I say hope, but this story from the BBC is a good news story to start the week. This is the first few paragraphs.
Scientists have reversed paralysis in dogs after injecting them with cells grown from the lining of their nose.
The pets had all suffered spinal injuries which prevented them from using their back legs.
The Cambridge University team is cautiously optimistic the technique could eventually have a role in the treatment of human patients.
The study is the first to test the transplant in “real-life” injuries rather than laboratory animals.
It may only be a first step on the long road to getting the paralysed to walk again. But it is a very significant first step.
I also think it’s very good, that the scientists did the research on dogs that had been injured in the normal course of life. It shows that often you don’t have to do experiments on healthy animals. All it needs is to think hard about what you’re doing.
So congratulations to Cambridge and its vets and scientists!
I think Jasper the dachshund will be one of the most famous dogs in the world.
Obviously they can cope well, as the cable-car has lifts and wide cabins.
This is the gap between platform and train at East Croydon station.
It’s just too much. Especially for one couple with a baby in a pushchair and a large case.
What do you do in a wheel-chair?
Melanie Reid, who is one of my favourite columnists, has a piece today in The Times about how little possessions matter to her now, after breaking her back in a horse riding accident. It is one of her best, but then most are and that’s why she was last year’s Newspaper columnist of the year.
She talks about how possessions and what she calls stuff have lost their significance to her. I would also say that since the loss of my wife and son to cancer and my stroke, there’s one thing that matters to me above all. And that is my brain. If one pair of shoes is more comfortable than another, then they are better.
I used to love driving and now all my cars have gone. But then I have no intention of driving again. But then too many idiots can drive, but how many have taken a train all the way to Nice and back as I have. And how many have wangled their way into the cab of an HST between Edinburgh and Inverness.
I got the latter because of my most treasured possession and something I won’t gve away; my brain. It may not be perfect, but at least all the memory and creative bits are still there.
Melanie finishes her piece about how when being searched for a flight, she started to feel the hands of the security guard and says that things are still happening. A similar thing happened to me, when a young lady pushed her supermarket basket into my left leg and apologised. I said she needn’t, as I had felt it and that was good for my left leg. So we laughed about it and carried on queuing. Perhaps, I should have asked her out for a drink, but that would be pushing my luck. The next time it happens I will.
Let’s hope she’s brown eyed and haired, as I lived with a blue-eyed blonde for forty years, and a change would be nice.
The New Bus for London reveals another facet of its design every time I travel on one. Today for instance, I noticed that the upper-deck handholds were spaced for ease of walking and of course safety.
I also had a chat with a guy travelling alone in a wheel-chair.
He liked the bus, as he had more space and it was easier to turn his chair and get it in position for travel and for alighting.
Both these small points for me, but important for others, show how the designers of the bus, seem to have taken a fresh look at everything. Or at least chosen the best practice from past designs.
I took a few more pictures yesterday.
Note that most are not much better than the first ones I took and posted here.
The strange one is that the Overground at Dalston Junction station is virtually flat, but it isn’t at Highbury and Islington station. As there is only one class of train on the line, surely the step should be the same.
The London bus which may be slightly higher was taken with a typical kerb, but the step up is generally lower. Remember too, that this door on all London buses has a wheelchair ramp, which unfolds from under the bus.
I don’t travel south of the river that often. But it was only today, that I noticed how bad the doors are on some of the trains. Here’s a selection of some of the doors I found.
I would suspect, that it’s not just in this area of the country, that they are bad. Obviously, to get all doors to accept a wheel-chair user on their own without assistance would be a difficult objective to achieve. But these are difficult for a mother with a buggy and are vastly inferior to 99 % of London’s red buses, which most wheel-chair users are able to enter and leave easily.
This was the last words on Melanie Reid’s excellent article in yesterday’s Times, where she describes the lifestyle of a post-op transsexual called Clive Jennings-White, who through choice lives most of his life in a wheel-chair and wants his spinal cord cut, so he can be a paraplegic. Obviously, Jennings-White is as they used to say is as daft as a brush. He reminds me of an American psychiatrist, who deliberately got pregnant and when the child was born, had her adopted, so she could understand the feelings of mothers, who had had their children adopted. C used to know the daughter and to say she was disturbed and difficult would have been an understatement.
We have enough disturbed and disabled people in this world, who ended that way through no fault of their own, so I hope Clive/Chloe Jennings-White doesn’t get his or is it her wish!
Melanie, who broke her back in a riding accident, leaves everyone in no doubt about where she stands. This is one paragraph from her article.
Indeed, in the race to see who can be the most disabled, in this age of barmy victimhood, Jennings-White puts many a nose out of joint because she is hard to trump. Especially disabled gay women, a fearsome pressure group, who on the internet froth with rage. “It is already so hard for disabled lesbians… this man is appropriating so many identities and causing so much harm,” posted one.
She admits to not having enjoyed researching anything as much for a long time.
I’ve now acquired a new Sony VAIO laptop with a wide 17.3 inch screen. I mainly bought it, as my old HP machine is getting rather tired and I was fimding I made the odd mistakes on the keyboard. As the keys were more widely spaced on the Sony, I thought this might improve my typing and a brief test showed that it appeared to be better.
I’ve now got the new Sony and this video shows me typing.
Not how I span with my right hand to work the shift and control keys.
It is my left arm and hand that is bad, as I said here. But the computer would probably work equally well with someone, who had right hand problems.
Rochdale though sums up one of the problems of Manchester. You have all these individual towns, that it would seem don’t talk to each other. Some are proposing that there needs to be a mayor for Greater Manchester. There was a big article in The Times yesterday about a mayor for Manchester.
Recently,on my travels to the 92 football grounds in the UK in alphabetical order by public transport, I put England under a savage microscope. Some places like Exeter, Sheffield and Newcastle were no problem, as everything was signed and easy to understand.
But the biggest contrast was between Hartlepool and Manchester. I’d expected a post-industrial dump in the first and a modern city in the second.
I was so wrong about the first and was surprised to see a town that had pulled itself out of the abyss, with the help of a mayor who fought for the town. Manchester may have some nice new buildings and attractions, but it has the most disintegrated public transport system in the UK. Try turning up at Piccadilly station in a wheelchair and getting to Oldham hospital to see your mother, who’s fallen and broken her hip, without using a taxi! I know London isn’t perfect, but try getting from Euston to Barnet General.
Where was Manchester buses, welcoming booth at the station? Why didn’t the buses talk me through their route? Where were the street and bus maps at every bus stop? Where were the wheel-chair accessible buses with separate doors for entrance and exit?
London’s bus system has improved so much over the last few years and this is probably down to one person being in charge of the whole system, who reports directly to the mayor.
We are having a mayoral election in London in May. Manchester could do a lot worse than ask the one who comes second to be their interim mayor, with a major responsibility to sort out their transport system and make it friendly and understandable to everybody and especially visitors and the disabled.