Sunday, 30 June 2013

The Monthly Round Up - June

Time for my first ever LBLC Monthly Round Up! 

This is a joint post, so make sure you check out the other ladies' posts:

Saturday, 29 June 2013

5 Things I'm Thankful For

Hello Everyone, 

This weekend's second LBLC Post is 5 Things I'm Thankful For. 2 posts this weekend, huzzah! Another lovely topic, which has made me smile, and focus on positive things when I'm not feeling so great! 

So, my 5 things...

5. I am thankful for my eyes and ears. My condition may affect my body, but I have those. I can see, and hear, and I appreciate just how special that is, which I probably didn't when I was younger.

4. I am thankful that I was able to have 17 lovely years with my beautiful Nanny. I miss her so very much, but have lots of wonderful memories. And the Uberman can almost make Hot Chocolate as well as she did. So that's a nice way of remembering her!

3. I am thankful that I got to attend the 2012 London Paralympic Games. It was a very special day, and showed me just how precious life is, despite the problems people face. They were truly inspiring athletes, and on my dark days, I think of them to give myself a kick up the backside. No matter how bad I feel, there are people in a worse situation (I know that sounds awful, but sadly it is true) who still do amazing things within their limits. So I should be focusing on that too, not just wallowing in self pity. 

2. I am thankful for my amazing family. I have been raised in a stable, loving home, and my family are there to support me through every setback, flare, illness, injury and problem I have had or will face. My family are awesome, and I love them all very much. Even if they drive me insane at times. But that's what families are for!

1. I am thankful that I have the most wonderful man in my life. He is my rock, and I do not know what I would do without him. 

Take a look at the other ladies' blogs, to see what they are thankful for!

Karen  Louise  Keshia  Rachelle

Leave me a comment to let me know what you are thankful for!

10 Day You Challenge - 7 Wants

Today's aspect of the 10 Day You Challenge is 7 Wants. I wasn't really sure how to approach this one - materialistic, idealistic, or in my dreams. So I decided to go for a mix of it all! 

7. I want my family to be healthy, comfortable, and happy. I think this one is self explanatory really!

6. I want to go back to America several times. I want to visit Florida, New York, Las Vegas, and Hawaii. 

5. I want an electric wheelchair. This one, to be precise:

It is a Sirocco, and way out of my price range at the moment. Everytime I visit my local shopping centre, I rent it from Shopmobility and I love it. It's light, fast, and really easy to manoeuvre. I have my own scooter, which is great for outside, or supermarkets, but one of these would be so much better for use inside, going round museums, shopping centres, indoor gigs etc. 

4. I want to know what is wrong with my back. I have had reduced feeling in my legs since February, along with back pain and a deterioration in my walking ability. Hopefully neurology will be able to tell me what is wrong in July. 

3. I want to ride The Smiler at Alton Towers. It looks bloody awesome! 

2. I want there to be a cure for cancer. It is a brutal, evil disease, and the sooner a cure is found, the better. I will always donate to Marie Curie and Macmillan, in the hope that they can slightly alleviate the suffering of people with cancer. 

1. I want a bungalow, in Weymouth, with my Uberman. A place to call my own home. 

So those are my 7 wants! It is a bit of a strange list, but they are the things that popped into my head when I considered the subject. 

Make sure you check out Karen's wants!

Link me to your 7 wants - I enjoy reading the perspectives of others!

Friday, 28 June 2013

10 Day You Challenge - 8 Fears

Fears. They're a strange thing, aren't they? So personal, yet somehow some are so common. I sometimes wonder whether human brains are pre-programmed with some fears - the common ones, like death. 

Anyway... here are my 8 fears!

8. Spiders. I can manage money spiders, and the ones with tiny bodies and almost clear legs, but after that, NO. I turn into a screaming girl.

7. Cancer. There is a lot of it in our family, and the idea of any of my family or friends being diagnosed with it, scares me senseless. 

6. Losing my sight. I am so grateful that I have my eyes, even though my body is pretty much a disaster zone. 

5. My future in employment. I have been off since February, and am terrified I will lose my job, and not be able to get another. It is a worrying time for me right now. 

4. Dementia. The idea of not having a mind which works properly makes me go cold all over. I have always been profoundly grateful that I have a working mind - particularly when my body lets me down. It is so cruel to see better minds than mine being slowly eroded to nothing. 

3. Cows. As mentioned in my 10 Secrets post, these are the bane of my life. They turn me into a gibbering wreck. 

2. Losing my family. I know it has to happen, and have sadly seen it happen to several family members, but it doesn't make it any easier. I will always fear it. 

1. Dying on my own. If I had the choice, I would want someone I knew and loved with me, who loved me back. A reassuring hand as I went on my way.

Go here to check out Karen's fears!

What are your 8 fears? Leave me a comment or a link to your Blog Post!

10 Things About Where I Live

Hello! Today brings another LBLC Group Post. I like these! The subject is 10 Things About Where I Live. I hope you enjoy!

10. I live less than 10 minutes away from Heathrow Airport. Since Concorde has gone, I don't hear any plane noise. This may be because I am so used to it that my brain blocks it out. 

9. Numerically, I used to live next door to my Nanny and Uncle. However, there is a crossroads between the two houses. 

8. My bedroom is upstairs, but I haven't seen it since February :( The same goes for my bathroom! I am living downstairs. My Dad built me a special shower outside, but I can't tell you how much I miss my bath.

7. My dad has only lived outside of our road for a couple of years. He was born in one house, moved to another as a child, left for a little while, then when my brother and I came along, we moved to our current house. 

6. One of the earliest memories I have of this house is falling down the stairs. 

5. The day my dad came home from the pub and was unable to open the door is one of my funniest memories. I heard a noise at the door, so went down, and could see through the glass that he had his glasses on and was inspecting the lock. He'd been trying for 20 minutes to open the door, with his key upside down. Hysterics then ensued from both of us <3

4. A few years ago, if you had asked me, I would never have left this house. How things change! 

3. I live in an area that has an unpleasant reputation, but the road I live on is lovely. 

2. We can get to Central London very quickly from here - by train, car, or bus. 

1. My home is made awesome by the people who occupy it. Bricks and mortar make a house. Family make it a home. Mum, Dad, Robert, Chloe and Uberman are the best, and while we fall out occasionally, most of the time we have a bloody good laugh. And that's the best thing about where I live.

Don't forget to have a look at the other ladies' posts! It's nice as we are spread out all over the UK - there will be a real difference!

Tell me about where you live! Leave me a link in the comments :)

Thursday, 27 June 2013

10 Day You Challenge - 9 Loves

Today's 10 Day You post is 9 Loves. 
Love is a beautiful thing. True Story. So here are my loves!

9. Zippy from Rainbow

8. Dr Pepper... what's the worst that could happen?!

7. Blogging, especially with the LBLC. It is lovely to be a part of something so positive, and I am enjoying writing so much!

6. Antiques. I love looking at old things, imagining the stories behind them, wondering how they came to be in the place where I see them. I am hoping to be back on crutches soon so I can visit some more antique stores for a look around. They send my imagination into overdrive!

5. Music. Especially live. I truly enjoy it, it gives me a buzz and I am hoping that the petition which is going in for better disabled access to venues will mean I see more gigs again. 

4. Weymouth. My true home. I will live there, but for now, visits are good. I wish I didn't have to leave though!

3. My lovely pets. Arya, my beautiful hamster. Yoshi, my Bearded Dragon, who has one hell of an attitude. Bird... the Cockatiel. Again, full of attitude, one minute he wants to bite you, the next he snuggles your finger and sings to it... Then there are my honorary pets at the Malkin House. Belle (aka The Bellasaurus) the dog, who is lovely but barks at strange men. Very loudly. Floss the cat, who is beautiful and very much Queen Kitty now her mum and sister have gone. Thomas the Budgie, Molly and Little Man the dragons, 4 rabbits, and a fish tank. I love animals!

2. My families. I say families, as the Uberman's family have made me feel like a part of them, and it is lovely. I have two very awesome families and I love them dearly.

1. My Uberman. Almost 6 years and I couldn't imagine my life without him.

Go here to see Karen's 9 Loves! 

What are your 9 loves? Leave me a comment, or a link to your 9 Loves Blog Posts!

Wednesday, 26 June 2013

The Ten Day You Challenge - 10 Secrets

Hello Everyone! Today I have joined in with Karen from the LBLC, with the 10 Day You Challenge. Over the next 10 days, you will be learning a bit about me!

So to begin with... 10 secrets! Ssshhh...

10. I am terrified of cows. 100% phobic. I cannot look at them on adverts, in pictures, in fields or at farms. Anything with a lifelike representation on makes me shudder and move away quickly. The noise also freaks me out. The Cravendale advert is my idea of torture. 

9. I have a rather large collection of Zippy memorabilia. I have soft toys, bags, a washbag, mugs, a wallet, car air fresheners...but I don't have a keyring. This is a strange item not to have. 

8. Tomato Ketchup makes me want to vomit, I absolutely cannot stand it.

7. I cannot bear people touching my face. Unless they are the Uberman, or I have told them to, nobody can touch my face. My Dad is the same. 

6. My eyes change colour. They can be green, blue, grey or hazel. This seems to be common in people with Ehlers-Danlos. 

5. I cannot bear to listen to "He Ain't Heavy, He's My Brother" any more. It is too painful. 

4. I have a ridiculous amount of nail polish. But I love it. For someone who never took care of her nails, and used to bite them down to nothing, I think it's quite an achievement to have a vanity case full of polishes, nail accessories and nail art stuff! 

3. My first ever gig was the Spice Girls. I loved it.  

2. My favourite breed of dog is the Cocker Spaniel. I hope to have one one day. He will be called Flynn, and will hopefully be an assistance dog for me when I am in my own home. 

1. I completely and utterly trust the Uberman. He is the first man I have ever trusted this way (other than my Dad!). 

So now you know some of my secrets! I hope you've enjoyed reading them. 

Go here to see Karen's 10 Secrets! 

If you're doing the 10 Day You Challenge, leave me a comment with a link to your 10 Secrets! I'd love to see them! 

The 10 Day You Challenge

The 10 Day You Challenge

I have borrowed this idea from Karen at the LBLC. I quite like it! For the next 10 days, I will be working through the list, until I get to Number One. Which is a picture of me. Eep. Prepare yourselves!!

Post Download Review: Black Stone Cherry

Good Morning!

I thought that today would be a good day to bring you a more in depth review of some of the performances I saw at the mighty Download Festival this year! So without further ado...

Black Stone Cherry

I first heard about this band from the Uberman, after he went to see them with our friend Carl when a last minute ticket became available. I really liked them at the time, but when "Between The Devil And The Deep Blue Sea" came out, like blossomed into true love. I can listen to that album in full, over and over, with no track skipping.

Before this year, I had seen them once before, at Download Festival 2011, where they played the Main Stage in an early slot. They absolutely blew me away then, and the video for "Blame It On The Boom Boom" was shot from the live festival footage. I had hoped to see them last year, when they toured with Alter Bridge, but tickets sold out quicker than I could blink. 

So this year, when they were announced as part of the Download lineup, I knew I would most definitely be seeing them again. Even with the massive curveball Andy Copping threw, by clashing them with Slipknot, I wasn't going to miss them. 

I made the right decision. It seemed that a large majority of the festivalgoers were headed to the Main Stage to see Slipknot, which made me quite sad - this band deserve to be recognized! However, this was to my advantage, as the disabled viewing platform was almost empty. I was unable to get a ticket for the platforms in advance, as they had completely sold out, and sadly there were times when my view was very limited. If I wanted to see the perfomance of any band the most, this was it. So I asked the steward whether I could go up when the performance started, if the platform was still below capacity. She was absolutely my heroine that night. She said she wouldn't usually do so, but she could see I wanted to see this band, and the platform had had a mass exodus, so she would allow me up, on the condition that if the platform did get busy, I would come down. It didn't get busy, and I was sat at the front for what was one of my top 5 live sets ever. 

From the second Black Stone Cherry arrived on that stage, I was mesmerized. In their own words, they are "a band who don't have special effects or pyro, or any of that shit, they come with their instruments and play music". I can totally confirm that they do that spectacularly. From the second they opened to the second it was over, they were loud and proud. I experienced so many emotions watching this band, from pure excitement, through to bouncy happy, with ironic laughter, via tears. True story. I am not ashamed to admit that this was the first time I had ever cried during a performance. "Things My Father Said" is taken from the album "Folklore and Superstition", and has probably the most heartbreaking lyrics I have ever heard:

"Things My Father Said"
The things my father said would make me a better man
Hard work and the love of friends, a woman that understands

I hope my father knows the seeds we've sown still grow
At night I go to sleep and pray he's watching over me

Somewhere there's a star that's shining
So bright that I can see you smile
And all that I need is one last chance
Just to hear you say goodbye

Sometimes I remember, when you taught me to tie my shoes
One thing I will never forget, is the day that I lost you

I hope you always know the car that we built will always roll

Somewhere there's a star that's shining
So bright that I can see you smile
And all that I need is one last chance
Just to hear you say goodbye

And if you have a dream you better hang on for dear life
And when that cold wind blows, just let it pass you by

The things my father said

Somewhere there's a star that's shining
So bright that I can see you smile
And all that I need is one last chance
Just to hear you say goodbye

I am very close to my Dad, and the lyrics are both beautiful, and at the same time terrifying to me. 

 Before they played this, Chris Robertson (lead singer) dedicated this to a friend who had lost their father the previous week, and also said it would mean a lot to him, as it was the first time he had been on an extended trip away from his baby son, who had been born in October. Someone has had the courtesy to upload the footage to YouTube - and hopefully I will get his permission to embed the video soon. If not, I would recommend you search for Black Stone Cherry "Things My Father Said" (Download Festival 2013). The sound quality is not ideal, but live footage rarely is. Watching it again still gets me, especially when the crowd are singing alone. I have never experienced such an emotional performance; everywhere you looked, people had arms round shoulders, lighters were in the air, there were strangers hugging and crying, members of the band were crying, and I had turned into a sobbing wreck. But it was phenomenal, and I will never forget how special it was.

A major highlight was the first ever live performance of a song that hasn't yet been recorded for the new album. "Me and Mary Jane" is instantly recognizable as Black Stone Cherry - catchy lyrics, punchy riffs... absolute rock and roll. If it is a sign of things to come, the next album is going to be a corker. Something I love about music, and how I tend to rate a song, is by how easy it is to sing along, particularly for a chorus. BSC are the perfect example of how to do this, and "Me and Mary Jane" did not disappoint. We were able to join in with the second chorus, and you could see how much the band enjoyed that - it was written all over their faces.

"Rain Wizard" delivered the most ironic and hilarious moment of the set. From the album "Black Stone Cherry", it is a firm fan favourite and opens with the line "Here Comes The Rain...". So naturally, as soon as the words were sung, the heavens chose to open. You could not have asked for more perfect timing. Did the rain put a dampener on things? Not at all. The total opposite. People were dancing, singing their hearts out, and having a damn good time. I've been to outdoor gigs where the rain has made everybody bloody miserable, so this made a refreshing change. 

I wish I could give an in depth review of every single song, but a) I don't wish to bore you, and b) I've slept a bit since then and would hate to do the songs any injustice by missing things out. So notable mentions go out to "White Trash Millionaire", "Blame It On The Boom Boom", "In My Blood" and "Soul Creek". All major singalongs, and the crowd lapped them up. 

Despite me really not wanting it to, the set had to come to an end, and did so on a major high, with "Lonely Train". During the set, Chris told the crowd how they had been asked to play due to the massive demand on social media. This  shows just how popular they are - it is very rare that a band are booked on advice of the fans (a good example is Rammstein - people have been asking for them for bloody years!). Also, their management initially said no, as they weren't touring Europe or promoting an album. But they dug their heels in, and said they'd pay for it themselves if they had to, but either way they were coming, and that was that. 

They are an incredibly likeable group of guys. There's no inflated egos, no arrogance, no bullshit. Black Stone Cherry are a group who come on stage to play amazing music and have fun doing it. And that is something more bands should take note of. It is interesting to hear them say that they are more popular in the UK than they are at home, in the USA. It makes you question whether USA rock fans prefer major SFX or theatrical extravaganzas, or us Brits prefer straight music. If I was to choose between BSC being as they are now, or performing with a show like Rammstein did (please note that I bloody loved Rammstein's show, it was phenomenal), I'd go for the first option every time. They are a band who don't need any extras- they put on a brilliant show just with what they do.

It was very satisfying to note that by the end of the set, the crowd had grown considerably. I honestly couldn't recommend a band to you more.This is a band that deserve recognition, and with each album, they are getting it more and more. Roll on 2014 for the next chapter in the Black Stone Cherry story!


1. Maybe Someday
2. Change
3.Blind Man
4. In My Blood
5. Me and Mary Jane
6. Like I Roll
7. Rain Wizard
8. Things My Father Said
9. White Trash Millionaire
10. Soul Creek
11. Blame It On The Boom Boom
12. Lonely Train

The Aporia Rating - 10/10

If you were at Download this year, or enjoyed this review, please leave me a comment - I love to read your opinions!

Monday, 24 June 2013

Review: Converse All Stars

This clearly isn't your usual topic for a review, but hopefully all will become clear!
*NB: Possibly Not. I am a wee bit strange. 

Since my ankle operation, my foot has absolutely refused to return to normal size, instead resembling an orange shoved under my skin. It is known as the HulkFoot™. It is also unable to bear my weight without giving way. I have been unable to fit any shoes on really, or socks. I have some amazing fluffy slippers which are keeping my feet warm at home - so awesome that I have two pairs. One with stars and moons on, and one with purple leopard print. I am a big fan of leopard print! 

Anyway, back on track. A month or so ago, my dad took me to TK Maxx, and we found a pair of DC trainers with Velcro fasteners. They are black with rainbow spots and I like them very much. We bought them in a size bigger than I usually wear, and they are lovely. However, my ankle goes over the sides of them a bit. And that isn't always ideal. It's not so much a problem if I'm on wheels, but when I'm on my frame it can get a bit unpleasant. 

On Saturday, I was shopping with my Mum and Edie, and we took a look around Office, mainly to have a nose at the sale section. I spotted a pair of Converse, which I loved, but the side zip meant they wouldn't go over the HulkFoot™. I tried another pair on, in a 6 and a half, which were comfy, went over the HulkFoot™, but would have been a trip hazard if I had been using them on my frame. Total fail. 

I had been lusting over these beauties for a loooong time, and they were the only ones in a size 6 on show, and of course, not on sale.  But I tried them on, and it was my Cinderella moment. And I figured I might as well spend the extra £18 and get the pair I really wanted, rather than settle for a pair I wasn't so keen on. They are the All Star Hi Top Anchor (jeez, that's a name and a half!).

They are amazing. As is Converse Custom, they came with a set of red laces as well, which I immediately put in mine - they look awesome, and don't seem to get as dirty so quickly! 

The fact that you can have the laces set lower down, means that as the day goes on, and HulkFoot™ grows ever larger, I can loosen them off but still have support there to stop it going over completely when I'm walking with my frame. Also, the fact that they are looser means I can slip them off, rather than having to try and bend down to take them off at the end of the day when my back is really sore. I am officially in love with a pair of shoes. If HulkFoot™ is to be a long term thing, more of these will be entering my life. There are so many beautiful pairs!

I'm really chuffed to have a pair of shoes that are comfortable, supportive (to an extent, they aren't rock solid so there is still some movement), and pretty. For me, that's awesome news. Bendy Friendly Footwear can sometimes be fairly unattractive, but these are far from that. 

Tell me about your pretty Converse!

Five Things I'm Proud Of

Happy Monday, and welcome to my first official LBLC post! 

Karen, Louise, Keshia and Rachelle have kindly allowed me to become the newest member of the Lifestyle Blogging Ladies Collective, and I am very excited! The first joint blogging exercise I am taking part in is "Five Things I'm Proud Of", so without further ado...

  • I am proud of my Uberman. He is working incredibly hard, to make his way in the notoriously difficult computer games industry, and I can't wait to be able to tell you all about the next steps he will take on the ladder. He is part of a team who have created Decoy Studios, and they are all working hard on a game right now. You can see some of the stuff he has been working on and creating here: Uberman's Portfolio

  • I am proud that this year, I managed to raise over £1000 for the Hypermobility Syndrome Association, by getting a sponsored zebra tattoo. ** I have a condition called Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, and May is EDS Awareness Month. The HMSA deal with all types of Hypermobility Syndromes, not just EDS, and they have been a real source of information, help and kindness for me. To be able to give something back to them means so much to me, and it is probably my greatest achievement to date.

  • I am proud that I have learned to crochet. My lovely Nanny tried so hard to teach me to knit as a child, and it never worked, because my brain just cannot process holding and moving two needles at the same time (I cannot use chopsticks for the same reason!). This is a part of my EDS, which we didn't learn about until she had passed away. I decided just after Christmas last year that I should try to learn crochet - to give me something productive to do, and also to try and strengthen my fingers on my right hand. I am not the fastest, and my pain does not always allow me to work on it, but I am about two thirds of the way through a blanket of granny squares for my Mum.  I am proud because I have found a craft that I am able to do, and hope that my Nanny would be proud too!

  • I am proud that I am part of two awesome families - the Greens and the Malkins. Both are very different, but equally as mad, and I love them both to pieces and I couldn't imagine life without them all. Family is very important to me, and I am lucky enough to be part of the two best families in the world. 

  • I am proud that I have made a commitment to this Blog. It has encouraged me to start writing, which I haven't done since I left school, and I am really enjoying it. Writing is a very personal thing, and for a while, I had no desire to write anything at all. It was reignited with my EDS Fundraiser daily updates, and now I am really enjoying it. It may not be any good, but sod it, I'm enjoying it and feeling like it is giving me something to achieve (alongside my crochet projects) whilst I am in such a health slump. Since starting this, I have also started writing other small things, and if I am still going strong, maybe I will attempt to write something on a larger scale. 
Thank you for reading my first LBLC post! It is a very positive subject and it has really put a smile on my face, on what can only be described as a gloomy Monday. Please comment and tell me what you are proud of - more smiles are in order! 

You can see what the other ladies are proud of at their pages: 
KarenLouiseKeshia and Rachelle 

And leave a comment to tell me what you're proud of!

Friday, 21 June 2013

Pikachu, Music, and Anniversary Happies!

Good Evening, 

Tonight's post comes to you from my bed. I say my bed, it is the bed I am occupying downstairs. My own bed is stuck upstairs and is lonely without me. *sniff*

Today, my Mum and Dad have been married for 27 years. 27! Dad always jokes that it was not only the longest day of the year, but the longest of his life. It does make me chuckle. I think back on how much has changed for them in 27 years, and wonder what it was like for them before my brother and I arrived (me first!). I came along a year after, and my brother two years later. They didn't get much "Honeymooner" time really! 
I have to confess, I was a terrible daughter this year, and forgot to get them a card. I was so wiped out after Download that I haven't been anywhere near a shop, and totally forgot about Funky Pigeon. I did tell them last night that I'd forgotten though. And made them a Facebook status. That redeems me a little bit... Maybe... 
We had a big fat Chinese takeaway for dinner - for any local readers, I really cannot recommend Dynasty on the Uxbridge Road enough. Oh gosh I am stuffed, but it was soooo good! I then followed it with M&S Victoria sponge. And am now in bed with spectacular stomach cramps. Bad Shelley! 

Tomorrow I am attending the "Burn Day" celebration which is held by two of our friends each year. 8 years ago, they were injured in an awful accident, and so we celebrate each year with a drink fuelled shindig. (I can't drink, but watch with great amusement!) This year, we have a general fancy dress theme, and I am attending as Pikachu! So naturally, this afternoon I tried to do some Pikachu nail art.


But it is done! I will have pictures to upload tomorrow. I am quite proud of it now it's done. Just took so many failed attempts. I used Avon NailPro+ in Lemon Sugar for the base, China Glaze Ruby Pumps for his red cheeks, BarryM nail art pens for his eyes and face (SO MUCH LOVE FOR THESE PENS! I will be doing a post on their awesomeness soon), and Nails Inc Floral Street for the eye highlight.

So yes, pictures to follow of my Pikachu adventures!

Wednesday, 19 June 2013

A Day of Fog and Potential Superpowers

Apparently it's all hot and humid outside today.

One thing I do know about this weather is it gives me a walloping headache. So this is to be a short post. 

I am wrapped in a slanket and have my jamas and fluffy slippers on. I don't process hot and cold very well. I am the air conditioning to the Uberman's radiator. It works quite well. We are like yin and yang :)

I have been trying to process paperwork today, as I am currently an acting secretary for our local branch of the Royal British Legion. It has taken me all day to try and create two pieces of paper, which should have taken me five minutes. Major Fail. I attempted to start reading through 90 pages of "bible", but the words started dancing and my eyes starting aching, so I am going to save that for another day. 

On days where my head is like this, I would usually have a nice bath and soak my head in the water, which is really soothing. But I can't get to the bath, and to make matters worse, my shower has broken. The new part hasn't arrived yet. Sad times. No water on my head today. 

I have to get dressed shortly and go to the Legion to post said notices all around the building. Once that is done, I think I'm going to flop. I feel utterly pathetic today. Everything is floaty and hazy, except for the pain. And that makes me quite sad.

On the tests front, I got my appointment for my scan in London. I thought I was just having my foot scanned, but it turns out I'm having my foot scanned in the morning, and then my entire body scanned 4 hours later. Eeep. I'm hoping the radiation will give me some superpowers. That would be awesome. 

That's all from me today. Hopefully I'll be feeling a bit more chipper tomorrow. 

Tuesday, 18 June 2013

The Post Download Reviews and Blues - LOOOONG Post

I am back from the annual weekend of excellence that is known as Download Festival. 

This year was my first year with disabled access. I did not book in time to receive viewing platform access (sadly), but had use of the charging facilities and disabled access toilets. I also had a carer ticket. 

After last year's shenanigans, I ended up in a Premier Inn in Loughborough. Two good friends, Mel and Az, stayed in a Premier Inn in Hucknall, and that is where we booked to go this year. I cannot praise Premier Inn highly enough. I have stayed in several sites now, and they are faultless. The beds are outrageously big and comfy, the duvet is soft and squidgy, they have a choice of pillows and the blackout curtains are ace. The bathrooms are always spotless, the heating controls are idiot proof, and the prices are so reasonable, especially when compared with other so called 'budget brand hotels', which don't even come close to the luxury you get from a Premier Inn. I honestly wouldn't consider another hotel brand now. You know exactly what you're getting, at a very good price, and with excellent service. We checked in early, and the staff went the extra mile to make sure at least one of our rooms were ready so we could leave our luggage and not take it to the festival. I cannot recommend Hucknall highly enough. My disabled access room was bloody ENORMOUS! The bathroom echoed! And most importantly, it had a bath that I was able to use. My bath is my sanctuary, and not being able to get up the stairs to it since February has been a real low for me. I took my Fortune Cookie Soap "Unicorn Farts" toiletries with me, and I had some truly special bath time. Music ringing in my ears, body aching from cold weather and lumpy bumpy ground... just getting into the water was absolute bliss, but being able to smell bloody amazing as well was perfection. Happy Download Bathtime! 

So on to the Festival... 

The weather for the Friday and Saturday were, to say the least, unpleasant. Friday had sunny spells followed by heavy showers, which cycled on throughout the day. We got utterly soaked through within a very short time of arriving on Friday. By evening, it was so very cold. The best thing I took with me was my woolly hat. It's my favourite hat ever, and I only took it at my Mum's suggestion, so she gets the kudos points for that. Saturday almost broke me. I had left my scooter in the car over night, and the cold weather had discharged my battery without me realising. I just about got the scooter onto the site, with a lot of help from Az. We got to the disabled platform at the Main Stage, and the stewards allowed Nikki to ask the customers there if they had a spare charger. A very lovely man (who had an EPIC braid in his beard!) kindly let me borrow it, so we trundled up onto the platform and plugged in. It gave us a brilliant view of the stage... but being up higher meant the wind cut through me like a knife. We then experienced the most unpleasant rainstorm I have ever had the misfortune to be caught in. The wind and the rain were lashing through me, and I felt like my body was on fire. Nikki went to ask a steward if she could go and get me a poncho, and the lovely lady gave me hers, and also gave me a roll of clear plastic bin bags. She tore one off and wrapped it over my knees, and I instantly felt warmer. The wind couldn't get to me anymore (other than my face, which is spectacularly windburned!). The storm stopped, and it was like we were in the eye - the wind totally stopped, the rain ceased... but the clouds were heading closer towards us. I took the opportunity to actually climb inside the plastic bag, which was the best thing I did that day. I completely insulated myself, and I feel that if I hadn't done so, I would have had to go back to the hotel. The storm then lashed us once again, but after that, we had very little rain. Sunday was far far better. No rain. Still fairly breezy, but the sun shone for a while, and made it far more pleasant. 

My big fail of the weekend, was that my phone managed to absorb the water from my poncho into the screen, and my insurance does not cover water damage. RIP HTC. I will miss you. I went on Sunday morning to find a cheap replacement until my contract is up in Oct/Nov. It isn't too bad, and will be good for future festivals. 

I have to give a special mention to the access steward at the viewing platform for the second stage. Being down so low meant that in terms of view from my scooter, I was very limited. I was absolutely desperate to see Black Stone Cherry (which meant missing Slipknot - DAMN YOU ANDY COPPING!), and I noticed the platform was practically empty. I asked if the platform hadn't filled by the time they started, could I go up? She said that she wouldn't usually be able to do so, but the fact that it was so empty and that I was so desperate to see the band meant that she would bend the rules slightly - on the grounds that if the platform did get busy, I would have to move down. I thought this was amazing of her, and the platform stayed empty. I was over the moon. I had the perfect view, and loved every second I was up there. 

So now... Bands I saw, and reviews of the best!

Black Stone Cherry
Dir En Grey
Hang The Bastard
Iron Maiden
Black Star Riders
Alice In Chains
Young Guns
Papa Roach (Part Of Set)
Gogol Bordello
Queens Of The Stone Age
Thirty Seconds To Mars
The Gaslight Anthem
Slipknot (Part Of Set)
Motorhead (Part Of Set)
Stone Sour
Five Finger Death Punch (Part Of Set)

Black Stone Cherry are the first band to ever make me cry during a performance. I actually sobbed. They performed a song called "Things My Father Said", and dedicated to a friend who recently lost his father, and also sang it because it was the first time the lead singer had been away from his son since his birth. The crowd sang it alone, and it was utterly beautiful. The band were crying, the crowd were crying, I was crying... phenomenal. They played a bloody amazing set, and also a song from the album they are working on at the moment. If it's anything to go by, the new album is going to be a corker. 

Queens Of The Stone Age were well worth the wait - I've wanted to see them for a long time. I sometimes get disappointed with how different bands sound live than they do on a recording, but QOTSA didn't let me down at all. A very good performance. 

Stone Sour are just brilliant. Corey Taylor knows exactly how to get a crowd going, and he has them in the palm of his hand everytime he performs, with SS or Slipknot. They played some of my favourites - 30/30-150, Made of Scars, Through Glass and Bother. Bother was another spine tingling moment, similar to BSC's Things My Father Said - the crowd were singing the lyrics to him, and it sounded beautiful. He then jumped down from the stage and ran along the barriers singing to people during the finale, which was awesome to see. A girl at the front had a badge saying "It's My Birthday", and he wished her happy birthday - the poor thing had utter hysterics. Such a great gesture. 

Thirty Seconds To Mars were my real surprise of the weekend. We weren't originally going to see them, but we had a good spot for Rammstein later on, so Nikki and I stayed there whilst Az and Mel went to see Airbourne and A Day To Remember. I wasn't expecting anything special, and this only increased when Andy Copping announced their set - no other band had this, and it just seemed like total and utter arrogance. However, Jared Leto is an actor, and he played rockstar to the max. He sang well, he made jokes, they sent balloons everywhere, giant inflatable fish appeared... and then for the last song, he randomly asked people to join him on stage. There were about 50 people up there when he said they had enough. He asked a girl her name and where she was from, and she was in total meltdown. She stammered out her name, which was either Holly or Pauline, it wasn't very clear haha - then tried to tell him she was from Scunthorpe. He then turned to another guy and asked him the same, "but in English". The guy was from Sunderland (or Sunland according to Jared), and was booed very loudly. When asked why he was being booed, the guy said because he was a total legend, which cracked me up, and impressed Jared a bit. They finished their set and announced a tour... and I would actually consider going to it if I had the money. They were very good and I fell a little bit in love with them.  Wasn't prepared for that at all! 

Hang The Bastard were a band I was really looking forward to. My friend Simon is their drummer, and I couldn't wait to see him up on that stage! They did not disappoint at all. They were bloody brilliant! The tent they played in was rammed and rocking so hard. I was incredibly proud to see them being watched by so many people, and with the news that they have been signed for a worldwide record deal, I think they are headed for very very big things. I couldn't be more pleased for them. Check them out!

And finally... Rammstein. 
They are a band that have divided the Download fans for years. You love them or you hate them. I saw them live at the o2 last year, and they put on a fantastic show. Very theatrical, lots of pyro, and very loud. 
The sound quality at the main stage had been a bit iffy at times, but they got it spot on for Rammstein. The show that followed a very loud soundcheck was IMMENSE. It was the loudest set of the weekend. In the 5 years I have attended Download, I had never heard the crowd sing so loudly that they drowned out the music. I have now. Du Hast came on, and at that point, a festival which had probably belonged entirely to Corey Taylor had a new set of Gods. Download was Rammstein's bitch. They utterly blew every other performance I've seen at Donington out of the water. As the show went on, the crowd got bigger and bigger. More and more people were being captured by Rammstein. People who didn't like them before did now. Totally mindblowing, and the perfect way to end the festival. I really don't know how the organisers will ever top that performance. It was totally off the hook, and was the third spine-tingling moment of the weekend for me. To all those fans who had called for Rammstein to headline for several years - THANK YOU. Your faith was spot on, and produced the greatest show I have ever had the pleasure of seeing. 

Finally, some random funnies from the weekend:

"Are you sure? I thought it was a Prius..."
"You were right, it IS a Civic!"
"I went blind for two days once..."
The long wait in the carpark on Saturday, where we ended up in hysterics
The Minions we got from McDonalds with our first breakfast
Driving past the service station we were due to meet at, calling Az and Mel, and whilst on the phone to them, they did the same
Being shaken half to death on the gravel
Running the man over who cut in front of me before I could stop
People getting stuck on the zipwire
The guy in the dress with the massive rack made of who knows what
The granny trannies with the rape alarms and handbags

It was a brilliant weekend, and I am very sad it is over. It has left me very broken, battered and worn out, but I bloody loved it, and it was worth every ache and pain. I refuse to not do things because it will hurt later on. If I did that, I'd never leave the house. And that's just not who I am. I take as many precautions as I can to minimise the effects, but I cannot stop them completely. I will continue to do things until I physically cannot.

The Download Blues are well known, and there are many of us feeling deflated and bleh right now. It's such a strange feeling. You end up listening to the slower songs by the bands you've seen, looking at everyone's pics, checking the early reviews and wishing you could rewind time. The wristband doesn't come off for a while (although mine is loose enough to be slipped off for showers and then be put back on again). The discussions have already begun on who will be playing next year. You're already planning for it, even though there are 360 days to go. It feels like forever away. But you know that by the time you get to less than a week away, you're going to be as hyper as a kid that's eaten all the blue smarties. And that makes it a little bit better. 

And tonight, I get to see my Uberman again. And that makes all the blues go away.

If you went to Download 2013, leave me a comment and tell me what you enjoyed!

Thursday, 13 June 2013

Sooo... Something Might Be Happening Tomorrow

Nothing major...just a little thing...


My nails are done, my hair is a lovely multitonal lilac, and I'm just about packed. 

My scooter battery is charged, and ready to roll. Fingers crossed the rain that is forecast tomorrow isn't too heavy and I don't get stuck in the mud! 

This is my fifth visit to Download, but my first with disabled access. I will report back on how wheelie friendly it is on my return. I sadly didn't book in time to get access to the viewing platforms, but I will be seated on my scooter anyway, so I'm not too worried. 

I am looking forward to seeing my friend play tomorrow. His band are called Hang The Bastard. I haven't seen them since they first formed, so it will be great to see them again. 

I am greatly annoyed that Andy Copping has clashed Slipknot AGAIN. 09 with Prodigy. This year with Black Stone Cherry. I love both bands, but I've seen Slipknot more, so this year I will be hitting the second stage to see BSC play. Then hopping back over to the main stage to see Slipknot wrap up Friday night. 

I am EXTREMELY excited about seeing Rammstein close the festival on Sunday night. I saw them last year at the o2, and they blew me away. Absolutely phenomenal. 

There are lots of other bands to see in between. I'm hoping to catch Europe, if only to see The Final Countdown live. Maybe a bit of Queens of the Stone Age. Stone Sour for sure. Possibly Korn, but their new stuff was abusive to the ears, so that will depend on their setlist. Five Finger Death Punch will be good too. 


Signing out for now, see you on Monday! 

\m/ \m/

Tuesday, 11 June 2013

Hospital - Fiasco Followed By Faith


Well today's hospital visit was an eventful one. 

We got there nice and early (after the last visit where the car park was so full that we got in over half an hour late!). The hospital is having a bit of an upgrade (not sure if that's the right word, you can't polish a turd and all that...), and the usual clinic is currently a building site, so today it was being held in the private suite. I thought that would be quite exciting, but it was equally as shit as the main hospital! 

As soon as we got there, the nurse informed us the clinic was already an hour behind. Oh joy of joys. The room was also RAMMED with people. So much so, that the nurses asked people to move into the corridor because of a fire risk. I suspect they may have recently had a smacked wrist, because another nurse then came and said it was a fire risk for them to be in the corridor! 

Time ticked by, and when it hit 12.30 (2 hours past appt time!), I asked when I would be seen. I was told one person was in front of me. Two people were then seen, and at 13.00, I was finally called. Huzzah right?


I was wheeled into the room to see the consultant. He saw me in Feb for my suspected Cauda-Equina, and asked how I was getting on with my back. We chatted a bit about that, and then my fetching splint (which I then told him was about as much use as a chocolate teapot!). Then he asked the Sister if she "had chased it up yet?". I thought it was a bit odd. She answered yes in the most unconvincing manner ever. He then asked if she was sure several times, and she then buckled and said no.

My MRI report was MISSING. The entire reason for my appointment was not in my paper or electronic file. And I was not the only patient from today with that problem. 

The consultant was very apologetic, and explained that he was liaising with a radiographer at the other hospital in the Trust to get it done in the next hour, as the dictated version was in their systems. Said to go for lunch, and he would see me in an hour at his afternoon fracture clinic. So off we toddled for lunch (which actually wasn't horrendous, minced beef and onion pie with chips), then back to fracture clinic. 

I got in to see him, and waited a wee while for him to go through the report. He came in, and said I was a "complex and challenging case". He had a bit of a feel around the ankle and foot, then dropped the bomb on me that the surgeon who did my first op had not repaired the ligament as he said he had - he's taken another bit of tissue and pulled it down instead! Whaaaat?! He mentioned fusion - which he said he was not willing to do lightly due to my age. At that point I told him that I would do it if it meant no more instability in my ankle, and it's subsequent effects on my knee, hip and back. I think he realised then that I was serious, and mentioned two other possible options - a rerun of my last operation, but heavily modified, and another op which would involve donor tissue being bolted into place to strengthen my ankle. 

But he then explained that he was not happy to conduct any surgery to correct the instability without finding the cause for the pain first - he wanted to tackle both together. I can appreciate that. 

So my next step is going to a hospital in London for a SPECT CT Scan. I will be injected with a radioactive isotope and the scan will put together a complete image of my ankle so we know exactly what is going on. Once I get those results, it will most likely be surgery. I have faith in this consultant, that he will do his very best for me. 

I finally got home at 15.00. From a 10.30 appointment.

So I am still in total limbo with my future. My job is hanging in the balance. I am still unable to walk without a frame. I am still relying on a wheelchair for anything outside of a household environment. And my knee has now given up in sympathy with my foot.

And I am under bed/sofa arrest until Thursday. I am exhausted and no use to anyone or anything. After I've seen Gold Rush, I will be decamping to my bed. And staying there until I have the energy to move again.