Monday, 11 August 2008

Getting a grip. First in an occasional series.

Sometimes it seems the simplest solutions are the best.

The pic is of my tablet bag- one of those large so-called 'airport holdalls'. Though my weekly tabs are dealt with by my carer, I keep a couple of other bits and bobs in there I use on a daily basis.

Problem is, those twiddly little zip fasteners. Very hard, if not impossible at times, to grab hold of. So came up with that multicoloured grip you see attached to a zipper. Despite it's simple appearance, a lot of thought went into it.

I needed something that was simple to make. The major consideration was to have something that was flexible, had a rough surface I could grip, stayed gripped once I'd held it, and could cope with wear and tear. Most of all, it had to be cheap :)

I spent a long time playing with a piece of string. That kept the cat quiet. The string on it's own might have fit the job - I could wrap it around my hand - but it just looked all dangly and untidy. The string tended to fray and snap too - not good. So the string was strengthened by soaking it in PVA glue. That also prevented it from fraying. Much better. The advantage of PVA glue is that it's cheap, easy to use and dries transparent.

Why not use rope? Didn't have any handy that was thin enough to fit through the eye of the zipper - and hey, remember, the whole idea was to keep this cheap. The other disadvantage of rope is that it's difficult to knot and keep knotted.

The downside was using just string made it a two handed job - using my good hand to wrap it around the hand I preferred to use. Also meant that the now strengthened string had to quite long - which was an accident waiting to happen. So I needed short, and I needed grip.

Then I spied , lying forlornly in a dusty cluttered corner of 'Jabba' (my hut), a short length of "save 'till later in case it came in handy" (it's a fella thing) quarter beading. Ding! Light Bulb Over The Head Moment.

Cut a piece off. Well, that was crap. Tried again. Yup, likewise. Another bright idea. I noticed the pieces I was about to discard had angular corners, so I drilled holes in them, and using a rather large darning needle, fed the PVA'd string through. Got my Tots to knot it one end, and VĂ³la! - a puller with grip.

The stroke of genius (even tho' I say so myself) was ensuring that where possible, to ensure that no two adjoining pieces had flat edges that were together. That made sure that pointed edges always face both against the next piece and other corners outward. Grip problem resolved.

"Not enough Dad" said Tots. Naturally, she was right, so we I cut a few more. "Not pretty enough" said Tots. So with some poster paints, and a couple of coats of clear varnish, we found ourselves with the end result.

Feel free to make your own variations for whatever use for non-commercial use. Making them to sell them, however constitutes a commercial use, and if you want to make something however similar to make money, I'd appreciate it if you contacted me first. If you don't, it'll cost you :) So (c) Wheelie 2007. Have fun.

Sunday, 10 August 2008

While on the subject of Disability Living Allowance.

I've had to delete a couple of post, that shall we say, were unpleasant. Basically, it was the tired old chestnut of benefit claimants being leeches.

Unfortunately, I've hit that in real life - even to the extent of one person claiming that "disability is a load of b****cks put on by people screwing the system" And that was from someone who hasn't actually seen me for twenty five years. It's not unusual, sadly.

Waste of time arguing with plonkers like that.

My view is very simple. By all means you can have the DLA I've been granted.

But you going to have to take my disability first.

Saturday, 2 August 2008


Well, just being through the Disability Living Allowance 2 yearly reclaim. There's been a couple of changes.

I've been on DLA for a while. Not as long as I should have been - took a practice nurse at my excellent GP's explaining why I should have it before I claimed. The nuisance and stressful bit was being given top rate care and lower rate mobility, and having to reclaim every 2 years.

Part of the problem has been me :) I don't like the idea of being disabled and refused to accept it. It meant that on the application form, I tended to fill it in how well I did, rather than the reality of any difficulties I have to overcome. That's when I learned lesson number one. Don't fill it in yourself - seek the advice of a local Advice Centre.

Another thing about DLA is that if you don't have the support of your Health Care Professionals - your GP, Carer(s), Practice Nurse, AND someone who knows you well, and/or hospital, you just aren't going to get it. Because they ask them. Even then, the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) may 'ask you in' for independent assessment by one of their Medical Advisory Panels. Brrr....

More, once the decision has been made by the DWP, if you think they've made a mistake, you have 28 days to contact them and correct them. If you don't do that, you have to appeal. Either way, you may find yourself having to explain in person to a Medical Advisory Panel why you disagree. In which case, it's in the lap of the gods, and very stressful. Well, I think so. Maybe it's a man thing.

There a number of benefits to being on DLA . For instance, it isn't means tested. You can work, and still get DLA. But the employment has to be within the context of the limitations of your disability. For instance, I use a wheelchair, but I can walk. Not far, but I can. If I should get a job as a football referee, golf professional, or even jog (I wish!) I'd be well and truly stuffed, considered a fraudster, as a few have recently, and I think rightly so.

If you are on Income Support, there are a variety of other benefits you can claim - which I'm not going into here - at least not yet - it all depends on individual circumstances. However, if you have a partner, whether working or on income support, and you get at least Medium Rate Care, you might have a look at Carers Allowance.

I've had my DLA reduced from higher rate care, and lower rate mobility, to be reclaimed every two years, to lower rate mobility, middle rate care. Indefinitely. I'm not going to appeal. I'm losing a lot, cash-wise, but that's balanced out by the 'indefinitely'.

Thats enough for now. If you have any questions, feel free to comment, and I'll do my best to answer or refer you to the appropriate answers elsewhere.

Bless you.