The bizarre world of disability and employment.

Do you want to work?

That is a simple question, isn’t it?

Until you try and answer it.

Saying yes to it can lead to all sorts of issues because the answer can hide all sorts of caveats.

So, do I want to work? The short answer is yes…with those caveats. I’ve worked for 33 years of my adult life so I am not ‘work shy’ and I appreciate the life-enhancing aspects of work. But there is a big but in the way of that.

I’m Autistic. I need a job with routine, where change is discussed ahead of time, and where reasonable adjustments can be made. I also have ADHD so have to factor that in, as well as fibromyalgia which adds a physical aspect to my overall well-being.

So, I couldn’t, as an example, work in a factory, or stock shelves, or spend long hours working on my feet, or do a lot of walking. Just working will wear me out so I need to monitor how much physical activity I have to do in the course of the day.

And I don’t want a job that is endlessly repetitive. As much as routine is good for me, the lack of mental stimulation can be a major drawback and harmful as it leads to boredom and a desire to leave that particular post.

So I need a job that suits my needs and my ability to cope with it. I am not a square peg to be hammered into a round hole just to keep the government’s statistics looking good. And finding the right job, when you’re disabled or differently abled, is bloody hard. I don’t want, having had a breakdown, to have another one. I don’t want to let a prospective employer down, and I don’t want them to feel pressurised into offering me a job.

In an ideal world, I would work in travel. It’s my passion, my interest, but a role I am totally unqualified to do. I don’t have a degree, the customary request of almost all employers for all jobs these days, or so it seems. But I do have experience of travel, I enjoy research, I enjoy planning holidays and I believe it would be a good fit for me.

But my chances of achieving that aim are almost zero. I’m 57, I’m Autistic, so who is going to take a chance on me for the next 10 years?

It’s all very well that the government want the disabled to work, and many of us do, but some of us can’t just work for the sake of working. It just doesn’t work, excuse the pun, like that.

I’ve had a work capability assessment. I’m ruled unfit for work. That assessment concentrated wholly on my fibro without looking at why I had left my previous employment or my breakdown so I don’t even know if that’s been factored in. And that’s one medical assessment.

I was also assessed for PiP and the government has failed to realise that a WCA is not the same as a PiP assessment. PiP and being assessed for work are two very different things, looking at different aspects of life. PiP is to support a person with living costs, it is not assessing whether I can work in a supermarket or become the head of ICI. Saying that one assessment will deal with all aspects of life, unless it is dramatically changed, is nonsense.

Does this mean that only if you get PiP you will be exempt from work? But if you don’t then, no matter your illness or disability, you won’t get any help unless you strive to get a job…which is a job in itself. And what about sanctions? Disabled people are more likely to miss appointments due to changes in their health or access to the facilities required. How is that going to work? Are work coaches, with whom I have some sympathy, going to be given greater freedom in judging which excuse is genuine and which is not?

I have grave concerns about the current plans and must hope, as I am sure many disabled people do, that they never see the light of day. They are designed to fill us with dread because not once has this government demonstrated the slightest empathy with our situation.

So yes, I would like to think I would work again, in some capacity, but I’m not going to die in the process.

All a matter of opinion!

Photo by Sathesh D on

Quite recently I posted an opinion on a thread on another site. A tv series had finished and I had found it dull, and unimaginative and found that the cast lacked chemistry. Of the 300 plus postings, only mine and a few others, were less than whole-heartedly complimentary towards the series.

I was giving my opinion.

But the backlash was incredible.

“Don’t watch it then,” screamed one. “There’s an off button!” yelled another. I got told that I was ‘sad’ and ‘pathetic’ and that why was I watching it if I hated it so much?

I pointed out a number of things in response. I said that I had once really enjoyed the series and had been hopeful of a return to its former glories. I asked how I could give an opinion without watching it? Surely I had to watch it to be able to comment on it?

At no point did I deride others for enjoying it. At no point did I laugh at them and tell them they must be daft or sad or pathetic for enjoying it so much. They enjoyed it and I didn’t…and that was the problem they had.

Aren’t I allowed an opinion? I asked. Not when it’s dumb, I was told. Not when its obvious bait. But that was missing the point of my inquiry.

Life is about opinions. We have them on films, books, politics, religion,- you name it, we have an opinion on it, so being told that just because mine was contrary to theirs was very frustrating. Being told my opinion was wrong was frustrating, especially when it was MY opinion and nobody else’s. The keyboard warriors were out in full force, attacking me and berating me for daring to have an alternative viewpoint.

And that made me sad. I never poked fun at them for liking it. Never said they shouldn’t like it. Never tried to impose MY opinion on them. I felt censored, I felt that I was being told to conform, that no opinion other than an agreed-upon positive spin would be tolerated. And that made me mad.

Life is about opinions. Opinions allow us to have a discourse about any number of matters. Yes, it can be about persuading someone that your view is correct but its also about celebrating difference and appreciating that we aren’t all sheep, just baaa-ing along with the same theme.

I get it that people don’t like contrary viewpoints but either accept them, politely disagree or move on. Don’t bully people and gang up on them. If their opinion doesn’t harm you or any group that is subject to harassment and discrimination, then just get on with your lives, don’t start a fight just because you like A and I don’t.

It’s all a matter of opinion, so why can’t I have mine?


There’s a lot going on at the moment.

Only there isn’t. It seems to be, but perhaps only in my mind which, it must be said, is struggling.

I feel overwhelmed but don’t know why, or rather I do, but don’t want to say because I’ve said it all before and nothing has changed, so there’s little point rehashing old stuff yet again. It doesn’t change things, not really.

The future looks bleak. Not mega bleak, as though it could all end horribly tomorrow, but that bleak, nothing is gonna change bleakness where you question if you have the stamina for it and can bear merely to exist without any light at the end of the dark tunnel.

I’m so confused about so much. My mind churns constantly with the practicality, or impracticality, of things. What do I do about work? Should I work? Can I work? Can I find the right job for me given my age and medical issues? I don’t want to do too much and feel overwhelmed but, on the other hand, I don’t want to do too little or too much in the wrong job and find boredom has set in or I’m not getting any job satisfaction and resenting it. I’m Autistic and the wrong job could destroy me, plus I’m almost 57, and we know how hard it is for people my age to find work.

My writings failing. No, not to the point where I’m going to give up, but to the extent that I’m not quite there with it. I hoped for a little more interaction but I don’t know my target audience…unless it’s just me…and I can’t buy my own books. I don’t seem to get the reviews I need to give it a boost and I’m pretty certain it’s not reaching the right people despite my best and expensive efforts.

I’m churning away. Churning in my head, churning in my writing, churning in my sleep. Feeling anxious, fed up, exasperated and at a loss to know what to do for the best. Story of my life.

But what else can I do? The world keeps on turning, and I must keep on churning.

Bruised and sullen stormclouds…

Photo by Josh Sorenson on

Life is shit.

I say that not because something terrible has befallen me but because, in general, life is shit.

The news depresses me, grinding me down with its repetitive themes of the rich getting richer, dictators starting dumb wars, police officers murdering civilians, mass shootings because America won’t do anything about its ‘rights’ and a general wealth of bad news stories.

And my own life is shit. I seem to sink further into the mire and can barely keep my head afloat these days. Then I wonder why I am bothering and why I don’t simply take all my pills and have done with it. It’s not as though anyone gives a shit about me. Yes, my partner does but I’m so tired of seeing no light at the end of the tunnel and feeling helpless to get her to help herself, and, by doing that, give me some hope.

Yes, we can dream. There are things we could do but her lack of willingness to help herself is destroying me. I’m not asking for the moon but just that she looks after herself and gives me hope that she will be fit enough and well enough to do some of the things she says she wants to do.

We aren’t getting younger and with each passing year, those dreams diminish further. I hate the feeling of hopelessness and anguish that I have to live with. It makes me feel so fucking useless and that everything is my fault. Stuck in this shit hole? My fault. Not working? My fault. Money worries? My fault. Getting nowhere with my writing? My fault. Always something wrong? My fucking fault.

I feel so trapped in my own mind and all the while the storm clouds are gathering, circling overhead, waiting to unleash the storm on me. I know it’s coming because there’s no escape from it. And when it does come, I don’t know if I will have the energy to see it through the other side.

New Years Reso…somethings!

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Happy New Year!

That’s how it begins, isn’t it? A traditional greeting and resolutions that are will intentioned but usually die a death by the third month?

I am not making a resolution this year. Not specific ones. Of course, I will go along with the standard ‘get fitter, eat more healthy food, lose a bit of weight’ type fare, but I can’t be bothered with specifics.

The world is in such a bad place that it seems almost impossible to plan for anything specific when there is a pandemic that refuses to go away, flu is everywhere, people are depressed and fed up and the future seems a little dark and foreboding rather than bright and sunny. And this weather hasn’t helped.

I think, bar one day, we’ve had nine days of rain, at times torrential, accompanied by gusty winds. I know it’s winter but it’s darned depressing having to keep the lights on all day because it is so dark whilst worrying about the energy cost at the same time.

The country is in a mess. Strikes everywhere, cost of living crisis, unnecessary deaths due to hospitals overflowing, families not seeing one another because the trains aren’t running and politicians conspicuous by their absence. No wonder people are so fed up with everything when nothing is working and the poor are getting poorer whilst the rich, inevitably, get much richer. I don’t mind rich people being rich but when they take advantage of so much corruption and cronyism to make themselves so much better off, it does stick in the craw somewhat.

So here is to 2023. Here is to another year that, like 2022, I hope will be better than the year before. I hope it is good for you and your families and friends and that, at the end of it, you can look back on it with a fondness and thnk ‘Yeah, something good DID happen’.

So, to you all, Happy New Year!

Why Germany have to change if they want to succeed again

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Germany deserved to miss out. Germany deserved to go home.

I’ve always loved German football and supported Germany because my favourite players have been German and since most people in England loathed them and were jealous of their success, I decided to support the underdog.

And these days they are very much the underdog.

Ignore the fact that Werner and Wirtz and Reus were injured or that Draxler and Goosens were deemed surplus to requirements and concentrate on what we know about what happened.

Neuer, the often hailed keeper, is a poor shadow of what he once was. Yes, he can make some astonishing saves but they fall in between increasing errors (Costa Rica’s first) and a general lack of commitment. Some of the goals he concedes are embarrassing.

Defensively, Germany are terrible. Rudiger is still a class act but he shares defensive duties with Sule, the lumbering 6’6″ sometime right back or centreback who is average in both roles. Then there is David Raum, an immobile left back and Schlotterbeck, another lumbering centre-half who just isn’t very good. Or else there’s Ginter (who is okay) and Tah (also okay but not selected). There’s a real lack of presence there and Rudiger apart, I wouldn’t have any other of those named defenders in my squad.

In midfield we have Gundogan. Great for Manchester City but far too cautious and slow when in German colours. Then there is KImmich, who also fills in at right back, as ineffective player as I have ever seen. Raved about, apparently world-class, but totally anonymous and unable to stamp his authority on anything. I do like Goretzka because he’s box to box and looks committed but why Julian Brandt, a dynamic young player never got a look in is quite beyond me.

Up front, Flick got it horribly wrong. Havertz was anonymous against Japan but is a talent. Muller, on the other hand, has been a great servant but is past it and well past it. He missed a huge chance against Costa Rica and that was all he did of note. Fullkrug scored goals but did he get a start? Of course not. There was barely any room for Moussoko bar a few minutes vs Japan and Adeyimi, another fleet-footed attacker, never kicked a ball in anger. Why they bothered to travel is beyond me.

The one shining light was Musiala. In all three matches he showed skill, composure, work ethic and desire sorely lacking in several of his team mates. He really looked the part.

I don’t rate Hofmann or Klostermann that highly and it is clear that Germany is now suffering from a dearth of talent beyond a small pool of players who will take Germany on. They still have Gnabry and Sane, Werner, Havertz, Moussoko, Adeyimi, Nmecha, Musiala, Wirtz and Fullkrug, at least for the next couple of years but they need to find a midfield and defence to complement their attacking options. They need the next Neuer, the next Lahm, the next Mertesacker and the next Kroos.

I can’t see them. I can’t see them in their under 21s or under 20s. Players who I have watched and liked in the past seem to have vanished, their races run, their abilities found wanting.

I am sure Germany will rise again and in their place we will look to a golden age of English talent to dominate the next 4-6 years. But watch this space, Germany can’t get much worse and one day, just when we think it’s all over, they’ll be back.

I keep forgetting!

I keep forgetting to blog.

Even when I get a reminder, I forget to do it.

Perhaps that is the ADHD brain doing it’s stuff or perhaps I am merely too lazy to pick up my finger and type in a few words. Either way, my apologies.

I must confess to a certain lack of desire as well, primarily because I don’t know what to blog about these days unless it’s the continuing saga of my health problems which, I am sure, nobody actually wants to read about.

If we were travelling then I might have inspiration, or if there was something good happening to report on, but regrettably we, like many others, find ourselves just struggling along, bumping along the path, getting by, without much light at the end of the tunnel.

The last three years have been hard for so many of us and those years have definitely reduced my interest in so many things. My love of Egyptology has waned, my desire to travel is diminished, my interest in reading is non-existent and I read a quarter of a book now and then just give it up, unable to complete the task.

It’s frustrating, it’s infuriating and it’s a continuing cycle of pain that’s inflicted on me. Trust me, I have tried to break free but nothing seems to work.

I will try to blog. I will try to find things to blog about. I will. Honest.

But I might forget.


Farewell to The Queen

I watched yesterdays proceedings with a mixture of awe and pride. I watched it and then I thought, why? Why do it like this?

This was a funeral for a Queen but how much did we learn about her during the services? She was also a mother, a grandmother and great grandmother but where were the tales about her, the things you might hear at a normal funeral?

Of course we have heard them all over the last ten days as endless celebrities and members of this or that company or household have been trotted out to tell us about how much she loved horses and dogs and Balmoral, but where, amidst all the pomp, was there a human factor?

Perhaps it’s not the done thing but why couldn’t Harry have told us a funny story, or William? Or someone with something real to say other than the usual pompous drudgery, no matter how worthy, of the religious leaders. How peoples hearts might have been lifted if, instead of another reading by a monotone politician or another hymn nobody had heard of, the Archbishop had said, “And now, a personal story from …” to lighten the mood and remind us of the woman behind the crown.

I know these things are imbued with ceremony and solemnity and perhaps the tales are spoken in private, far beyond the ears of mere humble mortals, but sometimes, just sometimes, especially if you wish to modernise the monarchy, starting with something that we can all relate to, the personal story, isn’t a bad way to start.

But now we look forward to the reign of Charles 3rd. His lip biting and grief during yesterday will linger long in the memory but I wish him well. He has big shoes to fill and I hope he can fill them. I am sure he can if he is allowed to and not weighed down by needless petty fighting.

God save the King and thank you Ma’am for your years of dedicated service to the country. Rest easy beside your beloved husband, secure in the knowledge that your reign was both long and glorious.

Stop the imbalance!

I hate the news!

I hate watching it these days with its constant rash of bad news and scaremongering. Every story is just another curse on humanity. every story is just designed to make you feel that much worse about things.

£400K newsreaders tell you that your energy bills will reach eye watering levels, failing to appreciate that their earnings make them immune. They can afford it and yet they wrong their hands and summon a man earning £250K to explain why it’s happening. It’s greed a lot of the time but the news readers seem unwilling to say that, talking instead of large profits and windfall taxes as though they are good in the first instance and unlikely in the second.

Nobody calls out the greedy. The footballer on £300K a week. The sportsman on a $75 million, five year deal to throw a ball through a hoop. Nobody has the guts to say it’s wrong and call it out. Instead it’s how Mrs S on £175 a week will be able to afford to heat her flat this Winter.

People deserve to be paid and paid well. But society is so imbalanced that it’s become grotesque and obscene. Golfers paid hundreds of millions of dollars to swap a competition for an exhibition, claiming they need it for their families future. It’s lies and greed. They don’t need it at all but the rich get richer and their concerns are not ours. They will survive.

Liz Truss wants tax cuts to help people pay their bills. How does that assist the vulnerable and unemployed? It doesn’t but will help the rich get richer. The more you earn then the more tax you will save. How wonderful. How..divisive. Perhaps they hope that the vulnerable will die off, saving them money in benefits and pensions as well. Cruel? Or realistic?

The worlds horrible. The worlds obscene and ugly. And if we aren’t careful, that imbalance is going to tip us on our heads. The time is now to act and heed that warning. Ignore it at your peril.

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder

I know nothing about art.

I know nothing about many things but despite not knowing anything about art or artists, I know what I like, and I suspect that you do as well.

To me, art is a very subjective thing. If I see two lines on a blank canvas and hear some ‘expert’ proclaiming that these two lines depict the ‘internal struggle between order and chaos’, I laugh and think they’re taking the piss. It’s two lines on a blank canvas. That is not art.

Except it is. Some people will rave about lines, splotches, paint spatters, squares and other shapes and they will tell you how brilliant it is and how the artist struggled and how they fought and how…this…and that. And I think it’s bollocks. In the same way that food critics and book critics talk about food and books, much of what come’s out of an art critic’s mouth is twaddle.

We are all different and we like different things but to me, art is beauty. Art is the construction of something imaginative…and I don’t find two lines imaginative. I could draw two lines and I bet you right now, you wouldn’t want to buy it because you could do it just as well yourself.

I may not know about artists and schools and styles and paints and techniques, but I know what I like. I know what I want to see. Like modern classical music, I find modern art to be something I have no feeling for; something I can’t connect with. It’s cold and inharmonious and I feel a sense of detachment from it. What has an unmade bed got to do with me? or an installation of lightbulbs? How do I feel some sense of awe rather than a ‘That looks like my bed’?

I only write this because I recently purchased a picture. It’s bright, it’s colourful and it’s big. It appealed to my sense of awe. The colours, the combination, the technique that is, on close inspection, so mundane and yet so clever, so skilled. It looks easy to do but when I understand how each stroke, each placement of paint interacts with the next, I find myself deeply admiring the artist. It’s something I couldn’t do.

They say that beauty is in the eye of the beholder and perhaps they are right. But come on, several million dollars for a squiggle and a drop of paint? That must be more money than sense?