Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Back to Reality

I've just re-read my last post, and can't help feeling a wave of despair at my seemingly optimistic outlook. Arrgh.

The last hotel plumbed new depths of awful, ones I'm sure many crips will be already acquainted with. I suppose my witterings on last time " ...I'm a fairly able wheelchair user, I'm pretty sure if I can't manage... any room that puports to be physically accessible to a wheelchair user would be a nightmare for anyone with less ability to get around" prompted fate to reach up and smack me down, big time.

I was, as mentioned earlier, staying for 6 nights rather than my customary overnight stay. This being the case, I'd taken particular care on picking somewhere. I asked more questions, and in fact, had this place recommended by someone at the organisation I was visiting - which works with disabled people. This hotel is undergoing extensive redevelopment and had made it known to the organisation who recommended it, that such enlightened things as ajoining rooms for carers were being planned. At the time I felt this signaled a high level of awareness that made me feel more secure. I checked their access statement online, which clearly had a row of happy looking green ticks alongside the question "Are the following locations accessible by ramped access with a 1:12 gradient or less (which could be portable), or by lift, or without using stairs? Hotel entrance, Bar entrance, Leisure facilities entrance, Restaurant entrance, Lounge entrance.

Yeah, right.

It was that week when we had all the rain and high winds. The room was in one building on top of a hill. The reception, breakfast room, bar and dining room were in another building, at the bottom of the hill. Hurrah!
No indoor corridor. No 1-in-12 on the walkway between the two buidlings either. In fact, it was so steep they'd staggered the path into 3 sections to make the distance and the gradient manageable. For able-bodied people. So before I got my key, I negotiated room service, but it's not as much fun when you're there for a whole week without the prospect of leaving your room.

The room was fine - it had the best shower and bath arrangement I'd ever seen. Whilst I was being shown to my room, the lady mentioned the whole thing was being ripped out a week after I left and 'upgraded'. Haahaahahahaahahahahahaaaa. Ha. Hah.

On top of this, in no particular order, the following occurred.
Recovering from a dislocated shoulder, I trapped my arm in the heavy entrance doors to the accomodation block, brusing my arm. The car park was occupied by builders - guess which spaces they'd put up their little huts in? The pathway from the car park to the room had no dropped kerb. After the second day the builders blocked off the car park from the pathway. On the third morning I found they'd blocked access from the accomodation block to all routes except the steep walkway between the two buildings. The manager promised me it wouldn't happen again. It happened every morning until the morning I left.

And, it's a small point, and one I can personally get around, but why, oh why, when you stay in a wheelchair accessible room, do they put a bloody PEDAL bin in the bathroom? It's like a, a jaunty little hat on a serial killer! It's godamn EVIL!

So I won't be going back there.

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