Daily inconvenience

Katherine Hough suffered from poor health right from in her teens. She had stomach pains, and while these might have been dismissed as part of growing up, the ill-health symptoms developed into more serious ones such as frequent fatigue, loss of hair, joint pain and other ailments which affected her during her university days.

Can you imagine having to get up and that your whole life is a bit of a struggle before you make it to the “hard” part of the day? For many disabled individuals this would not have been an uncommon scenario. Wheelchair users, for example, have to deal with mobility issues, not only within their own homes, but within the larger context of society as well.

It may be easier to equip your home to function for your needs, but what happens when you get outside? Wheelchair users may find it difficult, for example, to travel from place to place in that same way that able-bodied users do. While most of us simply get on the underground or trams and alight at our stop, wheelchair users have to plan their journey by step-free access stations, making further stops or more frequent changes simply to get to a destination via a wheelchair friendly route. And if you were a wheelchair user you would be familiar with having to look for lifts in obscure parts of buildings and other unfriendly parts of commute – like having bus passengers huff at you for delaying the journey while the ramp engages, or parents with young children being annoyed with having to give up space for you.

The pianist Robert Schumann suffered from poor health but managed to carry on with the daily inconveniences of his illness. Even when an arm injury put an end to his performing career, he managed to become a composer instead. Perhaps there is a lesson to be learnt – inconvenience only becomes a problem if you let it and perceive it to be. If you have managed it and live well with it, good for you!

Mental health and relaxation

If you want a reason for why perhaps mental health problems among individuals in society are on the rise you could probably look towards how things are in your daily life. We are told how things seem to be improving and bombarded with illusions such as the work-life balance, pursuing your passions and other generalisations, yet many young working adults will report a disconnect between what they expect and what the reality is – which is the source of mental deterioration.

If you are told and expect to work hard so you can afford to buy your own home, for example, but then realise your income in no ways allows you to buy a place to live in, what can you do? It is a source of frustration, and played over in your head many times, the unreason will tip you over the edge.

Is there any reason why men seem to be suicidal in their thirties and forties? The illusion society gives us is of happy two-children families, yet very young children are difficult to look after, because they require a lot of our energy but do not give back much yet. Men have to work harder then they have in order to feed a growing family, work longer hours, and when they get home, tired after a long shift, they realise that their time at (hard) work was actually their time of relaxation, because the family demands their energy. No way will they be able to slouch on the settee and watch Match of the Day drinking a beer when two children are climbing around them. And when they have gone to bed, the missus complains that he spends only a short period of time of the day around with them, much of it is spent playing with them, that is his now his time to do the housework or give her some adult conversation.

One can only surmise that this mental disconnect causes us to mentally deteriorate. Exacerbated over time, this can result in mental health problems. It has been suggested that musicians who spend a lot of time espousing aesthetic ideals while having their music accepted by the mainstream go slightly bonkers – there is a list of musicians with great ideas but slightly batty, such as Stravinsky who displayed rather erratic behaviour. Read it and see what you think!

And what might be a cure for such a disconnect? Simply reconnect. Get away from it all, away from the hustle and daily routine and take time to reconnect with nature, your spirit and your life. There is no other place to do this than St Ives, where you can enjoy the calm of the sea, experience good weather overall and meet great people.

If it doubt, clarify – don’t ignore!

If there are any lessons to take away from Shubnum Khan’s experience, one to be mindful of is that one should never expect anything for free. Another could be perhaps to be speak up whenever you feel uncomfortable about something, and not to simply brush it away simply because you are afraid of speaking up.

The aspiring author signed up many years ago for what she believed to be a free photo shoot. The photography had been organised as part of a project called the 100 Faces Shoot, where a photographer promised a hundred individuals a free professional portrait shot in exchange for the right to use the images as part of a project. The author signed a disclaimer and agreed to the terms, in exchange for a professional shot which might have been useful for future promotional purposes. What she had not counted on was that her picture would have been used for many purposes without her consent. Khan found that her image had been used in a Canadian newspaper for an advertisement on immigration, as the ‘after’ picture for dermatological advertisements, and even more alarmingly, as a testimonial image in various websites for purposes such as child minding, as if to suggest she were endorsing the product.

It turns out that the photography promised was not simply for the purposes for an art project, but to build a collection of stock images. Khan had signed up and allowed her images to be part of a stock image collection, which meant that any one could have bought her image and then used it for whatever purpose they desired.

One might argue that the writer has a cause for litigation, but as it turns out the contract that had been signed prior to the shoot listed out these terms. In her rush, excitement or perhaps naivety, she had not felt confident to clarify any terms that might have raised alarm bells, and brushed them aside. Or perhaps she believed it unimportant, or was too naive about the repercussions. The moral of the story could be – if in doubt, don’t be afraid to speak up, or raise an issue. Sweeping it under the carpet is not going to work!

There are things we may not understand – we may not understand why the world economies function as they are, or in the field of music, why musicians would claim to be aliens (you can read about the Mysterians in the Piano Teacher N15 blog, but when you face something strange – clarify!

Petition for dog ban reversal

The spring season is in full swing and now that we have reached April is it a good time to bear in mind that the dog ban on certain beaches is in force. Don’t get caught out!

The ban on dogs is rescinded in the winter months because there are hardly any sunbathers on the beach during the colder months and the dogs are hence not a threat or a nuisance. However with the warmer months approaching and more people heading for the beaches, the dog ban is now in operation.

There have however been calls for the ban on dogs to be reversed. The few beaches where dogs are allowed a poorly accessible, rocky and not just a danger to man’s best friend, but to man or woman itself.

Campaign group ‘Life’s a beach – Stop the extended dog ban in St Ives’ posted to their Facebook page as the seasonal rules came into force in St Ives over Easter.

It means those with four-legged friends are being forced to use beaches which they say are poorly accessible.

Now the post has created a huge debate online, with many dubbing it a ‘disgrace’.

One user wrote: Ok so you’re a resident of St Ives…you pay your council tax and your extra st Ives town council precept. You own a dog….this is your access to one of the only dog beaches in town…what would you do/think/feel?

The health benefits of owning dogs is well known. It gets children out and about, provides companionship and supports people with depression. It keeps older people active…so why the heck to we have to put up with this! I don’t want to break a leg to walk my dog!

There are three beaches dogs can go on in the summer. The beach at Lambeth Walk has been highlighted for its stony paths and the council has agreed itself that that could be improved. But council representatives also claim that Barnaluz beach near the recently-opened St Ives museum is more accessible now, and has been since the steps were repaired, and dog owners may find it better there to let ttheir dogs go for a run.

Non-dog owners claim that their enjoyment of the beaches is tainted by dogs running free, threatening younger children, following their noses into picnic baskets. But dog owners claim that they are being picked on, and that non-dog owners can also spoil the beach for others in terms of litter and drug-related paraphanelia.

A holidaymaker also waded into the debate.

David Ray said: “Our family (and dog) used to visit St Ives at least twice a year, but not since these ridiculous rules were introduced.

“I wonder how much additional revenue is being lost by local business’s due to the intransigence of their local council?

“Vote them out and lets have some more sensible rules. We will then no doubt return.”

Even though the dog ban is now in force, it seems some are ignoring signs which have been put in place at the spots where dogs aren’t allowed anyway.

We just simply need a bit more consideration for everyone else.