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Category Archives: Projects

Been doing the do

It’s been a while, so much has happened since I last listed jobs and progress, I had been dreading reappraising my jobs and projects lists. So let’s see if I’m nearer a B- Good Effort than the C- could do better…..

  • Update Management Company spreadsheets ✅
  • Email Agents for update on works pending ✅
  • Liaise with Director over estate business ✅
  • Order Great-Niece’s birthday present (4 already!) ✅
  • Collate care professionals names, addresses, phone numbers ❌
  • Begin DLA to PIP migration (scary) ✅ and blogged
  • Amass medical evidence ✅
  • Do own financial evaluation ✅
  • Source home demo powerchairs – ⚠️ shelved temporarily
  • Update website (1st Aug) – ❌
  • Cogitate Mac ‘big projects’ list ✅
  • Go through and weed 300+ saved read emails ✅
  • Finish cat blanket crochet ✅ and a couple more ✅✅

Blimey it looks like I’ve been super busy, and I am really surprised considering all the extra stress and business I’ve had cross my world these last three months. Now then, what shall we aim for over the next couple of months ……

  • Complete three cat blankets
  • Complete photo organising project
  • Mac back up
  • Add sailing blog to my website
  • Add photo album to website
  • Send letter and photos to Aunt
  • Finish current book and review
  • Sort, weed, tidy desk and draws

That should do for now.

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Posted by on October 12, 2019 in General, Life, Projects, Website

 

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Fair Winds Following Seas – Farewell Friend

I’m saying good bye to another old friend, a tangible piece of my life’s adventure.

The Jubilee Sailing Trust operates two tall ships that are designed to accommodate many forms of disability, not only things like deafness and sight impaired, but also stroke victims, amputees, wheelchair users and mental health sufferers. We are all involved within the watch rota to sail the ships and keep them shipshape. Across her thirty year history STS Lord Nelson known as “Nellie”, has circumnavigated the globe, chased icebergs, clipped the Bermuda Triangle, tamed the China Seas, she has raced as part of the tall ship fleets and been the floating ambassador and has touched hundreds of thousands of mixed ability lives for the better.

A family friend passed a brochure to me in the eighties and I had toyed with the idea of running away to sea, so when Nellie visited my home port I secretly took myself off, explored her and spoke to a volunteer crew member, over a mug of hot tea and freshly baked cake we chatted, mused, discussed and laughed. After that I made up my mind to throw myself fully into this once-in-a-lifetime-never-to-repeat adventure and booked a four-week passage from Southampton to Gran Canaria via Lisbon.

The experience was nerve wracking, exhilarating, daunting, engaging, challenging, educational, but filled with hilarity, congeniality, and above all else, equality. We were just a bunch of people sailing together. I enjoyed myself so much that I repeated the experience another two times on Nellie before my last voyage on the sister ship Tenacious. The atmosphere and camaraderie onboard is indescribable and so special. It’s where I learnt to tie a bona fide hangman’s noose, take down the shipping forecast, complete obs for the Met Office. I’ve hauled ropes, peeled potatoes, polished brass, coiled ropes, swabbed decks, scrubbed toilets, pulled ropes, brewed tea, repaired flags, and messed about with ropes. I’ve been man handled, hauled, shoved, shifted, and tied down, I’ve laughed until I cried and cried until I laughed; I’ve helmed, watched, hauled, radioed, taught navigation rhymes, learnt a bewildering language of terms and created a few specific to Nellie and many other such useful/less life skills. I even have a qualification, the Department of Transport Steering Competency (sailing) Certificate from time at the helm before the mast. I’ve made friends I still keep in touch with. I’ve had conversations and shared experiences (like being at the helm when we were struck by lightning, playing with dolphins, counting shooting stars). There are anecdotes galore, not all repeatable in polite company.

Recently the Trust has been forced to look hard at its future running. A promised significant donation from a business source failed to materialise resulting in the Trust nearly folding (we raised £1 million in a week to save it). Subsequently the decision has been sadly made to decommission Nellie.

I kept a detailed diary, my (dis)abled seapersons twig (as opposed to captains log) for two of my voyages are on my website www.amgroves.com It’s on my list to add the others.

It is unknown what her next adventure will be, but I wish her fair winds and following seas, as we salty dog types say; and another piece of my heart is broken and another tear will fall.

 
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Posted by on October 11, 2019 in In The News, Life, people, Projects, Website

 

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Waiting for others

Update ….. ‘still‘ waiting for the Social Worker assessment report. I called to chase up and was called back with someone relaying they message ‘by Thursday’, I’m wondering whether to hold by breath or not.

Today the PIP peeps wrote saying they have all they need to make a decision and there’s no need to contact them (I’m still intending to send the Social Worker report when I get it because I think it’s necessary).

So, I’m waiting on people who are necessarily bothered about time tables and deadlines.

*sigh*

 
5 Comments

Posted by on October 8, 2019 in Life, Projects

 

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Pic App-titude

Way back I blogged a list of project jobs, one was the ‘ list Mac jobs’ which involved going through the iMac, my iPads, the external hard drive and flash drives, resorting, relabelling, reorganising all the various files, folders, media (music, movie snips, videos) and documents, the biggest job being the reconfigurations of photos.

When I first started keeping photographs on a computer a mere nineteen years ago, I applied my usual office organisation skills and had folders titled with the event, within was a folder containing the originals and a second folder for any that had been edited for whatever reason, made into collages etc. Slowly the collection grew and I began keeping a back-up on a flash drive and when the collection got considerably larger on an external hard drive.

Then I switched over to iMac with its useful (to some degree) iPhoto app. Initially this piece of kit automatically synced all photos anywhere and lumped them in, to then be divided into ‘events’, later also ‘albums’ and finally the annoying adage of ‘faces’ (it scanned your photos and tagged familiar faces). But the downside was that the photo was held in its library and not as an accessible file somewhere, some events had multiples of the same photo but different size or quality but the info was not instantly there for comparison.

Apple, in their questionable wisdom, revamped and released a new image handling app called “Photos” (dropped the i and added the s, bet that was an intense creative meeting). This new app added in the iPhoto library but as a separate folder and again the individual images had all their info hidden. Also I keep an archive of photos relevant to another project and use the file name as info and sometimes keep a second copy with the relevant ©️ info added for uploading to the web. I didn’t get on with this Mac method of handling images and preferred to keep some photos in organised files and some I uploaded to add to similar albums in either iPhoto or photos. It sounds messy doesn’t it? It is!

So, I rolled up my sleeves and got stuck in, I ‘exported’ each album to a folder on the desktop from both iPhoto and Photo, renamed them with the relevant info (exporting creates a whole new image and doesn’t carry over the originals metadata info, nor useful file name). Copied those kept as standard files in my documents into their relevant folders. Upload photos from my old iPad and my iPad Air, named them and sorted them.

The question now was duplicates. I needed a bit of kit to sort through each folder individually and across several folders to highlight any duplicates and show me the details (where it is, what size it is, what file type) so I can decide whether to delete or keep it. After asking Google and checking the App Store reading the reviews I settled on one. Prepped and ready I went through each separate album and then the complete library and was rather impressed that there had not been hundreds to check and check again. Hmm, a seed of niggling doubt crept it. I opened an album “MIAMI 2003” and skimmed through the individual folders, and found a significant number of duplicates! What!! A duplicate finder that didn’t find duplicates, I tweaked the preferences but still it did not find all the obvious duplicates. Back to Google, read more reviews, but I have not run the folders through it yet. I’ve already spent four desk sessions on the job, I’ll leave that for tomorrow. And I’m yet to start on the archive catalogue!

Still, it’s been pleasant flipping through all these photos, being reminded of things I’ve been to, realising what a bad choice that hair or clothes were, coming across that hidden gem.

We have this technology to quickly, easily snap away but do we ever take the time to flip through an album and revisit a memory.

 
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Posted by on October 1, 2019 in Life, Projects, Tech

 

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I’s crossed & T’s dotted

The dreaded form was given another read through, I had neglected to make it plain and clear that my physical restrictions were constant and unchanging, no good days or bad days just days. While BFF was here we scanned in my Occupational Therapist report so I had a copy on the computer, printed off the support letter from the MD Care Advisor and another copy of the OT report (even managed to fandangle the two-sided printing!)

We scanned in my completed form, it’s the best way I can keep a copy of exactly what I had written. We made sure I had signed the form, stapled the evidence together and slid it all into the envelope provided, Now even though they provide a freepost address I decided to send it belt and braces. When we went to the Post Office I said I wanted it sent so I could check online to know it’s been delivered, I paid the £7.40 and got the stickers stuck.

Next day I checked the tracker and took a screen grab showing the time, date, address and signature of recipient. Phew, it’s in the building, I have done all I could.

Now I wait ….. wait for the Social Worker report, scan it, print off a copy and send it to them (and hope it finds its way to the rest of my papers) ….. wait for the decision from DWP as to whether there’s a face to face visit or not.

*fingers-crossed*

Phase one complete, begin waiting for phase two.

 
6 Comments

Posted by on September 17, 2019 in Projects

 

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Unprofessional Professional

August 23rd, the day when plans went wrong and although it was 99% circumstantial I was 100% put out by it all.

The day was supposed to go along these lines, 2:15pm organised care visit to load up the slow cooker and have a toilet stop, 3:00pm social worker visit to update care assessment and risk plans report, 5:30pm Nephew delivers fresh bread, 6:30pm dinner making care visit.

This is what happened, 2:15pm carer arrived, usual pit stop routine, start loading the slow cooker and the phone goes. Social Worker called to make me aware he was running about thirty minutes late. No probs, all good, sit and wait. Postponed BFF’s walking home 4pm phone call. Waited some more. 5:00pm Social Worker wandered in, no apology, no explanation, sat down ready to go through lengthy assessment which needed many edits, as well as corrections and additions. 5:20pm carer arrives, now I could have said it was not convenient but then I wouldn’t know when or who would be arriving and my dinner was brewing, so forego toilet pit stop and while she’s dishing up my noshings Nephew arrives on time with bread.

So here I am, eating my dinner, Social Worker still here going through report, unable to spend quality one to one time with nephew (first opportunity since Big Sis, his Mum, had died and we’d held the service).

Social Worker eventually leaves about 6:15pm with promise to get report done and to me before I need to send my PIP form back.

As no report dropped through my door by 3rd September I telephoned the office to be told my Social Worker was on two weeks annual leave (why didn’t he mention this at our meeting) and was told someone would call me back. 5pm the next day the call is returned and caller says SW had left a note that I ‘might’ be calling about it (too bleeping right, I was waiting for the promised document). Essentially the note was sorry I’ll get it to you after I get back 🙄.

 
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Posted by on September 16, 2019 in Projects

 

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Battle Commenced

After taking an afternoon to read the instructional notes and the forty paged PIP2 form, I ruminated, cogitated, considered, made notes, and sat at my desk last Saturday morning and began the dreaded task.

Okay so the first couple of pages were not so daunting, listing the names, address and last appointment dates of medical professionals I have contact with. They only have boxes for three, I have six, hmm, how to prioritise, those I see the most (Physio, Occ Health) or the more important sounding (Consultant, GP) and make a note to add the others in the ‘additional information’ section.

Now to the gritty part, how my disability affects what I do in general areas of life, how it’s gotten around, what aids are used, what extra is needed. The tick boxes are ticked, then the explanation paragraph, how to be concise and exact to cover all scenarios within the half dozen lines in the box provided. Completing these things can be mentally demoralising because you have to admit, in writing, all the things I cannot achieve and the impact it has every moment of everyday, the exact opposite I am trying to think about every moment of everyday. Also I am so used to doing things the way I do, it is easy to forget it is not the general natural way that ‘ables’ do it, my usual is so normal I don’t think of it as different or awkward, but it needs adding to the form. Always keeping in mind the reader knows less than nothing.

I scribble draft one in pencil on my note pad, edit it, and check the wording for its accuracy and spelling before committing it to the form in ink. As my fingers, wrists and arms are affected by my FSHD I struggle holding the pen/pencil and writing clean and clearly for any length of time can cause strain and cramp, so after three questions that’s enough. Time to put it away and come back to it another day. I returned to it Sunday morning, reread what I had written, add something I had forgotten and start again with the next question, and again on Tuesday, making other notes of what to add in the ‘additional information’ page.

So far I have a detailed letter of support from the Muscular Dystrophy Regional Care Advisor and a lengthy report from the Occupational Therapist, I am waiting to receive a second lengthy report with risk assessment from my Social Worker.

Across the weekend I will finish the form, a friend (former work colleague) is visiting Saturday and she’ll read it through to see if it makes sense. Then Sunday I’ll scan the pages into my computer and copy the reports I have, printing my details on the back of every page incase they get separated in the office. While my BFF is here we will wander to the post office and despite it being a free post return, get a certificate of postage, pay extra for it to be tracked and signed for. I’m wondering what it costs to hire a guy with a briefcase chained to his waist because I am not going to be happy if it goes missing before being properly processed.

The saga continues…..

 
9 Comments

Posted by on August 30, 2019 in Projects

 

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