptionally well. However, I did learn how to improve upon my writing styles and this is something I would like to continue. A215 will begin in October and I will be doubling up on modules, which will be equivalent to full-time study. My other module will be E301 The Art of English.

Course Results:
TMA 01 80%
TMA 02 73%
OCAs 75%

Saturday, 19 March 2011

What It Is To Be Three

Today is Calvin’s third birthday and he has been spoilt with toys and 2 free runs plus a trip to Pets at Home still to come. Unfortunately for him there have been no food treats this year, as I’m working on getting his weight down after I had to call Guide Dogs for a bigger girth strap on his harness. He doesn’t look obese in any shape or form, but he is over his maximum working weight of 38kg. I have Guide Dogs coming out on Monday to assess him.

With my puppy dog growing up right before me, it made me think what it means when a Guide Dog reaches their third birthday. Usually, it means they have spent two consecutive birthdays with their visually impaired owner. It means this is the longest period of time they have spent with an owner. It means the owner knows their furry friend like the back of their hand, likes, dislikes, habits and quirks. It means a dog should be settled. It means the dog is no longer a puppy. But most of all it means that the partnership that Guide Dog and owner share is rock solid, in the knowledge that they have many more years together.

Thursday, 17 March 2011

Gravity Tour

Last night I saw Westlife at Nottingham’s Capital Arena for the fifth time. Apparently the band has been together for 12 years and this was their 10th tour. I suppose when you have been around for so long, it’s just not possible to perform every single hit and I noted they didn’t do Swear Again, My Love, Bop Bop Baby and Whatever amongst others. However, they did do tracks from their recent album Gravity, some classics, such as Flying Without Wings, Uptown Girl, World Of Our Own, When You’re Looking Like That and Raise Me Up, along with a bit of Lady GA Ga, The Black Eyed Peas and Rihanna. The special effects varied from giant apples, fake rain, under water and a few fireworks for good measure. We were seated on the floor about 30 rows back, so not really near, but fairly well. However, when they had the projected stage it literally came and stopped a row in front of us, not that that made any difference to what I could see! We missed the first support act, but the second was Wonderland again whose songs are growing on me, but not enough for me to purchase their album!

All in all a great concert where I danced and sang throughout. I’m not a big screamer these days, everyone else seems to make up for that though!