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Remote working is still a hot topic. For disabled people, it’s been touted as a big leap forward. Many businesses are still grappling with the pros and cons of this new era.

This can create many frustrations and fears for employers and employees. Indeed, for disabled and non-disabled employees too. We have to pause and remember everyone wants and aspires to the same things. When the people that make a business can thrive, the business grows, which creates more jobs and prosperity for the staff.

At Purple Goat we launched during the first lockdown. We’ve never had an office. All of our team are remotely based.

For me, as a disabled person, it certainly has its benefits. I don’t have to commute. Finding an accessible office isn’t necessary (which can be a nightmare unfortunately). In winter, particularly, I can use my lower energy levels on the things that really matter.

For the team too, there’s lots of benefits. We’ve had team members work from Madeira and South Africa! We’ve got staff near Manchester, Birmingham and London. It’s opened up the geographical areas we can search for great talent.

However, naturally there’s challenges. As human beings we crave connection, including at work, and not only via screens. There’s something about meeting in person. So we now try our best to meet up together in person, either for work or more often for a company social.

Naturally, communication and organisation vary from physical offices to virtual workplaces. Again, we’ve found solutions through online calls, messaging and document sharing. We’ve definitely found it to be very productive.

I don’t think anyone can say one or the other style is best. Even for different individuals, there’ll be a leaning towards physical or virtual work. For us, considering accessibility, inclusion and diversity, virtual work, with a touch of in person, certainly continues to be a great way for Purple Goat to keep powering on with our mission – to serve our clients’ business needs and empower our disability community.

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I’ve struggled to write an update recently for a couple of reasons. One is that there’s simply not been enough time and energy once I’ve finished everything else. The other is I wasn’t sure exactly what to say.

As you’ll know I’m doing the Daily Sib interviews with disability influencers and my daily (ish) Disabled Founders Journal podcast. So I am still saying a lot. However I feel there’s a place for these occasional written pieces.

Partly because it offers a different style of information about my inclusion work. Partly because some things get missed in those other formats. Partly because I find it personally helpful to articulate how I’m getting on with everything through writing.

Health and wellness

I hit a bit of an energy bump the past fortnight. I’d really pushed myself hard since we launched Purple Goat, and I definitely needed a day or two to recuperate and take stock of everything.

I’ll update on the business later, but this pause for reflection helped with my health and wellness immensely.

Separate to business, some anxieties arose around my care support and financial security (in particular the government funding of my care support). So I decided to speak with close family and friends about these worries. In simply sharing my thoughts and them being heard, the negativity I’d felt immediately lifted.

I’ve also got back in to my Mindvalley meditations, which I had neglected, and which help a lot with keeping a more positive mental state. More so I’ve kept up with consuming my daily dose of inspiring blogs, books, podcasts and vlogs. These are really powerful in keeping a glass half full perspective.

I’d also started to eat less healthily and have more comfort foods. Which makes sense with all those changes going on. Hello Covid19, rescheduled wedding and brand new business. So I’ve subsequently invested in some cool health food and supplements. I’m already feeling huge benefits from getting the right nutrients in my system. Not to forget sleep and exercise in the mix.

Body. Mind. Soul. Tick.

Independent living

With Covid19 it’s been very stressful managing my care needs, with having people come in my house posing a risk of transmitting the virus. Let alone the fear of the Care Act being suspended and the economic issues potentially effecting future social care funding. But as explained above I’m doing the things I can to stay positive and healthy.

I’ve had various equipment issues recently too. My wheelchair kept cutting out, and took a few attempts to find/fix the fault. Then Sunny accidentally broke the tray/armrests when coming near me for cuddles. Then my car lift broke down just as I wanted to start going out a bit further for dog walks. In the end it was uplifted to Lewis Reed in Liverpool and returned in working order.

Thanks Motability for arranging that!

In definitively good news, the house and garden is looking fantastic. We’ve fixed broken bits, freshened things up, painted the decking, I treated Kasia to a hanging garden chair, and we’re halfway through having a professional re-do the, previously wild, front garden!

Leisure and fun

There’s not been a whole lot of leisure for all of us for obvious reasons. Apart from the daily dog walk and a couple of garden visits to see family, my calendar looks very to different to last year.

Usually I’d be in London for meetings, around the country speaking to big audiences, and around the world blogging about my adventures.

Instead I’ve got myself back playing FIFA with the help of Special effects. They are the charity to support disabled people in to gaming. They helped me get my old but easier to use playstation 3 controller to work on my new laptop. Using various adaptions and softwares, guided by their experts.

I’ve also enjoyed playing battleships with Kasia and poker with some of my new work colleagues. Not to forget those lockdown Zoom quizzes and bingo nights!

Purple Goat

Unless you’ve been under a rock or on a complete digital detox for 3 months, you’ll know I co founded the Purple Goat Agency with my business partners from the Goat Agency.

Purple Goat connects brands with the $8 trillion global disability market with talented and dedicated disabled influencers.

As a quick reflection of the first 3 months I would say; hugely exciting, lots to do, lots to learn, lots of progress already made, impatient to achieve our potential, speaking to awesome and interesting people every day, we’ve integrated well in to a global marketing agency, really like my new colleagues, proud of the Disability Horizons team still growing with me being less involved, and enjoying helping disabled influencers get opportunities they’ve always deserved.

To keep up with the world of influencer marketing and my progress as a disabled founder of a new company, please do follow my daily posts on my social channels.

I’ll try to write again soon. Don’t forget to hit reply or comment with how you are getting on too!

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This time last year I was celebrating going solo with my social business, a visit to New York and making big plans for 2012. It is fair to say this year went far better than I could have ever dreamt!

In this post I’ve summarised each months highlights, before sharing some general thoughts and my hopes for 2013.

January – Following on from my successful Webinars, I created my first ever eCourse. Covering employment; I interviewed 14 people over Skype, wrote automated email guides and shared links to other resources. Take a look and register for free here.

February – I finally secured a social project funded by the EU in Spain. During February I visited Aviles, Asturias to ensure the facilities were accessible and that I’d like my project. I also attended various training sessions and packed my bags in preparation (not a simple exercise, believe me).

March – I flew to Aviles to begin my 2 month stay. I stayed in a hostel, fully accessible for my needs, delivered talks to schools, ran workshops, taught English, tried to learn Spanish, met great people and grew a lot personally from the experience.

April – Despite being abroad, my work continued. I setup my business to give me freedom and the ability to travel. During my time in Spain I delivered more Webinars, blogged and pushed Disability Horizons along with Srin and the team.

During this period the Guardian published this amazing article on us

May – My travel and work exploits continued. I was accepted on a training course in Turkey where we shared volunteering experiences across Europe and made great contacts. I also was flown to Tenerife to discuss my becoming a consultant for Lero (who provide services for disabled tourists there). On the trip Filipe kindly made this video to my step brothers bands song on disability.

I’m on a great program run by the Big Society Network called the ‘Nexters’. This helps my vision of changing the world for disabled people by connecting me with disability organisations, political influencers, media channels and business mentoring. To support and promote me, they kindly held this event for me. Thanks guys.

June – Disability Horizons was invited as a special guest to the Mobility Roadshow and judged their children’s writing competition – ready, willing and able. Srin and I were also kindly invited to Exmoor by the Calvert Trust for this crazy experience.

July and August – Back in my London pad; I caught up with friends and acquaintances, enjoyed the sites of my nations capital and enjoyed the Olympics. I also did a lot of media work and networking.

I launched the innovative dConference. Having crowd sourced the necessary funds (thanks @samedifference) 12 contributors spoke on their use of the Internet. Register for the ongoing conference here for free.

September – We saw the amazing spectacle that was the Paralympic games. These late summer days furthered the countries euphoria, portrayed disability in a whole new light and sparked something fresh! I also began planning something new and impactful myself…

October – Along with my Personal Assistant, Filipe, I embarked upon my roadtrip of Europe. You can read all here. Needless to say it was challenging, invigorating and everlasting!

November and December – Despite the great personal projects, raised media profile, disability sector influence and world travel; running a business is tough at present. I used this time to give more talks in person, to prospect new consultancy clients, deliver workshops and generally make new things happen.

I worked as a presenter for Visit Britain’s pilot on local accessible tourism. I also appeared on BBC breakfast discussing the impact of the Paralympics, whilst representing Disability Horizons.

I drove to Gloucester, Oxford, Southampton, Brighton, Birmingham and Manchester during this period.

In general

I’m managing to maintain my health better than when in employment, having quality friends/family time, acquired my new wheelchair, loving driving my adapted car, running my care team and flat; on top of the above.

Next year

My goals are to:

– maximise my second stay in Aviles, Spain in January to learn Spanish and bring back fresh ideas for Disability Horizons. I am there again for 2 months and am already preparing!

– ensure Disability Horizons keep publishing great articles, growing it’s readership, bringing in necessary funds, and continuing to change the world

– continue juggling my health, important people in my life, my work and travel in the right balance

– stay true to my values, earn a humble and stable living, keep creating new projects and make people think to ask questions of themselves and others

Summary

I’m feeling tired reading this back, let alone having done it.

However it’s all worthwhile. I’m doing something I believe in, making a massive positive change, giving younger disabled people fresh views, educating society on their responsibilities, and showing everyone you can live the life you want.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on my year and future plans, plus more importantly your own news and goals too. Feel free to leave a comment and pass this on to your peeps.

Happy New Year!

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After months of travel and adventure I have been staying at my mums for a couple of weeks. This has been much needed and very pleasant. Usually I leave my London flat and visit my parents because I am ill or very run down. To have been in my home town, full of energy, full of stories and full of health has enabled so many good times. To tell my mum, dad, sister, step dad, step mum, grandparents and step brothers (yep, it’s a big family) about my adventures was nice. Moreover to hear how they are, what they’ve been up to and grab a few drinks in town has been amazing.

Today I also managed to see a physio who demonstrated some exercises for my PAs to do on me. For the past 10 years I have neglected my body, pushed it hard and am suffering a little from getting older – 30 next September! My Spinal Muscular Atrophy means I have a normal life expectancy, but will get weaker. I cannot stop this, but to do some stretches and be a little more careful will help. I am also getting a new wheelchair soon to support me better. This is through the NHS voucher scheme and Access to Work. I have also changed Personal Assistants and ready to head back to London next week.

If you have read my ebook (The Disability Diamond Theory) you will follow how these aspects are my foundations. Without the relationships that support me, my health in check, my wheelchair and PAs I cannot work or do the finer things in life. If any of my foundations crumble or my health deteriorates; I could not do all of these cool things.

Speaking of foundations and finer things in life. I headed up to Manchester last weekend to see my good friend Rich from Coventry uni days. We had a blast as always; caught up, debated politics and disability, ate well, drank lots and just reminisced. Rich has struggled since arriving in Manchester with changing local authority, fighting for enough social care and general disability provision. As a result he manages to get some food and a shower, but has no help with his house work. As a result you can see the clutter and lack of hygiene that had built up.

Before Richs cleanup
Before Richs cleanup

After Richs cleanup
After Richs cleanup

As the above pictures show, we gave it a going over! Filipe was working his last shift with me, before supporting more with my business ventures. He had no motives or reason to do such a lovely thing, but offered to sort and clean Richs house. You can imagine how frustrating it is for Rich to see this mess and have no means to make changes. He was so grateful to Filipe after 2 full days of working (throwing out 8 bags of rubbish, arranging books etc and ferociously cleaning every room). The results are clear and will make a huge difference. However, why is it Rich has such limited support? I am asking him to write a guest post to explain himself.

From my side, I am so grateful to have enough support and try to channel my online work into supporting other disabled people. Today is the anniversary of my going self-employed! Since leaving Scope I have achieved many personal and professionals goals. I have also learned a great deal about myself, my projects and disability in general.

The best part in reflecting this with Rich has been understanding the effects (good and bad) and seeing where I currently am professionally. This I feel is explained in 3 points:

1) I have become more of a disability lifestyle writer, rather than a political/campaigner during the Scope days. I still hold strong personal political views, but I see my role in the bigger picture being through my personal story and projects such as Disability Horizons. Bigger organisations are more capable of activism, and I am there as an individual. Professionally I will stick with everyday life support.

2) Where I still assert a serious vibe is through my online facilitation projects. These are not political, but do seek to create debate, encourage sharing, learning and offer support. I have achieved this through my webinars, ecourses and econferences. These all give a space for other disabled people and professionals to come together, explain their views and create some solutions.

3) I have also been able to collaborate with other organisations in the public and private sector. I have supported Scope, Hackney Council, Lero and many others with social media, new media and disability awareness expertise. It is a drop in the disability ocean, but each project has been an innovative success.

Beyond work, I am plotting some bigger plans and yet more personal challenges. Stay tuned for news on my roadtrip in September! Until then I am looking forward to a British summer, catching up with friends in London, launching the Disability eConference and developing all aspects of myself and my work as I go.

Thanks for all of your support 🙂

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In my last post I talked you through how important rest and reflection had been for me during the festive season. I definitely feel stronger for having switched off for a couple of weeks. Despite the broken wheelchair, the faulty car, the defective laptop, the change in Personal Assistants, and a lingering cold; my work thoughts have been invigorated. This post will talk you through exactly what my vision is and the plans I have to deliver it. You cool peeps had better pay attention too as you all need to play your own part in changing the world for disabled people (whether you are disabled or not).

Webinars

You may remember my tweeting about webinars last year? Since leaving my day job at Scope I ran 15 webinars for 3 separate audiences:

They were very successful! Over 100 people attended altogether, their feedback was positive and therefore I am planning to continue running these sessions. Some of the difficulties I had included reaching enough people, explaining how simple the technology is (the word ‘webinar’ seemed to turn some people off) and knowing exactly what information was needed.

Thanks to you guys, my understanding of using webinars to disseminate information and create discussions has been improved. Therefore, in 2012 I am going to run 1 FREE session per month. Each session (covering topics such as volunteering, relationships, travel, social care, housing, employment, etc) will give you:

  • useful information;
  • the chance to challenge your own perceptions;
  • and a platform to share your experiences.

You will hear from experts and disabled people. They know about the barriers in the way and have worked hard to overcome them. Now they are able to honestly say “disability does not mean no ability”.

To read more about the monthly webinars, click here, and to register for the next webinar on volunteering, click here.

Spaces are limited so get involved now 🙂

Disability Horizons

I am sure you have already seen www.disabilityhorizons.com, but if you haven’t then where have you been? My good friend Srin Madipalli and I felt so compelled to show the world what can be done with the right mindset and information, we started an online magazine!

Inspired by our world travel and love of adventure, we set-off to find other like-minded people who were keen to write about their amazing adventures too. Since April 2011, with minimal budget, we have:

  • had a website redesign from the awesome guys at Misfit-Inc
  • worked with over 50 writers and organisations
  • been read in over 60 countries
  • grown our readership by 40% each month
  • ran meetups in New York and London
  • shown the world that disabled people can, and do, kick-ass!

Please continue to support the magazine by either reading our articles, writing for us if you feel inspired and sharing the articles with your networks. Also make sure you push your limits in 2012!

Working with external organisations

Beyond working with Scope and Hackney council, I have enjoyed partnering up with many charities, councils, Disabled People’s Organisations (DPO’s), social organisations, media outlets and companies.

My priority is delivering great webinars, magazine and social media content to you. However, I am also looking forward to delivering new:

  • Interesting talks at key events
  • Training workshops
  • Material for TV, radio, newspaper and other publications
  • Projects on using social media, new media, marketing and disability awareness

If this is something that may help you and your organisation, please contact me here

The big one

I am about to launch the largest project of my life. It will give the most inspirational, comprehensive and fundamental information to you. Be sure to read my blog for the launch of this over the next couple of weeks.

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I have been doing that ‘feeling bad’ thing when I realise I haven’t written a more thought provoking piece for my blog. Sometimes I think running a website on any particular subject matter can make you feel a pressure to be profound and revolutionary. Then, in the cold light of day, I realise how ridiculously busy I have been and that actually my blog is all about living everyday life anyway. Sure, if I am swept away with an amazing idea I will share, but I sometimes overlook the value in just talking about ‘living’.

I then realised I hadn’t written a post on where my life actually is right now. So, true to form, I want to share my progress, fears and dreams with you.

You all know I have my independent living elements cracked. As per the Disability Diamond Theory; I drive my car, know how to utilise public transport with a wheelchair, have my care budget and team setup, love my London flat, I work (now for myself), have good friends, family and a lovely girlfriend (yep, a new update for ya there!) and manage leisure and travel when budgets allow.

The past months I have, for one reason and another, shaken my world upside down. In leaving my safe employed job, I have taken a huge risk in my pursuit of a vision I am passionate about. You may remember my last blog similar to this one here? Essentially this was all about my working through business plans and getting used to self employment.

Well, since then I have run 15 webinars through my blog, Scope and Hackney council and worked for the BBC as a tv presenter. My blog is also reaching more people than ever. Disability Horizons has grown, with scores of amazing contributors, insightful articles, increase of our readership and whispers of future world domination 🙂 This is so cool coming from the concept Srin and I developed this time last year in California and launched only a few months back. I think you’ll agree the redesign kicks ass too!

Despite all of my thoughts and energies going into getting my social enterprise off the ground, my world has been tipped upside down in other ways more recently. I have been making changes and improvements to all of my ‘foundations’ and some unexpected things have happened too. Nearly all of this is through my own choice and for positive action, but is all very scary and sometimes stressful.

Transport – my adapted car has been faulty of late and so I have at last arranged for it to be taken today and be checked over. I really hate not having the car as it’s my embodiment of true independence.

My flat – All is well flat wise, but as I plan to travel a lot more next year I am looking into letting it out if I am away. A letting agency are coming to value it any minute now. I am also helping them to provide accessible accommodation for disabled people at the Olympics and Paralympics next year.

My care team – I realised since going self employed that my care rota doesn’t work for me anymore. My guys change over every Monday and Friday. This means a constant feeling of checking where I am location wise, and chopping and changing. With my plans to travel more while I work remotely, it clearly would be better with a rota of 2 weeks on and 2 weeks off. This unfortunately means 2 of my 3 PA’s will be leaving in January. I pondered this decision for ages as they are amazing carers and people. However my care has to support my life in the best way, and therefore the changes are necessary.

So I am now recruiting for a new PA. The advert is up on gumtree. If you or anyone you know is interested please use the link. This means I will need to read the 50 or so applicants, short list those I think (according to my criteria) are suitable and then interview them. Following my decision on who is best for my needs, I will need to do criminal checks, reference checks and then train them up. Once someone knows my needs its cool, but it takes a while to get used to someone seeing you naked and doing everything for you.

Work – Things are still going according to plan. The webinars kept me in my flat, rather than blogging outside, lol. I am planning to apply the learnings of the webinars and roll out more in 2012. I am now busy doing financial planning, looking into social enterprise support schemes (such as the nexters, which I am now officially part of) and creating my e-learning courses.

My first e-course will be on employment and disability. I have the technology partner in AJ and Melissa Leon at Misfit-Inc, the personal experience and the networks to create a course that will inspire and inform many disabled people on the tricks of getting into work. It clearly cannot support those unable to work, or the general economic problems, but it can have a bloody good attempt. I am ever the optimist.

My nearest and dearest – even when I’m busy I always ensure I keep a close contact with my girlfriend, family and friends. I have decided to not say loads about the change in relationship status. However, her name is Claire, I knew her at uni years ago, she lives near Edinburgh and it was during my visit there that sparks flew 🙂 I can’t wait to see her next weekend when she visits. Skype is cool, but you can’t beat face to face interaction. I do my best to see everyone face to face, but if not I use skype, phone calls or at the very least a text. I remain in contact with friends back to childhood, and all the way up to my London crew today. I would never let work, stress or life stop this!

Leisure  – I am looking forward to the meetup this weekend for Disability Horizons. My great mate Rich from uni is visiting the weekend after Claire does. So the next 3 weekends are chocca. Then I’m afraid Christmas is fast approaching. I need to get the present list sorted soon really.

Travel – I have been eying up my winter sunshine break in Tenerife in January, but am going to see how my health goes (we all know how difficult winters usually are for me) and how work goes the next month or so. However, I can say there is something hotting up around next spring which will be amazing. More to come as the plans firm up! 🙂

I have to say I haven’t felt so happy and healthy in years. I feel so much more confident in maintaining my basic foundations (work, car, house and care), in my future plans. I am working more than ever, feel mentally tired each night, but I know it is all so worthwhile, even despite the challenging months ahead.

If you haven’t read the Diamond Theory, I would recommend it as a framework to life, what you want from it and how to progress without going too quick!

I am still brewing a more philosophical post, but it needs a little longer to cook 😉

Until next time, I hope you are all well and make sure you get in touch with any thoughts or questions you may have.

Cheers,
Martyn

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During some recent discussions, I realised that the positive impact of my being disabled, living life to the full and not dwelling on the ‘cannots’ can also be misconstrued. In my next post I am going to explore disability as a social problem, lay out my proposed solutions and show how we all play different roles in this (disabled or not!). However, for today, I want to address the point that sometimes I make living with a disability look ‘too easy’.

Some disabled people may assume that I must either not be that ‘disabled’, have had some sort of extra help in life (financially or otherwise) and just swan around the world with ease. Meanwhile, non-disabled people may think there can’t be a social issue for disabled people – “just look at Martyn, he seems to be doing fine”.

Whenever someone blogs or shares their life and opinions, they open up debate and also they open themselves up for criticism. Do not get me wrong, this post is not off the back of hate mail by any means, in fact the blog and Horizons feedback is awesome! I am just aware enough to know what the potential drawbacks of my ‘message’ are, and want to tackle it by sharing a little bit more of myself than normal.

See, I am great at sharing outcomes – my work exploits, leisure activities and world travel adventures – but I find it harder to share my physical limitations and the complex inputs that enable me to live the life I do. This simply is because I just do them. So, to illustrate my ‘disability’, to confirm how nothing comes that easily and to show you that anything is possible; here’s a day in the life of moi!

8.30 My Personal Care Assistant (PA) comes in to wake me, rolls me onto my back, lifts my arms above my head for me to stretch and goes away again for 10 minutes. You see, I am not a morning person at all! 8.30 is the time I attempt to get up on weekdays, but since self employment I can grab a bit more sleep and work later if I so choose, plus I’m more productive later on. On weekends it is probably more like 11am when I rise!

9.00 Having used my wee bottle in bed, had my underwear and trousers put on me, and been hoisted into my wheelchair; I have my top put on and I’m good to go. I take the long commute from my bedroom to the kitchen/dining room/lounge area (here’s a video tour of my flat). My ebook ‘the disability diamond theory’ partly covers the struggles of securing an accessible/affordable flat, but I got there in the end and love my place. I don’t do breakfast as I never feel hungry first thing, but I have my necessary cup of tea.

9.30 I log onto my laptop and begin work. Nowadays ‘work’ is ‘inspiring, informing and changing the world for disabled people’. As you can imagine, it’s very rewarding, fulfilling and motivating. I start by checking my emails, twitter and facebook messages. I have become such a social media geek!

10.00 My PA will pass me my toothbrush. I do this myself, but have to be at the table and spit into an empty cup. When my arms are supported I can eat and drink easier, but when they are not; reaching my mouth is difficult. Once I have sorted my pearly whites, my PA washes my face for me and sorts my hair out with water, wax and sometimes hairspray – yep, I am vain!

10.30 I head off with my PA in my adapted car which I drive to meet a man about a dog. At present I run my blog, Disability Horizons online magazine, webinars for disabled people in partnership with charities and councils, and undertake speaking, workshop, training and consultancy projects on disability and/or social media. This meeting will most likely be in London, but sometimes I travel all over the UK by car or train. My PA always comes with me.

12.30 Time to grab some lunch! I am a fussy eater which leans more towards unhealthy snack food, though I am trying to improve this as I head towards the 30 year age mark. Therefore my PA will help me get my money from my wallet, pay the cashier and carry my food to the table where I do the rest.

13.30 Back at my flat now and it’s time to check in with my family, friends and any personal chores on my to-do list. This might be a catch up with mum, a note to my girlfriend, a few texts with the lads, and some care admin. Running a team of PA’s means I am responsible for their rota (the days they work), paying them each month and generally ensuring they are happy with their job. If they are unhappy, leave or unable to work then my day will look VERY different.

14.30 Onto 2012 plans and I am planning a trip away in the new year. These days I have to really watch the pennies after starting a new business, but equally every travel adventure does provide great content and networking for potential work projects. For example the company in Tenerife who provide me with a hoist and accessible airport transfers are interested in partnering on a disability travel project. So, at this time I may be booking flights, ensuring the airline know my needs, hiring a hoist at the other end and daydreaming about some winter sun. I am not a fan of the cold or dreary days!

15.30 I am back on emails, twitter and facebook. Then I might contact some potential writers for the magazine and edit a first draft of a new article. I’ll email Srin some Horizons news and then we’ll speak later when he’s out of the office too. I will have radio 1 or mtv base pumping in the background whilst I write an article such as this for my personal blog – www.martynsibley.com.

16.30 Throughout the day my PA’s will have helped me to the toilet, made me a drink and enabled me to do a variety of other tasks. At this stage I will ask them to carry out some domestic tasks such as cleaning, washing clothes and helping grab food from the shops.

17.00 Shower time… My PA will help me undress, hoist me onto the toilet and then onto my shower chair. This chair sits cleverly over the bath, there is an area cut out of the baths’ side for the hoist legs to go under and essentially I can get a nice shower. My PA’s have to help me wash everywhere, just to illustrate how weird this was for the first few times. I am now used to this of course, but having a new PA takes a while to feel comfortable again.

18.30 Having eaten I will take a stroll/wheel down to my local hang out. I love Stoke Newington because the people are cool, the food tasty and the pubs have character. Over the past 4 years, it has definitely become my local amongst the vastness of London’s diversity in hangouts. Sometimes my PA will come too and other times the friend I go with is happy to help me get a drink. I also occasionally use a bag enabling me to pee freely without assistance for a few hours. It is like a catheter but doesn’t go inside your fella, if you get my drift (just ask if you want more info, but please no weirdo’s).

21.30 I meander my way home feeling merry, tipsy and content. I have been blasted at once with a police siren for cruising the bus lanes whilst a mate hitched a lift on my wheelchair. Of course, those days are behind me now 😉

22.00 I have an enjoyable catch up with my beautiful girlfriend on skype and discuss our day, plus what we will do next time we see each other. In checking if she was happy to be mentioned here, she requested lots of positive comments about Edinburgh (near her hometown) and Scotland generally. Does this comment achieve that?! 😉

23.00 I get hoisted into bed, raise the head on my bed up to watch some tv and then try and sleep. Often at night my brain goes double speed. I have my best ideas now and lie awake planning projects, ideas and articles. I often need to turn over before I sleep, so I use my mobile phone to ‘miss call’ my PA who comes from the spare room to help. I will also require this a few hours later.

So that’s a day in my life! I hope that this is a helpful and informative outline of my world at present. Clearly on weekends I may go and see family and of course I have my travel trips, but you have read these already. If you have any feedback, comments or questions do not hesitate to get in touch here