Do you really need a priority seat?

Hello again,

Before we begin I am starting with a polite reminder to you all to not push a disabled person to try get on the train before them.

Earlier this week I was getting on my train and a man was pushing from behind, he tried to get round the side of me. I could tell he was there. So I put my cane at the side of me, to stop him and give myself some room.

I stepped onto the train and again could feel him trying to push in front of me to get to the seats before me. Once again I took my time and put my cane out in front of me.
This is where it gets really ableist. He had the audacity to step over my cane, causing us both to be stood in the middle of the carriage. I said quite loudly ‘oh sorry’ I went to move my cane, and move for the priority seat.
He then pushed past my cane, and sat in the priority seat. I sat in the table seat the other side. I turned to him and once again said ‘Oh sorry’. Clearly sarcasm was lost on this man.
I smiled at the man in front and had my cane next to me. He just looked at me.

When we got off I made sure to stand up before the man who pushed his way to the priority seat. A lady got off before me and asked if I needed a hand. I said I was fine, but thank you for asking. In a loud enough and cheery manner that the ableist man behind would hear. Not that he would care.

The lady who was next to me on the train helped me onto the escalator and another woman stopped people getting on. She then asked if I needed a hand out the station. I replied no thank you. But to have a nice day and thank you for asking.

Some of you might be wondering why I’m so bothered by this as I got a seat.

Well, someone pushed passed me for a start whilst trying to get on the train, it’s dangerous, they then stepped over my cane, which he must have seen. He would have seen it because he had to step around me to step over it. To then just reply ‘it’s OK’ is extremely obnoxious. I use a guide cane, so it’s not like it’s easily missable.

Also the new trains which Northern are running have more table seats than they did previously. Which is frustrating as it is hard to navigate a table seat when you have a cane. I can’t easily fold it because I have shoulder pain which makes it harder to pull the cane to be able to fold it.

As obnoxiously rude as this man was, I tried not to let it ruin my day. You see even though he was one person ruining my day, I had three other people who were kind to me.

You can’t win them all.

My point for this blog is this, don’t push past people to get to a seat which is a priority one. If you see someone who is in a similar position to myself offer them your seat in a loud enough manner to be helpful and to shame the person who took the priority seat. Yes, shame. Ableism is a big thing. If you think you’re entitled to a priority seat and you are not disabled, you are ableist.

But what about people with hidden disabilities you may ask?
I agree, we do need to accommodate those people. But in situations such as the one I found myself in, this was not the case. He knew what was doing, he was trying to push past me, on a train where the aisles are only wide enough for one. He then had to step over my cane. This was ableism. No ifs or buts, ableism.

Your help to any human being goes along way. Even if they don’t say thank you. You did it to help another person.

My life is already harder because of my disabilities. Please don’t make it worse for the sake of seat.

Twitter: @PhilippaB

Instagram: @VisuallyImpiaredPip

What to write about?

Hello again,

I have been wondering what to write about and have ideas, but I’m quite tired and thinking about these various ideas gets me quite stressed and wound up.

One of the ideas for a blog post I have been meaning to write about for quite a while. However, it’s making the time to sit down, write it out then edit it… and it’s about making the time to do this.
I am not lazy. I just really struggle with breaking things down and making tasks seem less cumbersome and scarily huge. I have friends who run their own business, create apps, do photography, write, on top of doing another job. I find this incredible. I then have friends who go to uni and have a job and other additional things going on.

I often find myself asking ‘when do you sleep?’ they then laugh and ask what’s sleep? One of them schedules in time to relax. Now she’s smart.

I struggle with time, it is a concept I find infuriating, it gets me angry when I can’t do all the things other people do. Because, where’s the time?

But then I am reminded by these same people that I do a lot. I work within the confines of what I am able, that is smart. I just need to recognise this more. I need to be kinder to myself. Remember that the difficulties I face are different to others. That I can pursue my passions, providing I don’t overdo it.

One thing I am doing now is setting myself an alarm labelled ‘shoes’. It is set for 10 minutes before I need to leave the house for work. 10 minutes to put shoes on you say? yes. I need 10 minutes because I wear Dr Martens and they are an effort to lace. Remember I am visually impaired, I have very little co ordination due to my Dyspraxia and on top of this my curved spine makes it very uncomfortable when leaning over to tie laces.

Talking of overdoing it. Today I got up at 8:30, made a cup of tea and couldn’t decide if going back to bed was a good idea. I sat and watched Frasier. I then changed my sim contract and got a cracking deal. Then I put a wash on, put some clothes away and wondered what’s next? The time 11:30? I decided to finish watching a video online and make a phone call. No one answered. So I decided to get on with writing this. The time? 2pm. I am sitting down because my back hurts. Yet I feel like I should be vacuuming or doing the washing up.

Yesterday I went for a sport massage. My back hurts today, but it feels so much better. Over the next few days my muscles will calm down and they will ease off. I need to book in for another appointment in 4 weeks time.

A lot of my tiredness comes from a variety of areas.

Visually Impaired: using what vision I have is exhausting, it’s to just the looking, but the processing of information.

Nystagmus: feeling like you’re on a round about can be draining. Then there’s the neck pain because you have to hold your head at an angle which puts pressure on your neck muscles.

Scoliosis: Leaning to one side and having your muscles scrunch up over a period of time meaning movement becomes limited and painful. Which also causes mental stress as well.

Dyspraxia: Co ordination is a massive thing for me. Just thinking about pouring the kettle is hard. Tying shoes, walking, going up and down stairs… basically any form of movement is hard.

Dyscalculia: Numbers are not my friend. Ask me to give you £4.45 change from a £10 note and I will take my time. Counting backwards on a clock? Reading a bus time table? We’re meeting at what time? I’m terrible. Not because I’m lazy, but because I cannot cope with numbers.

I suppose my whole purpose were is to tell you about why I find people doing so many things in life amazing. I genuinely cannot fathom how people do it. I find socialising to be exhausting. How people do all this adult living is incredible to me.

I wish I could.

That’s where using alarms labelled ‘shoes’ comes in. Or organising a batch of lunches a few days in advance, rather than going out for lunch at work. Setting reminders on my phone to write my blog, to remember to ask when Rachel is free for a coffee, my only current reminder is to purchase AirPods Pro after pay day. Time will always be something I struggle with.

Thank you again for reading, please email me with any questions you have. I’ll try get back to you as soon as I can, however, given this email, I’ll need to set a reminder.

Twitter: @PhilippaB
Instagram: @VisuallyImapiredPip

If you’re interested check out @lifewithanaïs. She’s published. While her page is not focusing on disability, she is writing about, speaking about, important issues. She is educating people and using her voice to enact change. I am so glad I have her as a friend.



Hello again,

I would like to start by saying I have read Sandi Toksvig’s book!!! First book of the year, done. For my next book I’m thinking Kevin Hart? However, why are books more expensive on Audible than on Apple Books? I’m confused by this.

Anyway, this weeks post I’ll be writing about Scoliosis. Yes, my back pain is back. To be fare it never really went away. I am more or less always in some form of pain. Be it back pain, knee pain, neck ache. Anything really. For well over a month it has been something I’ve been putting up with.

The problem is I’m constantly taking painkillers, but just the normal stuff you can get off the shelf. I have to be careful with what I take due to other health problems. Yesterday I went and bought Ibuprofen even though I shouldn’t take it. I’m OK to have it in small doses just not all the time. I have kidney disease as well as congenital heart disease. So when being prescribed anything doctors take a bit of time thinking.

I go to the physio and have a sports massage. I have been doing this once a month for the past few months. The guy is great, he understands how my back pain affects me. He gives me exercises and we agree that if I need pain killers, then I should take them. I need to be able to get to work. I’d much rather be up and about than laying in bed, staying in bed all day does nothing for your back. Even if you manage to shuffle around, or sit on the side of your bed, or even propped up with pillows. Your back needs support and pillows are a great answer. I own many pillows.

Besides a sport massage and physio I would say getting the right pillow is essential. You need to support your head. Mine is a feather pillow and I like how soft they are. But I also own a memory foam one and one of those polyester filled ones. I don’t know what’s in them, I just know I went to Dunelm and spent a lot of money renewing my pillows. I have a triangle one as well, I think they’re called pregnancy pillows.

If you have never been for a physio appointment before, here’s what they tend to do:
They ask you about what you do for a living, what that involves.
They’ll ask you if you do any exercise.
How many hours sleep do you get on average?
Where does it hurt?
How often does it hurt?
Can you describe the pain?
On a scale of 1-10 how much does it hurt, on a good day and bad day?
To give you an idea, a good day for me is a 7 out of 10.

They tend to use a little picture of a person to mark where your pain tends to be.

I think it’s important to be as open as possible. The word sometimes is used frequently when you have chronic pain. The reason being is that we don’t like to think it controls every area of our lives, but it does. Think realistically. Don’t try be positive. This is not a negative attitude, this is realistic. If you’re in pain, tell it like it is. Otherwise you might be missing out on some options they have for you.

I went a month ago and said all my back was hurting, my spine is in an S shape, so when you look at me from behind I tilt to one side. He went down the whole of my back and used his elbows. I didn’t even feel him doing that. I just know that when he’d done, I felt 10 times better. He said my back was full of knots and tension and that it was a good thing I told him all my back was hurting. I can’t wait til Monday. Again I will ask him to do all my back. I will feel so much better.

Back pain, or any form of chronic pain, should not be taken lightly. As well as dealing with the physical aspects of the pain, consider the effect it has on your mental health. Your well-being is all of you, not just the physical you.

You know your own body, if you don’t feel well, have a chat with someone. It’s OK to feel sad about the pain you are in. Often when you talk to someone who has the same sort of pain as you, you find your self feeling more accepting to the problem. You know you’re not alone. I have a friend I talk to about my pain and she makes me laugh because we know how each other feels and we know we can be open and honest and support one another.

Chronic pain, such as scoliosis is real. Do not think otherwise. If the pain you’re feeling matters to you, that’s it end of story. It matters. It’s real, you don’t need to justify yourself.

Remember- go you 🙂 you’re awesome 🙂

When I’m in pain I often think of Joey off Friends holding his pizza box going “I’m curvy and I like it”. It makes me laugh, which then hurts.

See you on the next blog.

I’m on the Twitter @PhilippaB
I’m on the Instagram @VisuallyImpairedPip
I’m contactable on the E-mail? is that right?



New Year, new post. I’m not one for setting extraordinary long term goals. I find I get bored if I don’t see any success within a short space of time. Ridiculous I know. So last year I kept it nice and simple- read more books.

I purchased a Kindle, it didn’t help as my nystagmus just doesn’t agree with us reading. So I settled on audio books. Last year I read about 9 books. However I also listened to a number of podcasts. I’ll maybe tell you about those later.

Nine books isn’t great, it’s about one a month. So I aim to read more this year, with the help of Audible subscription from my brother. I’m currently listening to Sandi Toksvig, Between The Stops. I cannot get enough of it. I used a credit on the 3rd of January, now on the 7th, I have 3 hours and 12 minutes remaining. I love it.

This year with Audible I should be able to read 12 books, at least.

I think when I set myself goals I need to be able to measure them. Books are a good way of doing that.

Last year, I think I also wanted to get more into Mindfulness. Again this is measurable as it is something you can do at anytime, for me on an evening before bed. It makes a difference to the way you go about your day. I used to think it quite strange. Now I quite enjoy it. I think I’ll continue.

For this years new goal I would like to think I can post you more blogs. Although with other things going on I can appreciate it may not be weekly. But that’s ok. I’ll do my best to write when I can. As part of my blogs I’ll try keep the page with my photos on more up to date too.

Which leads us nicely onto another, not a goal, but focus. Photography. I own an iPhone 11 and a Lumix FZ270 bridge camera. A few days ago I went to the top of town to the Camera Exchange. We met a man called John who inherited the business from his dad. We chatted about what I was looking for in a camera and decided the mirrorless was my best option. Preferably an Olympus.

I would like to do more with my photography, it’s a great way of telling a story. In one image you can capture a moment in time which is locked there for ever.

I have had back pain for over a month now, more painful than normal, so I have booked in again to see a physio for a sport massage. It’s a great price and the guy who I see is excellent. A commitment for this year is to keep up with those sport massages. They help a lot. My back will not improve without major surgery and I am not wanting to do it, if sport massages, physio and gentle exercise will keep the pain away and my back muscles strong, I will do this.

There we have it, read more, blog more, keep up with the mindfulness, do more photography, get sport massages.

I feel these are acceptable focuses for 2020. I have other focuses too, but for now, these are the ones being written down.

Goals don’t have to be big, they just have to be personal to you. Then you know you feel like they are achievable.

Have a happy 2020 and enjoy the decade ahead.

I’m on Twitter @PhilippaB

Instagram @VisuallyImpairedPip