Powerchair direction indicators…

Having finally had a good day yesterday, I installed the puncture sealant in my powerchair tyres and, today, I ventured out for the first time, in a break between showers, to post a letter.

It’s the first time I’ve ridden a powerchair on the pavement for about 15 years – and the last. There weren’t  2 consecutive paving slabs that were level. Apart from massive discomfort, they’d shake my batteries to bits in no time.

Came back home on Continue reading


On March 1, Google starts harvesting users’ data…

This isn’t a secret, even Google have advertised the fact – but a surprising number of people seem unaware of it. See http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2012/feb/24/pass-notes-browsing

Based on what I’ve read, it’s next to impossible to prevent Google collecting data in this way.

First of all, if you have a Google account, as I do, and also use Google+ and G-mail, then it’s pretty damn hard to escape their clutches.

If you just have a Google account – and many people do without using G-mail or G+ having found, like me, that neither were what they wanted – simply Continue reading

A venerable recipe, reborn – eat yer heart out, Heinz…

This is my take on a soup with a long history.

Way back in the mists of time, when politicians were honest and I was young, Heinz made Kidney Soup, of which I was inordinately fond. And then they didn’t. I don’t know why – perhaps people were getting squeamish, as many still are, about offal, which is a pity as some of the squishier parts of an animal are among the tastiest, as haggis fans know full well.

So, having a pack of ox kidney in the freezer, and not having a use for it (I’d planned to make a steak and kidney casserole, but forgot to buy the steak), I decided, yesterday, that it’s time for home-made kidney soup.

This is a soup that probably goes back centuries, as ox kidney needs long cooking (though not as long as some recipes suggest), making it unsuitable for frying. (I think some soups have the timing for steak and kidney pudding – I’ve seen 4 hours in some cases.)

I’ve Continue reading

Workfare need not be slavery…

Despite what numpties like @EstherMcVeyMP seem to think – that objecting to workfare means that “This knee jerk, cheap political point scoring from those opposing work experience will have a negative effect for our youth,” workfare is simply slavery by another name. Dress it up in rhetoric all you like, a pig in a tux is still a pig. See for yourself.

In the eighties, we had a scheme, the name of which eludes me after all these years, to help massage Thatcher’s 3-million-plus unemployed figures – which was workfare by any other name. I can’t recall if it was compulsory – my gut feeling says not.

I was roped into that, despite the fact that Continue reading

A camera support for my powerchair…

I need some sort of support for my rather heavy d-SLR plus 140-600mm (35mm equivalent), zoom lens, which would also be capable of taking a spotting scope.

My idea was to use an Opticron 42605 BC2 hide clamp, a relic of my birding days (used once, the day I discovered the nearest RSPB hide was at the bottom of a heart attack-inducing hill!). (And a word of warning to any budding birders who happen to be arachnophobic – hides are full of the buggers!)

Clamping it to the armrest of my Shoprider Lugano – the perfect position – proved Continue reading

Campaigning bloggers – want a louder voice?

Bloggers campaigning against the cuts, WRB, and Workfare, and let’s not forget the NHS are, for the most part, being drowned out by the government’s propaganda machine, the output of which is circulated by the right-wing press and even the BBC (though the Workfare tide appears to be turning, if slowly, and the dishonesty behind the NHS screw-up has been rumbled).

Plus, to a large extent, we’re preaching to the converted.

Then, over the last couple of days, a friend Continue reading

The death of the Welfare State…

What bothers me, right now, is the degree to which unreality has taken over the WRB debate. There are those who, no matter how many House of Lords amendments Cameron reverses in the Commons, simply cannot see the writing on the wall, but cleave to the view that we are still going to win.

Well, some of us can see the writing on the wall, and it’s not good news. We – the chronically sick and disabled – are in remarkably deep shit. It’s possible Cameron might cave on some relatively minor point, just to make it look as if he cares, but as it’s just not in his nature to do so, and as he doesn’t have to, don’t bank on that.

The hard fact is Continue reading

Need to reduce your salt intake? Try this…

Looking for a way to reduce my salt intake – my current heart meds won’t allow me to use the usual suspects, like LoSalt, as the buggerdly things concentrate potassium to toxic levels**, and LoSalt is two-thirds potassium chloride – I had a flash of inspiration.

**Update, June 19, 2012: As things turned out, they don’t. What I have is one drug that allegedly concentrates potassium, versus 4 drugs which I know cause potassium depletion, leaving me dangerously short, and my heart would clatter along like a broken sludge-pump. Reintroducing potassium – I’ve covered it in detail elsewhere – at 100mg a day stabilises my heart very nicely.

Towards the end of last year, I bought some dried vegetables, which didn’t work out too well in the state in which they came. However, reduced to a powder, and used as flavouring agents, they’re proving to be remarkably versatile, adding flavour without the additional salt of a stock cube.

So where’s the inspiration, I hear you ask? Well Continue reading

Chronicles of the Heart, Part 30 …

Having given the matter a lot of thought over the past few weeks, I’ve decided to pull out of the tests my cardio consultant is lining up for me.

Partly this is a reaction to his snotty response to my telling him, politely, that I was withdrawing from a high-risk test, as I felt such a risk level was inappropriate in a purely diagnostic procedure (a 24% risk of stroke). I might have felt differently had it been a life-saving, or even enhancing, procedure – but I have my doubts, as my brain is pretty much the only organ that still works properly, and I’m sure as hell not putting it at risk.

The main reason, though, is that I can’t see any way these tests will benefit me – what Continue reading

The future of the chronically sick and disabled after 2015…

It’s my feeling, especially if Cameron gets a majority at the next election in 2015 – and there’s a good chance he will unless things change dramatically (an effective leader of the opposition might help) – that there is a very strong likelihood of the sick and disabled being stripped of their benefits and housed in workhouses and camps, fed, clothed, medicated, but that’s all. And even that much might be marginal, if some genius decides our drugs cost too much.

Why? Because, Continue reading