Wednesday, 31 October 2007

Remember, remember...

It's a strange time of year; Halloween tonight and Firework Night on Monday. As a Christian I'm not a fan of Halloween. Despite the fact that these days it is mostly just kids dressing up and asking for sweets, I'm still uneasy about the message it sends. No doubt most of them will turn out fine but it worries me that introducing children to the idea of spirits, witches and other dark stuff at such a young age, sets a dangerous precedent. I worry that once some of these kids reach their teenage years, they'll be so desensitised about this sort of thing that it will only be a small step to ouija boards and other dodgy stuff. Besides who needs two holidays in such close proximity to each other? Firework night is much more fun.

Although when one thinks about it more deeply, Firework night is pretty darn weird itself. If a terrorist plot to blow up the Houses of Parliament was thwarted today, can you imagine the country holding a festival to celebrate it 400 years later? Circumstances today are not so very far removed from back then. The terrorism in 1605 was a direct result of clashes between religions. Even so, I'm pretty sure there would just be a collective "Phew, that was close," and then we'd get on with life as normal. Would we be burning effigies of Osama Bin Laden on bonfires on the same day every year? I expect (and hope) not.

Incidentally do you think Robert Catesby would be a bit put out to know that Guy Fawkes got all the publicity? Catesby was the mastermind of the Gunpowder Plot but rarely gets a mention, save in history lessons at primary school. Fawkes was the man charged with setting the gunpowder alight so he got the spotlight. Even when it came to their executions Fawkes made the headlines. All were to be hung, drawn and quartered but Mr F managed to avoid the worst and most painful parts of the execution. Before being hung he jumped from the platform and broke his neck. Nice eh?

So I suppose what I'm saying is that we Brits are pretty weird with our celebrations. We really should come up with something to replace Halloween and Guy Fawkes Night. Suggestions on a postcard please. Anything involving cake will be very favourably looked upon.

Monday, 29 October 2007


Hi. My name's Giraffe-a-licious and I'm a listaholic.

Thank you for making me feel so welcome at this, my first Listaholic's Anonymous meeting. I can't quite pinpoint when my problem began. Perhaps it is genetic. My mum has a list problem too but has never confronted it. Not that I'm trying to shift the blame. I know this list-making is of my own doing and I am responsible for resolving it. It's a daily fight for me against bullet-points and the urge to alphabetise. There is something so satisfying about ticking off the items on a list. But once you've ticked one, you need to tick another and another until you realise that you can never find true fulfilment at the bottom of a list.

I write lists. I think lists. I actively search for other peoples' lists. It's taking over my life. The BBC released a list a few years ago of the Nation's Top 100 books. I have made it my goal to read all 100. I'm at 56 right now. I spend my days wading through Bleak House, convinced that Dickens wrote it merely to torture me and yet I must go on. I must complete the list.

Have you ever thought about the word 'listless'? The OCED defines it as "lacking energy or enthusiasm". That is me in a life without lists! A life without lists, be they shopping lists or to-do lists, is a life half lived. Brothers and sisters, join me in my joyous list-making! We can all live in a more organised, efficient world - what bliss!

So... will anyone be my sponsor?

Saturday, 27 October 2007

Christmas, Cotton Traders and Charity Shops

I'm concerned for my sanity. I think I've aged 20 years in the 3 months that my sister has been away on the other side of the pond. She may be picking up the accent but I've picked up some more disturbing habits.

It started quite innocently. I merely accompanied the parents on a visit to a bird reserve whilst on holiday. The next thing I knew I had an article in Birds magazine. I had started down a road that could only end in pain. Yesterday I found myself doing my Christmas shopping. In Marks & Spencer. I'm voluntarily listening to Radio 2. And last night I reached my lowest ebb. I found myself browsing through the Cotton Traders brochure. Great is my woe! I have betrayed my youth and embraced middle-age two decades too early. Only the return of my younger sister can save me now. Thursday cannot come too soon.

I apologise for bringing Christmas into these blog pages before the end of October. It is not by choice. A couple of days ago I heard Fairytale of New York on the radio and today I turned on the TV only to be confronted with Mistletoe and Wine on a music channel. I started my shopping out of necessity. I've found that a wheelchair and Christmas shopping make unhappy bedfellows. Crowds greatly increase the already not inconsiderable stress of navigating department stores. So as the organised world starts its shopping in November, I have to get started in October.

On a more satisfying note I discovered the world of charity shops yesterday. The perfect place to pick up books and films. Traditionally I'm a library girl when it comes to books but lately I have been very disappointed in their stock. Not only that but when I asked to reserve a title I was informed that it would cost me £1 whether or not they managed to locate the book! You don't go into a cafe and let the proprietor charge you £1 for a cup of tea, whether or not he can find the teabags! Anyway, as a result of visiting 3 charity shops yesterday I came away with 5 books and 3 films for under £10. What's more, that £10 is going to charidee, not to the local council that fund ridiculous art installations. Win-win. Read, view, take them back to the shops and they get sold again. Highly recommended.

Wednesday, 24 October 2007

School daze - that's an overused pun isn't it?

I was watching Grosse Pointe Blank the other night. For those not in the know it's a 90s rom-com, but of a slightly more twisted variety than most. John Cusack plays a hitman returning to his home town for a high school reunion and meeting up again with his long lost love played by Minnie Driver. It got my thinking about school reunions. Being a mere stripling of 23 I haven't had to face that potential nightmare as yet and I'm desperately hoping that I never have to.

There are only two reasons to attend a school reunion. Curiosity and vanity. Curiosity to see how people have turned out and vanity because you are convinced that your life is better than theirs. What a sad waste of an evening. If you're rich and successful then you've not really gained anything from going. You're still rich and successful when you leave and have probably only succeeded in making a few people feel like failures. If you're struggling through life then you'll still be struggling when you leave and will have merely found a few more people to hate in life. People with kids will start wishing they didn't have them. People without kids will start to wish they did. It's a no-win situation. The grass is always greener and all that. Someone else's life may sound wonderful for those few hours but we never see the reality of it. School reunions are all about a facade. As soon as you step over the threshold you're suddenly and inexplicably enthusiastic about your life, career, children and everything else that you've been moaning about for the past 10 years.

Personally a school reunion is my worst nightmare because it is the place in the universe where you are most likely to be asked the, "So, what do you do?" question. Gah. Save me. The next time someone asks me that I think I'll take a leaf out of John Cusack's book - "I'm a professional killer." Cool. I'm pretty sure that at least 80% of the population are unhappy in their work so it's a nasty irony that we are constantly being defined by what we do rather than who we are. Sure, I've got my spiel - "Well not a lot actually. I've been ill with M.E. for 10 years which is quite rubbish but I do bits of voluntary work here and there." I'm as guilty as the next person though because I always seem to follow it up with, "and what about you?"

What is boils down to is that anyone that you really care about from your school days you'll still be in touch with. Death to school reunions! Pointless, miserable and fake.

Monday, 22 October 2007

Confessions of a Ridiculous Mind

Whilst watching Michael Palin drive a steam train around Poland yesterday my mum uttered the immortal words, "Do you use a steering wheel to drive a train?" Ah mum. How I love her. This is also the woman who confused Bruce Willis with Bruce Lee. No mum, Bruce Willis isn't a dead martial arts expert and that isn't Bruce Lee running around Nakatomi Plaza out-witting Alan Rickman.

Sadly this tendancy of revealing a lack of understanding on certain matters (it's actually a rather sweet combination of naivety, innocence and ignorance) appears to be genetic. For years I thought that there were A LOT of Wombles in Wimbledon. I still maintain that error was the fault of whomsoever was hired to sing the theme tune. Think back will you? #...the Wombles of Wimbledon (singer takes breath), Common are we...# You see my problem? Either there are a vast number of them or they all speak Estuary English.

My biggest clanger came during a game of Absolute Balderdash. Evidently I had left my brain at the door that day because when tasked with inventing a feasible plot line for a film of which I had only the title, I somehow stumbled onto the brilliant idea of astronauts going to the moon and diving in the Sea of Tranquility. I was very proud of myself and certain I was destined to get a few points out of my clever story. That is until it was pointed out that the Sea of Tranquility is not exactly a sea and to the hilarity of many present I was left sadly trying to defend my theory of water on the moon. Not my finest hour.

I do a great line in misheard lyrics too. But perhaps that had best wait for another day. I can only take so much embarrassment at a time.

Friday, 19 October 2007

To whom it may concern

Dear Kettering Borough Council

What the heck is wrong with you? A couple of days ago it was announced that you are commissioning a £48,000 piece of artwork for the town. Now I'm as much of an art fan as the next person (not too big a fan then obviously) but £48,000 worth of tax-payers' money going to create pieces of sculpture that would be called eye-sores if they weren't art, is absurd.

You have made a great deal of the fact that you're asking the members of the general public to vote and decide which of three designs we would most like to see. If you're going to that trouble could you not also have a 'no artwork' option? An opportunity for those of us who would like to see the money spent on maintaining roads, improving libraries or providing better school bus services, to make our feelings known.

Apparently artists were asked to design pieces that would 'create a link between three green spaces so visitors to Kettering could appreciate how the town fits together'. What utter claptrap. Firstly, visitors to Kettering? You're having a laugh right? I suppose it's conceivable that someone could get lost on the way to Cambridge or Birmingham and find themselves wandering the streets. Even if that were the case I'm not convinced that they are likely to be overcome with delight at the way that these three oddball sculptures reflect Kettering's togetherness.

It's not the first time that the council has done something like this. Back in 2005 you paid £10,000 for a monstrosity of a clock in the town centre. At least in this instance it was erected for a specific purpose - to celebrate 100 years of the Rotary Club - although how many of our town's residents actually know that is another matter.

I am fed up with local government complaining that it doesn't have enough money for vital services, upping the council tax and then spending out on such frivolous and pointless projects.

Yours grumpily

Words fail to describe just how horrific this clock is.

Wednesday, 17 October 2007

Nobody needs good Neighbours

It's not often that I'm proud of myself but today I hold my head high. I haven't seen an episode of Neighbours for four months. I deserve a chip to carry around with me like in AA! Although to be fair I do have an inkling that it's probably a wee bit easier to stay clean of an Australian soap opera than the demon drink.

I can't remember when I first started watching Neighbours. My mum watched it so I probably first got hooked on a sick day off school. I've never watched any other soap and yet Neighbours sucked me in. Maybe it was the sunshine (although Home & Away had that too) or maybe the fact that it was more light-hearted than most other TV dramas? I don't know, but somehow it got its claws into me and hung on there for 10-15 years.

When I became ill with M.E. the addiction grew, worryingly but understandably fast. I was able to do so little that the TV took on a rather sad significance in my life. This is excusable. What is not, is the fact that even once I started to feel better and get out more, my day continued to revolve around Ramsey Street's residents. Of course it's only a 25 minute programme, that shouldn't cause too many problems. But the BBC are a canny bunch of schedulers when they want to be. Neighbours led to Doctors, Doctors to Murder She Wrote, then it was off to Channel 4 for Countdown and before I knew it two and a half hours had disappeared into the ether.

But I shall not dwell on these dark days for now I am cured! And it's all thanks to Wimbledon. They take Neighbours off the air for those two glorious weeks of tennis in the summer. This year, once I got to the end of the fortnight I realised that I didn't miss those Aussies one jot. I decided to see how I got on without dipping into the lives of Susan, Karl and co every day. That they had just killed off Stingray also helped in my decision making process - a clanger of an error in my mind! Well what do you know? I survived. In fact I felt far better. I read or wrote or rested or just watched the world go by out of my window - all of it more productive than those hours in front of the gogglebox. Because by doing away with Neighbours, I also got rid of Doctors and in turn Murder, She Wrote. I have had the odd foray into the world of Jessica Fletcher since then I'll admit, but you can't beat a bit of Angela Lansbury detective work!

So dear readers, I am free. Those strangely bronzed Aussies hold no sway over me now. So they can move it to Channel 5 for all I care. I just hope that the rest of the soaps follow shortly.

Monday, 15 October 2007

Old before my time

They say you’re as young as you feel. Well, that puts me at about 80 then. I get the feeling that there’s a spritely granny in Weston-super-Mare or some such seaside town running around with my youth. Not only do I creak when I bend down (or up if I get that far) but I have recently developed some other, distinctly pensioner like tendencies.

I hold forth on the state of society and bemoan the lack of respect present in young people today. I am constantly expressing my surprise at the youth of the weathermen. I lament the demise of the English language, its grammar and punctuation. I can’t understand why half the female population of Britain are content to show such quantities of flesh in summer, or these days even in winter! I despair at the amounts of money spent on weddings. I bewail the modern society’s reliance on technology and it’s idolisation of beauty and fashion. I hate the fact that it is no longer safe for children to play outside without constant supervision. I long for the days when you could ring your bank and speak to a real, living, breathing person from your local branch. I’m constantly frustrated by this generation’s ignorance of British history and the men and women who fought for our freedom. I fail to comprehend the appeal of so-called ‘celebrities’ and the national interest in every aspect of their lives.

And what’s more, I have this overwhelming desire to share my opinions with anyone unlucky enough to cross my path. Sorry.

Sunday, 14 October 2007

Swing Lo, Sweet Chariot

Is it possible to get a hangover without alcohol? That seems to be the case for me this morning. I blame the England rugby team. Did they not read my post on adrenaline? They're cruel men, putting me through the wringer like that. Funnily enough I don't exactly have my blogging head on at this very moment. However, having had a quick skim read of the sports pages this morning, I felt I had to share a few words with those of you who aren't fortunate enough to read the Daily Telegraph.

Paul Ackford's column reports on England's preparation for yesterday's match and contains a number of jokes apparently doing the rounds in the form of texts, in the wake of the quarter-final results last weekend.

What's the difference between the All Blacks and a teabag?
The teabag stays in the cup longer.

What's the difference between an Aussie and a 747?
The 747 stops whining when it lands.

Which video has Wales's caretaker coach been watching lately?
Free Willy. It's the last time whales got out of their pool.


Friday, 12 October 2007

More Gore

So I've just heard that Al Gore has been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. What the dickens? Kudos to him for his environmental work but the peace prize? His work has probably created more confrontations (albeit important ones) between scientists, politicians and the like. It's a weird world.

An Inconvenient Possibility?

This week saw Al Gore’s controversial, Oscar-winning documentary ‘An Inconvenient Truth’ making headlines once more. This time it was all to do with a High Court Ruling on the use of the film in British schools. A school governor had brought the case to court amid concerns that the film was being distributed and viewed without explanatory material necessary to give a balanced view on the issue of climate change.

The film was described as an ‘alarmist shockumentary’. The judge, who ruled that the film may continue to be shown in schools providing that the required guidance notes, noted a number of alleged exaggerations and errors in Gore’s film mostly with regard to the wording and time scales used and the presentation of hypothesis as scientific fact.

Now an admission; I’m one of those people who has an opinion without having seen the film. I do have a copy in the house. It is one of a number of ‘should-see’ films on a shelf gathering unhealthy amounts of dust. I should also probably mention that I am pretty much the first person to get annoyed when others start ranting away on their pet-subjects without having all their facts straight. But nevertheless I have decided that this being my blog, I am perfectly entitled to hold double standards within its pages! And so…

It’s pretty clear to me that there is a decent amount of truth and scientific proof in most of Mr. Gore’s arguments. There has been concern over CO2 levels for years and the effects it could be having on the environment. Yes, the film was probably a little one sided but surely that was the point? Numerous scientific documentaries have been made on the subject with few results. A ‘shockumentary’ is just what the world needed; a kick up the backside to get both governments and consumers to make changes to their policies and lifestyles. Whether or not Gore is correct and greenhouse gases are fully to blame for global warming is irrelevant. There is enough evidence that they are part of the problem. Ever heard of Pascal’s wager? Summarised, it reads as follows: "If God does not exist, the Atheist loses little by believing in him and gains little by not believing. If God does exist, the Atheist gains eternal life by believing and loses an infinite good by not believing." Now I’m not going to get into the philosophical and religious implications of this statement. I merely want to apply the theory to An Inconvenient Truth.

If Gore is wrong, the world loses little by both listening to him and making changes accordingly, and by not listening to him. If Gore is right, the world gains a huge amount by listening to him and loses greatly by ignoring him. Weighing these two options up, the obvious conclusion is surely that it is a great deal safer to listen to and act on Gore’s (and much of the scientific community’s) words than to ignore it.

Even if you don’t hold with that, take pity on the poor chap. There aren’t many men in the world to win the popular vote in an election but ultimately lose out to a monkey in a suit.

Wednesday, 10 October 2007

Lies and power

The political landscape in Britain has got a little more interesting over the past couple of weeks. Following on from David Cameron's address at the Tory conference the Conservatives seem to have staged a mini-revival. Or at least gained enough momentum to make Gordon Brown think again about holding a snap election.

As a former Economics A-level student I watched with interest yesterday (well that may be exaggerating a little, but I expect I watched with more interest than your average Briton) as Alistair Darling laid out his tax and spending plans for the future in his Pre-Budget Report and Spending Review. No yawning at the back there please. It had its entertaining moments but no matter how amusing it was to see the Chancellor and George Osbourne go at each other after the statement, my main issue with politics and politicians in general still remains and in my opinion taints and makes the void the point of having debate such as this in the House of Commons. Politicians lie. Not a new revelation I know but the bulk of my frustration comes from the way that they not only lie but avoid answering straight questions with straight answers. I've lost count of the number of times I have seen or heard interviews with MPs where to all intents and purposes the interviewer need not be there. The answers given bear no relation to the questions asked and it drives me loopy.

Politicians are the drug-taking athletes of the governmental world. How many times have we heard disgraced sportsmen protesting that they had no choice but to take whatever illegal substance they have chosen to imbibe if they wanted to be in with a chance of winning? They claim that almost all athletes are taking these performance enhancing substances and that they are merely trying to make it a level playing field. Well in the political arena I've no doubt that the same claims are made, albeit non-verbally, when attempting to justify the lies and question dodging. Let's say that a truly honest politician appears on the scene and is attempting to compete with the Browns and Camerons of this world in a general election. Elections and government in general is ultimately all about promises; what can they promise and who do the population believe will help us the most? A government has limited resources and so must decide which areas of society need the most funding and help. The honest man knows that and so will lay out his plans truthfully, identifying the areas he feels are most in need and admitting that other matters will have to be put on the back burner for the moment. The average politician does not do that. He/she will promise almost everything to everyone despite knowing that such plans are completely untenable. What's the result? The liar gets into power because he has promised more and the honest man heads home with nothing but his integrity. Thus the cycle of lying politicians continues.

Some may say I'm too cynical. Perhaps they're right. If I feel like this at 23, how bitter and twisted will I be by the time I'm 70? But as Catchphrase always taught me, I say what I see. What we need is two truthful politicians to enable honest debates and straightforward promises. What's that I see on the horizon? Oh it's a squadron of flying pigs...

Monday, 8 October 2007

TV Traitor

I like to think that I'm fairly patriotic and do my bit in waving the flag for British goods and services. There's no better chocolate than Cadbury's and no-one does News like the British media. But news is just one part of the media and sadly when it comes to TV quality in general, Britain has been in freefall lately, slipping down the international rankings further with each new unoriginal reality show and soap. Every successful show is instantly copied by its rival channels, perhaps with a few added extras to give the illusion of innovation. These look-a-likes then clog up the schedules for months, if not years, to come. Daytime staples Bargain Hunt; Cash in the Attic; Flog It; Car Booty - is there really any difference between them all? Then there are the likes of Move to the Country; A Place in the Sun; Location, Location, Location; To Buy or Not to Buy; Homes Under The Hammer - save me from this housing-related avalanche of drivel. The majority of British so-called-drama are soaps in disguise. Either that or murder mysteries and police procedurals. Is it not surprising that many TV viewers are now rejecting British programmes in favour of the American imports?

Sad to say, I'm one of them. Unlike others however, I am not under the illusion that all American TV is good TV. I have no doubt that their schedules are just as, if not more heavy laden with cheap and tacky shows as our own. But the difference is that when something is good over there, it's very good. I would love it if British TV could produce shows with the quality of Heroes, Prison Break, The West Wing, Alias, Without A Trace, ER and 24 but it just hasn't happened yet. The nearest we've got is probably BBC's Spooks - genuinely gripping television and yet it still lacks something. I'm never all that bothered if I miss an episode of Spooks and yet when some of the aforementioned American shows are on I never fail to set my video recorder. I don't know what the solution is. If I did then I'd probably be lobbying to become the Director General of the BBC. What I am sure of is that the answer is not more commercial channels. ITV's content is downright awful at the moment. Unless there's a sporting event of particular interest to me, I never watch it. Channel 4 seem to rely too much on the American imports (until Rupert Murdoch nicks them and takes them off to Sky One). They and Channel 5 are also culpable when it comes to making documentaries with overly sensationalised titles. No matter how moving a programme may be it's difficult to take something seriously when you're constantly reminded that the title is something along the lines of 'The Boy With Two Heads'. And don't get me started on the dross that fills the schedules of most digital and cable channels.

I wonder whether in the future we'll see a society increasingly returning to books for entertainment. It would be no bad thing and I've no doubt there is more amusement and interest to found within the pages of a Jane Austen novel than a hundred episodes of Deal or No Deal.

Friday, 5 October 2007

Ignorance vs. Stupidity

I'm used to a fair bit of ignorance. Although awareness of M.E. is now increasingly wide-spread I've no doubt that I'll still spend a great deal of my life readying to answer the "Isn't M.E. just about being tired?" question. I can deal with a bit of ignorance. More frustrating is ignorance combined with an inability to listen to a simple reply and take on board the information. But that's a topic for another day. Ignorance is acceptable up to a point. Today however I encountered a human being of such ignorance, arrogance, stupidity and thoughtlessness that I was rendered mute.

On leaving our holiday cottage today and giving our thanks to the owner, my parents and I had the misfortune to meet a photographer, at the cottages to take some professional photographs for advertising etc. My mum had been chatting quite happily to both the owner and picture-snapper and we were about to get in the car and on our merry way. It happened to be mentioned in passing that it was likely I would be accompanying my parents on holidays for a good few years to come. The man in question burbled something about getting rid of his kids as soon as possible etc. Fair enough. He doesn't know the circumstances. My mum chips in to explain that things are a bit different for us due to my illness. The moronic photographer responds with, "Oh, they all have illnesses these days!". Mum clarifies that I've had this illness for over 10 years. She may as well have not spoken for all the notice he took. "Independence is the best thing for them. Get them living out on their own." Good grief man. For a start, before mum had explained the 10 years part it was most unclear what sort of illness I had. For all he knew I could have had cancer or some sort of degenerative M.S. like disease. How awful, if that had been the case, would it have been to hear someone say "Oh, they all have illnesses..." With regard to his opinions on independence, did he think that I would be on holiday with my parents at the age of 23 out of choice? If so he must be living in some sort of skewed reality. I would like nothing better than to have my independence. My enforced reliance on others is one of the most upsetting aspects of this illness.

Sorry to say that at the time, none of these thoughts were verbally expressed. I was simply shocked into silence at the absurdity of what he said! When I did get to thinking about it I was more incredulous than angry. I cannot believe that there are such people around these days. I am convinced that no matter what I had said to him in reply he wouldn't have taken in a jot of it. He blatantly had his opinion and would hear nothing of anyone else's. What a complete muppet. Ignorance is one thing, stupidity is quite another.

Tuesday, 2 October 2007

Oi! Where's my discount?

A bizarre incident took place today which at the time I thought nothing of. But the more I've thought on it, the more unimpressed I've become. I'm doing the family holiday thing at the moment. Just me and the parents on the East Coast and today, in honour of my Giraffe-a-licious tendencies, we went to visit my cloven-footed kindred at Africa Alive - a wildlife park just outside of Lowestoft. Prior to the trip we had taken a look at their website to assess the accessibility of the park (they score 0 when it comes to said information available on the site) and to find out their admission prices. We discovered that a wheelchair user receives a small discount and a carer a slightly larger one. Jolly good. So off we trotted.

We arrived safe and sound. I bundled myself into my wheelchair, Dad pushing, and we went to get our tickets. As we approached the desk we were greeted by a lady who quickly said "3 adults?" and rung up the charges. "Hang on a minute, is there not a discount for a wheelchair user and carer?" "Oh yes" says the lady, "only we don't give it unless you ask because some people don't like just having it handed out." What the blinking heck was that all about? At the time we just mumbled something about that being fine and that we understood, probably as a result of that innate British 'quality' of not wanting to offend anyone. But the more that my parents and I thought on it the more ridiculous and slightly disturbing it became.

Firstly, if a girl in a wheelchair being pushed by her father presents herself to such a ticket issuer it's pretty darn obvious that they are entitled to the discount that the park publicises on its website. You don't have to say out loud "1 adult, 1 disabled customer and 1 carer" and draw attention to the situation (evidently their main concern considering the explanation we were given). You just ring it up as such and ask for the total amount due. We shouldn't have to point it out to them!

Secondly, it seems to imply that being disabled is a terrible thing that no-one wants to talk about. Somehow it has become a taboo subject! How is it in anyway helpful to completely ignore the fact that someone is in a wheelchair? You don't have to waffle on about it but in this instance it needs to be recognised! Or are they worried that if they vocally confirm that I am in fact disabled and in a wheelchair that I'm going to throw a hissy fit and wheel around shouting that I'm not disabled? Bizarre indeed. This is either another symptom of political correctness gone mad or of a wildlife park trying to rip its disabled customers off and hiding it in a cloud of respectability. Either way it's just another example of the many absurdities that wheelchair users and the disabled in general have to deal with.