Friday, 27 September 2013

Celebrate the small things

It's Friday and that means it's time for Celebrate the Small Things, an awesome blog hop, hosted by Viklits writing blog.

This week, I have a few smaller things to celebrate and one very big thing, but first I want to start with the big thing.

My beautiful boy turned seven today; so, tonight we will be celebrating like crazy with a beautiful cake, made by my wonderful neighbour, who really does make the most mouth-watering chocolate cake ever.

Kye is birthday mad. All year, all we hear from him is, "When is my birthday? How long till my bithday?" And so on and so forth.

This morning, we gave him a present to tide him over until school, but the real celebrations will kick in, once he gets home.

Especially, when he see's the massive gift that arrived in the post today from the lovely Chuck Jolly, who actually edits this site for me. My posts are always far more neat and tidy a few days after they go up, when CJ has had time to give them a clean up.

Chuck likes to live vicariously through Kye, by buying my son all the geek toys that CJ wants for  himself and this time, he has sent Kye a massive box full of Marvel action figures. Kye loves super-heroes and action figures, so he is, no doubt, going to be over the moon, when he sees it. I can't even begin to imagine how much it must have cost, so a really big thank you to CJ.

His cake, as mentioned before, is a chocolate cake. I will get a picture, as he is blowing the candles out. For now, I will say that it has a Moshie monster theme and has white chocolate buttons, around  the sides, and lovely blue icing decorations, as well as a giant, blue Moshie monster to add on, before we bring it in. I cannot thank our lovely neighbour enough for it. Again, Kye is going to be over the moon, when he sees it and even more, I suspect, once he tastes it. Seriously, she really does make the best chocolate cake I have ever tasted.

Another thing to celebrate, to do with his birthday, is the fact that we have managed to get most of the things he asked for this year. With how tight money has been, I am really glad that I started getting his gifts early and continued to purchase them, throughout the year. As a result, he has the wrestling ring and figurines he wanted, lots of Ben 10 stuff, and a huge collection of Gamoti figurines.(I think that's what they're called) That was the gift we gave him this morning to tide him over.

Still staying on the birthday theme, but another little celebration; the school today is having a book fair. What a great day for it to fall on for Kye! As a result, I made a sneaky call to the school and asked them to let him pick out a selection of books. Kye loves books, just like me, and has no idea that he'll be able to get quite a few new ones today, so a nice added surprise for him.

I went out for a really long ride on my scooter with Ludo this morning. I didn't think to take a picture, as we were going along, like I have in the past, but the above picture is an old one from a similar trip out, when both Harley and Ludo came. Ludo is the border Collie and Harley is the mix breed. Harley is a pretty old guy, now, and he suffers from stiff joints; so, when the weather is a bit colder, he isn't able to come with us, as he gets too sore. :(  Still, Ludo and I had fun and the new scooter handled the hills better than the old one.

So, a few small things to Celebrate with this walk:

1) The weather was pleasant, if a little too chilly for Harley to join us.
2) The new scooter, handling the hills and actually doing better than the old one.
3) Getting out again for one of our long walks, after almost a week, stuck indoors.

And this is by far the best one;

4) Ludo, showing just how well behaved he is; as when we were back in the village, a large, black Alsation and a Staffie came flying out of a lady's drive and dived on him. Little Ludo, although startled, stayed calm and didn't fight with them; even though they approached him, at first, very aggressively. Thankfully, once they saw he wasn't going to attack back, they calmed down and were just sniffing him. Their owner, bless her, was very apologetic. It seems her husband had gone out and left the gate open and she hadn't realised. No harm done though. So, a big YAY!!! to Ludo for being such a good boy and a big sigh of relief that the woman's dogs were relatively nice, as well. I guess I should, in this instance, also celebrate the fact that Harley wasn't there; because sadly Harley has a big dog complex and would have turned the situation into a fight.

What else is there to celebrate?

Well, obviously the new scooter, which is amazing, as well as all the stress and worry about that, being over.

We are going to Trethorne Leisure Park, tomorrow, as another birthday treat for Kye.

A forecast tomorrow that says there will be no rain until 7pm; here's hoping they are right.

And finally, the fact that I have had a really productive week, in which I got lots of work done and have taken part in lots of great blog hops, including the amazing Follow Fest, where I got to meet lots of lovely people.

So, there you have it. That's what I am celebrating. How about you?

Love and hugs
Joss xxx

Here are some pics of my beautiful boy, throughout the years, in celebration of his birthday.
A quick note Kye suffered terribly from eczema as a child; so, in some of these pics, that is very evident. It never bothered him, so it shouldn't bother you, :) but you'd be amazed how cruel people can be sometimes. These aren't in any kind of order, but WOW!!! see how he has grown over the years. :)

Thursday, 26 September 2013

In the news

Every so often, I like to browse the paper and take a look at what is going on around the world. While browsing today, I thought I would give you a run down on my thoughts of what is currently happening around the world.

The first headline to catch my eye today was about two pilots who fell asleep, leaving the auto-pilot to do all the work.

What amazes me about this story the most is that these pilots, who could very easily have got away with this innocently, without anyone knowing, actually informed someone of what had happened and their reason for falling asleep(short breaks between long flights). It made me wonder how often this sort of thing occurs.

Thankfully, I am not a big flyer. In fact, I have only been on a plane twice; once, while going to Spain, and the second time, when retuning from Spain.

I am sure there must be rules regarding how long a shift a pilot can do, just as there are with Lorry drivers, but I wonder what they do to ensure these rules are not being broken.

What scares me most about the prospect of a plane crashing is that it could essentially happen anywhere. Planes are flying over peoples house every day and we never give them a second thought, but realistically one could crash into your home at any time.

Imagine it, you're sat in your home, sipping your drink or perhaps curled up, fast asleep in bed, while meanwhile in the sky above, two pilots are sleeping, unaware that something is about to go badly wrong. Next thing you know, there is a whopping, great, Jumbo Jet, crashing down on your house, although realistically you might not even get a chance to register that, if you were sleeping; still, it is a scary thought.

Other scary aspects of this are, what happens when you reach your destination, surely autopilot won't land you, too; so what happens then? Once it reaches the destination, will it keep circling, carry on straight past, or do something else entirely? It's just a little it scary, really.

To read more about this story check it out here.

Here are some interesting plane related facts that might make you feel a little more or a little less safe, when on a plane or under it's flight path.

1) Did you know that the pilot and co-pilot are required to eat different meals? This is a safety measure that is in place in case one meal is contaminated and causes a pilot to be sick; the theory being that if a meal is contaminated and the pilots have eaten different meals, there is less risk of them both becoming sick. In other words, while one is running to the loo, upchucking and such, the other will be fit and well enough to continue the flight; assuming he hasn't fallen asleep, of course. :)

2) It is possible to eat a plane. Well, at least if you are are Michel Lotito. This man could pretty much eat anything and frequently did. Light bulbs, Razor blades, and even broccoli, were enthusiastically consumed by the man.; the result, his teeth were worn down to little more than stumps. Still, he refused to stop. It took him 2 years in the 1990's to consume an entire Cessna 150, and he really ate it all, too, from the cockpit to the tires. How bizarre!! He even earned a world record for it.

It would have looked something like this before he ate it, and I don't know about you, but I am not all the keen on seeing what it looked like after.
Transferred from en.wikipedia;
 transferred to Commons by User:McNeight using CommonsHelper.

 3) Air transportation is the safest form of transport in the world. The chances of a plane crashing are in fact 0.001%. Okay, so your house might be safe, after all. Beware of donkeys, though, as they kill more people annually than plane crashes. I'm still betting it's a pretty low figure, though.

4) A plane lands, somewhere in the world, every 3 seconds.

And my final little fact;

5) The air, pumped into planes is one of the cleanest in the world. Awww, isn't that nice?

Also in the news, the big supermarkets, Asda and Tesco, have both been forced to withdraw two Halloween costumes that were deemed offensive due to their names," Psycho ward" and "Mental Patient," as well as the fact that they were covered in blood and gore and as such were misleading representations of people suffering mental health issues.

I can understand that people wouldn't want to be seen as being that way, if they have a mental illness. I have, in fact, suffered from depression, before, and still suffer from anxiety issues. Still, even I think this is taking political correctness too far. (Is that the right terminology?) I think most people are realistic enough to know that it is based on the fictional characters of that type that are featured in horror films and not a genuine representation of someone who is really suffering from mental health issues; especially given that in the last few years, mental illness has been far more widely accepted, but that's just my opinion.

You can check out the story here.

This next story is a little bit scary. A man in Brazil has seven huge tigers, which live with him and his family in his home. This guy even lets his little tiny granddaughter, who is just a baby, ride on its back, as well as taking the tigers out with him in the cab of his truck and letting them swim with the family in their pool.

I am speechless! I mean, it is great that they have such a good bond with these tigers; but, my fear is that one day the animals will turn around and seriously hurt, if not kill, one or more of the family members, maybe even their little chihuahua. Yes, their other pet is a tiny Chihuahua.

The father, who took in two of these animals, after finding them in poor condition at a circus, went on to breed the animals, despite not having a permit to do so. There is no doubt the animals are well cared for, but it seems as if this family has forgotten that they are wild animals and as such, could turn at any time.

Watch the video below and find out more:

I was hoping to squeeze a bit more into this post today, but sadly I have run out of time. Perhaps I will do a part two, later today or tomorrow, though. I would love to hear your thoughts and opinions on these news stories. 

Love and hugs,
Joss xx

P.S. Remember to watch out for those donkeys :) 

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

How can this be right, thanks and it's funny what we miss.

I was without my mobility scooter for 6 days; a realitively short time, thanks to the wonderful team at Launceston Mobility.

There were many things I thought I would miss in my time without my mobility scooter, but the school run was not one of them. Today; however, I am so happy that I will be able to take my son to the bus again and that I can be a proper mummy again.

I have said time and time again, throughout this experience, how grateful I was to Launceston Mobility for all they've done for me, but there are so many other people I need to thank, too.

Firstly, my amazing husband, who sold his beloved Vespa, so that I could afford a new scooter and who also comforted me when things were getting a bit much.

Then there is my son, who not only tolerated having to go to school at 7:30 in the morning, so his dad could drop him there, but walked back from the bus after school without complaint, also. It's not a long walk and is very safe, as he is dropped right at the top of our quiet cul-de-sac; but still, he loves people being there to meet him and was a little nervous about it at first.

His school, also, has been great, as they not only sent a taxi the first day I was without a scooter, but came up with the plan above; even persuading the bus driver to see Kye safely across the road, onto our street.

My friends, who have offered me lots of support and love, during this time, and who helped get me smiling again when things got too much.

Family members who offered help, money, and even went scouring the internet looking for scooters that were for sale cheaply.

And last, but far from least, you lovely bloggers, who have offered up kind words and well wishes. I really appreciate it. 

Yesterday, my crisis ended and I happily have my freedom back; freedom that can not be taken away from me anymore. 

But, the story doesn't end here; people everyday face situations similar to mine, many of them in far worse situations than my own. One girl I have met because of my struggles revealed to me that her special, adapted wheelchair had been taken. She is paralysed from the neck down and controls her chair by blowing through a straw. Without it she is bed bound and she has been without it now for over a month.

Both myself and this lovely girl agree that changes need to be made to stop people making false claims for disability. We both also believe that what happened to us recently might not have been an accident but a way to force us into applying for the new Personal Independence Payments that are taking over from Disability Living Allowance.

Our problems come with how those genuinely in need are being affected by these horrible changes. 

I applied for PIP at the end of last month. I have yet to hear anything back. Already having had DLA, I was told my claim would be processed quickly. I am waiting for an appointment for a medical. That's the next step in my claim. After my medical, I will be given back my benefits, all going well. 

I am not too worried about this part, nor the wait involved, for myself personally, because my husband works and we lived on only his wages for years, before I got my DLA. Yes, things will be tight, but we'll survive.

For me, it was always about my scooter; about needing a way to get about, and I have that now, thanks to the kindness of Launceston Mobility. 

But, not everyone who claims disability and really need it, have someone else, who can support them, while they reclaim. The girl I already mentioned, for instance, lives alone and has strived hard for her independence and is now at risk of losing everything she's fought hard for, because of how long her claim is taking to process.

Even her medical, which she has now had, was difficult. Firstly, there was no parking, close to where she needed to go, meaning she had to not only ask family to take her, but have them lift her from their car to a taxi, then from the taxi, into the building. Once in, having her medical, she was asked to lift her arm. She is paralysed from the neck down (a stupid request really), but when she pointed this out, the woman doing her medical replied, "How do I know you're not faking?" Perhaps, all of my friend's medical records would have been a good place to start. Had she even read them? It doesn't seem that way. 

Yes, we need to catch the fakers, but does that mean that everyone should be treated as liars from the off? Does that make it right to force someone, as badly paralysed as my friend, to go through the experience she has, spending months confined to her bed? She still waits now to hear about her claim and she feels completely alone. 

This is how we are treating people in our own country; people who were born and raised here, while those who have come here from other countries are hurriedly given a house, benefits, and so much more. 
How can this be right? 

I would love to hear your thoughts and stories, regarding this matter.

Love and hugs,
Joss xx

What's up Wednesday

It's What's up Wednesday time again. This is my second What's up Wednesday, so I am very excited to be back for another week. 
What's up Wednesday is run by the lovely Jaime Morrow. You can check out her blog here. It's a really simple blog fest. Each week we answers the questions below and you get to learn a little about what we are up to. So, lets get started. 
1) What I'm reading:

I'm currently still on my Martina Cole session, although Dangerous Lady, which I am currently reading is the last one on my shelf at the moment, so I will be moving on to a new author soon. I have been so busy that I haven't had time to read much of it yet, but what I have read I like. As I can't tell you all that much, I'll give you the back cover blurb and move on. 

Bestselling author Martina Cole's explosive first novel of corruption and violence.

No one thinks a seventeen year-old girl can take on the hard men of London's gangland, but it's a mistake to underestimate Maura Ryan. She's tough, clever, and beautiful, which makes her one very dangerous lady.

Together, she and her brother Michael are unbeatable, but notoriety has its price. The police are determined to put Maura away, once and for all, and not everyone in the family thinks that's such a bad idea. When it comes to the crunch, Maura has to face the pain of lost love in her past and the dangerous lady discovers her heart is not made entirely of stone.

2) What I'm writing:

This week, I have mainly been blogging. There has been a bit of editing on Memory Book; about four chapters, but ultimately blogging and reading others blogs has pretty much been keeping me busy. 

3) What inspires me right now:

The kindness and generosity of others is really inspiring me now. If you check out my blog post from yesterday "How things change" the reason why will be clear. 

I have also been inspired by little Elliot Prior, a 4 year old, British boy who stood up to terrorists in Nairobi's Westgate Mall.
This little cutie told one of the terrorists, as he stood in front of his injured mum, "You're a bad man. Let us leave." What a brave little man he is and what an amazing inspiration, too. 

4) What else I've been up to:

Mainly this week, I have been trying to get my mobility scooter back. If you haven't heard about this yet you can read more about the situation in my blog post from yesterday "How things change" . Thankfully, everything is sorted out with that now and although I have not been able to get my original mobility scooter back, I have (thanks to the kindness of those at Launceston Mobility) been able to get a suitable replacement, which is a huge relief and a very big weight of my shoulders. 
It has been a very tough month this month and I am glad all the worry is finally coming to an end. 

Well, that's my What's up Wednesday. How about you? 

Have a lovely week, what is left of it, and thank you for stopping by. 

Love and hugs, 
Joss xxx 

Tuesday, 24 September 2013

How things change

A few years ago now, when my son started play-school, I had to come to terms with something that I had been trying to avoid with increasing difficulty for years, my disability.

On Friday, it will officially be seven years, since my son's birth. Seven years of my back's slow deterioration and it was slow.

It began the day after my 53 hours of labour and epidural had ended and it started with a strange twinge in my lower back at the site where the needle had been inserted.

I didn't think much of it at the time. It wasn't excessively painful. I was a new mum; I was happy. What was a little twinge? It was natural, surely. You'd expect some symptoms, after having a needle stuck in your back, at least for a while at any rate. It was not a big issue, at least to my mind at that point; however, the pain didn't go away. In fact, it kept happening. If I jolted my back, it happened. Sometimes, when in the car, it would happen; still, I didn't think anything of it.

In fact, I went on to ignore the pain in my back for years, despite the fact that it was getting worse and worse and happening far more frequently.

I have a phobia of doctors, hospital, needles. I am not a brave person and the thought of seeing someone about my back scared me witless; so, I did something that I have since learned is very common, I ignored it and hoped that it would go away.

Sadly, it didn't. It just got steadily worse, until the time my son was ready to start play-school, by which point I was really struggling to walk any great distance or even stand for very long.

Suddenly, needing to get my son to the school bus, I was faced with the biggest challenge of my life. Everyday was an agonising half-hour struggle to walk what would have taken a normal, able-bodied person five minutes. Every step was torture and by the time I made it back home, I would be in tears from the pain.

Yet still, I didn't want to face facts. Instead of dealing with the issues, I told myself that my son didn't need to go to pre-school or that even if I could just get him up to the bus once a week, that was enough; but the time for my son to start school was creeping ever closer.

"You need to see the doctor," my husband said to me, again and again, as I was left in agony for days, after what was a very short walk, "You can't do this everyday and I can't take him to school."

And he was right, he couldn't. He left far too early in the morning to take our son to school and returned too late to collect him.

There comes a point in life that as badly as you want to ignore something, you have to face it and mine had come; so, we headed for the doctors, explained what was wrong, how long it had been going on, and when it had started. He didn't have a solution for fixing my back, but he was confident that I needed to apply for disability.

My back was not getting better any time soon, if ever, and if I continued to put strain on it, I could lose my ability to walk, altogether.

"You need to use a wheelchair or a mobility scooter outside of the home. The disability people will help you to get one."

I was distraught. Me, never walk again? I hadn't even considered that a possibility, stupidly. Me, use a mobility scooter? That was for old people, not me. Even the thought of a wheelchair was more than I could bear, despite the fact that they are more common, among every age group.

Biting back my pride, at my husband's insistence, and for the sake of my son, we got the forms for the Disability Living Allowance and filled them in.

I don't know what my doctor told them, when they contacted him, but before I knew it, I was on the higher rate of mobility, medium rate of care, and we were starting the process to get my first mobility scooter.

I was awful to live with at that time; one minute in tears, the next mad, the very next second, afraid. This wasn't me, this wasn't my life, and accepting this scooter felt like accepting there was no hope.

Depression quickly sunk in. I scoured the internet, looking at mobility scooters, deeming them all too fuddy-duddy. My husband thankfully kept the pressure on until, at last, I settled on a Pride Colt Xl8, little knowing that this scooter would become my most prized possession; that he would be so important to me that the day he was taken from me, I would cry my eyes out, but that is exactly what happened.

That scooter gave me my freedom back; my life back. It allowed me to be a proper mum again, to be able to take my kid to school, to the park, to leave my home; something I had avoided for years, unless my husband and the car were going with me.

Suddenly, I was independent again and it felt amazing.

I christened my little scooter, Speedy McNipster.

All my fear of judgement from others, all my fears of looking stupid were quickly erased. People didn't stare, for the most part, nor judge. In fact, the children at the bus stop and the parents took to my scooter so much that the first Christmas I had it, the kids decorated Speedy with tinsel, stars, and little snowflake stickers.

 apologies for the messy garage, it's my husbands domain,
I just get a small spot for my scooter. 

I drove around with my scooter looking like this for weeks. The kids were over the moon to see that I had left it all on. 

Sadly, a few months ago, a mistake meant that my Disability Living Allowance was taken away. Forms were meant to be sent to me, in order to renew early, due to the new PIP thing, but I never received them. 

The result, my disability benefit was suddenly cancelled. I didn't even know, until nearly a month after, when my bank account was suddenly empty. 

What has followed since then has been hell. My freedom that Speedy had brought me was suddenly threatened. Motorbility had to take speedy back, because, until I got a new claim in, using the new Personal Independent Payment method, I was not entitled. 

We rushed a claim in, calling that day, filling out the paperwork and sending it off, the instant it arrived, desperate to save Speedy. 

Then we waited and waited, until Motorbility informed us that they would be taking Speedy on the 19th of September, unless I could find £650 pounds in less than a week. 

It seemed impossible and it was. We tried everything, but with money now very tight (after losing my disability money) we were barely managing to pay our bills. There was no hope of finding an extra £650, not that fast, at any rate. 

Friends and some family jumped in desperately, trying to help, but we couldn't bring ourselves to borrow money from friends with no idea when we would be able to pay it back. 

So, on the 19th, I waved goodbye to my dear friend; my heart, breaking. 

Then a glimmer of hope. Mobility weren't collecting it from the mobility store that we had gotten it from for another week. My husband's Vespa was put up for sale. If we could just sell it within the week, maybe there was still hope. 

We did sell it. We sold it the very next day. We then just had to wait to find out how much Speedy was now going to cost, because, "There is a new company taking them now for Motorbility and they may have different prices. It could be more or less, but we'll find out for you," the lovely people from Launceston Mobility told us.

So, we waited and waited, praying that it would not be too much more; that it would at least be under a grand. 

The weekend passed with no news. We had been told, Monday, so we were still hopeful; however, Monday then passed and still no news. I was getting nervous. 

Tuesday came; still no news. We were nervous. We had a temporary arrangement with the school, in which Dan was allowed to take Kye in to school at 7:30am and afternoons the bus driver would stop at the top of our road, walk Kye across the road, and send him straight down and home. 

Everyone was going out of their way to help us. We needed a solution and soon. 

Well, later today, I got that answer. 

The phone rung. It was bad news. Speedy McNipster was gone. The company that collected him had turned up and taken him, despite promising to get back to Launceston Mobility about a price. 

When the wonderful staff at Launceston Mobility gave them a call, they were told that Speedy had already been sold. 

When they called to tell me, my heart broke all over again; however, that is not the end of the story. 
Launceston Mobility, who all the way though this have been incredibly supportive and kind, had a solution, a very generous one. They would give me a brand new scooter, at a massively reduced price, that was the same as speedy, but a little upgraded with new, snazzy, LCD screen and touch buttons. 

Not only that, but they would deliver it tomorrow night, before even receiving any form of payment. 

I would be surprised if they are making any money on this mobility scooter at all, as we cannot even find a second hand one for the price they are allowing me to have it for. 

These people have gone above and beyond for me and I am so grateful. Thanks to them and my amazing husband, who sold his beloved Vespa, I now have my freedom back and no one can take it away from me again. 

This song explains how I am feeling right now, so well. 

If I'd have known, all those years ago, just how important that scooter would become to me and just how much it would change my life I never would have fought it so hard. 

So please, if you have a disability that you are avoiding, stop it. Go see your doctor. You never know, he might just give you your life back. 

Love and hugs all,
Joss xxx

If you live in Cornwall or Devon and you need disability equipment, please consider Launceston Mobility, they are an amazing group of people and they will not let you down. I am proof of that. 

Follow fest

Today, I am taking part in the Follow Fest. Hosted by Melissa Maygrove, it's a chance for us lovely bloggers, who love to write, to meet and get to know each other a little better. The idea is quite simple. Jump blog to blog via a linky link that you can see if you go here and read each author's post, then connect up to them by as many forms as you want; be it facebook, twitter, or whatever. 

So, let me tell you about me :) 

Name: Jossie Marie Solheim

Fiction or non-fiction?  Fiction, always fiction; my imagination couldn't cope with me putting it aside, in order to do a non-fiction novel, lol. 

What genres do you write?  I'm a bit of a mixed bag. My published novel, Insane Reno, is a thriller / mystery, but I am currently working on a prequel to that, as well as a fantasy/scifi, and another book that could be classed as Christian fiction. Really, when it comes to my writing, anything goes, and it's really just a case of what is inspiring me at the time. 

Are you published? Yes, my first book Insane Reno is published and available in both Kindle and paperback from Amazon. I was published by the lovely Dave at Raven Crest books. There are some amazing authors at Raven Crest, take a look here. I also have a story in the overcoming adversity anthology; an amazing book that was created to raise money for an amazing guy. Please check it out. 

Do you do anything in addition to writing?  I like playing around with photo art and because of this, I actually did my own cover for Insane Reno. I am also a mum and wife, which are, of course, full-time jobs, lol. 

Where can people connect with you?
Facebook personal page: By far the best way to connect with me and keep up to date with my day to day life. 
Facebook author page: specifically for information about my books. 
Goodreads: I'm an avid reader and use Goodreads to record all my latest reads; so, if you want to see what I am reading, then be sure to check it out.  
Amazon: Check out my books and reviews on Amazon and maybe buy a copy of Insane Reno if it tickles your fancy. 
Blogger: My lovely blog, There is always something going on here, at my blog, so why not follow me and get chatting here, too. 
Twitter: I have a twitter account but I must confess, I don't really use it. I know I should, but twitter just goes over my head. You can follow, if you like, and who knows, maybe one day I will get the hang of it. No promises, though. 
email: Email is a great way to get hold of me quickly, as my messages go right to my phone and get checked regularly; so, feel free to contact me in this way, also. 

Is there anything else you’d like us to know?
Writing is my life. I started writing as a child, when I was dealing with abuse, and it became a form of escape from my pain. Through words, I could write myself all kinds of happy endings and it just grew and grew until it was all I wanted to do. 
There were a few speed bumps along the way; my biggest coming in the form of my Dyslexia, but I was determined and have worked really hard to overcome this, still am, in fact. I have a wonderful editor, who clears up any mistakes and through working with him, I am constantly improving in the areas that my Dyslexia still effects; primarily my Grammar, now. 

In the last Ten years, since meeting and marrying my husband, my life has slowly changed for the better. We started out living with my mother in a small flat, then moved to a beautiful farm conversion that we were renting, before being hit by a difficult period, where money was very tight; the result of which was that we ended up in a field with a very basic camp site in a tiny, leaky caravan for several years. Now; however, we own our own home, which we are slowly renovating and have more security than either of us have ever known, as well as our beautiful son, Kye, who turns seven this Friday. 

We live in Cornwall, in a beautiful little village, with our three dogs, two cats, guinea pig, and two goldfish. My husband Dan is 32 years old and I am 29. Dan works for a local window fitting firm and you already know what I do. Our dream is to one day have our own small holding and for Dan to be able to retire from work early. Throughout our marriage, he has worked like crazy to keep us afloat, determined as he was to ensure that the  only work I should do was following my dreams to become a writer, at least till our beautiful son arrived, at which point I had the even more important task of caring for him. We are a small, but very happy little family of three; more, if you count our pets, and we've learned to take each day as it comes.

I recently became a Christian, but Dan sees himself as more eclectic, when it comes to faith; choosing to agree with and accept whatever he feels makes sense, regardless of the religion, and I respect him for that. 

The only other area of my life you should probably know about is my disability. I have very limited mobility after an epidural, when I had my son, left my back badly damaged. I now use a wheelchair, when in the kitchen, and a mobility scooter or wheelchair, when out of the home, as I can only walk very short distances, sometimes no further than our bathroom, and can stand for only a short while, also. If I try to stand or walk for too long, I get agonising lower back pain and my legs turn to jelly. It's not fun, but I have learned to cope with it and adapt. 

My son also has a less than pleasant health related condition, in the form of Asthma. He is my inspiration for staying strong, because, even at his most poorly, he always has a smile on his face. He is such a brave little boy and has a way of making everyone fall in love with him. When in hospital, he wraps the nurses round his little finger in an instant and loves to follow them around the ward, helping them with their work. He is truly amazing. 

So, this is me, my life, my family. I'd really love to get to know you, so please add me on facebook, follow my blog, email me, whatever you fancy, and lets get to know each other. 

Love and hugs, 
Joss xx

Sunday, 22 September 2013

Express yourself


          It’s Monday; well, it will be in a few hours, lol. I am publishing this a little early. It's a productive day. At any rate, Monday means it's time for an Express Yourself post.

Express Yourself is an awesome, weekly blog hop that is hosted by the lovely Jackie and Dani, in which, each week, the entrants answers a specific question; then, we all hop from blog to blog reading everyone’s entries.
          If you would like to join in with this blog hop or simply check out all the other awesome blog posts for it. Then click here.

What authors would you love to have lunch with?

Well, my first thought, when I saw this question was all of them. I love talking to other authors and hearing about their work progress; but, then I assumed that might require a space, the likes of which it would be very difficult to find. So, I thought what about a huge banquet hall and just as many writers as we could cram in, but what about those we couldn’t, how mean would I feel then?

So, in the end, I decided that I would try to be a little more specific. I am going to allow myself a party of six. I will be one of the six, because it wouldn’t be me having lunch with them, otherwise. That leaves five writers to pick from the hundreds that I love. That’s a task and a half.

One of my first thoughts was Daphne Du Maurier. Imagine the stories she would have to tell you about her writing career and her time at Jamaica Inn, plus she loves Bodmin moor and was inspired by it, just as I was; however, Daphne Du Maurier is no longer alive. I wouldn’t mind a ghost at the table, but it might make the rest of us feel a little guilty, as she sat and watched us, tucking into a meal, while she just watched on.

The living it is then.

So, I was trying to think about this logically. First, I thought of all the writers I loved. That list; however, proved far too extensive. My conclusion, then; choose those that may be of help with either my current works in progress or future works.

And this is what I came up with:

Terry Pratchett - Not only is he an amazing writer, but he has Alzheimer’s. As I am writing Memory book at present, which is about a man with Alzheimer’s, Terry Pratchett would be able to give me not only writing tips, but his own first-hand experience with the disease. His fantastical worlds would also be fun to explore and dissect, which makes him, at least in my opinion, an awesome dinner companion.

Martina Cole - When it comes to strong characters and tough stories, Martina is an expert. She deals with topics most avoid and her characters are beautifully crafted; so, if I am looking to learn about realistic characters and polish my skills here, even more, then Martina will be another ideal dinner guest.

Jane Wenham Jones - Why? Well, because every party needs some humour and she is one of the funniest writers I know; that and she writes a whole host of amazing books, including books on writing that miraculously make you cry with laughter instead of from boredom, which is rare for educational books. With Jane at my party, I can get lots of great tips and lots of great laughs, as well.

Karen Amanda Hooper - I really need her to publish more of her Sea creature memoir series, preferably before she releases more Kindrily; not because I don’t love her Kindrily books, because I do, but I am a serious addict, when it comes to her Merfolk and Selkies. I’m hoping, if I provide enough alcohol, I’ll be able to get her to agree to, oh, I dunno, another 5 or 6 sea creature memoirs before she gets started on the Kindrily again.

Francine Rivers - Another author, who creates amazingly realistic characters; but the reason for choosing her today is to do with her favoured genre, Christian fiction. In memory book, Charlie struggles with God and faith. His wife, a devoted Christian, passed on her love of God to her son, who went on to become a vicar. Charlie; however, can’t forgive God for not only taking his wife, but allowing her to suffer, so long and painfully, with her cancer. Francine, I am sure, could give me so many great tips about bringing God into a fictional novel on top of character development and the creation of an unforgettable story.

So, there you have it, my five guests for my little dinner party; all picked with care and consideration. Now, there’s a first for me, and Terry Pratchett should be in his element with all these lovely ladies for company. :) 

What writers would you like to have to dinner and why?

Love and hugs,
Joss xx

Saturday, 21 September 2013

When being disabled gets hard.

This Friday, my little boy will be turning seven. For most parents their children's birthdays are a joy; for me the joy is tinged with guilt.

You see, every year, when my son's birthday comes around, I spend my time searching the internet for fun days out that are accessible to those with disabilities.
This photo is 
© Copyright David Smith and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence

The most common activities available seem to be walks around lakes and other such places that are wheelchair accessible. These walks are pleasant enough, but not as exciting for a child as going to say, an amusement park. 

Here is where the problems start. You see, most amusement parks say that they are accessible for wheelchairs; awesome, but not everyone is comfortable in a wheelchair and very few parks say if they allow mobility scooters. So, you ring up, discover they either do or don't, and adapt accordingly  (in my case, panic a little, when they say no to the mobility scooters), then freak out about having to use your wheelchair until the moment it's all over and you're safely back home after the event.

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It is not; however, as simple as just finding a place with disabled access. What most don't realise, until they are faced with visiting these places in a wheelchair or on a mobility scooter, is that disabled access does not always guarantee you access to the whole park. Often, when you get to these parks, you find that although some areas are indeed accessible to the disabled, many areas are not. 

The result, the person with the disability is left sitting alone, waiting for their family to return from the areas they cannot get to, which is difficult for all involved. 

                                                            Hot chocolate, Costa Coffee

                                                 Uploaded by EEPaul on June 2, 2013
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Picture the scene, the person with the disability does their best to reassure their family that they will be fine, sitting in the cafe or restaurant, alone, so as not to spoil all their fun; after all, why should they all suffer for your disability. 

They naturally want to experience everything the park has to offer, but are also feeling guilty, because they must leave you behind in order to do so. The result, someone volunteers as minder; staying behind with you, while pretending they didn't fancy any of the rides in that particular part of the park anyway, when you both know it's a lie, that you're holding them back and spoiling their fun.

You are. of course, grateful that they stayed, but feel guilty, because they are missing out, because of you and your disability.

I don't blame the sites for this lack of access. Most try their best to make as many areas accessible as possible, but it isn't always easy to do. There are parks that figure you wouldn't want access to rides you couldn't possibly go on anyway, but they are wrong. You don't have to ride these rides to get joy from them. Just watching your family, laughing and having fun can really put a smile on your face.
These problems are what really make my son's birthday hard for me, as ultimately my family try to plan around me and my needs instead of deciding what they want to do and where they want to go based on their own honest desires.

This is when I really hate being disabled. I don't want my son to decide what he wants to do based on my disability. I want him to make the choice based on his own desire. 

I am pretty good now at coping with my disability; even the constant pain is something I have adapted to, but spoiling my family's fun is something I don't think I will ever learn to cope with.

Thankfully, this year I think I've found a solution thanks to Trethorne Leisure Park.
Although they don't state on the website if mobility scooters are allowed, they do seem to have wheelchair access to most of the site.

Not being the bravest person in the world, I still find using my wheelchair in public places a struggle. I favour instead, my mobility scooter, which I feel far less exposed and vulnerable on. 

Another added bonus of my mobility scooter is that I don't have to ask for assistance, in the form of a pusher, as I frequently have to, when in my wheelchair, due to my serious lack of upper body strength.

So, my hope this year for my son's birthday outing are:

1) Mobility scooter access. 
2) Access to the majority of the park, so no one is forced to play minder and no one is left behind.
3) We don't get to many staring, pointing, or rude people, making disparaging comments. You'd be surprised how often people do this, as if a disabled person is an added attraction.
4) By far, the most important hope of all is that my son has an amazing day out with us all. A day that he'll remember fondly, forever.
My amazing little boy, when he was a little younger. 

And on that note I will bid you adieu, wish you all a lovely weekend; well, what is left of it, and ask just one small favour. Please treat others as you would wish to be treated, regardless of colour, creed, or disability. We're all just human, after all, and simply trying to make the best of what life throws at us. 

Love and hugs, Joss xx

If you would like to know more about Trethorne Leisure Park, check out the link here. 
If you are interested in learning more about Tamar lake (pictured in this blog) and it's disabled access click here.