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I had a few bits and pieces to add on from yesterday’s blog post.

One was about the amount of people who think fit to abuse spaces. We’ve had many a shouting match out the window to people, as @premmedtiations said, “just getting a paper/the lottery/cashpoint/beers”, parked in spaces they were not entitled to because they were near the shop entrance. They do have a disability, called “ignoramical lazy bastarditis”. Supermarkets are common culprits but I think they have tried better as years have gone by to improve the monitoring.

When we first moved to Dunfermline and Joff was young, he was prone to ear infections. He came home from school one day and nurse said he’d been a bit crabbit after lunch, had a wee temperature but went ape when she tried to use the ear thermometer. I phoned our GP surgery and they told me to bring him straight along. Dr saw an ear infection and gave us a script for antibiotics. By the time all this had passed, it was after 5pm and our usual pharmacy was shut. Dr said that the big Asda had an in-store pharmacy that would still be open and off we went.

It was half five on a dark, cold and dreich November afternoon. Actually it was tipping it down. I had a four-year old whimpering with ear infection and a five-year old sibling, both hungry and out of their routine in the car. All the disabled spaces had been taken and I could see that three out of the eight spaces were taken by people not displaying badges. I waited for 10 minutes before someone left. I got the kids into the shop and up to the pharmacy, and while it was being dispensed, got them a snack and drink and hot footed it to the service desk and said about the number of people in the disabled spaces without badges and how I had to wait a considerable amount of time to get a space we were entitled to.

Oh, we’re not allowed to challenge members of the public for fear of physical recrimination. You can write to the manager and complain.

Gobsmacked, I did. And his reply was “don’t shop here at that time of day”.

Aye. I wish I’d kept the letter, I tore it up I was so pissed off at the ignorance it displayed. Could’ve gone to town on the disability discrimination act if I’d not been otherwise up to my neck in life at the time. Like I say, I think supermarkets have got better at monitoring the spaces and keeping them free. Not perfect, but better.

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Again, when we first came to Dunfermline, Joff was 4 and had held an orange badge for over 2 years. There was a rule at the time that if you wanted to park in the town centre pedestrianized part, you had to apply to Fife council for a local blue permit, to be displayed side by side with your orange badge. But you had to be 5 before you could have one, based on the DWP mobility criteria. So Joff could park the length and breadth of the country but not in his own town centre. Well that can’t be right, eh? So I wrote an impassioned letter explaining that for some children they had the badge from age two, but weren’t able to apply for mobility allowance till age 5, that no matter what car they were travelling in, they still had additional considerations of safety, behaviour, sensory impairment or mobility that pre-existed being 5 and shouldn’t bar them from parking in their own town.

Having been pulled up on this anomaly, Fife council immediately capitulated and allowed anyone with an orange badge to apply for their local blue parking permit. Man! The Power! The Power!

The feeling didn’t last long. Within a few months of getting the blue permit, everyone was migrated over to the single EU blue badge anyway. That’s my one and only Pyrrhic victory.

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So now Joff had a blue badge and three years later it was due to be replaced. It was due the end of April 2002 and we were off to the Lowe Syndrome conference in the summer. In order to get all the family passports up to date, and to apply for one for the newest member of Team Fisher, we went in the January to get passport photos taken. Joff is a nightmare to photograph. He has no concept of looking at the camera, not keeping his mouth closed, or hands out his mouth – photobooths are just horrible and back-breaking to try to hold him up and face the front, and us not being in the photo too. We went to a place who could put a white sheet behind his buggy/wheelchair and capture a picture that way. Having eventually acquired 4 suitable photos of him – 2 went to the passport office, and two were headed for his blue badge renewal.

You’re supposed to give the council office 8 weeks to process a blue badge application, but I sent the form in early with the photos and a letter saying I know I was applying early and wasn’t expecting the badge any earlier than stated, but just dealing with the application as I had the photos to hand. A few weeks went by and I thought nothing of it.

Here’s the red tape bit though.

In February I got a letter on a Monday saying you shouldn’t have applied so soon, you should only leave 8 weeks before expiry and that I would definitely NOT get a badge any sooner than the expiry date of April.

Ok, that’s me telt! ( Later, I thought, what’s the difference anyway? the badge is pretty much given automatically to blind people, he needs it now, he’ll need it all his life, his sight is never improving, if anything I was giving us less time with the badge if I expected it early, not more)

On the Tuesday, I got a second letter, same office, inviting us to apply for a new badge as our old one was expiring. I tore the letter up and chucked it in the recycling.

WHIT? Just….WHIT?

On the Wednesday, his new badge came through the door with a comprehensive list of all the rules and places we could park in and around Fife. Expiring April 2005.

So follow my logic. The first letter was sent by someone who saw/rejected our early application. They wouldn’t have sent the Tuesday letter asking us to apply at the normal time. The Tuesday letter author wouldn’t have had time to send the Wednesday badge. Or maybe they don’t look at the names and tie them up. As far as I can see, there were three people in the office telling us three diametrically opposed things in three days.

And they wonder why I take a drink.

And let’s just see how it all pans out when Joff is “invited” to migrate from lifelong DLA, highest care, highest mobility, to PIP.

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