Sunday, 8 September 2013

An Access Challenge on my Wedding Anniversary

I just came across a great photo blog of one woman's trip to work, I really recommend you take a look,  as someone comments, "a picture paints a thousand words".  It made me rethink my day, was there some way I could explain to everyone out there why I only managed two hours at my beloved OH's Beer Festival on our wedding anniversary?

Well I can't do a similar photo blog, I missed that opportunity,  and my disabilities are kind of subtle.  I get tired very easily, and things ache and twinge as a warning before they hurt, and I have a tendency to brain fog when I've been overdoing it.  So forgive me, but my post will not be as fantastic as the lady's mentioned above as I can't really give you visual clues as to why my day was so challenging.

We have been married nine years, yesterday,  and I really love the fact that the OH still wants me despite the "all hours working, CAMRA beer festival fanatic, hard drinking, economy long distance travelling, going for a country walk with pubs, dedicated lone mum" he married turning into a fragile wuss that considers a ten minute bus ride to the local Archives for three hours sit down work a challenge that can usually only be managed once a week.  I wanted to spend some part of the day with him, and I wanted to contribute to his current Festival if I could. 
A long low stone built buiding with huge arched windows set either side of a central door, people are outside on the verge drinking and there is a banner advertising the beer festival hung on the pedestrian barriers
The Milton Hall in Elsecar during a previous Beer Festival

He had to set off to the Festival at 9am as he had the keys open up the Hall for everyone else.  I was up, but not quite dressed and certainly not ready to go out.  I asked when my assistance would be useful and was told, "Opening time", which was 12 noon as they would probably be short staffed to start with.  I waved him goodbye and said see him later ... with my heart sinking.  I'd hoped he'd say 4pm or something like that when I'd been up long enough to eat, go to the toilet, have another rest and pull myself together ... it had been a bad night after a string of bad nights.  I'd had about three hours sleep.

Before anything else I went up to the chemist on our little row of shops to collect my prescription - I'd noticed the day before that I was down to just one strip of one kind of tablets and the prescription had been ready to collect for a week - I just hadn't got around to it.  I did a side trip to photograph the plaque on the wall of a row of nearby terraced houses for a blog post I'd done while I couldn't sleep.  I've just added an afterword to my blog with the photo, it was satisfying to prove my deductions about the location of the house had been correct. This wasn't a long walk, and I took it slowly (I only have two speeds, slow and very slow) maybe twenty minutes out of the house all told including the wait in the chemist for my turn at the counter, but I could feel my feet dragging when I got back to the house.  And my knees had been playing up all week, I can only do stairs one at a time at the moment as my left knee doesn't currently have sufficient umpf to push my weight up the step.

Then I had some breakfast - well it was probably second breakfast or even early lunch as I had some toast earlier when the cat woke me.  My body has a plan first thing in the mornings - when I wake up, that's it I'm awake, no matter what time it is - a hangover from work and maybe even getting children up for school I suppose.  I have no trouble lying in bed until 10am or later when we are away from home, but at home once the cat has woken me at 3 or 5am that's it, I'm up. I usually catch up on my rest from 1pm or so with a couple of hours on the sofa watching history on the television or even napping.  You can see why my work pattern at GBBF suited me ... I've been trying to leave the cat outside all night this summer, but just recently she's realised if she yells loud enough outside the bedroom window I do eventually have to come and let her back in.  Drat!
A number 66 bus heading into Barnsley bus station (from Flickr)

And then it was out just before 11am for the bus, the first of several.  The bus into town isn't bad, even though despite what the OH says they don't run every ten minutes, what actually happens is there are two every twenty minutes - but that's life.  I was lucky that once in the bus station I didn't have to wait long for a number 66 to Elsecar. It's about seven and a half miles and nineteen minutes from Cudworth to Elsecar on the most direct route by car according to Google Maps but on a bus from Barnsley, that takes the most circuitous route possible, stopping at every stop (well it was Saturday lunchtime) it's over eight and a half miles and takes forty minutes.

I was falling asleep before we reached Hoyland Common, and only trying to work out where on earth we were kept me awake through Jump and the bottom end of Elsecar.  I was doing that thing where you drop off to sleep, your head nods and the bob of your chin on your chest or the stretch of the back of your neck is enough to wake you up again.  I staggered off the bus across the road from the Milton Hall at 12.05pm really, really needing to sleep.  This is why commuting to Sheffield from Barnsley for work ... didn't work!  I don't know what it is about travel but it really tires me out.

I hadn't made it by opening time, but there didn't seem to be a shortage of staff, rather a shortage of customers, although that quickly changed.  I went to greet the OH and several people wished us a Happy Anniversary - I tried to smile and say thanks, but my brain was like pudding at this point, I just wanted to slump.  The OH was struggling with his web-book trying to amend the beer list - his little computer really can't manage the things he makes it do - it's a web-book for goodness sake and about four or five years old too.  I took over (hey, I got a chair) and after gobbling my 'emergency ration' chocolate Freddo which had got a bit warm in my coat pocket as I resisted it all the way there, managed to format and edit his beer dip list as required (although this morning he did tell me I'd missed the Titanic beers off ... grrr! and I thought I done so well for a tired person too).
What it says in caption ... Titanic Brewery's logo has a drawing of the ship coming straight at you surrounded by the the words Traditional Ales and Est 1985, the Welsh Black pump clip has a moody celtic symbol above the words and is apparently a rich and velvety black ale with flavours of malt, coffee and chocolate
Titanic Brewery's logo and the pumpclip for Great Orme Welsh Black
I'd tried to find a link to the Beer Festival earlier and in Googling it had landed on the pages for the previous two Barnsley Festivals held earlier this year instead.  When I told the OH this he opened Dreamweaver with the intention of updating the pages so they forwarded to the current Festival's info instead.  Did I say his web-book was struggling with an Excel spread sheet? well you can imagine what it thought of Dreamweaver!  On top of this he, being NOT the organiser of the festival, but still the person most in charge, was needed to sell t-shirts, answer questions about books, lock up customers bicycles and a multitude of other things so I said I'd do the web pages too.

Time passed, I stared at the progress bar in Dreamweaver in a dreamy state myself ... I had to update three pages, archive the old versions and test the forwarding just to make sure - all on a old web-book now tethered to the OH's phone as our 'dongle' hadn't been able to get a good enough signal to upload one page let alone download three and upload six.  By the time I looked at my watch again (it's still in my pocket, the strap is broken and I've been spending my money on important things like books rather than buy a new one) it was after 2pm, I'd been there two hours, had one half pint of beer, the Great Orme Welsh Black pictured above (Ha, you thought that pump clip image was just for pretty!  Hover over it for a description of the beer!) eventually fetched from the bar for me by the OH in between other errands and a bag of crisps to keep me going.

I told the OH I really had to go if I was going to make it home without seriously falling asleep again.  I hadn't pulled a pint this time, at least in May I was propped up at the end of the bar on a stool and managed to talk to a few people and try four or five different beers.  At least on the way back if I did fall asleep the bus driver would throw me out at Barnsley bus station.

I left the building at 2:15pm and was walking in our door by 3pm.  The difference - the blessed 66 goes in a straighter line on the way back and as it was leap frogging with another bus this meant it only picked up passengers at every other stop.  Plus there was a late running Cudworth bus in the stand at the bus station and the driver was in a hurry to make his time up so we fairly zoomed home. 

I went straight to bed ... where I slept for ONE hour!  Damn!  Blast! Cat!  She wanted to go out of the front, she wanted to come in the back, she wanted her tea, she wanted to go out again, eventually I gave up trying to get back to sleep.  Plus my eyes really hurt, I am trying not to rub them but I kept catching myself doing it ... more eye drops only seemed to solve the problem for an hour or so. 

So that was my wedding anniversary - two hours IT work with the OH while he was busy with other things, one half of beer and insufficient sleep.  Four bus journeys, sore eyes and stiff knees.  I managed to get to sleep again about 9pm, my usual bedtime these days, and I don't remember the OH getting home and coming to bed ...

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