Sunday, July 30, 2006

Phonak Savias, frustrating to use.

I have had these aids now for a good few weeks, even had them adjusted yet again, and I have to say, if there is anyone out there who is using them, please leave me a message as to how you find them.

I am personally finding them difficult to use, though they are supposed to be perfect for my hearing loss.

These things, cut out when I don’t want them to, they drop the volume way too much for my liking, have ruined my appreciation of music, heck listening to my music now, whomever I listen to, be it Green Day, Depeche Mode, or anyone, it totally destroys the sound that I get, and it is made so much worse if any other noises come in when the music is on.

I do wonder if it is me, as I grew up with analog aids, and then aids with adjustable settings but still analog. These digitals are so very different from the NHS ones, supposedly better equipped to deal with the normal day to day of life, but I do well wonder that, because it don’t feel that way. Talking on a phone now is a chore, rather than a joy.

Maybe the specialist setting them up, isn’t doing it right, though he says he is doing what he can within the program, and I know Phonaks should be fine because I had them for so long until I was forced to switch over some years back.

So if there is anyone out there using them, please let me know how you got on with them, did they improve your life, do you find hearing to be easier, less work, etc than before, or did you have to admit defeat and change to something else. Me as an ex-power junkie (termed not set by me, but the audiologists I have had over the years) is finding these aids hard work, more than it should be.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Save our Seats campaign - Metropolitan Line new S Stock

For those who in live in London and especially those who use the Metropolitan line regularly, this will be of great interest to you.

Metronet are going to introduce new rolling stock as of 2009 called S stock on the Met line. These trains will remove up to 30% of the seats that exist on the current stock.

That is quite a high figure, and they claim it is all down to meeting new disability legislation. This doesn’t make sense at all, that is to be honest an over reaction, a serious over reaction. You might expect to lose maybe 15% at most, but what they are proposing is just mind numbingly stupid.

To top it off, they are also proposing to have a single carriage instead of 8 separate ones. This stock will also be narrower, which for anyone who travels a large part of the Met line will tell you, that can’t be a good thing.

This hasn’t been thought out at all well, and I am pleased that papers like Harrow Observer, Pinner Observer, Harrow Leader, etc are trying to get something done. At least someone is thinking with their heads.

More information on the campaign

Even more information as to what is happening

Pictures of the new S Stock
Can anyone honestly tell me these don’t look narrower and have fewer seats?

There is also to be a petition at Harrow on the Hill station later this week to drum up more support. For those who travel through this station and don’t want up to be in a situation where you are even more packed in like cattle in a truck, then sign up.

I already have done so, and spread the word, you will be glad to have the option for a seat in the future. These plans ensure it being nigh on impossible to ever get a seat.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Time for an English Parliament?

I think the time for an English Parliament is overdue, would fix the inconsistencies that exist in the current system, plus restore true democracy to the UK, and also give all areas the autonomy they seek and deserve.

At the weekend in the Observer there was an article - Voters back English-only parliament

Which showed how things have changed dramatically since devolution and how the people of England are calling for their own parliament. A lot of this has come to a head recently with the so called West Lothian Question being raised again.

This is how would it be possible that a devolved parliament in Scotland affect the state of the union and what are the consequences of it. Due to Gordon Brown trying to sell his Britishness and trying to overcome the issue which is affecting a lot of the voters he wants to appeal to, which is how is it that a Scottish MP would be allowed to be Prime Minister, but would be able to vote on issues that don’t affect his constituents like health, education, etc and thus as is being suggested by many, and I can’t really disagree, ensure that the English get a raw deal.

A website for those who wish to read more and see more of the injustice that the English are suffering at the hands of the Scottish MPs, and not just the English, but the Welsh too. Right now a Scottish MP can dictate Education, Health and on Wednesday Tony Blair paved the way for a new generation of Nuclear power stations but only in England. Gee thanks Mr.Blair, appreciate that one a great deal. That wasn't a sham now was it?!?!?!

The website is called Campaign for an English Parliament

Latest News on the campaign

When will this government realise that the English are actually growing ever restless and until we have the same level of rights as the Scottish, Northern Irish and the Welsh, it will get worse and worse. The level of spending in this country is highest in Scotland despite the fact that for the whole of the UK, London has 3 of the poorest boroughs, yep, London, something which people seem to happily ignore.

This will not change, and I along with many others feel that the sooner we have our own English Parliament, the more content we will become, plus the option to dictate our own policy and not have interfering Scottish MPs whom can’t dictate Health, Education, etc in their own country ensure that we in England are worse off.

Mr. Blair, get real, finish the job with devolution, do it correctly and fairly and you might actually leave a legacy worth leaving, right now, that isn’t going to happen.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

One year on from the London bombing, has anything changed?

The simple answer to that is yes, but is it for the better, I have to say sadly not.
There is more fear than before, more accusations, more finger pointing, and more removal of civil liberties that were hard won in the first place.

Is the tube safer, no I wouldn’t say so, is it being used less, not a chance, it is being used even more than before, the trains are more packed than I can ever remember, and I have been travelling on them daily for around 15 years, whether that is a case of higher usage or more delays, who knows, but people don’t seem to be walking around fretting that we might suffer another 7/7.

As cynical as I can be, I think most people will agree, we have had this government take advantage of the situation to further a police state, which we are sadly walking further and further into.

I also feel a lot for the Muslims who have been branded by many as a problem, when it was a bunch of fundamentalist who undertook the bombing, not anything else, and the worst part was they were right under our noses and this government still believes that ID cards would fix the situation, I still would like to know how that is possible.

Tomorrow many people will be observing silence for those who lost their lives, and I know of many work places that will be doing so. I am not actually sure if ours will do so, I can hope so, it would be appropriate to at least maintain silence for that period as requested, heck it would be for me the only time there was peace and quiet…….

London is a resilient city, it has for a long time dealt with issues like this and come through them all, and simply because it has to, it is whether people like it or not, the engine that drives this country, and without it, this country would be very different.

For those who are in London, remember how one year ago the landscape in London changed in a way we could never expect

Now the owner of a pair of Phonak Savias

Last Monday I took ownership of a pair of Phonak Savias, long overdue but finally happy to have them. They are an improvement on what I had previously, but still need some serious tweaking mind, and thankfully I have an appointment for that.

Here is what I have and what they look like

I didn’t specify a colour, because I expected beige, though I ended up with this, not that I am complaining, as this was the colour I had wanted at first and then thought better of, given that despite them looking good as Z has said, it just adds to the fact they stand out even more now, especially as I have gold ear moulds, so you can imagine the combination. If someone doesn’t realise I have hearing aids by now, then they will never see it, as it couldn’t be more in their face if I tried. No hiding for me anymore, as much as I would like.

The aids are more powerful than I had previously and at the moment it is set to change programs automatically as is needed, and that is actually making it a lot harder for me to concentrate and focus on my work and normal life, as it changes when it wants, and thus I don’t get consistency when it comes to sound, as it is changing so much, and not in a good way.

I also got a Smartlink System too

The idea of this is fantastic, and is supposed to allow up to 30m away for me to hear someone, an idea Z loved as she could tell me to get some shopping at one end of the shop whilst she is elsewhere. It doesn’t at the moment seem to work, whether that is the aid or the smartlink I am not sure. I did all I should as the manual said, but no joy, so right now it is a glorified remote control, which isn’t good.

So I am looking forward to when they come for the fine tuning, as it will be requiring a lot of work, but I think these have potential to be something decent, lets hope they last longer than my usual ones, and by that I mean less than a couple of years, whereas the life of the aids are supposed to 7-10 years, never had that happen ever.

Access to Work cuts

Those who have read this blog recently will know that I have been lucky enough to have gotten funding for the equipment I needed to help me with my work.

Though it took about a year to get from start to end, for many reasons like expecting my workplace which I had just when I made the application, to make a contribution! And my response was one of shock and then to laugh at them for wanting to make my position more precarious than it could have been, especially as that is what Access to Work is meant to be for, to provide a level a playing field for those who are disabled.

Well, I saw the following through a link I got in email, and it doesn’t exactly make good reading

Work and Pensions, Access to Work

I don’t see this as anything other than bad, I have to say, an opportunity for this government to make cuts in funding. What it is saying is that the government is going to make it harder for disabled people to be employed by governmental departments, and I don’t believe any of the rubbish that they say they are equal opportunities employer – fat chance. They will do their level best to ensure that they don’t have to pay out more than needed for a person, and this just ensures it will be even more difficult for disabled to work in governmental departments. Not that I think many people would want to work for an employer who doesn’t pay much above minimum wage which is what so many people in the JobCentres get.

I am surprised the DRC doesn’t see this as a problem.

Monday, July 03, 2006

Garden, well a Jungle

This weekend just gone, me and Z decided that we would attempt to make our garden, well jungle as it looked like a little nicer, a little more sparse, and generally something we can be proud of, instead of something to think, oh my what an eyesore.

Well on Saturday I started on part of it, spent a couple of hours, using the newly bought hedge trimmer, and like a boy with a power toy, enjoyed taking it out on the hedges at the front, they wouldn’t have seen that coming….

So far so good, I filled our brown organic waste bin completely, thankfully it is emptied every week at the moment, and our front garden looked a little better, not quite so much of a jungle, but something that more resembles a garden, though the bloody weeds wouldn’t come out, they are stuck so fast. Pulling and pulling on these things made no difference, despite my best strength, so they got a major dose of weed killer, which I had used previously on them, but obviously not enough. Thinking I might get something called DeeWeed which apparently is the best one around, though the one I have is pretty good for most weeds, just not these resistant little things.

On Sunday me and Z together started work on the back garden, in the hope we might actually find the garden amongst the jungle that existed out there. After 2 hours of going at it, we managed to tidy up one side of the garden. Just one side, that is how bad the garden had got. Z really enjoyed going at parts of the garden with the hedge trimmer, and there was me hoping it would be just a boys toy, she loves the power tool as well.

It looks quite bare now on one side, but more like a garden should be, the other side will have to wait. In removing the jungle on the one side, we managed to fill about 10 black sacks worth of jungle waste. Shows I haven’t done for an eternity, really bad. I will be glad when the council empty the brown bin, and then we will just fill it up all over again, this might go on all summer I think.

As it was so hot yesterday I worked without a top, and yep, I got sunburnt, very red on my back, but despite that I think it was worth it. The garden looks better and there is a real sense of achievement from all that hard work.

Hopefully we can get it to a state where we just need to go at it once a month and then it will be no more 10 sacks of garden waste every time we try and sort it out.

I have never been much a DIY or garden person, but I am having to learn bloody fast, and what better way to learn that to attack a jungle made of my own doing….