Wednesday, 30 September 2009
I'm also still balancing on one buttock to reach the kitchen PC. Just grateful I have the pc at all as events have conspired to leave me laptop-less. I did catch the postie on Tuesday, to be told he'd left my parcel at the depot as he already had too much mail to deliver after the strike. Not much I could do about it at that point as the depot was just closing for the day, so I bit my tongue. Today, no mail at all. So, the extra that the shop paid for next-day delivery (not to mention the favour of posting it at all) has been foiled. If still absent tomorrow it will have entered Bermuda Triangle territory. Whatever happened to the Bermuda Triangle's mysterious powers anyway..?
Two new arts projects aimed at next year appeared on the horizon this week, with enough inovation and inspiration to get my sketchbook itching. They are both - through architecture and landscape - inherently unfriendly to wheels BUT there is much potential if everyone on board wants to enable access and can think laterally, literally and round corners. Its the difference between being an extra and being essential I suppose - so I hope to get as involved as possible and thus be indispensable.
Dusherra this Sunday. Its not impossible for wheels to accompany the procession from Castle Terrace to Calton Hill but you'd need some suspension and a pretty good cushion (or well-padded arse) as that's one helluva shoogle. They'll be getting ready to head off at 5.45pm so you could always watch them start, them zoom in a taxi/ car/ rickshaw up the Calton Hill to watch and wait for their arrival, and ensure you get a good vantage point for the big burning.
Sunday, 27 September 2009
I felt extremely disconnected from the world last night, and not in a good way.
I hope everyone who was freerange enjoyed wandering about in the gorgeous weather today. The sun was hot enough to burn, so keep your eyes peeled (sorry) for scarlet people tomorrow. I powered up my trike battery in anticipation of some sunny air tomorrow, then discovered that the front tyre has gone flat over the summer of disuse. The good news is that I know my neighbour will be working in his garage across from my hoose on Monday and he is always very helpful with that sort of thing, the bad news is that its not till *Monday*. I will sit poised on doorstep for any other neighbour who looks as though they have a tyre pump in their pocket... I did have to turn down my friend's social night in advance though, which is a shame as I was rather looking forward to both making arty stuff with her and also meeting the other folk in her group. Ooh, that reminds me, there is a penguin I ought to be drawing right now, brb.
I did have a list of additional upcoming events to post, but they are all inaccessible. So many sets of stairs appeared on the horizon last night that I was close to developing a phobia. No, not of stairs, of people.
This week includes the bizarrely named 'Older People's Day' on the 1st October. Older than whom? Older than what? I will be having cake to celebrate, as I am older than a younger person.
Also (unconfirmed as yet) on the 1st Oct http://www.transitionedinburghuni.org.uk/node/44
Transition Edinburgh University: Our journey to a resilient, low carbon, lower energy future
"The first 'feasibility' phase of the TEU project will culminate in a “launch event” on Thursday 1st October 2009 to showcase the research findings, successes to date and development opportunities for the second 'implementation' phase of the project. This event will be open to all and will happen from 6pm onwards at Teviot."
Saturday, 26 September 2009
Er, the writing I had completed for the upcoming submissions to anthologies were on the laptop...
Thursday, 24 September 2009
(this pic taken by John Kennan)
fire organ playing a propane flame dirge - Ignifer Conspiro by Mark Anderson (these pics taken by me)
tree of light
We pass through inner doors to be immediately mesmerised by the hot striplight tree with fluorescent flashing roots, the tree threatening to take steps after us (Tellus Aegis by Mark Anderson) Despite the sprawling trees, there is room to drive right round the tree and on to the next room.
This turns out to be the anteroom; a strawberry graveyard on a coveryer belt, a red-lit tunnel to the next hothouse. (Primordian by Anne Bean (composer Janusz Podrazik)
This is a glasshouse filled with thick smoke, with alien hatching pods in the undergrowth. Rumbling intensifies as the strobes cut through the smoke, then fading, leaving us in darkness. (Ingenium Propago by Mark Anderson)
Pyrophonic organists sit under a small canopy in the garden, playing their propane flame dirge tvoOOOOooompht, tvooOOompht (Ignifer Conspiro by Mark Anderson) Huge pipes have been planted in the garden around them, taking turns to send fire and music into the warm night air.
I have a quick chat with the men and take some photos. Reluctantly leaving this garden of hot metallic chords, I reach the concrete underpass and see a glimpse of the fire turbine twirler below. (Somnia Paratus by Mark Anderson) It won't be possible for me to get closer when I'm down there but it looks amazing from up here.
Swooping flitterbugs and fireflies in the old copper beech tree lure us round the corner. I bump (carefully) off the path and onto the grass. It is even darker here, with almost no guiding lights at all apart from the dizzying swing of bug lights. (Fulgar Bestiarius by Mark Anderson)
The cake and tea tent is a good plan. It even looks good from the outside with the red light shining like a beacon. It feels like buying cake from faerie dealers. I want to be a tent cake dealer. There is a party atmosphere in the cake queue, such is the excited mood that these installations has created in the visitors.
Near the cake tent, we find the snail kaleidoscope stall; snails weaving tantric magic and projecting themselves onto the screens. (Camera Vermicular) The patterns are never repeated.
It isn't possible to capture the tree of projected memories on my camera; the botanic shapeshifter outwits technology this time. (Forma Mutatis by Jony Easterby) The projections of different trees of light onto the blank canvas of this huge dark mass of real tree are very convincing.
I part from the designated route at this point and under the guidance of a member of staff planted there for the purpose, I take a steep path down past the shapeshifting tree, behind it, past the side of what I later find is the glasshouse of the desert dead. Down at the accessible entrance I enter a gramophone-filled jungle of mirrorballs, move through quick-stepping ghosts to the sound of gramophone needles running along grooves of grass and cogs. The tree filled with sparks - I think of insects biting and snapping at the time - is the Transitio Chaos - the radio galaxies (Suspira de Profundis by Kirsten Reynolds, Repercissus by Kirsten Reynolds)
The clicks and whirs lead to an enclosed outdoors courtyard area, a level below the garden with the propane flame organ players. It is pitch dark down here. Gingerly following a blue glowing line leads me towards the smoke and lightbeams, towards the booming Tsunami drums and the tiny volcanic landscape. If I pause and look up, I can see feet on the level above, and starry sky above that. Down here visitors become part of the lightshow, carrying the projected light patterns with them and on them, till the smoke fades (Ngens Undo by Jony Easterby, Aglomero Salictarius by Ulf Pederson)
And I have to turn round here, to head back through the discoball gramophone greenhouse, back up the hill past the tree of memories, back onto the official path.
The others on that path have paused to gaze up at the tree projections. I am hit by the strangest feeling of being completely alone as I enter this darkened glasshouse. There are gravestones and tombstones among the cacti, knocking, rattling. Heavy metal windchimes, vibrating circular saws click click click, the humming of prayer bowls appease and soothe the harsh metal-edged protests. (Nokia Puja by Jony Easterby, Plumosascens by Jony Easterby) I know now that it was a vibrating Nokia motor in each bowl, so those were Scandanavian prayers.
This greenhouse is on a slope, and I head uphill through more doors, and into the next hot room.
There are spirits on acid in here, tripping their little souls out in a kaleidoscope of brilliance, planted as flowers in the darkness (Floris Fluctuation by Mark Anderson) Flickering lasers create an illusion of almost-solid patterns and rainbow shapes.
The balcony has been transformed into an elegant avenue of standard lamps, with radio-tuning lampshades, standard lamps luring people to the benches between them, sucking out and broadcasting their chatter and gossip. (Ex Memoria by Kirsten Reynolds)
The balcony doors lead into the lilypond house. It is hot and humid here, a narrow pathway of uneven slabs round the pond. This is the water of risk for me and my scooter. There is singing from the bushes, a wailing, calling to the tattered decomposing sails on the doldrum of still waters. (Effloresce by Anne Bean (sound Christine Leboutte) I pause and park very carefully to look at the hanging rags of dresses among the trees.
The last glasshouse holds a jungle choir of monkey ducks and frogs, insects too, all quacking in the undergrowth (Locus Refero by Jony Easterby, Donec Mane by Ulif Pederson) This is a downhill path, well, three paths, one down either side of the glasshouse and one down the middle. They're not wide paths, and there are moments of wheel-mud or wheel - decorative cobble border interface, but there is only one small body and I can't fall into it. It sounds as though it's full of little frogs down there, but they're all sound samples.
These last doors lead out abruptly to cool night air and a happy Glaswegian member of staff, the guest book singing queue, the wonderful red-lit tree and one final look at the Palmhouse entrance to the whole adventure. The toilet block is here, accessible but up steep little paths to heavy doors. Several photos of the red tree and it's time to head back up the very steep hill (to try to NOT run over one of the organisers and have a blether with them about what they've done here). As I head up (up, up) through the gap in the giant hedge and up towards the West gate, I pass the final group of visitors, newly admitted to the gardens and still to discover what lies waiting for them down there.
Wednesday, 23 September 2009
I'm also trying to write up August's Power Plant trip at the moment. I do have a programme to hand but will proceed with my own interpretation of the event first, before embarrasing myself by reading the artists' intentions.
Fully wheelchair-accessible paths and facilities, including permission to drive onto the site in your own car if you can't manage the steps up into the shuttle bus. Well, their webpage says that you are allowed to drive onto the site if you are 'bringing' a disabled person, but I'm sure they'll amend that turn of phrase soon. Great news that it is accessible. The NVA installation on Skye sounded magnificent, but was only for the mountain goat-like creatures amongst us. I'd like to work with them to do a coastal son et lumiere installation. Anyway, they have secured a permanent NVA site, some stretches of which are wheelchair-accessible:
If you can't get that far out of town then try Dalkeith Park. The bypass unfortunately bisected the estate a few years ago but the old woodlands remain, including some splendid gnarly oaks hundreds of years old. Access to those particular trees is not straightforward, you need to contact someone to ask permission to have a certain gate opened so that you can use the high-ground tractor path to wheel across the field! Woodlands line the road, so there is no shortage of colour within range of your car. And there is an adventure playground...
My main quibble with the park is that despite no all-weather wheelchair-accessible trails (other than by car), there is no admission discount or - as far as I know - any plans for alterations to enable kids with mobility problems to use the adventure playground more easily.
Tuesday, 22 September 2009
Thursday night you could risk the Cowgate and head to the revamped Sneaky Pete's to see the wonderful Thomas Truax. Capacity is only 90 so it can become a scrum in there, but it is worth the risk in order to see this innovative musician again. Check tickets in advance to be sure (£5)
There is one step up at the doorway and no disabled loo, but the venue is all on one level. ____________________
Friday night sees Sister Spit hit tePOOKa as part of Ladyfest. http://www.thefword.org.uk/blog/2009/08/ladyfest_edinbu_1
The spoken word fiesta 8pm to 11pm. I hope not to miss this! (£5)I do need to add that despite loving their talent, I'm not overly keen on promoting single-gender-bias events, not even in jest, not after having grown up next to golf club-houses.
and on Saturday it is Open Doors Day - so choose something from the programme:
11am - 6pm
By Leaves We Live 2009: A celebration of artists' books and small presses
The annual one day fair at the Scottish Poetry Library. Browse a range of stalls and displays, and choose from events running throughout the day. Stalls, displays and talks. Drop in to browse or buy. Meet publishers, artists, editors, and poets from Scotland and beyond.
Listen to talks artists' books and publishing. All events are free.
Edward Hollis will be speaking about The Secret Lives of Buildings as part of the Bridge Reading series at the Edinburgh Central Library, George IV Bridge.
Gaita Medieval Music Concert
Cantigas de Santa Maria - No Miracle Too Small2009, 7:30pm
St James Episcopal Church, 57b Inverleith Row, Edinburgh
Entry by Donation
Medieval music specialists Gaïta present a new selection from the Cantigas de Santa Maria from 13th Century Spain. These entertaining and amazing songs recount miracles of Santa Maria, who helps everyone from drunk monks and pregnant abbesses to a poor woman who has lost her sheep. The cantigas are performed in a delightful mix of song, narration and instrumental music on medieval instruments.
I contacted the church and it is indeed wheelchair accessible.
Big Man Walking is in Bute all weekend, should you be freerange. Never mess with a blue man...
POD fete, Rosefield Park, Portobello
If you have transport and fancy heading out of the city:
National Museum of Flight - Magnificent Machines
Sat 26 - Sun 27 September
10:00-17:00Cost: Adults £8.50 / Conc. £6.50 / Children under 12 and Members free!
Discover the size and power of magnificent machines! Our transport event is proving to be even more popular than last year with a host of great activities, workshops and events planned. A wide range of vehicles will be on show from classic to sports cars, sidecars, minis, motorbikes, steam engines, fire engines and scooters. Here is a sneak peak at what we have in store:
Big Pete’s Monster Trucks
Scottish traction steam engines
BMX stunt display from Duncan Shaw of The Clan (Saturday only)
Parade of magnificent machines
Harry Potter’s flying Ford Anglia
Meet the Concorde, commercial and RAF pilots
War time stories from a Veteran of 602 Squadron (Saturday only)
Curator’s choice tours (Sunday only)
RUTS (Rural & Urban Training Scheme) mobile motorcycle mechanics workshop – join their drop-in challenges throughout the day
Go-karts and quad bikes
Jumbo inflatable monster truck
Scottish Archery Centre
Our family tent returns this year and includes story telling, Billy the balloon clown performing magic, the R34 airship art work, a vehicle challenge and traditional street games.
You can purchase your tickets online or call our ticket desk on 0131 225 7534.
Sunday, 20 September 2009
"We want to make travel on our buses easier for everyone, including passengers with disabilities and those with young children and foldable buggies. Since 2000, we have introduced easy access buses across our network and are now happy to announce that all our buses (and including Airlink and City Sightseeing Edinburgh buses) are easy access.
This means our buses feature:
-Low entrances that can “kneel” to kerb height to give step free access where possible
-Retractable boarding ramp for wheelchair access
-Completely flat areas on the lower deck (no internal steps to worry about)
-High visibility handrails
-A dedicated wheelchair space
-Our drivers are specially trained to help you enjoy the full benefit of our buses.
Upon boarding one of our buses please ensure you:
• Park the wheelchair in the dedicated space with the back of the wheelchair facing the front of the bus.
• Apply the brake.
The driver will wait until this is done before moving the bus. When you are ready to leave the bus, ring the bell so that the driver knows you intend to leave the bus.
If there is no wheelchair user on the bus, other passengers or one unfolded buggy may occupy the wheelchair space. Please note that wheelchair users have priority over everyone else for use of the wheelchair space, since this is the only space in which they can travel safely. Whenever the space is required by a wheelchair user, other passengers must move to make it available, and any buggies must be folded and stored safely elsewhere.
We are also currently trialling a dedicated unfolded buggy space on our newest “pink top” service 22 buses. This is in addition to the wheelchair space.
For everyone’s comfort and safety, we are unable to accommodate electric scooters, prams or any mobility/toddler transport device that is not collapsible/foldable on our buses. If in doubt, the driver will tell you if you are unable to travel safely on our buses. For more information see our Conditions of Carriage leaflet. If you have any questions or comments about our easy access buses, contact us."
Saturday, 19 September 2009
This explanation in the Evening News online today:
Holyrood bosses decided last year to scrap their contract with the Scottish Tour Guides Association after revenue fell 35 per cent below budget. Now the parliament has recruited its own three full-time and one part-time guides to take people on the one-hour trips around the building, explaining its history and how it works. Community groups have been invited to take the first free tour. The original decision five years ago to charge for tours of the new parliament was branded "a disgrace" since taxpayers had already forked out £414 million to pay for the over-budget building. The £3.50 price had risen to £5.85 by the time the cross-party Scottish Parliamentary Corporate Body decided to end the charges. Up to eight public tours a day will run on Mondays, Fridays and Saturdays. Each tour has a maximum of 20 and bookings must be made in advance.
The only maddening thing is that its simply not possible to take advantage of all the opportunities to have a good neb round Edinburgh in just one day... You can propose the inclusion of buildings you'd like to see more of next year.
The Open Gardens Day is having a year off and will restart next year.
Consider joining the Cockburn Association to help support the protection of historic and liveable Edinburgh. If they have policies you don't agree with - join and debate with them!
The Cockburn Association was founded in 1875. It is named after the late Lord Henry Cockburn (1779-1854) who campaigned to protect and enhance the beauty of Edinburgh.
Officially formed on 15 June 1875 at a public meeting addressed by Lord Moncrief of Tullibole. Lord Moncrief stressed that the new association would be a means of rapid and effective communication of public opinion on the work of the Town Council and dedicated it to the improvement of Edinburgh and the neighbourhood. The first major campaign by the Association was to resist the removal of trees at Bruntsfield -Links and the Cockburn has campaigned for the retention and improvement of Edinburgh's open and green spaces ever since.
Many of the Association's campaigns have required considerable patience and determination. In 1877 the Association campaigned to bring land along the Water of Leith into public use and some 98 years later we saw success with the opening of the Water of Leith Walkway. The Association was also instrumental in opposing some of the damaging plans for inner city highways and Edinburgh, as a result, has been left unsullied by inner city motorways. The Association has long been a pioneering supporter of sustainable modes of transport including public transport systems.In 1964, with the introduction of the Civic Amenities (Scotland) Act, the Cockburn Association adopted the sub title of The Edinburgh Civic Trust as recognition of the growing support for good planning and conservation across all of Scotland.
More information about the history of the Cockburn Association and some of its campaigns can be found on the website.
5645 views tonight, I wonder where the viral networking will take it.
Thursday, 17 September 2009
The Cumberland Bar, Cumberland Street (New Town) has excellent food, friendly staff and proper disabled loo (ask at the bar for the key). Animals are welcome as long as they are house-trained. It has a completely inaccessible beer garden unless you fit a bungee on yer wheelchair, but it is apparently a lovely place to sit on a warm night. There are a few tables on the front patio area too, which are as accessible as the pub is ie up one dramatically high step. I'm going to recommend that they get a little wooden ramp which they can keep aside to bring out front if needed, just to make the whole experience easier. There's a peculiar double-level pavement on that part of the street so park/ get dropped off in the little lane next to the beer garden as that's where the pavement becomes low and accessible.
I heard today that I've been shortisted for a certain short story competition I entered in July. Not bad to have made it this far, even if I don't win the final judging at the end of September. Its especially good considering that entries were hard copy only so I'd had to print it out, find a stamp, find a minion to post it, then miss the postal strikes.
Zornhau recommended that new writers keep the following in mind when submitting anything longer (its from http://nielsenhayden.com/makinglight/archives/004641.html):
If you’re an author, the arrival of a rejection letter is a major event. If you’re an editor (or an associate editor, assistant editor, editorial assistant, or intern), 90% of all rejections are something you do on a quiet afternoon when you don’t have something more urgent breathing down your neck. O Yawn, you say, O Stretch, there’s that catalogue copy finished. I’ve got—hmmm, about two and a half hours left in the day. Nothing else urgent? Okay, it’s time to blight some hopes and crush some dreams. You grab a stack of slush envelopes and start going through them.
Unless you’re a senior editor with intern-like beings below you on the food chain who open and process the slush for you to look at—a splendid luxury!—a substantial fraction of your time is going to go into opening the packages, logging in the name, title, agent/no agent, genre, and date rejected, and then repackaging the rejected manuscript with a form rejection letter and a copy of the Tor Submission Guidelines. Manuscripts are unwieldy, but the real reason for that time ratio is that most of them are a fast reject. Herewith, the rough breakdown of manuscript characteristics, from most to least obvious rejections:
1) Author is functionally illiterate.
2) Author has submitted some variety of literature we don’t publish: poetry, religious revelation, political rant, illustrated fanfic, etc.
3) Author has a serious neurochemical disorder, puts all important words into capital letters, and would type out to the margins if MSWord would let him.
4) Author is on bad terms with the Muse of Language. Parts of speech are not what they should be. Confusion-of-motion problems inadvertently generate hideous images. Words are supplanted by their similar-sounding cousins: towed the line, deep-seeded, dire straights, nearly penultimate, incentiary, reeking havoc, hare’s breath escape, plaintiff melody, viscous/vicious, causal/casual, clamoured to her feet, a shutter went through her body, his body went ridged, empirical storm troopers, ex-patriot Englishmen, et cetera.
5) Author can write basic sentences, but not string them together in any way that adds up to paragraphs.
6) Author has a moderate neurochemical disorder and can’t tell when he or she has changed the subject. This greatly facilitates composition, but is hard on comprehension.
7) Author can write passable paragraphs, and has a sufficiently functional plot that readers would notice if you shuffled the chapters into a different order. However, the story and the manner of its telling are alike hackneyed, dull, and pointless.
(At this point, you have eliminated 60-75% of your submissions. Almost all the reading-and-thinking time will be spent on the remaining fraction.)
8) It’s nice that the author is working on his/her problems, but the process would be better served by seeing a shrink than by writing novels.
9) Nobody but the author is ever going to care about this dull, flaccid, underperforming book.
10) The book has an engaging plot. Trouble is, it’s not the author’s, and everybody’s already seen that movie/read that book/collected that comic.
(You have now eliminated 95-99% of the submissions.)
11) Someone could publish this book, but we don’t see why it should be us.
12) Author is talented, but has written the wrong book.
13) It’s a good book, but the house isn’t going to get behind it, so if you buy it, it’ll just get lost in the shuffle.
14) Buy this book.
Wednesday, 16 September 2009
I'm gathering information on accessibility and logistics for next year's two festivals, so this entry will fill up later. Tell me now if you have tried it for yourself though - if you've actually managed this event on wheels I have a long list of questions for you.
If you aren't heading for the hippy hills this weekend consider enjoying a living history picnic with Perfidious Albion, the University Medieval Re-enactment Society. If you missed them in full garb at the freshers fair you can still get in touch via the website to join the medieval picnic on Sat 19th and sword practice on Sun 20th. Call them today to ensure enough time to whip up a linen tunic. You might even be able to borrow something from the organisers.
If you have:
- experienced delays getting support/equipment under the scheme
- been turned down for a job or lost a job because your employer wasn't aware of the scheme
- been turned down for Access to Work because it doesn't address the kind of support you need (e.g. it doesn't provide temp cover if you need time off work)
- have views about how Access to Work has improved or how it should be improved for the future
Please could you get in touch with Caro at RADAR, if possible by Friday lunch time. You can either email her your views Caroline.Ellis@radar.org.uk or call 020 7566 0118 or fax on 020 7250 0212. Also let her know if you are willing to talk to the BBC about your experiences. (If you can't get in touch by then don't worry, Caro still wants to hear your thoughts)
I don't think you have to be a RADAR member to send in your experiences, they'll still pass them on to the BBC.
Tonight I shall mostly be trying to find some outlets for writing, which is something I can just about manage even when stuck in bed ill, when my eyes aren't playing up. Writing that is, not the making/ reinforcing of contacts, bonding with colleagues and opening of outlets. Unfortunately the idea of an author-hermit in their garret, remotely posting out unsolicited manuscripts, is rarely successful in today's competitive climate. At some point you will benefit from schmoozing your way into the attention of an agent/ publisher/ editor/ matchmaker to tell them about your work, make them laugh, let them see what other work you've done, buy them a drink. It can result in a commission or just getting to the top of the slush pile. You could join a couple of societies to enable schmoozing, or, and I don't recommend this route despite knowing some of the folk it has worked for - you could just shag a publisher and hope that the ink on the contract will be dry before you are.
Tuesday, 15 September 2009
If you've been inspired by one of the days out listed in the Rough Guide To Accessible Britain then write to them with your review or ideas and you may win £500 and a place in the next Rough Guide. The downside is that you need to describe it in 75 words or fewer so think of it as flash fiction. Well, flash fact.
There are 19 entries in the guide for Scottish days out, come on, lets send in our best suggestions and make it 91. I am impressed by the inclusion of such gems as the Cairngorm sled-dog safaris, and pleased to see two I've actually been to (the Aonach Mor Gondola and the Scottish Parliament) but the one that caught my eye is the accessible mountain path to and alongside the beautiful Loch Lubnaig. My friend James and I discovered this loch during our wee expeditions into the highlands, the first time I had ever experienced such freedom since becoming wheely-based, mainly thanks to having the company and assistance of someone who refused to let any path defeat us. I used to have to be forcibly dragged back South every time.
Callander to Strathyre Accessible Walk
14 km of Sustrans' route no.7.
Head out of Callander for about 1.5 km, follow the old railway line for about 4.5km to the southern end of Loch Lubnaig, hug the shore for 6km, head steeply uphill at the north end of the loch and, two hairpin bends later, stop to enjoy the views. 1km further on you'll cross a suspension bridge before the final km down to Strathyre. God, that sounds wonderful.
This is just a 14 km stetch of the whole NCN trail, Lochs and Glens: Glasgow to Inverness, which is 'wheelchair-passable in dry weather and with a fit assistant.' (I like that, you can only get across this trail if your minion is a sexy one. I think they mean the strong version) I will contact them to ask if they mean that anyone fit can do it ie a wheelchair athlete with no need of minions.
'a man-eating gerbil' is a gerbil that eats humans
'a man eating gerbil' is a man who is eating gerbil meat
I can't remember where I originally spotted the lesser-known 'fine tooth comb' available for use. Personally I prefer to brush mine.
I looked up the Guardian writers' in-house style guide and they say:
Our style is to use one word wherever possible. Hyphens tend to clutter up text (particularly when the computer breaks already-hyphenated words at the end of lines). This is a widespread trend in the language: "The transition from space to hyphen to close juxtaposition reflects the progressive institutionalisation of the compound," as Rodney Huddleston puts it in his Introduction to the Grammar of English. Inventions, ideas and new concepts often begin life as two words, then become hyphenated, before finally becoming accepted as one word. Why wait? "Wire-less" and "down-stairs" were once hyphenated.
Words such as chatroom, frontbench, gameplan and housebuyer are all one word in our publications, as are thinktank (not a tank that thinks), longlist (not necessarily a long list) and shortlist (which need not be short).
Prefixes such as macro, mega, micro, mini, multi, over, super and under rarely need hyphens: examples are listed separately. Follow Collins when a word or phrase is not listed in this book.
There is no need to use hyphens with most compound adjectives, where the meaning is clear and unambiguous without: civil rights movement, financial services sector, work inspection powers, etc. Hyphens should, however, be used to form short compound adjectives, eg two-tonne vessel, stand-up comedian, three-year deal, 19th-century artist, etc. Also use hyphens where not using one would be ambiguous, eg to distinguish "black-cab drivers come under attack" from "black cab-drivers come under attack". Do not use hyphens after adverbs ending in -ly, eg politically naive, wholly owned, but when an adverb is also an adjective (eg hard), the hyphen is required to avoid ambiguity – it's not a hard, pressed person, but a hard-pressed one; an ill-prepared report, rather than an ill, prepared one. Use hyphens with short and common adverbs: much-needed grammar lesson, well-established principle of style (note though that in the construction "the principle of style is well established" there is no need to hyphenate) This seems perfectly reasonable, so the grammatic typos must be the journalist's more personal style.
Well, in today's absence of topical cannon-fodder, here is a geeky game for you:
Hours of entertainment. If there's nothing else to do...
Monday, 14 September 2009
There appears to be an insurmountable barrier between myself and technology today. If I download documents from gmail, they land on the laptop's desktop as 'read-only' documents, which incidentally have a built-in prevention to cut-n-paste. On the kitchen PC I download documents in the same way that last week landed them nicely and neatly on the desktop, ready to tweak and send, but this week they download to - limbo. Somewhere, my short stories are being pegged out to dry along a cosmic string. They are certainly not arriving anywhere that I have access to. This would be a niggle at the best of times, as is any non-logical peculiarity in temperament by anything from the toaster to the printer, but currently I need to be able to send work out to publishers in the hope that one of them will get into an anthology. I need to be in print...
I've nicked a link from Antti's blog today to share a picture of the most stunningly beautiful butterfly nebula:
Now, how do we go about getting a sufficiently high resolution of that picture to enable a wall projection?
Today's Times Online includes a feature '100 best walks in the UK', which is something I like to see. Unfortunately, while it does have some surface information, there isn't an indication of which parts of the walks are suitable for wheels or not. I wouldn't like to see the segregation of '100 best wheelchair trundles' but would rather see the information as standard included in walks for everyone. We need to hit those walks and send in the detail so it can be added - so get oot trundling!
I emailed a couple of features editors at the Times to talk about it.
*update* five months later The Times have not yet replied.
Sunday, 13 September 2009
Tuesday 15th September, 7 – 9pm
The meeting will discuss recent developments, activities, ideas and plans. Join the Friends of Dalmeny Street Park and help make a difference in your Community. Come to the meeting and have your say at:
THE OUT OF THE BLUE DRILL HALL
36 Dalmeny Street (off Leith Walk)
(0131) 555 7100
RISE UP - TAKE ACTION LAUNCH PARTY
Special guests BAFTA nominated Northern Exposure, hailing from the notorious Calder Council Estate (aka C-Block) in the Wester Hailes area of Edinburgh. The philosophy is hard hitting, politically and environmentally conscious and tipped by The Skinny as, 'The major contenders to break Scottish hip-hop abroad and elsewhere in the UK.'
Time: 2300 - 0300
£5 / 4 [concessions]
The Bongo Club, 37 Holyrood Road
Tel: 0131 558 7604
I'm guessing wheelchair access is mainly by helicopter...
Saturday, 12 September 2009
The neurological twist was that by then I had developed such an extreme intolerance of heat that a warm room can make me pass out, a hot day out of the shade makes me very ill and the desert would probably kill me unless I travelled by ice box. Well, if there's one event where journey by icebox is possible, a pedal-powered steampunk one with dragon wings - its this one, but that still leaves the human logistics. I'd need a talented, passionate trustworthy group to even leave the country, let alone get into a hot one, and my health would be the most fragile thing we packed. Why would anyone take on such a task? Because they like an extreme challenge? Because they were going anyway and needed a new and unusual project? Because they wanted to achieve something life-changing and incredible? Because we'd get funding for it? Maybe.
The keys to this event are preparation and teamwork, right up to the scale of working in tandem with everyone out there. You've got to get on with your neighbours to stay safe in the desert. I've met several people who've been and much as they share my passion for the creations, the projects and the lifestyle, and would have been great for company, artyness and networking, they're not really the most likely candidates for concentrating on one person/ task ie remembering an iced companion at a vital moment. It hurts my guts to listen to such free and easy travellers who know no such limitations in following my longed-for paths. So my old sketchbooks quietly continue to fill with plans, and I occasionally see some of them appear in the desert as the years pass, such is the sneakily pervasive quality of imagination.
One of these days I'll take this head-on as a challenge and discover that solutions to the surreal are out there and within reach - if I find that damned elusive pimpernel. There is no excuse for turning up as a person-in-need, you'll be turned away for your own - and the camp's - safety. But turning up in a transit van full of solutions, now that's different.
Friday, 11 September 2009
As the heavy doors of Cupboard 205 swing open in the Department of Prints and Drawings in the British Museum, I can’t believe my luck. This is my exclusive peek inside a piece of antique furniture that, for many decades, has been privately known to the department’s staff as “the Porn Cupboard”. This is where stacks of racy and disturbing pictures, regarded as unfit for public attention, have traditionally been kept out of sight.
Along with 4000 years of battery-free boyfriends, if the contents of the ancient Greek, Roman, Syrian and Egyptian etc shelves of the museums in Holland are anything to go by. I suspect our museums hide objects not to avoid controversy when the General Assembly is on, but to save primary-school teachers across the nation from the worst of the songs on the coach home.
STEM cells show promise for treating a range of neurological conditions, including Parkinson's, strokes and Alzheimer's, but it is tricky getting them into the brain. Perhaps inhaling stem cells might be the answer - if mice are anything to go by. Other options all have their drawbacks. Drilling through the skull and injecting the stem cells is painful and carries some risks. You can also inject them into the bloodstream but only a fraction reach their target due to the blood-brain barrier. The nose, however, might be a viable alternative. In the upper reaches of the nasal cavity lies the cribriform plate, a bony roof that separates the nose from the brain. It is perforated with pin-size holes, which are plugged with nerve fibres and other connective tissue. Since proteins, bacteria and viruses can enter the brain this way, Lusine Danielyan at the University Hospital of Tübingen in Germany, and her colleagues, wondered if stem cells would also migrate into the brain through the cribriform plate. To test their idea, they dripped a suspension of fluorescently labelled stem cells into the noses of mice. The mice snorted them high into their noses, and the cells migrated through the cribriform plate. Then they travelled either into the olfactory bulb - the part of the brain that detects and deciphers odours - or into the cerebrospinal fluid lining the skull, migrating across the brain.
As you can see from the aerial photos in the link (above) some of the paths are not very accessible and some are weather-dependant. The main tracks and viewing areas of the bird reserve are accessible to wheelchair users and prams. Contact the rangers for details: 01620 827279 firstname.lastname@example.org
For anyone thinking that birdwatching is a gentle and relaxing pastime, here's a snippet from the New Scientist. Before you ask, no I don't know what access is like into the Bukk caves but I'll get back to local cave access later:
The birds don't kill the bats before they start eating them," says Siemers, "but the bats eventually die when the birds peck open their brain case."As the bats are still very cold, only a degree above ambient temperature, they are extremely slow and easy for the birds to subdue.
They're not talking about your average bird of prey; the predators of these pipistrelle bats are - great tits. Those tiny little cute things that eat caterpillars from your bird table, yep, that's them.
The scientists ran an experiment to supply the tits with food, and discovered that this reduced consumption."This shows that the birds are predating the bats for food in times of scarcity. It shows how inventive this species can be," says Siemers. Estók and Siemers also ran a playback experiment where they recorded and played the calls that the bats made as they woke from hibernation. The great tits were attracted to the calls."For a bat, these calls are very low frequency, a maximum of 15 kiloHertz, but at a high frequency for the tits, above scientifically established hearing levels for this species, yet they react to them," says Siemers.
I think it might be wise to start laying in stocks of garden bird food for the winter. You really don't want this lot to get hungry.
Thursday, 10 September 2009
For anyone not working overtime this weekend:
10.30am till 5pm
The Pavilion Inverleith Park Arboretum Place
Phone: 0131 332 2229
THE OUT OF THE BLUE DRILL HALL
Queen Mother's Garden, Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh
Free, drop in. No booking required
Do you know your Kings and Queens from your Princes and Princesses? Many of the plants in our Queen Mother's garden do! Be inspired by their regal names to dream up how they might look, then go on our plant hunt to discover this month's Royal Treasures.
Phone: 0131 247 4238 www.nms.ac.uk/flight
Phone: 0131 225 7534 email@example.com http://www.nms.ac.uk/
Secret Gardens of the Royal Mile
departing 2.30pm from John Knox House
Blitz Ballroom Tea Dance
OVER 18s ONLY
THE OUT OF THE BLUE DRILL HALL
36 Dalmeny Street (off Leith Walk), Edinburgh, EH6 8RG
(0131) 555 7100 http://www.outoftheblue.org.uk/
Fall in troops and assemble at Dalmeny Street Drill Hall 1600 hours for an invigorating bout of Tongue-in-cheek Vintage Fun! Dance your cares away with the vintage song-stylings of popular disk jockey Lord Holyrude, shop for extra rations and fancy goods in our "Black Market", put your 40's fashion On Parade and preserve the memory in a souvenir from our photographic studio, fraternise with the enemy and examine your allies' equipment in a stirring visit to our War Room (no fighting allowed!), hit the Officer's Mess for nourishing provisions and austerity-defying beverages, chin up! - lift your spirits with our morale boosting games and prizes. Avoid a dressing down and spiv-up to collect the gong awarded for best era-appropriate outfit!
Info: 07951 137 218 firstname.lastname@example.org http://www.modernmixers.co.uk/
£9.50 for entry and basic rations. Please pay at the door.
I can recommend the chinese takeaway at 108 Porty High Street for providing good beachy suppers (smooth tiled ramp at doorway) with free juice too. The Espy, Bath Street, serves food until 9pm but still haven't replaced the ramp so either bump up the step or visit the takeaway en route to the beach and save funds for your next visit.
To make the most of the beachy weather, here are a few more coastal dates for the diary:
PEDAL is hosting Portobello's car free day on Sunday 20th Sept, including a parade of armchair bikes along the prom and local market up at the library from 1.30pm. I may not be able to join in as getting a lift in a car is my only way in...
It runs in conjunction with Leith, traffic banned from the Shore for an afternoon as part of a local campaign to promote more sustainable forms of transport. The Shore will be pedestrianised between 1:30pm and 4:30pm as part of the "We Love Leith" initiative, which is seeking to reduce the number of cars in the area.The event is expected to receive the backing of the city council at a meeting on Thursday, with the number 22 bus diverted along Sandport Place during the day.
Organised to coincide with European Mobility Week, the car-free day will see the street turned over to a host of attractions, including a five-a-side football competition and a pedal-powered smoothie maker.The public are being encouraged to travel between the two events by foot or by bike. AHEM!
Rosefield Park (accessible to wheelchairs and prams on the paths if muddy, all around the park if dry) will be home to the POD village fete on Sunday 27th Sept from 2 - 5 pm, to raise money for future artistic and musical events in the area http://www.the-pod.org/, which in past years have included beach parties, ceilidhs and a Victorian prom day.
Big Things on the Beach, the Portobello Arts trust is keen to work with visitors in their year-long programme to generate a public art plan for Portobello Promenade. Based in the new gallery at the foot of King's Road (ramp access) don't miss the chance to get in touch with them to pop in and view old projects or share your ideas for using the funds (ie create an artistic beach access pathway) or concerns. http://www.bigthingsonthebeach.org.uk/
Wednesday, 9 September 2009
The British Society for Developmental Biology is excited to be hosting this conference on the 16th September. The 2009 Congress will highlight the best of world developmental biology, and the location in Edinburgh, Scotland's famous and beautiful capital city, should make this a memorable conference.
14th Biennial Congress of the European Society of Endodontology (ESE)
to be held in Edinburgh, the historical capital city of Scotland, 24th – 26th September 2009. The ESE has witnessed exponential growth in the past number of years. It is now the umbrella society for 26 national societies with a combined membership of over 5000 and we would like the 2009 Congress to reflect this. We are very excited about this meeting and hope to attract endodontists, GDP’s, academics, hospital based dentists, dental nurses and students from both Europe and worldwide who are interested in this field. We have planned a scientific programme that will both give you an update on state of the art technology
Legal Guidance for ICT Use in Education and Research
Information Governance 4th Annual Conference – Edinburgh – 09 Sept 2009
The ‘Raising the Bar’ information governance conference is scheduled to take place on 9 September 2009 at the Holiday Inn, Edinburgh. Speakers include, Kevin Dunion and there shall be planned workshops on Privacy Impact Assessments and Confidentiality Guidance. Please contact email@example.com in order to register your interest. More details are available at - http://www.isdscotland.org/e-publications/ig/june09.html.
Edinburgh, Scotland’s Hydrogen Future – Building a Sustainable Economy through Hydrogen and Renewable Energy
September 15-16, 2009
The EHA has been invited to present national hydrogen activities at the conference “Scotland’s Hydrogen Future – Building a Sustainable Economy through Hydrogen and Renewable Energy” that will be held on 15-16 September 2009 in Edinburgh. The conference has been endorsed by the Scottish government and Royal Mail and is co organized by the Scottisch Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Association , who is integrating fuel cell vans into its fleet.
Yep, all accessible venues.
Scottish Coastal Rowing Project: Encouraging Boat Building and Rowing Racing in Scottish Coastal Communities
What is this about?
The Scottish Fisheries Museum is giving its backing to an initiative to re-introduce inter community rowing around the Scottish Coast. Until the 1950s there were many coastal rowing and sailing regattas using local craft. The sport has been restarted in recent years in Shetland where there are over twenty boats racing. Coastal rowing classes in England and Wales are also seeing a huge resurgence in interest. The aim of the Scottish Coastal Rowing Project is to provide a relatively inexpensive entry to the sport by using a design which can be built by the communities who will be rowing the boats, rather than buying completed boats from professional boat builders.
Who is it for? - Anyone! We hope to see all kinds of groups coming together to build and race these boats, whether it is the combined efforts of a village, community group, a school, or
perhaps a rugby or football club wanting to use the racing to maintain fitness and teamwork through the summer months. It’s for you! We are sure that if you look for others in your community who would like to build a boat with you, you will find them!
How to fund it? First of all by fund-raising in the community. Sponsorship from local businesses will help, and there may also be grants available from Councils and from other sources. The Information Pack lists some of these sources and their contact details.
Why Rowing? Coastal Rowing is a sport enjoyed from teenagers to pensioners, and is one of the best forms of exercise, using nearly all of the muscles in the human body. It is probably the most team-intensive sport around, as a physically weaker crew with excellent timing will beat a strong crew who cannot row together. We are anticipating that when the regattas start, there will be different age groups so that the competition is kept fair and varied. In Shetland, Yoal racing has become a major sporting event, with communities racing against each other on a regular basis. In England's South West, Cornish Pilot Gig Races attract scores of boats and hundreds of spectators. We hope that St Ayles Skiff races will provide a real community focus.
Tuesday, 8 September 2009
Squeeze this into your lunch hour:
Wed 9th Sept, 9am till 1pm
Portobello Swim Centre, 57 Promenade
(Men-only days: Tuesdays 9am till 9pm)
Telephone: 0131 669 6888
Portobello Swim Centre has one of the few original Victorian Turkish baths still in use in the UK. Portobello’s hammam, beautifully tiled in typical Turkish style, is complete with four rooms of varying temperature – the Tepidarium (warm), the Calidarium (hot), the Laconium (hottest), and the Frigidarium, where you can chill out afterwards. There is also a cold plunge pool to refresh and invigorate. Bugger that, with a ramp outside and lift inside for access you can just throw yourself into the sea afterwards. Now that's cold.
With thanks to The Forest Cafe and http://edinburgh.thingsandstuff.org/ :
Wed, 9th Sep, 7.00pm
Floor 8, Appleton Tower, Crichton St (lift access to upper floors)
They say: "Networking sounds like something that you do if you’re in PR or sales, so we don’t call it that and we don’t make it feel like that. There’s no name badges, no canapés. There’s just pizza and beer, a projector and a load of techies arguing about stuff. Come along to a TechMeetup and meet who else is involved in your tech scene."
The Forest Cafe, Forest Road
Wednesday 9th September, 7pm - 8pm
Gramophone HourMusic from ’78 from 7-8
Wednesday, 09 September 2009 at 23:00 - 02:25
THE BONGO CLUB, Holyrood rd
11-12AM Brother Most Rightious DUB / REGGAE / DANCEHALL
12-1.30AM TAMOBANTER (Ghantin) DUBSTEP
1.30- 3AM DD (DIRT) JUNGLE
Calling all Reggae, Dub, Ragga, Dubstep and Jungle DJ's and art
The Bongo club has a step up off the street then a stap down into the venue. Club, bar and loos all on the level. Staff have a portable wooden ramp to make access smoother, and they're happy to help.
"A NEW guide has been launched giving advice and guidance to people in East Lothian who use, or are thinking of buying, a mobility scooter.
The Mobility Scooters User Guide combines advice on legal requirements, rules of the road and parking, plus information on maintenance and general tips.
Prestonpans resident Victor Cummings came up with the idea after he noticed an increased number of scooters in the town, and realised there was a lack of guidance and advice on their use. He spoke with scooter users and sellers and worked with the police's Inspector Neil Valentine to develop a best practice guide. Mr Cumming said: "This booklet is not a set of rules and regulations, which are set by other organisations such as DVLA and in the Highway Code. Instead it is a handy reference guide to responsible ownership for the safety and wellbeing of scooter users."The eight-page guide was produced by East Lothian Council and Lothian and Borders Police, with support from the Preston/Seton/Gosford local service management group."
Unfortunately the article did not include details of where to get your paws on a copy of the guide. And in a related article (as in Things To Do In Edinburgh To Piss Off Pedestrians and Drivers Alike):
"THOUSANDS of people lined the streets of the Capital to watch the first Edinburgh Riding of the Marches for over 60 years. The historic event made its comeback yesterday, with more than 250 horses and riders taking a seven-hour journey around the city, ending in the Royal Mile. Lord Provost George Grubb unfurled the City of Edinburgh banner at the Mercat Cross before addressing the riders and the crowds.The last Riding of the Marches to be held in Edinburgh was in 1946, to celebrate the end of the war."
Unfortunately I missed this, not having pre-booked a suitably short fat horse. It's a fantastic thing to be part of so would have benefitted from more local publicity in advance. Next year, next year. In the meantime, here are the nearest riding school/ stables recommended for riders with mobility or health difficulties, though I can't vouch for them personally as I haven't tried them out myself yet:
Drum Riding For The Disabled Centre
Drum Farm/Drum St, Edinburgh, EH17 8RX
Tower Farm Riding Stables
85 Liberton DriveEdinburgh, EH16 6NS
Sunday, 6 September 2009
There only five items listed for Edinburgh in this, but the whole of Scotland is taking part so if you can travel you'll be kept busy. They don't detail the aspects of access but most events or location indicate whether fully accessible, partially accessible or completely inaccessible.
Myth Busters Gallery Talks Series
Fri 11th, Fri 18th and Fri 25th Sept, 14:30 for 1 hour
Early People Gallery, National Museums Scotland, Chambers Street. Fully accessible, contact venue if you need assistance. Limited spaces, book in advance.
Cramond and its Island
Saturday 12th and Sunday 13th, 11am to 5pm each trip duration 1 hour. Meet at The Maltings (inaccessible venue), Riverside, Cramond for guided walks to the island (presumably when the tide is out...) Causeway is wheelchair inaccessible without your own hovercraft, as is the island. Booking essential.
and (by HAZEL MOLLISON) a little more information on what to look for in Cramond:
A ROMAN fort in the Capital is one of the oldest continually occupied sites in Scotland, archaeologists said today as they prepared to put their latest discoveries on public display. Flint tools believed to date from as early as 8500BC have been uncovered at the fort near Cramond Kirk. Archaeologists have been excavating the site to reveal more of the Roman building, which dates from around 142AD, and have exposed more of the Roman barrack walls as well as discovering evidence suggesting the site may have included metal workshops. City archaeologist John Lawson, who has been leading the excavation, said: "This is a very important site. It's one of the longest continually occupied sites in Scotland. "We've found evidence of humans from the Mesolithic period, who were early hunter- gatherers. The artefacts are from between 8500BC and 4000BC. We just found stone tools scattered around."
The dig carried out last year also uncovered evidence of medieval occupation at the fort. Mr Lawson added: "We're improving the public interpretation and working with the local community and heritage groups. People can see more and get a better understanding of what's going on. "The ultimate aim is to expose the original fort for the public to view. We're exposing further walls at the east end of the site."The original interpretation is they were Roman barrack blocks, but they seem to have been used at various stages as workshops as well. The way they were built would seem to have evidence of metal-working. There are stone tanks at one end of the building."John Dodds, chairman of the Cramond Association and a keen local historian, said they were looking forward to having more of the finds on display. He said: "Last year's project was to clear up a number of questions, but it's also posed new ones. "They have dug right down through the layers of the occupation."
The Romans built a fort at Cramond in about 142AD to protect the southern shore of the Forth and to act as a supply port for the Roman army in Scotland. Previous excavations have revealed the impressive remains of the ancient building, and uncovered evidence of the fort's gatehouse, grain stores and an ancient bath house.Some of the finds are already on display at the Maltings visitor centre in Cramond, which is open on Saturday and Sunday afternoons until the end of September. The rest can be seen at the site, near Cramond Kirk, where work to make all the finds open to the public is ongoing, and should be complete by the end of the month.
Make your own way round the village: http://www.cramondassociation.org.uk/historic_map.htm
RCAHMS Open Day
Saturday 26th Sept, 10am to 5pm
John Sinclair House, 16 Bernard Terrace
Completely accessible. 14.5 million items, consisting of the most fascinating maps, plans, documents and photographs you never even knew existed. Experts and tour guides on hand for this rare opportunity to drool.
Saturday 26th sept, 10am till 1pm
Holyrood Park Education Centre
"Join a ranger on a three hour guided tour to learn about the rich archaeological heritage to be found in Holyrood Park." There is no access tab on this one but at a wild guess I think wheels would be completely buggered early on. Advance booking essential.
Holyrood Park Archaeology Day
Sunday 27th sept 11am to 3pm
Holyrood Park Education Centre
The tab on this is 'some accessibility issues' but it also claims to be suitable for all the family so presumably prams and pushchairs can manage. They say: Discover what life was like during the Iron Age. Try your hand at wattle fencing, bow drilling and fire starting. Join a druid for a short guided walk round the park.
"Well lad, you've burned down the Scottish Parliament and it wasn't even insured. What have you got to say for yourself?"
"A druid told me to do it."
"You'll need a solicitor then lad, your fingerprints are all over the guilty flint."
Saturday, 5 September 2009
After all that preparation I won't be able to get to the fireworks tomorrow, so am rehoming my tickets as I type. I hope the weather doesn't put anyone off, that's why waterproofs were invented.
The adventurer's masquerade ball is approaching again. I contacted them last year to buy tickets only to discover there was no wheelchair access so my mask is unused. I emailed them the week before last about the venue for this year's event, just to check, but they have not replied. I think I'll google the venue name myself now. If it is good news I will advertise their event here, so get mask-making.
This week I have actually remembered to submit stories to publishers, instead of merely filing them neatly away. Or not so neatly - I have searched for days for several stories that seem to have filed themselves under 'buggered off'.
Wednesday, 2 September 2009
The sooner someone invents a transporter I can utilise, the better. A person should not be quite so aware of their own joints
I have tickets for Princes Street Gardens on Sunday so that I can see the fireworks in more comfort than usual ie in the horizontal. This will no doubt include the need for waterproofs and hot water bottles but that's just a perk. Fireworks, good music, good company and (presumably) good food, hoorah. I'm not up for arriving two hours early just to battle for a picnic space so we may end up behind a tree, but hopefully there will be a decent place to park up and spread out. The organisers have given some thought to catering for wheels. They have only laid aside two picnic spaces for wheelchairs and each has only one companion space, which is no use to us as we may have two chairs and five guests.
The only safe entry and departure point for wheels is through the King's Stable's Road entrance. I have tried coming in from Princes Street and I never want to travel that fast downhill without a crash helmet and body armour ever again. It took three additional and random pushers to slog back up the slope, and I'm not exactly heavy. All we needed was some dozy tourist to stand in front of us photographing the sky, oblivious to our yells to shift, and we'd have slipped into unavoidable reverse, or else taken out his achilles tendons.
Calton Hill is the best free place to watch the fireworks and this year is (apparently) installing a speaker system to replace the traditional method of every other group bringing a radio. You can push a chair up the road if you have a strong enough volunteer or are a wheelie athlete but in past years it was easier to ask a taxi to drive up. If that's going to be your method of departure too and you weren't planning on staying up there for another couple of hours afterwards to chill and enjoy the bongos, its best to book one to collect you five minutes before the concert ends to avoid being trampled in the rush.
Inverlieth Park is the family-orientated alternative if you are at that side of town. I ended up there one year when my taxi wasn't allowed to take me to join friends viewing from North Bridge as roads were closed to traffic, without exceptions or a back-up plan for disabled access, which was a bit shit. Of course, that was the year that the rain and fog was so thick there was nothing visible from the park and the sound system was drowned out by rain...
Damn, the items I ordered seem to have gone into a postal limbo. I'm waiting for parcels containing a waterproof rug, superglue and a pineapple, amongst other (unrelated - honestly) things.
Tuesday, 1 September 2009
By the time I was able to emerge from the horizontal yesterday it was already dark. Even after all this time (don't ask how much time) I can't get used to short daylight hours in August. The Last Day of the EIBF had to be marked so I headed into Charlotte Square through astonishingly quiet streets to meet Julia and Lex - and new example of just how small and networked this city is - another archaeologist! I wasn't at all sure what the place would be like on the last night - party central for or a quiet dribbling away of exhausted writers and punters?
I had a good chat with (BFS!) head of tech about the doorway sills. Turns out they are very much aware of the problem and have been trying to find solutions. Lower sills and walkers trip over them, higher and wheelchair wheels catch, extended into a camber and every last door would have to be replaced to be able to close. Not an easy dilemma for them.
In the meantime I just need to remember to tip wheelchair up at each doorway and not try to drive straight over. Its those ridiculous shopping-trolley wheels at the front which cause so much trouble.
We circumnavigated the square looking for discotent and discovered the dancing was in the Spiegeltent. The ceilidh was going full-swing, all dancers looking as though they knew the steps too. I don't know how many of them had advance knowledge but the caller was good enough to get them all leaping and weaving for the most complicated one of the night so he can take some credit. I've never seen anyone dancing a ceilidh without grinning ear-to-ear, even the goths stepping rather nicely in their New Rocks.
One final drink and wrap in the very peaceful authors' yurt then it was time to say farewell to the book festival, grab one last flyer, and flag a taxi to te POOKa for members' night.
Tom-in-tails (either on door duty or just lurking) welcomed us back into the fold and we were allocated special comfort on the alarmingly low recliner beneath her ladyship's bed. I say alarmingly as one who could not really bend in the middle, so it wasn't long before the corset moved off me and into the bag, to replace the cake exiting the bag...
The pooks were half-way through reviewing the shows of the big red door with edited highlights and re-enactments of vital moments, as well as scathing crits of any trouble-makers by those on the rant box. Anyone could leap onto the love box to counter or defend, but no-one did against the charges of diva against a certain singer and those daft enough to invite her.
Amanda Palmer's performance of 'Hallelujah' (formerly an old favourite of mine. Not her version, I mean the song) was nominated as the worst performance of the Fringe, and there followed the most gleefully dischordant abuse of the song by the entire hall. Word play mimed us a good 'Venus Carmichael', some interpretive dance reviewed 'Banana folk', and the pooks plus volunteers managed an innovative adaptation of 'Nights at the Circus' that has left me in need of the original Angela Carter. I arrived fine mins too late to see that show last night but spent the rest of the evening with the cast and crew of it, so I thought I had half an idea already, but no!
Assorted entertainments from household and friends of the Door followed, starting with a pinstriped Cate so dazzling and powerful on trapeze she looks out of place on dry land, Lord Moore and Callum, both talented singer-songwriters on guitar and several others including Edinburgh's sexiest upside-down drunks. Then I read my techno druid extract without too many stutters, accompanied by Tom on drum. I have no idea if my words were audible to the audience above the rythym but it sounded pretty good from our side of the spotlight and has left me with the desire to do more strange duets. We were followed by Lady Lawson herself, who stripped for her grand hula finale. I left them dancing reggae.
The monsoon hit me as I headed for a taxi, powered by Lord Moore (sans guitar). The joy of the venue having a vehicular entrance means that there is a ramp edge onto the road there too, so no pavement edges to bump down. Fortunately a cab was passing and responded to being flagged down so that was me back to the wild edges of the city. I have the festival blues already today and its not even breakfast time. I'd move back into the city if I could but only if I could do it without actually leaving this place as I love it here too.
The world's best personal assistant has been in, I've found my firework tickets and Tescoman has been and gone, so now I am going to sleep.