Friday, 29 April 2011

Unique Gifts Now Available

All items featured are one-offs. Totally Unique. Not to be found anywhere else. Ever.

Each 'lot' will be sold as follows: Email a bid to specifying the amount bid in UK£, which lot you are bidding for and your contact details. Bidding closes on Sunday 15th May. On Monday 16th May the winning bidder will be contacted and payment arranged. If there is more than one identical maximum bid for a lot it will be sold to the bidder whose email landed in my inbox first. The final sale prices will be published on my Blog.

Note: there will be an additional charge of £3.00 postage for each item and bids can only be accepted from mainland UK.

Lot 1: "Hot Drink Moments"

'Hot drink moments' is a set of 4 cups that depict some of those quintessentially British 'Tea Moments' - from the workman in his wheelbarrow to the calm of the sofa at home. A perfect addition to any tea break or coffee morning.

Each cup is signed by me, and approximately 9cm tall, illustrated in glaze with a hand drawn stickman. Technically dishwasher safe, but I would advise hand-washing. Avoid abrasive cleaning solutions and cloths.

Lot 2: Cookie Jar
You buy cookies, you eat them. What more can I say? Cookies should never be left to languish in captivity, but released so they can fulfill their destiny- and your stomach. If my kitchen wasn't red, I really don't think I'd be selling this!

Signed by me and dated, it is approximately 18cm tall, illustrated in glaze with hand drawn stickmen. Technically dishwasher safe, but I would advise hand-washing. Avoid abrasive cleaning solutions and cloths.

Lot 3: Red Pot

This charming little pot with garden themed stickmen gallivanting round it is ideal for a number of uses - bits and bobs holder, car key tamer or even...a plant pot.

Signed by me and dated, it is approximately 7cm tall, illustrated in glaze with hand drawn stickmen. Technically dishwasher safe, but I would advise hand-washing. Avoid abrasive cleaning solutions and cloths. Suitable for outdoors or indoors use.

Wednesday, 27 April 2011

My walk!

I started maths tuition sessions at the local secondary school today. At the end of class I said "Oh, if you want to ask questions about my disability, wheelchair etc. feel free!" they did. They were fascinated and it is so nice to talk to people who are intrigued but not pitying. They accepted my 'normal' as simply a different kind of normal. If I was OK with it so were they.

They found it fascinating that I could drive, and even walk short distances and yet I use a wheelchair - but because they were free to ask, they were able to understand. Falling over at the smallest distraction isn't exactly constructive. Neither is getting stroke-like symptoms from being upright too long! So hopefully that is 6 more people on the planet who don't assume that all wheelchair users are paralysed.

Anyways, when asked I told them that I walk like a drunk string puppet. I was just reminded of this by a friend (truffle) who says she walks like a drunk gazelle! - She also has HMS/EDS.

So, in aid of dispelling the myth that wheelchair users are all completely incapable of walking, here is 'My Walk' (note, this is a few years old, so some bits are now worse and other bits are better!)

Funnily enough my physio has currently banned me from walking in public until I have made significant progress :D

Wednesday, 20 April 2011

Protests at the John Snow

This has been so much in the media lately. How shocking that people were turned away because of how they were! National news coverage and national outrage.

I have nothing against this protest, but it makes me feel sad. Invisible. Left out in the cold.


As my friend, @oneoffdave asked on twitter: "No disrespect to the people protesting at the John Snow tomorrow, but where are you all when a disabled person is refused entry to a pub?"

One couple asked to leave one pub makes headline news.

When a friend was refused drinks and asked to leave a club because he had Cerebral Palsy, why was there no national outburst?

The other week when 4 taxi drivers in a row in the taxi rank refused to pick me up because I was in a wheelchair (that fits easily in standard cars, so it was perfectly possible for them to take me) where was the aghast reaction? True, the man behind me looked horrified. But no-one else was interested. A whole queue of commuters behind me - and of course the 3 people who went in front of me without a second thought (1 of them caught the next taxi because I was talking to the driver of the front taxi - and quite understandably assumed that I was therefore about to board it. Their action was fine.)

I can never go somewhere assuming I will be allowed or able to go in. Every time I go to a new venue I scan their website for accessibility information, I call to ask about access, but I still sometimes turn up to find that I have to go elsewhere. True, it may not be feasible to adapt some buildings but there are so very very many places where attitudes not practicalities are the barrier. Sometimes the attitude prevents the removal of the barriers. Sometimes, like in the case of the Taxis it is purely attitude.

So in all the outrage at the 'John Snow' incident, remember the thousand in the UK who face refusal daily and many in society simply turn their faces away.

I do not expect the world to campaign on my behalf-as another tweeter said "You can't fight everyone's campaign". The same tweeter hadn't realised that disabled people get refused access due to attitude - not only practical issues. Perhaps he hasn't spent much time around people with visible disability, or perhaps he has just been very lucky. He was shocked when I outlined just one standard experience. How I wish I was so naive.

So when you are out and about, please notice.

Notice when people ignore me in the queue, pushing in-front of me like I am not there. And never do it yourself - however busy or preoccupied you are.

Notice when the Taxi driver says he will take the next person in the queue and not me. And if you are that next person - would you refuse and tell them I was first? or would you jump in without thought and hurry on your way, and leave me to try my luck indefinitely?

Perhaps part of it is fear. Fear of offending the disabled person. Fear of saying the wrong thing. Fear of difference. But if you treat me like a person you will find that that is all I am. A human being, going about my daily business.

So society, by all means fight for your own causes. I have no problem with you not fighting mine, but please don't just look the other way when see a disabled person left out in the cold. We are people too.

Wednesday, 13 April 2011

Coming Soon! 'Emma's Incarceration' By Hannah Ensor

Woohoo! My next book is nearly here!

Following my decision to publish 'Emma's Incarceration' D-day approaches rapidly

Imprisonment-by-stairlift-that's-busted is a plight that few understand. So this will be the perfect educational tool. A 48 pg A5 book with 15 cartoons and plenty of humour I have never seen a book like this one. And as an awareness-raiser I'd say its perfect. My stickmen always seem to get the message across - though I'm not quite sure why. Perhaps more people talk stickmen than sense these days.

My Dil-Emma? How many to print in my initial print-run. Estimated RRP around £10 each (as I predictit will be a very small print run) but who knows. Perhaps it will be like a cripple version Harry Potter and I'll sell millions (in which case it would be cheaper). As with all my books, £1 will be donated to the HMSA (Emma also has HMS, so it is very relevant)

Back to the real world:

How many people would definitely like one, how many people might like one? replies through comments, twitter, FB or email. I won't hold you to your responses cos that would be to much like hard work, but I don't want to print 10 to find that there is demand for 100s :D

Sample pages below:

Reply ASAP cos I hope to send it to the publisher on Friday!

Sunday, 10 April 2011

Fit for work: Take 2

I was going to keep this til tomorrow, but as the #DWP45 campaign is ending today, I thought I'd post them today. Enjoy :D.

Fit for work?

Courtsey of inspirational tweeters, the Broken of Britain's humourous but serious take on the 'fit for work' assessments and attitude from the government: (sorry I can't remember exactly who tweeted what and my brain is a bit flooofed at the moment!)

Work, benefits, and the Broken of Britain

'The Broken of Britain' asked about peoples work stories. This is a brief outline of mine.

I find the whole 'tell disabled people they must work' thing stupid. Tell that to the employers, not the disabled people who have lost jobs because employers didn't make the changes requested.

I trained as an Environmental Health Officer (4 yr degree + professional exams) and I was the best officer in the department. Even as I became increasingly disabled and could no longer go on inspections I was the legal advice resource for every other officer and the 'difficult case worker-outer' for the department. Yes, it was tough working while one wheels and with multiple health issues, but I did it, and was proud of it. My direct bosses were extremely supportive. I had lots of little adaptations and special arrangements that made it possible. Infact everyone up to the departmental Director was.

Then came an office move. Unfortunately the facilities team saw my requests for accessibility/health related adapations as political wrangling and failed to act on them. HR became involved and saw 'a young woman who is upset. Lets calm her down'. I was upset because I could see my job slipping away from me, slowly and tortuously over a year, and all I wanted was someone with backbone to stand up and say 'get this sorted' before my health worsened too much or I lost my job.

Oh the politically correct terms were happily bandied about: accessibility, DDA compliance, equality and all that. But when it came to the fact that if I get too warm I go like I've had a stroke - nothing happened. We knew that the new office was unsuitable and asked for changes. They weren't done. But I was told they were done and tried to work there. I collapsed. A year later and I still couldn't hold a 10 min conversation reliably - frequently not even a sentance. Later they put in an air con unit at the cost of a few hundred pounds. It would have made work safe and possible and I had repeatedly asked for one. But too late. The regular part time hours I managed then, I still cannot manage now, 18 months on despite pioneering new treatment over the past few months.

I haven't given up though - I started this business! And I intend to make a success of it. When I work for myself I am in control of my environment and my coping strategies. For now, that is the only way I know I will be as safe as possible. True, I earn little at present, but I am lucky to have a talent that lends itself to the freestyle, irregular hours, random breaks etc that I need.

I worked for the government. Their failures lost me more health and my job. And now they say that me and people like me are at fault for not having a conventional job? I could never say to someone with complex health needs that they need to be employed - there is too much ignorance out there, and sometimes the cost of that ignorance is almost too high to bear.

Thursday, 7 April 2011

Recycling, stickman-style: Bespoke gift 1

A unique birthday gift for a graphic designer friend who needed a paintbrush holder:

I saw the pot in a charity shop and fell in love. What could possibly make a funkier brush&bits and bobs holder than stickmen galivanting round a bright pink pot?

It started out aiming to be stickmen involved in artistic endeavours, but they misbehaved somewhat and ended up falling in the ink, pouring paint on each others heads and hitching unofficial lifts on pencils. And hanging from the ceiling. This was not my fault. Perhaps it was the last day of term on planet stickman. I would like to point out that in the human world this kind of activity is not socially acceptable.

I rather like the final result. Slightly mad, totally unique, masses of humour. Guaranteed to make her smile. And totally 'green' as it is from a second hand shop :) And I can absolutely guarantee that no-one else in the world has one like it - not least cos I signed the base. Maybe in 10 yrs it will be worth a fotune. (Note: please don't burst my pretty bubble, wreck my happy dream and make reality return.) Fingers crossed she likes it!

I may now have to keep my eyes on the contents of local charity shops for more things I can graffiti! - just have to work out whether there is a market for plant pots, desk tidys, cookie jars etc with stickmen on them.

What do you think?

Saturday, 2 April 2011

Wheelie Cartoons

I don't believe it! I've been blogging for over a month and haven't mentioned my wheelchair cartoons! - a whole book full of them: "You know you've been pushing it when..."

I reckon these are my funniest set of cartoons. Totally true to life - I know cos I've been there, done that, got the bruised bum.

The Inspiration came after my first outing on my newest wheels:

Me (all excited about rigid frame lightweight sportschair) "Hey, lets go on a walk around the housing estate!"

Lil Bro: "Sure."

off I trundle.....

Up the path, around the brambles, go on the road to get past the car blocking the pavement, and then reached an open carpark. Yay! Lets see how much speed I can get up!

  1. 10cms of accelleration...

  2. cobblestones....

  3. backflip.

  4. Sheepish look around to check no-one noticed.

  5. Get back into chair and try to look innocent.

  6. Laugh all the way home, with lil bro trying to do impressions of me falling out.

  7. Wonder how big the bruise on my posterior is.

So my first wheelie-life cartoon was born. A few months later it had multiplied into an entire book. Sarcastic, light hearted, true, and positively genius. (Note: this is my blog so I can be as big-headed as I like. I never said you had to believe me!)

(Note: this is not a direct copy of what is in the book)

And Helene Raynsford likes it. As in: Paralynpic Gold Medalist (2008). I was well chuffed at her feedback "Really funny and a great way of conveying wheelie life." Someone famous and a proper wheelie likes my book :D

Wheelies usually get the giggles and come out with stories about how they've been in exactly the same situation as poor stickman, but I love showing it to able bodied people cos by the end they are usually laughing but kinda thoughtful too, often commenting "I'd never thought of that." I reckon I succeeded in producing something that educates by making people laugh - how cool is that! If only I could think how to apply this to maths lessons I'd be a millionnaire.

(available from Among other places...)