Mild Cerebral Palsy

Over the next couple of months I’m going to write a couple of posts about cerebral palsy and my experiences of the condition. I have a mild case of dystonic hemiplegia that affects my right hand side and speech. I’ve had it since birth and it is never going to go anywhere so i have had to learn to deal with it.

I can do most things and when im walking down the street the only giveaway is a slight limp. I consider myself very lucky as I have met others who have it worse than me! They are the really strong people in this society because they cope with having far larger problems than I have had to so far.

It affects me in a couple of ways. Firstly there’s my speech. For someone to understand what i am saying they have to listen harder than when they are talking to someone else. Its a real battle to make myself understood sometimes especially when I’m talking to someone for the first time. They might be nodding their head pretending to understand but they are only catching 2 words out of every 3 which makes their lives impossible. I can  get very frustrated sometimes  when I’m in a group and the rest of the group are all jabbering away to each other as I cant get a word in edgeways but my mind is racing at 100 miles a hour.

I can walk fine 99.5 percent of the time. I scuff my right foot a  lot which means that I have to buy myself a new pair os shoes every 3 months. The toe on my right shoe has just disintegrated after that long. I don’t enjoy shoe shopping at all and end up with about ten pairs of shoes before I chuck any out! I also fall over occasionally, by that i mean once every 2 – 3 months. It always happens with new shoes! I have some nice scars to show for it especially on my right hand and left knee!

Another downside to my  Hemiplegia is the fact that i have problems doing fine motor control stuff such as being able to write quickly and efficiently. It has meant that i have always used technology but being relient on an machine all the time is not ideal. There are times when a notebook could be much more handy.  I also type with one hand which basically means that i have to do things differently on my keyboard. It like having one hand tied behind your back the entire of your life! I can hold stuff in my right hand if there is nothing to spill but struggle to pick things up or grip stuff well. The grip is useless infact and if I’m carrying a glass i usually hold it against my body to protect it.

Ill Give you a great example of when my disability is awkward. Im going to the bar to order some drinks for a friend and myself. I first have to make myself heard through the noise to a person i don’t know, the barman. He eventually understands and brings me back my drinks. I then have to decide to either get my friend to come and carry his own drink or take them one by one from the bar to him/her. it may not sound like much but there is something about only having the capacity to carry one glass that makes meI feel as if everyonne in the room is watching me all of a sudden.

There are few situations where my disability stops me doing something i want to do. I will find a way round difficulties most of the time and i would like to think that not t much can stop me from doing There are a surprising number of things that i that ill never do but actually end up doing. My next couple of posts are going to be about how things are possible even if their difficult? Anything is possible if you have the right mind set about it.



I have been up to Quite a lot in 2014: Mainly completing a masters which involved going to Australia ( not bad really) and quite a lot of hard work. I had a fantastic time at Imperial studying a really broad range of subjects including the rainforests of Mozambique and the Great Barrier Reef’s recreation. Getting to go to tropical Australia was pretty mad and I certainly enjoyed parts of it enormously. Getting to dive on the GBR is a definite highlight as was going hiking around Cairns and at Cape Tribulation.IMG_0517
Silwood was another big part of this year. Doing a masters there was a vey special feeling and there were so many good times its a bit hard to remember. From going to Snowdon in January to Post hand in / exam parties there were a lot of moments that I will not be able to forget in a hurry! some very drunken nights! Silwood is a special place for a whole host of reasons, ConSci being just one of them!

Since finishing at Imperial i have Been to the Caribbean for my bothers wedding. A well earned rest after putting in the graft to get my masters. There is not much better than sitting on a beach with a cocktail in hand when you know you deserve it!  Getting back to reality was a bit of a shock to the system but i am looking forward to 2015 with a good feeling that ZSL will be a great way to establish myself in scientific conservation!


Trees for Life – Up Close to Nature week

I have just been on a ‘Special’ Conservation Work Week with Trees for Life. This was one of the best experiences I’ve had in conservation because I met really inspirational people. The charity is working to restore the Caledonian Forest in a large area of the Highlands. They are doing this by native tree planting, natural regeneration by fencing off areas that are browsed by deer and removing non native trees planted for commercial forestry.

The emphasis of this week was Up Close to Nature and it was lead by the founder of the organisation Alan. He is especially interested in the smaller life living in the Forest. THis includes all invertebrates and fungi and anything that they cause. A great example ofthis is plant galls which are growths on plants caused by another organism most likely a invertebrate or a fungi. Aphids are another of his passions as they provide food for many other insects by producing honeydwe which is devoured by ants and other creatures. He really showed so many symbiotic relationships working in harmony with one another that it was extraordinary. He gave a fascinating talk on slime molds which are not fungi but protists but have life cycles that are very similar to the slime moulds.

I think the way he has gone from having an idea 25 years ago to leading an organisation that really is doing something worthwhile and for the long term is what i find so amazing. Yes there are problems with the organisation but it is headed in the right direction and has a really good direction. The talk on the first evening about the ornanisation and its aims was intellectually stimulating and laid the foundation for the rest of the week.

The most interesting participant was Bridget who runs a small business that creates education and PR resources for the cultural and arts sectors. She was a really interesting example of someone who really cared about the world and wanted to do something great for it. I think she has a really intersting sounding business and certainly has a great sense of who she is and what she can do which was refreshing to see.

Jobs and cashews

On Monday we went to see the film Jobs about Steve jobs with Ashton Kutcher as the lead role. The film does a good job with young jobs back in the 70s but fails miserably on the rest of his life including the 80s, 90s, and 00s. It covered the set up of apple with jobs working out of his parents garage and the first investment from Mike Mires. The rest of the story is completely rushed and skips really important events. The worst aspect of the film is the acting. Everyone is one level and Kutcher just doesn’t do justice to Jobs.

The better thing that I found while watching The film was the chocolate covered cashew nuts which were the best snack I have had in a while. We brought them in CVS the drugstore on market and 7th street.

Just a restraunt, not quite

The Golden Dragon Vietnamese restsurant in China Town doesn’t look like much ut the food is really quite amazing,

We had reached China town at about 3pm and were ready to eat. O deciced to have a look i. The guide boom for somewhere to eat. Vicky had picked up a leaflet about this restraunt that was just down the block. It said it had been there since 1919 this was supposed to be good news and all of a sudden she really wanted to go there. The Next thing I knew we were walking up a red carpeted staircase into this full Chinese restaurant which charged 34 dollars for peking duck and was just overpriced in general. After about 10 minutes of looking at the very expensive and ridiculous menu we had chosen and were ready to order. One of the Seinor waitstaff passed our table and told us we were going to have to wait until another waiter could take our order! This was a load of crap so ee left and looked at our guide and found the Golden Dragon which was down the road

This restaurant was empty. But everything a out this really quaint family run business was awesome. No stylish decor at all just great food. to start we ordered special beef rolls which were really really special. Beef surrounded the veg inside and it was all delicious. I could have eaten 8 but only got 2 as I shared them with Vicky. Next Vicky ordered the vermichili with chicken and I ordered the pork and shrimp fried rice. Both of these was absolutely fantastic. Just really fresh ingredients made into these delicious flavours and the portions were just right for two hungry Europeans. Basically brilliant cheap food In one of the least pretentious places I have been in a while.

Waspsbourne Manor Farm (WOWO) Campsite

My girlfriend and I decided to go and camp at Waspsbourne Campsite in Sussex on Wednesday. About 40 miles outside London Wowo as it is more affectionately known is a really good getaway from it all. The drive from London is not that long and if you get the turn off the A22 right there is not too much that can go wrong. Make sure you turn right onto the A275 at Wych Cross. The campsite is some distance from the road which is really nice as there is no noise from the road.

The campsite is a really great spot. It has everything including a brook running through the middle of it and a woodland at the far end. It would be great to camp up there if it was not an extra £10. The brook is a bit of a disappointment as it is down a very steep bank and inaudible unless totally silent.

The site has got everything you need on it including a fire pit by every site which is great when you’re  wanting to cook up a feast. You can bring your own wood or get a crate of wood that you can buy. Really good benches around the fire pit allows about 16 people to sit and eat together If one wished. We were there during the week and it was really quiet with only one other tent in the field that we stayed in. pets are more than welcome and it woulkd be a great place to go with children as there are rope swings and plenty of exploration opportunities. The only negatives were the fact that they charged for both the car and dog that we brought with us.

The facilities were clean and the staff very friendly. I really liked the honesty policy on the wood that you could purchase. A really good experience in a good location, convenient to get to from the big smoke.

Trees For Life – september

Im going to the highlands to do a work week withj Trees for Life n September. This week should be really good as it should get a really good insight into the ecology of the highlands by working with the founder of the Organisation Alan Watson Featherstone. Im looking forward to starting to find out how the ecology of the highlands and ancient woodlands work.

June in scotland

I’ve just returned from a trip to the north west of Scotland with my girlfriend. June is a great time of year to be in the north of the country as there are really long days and the new seasons growth is still reasonably new. We had a really good day on Skye where the weather was unfortunately a bit poor but the scenery was amazing all the same. It is only now as I have got older that I can appreciate Skye for how amazing it actually is and how the island really does have its own ecosystem thats completely different from that of the mainland.

We went of three very decent walks, one wasto the bothy up at Coulags and another to Corrie am Mich Fhairchair with its amazing tripple butress. On this particular walk I was astounded to find a amazing path right up to the corrie which is about 6 km. This path is amongst the best I have walked on in the highlands and was a real treat to see after experiencing how time consuming it is to build a path on such terain and with very similar materials. It really had a little bit of everything including pitching, steps, cross drains. Thank you to whoever maintains it. The corrie is about the grandest i have ever seen with its sheer back and scree running all the way down to its lovely lochan.

I can’t recomment Sea Kakak Plockton highly enough. A really great day out and loads of really useful tips. and advice