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So, to start with, can you tell us a little bit about your disability or your health issues?

Yeah, I mean basically, in 2007, March 2007, I had a car accident where I was stationary
and somebody hit me from behind at about 30 miles an hour. They didn't brake at all. Uh,
which caused quite severe whiplash, um, nearly- the seatbelt tensioner went off nearly
dislocated my shoulder, um, and I had really limited movement in that for about six to eight
months. Um, I had physiotherapy on that which helped, and I got full movement back on
that. I got two inches spinal compression, um, which wasn't really noticed until I had about
twelve months later I had just an annual check-up and they sort of said, Yeah you're five
foot eleven. I said, No, I'm six foot two nearly, and she goes, No, you're five foot eleven
and whatever it is in metric, five foot eleven and a bit. I said, No I'm not! It's like, well you
are, look, see! And so I go, Oh right ok. So then I went back to the physiotherapist, went
on the old traction machine, um, and got back to my normal height, which I found out after
a couple of scans, I had two disc bulges. One at the- sort of slipped discs, basically. One
at the top of my neck, one at the base, that's me spine. Um, and basically the traction, uh,
sort of helped with that and put them back into place. The issue is mainly, it's the nerves in
my spine are giving pain signals whether there's a problem or not. So, I would class that as
nerve damage, the doctors won't commit themselves to saying that. So it's a case of
basically, the spinal nerves giving off pain signals whether there is pain or not, um, but I'm
getting the pain -or the- as if I've got the pain. So I need to take, uhm, I was on tons of pain
medication and I eventually got off of that. Uhm, I was on like, um, Morphine-based ones,
um, Gabapentin, Tramadol, oh loads of em. So I got off- I got rid of most of those, the- I'm
still on Gabapentin, strongest I can take. Um, managed to get rid of the- did go two
weeks cold turkey on the um Opiate one, the Fentanyl, which was bloody awful. Um, I was
ending up where, to be honest, I was in more discomfort, if you like, from the side effects
of the pain killers than the benefits of the pain killers, so. It just- what it effectively does is
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limits my mobility in, I used to walk really quickly. I had quite long strides and sort of like go
bombing off, nobody could keep up with me. Now I'm sort of, I walk very slowly, um, not
even half the speed used to. Um, I can walk a distance but I'm in pain doing it if I- I have to
keep stopping. But because I can walk a certain distance without stopping, um, I'm not
classed as having prop- full mobility issues. Um, so it's sort of a balance between, uh, I try
to sort of not- if I do too much, I end up suffering a day or so later so I can literally barely
get out of bed and move about. Um, if I balance my, um, the way I can do what I can do,
then I sort of get by and I'm not- and I don't overstress myself, then I'm fine. But that's a
rough outline of what- how it affects me and sort of how it limits me as such.

When did the accident happen?

Uh, that was March 2007. So it's sort of quite a long while now, it's like eight years. Um,
and two- nearly two years, I was sort of literally couldn't get out of my bed. There was
about 18 months to two years where I was sort of literally, again, partially I think more due
to the side effects of the pain medication I was on, um, but also because I was in so much
pain I could barely, sort of, move about the house. Um, I think that was helped partially by–
mainly by the physiotherapy. Um, and also by- because I learnt not to do too much, um,
and basically, sort of, push myself past what I should be doing at the time. I mean even
now, if I, like if I- I mean, I don't normally like gardening, but the missus does and I'll give
her a hand. So if I try and overdo it by digging over a load, of like a patch, I can stick to
sort of like, say three foot by two foot, I can dig that over because she wanted to do some
new planting, and I can manage that. If I try and do any more it's just literally I'm in agony
the next day and, everything- I mean even simple things sometimes, like, I can be fine,
and then I'll go to the fridge and get a large bottle of milk out of the fridge and it's incredibly
painful bend- it's mainly the bending over, and because I'm quite tall and my waist height is
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about midway, if I've got to do like, washing dishes and stuff, it always means I'm bending
over because the cabinets are basically this height. Because- as I was trying to explain
that to the physio, I said like simple things, she goes, Well, why? You know, it's like, why
does it?. I said, Because I always have to bend over. I said, I'm constantly bending over
and stressing my back, just by washing dishes. She goes, well it can't be. I said, Well yeah
it does, because the top of the thing comes up to here on me, so it's like, you know, even
if I put my arms right out, I can't touch the bottom of the sink unless I bend over. Um, and
as I say that- it's simple little things that you accept every day that you don't think about,
until something like that happens, that you don't appreciate how much it affects you just ineven if it's sort of like relatively small compared to other peo- it sort of, it almost is a
disability because you can't do normal everyday things. I mean, like, cooking because the
oven is a floor-standing one and to get to the oven it- sort of, you have to bend over to put
stuff in and out and that. And it's just things like that, you can't, I struggle to do a completeeveryday things every- on a daily basis. I could-, you know, looking at, without Jeanette my
partner I would just never ma- sort of, coped, for like two or three years, and even now she
does most- the majority of it. I do it- as long as I'm standing up I'm like hoover the floor and
stuff like that, and I don't mind that. It's just mainly, it's bending or stressing my spine. It
just flares up immediately. So that really, that's sort of how it affects me on a daily basis as
well, so.

So, the accident. Where were you?

Um, it was in Queen's Road in Cambridge. I was- it was basically for work. Um, because I
used to bas- I was, um, like I worked in the motor trade for about 30 years as parts. Um,
just initially selling over the counter and answering phones etc. Um, and then, in about- I
went to Spain for about a year, come back, um, and then got a job back at Murketts where
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I was working before, the Vauxhall dealership, um, as a parts man. And then the, um,
parts trade Sales Rep, uh, position became available. I applied for it and got it. Uhm, and it
basically involves going around all the trade garages, organising promotions, trying to
interest them into purchasing Vauxhall par- uh, parts off Vauxhall because they, at the
time, they've stopped it now, but they had what they called Trade Club, and it was
basically to compete with the motor factors so they weren't losing the Aftersales business
from the parts, because generally speaking, if you've got a car, you've got the main dealer,
who tend to be the most expensive. Uhm, then you've got the sort of motor factors who domainly deal with the trade, then you've got the accessory shops and the online stuff now.
Uhm, so, I mean, it's- you can get parts where, say for instance, uhm, the part from
Vauxhall may be £80 to £100, you'll get it from the motor factor it'll be, for a near identical
part about £40, £50, or for a universal part which will fit with a bit of modification, uh for like
£30. And then you'll get the accessory shops which will be between 30 and 50 for a similar
thing, cos they have to put their margin on. So you sort of get, uhm, you can promote stuff,
if you can compete and they'll fit genuine parts, then obviously they've got the Vauxhall
warranty. The advantage was, if anything went wrong with the part, the owner of the car
could bring it into a Vauxhall dealership anywhere in the country and have it repaired as
long as he's got his invoice. Uh, and there'd be no labour charge. It'd either be replaced or
if it was found a fault, it'd be replaced free of charge. Uhm, so that was, sort of like, the
benefit, you could sell to not only the trade, but the trade could then say to customers,
Look, this has got a nationwide guarantee labour free if it goes wrong, uhm, in twelve
months. So it- we built up quite a good level of business, and then I picked up one of the
largest, uh, body shops in the area, who we originally had for a while, then they moved to
another dealership because they got a better deal. And then I organised a deal where
basically we would, uhm, supply them with, um, our business for like, where we get
customers come and said, Look, I've broken the mirror, I need a new mirror cover. Uhm,
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and it needs to be painted, can you get it organised, fit it, paint it, fit it, etc.? So what I said
was, look, we'll give you X amount of business through that, um, like bumpers, wing
mirrors and stuff like that, um, if you'll give us your body part- body shop business, where
we supply you the parts for your- the panels to the cars etc. And it took me about a couple
of months of pestering him and sort of seeing the owner, Harvey. Uh, and in the end I got
– I managed to sort of get them to agree to it. And it was about- worked out I think about a
couple of million quid a year, uhm, so, the- Nigel, the MD was quite pleased to say the
least. And we got that all set up and, and we were supplying like four of their branches
across the coun- sort of around this part of the country. Uh, as I say, and then literally I
was out one day, uhm, just sort of doing normal sort of visiting.

Where were you going?

Uh, it was ca- I was actually heading back towards uh, the ranch because it was sort of
like towards the end of the day, it was about sort of 5 o'clock-ish. Uhm, and as I say, pulled
up- followed- this traffic was quite heavy going through Queens Road, the backs of the
colleges. Uhm, and then I was behind, this one car pulled up to- cos somebody started
walking across the pedestrian crossing, just before the roundabout, and I pulled up behind
'em, and then the person who'd been following me for miles apparently, just, she looked
down. She reckon she was looking down because she'd got her name tag on a chain
tangled in the seatbelt, so she was looking down trying to unhook that and then basically
she didn't even have a chance to look up, she just sort of basically went straight in the
back of me, and cos it was a little Vauxhall combo van, all you've got is basically metal
floor and doors, there's no extras like the rear seats and that to cushion the blow, so it was
quite sort of considerable. My head went back, I'm not gonna do it cos it hurts, but it went
back 90 degrees. I slammed the headrest down, split that open cos it- through the force of
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the accident. Uhm, me little Bluetooth earpiece, well it took me about half an hour to find
that, that went flying off in the back of the van somewhere. Uhm, and as I said, the seatbelt
pretensioner went off, so as my head went back,

that pulled down, which basically

compressed me spine and did me shoulder in at the same time. So, I sort of had a double
whammy with that one. And I sort of got out the car, and, sort of, the person in front sort of
went, Oh when she realised that the person behind had hit me, that's what pushed me into
her. Um, and she goes, Are you alright? I said, I don't know! [Laughs] So- and I could get
up, and I walked around, looked at- sort of walked around the car and sort of sat on the
side of the road for a bit. And, sort of...it was- at the time it was numb, it was a sort of
numb-ish feeling, so...and I could move everything. And I thought, well me shoulder hurts
and me neck sort of feels funny, but it didn't really, and so I thought, well probably ok. She
goes, do you want me to call an ambulance? I said, Well you better for her, but I'm not
gonna bother going for an ambulance. So the police came, took the details and, um, I
managed to get the van back um, got me car. In fact, no, what I had to, is because itbecause it closed, I got my brother to co- walk up, because he didn't leave that- live that
far away. He came up, took the keys off me, walked back to work and then drove my truck
back to pick me up, because at the time I had me Nissan, and um I drove it home, didn't
think any more about it. Next day it started feeling a bit tingly and I thought, mmm, this isn't
feeling right and it sort of like- it was, you know like, you get pins and needles effect? And
it felt like that on me back and me neck, mainly. So, I thought well I better go to the
doctors, so I went to the doctors and he goes, does this hurt? Does this hurt?. I said, Well I
can't actually feel anything, I can barely feel you pressing. Uhm, it just feels numb and
tingly. So he goes, well you better go and have an X-ray then, see if there's anything
broken. It doesn't appear to be but let's check. So I went to the hospital, had an X-Ray,
they couldn't find any fractures or anything, and then, I started getting- the pain started to
build up. The numbness and the tingling went away and the pain started kicking in and it
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got worse and worse and worse and it got to the point where I came back a couple of days
later to go to work and, well the IT guy there actually, Phil, sort of said, uh are you sure
you should be back? I said, I don't know but I'm gonna give it a go! And I got like halfway
through the day and I'd driven about 50, 60 miles and I sort of phoned up, I stopped and
phoned and said, look I can't do this. This is killing me. Uhm, cos I was- it was like we hadI had a big van because um, ours was obviously near written-off. And I said, Look, I'm
going to have to come back, uhm, because I can't manage this. I'm in agony and I can't
sort of cope with the pain driving it. Every time I go over a bump it's jarring me spine, and
that. So he said fair enough. So I went home and, sort of, went back and then went up the
doctors again and said, Look it's getting worse and worse. So she prescribed stronger
medicine etc. And we ended up where I then went and had uhm, an MRI scan, the one like
the jackhammer, um, where they picked up the disc bulge at the top. Uhm, and it also
picked up the fact that I had a pre-existing condition of where the bones crumble in your
spine? Which you don't normally get until you're about, sort of 60, 70 onwards. Uhm, it's a
common occurrence that happens to everybody eventually. Uhm, but-

Is there a name for that?

Uh, yeah but I can't remember what it's called. Uhm...

It's not Osteoporosis?

No, Osteoporosis apparently is only in women. I didn't realise that, cos I said to the
doctors. I said, oh is it Osteo- and she goes no, uh, she goes no that's only for women you
only get that. Uhm, in men it's just- it's a natural thing that happens to be all people where
basically it's just through wear and tear, it's your bones start sort of getting crumbly around
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where the discs are etc. Uhm, and that's why mainly older people get slipped discs,
because it's just the wear of the bones allow the disc to slide out easier. Uhm, but I mean,
it wasn't, like, bad, and prior to the accident I'd occasionally have a neck ache or a back
ache or whatever as you, you know, you just say, Oh I've got a back ache or whatever it is.
Uhm, but nothing that I could say, you know, before the accident I'd say, Yeah I've like
really bad back- neck for ages. Um, it didn't really affect me in any way, I mean I used to
go swimming, played badminton, everything. Um so, it was just from sort of then, then
they- then I had an epidural and then they gave me a, um, another scan, you know the full
spine, they said well you've got another disc bulge at the bottom, um, as well. And so I
said, Right, ok. That was when I had the- found out that I was- just after- that was just after
I found that I'd got the spinal compression where I...and then they said right ok , we'll do
this traction because you've got a disc bulge at the bottom as well.

How long after the accident was this?

Uh, that was about 12 months, as I say it was purely beca- and I wouldn't have known
unless I'd have had the annual check up to find my weight and height and the various sort
of, my blood tests and stuff.

So were you, in that 12 months, were you still working?

No, I – after about two weeks I sort of, I'd been to the doctors and increased the painkiller
so much that I was sort of getting to the point where the side effects were starting to kick
in. Um, I was in a lot of pain still but at the same time I was having a lot of issues with, like,
hot and cold flushes. Um, lots of different unpleasant side effects. Um, I didn't have all of
them but I had most of the negative side effects of pretty much all of the drugs I was on.
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Um, cos I was sort of saying, well there must be something wrong, weird here, so I was
like going through each of them, neg- sort of side effects, looking at all the negatives, and
I'd go, yeah, I've got that, got that, got that, haven't got that, haven't got that, got that, got
that, haven't got that. You know, and I went through literally all of em and I sort of said to
the doctor, Look, you know, this is, uh, getting to the point where it's no- the drugs are
helping with the pain, but they're putting me in a situation where I can't focus, I'm dizzy,
uhm, very drowsy, I can't concentrate. Uhm, along with the hot and cold flushes and stuff
like that, so, it's you know, what can I get rid of that- and then try and balance, sort of pain
management, between living with a bit extra pain without all the negative side effects, and
we ended up sort of slowly getting rid of each one until we got to the point where I sort of
said, Look, what I wanna do is try no major painkillers, just try, um, regularly taking
basically a Paracetamol and a Ibuprofen together a day over the sort of dosage period,
and then if I get like, in a lot of pain I'll take three of each for one dosage and then leave it
for longer until the other one, as long as you sort of, obviously keep within the maximum
dose. Um, I did that for about four or five months and it was ahhh- it was ca- I could cope,
but again the pain had increased so much that I basically couldn't really do much, it was
like I was still sitting around doing nothing pretty much all day. So I thought, no, I said Oh, I
went back to the doctors and I said, look, I'm gonna need a bit more help with this, you
know it's- I've tried to do it with that, it's not enough. So we decided the best one would be
the Gabapentin for the pain and then top it up with Paracetamol or Ibuprofen, which I felt
that I needed, um, to help, which is basically what I've done ever since, so that's been the
last 18 months two years doing it like that so… It's a little- as I say, I can do most things
now slowly. Uhm, as long as it's not repetitive, say I'm always bending down and stuff like
that, so, as long as I don't, I mean I can sort of hoover the floor. As I say, the missus
usually does the washing, I can occasionally do like, I'll get stuff out- put st- in and out of
the washing machine, uhm, like clothes and stuff. Uhm, and I can do the dishes now and
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again, so I try- I can't, I'd still sort of struggle a bit on my own, if I had to do it I'd probably
be in a lot more pain, but at the same time I could probably do it now, so. It has sort of got
the point where, I'm sort of at a level where I've found a balance between the two. As I say
it's- sometimes the pain's quite chronic, and you know, you're sort of sitting there and you
have to keep standing up and you don't know what to do with yourself, and then you take
your pain killer. It'll take like half an hour to an hour before it really kicks in properly, it'll last
an hour and a bit, and then you got another hour and half or two hours before your next
one so it's like, you know, you get pain relief at periods during the day, so you sort of take
advantage of those periods and do what you can then, and then when it starts getting a bit
too much or too painful sort of, I just basically step back a bit and try not to do too much.

So right now Martin are you in pain?

Yeah I mean, it's like, it's constant. I mean I've got me neck here and lower back, uhm, just
sitting here. I mean I t- I- there's sort of like, it's not a dull pain, it's more of a sharper pain,
but it's- it's constantly there, but it varies during the day. Sometimes I can get away with,
when I hit that sweet spot on the painkillers where it sort of does it's work, I can not notice
it and I can wa- sort of carry on and do stuff, but I'm always constantly thinking about
adjusting what I do don't do too much, you know. If I try, well it's hilarious, I used to play
badminton very well, uhm, and even now my hand to eye co-ordination has just basically
fallen to pot out the window, so every time I go for an overhead smash I miss- missed the
shuttlecock every time. So, it was like, we were playing in the garden a couple of summers
ago and I was sort of like steadily walking around, just playing, we were playing like
doubles. And, uhm, it was just getting ridiculous cos I used to be- I used to play a local,
uhm champion, county champion. Uhm, and we used to sort of be quite even at one point.
Uhm, because I improved my game to basically try and beat him. And both us, neither of
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us would give up on the points so we would be running around like lunatics just to get one
point Uhm, so it was frustrating, and in the end I was sort of like playing for one and it was
just out of reach, so I literally threw meself on the floor just to try and get it. Uhm, I mean it
wasn't painful or anything, it was just, I just threw, sort of threw meself forward to get it,
which I did get it, but- over the net, just. Uh, but I just laid there and I thought, I- do you
know I can't get up! [Laughs] It's like, it was like the laying there was alright, it's was getting
up again that was painful, but as I say, it is just, it's frustrating as well as the sort of like,
depressing. I mean, at one point, when was at my worst, my low I suppose, I was quite
depressed. Uhm, and at one point I was sort of nearly suicidal, I was seriously sort of
thinking, you know, I wish I either lost a leg or something, because it would probably be
less painful, it would be over and done within a period of time, uhm, you know and you
could live with the disability of losing a leg or whatever and you can get over it, you can get
round it and, as I say the pain, whatever, would go away and you can get on with your life.
Uhm, but it so- it was sort of so constant and debilitating, uhm, that it's very difficult, unless
somebody's experienced it, to say well, you know there's nothing really wrong with you,
you know. It's like, you don't realise how frustrating and how, uh, especially when you sort
of like, you got an active mind still and you wanna do something and you know you can do
it. And it's, I mean its silly little things like that, uhm, that a Dutchman, van something-orother's stricture, where basically you get stuff, the stu- the cellulose-type uhm stuff that's
around your tendons is normally soft, and then for some reason it'll go really hard. And
what it eventually does is bring your finger down to there like that, but it's like I can't type
as fast as I can now, I can't play some of me games like I did, cos I can't get my finger
down there, I can't play bass guitar now cos it just sorta doesn't go where I want it to go
and it's like, you know. It's little things like that where you can have it fixed, but it, like,
nearly disfigures your hand from the surgery and it'll probably come back anyway so you
don't bother unless it gets really bad. But that's the sort of thing where it's- it limits you to
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what your- it limits your capabilities and it's frustrating and annoying as well as being
painful, and the other thing is I've got constant Tinnitus in this ear. Li- sometimes in this
ear, so it's sometimes at the moment it's- all I can hear is this whistle going on as I'm
talking, and other times it's almost like a screech and I can't- sometimes can't even hear
what other people saying at a certain volume or level. Uhm, so it's like it's just lots of little
things and I didn't have that before the car accident, and I'm going like, you know, well
would it have caused this? Mm, don't know. It's sort of one of these things where it's sort
of, Tinnitus is- can come and go for whatever reason. There's no known reason why it's
there or what it is. Uhm, so it's just ah.

How long after the car accident did your Tinnitus start?

Um, I don't know really, I didn't really know. I just- I just kept- I just noticed it was there
permanent- you know, constantly all the time. I mean, it's just initially, I didn't, you know,
obviously I didn't think about it cos I was- all the rest of it with the pain, but it's just never
gone away. Uhm, and it's just, again, it's just something that's, it stops you focussing
because you've got this constant whistle, and you, normally you know, you sort of carry on,
you can focus on what you're doing, you've got this thing. It's like somebody blowing, softly
blowing a high pitched whistle just behind you all the time. So it's like, you know, you, it
just, you can't concentrate on what you're doing constantly. It's sort of, it's difficult to focus
on that without, with this thing going and then your back starts hurting and, you know, and
it's just ahh.

So the, what you were describing about your hands. Is that related to the injuries to your
spine?

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No, no, it it c- it's just a random thing. It can either, I think the most likely is genetic, uhm,
but none of my parents have had it as far as I know. My dad died quite young about 58,
me mum's still alive but she hasn't got it. Uhm, but my younger brother James, he's got
sort of lumps, uhm, across his arms and stuff, which they think is possibly similar, where
it's a build-up of this stuff. Uhm, and they're almost like, f- they sort of, you know like semifatty lump, but I can't re- it's the, ah, it's the stuff around your tendons and I can't- it's not
muscle or anything or fat, it’s just bits of stuff, uh, part of your body system, uhm, that
basically where normally they should stay soft and that allows your tendons to work, and
they sometimes go hard. Uhm.

And it's completely unconnected?

It's just, yeah, it's just completely unconnected. Well, as I say, as far as I know. I didn't
have it before the car accident but it– and I only really noticed it affecting my hand
probably 3- 4 years ago I guess it started to start, where I sort of, cos I used to play bass
guitar in a sort of band, for fun really, not for serious. Uhm, and I was playing alright and
then it suddenly found it's more and more difficult to play and I thought, well why isn't my
finger doing that? What's all that on there? So I got these two little- it started off as two little
lumps a bit like that, that side, so that's possibly gonna go as well. But it was like a lump
there, lump there and like a ridge across there, and it just slowly, that ridge has just
squashed up and basically the stricture's causing the skin and the flesh to get creased like
that. Uhm, and as I say it can be a little bit painful, but it's a- it' s just another little thing on
top of everything else that's was just frustrating me.

When did that start?

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Uh, as I say, I only really noticed it about 2 or 3 years ago, I guess when it was sort of like
starting to affect it. I mean, I don't know how long I'd had it before that, I hadn't really sort
of thought about it. But I don't think I had anything like that duri- prior to the accident or
anything, but as I say I don't think it's related to it. It's just something that, uh, it was just
another thing on top of everything else that was annoying me.

What's the prognosis for this condition?

Uh, with that, all you can do is, it'll eventually, what will happen is, it will pull me finger to
about the point where it's virtually touching my palm because it just pushes- it pulls your
tendon more and more. Uhm, I mean that's- that's as far back as I can- I mean, I can bend
these back here, but that's it. I can't get it any further than that, whereas I can get them
right back up there like that. Uhm, so the only thing they'll do is, because it's gone so far,
they do a big zigzag cut in your hand, peel it all back, scrape out all the stuff either side so
that you can get your finger straight, then they stitch it all up again. So as I say, you've got
quite a serious scar across your hand, uhm, it's quite invasive surgery apparently. And
then you have wear like a little mini splint to keep it straight and then you're supposed to,
within a day or two, start exercising it to get the tendon to work properly. Uhm, and then it
should be ok, but it could then, two three years later, reappear, start doing the exact same
thing.

What's the prognosis with your spinal injuries?

Uhm, the- well basically there's nothing they can do, because they don't know why the
nerves are flicking off pain signals. Uhm, there's nothing that they can see physically that
would cause it, there's no sort of fracture, there's no sort of like, serious, uh, slipped disc
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thing. So it's like, the discs are pretty much back in place now, uh, they're not quite centred
I don't think at the top, but they're a lot better than they were. Uhm, but there's nothing
physically there with an X-Ray or a scan that they can see to say, well yeah this is causing
it. So it's just a sort of thing, it's something they don't understand at the moment, they can't
say why it's doing it, so it's just a matter really of, it'll probably never get better, uh, it may
get a little bit worse if my bones keep wearing at the rate they are. Uhm, then that'll slowly
sort of make things a bit worse and I might get more pain from that, but I'm – I've had three
epidurals so I can't have any more of those. And they were mainly just to assist with the,
uhm, Physiotherapy to help get me spine back where it should be and to help exercise it.
Uhm, so it sort of, realistically, it's gonna be pretty much the same, uhm, at best. If it gets
worse then it'll get worse, but it won't ever get better, so…

So you had to stop doing the job you were doing and now you're working here?

No, I- I basically, I volunteer here probably about two or three, three, maybe four times a
month. Uhm, I'll come in, uhm, when they've got issues and sort them out for em. Uhm, or
I upgrade them to Windows 10 and, as I say, or improve the network where if they've got
somebody else, like they'll have a new project where they need another person to come in
and they need another PC set up, they need the network, uhm, and basically install the
necessary programs, the operating system and the programs they need. Uhm, so it's just
a matter really it's just- to be honest, it's almost, with the way they've grown over the few
years, CAIL, then it's almost like they, it's getting to the point where they are going to need
somebody to do it at least on a part-time basis to look after the system, Uhm, because if
they get relevant new projects each year, I don't know, people have got perhaps a contract
for a year or two years or whatever, so you'll always get movement of different people
coming in. Uhm, and sometimes they can just take over, uh, the previous person's PC, if
15

it's set like they're- but quite often it'll be staggered, where perhaps somebody's still got six
months to go and then they'll have a new person, so they'll still need a new PC. Uhm, so I
mean it's just lim- they're just limited really by what they need, uh, desk space. Uhm,
Bernard-

Are you working anywhere else?

No, I mean, that's what I'm saying, I'm aiming to try, uhm, applying for jobs in the IT
industry, uhm, because that's what I wanna now. I don't want to go back to the motor
industry because it's changed so much and now they're not doing the Trade Club and
stuff, it's- they're- I think basically they're- it's they're not gonna want so many people
there because it's qui- it will be quieter, there won't be so much business, so. Uhm, and I
think, as I say, I've worked for Car Dealerships prior to the car accident, uh, for about ten
or fifteen years. I think I started in about '89- well no, more than that, '89, '89 I went to Fiat,
uhm and had a break where I did- worked at a Triumph specialist in Somersham doing the
T.R.'s. Uhm, then I went on to Murketts, worked there from '97 to- and then I had a break
where I went to Marshalls, Peterborough, uh Huntingdon, sorry that- Peugeot, where I
worked there for a couple of years, and then I moved back to Murketts and then did the,
uh, parts trail, so Trade Sales Rep. Uhm, but that could, sort of like, 1,000 miles a day
sometimes on a really busy day [laughs] ah sorry, 1,000 miles a week rather on a busy
week, uhm, where you're trundling all over Cambridgeshire, different sort of areas, uhm, so
I mean you could quite easily do, sort of 2, 300 miles a day on a long day where you've got
to go all out in the sticks and stuff. Uhm

Where did you learn to work with IT?

16

Uh, well I first started playing with computers technically in about 1982, when I bought
myself the old Spectrum ZX82. Uhm, and I was mainly playing games with it, but then I
suddenly started reading the old Spectrum magazines oh you can programme on this, I
can teach myself to programme. Cos I'm quite open to sort of learning new things, and
they had like these test programmes, so I was like diddlediddleda and then load, error.
What?! Go through the whole thing again, read every line, you miss one tiny character
wrong and it's like, uh, I just can't be dealing with this. And it was like, I tried to learn, uh,
Basic, or QBasic it was at the time, and like, “Go To” there, “If Not” blah blah blah. Uhm,
and it's like, I got to the point where I thought I haven't got the patience for this. I like the
sort of like the hardwarey bit and playing with things and upgrading things and playing
games, but I just – I thought I haven't got the patience at this moment in time to stick with
it. Uhm, cos when I went to school, Computer Studies was basically BBC Micros and
Acorn A- Archimedes, which basically two totally irrelevant systems, and they were
teaching you Cobol, which again, by the time sort of most computers were running MS
DOS in some form, uhm, and even in the lang- sort of, most of the time, sort of by the time,
sort of by the 90s, they were all using for sort of like, Visual, C+ or whatever or Visual
Basic, where you could basically Point, Click, Add a box here, do this. Uhm, so you didn't
need all that. You still needed a programming language as a base to actually get the thing
to interact and work, uhm, so again I sort of semi-taught myself Visual Basic for a little
while and started doing basic little applications, and again it was like, I get really excited
about something and I do it do it do it and then I lose interest so it takes a lot to keep sort
of like focus on it, and unless I enjoy it I tend to sort of like, uh can't be bothered. [Laughs]
So it's like, you get sort of really excited about it and you think, nah, it’s not really what I
want to be doing, I'll just go back to playing games and mucking about with apps.
Uhm, so it's not- from that point of view, it sort of realistically I suppose, it was the mid-90s,
uhm, when I started sort of, I bought my first computer, a computer, proper one, old 386,
17

thing was like, the box was like this big by this big, desktop thing, it was almost as big as
this desk to be honest. Uhm, and..

Is that Windows? Was that running an early Windows?

Yeah, it was running sort of like 3- Windows 311. Uh DOS 5. some- DOS 5 playing Doom
and stuff like that you know, and Quake when it first came out. Uhm, and it's like, I thought,
I'm gonna make this better, because it had something like a 512k graphics card, which
was like, you know, racy at the time, so I had, I think the original had a 256k graphics card.
It's frightening now, cos my graphics card I got in there is like 3 gigabyte and the
processing power probably ten 386's, just on the graphics card. Uhm, but it's like, I thought
right I'll upgrade that and I can put a bigger processor in and, cos it didn't hurt that,
overclocking them, but I sort of learnt that later, and I thought right, well I'll make it a bit
better, and I can change the motherboard actually, because funnily enough uhm, where I
was working at the TR place, he'd upgraded a couple of computers from 386's to 486, and
he said, well I've got this old motherboard with a load of memory and the processors you
can have, so I said, yeah go on how much do you want for it? And he said, what, 20 quid
or something. Yeah, I'll buy that. And then I got this big- for this thing, the huge case thing
and I thought well, that's a 386SX-15 or whatever it was, and this was an AMD 386 DX-40
with a co-processor and lots and lots of memory and I thought, yeah, I'll sling that out, take
me graphics card out, take me spare bits of memory out and chuck the ca-, well not
chucked it, but put the case upstairs with the motherboard, bought a new sort of posh little,
well not little, but the ATX size case now, uhm, and then fitted this motherboard in and
added the power supply and all that and the memory and stuff and upgraded that and that
was all like much better and sort of fa- a lot faster. It was quite funny because a friend just
bought a brand new 486, and we all used to meet together round one- another friends, we
18

used to play sort of like these games between us, uhm, and uh, his 486SX25 or whatever
it was, uh, was slower than my 386, so he went back and took it back to the shop, he
goes, this is crap, my mate's 386 is faster than this! [laughs]. So he got his money back
and bought an even faster one. Uhm, but as I say, it's like...

You're a natural, then, doing hardware and software, you…

Uh, yeah, I mean as I say, I even sort of started looking at BIOS, editing BIOSs and stuff.
Uhm, and that's like basically even more complicated than programming, because that’s
like machine code, most of it. And there are certain programmes you can get, which are
not technically, shouldn't technically be available, but basically, you can access the BIOS
and make various modifications, and I sort of like got this uh motherboard, it was just a
single processor and I'd got this software to, uhm, access the BIOS properly and sort of,
and I was looking through it and I go, look well this should have an overclocking facility on
that, cos it's like, disabled in the- it's in the BIOS, but it's been disabled. So I got my email
off to Supermicro, the board was, and I'm going like, I've just checked in the BIOS and it
says, you know dah dah dah, it says that I can, you know, the overclocking feature's been
disabled, can you uhm, can I have a BIOS where it's? No, we don't do that, we're not
allowed. They won't do it at all, they're really secret about their BIOSs and stuff and they
won't, unless it's a problem stopping the machine working, they may an issue of a BIOS to
fix that or if a new operating system comes out and requires a certain thing in the BIOS
they may do that. But other than that, it's like, it's tied down as tight as anything, and if you
can learn machine language then you can do it, machine code, but it's like, it's even, it's so
complicated it's even worse than anything like C or C++ or anything like that, you sort of
like, it's, it's like basically what naturally what a computer talks in, and if you like, other
programming language that humans use is like an interface so that the computer can
19

basically understand what we want it to do, uhm, but it'll translate it into machine code
once you put the programming lang- your programming language in. Uhm, so but there are
people who actually do actually read machine code and can do it but they just say it's like
mind-numbingly boring, bloody hard and takes ages to learn. But once you know it, you
can literally do anything, you can programme directly and you can access, uhm, the
components of the computer without having to go through the operating system, so
basically what you can do is you can set up your own BIOS, set up your own code, access
anything you want in there, tell it to do whatever you want it to do and then you pass it
across the operating system, so that you've then got that, all of those facilities within the
operating system you wouldn't normally have, uhm, so.

When you became unable to do things more physically, did the working with computers
become more important to you?

Uh, when I could do it, yeah. I mean it's like, it was all I- basically, it was either that or sit
there doing nothing, uhm, watching the telly which was incredibly- daytime TV is incredibly
horrendously boring and horrible and stuff, uhm, and very uninteresting, and because I
was find- because, even sit- I mean, I love reading as well, and I have, like, hundreds of
books, they're all packed away because basically I can't read them because I end up, I
don't know if you not- but I tend to keep leaning forward so I have to keep pushing myself
back, uhm, and it's just, and it actually is more uncomfortable and more- a bit more painful
and I tend to sort of, even when I'm on a computer I sort of have to keep pushing myself
back from the desk to do- and do it that way, otherwise I end up like this. Uhm, and even
driving's the same, but basically, if I try and read, I end up where my neck is killing me
after about ten minutes because I'm leaning forwards, so what I tend to do now is
occasionally, if I can't get the audio book, uhm, I'll sort of get it as a pdf or whatever and I'll
20

read it on me, to- cos I've got me TV as the main computer screen, so it's got like a big old
40-inch screen. Uhm, so I can sit there, I sort of sit back in me, sort of like computer chair,
it's one of those lazy boy chairs with the footstool and I sit there with me feet up and like,
reading me book like this, about four foot away. Uhm, so as long as I can keep my sort of
back straight as possible, posture as good as possible, I can either do that, or I'll listen, as
long as I'm not actually having to type something, I can sort of like mooch about, if I'm just
sort of doing something where I don't have to focus on it too much, I can listen to the audio
book, uh, either through headphones or with the computer on and then just do what I want
to do, uhm, but if it's something I have to focus on, I'll have to turn it off, because I'll just
lose track of either of what I'm doing or basically I blank out the audio so it's like, I’m going,
I've just missed half the book there because I've been doing this.

Oh, that's the Tinnitus?

Yeah, it could be, yeah. I mean it's, cos when I was younger, I mean I'd read books, I
mean it's like I mean I love my fantasy stuff. I got The Lord of the Rings, uhm, years ago,
uhm, and I just sat there and I would sit and read and I would literally blank out what was
going on around me, so I cou- I would be laying on the floor reading this book and people
would be walking over me, whatever, doing everything, but as soon as somebody called
my name it was like, it was sort of like, ding, you know, you got something there, and you
sort of, sort of like got back into what was happening around you, you sort of like, you fade
out and then you suddenly come back and say, yeah yeah what do you want? You know,
uhm, but unless there was something there, sort of like your subconscious must pick it up
or something, but unless somebody was actually directly talking to you, I could sort of like
almost fade out everything that was going around me, the noise and everything and just
concentrate 100% on the book I was reading. And usually when I say I wa,s in pages, a
21

book, like Lord of the Rings, the full set was about 2 or 3 days and I'd read it a bit, so,
because it was like, I was concentrating on it and, because I'm quite a quick reader
anyway, whizz through it and focus, and again, the same, it's what I get with computers.
Uhm, it was quite funny, when the first time, uh, when Quake 2 first came out, uhm, cos
there was all this hype and I was like, cos I loved Quake 1 and played that for ages, and
Quake 2 came out and I sort of like, right, bought it the day it came out, went up the shop,
got it, come back home, installed it in, it was about a Sun- , uh, Saturday I think. Installed it
Saturday, had a little play with it and thought, right I'll have a go with that tomorrow, and I
think Sunday, about 10, 11 o'clock I started playing it, uhm, and I was like getting really
into it, and the next thing I knew it was about 5am! It's like, well I think I’d stopped once to
eat, uhm, cos I was getting hungry and I thought, I'm really hungry actually what's the
time? And it's like, oh, it's 3 o'clock in the afternoon, right OK I'll get something to eat, and
as I say the next think I knew it was like 5am, and I thought, ah sod it, I'll carry on [laughs]
and called in sick for work and it was like, just basically carried on pretty much through
most of Monday until I was just so tired I couldn't- couldn't- I had to stop to go to sleep. But
as I say, I get fixated and I can focus on something, and it's like I'll give it everything until Iif I get a problem with a PC or some software, I don't like giving up on it. I'll sort of sit there,
and I will work around it and find out what it's doing, why it's doing it. I mean, there's only
one PC that's been giving an odd issue which I can't nail down, uhm, but I'm pretty sure I
know it's one of two things. But it, it just basically randomly restarts, now normally I've got
a bit of software that I use, uhm, and you load it up and it'll say, it'll look at the, what they
call crash dump files, uhm and you can check it and you can see, right well it's either this
file, that file, one of three files usually that are gonna be causing the issues, or they're
linked and you say ok, well if it's like the Video driver, it’s likely the video card on its way
out or it's overheating or something, but there was nothing on there that- I had Core Temp
on there so that it wasn't overheating, the CPU- the main processor temperature was fine,
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I did, uhm, a stress test on the whole PC, which usually tests the CPU, the memory and
the compon- the rest of the components, they were all fine, they went through about like,
14 hours at 100% without a problem, no restarts. Uhm, and it only used to do it when he,
Graham either opened like Outlook or a webpage and it would just got BOOF and there
was absolutely nothing on there at all, so I thought ok, well let's try and update the network
driver see if it's causing that. No, that was fine, updated that to the latest one, still did it.
Uhm, did a full hard drive stress test, nothing wrong with that. So, OK right, it's one of two
things, it's either power supply or the motherboard. Basically it was on a two year warranty,
the first year was parts and labour, the second was labour only, so I said well, not being
funny, it's not worth sending it back, being without the PC, might as well just pay like a
tenner for a PSU tester, we'll plug it in, check the PSU. If it's that, we'll just get another
one because they're only quite cheap, 30 40 quid. Bang it in, see if works, see if it's the
motherboard. Again, they're not that expensive, 30 40 quid for a replacement. Uhm, and it
hasn't done it since! [Laughs] so it's like, we put Windows 10 on it, it was going ballistic, it
was shutting down, it was literally, Windows 10, start up, go to type in his name, crash or
shut down. Go, sort of restart it again, get in there, go through the test to see if it's alright,
load up Windows, fine, right. Go to set up his email account in Outlook, dadeladeda,
halfway through it, crash, gone. So it was just like, constantly crashing, and Graham's like
panic, wah my computer's- won't go- is broken. So I came in, did a clean install, still kept
doing it, so I said, look, we're going to have to put Windows 7 back on, because it was only
doing a random one now and again. Uhm, so I just basically did a full system restore from
a thing we backed it up to before we put Window 10 on it. Did a reset, got it back to
Windows 7, then did the full system restore to get it all clean again from when it was first
installed. And it hasn't crashed since! And Graham's gone, right, well I'm going to swap
mine with Judith's cos I've been working on Judith's and I like that one with Windows 10,
so they just, because she's not in so much, they just swapped it over, so Judith's got
23

Graham's old one now. But as I say, we've done everything and it's behaved itself so, thatin the end, either we fixed it or it's just such a randomly odd one that we're just going to
have to catch it at the right minute to identify what the problem is. But as I say, I enjoy, I
get satisfaction out of achieving stuff, and to a certain extent, well as I say, when I first set
up the network here, it was basically I had, because I'm such a hoarder for computer bits, I
had about six computers, in sort of either incomplete or complete. Uhm, no I had about
four and then I picked up another couple of servers, uhm, which I got from the local
auction rooms really cheap, uhm, because basically the drives were dying on them. Uh, so
I looked up the drives and I thought, I remember something about this, I got onto Google
again, and it was a particular drive that issued, that kept giving- they had massive
problems with, there was a firmware issue with it, kept basically, it kept wiping stuff out,
dying totally. So it'd either wouldn't boot, couldn't find it and boot, or it would boot and then
it would then it would corrupt all the data or you couldn't access the drive. So, because I'd
sent off Seagate stu- uh, drive before, uhm, I checked the stuff, they were all under
warranty, so logged into me Seagate thing and said right, well, three drives, two 1 terabyte
drives, yeah, send em off no rush. So it was basically, I think it cost about a tenner in
postage there and back, um, and I got two fully refurbished drives so, two wonderful
working computers, and I think I paid about thirty quid for the two of them, so I was quite
chuffed with that. So basically, they ended- one of them ended up with the others, spare
ones I had when I set up the network, so I networked them all up using the hub from the
ADSL router, so they could all share and there was a shared folder where all of the files
were kept, and that was regularly backed up so that they had- didn't have the issue of not
being able to access files and stuff, so they could basically edit files even if somebody else
has got it open and do it that way.

24

Can I kind of take you back to-

Yes, yes, sorry.

It's alright, it's all, it's all good stuff. Um, can I take you back to when you were talking
about being depressed. Are you happy to talk about it?

Yeah, no, it's all right yeah.

Um, so how long after the accident was it? Just tell me about it.

Probably, yeah, roughly I would think about a year 18 months. I mean, prior to the accident
I've always- I've never been a person, I've always been probably really too opinionated,
but I couldn't understand how people could get depressed because I always- I always
thought, well there's always a right- a way around something, and you know, it doesn't
matter how bad it gets, you can find a way round it and to deal with it, and I just found out
that wasn't actually correct! And that sometimes you get to the point where, because there
is- there's nothing you can say that, this is causing the issue, we can fix that. Uhm, it's, you
know, every time we ask, well why is it doing this? Well we don't know. Uh, ok, what can I
do about it? Well, all you can do is do this and that, and that might help, but basically it's
pain management, pain management. And, you sort of think, ok, pain management, that
means either, dosing yourself up so much you basically turn into a zombie or, you take
enough painkillers where you can sort of cope, but you're gonna be in constant pain and
it's gonna be an irritant, a frustration, uhm, and you're not going to be able to do certain
things, uhm, or if you do do certain things, you're going to have to take your time doing it,
you can't just rush in and- like I used to do, basically. So, with me cars, I'd rush in, take an
25

engine to bits, read the manual how to put it back together again, get the Haynes out, oh
right, that goes there, dedaleda but it all back together and it works, so it's great. You can't,
you know, it's when you can't do things that you’ve either been used to being able to do or
that you wanna learn or you want to try, you sort of, you're restricted and it's frustration,
and you get frustrated so you lose your concentration even more because you're getting
annoyed and frustrated with yourself. And it's just, you sort of get to the point I think,
where, in my case I was getting frustrated because I couldn't find a way to get better. Uhm,
you know, whatever you did, you either had to have, I mean, I was in a- quite a lot of pain,
I was taking a lot of painkillers, uhm, and I was feeling worse for taking the painkillers, so it
was like, uh, compounding- one was compounding the other. Uhm, and it was literally, I
think I spent 18 hours out of 24 in bed, laying down because either I couldn't get up
because I was in so much pain, or I just didn't wanna get up because I felt so bad. Uhm,
and other than going to the loo, eating or whatever, uhm, I mean I was literally living in my
bedroom and Jeanetta was basically doing everything, running up and down literally,
sometimes helping me onto the toilet because I could barely walk.

And you're used to being able to, if you had a problem you could fix it. You could put your
mind to it and fix it.

Uh yeah. Yes, exactly. You could say, right this is what's causing it, I need to do that to
sort it out, or we can get round it by doing something else. When you've got somebody
telling you, well we don't know what it is, we don't know why your pain, why your nerves
are giving off pain signals in your spine. Uhm, yes it's probably a result of your accident,
but there isn't any, sort of definitive thing that you can call it. It's not like you're saying, well
you've got a broken arm or you've got, uhm, you know, a disease or a problem. There's,
you know, there's nothing there, they just- and they won't even call it nerve damage,
26

because technically your nerves are not physically damaged, but they're not working
properly. And it's like, you sort of go, well, just somebody tell me what is up with me, you
know. What is wrong? Why can't we fix it? So, I mean, I used to see the pain- the surgeonuh, the doctor in the pain clinic, Dr. Wheeler, and he goes what can we do for you today? I
said, new spine, new spine, new nervous system. Uhm, yeah, I don't mind plastic or
titanium that'll do, that’ll sort me out and he goes yeah, lovely, wish I could do it but we
can’t do that, so what can we do for you? It's like, because, it was sort of- sometimes it
was, you focus so much on trying to improve yourself by like your posture and things, you
know, you concentrate on getting the right posture so you're not stre- putting so much
stress on it. Uhm, not lifting things incorrectly, making sure you bend your knees and keep
your back straight even just to get a bottle of milk out of the fridge, you know, and stupid
things like that which you wouldn't even think about in normal life, because if you didn't do
it that way, if you just bent over from the fridge, you get a massive pain shooting up your
back cos it- it was getting- I mean, when- as I say, at my worst it was, I was getting
constant pain shooting up my back from the bottom to the top and sort of flowering around
here, uhm, and, and that was just laying still on the bed, that wasn't even doing anything,
uhm, and that would be like a pulse almost. Uhm, and there'd be a constant dull ache. I'd
get, because of that, I'd obviously had atrophied muscles, so you would get pain from
overstraining those because you haven't done anything, you go to do something and it's
painful there, so. You know, and it was just one thing on top of another and they said, well
you can exercise doing this and I said, yeah but I try exercising and it is too painful. I even
tried one of them TENS machines. I think I put it on two, slapped in on my shoulder and it
felt like somebody had plugged me into the mains, so I sort of like ripped it off I was going
no this is killing me! It was like, it was seriously, I thought somebody had plugged me into
the mains, cos whatever was causing the nerve- nerves to shoot pain- it was like going
ten times worse, it was going mad. And I'm going like, obviously, it's something wrong with
27

my nervous system, the electrical impulses are being, for the cause of pain, are being
made worse by using the tens machine, and it's like, nobody could sort of say to you,
yeah, you've got this, you know, and we can do this for you or, well there's nothing we can
do for you, you’ve got this and it's just going to happen and that's that and you go, OK, fair
enough. But it's when everybody keeps saying to you, well we don't know what's wrong,
and you think well, why not? You know, why can't we deal with it. Uhm.

Oh, I was just getting to that. You're the, I don't know if I'm allowed to do this, but, it seems
like you're, you, well you say you like computers and stuff. The way you function is you see
a problem, you put your mind to it, you don't give up until it's resolved. That's the way you
are and this was insurmountable to it, so.

Yeah, it is, it was. It is basically, it's almost like something that was put in front of me that
was insolvable, and you, you know, whatever you did, you couldn't fix it and that's how I
felt, because when you get something physical like a broken leg, I mean I've bust my leg
when I was like 16 in about six places, so you go to the hospital, they go yeah, he's been a
silly boy jumping over the prom at Yarmouth when the sand's been scraped back cos
there's been a big oil slick. I- I used to, see, what I used to do, because my father had
caravans at Yarmouth and from a very young age we used to go and help and clean the
caravans for the weekends, and he used to allow us like an hour to play on the beach or
go to the fair or whatever. So what we used to do is, as we got older, about 13, 14, we
used to have a game of, when we were near the bottom end, uhm, jump over the railings
onto the beach, which is only about, sort of, the beach- no sort of no, there was the prom,
there was the beach and the railings were about three foot, so it was about a six foot drop.
So there I was, I thought going ah I'm going to jump over here, impress this girl that I just
met, so I got hold of the railings, did it, got to the point of no return, looked down and went
28

oh Sugar! It's like, there'd been a massive oil slick and they'd scraped about two, three foot
of the sand away, because the slick had gotten there, so it was like, it had turned into like
an eight to ten foot drop and I wasn't, I wasn't expecting it. So I landed the first time, I
thought, well that was alright, that was quite good fun I'm gonna do it again. Did it the third
time and landed with my ankle like that, broke it in six places and then walked on it for two
miles until I gave up and said, look I've got to go back, my leg's killing me, and then got on
the bus, got back, fell asleep because I was like white, because I was sort of in semi-shock
and then woke up about two or three hours later and the bloke, bo- well, I was- went there
with me boss for the weekend, uhm, with his girlfriend and he goes, take your boot off, and
I took me boot off and it was like a football! Me ankle, so he goes, you idiot you broke it.
So, up the hospital. So, as I say, it took, sort of, like you have a plaster on it, 6, 8 weeks
later you're all sorted. Uhm, some- and it's just something where there's nothing they can
do or say that can say yeah, we can fix this, or be honest and say, look we can't fix this,
but we know what it is, but we can tell you what you can do to make your life easier in the
future. Uhm, all they- all I was told is, well we don't know what's up with you, we can't find
anything physical, it's obviously a problem with your nerves giving an incorrect signal,
uhm, so they're telling there's- they're telling you there's pain there, we're not sure if there
is actually pain there cos there's nothing that we can see that should be causing it. Uhm,
so all you can do basically is you can just take some- the painkillers to do it, do some
gentle exercises to try and keep your muscles from atrophying and try and get m- sort of,
more mobile. Uhm, and that's all, that's all I kept getting. There wasn't anything saying,
right , well you know, there'll be an end to it, it'll get better, it'll get worse, it will just, you
know, you just could, you could just spend the next 20 years being exactly the same, you
could see a bit of an improvement. Uhm, or you could end up where it actually gets slowly
worse and worse and worse and you just get more and more pain. Uhm, but as I say, it
now it's almost more frustrating, because I know the pain's there, I can deal with it. Uhm, I
29

know that if I make sure I don't exceed my limitations on a daily basis I can cope with it. It's
just sometimes frustrating because I know I can do things, I want to do things that I can't
do. Uhm, I mean I don't want to run around playing badminton again because I know that
that's silly you know, but I- there's things that I can get on with but I can't, either because I
can't focus well enough, or because I end up, if I'm doing something like working on a
computer, I end up leaning forward like this, forward forward forward and then my neck
starts, back starts and I have to give up working on it because I'm in so much pain I can't
do it. Uhm, so it's a bit like,

So when-?

it's more frust- it's- frustration is a lot of it now. Uhm, purely because I can't, not that I can't
deal with it, I can deal with it, but it just annoys me that I can't-

Get it?

Get on with it, yeah.

When you were dep- I mean, laying in bed for that long, anybody would get depressed.

Yeah.

So, did you take medication for depression?

I have not re- no, cos I- I've never been, ah, I’ve always sort of thought, because I never
thought I'd get it and I – I only really sort of said to the doctor once that, you know I'm
30

getting quite depressed over this. Uhm, because I thought you know, I thought
depression's in the mind and you can deal with it and you can, you know, it's like, as usual,
until you actually experience something that can cause it, you always sort of think no, you'll
never get it and you like, you know, it's just will power or it's just not, you know, you. And
you sorta, you think and you think well, you know, it's almost- it is a bit, it's a generational
thing I think, but it's like embarrassing to say you've got depression, because when I was
growing up, when I was very young in the 60's, depression would be classed as a mental
illness, you know, and you'd be slapped in somewhere like Fulbourn or whatever, because
basically that's how they dealt with people then. Uhm, and it's, even now, you know, you
sort of say, well it's- I don't like to admit I've got it or you know, it's a da- and in the end, I
thought right well, the only way I'm going to get myself out of this is, I was already taking
so much medication. I'm not a person who normally like to take a lot of medication, if I've
got a headache I'll take a painkiller. Uhm, but I usually think right, well I can either work
around it, get round it and I'll be ok, uhm, and I'll get through it. So, I was on so much
medication at the time that I was getting more depressed about the thought of more
medication almost, so I sort of thought, right well, what can I do then to improve how I am?
Is- am I in bed here because I'm in so much pain, or is it because mainly it's from the side
effects of the other drugs? Uh, because the, to be honest, a lot of it was, it was debilitating,
the side effects were so debilitating that I think that was mainly what was causing me to
stay in bed for so long, because I couldn't manage to get up because I was so. As I say, I
mean I- sometimes I jump- walk it when I jump, climb into the bath to have a shower and
I'd fall over, because I'd sort of my cen- my balance would just totally go. Uhm, and it's like,
a couple of times it happened so I thought right, oh well, that enou- uh, I've had enough
now this is getting silly. Uh, so that's when I went to see the doctor and said, look this is
what's happened, and I think it's more the drugs than anything else that's causing it and
I'm getting so many negative side effects that, can we cut them down? And uhm, and
31

that's what we did, as I say, we went through it, got off, as I say, I came off the Fentanyl
patches cos they again, they were the strongest ones and I was sort of like using them on
a consistent, continual basis. Uhm, and I said to the doctor afterwards, I said, Jesus, I
think I know what drug addicts are like now I said, cos I've had like two weeks, feels like
I’ve had two weeks of cold turkey, and he goes, you have. He said that's exactly what you
have because basically, because it's an opiate, uhm, it’s a Morphine base, it's like, you
know, you're coming off like on- you know like a cold turkey like a heroin addict would,
uhm, because although you- it is addictive, that's the problem, a lot of the stronger ones.
So you don't realise again until you're off it. You go through like two three weeks of feeling
like you've got the flu and really rough and tired and everything, and then you- and then it
goes and you think, God I feel so much better now! Uhm, and it's, yeah, I just found that,
once I'd cut them down over a period of time, sort of over a period of a couple of months,
uhm, and I'd sort of got down to the bare minimum, I actually felt a hell of a lot better and I
could get up and do a lot more things.

So how long, can you put a time frame on your diagnosis, the period in bed, the..?

Yeah, I mean the diagnosis was, I mean it- that- the diagnosis took about six months to fufrom the car accident to fully- because obviously, you have to wait a fair while before you
can get a scan or whatever. It's usually a couple of months or whatever. So it was, it was
about sort of six, eight months before we had a sort of full, uhm, idea of what the problem
was causing it. Uhm.

And that was what month or year?

32

Uh, that would've been, well that's - that would have put it about mid, uh, no late 2007,
sorry cos it's March. Yeah, so it would have been about October-ish 2007 when we got an
idea of what the problem was. I then decided that I'd put a claim in for the accident to
cover, because I was- it was obviously, I was getting more and more in debt and I could
see that, unless something drastically improved, that I would be in problems. So basically,
uhm, put a claim in. That took four years from the car accident to claim, to clear, to sort
out, and they did pay out and sort it all out. But in the meantime, uh, it was like, within
about six to eight months that, excuse me, that was when I was sort of feeling quite bad
and I needed a- I needed to improve, uh, I needed to increase my painkillers then,
because that sort of, within six months of the accident definitely, the pain had start
increasing. And I would think probably I was on the maximum amount of medication, I was
on sort of on about, up to eight twelve months after the accident. Uhm, and then I s- went
back to the hospital because I got the results from the first scan and they sort of said, well
this is the problem, uhm, and then, as I say, I had the, the annual check and I sort of said
to them, look, well I've just been up the doctors, uhm, and I've lost two inches in height
and she looked and she goes, well you have got this disc bulge or slipped disc at the top
and you've probably got one at the- and they did another scan and a- the one at the
bottom. Uhm, you've probably got-

And that was 2007?

No it would have been, yeah, so it was late 2007, very early 2008 when the second scan
had took place. So that's when they said, right, well you have to go to- into Physiotherapy
again, we'll put you on the traction to get your height back. Uhm, and to get your, sort of
like, to do some basic exercise. You get that plasticky rubber band page thing, sheet
where you have to do this. Ah, and it's like, uhm, you sort of use that and I go ah I can't be
33

bothered with this, you know, it's like I just got my weights out and jut did a little bit here
and there with my dumbbells at the lightest weights. Uhm, and just tried to generally
exercise, gentle bending and stretching and stuff. Uhm, and it's like, I suppose, from about,
so if you say late 2000- uh, early 2008 is when I was at my worst, so then it was about, it
was well into 2- towards the end of 2009 before I started coming off of my, sort of
medication that I started to improve a bit and started to get up and move about a bit more.
Uhm, but as I say, I mean it's, it was like, literally I'd either be in bed all day or I'd spend
sort of four hours sitting at my computer and the rest of the time in bed you know, with a
couple of meals in between. Uhm, and the par- my- Jeanetta was still working at the time
then, and so she just basically made sure I had everything I need before she went to work
and then she got my fe- my meal and everything else I needed, uhm, when I come back.
But yeah, so, I suppose it'd be, by the time I was sort of fully up, fit, as I was gonna be and
sort of, not running about but moving about was sort of probably 2010. So it's sort of like
properly a good, nearly three years after the accident before I was sort of back to a
position where I could cope and do stuff and, sort of similar to now, as I say, I've sort of
slowly improved a little bit over time, but it's, it's sort of marginally better than it was. Uhm,
but I still tend to get carried away and try and do certain things past my limit as usual and I
end up, as I say, it's not as bad now. I can- I don't have to spend literally the whole day in
bed, but I have to sort of, like in the afternoon, I end up where I have to crash, because
basically I'm in so much pain that if I try- I can't sit in one position for too long, like this
now, I'm in agony. But, uhm.

Are you in agony now?

Yeah, I'll just have a quick stand up and move about actually.

34

Yeah, as much as you want.

Yeah, no it's just that it's- I tend to forget and I'll just sit there and sit there and sit there
until I realise that it hurts too much. But it's like, I can sort of do stuff and, as I say, if I do
overcook it, then I end up where I sort of like, three or four hours in bed and then not really
doing much the rest of the time, and then, uhm, the following day I can get back to sort of,
but usually the second day I'll dose up with loads and loads of paras and Ibuprofen on top
of it as well. Oh, that's better.

Do you, uhm, are you normally, after one day in bed, are you normally the next day you're
ok again?

Yeah, I'm back to sort of like usual if you like, where I can do stuff again. It just- all it is, is if
I overstretch, then it just causes so much pain that I find it's difficult to find a comfortable
sitting position, I stand and if I try to walk around too much it hurts. It's mainly just, that it
feels that my spine's being compressed and that's where the pain is and so that's why I
tend to lay down a bit to try and, sort of, obviously when you sleep, your spine sort of,
where you're normally working all day, your spine naturally compresses a bit, and when
you go to bed at night, it sort of pulls back out again, so I tend to lay down as much as
possible to try and ease the pain that way, and it sort of tends to work. As I say, I don't, it
doesn't sort of like knock me out for two or three days, it's usually sort of four, five hours
just lying down is enough, to sort of take the heat off.

Sounds like your partner's been very supportive.

35

Yeah. Oh gosh, yeah. I mean, I couldn't have done it without her. If I'd have been on my
own I'd have been sort of like, in a right mess, to be honest. I don't know if I'd have been
here actually. It's like, if, she- basically, because she works in the Care industry, she, at
the time, she was a Manager of uhm, a home for the elderly in St. Ives. So, a residential
home, so she sort of, although she hasn't got nursing qualifications, she's got pretty much
everything else because she's done all these courses and her NVQs and stuff, so she's
probably equivalent to a registered nurse anyway in a ways. Uhm, so I mean she knowshe sort of had, you know, it was just simple things where she sort of, although she did all
the cooking, washing, cleaning and stuff, it was other things, all the looking after, making
sure I can- I was ok, uhm and if I did need a hand, if I was in real, a lot of pain, she'd help
me to the shower or whatever. Uhm, but I mean it's, she just basically did everything and
we were living off her salary at the time, so when the money came in I just said look, we'll
split it half and half and then, cos we'd both, sort of built up debts. Uhm, so I just sort of
said look, you have half of whatever we get, it goes in your account, you can clear your
debts and I'll clear mine and then we'll have some money to survive for a few years. Uhm,
and it's surprising actually how, how quickly it goes! It's like, I mean I think we ended up,
after everybody took their chunk, uhm, it was about 65,000. So then we paid off our debts
and I think we ended up with about 20, 25,000 each. Uhm, after all the various loans,
credit cards and God knows what else had been paid off. Uhm, and it's, I thought oh, 25
grand that will last ages. And it's like, you don't think, you're just like, you know, oh I'll just
go and buy something, just do some shopping, just get a packet of fags, another packet of
fags, and sort of, whatever, you know. It's like, and you suddenly think, Jesus, I've
withdrawn, like, 100 quid a day for the last three days and I haven't got anything to show
for it more or less, you know. It's just, you just spend it, it's like, put fuel in the car, you just
do this. And when you've got no income, you suddenly realise, God that's going down
really quick, and then it got to the point where, all right well, we're going to have to be
36

careful. Uhm, because at the time I still didn't feel that I was capable of doing a pro- I
mean, I could probably just about manage a full time job now in a, in a, not protected, but
in a, a job where you've got a- something like, working here, where, if you sort of say, right
I can do five days but if I have a bad day, and they're going like, ok no problems, you
know, don't worry about it. Whereas, because they're aware of, sort of what's wrong with
me. If you- the main issue I've got is, going to an employer, even though I wanna, with my
CV, and working with my brother as well, is, uhm, is to put in there about where I've been
volunteering here, what I've been doing etc. Uhm, and that, after the accident I feel it's
about, you know, it's time to come back into the workplace. Uhm, it's still very difficult, A, to
find an employer who's prepared to take you on, because of the issues you know you say
you've got. Uhm, and secondly, that they're prepared to allow- make allowances in case
you have a problem. Uhm, or that you have a bad day and that you're really struggling or
whatever. Uhm, so it's gonna be, I'm not gonna think it's going to be easy. I mean, I think
realistically, I've got to be looking at something like a part-time position to go back into.
Uhm, basically, to work on how- whether I can manage it for a start, ok. Because I, I'm not
the sort of person where I just want a job for the sake- I want a job to get job satisfaction
and to make somebody happy that I'm doing the job properly. Uhm, so I don't wanna go in
somewhere and think, Christ I can't do this, I'm in total agony blah blah blah you know land
say, like I'm going to have to go, sorry mate. And, you know, it's just cos it just winds
people up. Uhm, so it's- I want to try and find something initially I think part time, and then,
if I feel I can cope with that, and then try full time. But, uh, just have to wait and see, as I
say, I mean I've started to apply for a couple of place so I'll see if I get any responses, and
then hopefully uhm, the situation will improve. Uh, plus once we got some housing sorted
out as well, cos that's the other thing. It was, cos at the moment, technically we're
homeless, uhm, because we had a family member we were renting the house off of for 14
years, and then we, cos it got to the point where the money was running out, and said
37

look, uh, can you just sign a form saying it's approved for rent? Because we need to apply
for housing benefit. Excuse me. And, she basically, because she was doing it on the sly,
not paying tax on the money she was getting, didn't want anybody to know she was
renting it because it was a residential mortgage, uh, she basically just said no. Uh, right
and then it got rather unpleasant and she, you know, she just was like, get out of my
house sort of thing, even though we'd basically paid mo- she hasn't paid a penny on her
mortgage from six months after owning it, basically the rent that we pay covered it. Uhm,
and it was a disaster area really, it had damp in the rooms upst- in my bedroom, it had
electric wires hanging out the wall and. It was just, cos it's a relative you make, you know,
you make allowances and just say, all right fair enough. I mean, she did give us a
reasonable rent, but even so it wasn't really safe. The electrics were certainly dicky, I
mean, plug certain things in and it'd blow the whole fuse box ,so you'd have to reset the
fuse box and plug it in somewhere else because it's got a particularly dodgy wiring. Uhm,
the gas boiler died, it took her three months to replace it in one of the coldest winters ever.
Uhm.

Where are you living now?

At the moment, funnily enough we're staying, sofa surfey type staying at, uh, Jeanetta's
nephew, who's the brother of the person who was renting the house in the first place. Uh,
he's, as I say, it's like chalk and cheese brother and sister. Uhm.

I've been in that, I've been in that situation. It's difficult, very stressful.

Yeah, it's, as I say, because you– it gets probably more nasty when it's relatives than
when it is f it's a stranger I think.
38

Yeah, probably.

Because family stresses and stuff. But, it's just a case as I say, I mean, her nephew is just
such a, you know, he's just so helpful. So, you know, you can stay here as long as you
like. You know, just, whatever you want we can help you, you know, help you out if you
need it. Uhm, because, I mean we've already- I've always done things for them, like when,
cos I've always worked on cars when I was younger I've always like, when they've, if
they've wanted to buy stuff, helped buy em a car. I mean we bought Emma, the one who
was the Landlord, I mean I bought her a Metro, uhm, for like 30 quid. It had a, clutch slave
cylinder had gone, so we drove it over freely, from Ely to St. Ives with no clutch. Uhm, so
which was quite amusing at traffic lights! And, uh, so it's like, got it back, and next day,
bought a clutch slave cylinder, put in there, bled the clutch system and she had a fully
working car. So, and it's you know, and if there's anything went wrong with their cars I've
always fixed it for em. Uhm, and it's like one day, I mean Jeanetta's brother came round.
He lived, he was still in St. Ives at the time. He pulled up and he goes, uhm, Martin, can
you help me out? I think my brake's getting bad. So I s- I looked under the cars and one of
his brake discs had worn away so thin it had actually, as he had pulled in, it had actually
spun round and fell out the calliper, so that they were like, the metal was worn half as thin.
I said, Gerrard, how the hell haven't you killed yourself? You haven't got any brakes! So I
had to set up some brakes in his car just so he could get back home again. But, uh, you
know, as I say, it's like, because I've always been sort of quite mechanically minded and
always interested in finding out if I can fix it by taking it apart and putting it back together
again and if it works then I can fix it. Uh.

You want to do that to your own Central Nervous System?
39

Yeah, so as I say, oh if only I could! Yeah, I mean it's like, it's not even, there's no way
they can sort of like give you an injection that will block the nerve. I mean, they can kill
individual nerves in certain parts of the spine, which is what he would, the guy, Doctor
Wheeler said they could next if the, if the um, epidurals and the physio didn't fully work.
He goes, there is the option where you can basically have the nerves killed, cos there's
three nerves per vertebrae, and they can kill one of em, on each, or two of them on each
vertebrae, but there's no guarantee that it will be the right nerves and stop the pain. Uhm, I
mean it doesn't affect your mobility or anything, it's just purely mo- uh, it's not like, motor
nerves, it's just sort of pain nerves, pain signal, cos you've obviously got lots of different
nerves. Uhm, so I mean it's just, and I sort of thought and thought about it and thought
about it and I thought, shall I shan't I? Is it going to help? And then in the end, uhm, I just
sort of, with the physio, I just felt a bit better anyway so I didn't bother, so of thought no, it
should be alright now, to progress, and it didn't really progress much further than that, so.
Uh, as I say, it's just, it's- you're at a level, you've got to accept that you're at that level and
that's, you know, that's it. If you go beyond it, you gotta expect that you're gonna get,
there's some, you know, it's not gonna be able to do something without something else
happening and you're gonna have to then to deal with that. Uh.

It's a massive thing to get your head around isn't it?

Yeah. It is yeah, well as I say, I mean it's just- I think it's because it's been going on so
long and I've got past the bit where I got depressed about it, and I sort of, I still find it
difficult to, it's almost like I'm frightened to attempt to do things now. It's like, I'm- I've lost a
lot of confidence. Uhm, so it's very difficult sometimes to go up and sort of say, look I want
to do this, do that, do the other, because, you know, you've got a lack of confidence in
40

yourself, so you almost like lose belief in what you're capable of doing and stuff. So it's
very difficult sometimes, and because, I mean it's like the MOT on my car recently. Used
to get under the car, rip it apart and put it all back together. And even then, you know, I
mean I did do the necessary repairs that I could do, and even then I was sort of like, I
almost had to force myself to go to the shop to buy the stuff to do it, because, do I want to
do it? Am I going to cause myself a load of pain? Can I still do it? And, you know, it's just,
again, it's just really surprising how it affects your confidence to do something you've
always been able to do in the past without any problems and that you're capable of doing.
Uhm, and just, sort of what can you do?

Did you do it?

I did in the end yeah. I was in bloody agony the next day, but yeah, I was crawling about
under the car doing sort of fixing, temporary fix on the exhaust. Um, where the, to be
honest, a previous owner had bodged it all together anyway. Um, so I had to make up, sort
of various clamps, um, and adapt the fittings so that they would all go in, um, and hold
together in the right place. So, which I managed to do that on the back to stop that blowing
and then, at- where they'd done the fittings at the front, they'd put a replacement flexi there
which wasn't very well clamped on. Got some new clamps, bandaged all that up on the
clamps and stopped. So basically, got it into the point where- I don't think, can I just, oh no
there is somebody in there, sorry, Justin's there. Um, so basically got that, so that the bit
that I could physically do without having to spend a fortune to do it, uhm, or I didn't have to
tools to do it anymore. Uhm, I mean it's like, it needed an Anti Roll Bar Link and also the
Inner CV Boot, uhm, the drive shaft. So, I thought well I can probably do the Anti Roll Bar
Link but they're, the trouble is with those, that they're basically, after a period of years, they
41

like weld themselves on, so even with a big bar on me socket I couldn't shift it, and I
thought, right well, I'm- there's no- I haven't got the necessary leverage without causing
myself a heck of a load of pain to try and do that. So I, and I knew I couldn't do the other
one because I didn't have enough of the right tools, because you're basically, you end up,
if you're not careful, you end up sort basically, you've got to drain the gearbox, oil, to
disconnect the whole of the bottom of the suspension to pull it out far enough to change it.
And it's just, ah, not doing that on a couple of axle stands in- when it's cold and wet. And I
sort of phoned up the MOT station, and said like, right, I've done the exhaust. Uhm, how
much can you charge me on based on- I've bought the Anti Roll Bar Link and the CV Boot
Kit, can- how much will you charge me labour only? And they go, well we don't do that,
don't do that. I said come on, do me a favour, I'm just trying to get the car fixed. And I said,
just charge me, just warrant the labour, don't worry about the parts. Um, and he goes, oh
well, 70 quid, and I said yeah, I said just do it, because to be honest, it's not- I mean, if I
valued my time, it'll take me like two days to do it and it's like, even if you do it at minimum
wage-

And then a day of recovery after that.

Yeah, exactly, well yeah, probably about a week recovery after that. It'd be probably two
days spread over a week actually, cos I'd do it one day, need a day to recover from that
and then another day. And the car would be up and on someone else's driveway in bits
and it's just, it was just easier to get it done cos we needed the car.

Sometimes do you think, um, I wanna do this thing. I know I'm gonna pay a price, but it's
gonna be worth it because I wanna do it?

42

Yeah, yeah. I mean it, again it's, satisfa- it's ki- it's like I say, initially it was a lack of
confidence, and even though it was something simple that wouldn't even thought about in
the past and I would have just got on with and done, but getting under there, even though
it was like, it had been raining and it was soaking wet and I had like an old, sort of like,
puffa mac thing on. Uhm, and I was sort of under there, grovelling about under there and
getting the bits done and finishing it, and it was successful, and I thought, you know. I got
a lot of satisfaction. It was quite a, s- you know, it wasn't anything that anybody couldn't
do because it was too technical or difficult. Dead easy to do.

Ha. I wouldn't..

Well yeah, um, but I mean, just generally, just basically, it's just carefully undoing a bolt
because there's, without getting too technical again, there's special bolts and springs that
hold certain exhausts on, and they're a special thread, and the thread is actually part of the
exhaust which it goes in. It's not like a nut and bolt, it's actually the exhaust bit's threaded,
the pipe. So, and there are like two flanges. Somebody had obviously lost the correct bolt
and spring, and had jammed these incorrect threaded bolts on to hold it together, which
they weren't doing. So, oh God, here we go. So, like, I thought, I know- this is gonna snap
and I'm gonna be in right trouble. So I was like, easing it off, so I thought, if I snap this, I've
gotta buy a whole new front pipe and cap, which is like 120 quid and I'm definitely not
doing that cos they always snap the stubs off the bloody manifold when you go to take
them off. But anyways, I'm gently gently got me thing, easing it, easing it, back a bit again
the other way to tighten it up a bit, loosen it off and then, doing it really slowly and you're
hearing this go rr rrr rr! And then when it goes quiet's when you worry because that's
usually the time when it's not moving and it snaps, so it's like, don't break, don't break! And
then go back again. But, and then easing it and easing it and it's- and you can tell when it's
43

un-, because when you take it out, the bolt's red hot even though you're going really
slowly, cos of the friction. Um, and it's like, oh thank God for that! So all it was- wanted
really, is a spacer on- because there was no springs and I didn't have the right springs, I
just put a larger nut that I slid over, and then tighten it back on and there was enough then,
with that extra bit of the nut to push it into place and to seal it up. So again, it was
something really stupidly simple, but I knew if it had broke, it would have cost me a lot
more aggravation then I would have to get the- either get the bits or get somebody else to
get the bits and charge me more. And I thought, I'm to- so scared of this going wrong! You
know, whereas before I'd just think, oh bugger it, I'll drill it out if it goes wrong, you know
and it's like, you sort of, uh, I don't know I don't- because of the lack of confidence, you
almost over panic you know, you panic far too much more than you would do normally.
And you're almost sort of like, oh I don't really wanna do this, you know just in case
something goes wrong. But as I say, again, it's just purely confidence. But it's just everyyou know, it's like, you- it- and you apply that to the rest of your life, you sort, how you
deal with this. It's like, because your confidence has gone a bit, you sort of tend to find
you, you're not forceful enough to put yourself forward, you know, you don't, you don't sort
of say, well you know, this is what I think we should do, or this is my opinion or whatever
whatever. Or you sort of say, look I'm really good at this, give me the job because I can do
that, you know. You're just going right, yeah ok fair enough. You're like a little mouse, you
know.

I identify with what you say so much, so much.

It's just so difficult sometimes.

44

I mean, I, when I was interviewing ah, Martin- um, Justin did this app, which isn't one [?]
and when I was talking to Antoinette I just, yeah, just identified with so much of what she
said and he left it in because the volley was good, and I'm just trying to sit here and just
not react.

Yes, I know, it's just.

Yeah, totally, yeah you just, you feel like you've just been punched so hard in your whole
being, don't you? You have to, you have to kind of, put- but I take so much shit from
people now that I would never have taken in my twenties.

Yeah, no, exactly, It's just, as I say, I mean, cos I'm in my fifties now, I'm 54. And I've
always been, not opinionated, but I've always been sort of like, if I think I know what I'm
talking about then I'll tell somebody, you know. And it's like, you start off trying to give
advice and then, you know, even if you disagree about it, you sort of, you know, this is how
I feel about it. Um, and, as I say, I've always been able to, sort of like, ok, I can go out, I
can look at something and I can deal with it and I can fix it. It may take a long while and I
may have to muck about and do this do whatever, and I can do it. And I'd just get on with
doing, used to be able to get on and do it. Um, and it's like, you used to get satisfa- I used
to get satisfaction out of like, sorting out cars. I mean, at one point I had a little, like mini
car sales business. I had, I had this little bit of land I was renting off of the council with a
garage, and I was only supposed to have one car in there and I had three cars on the ledtwo on the drive and one in the garage, and I had three on the bottom on the road. Um, as
I was doing like one car up I would sort of like move it out, pull another one in. And, as I
say, that was ticking along nicely and then the neighbours kept moaning and moaning. I
thought, somebody's going to dob me in to the council soon, so I'm gonna, 'til I move and
45

get a drive I think I'd better give it a knock on the head. Uhm, but it's like, as I say, I mean
it's, we had- I was doing quite well, tidying up cars, just, um, I used to do, what I used to do
was basically, um, I would help out at a car sales place. Um, clean all the cars for him. On,
this was on, sort of like, a Sunday or whatever, or a Saturday, and, Saturday afternoon.
And, if somebody came in, wanted to go for a test drive, I'd take em out on the test drive.
And he said, right rather than pay you, I'll give you a car. So it's like, or I'll sell you a car
really cheaply. And there was like this, Mark I Vauxhall Cavalier, absolutely mint. The guy
who looked after it, he had it, resprayed it. It was absolutely mint and it just had a noisy
Cam. Um, and at the time, Fords, which had a-normally had a problem with them, um, they
were like 40 quid for a Cam kit, you get a Cam and all the bits and pieces. And this was
like, Vauxhall one was about 80 quid. So, and he goes, I'll do you the car for like 100 quid.
I go, alright then. Um, so I took it home, and it was really noisy the Cam. And basically put
it in the garage and bought a Head gasket set and a Cam kit and the next day it was fixed.
And it was like, it's mint, ca- I mean, now it would be worth thousands, it's really annoying
all the cars I've had. And it's like, I mean, it would literally be worth thousands because it
was in such good condition, and I think I sold it for like 500 quid plus a Mark IV Cortina or
something like that, which was a bit ratty. Um, and the next time I took car out, took the
guy out on the test drive in this big old Renault Estate or whatever, went mooching about,
missed a gear once and the guy laughed, thought it was hysterical. I said, oops, sorry
about that. And then the guy got in and drove it and then he bought the car. So he goes,
alright well you can have that Rover SD1 3.5 and the Fiat 127 for 100 quid the pair. I go,
yeah alright, ok, I'll take those, cos they were like these trade-ins. Uh, and I think I sold the
Rover for like 695 within a couple of weeks, tidying up a bit of paintwork and stuff. Um, and
the 127, I think I sold that for about 500 quid as well, cos it was, apart from the bottom of
the doors, and again it was very good condition so I just basically rubbed it down,
repainted the bottom, um, got it through an MOT and it was like fine. But again, I mean I've
46

always had this habit of changing cars frequently when I was younger and I've alway- the
cars that I had that I was paying 30, 50, 100 quid for are now worth five, six thou-, ten
thousand pounds. I mean my bloody, excuse my French, um.

That's all right you should have heard mine.

Um, my Grenada 3 litre. Yeah, I had a Grenada 3 litre GSL, the older Mark I from about
'73. They go for five grand rough, plus and then they go up. Um, I had a Capri Mark I prefacelift two litre GL- GTXLR V4 thing. I mean, they're going for ten thousand pounds, in
sort of average condition. Mint is going for like fifteen. Um, and this- these are all running,
driving cars, all MOT's and everything. I had a Mark II Escort, um, about four or five
different American cars over the years. Um, and it's like, I got I- and I could have had a
couple, the one I really, there was a couple from this guy Richard, um, who was a friend
from when we had the shop, car accessory shop, and me dad wouldn't lend me the
money. I could have had, um, a 1972 Buick um, Cutlass, uh, Olds Cutlass, sorry, Olds
Cutlass, um, which I knew had a bit of filler in the boot, cos I sold him the filler to do it with,
he'd done it. He'd resprayed it though. Um, and it was 400 quid. They're now worth ten to
twenty thousand.

Do you feel, um…

No cos it's, it's just at the time, it's just what it was worth at the time.

Right.

47

It was worth 400 quid at the time. Um, I could have had his 1966 Mustang Convertible that
he'd just repainted black. Wanted the interior doing, and the, sort of interior was tatty, the
leather was all cracked. Um, and the hood, electric hood was a bit tatty. But basically the
hood worked, didn't leak too much and as I say, the black leather interior was ok but
cracked. The leather was cracked, uh, a thousand pounds. This was in '83.

Can I go back to some of these?

Yes, sorry, my focus and that. No, you're all right

Um, so when you, when your life changed after your accident and you were sort of,
reassembling yourself if you like-

Yeah.

Um, but what kind of responses did you get from, I mean it sounds like your partner's just
been a brick.

Ah yeah, I mean basically Jeanetta just basically, she just supported me all the way
through. Um, and it like because, where she's worked in the care industry, she's probably
picked up a lot of information from doctors and sort of, the residents when they were
patients, if they- what issues you're got, they've got and she's been able to basically
determine things quicker, where it sort of, she's sort of said, well you've got this wrong with
you or that wrong with you, or you know, or you've got a bit of depression or whatever, you
know. So it's like, she can pick stuff up really quickly like that and she knows how to deal
with it because she's been trained on, um, how to interact with people in that position. Um,
48

I mean, she was sort of, when they first opened the EMI unit at Reolla, she was in,
basically in charge of that, so that was, she sort of have- learnt fairly quickly on how to
deal with people with Dementia and how, how it could affect the people and also their
families. So she's sort of, she's been brilliant in that respect in that she is sort of capable at
dealing with it, where she's got the patience as well. Um, because, to be honest, if the
roles were reversed, I don't know if I'd have the patience, because I, you know, it's like,
you know, I'd go like, what's wrong with you? Just get better, you know. It's like, stop being
silly. But she never ever said that, she always sort of like, you know, well, you know if
you're feeling worse do you want to see the doctor. If you feel the drugs aren't right for
you, we can see the doctor or whatever and discuss it. Um, and I used to get- because,
when you're in a lot of pain, you became really short tempered. Um, and you haven't, you
haven't got the patience to sometimes talk to somebody without getting irritable and easily,
sort of, argumentative. So she put up with a load of crap basically for quite a period of
time, where normally I wouldn't sort of bite or anything and you know, you have a
reasonable discussion. But every time a discussion turned into an argument or whatever.
And she, I mean, to be honest, it's like how she put up with that as well, that's another
side that a lot of people don't always realise. Um, and they just think you're being grumpy
or like you know, or argumentative or nasty or whatever and it isn't. It's because basically,
your levels of patience with people is very minimal, um, when all you can focus on is how
you can stop your back or neck or whatever hurting. And you haven't, you know, you sort
of, you feel you haven't got time to let people, you know, sort of give them the time you
would do normally. You know, it's just like you know, get out my face, you're annoying the
crap out of me now sort of thing! So it's difficult.

Have another stand if you want, won't you?

49

Mmm?

Have another stand if you want?

Yeah I will I think. But it's just, really, it's just a matter of- I think, outside of that, as I say,
other members of the family have been really helpful. Mum, my pa- my brothers. Um, it's
like, when anything's needed doing that's beyond my capabilities, my other brother Tony's
come over, um, and helped out and done stuff. Um, and James has helped out where he
can as well. So he's- I've got, sort of, a lot of family support there and Jeanetta's family,
most of them, I got a lot of support there as well at the time. Uh.

Friends?

Yeah, becau- it's difficult really, because when we moved away to St. Ives, I lost contact
with a lot of friends. There was a couple of people I still kept in touch with, um, that I would
consider sort of like best friends if you like, um, that I had known for quite a few years. Um,
and I used to go across to see one particular friend on a Wednesday evening, we used to
have like a, either a computer night, a film night, always have a Chinese and just a general
chin wag with each other on what's been going on. Um, and then because of the accident,
after a period of time when I was getting really bad, basically, as I say, you know, probably
couldn't get out of bed let alone get out the house, but I was like, obviously I was unable to
drive for quite a bit of the time. Um, and I'd managed to sort of, when I was feeling, when I
got a bit better, I was sort of like managing to drive up and down into town, which was is,
like a mile or so into the sort of the, from the edge of sort of the- from nearly West Road
into town, half a mile to a mile. Um, walk a short distance, get what I needed and come
back, or I'd go with Jeanetta and we'd sort of like do a little shopping trip, and I'd sort of
50

like, kept saying, slow down slow down, I can't walk that fast! Cos she, it was terrible, cos it
was like, prior to that, cos I walked so quick, cos she was always moaning at me for like
walking too fast, and it, sort of roles were reversed, and it was just, I sort of found it quite
amusing in some ways. Um, and it was sort of like, so what we'd do is like, we'd go round
a few shops and I'd stand outside just to stop walking and stand up or I'd go in and sit
down somewhere if I could. Um, and we'd just do that and we'd just potter about. Um, and
that was about sort of me limit. There wasn't any way I could sort of like go to Cambridge
and go round the Grafton or anything like that anymore. Well, now I could but at the time I
couldn't. Um, and it was like literally, I could probably manage to drive to Cambridge about
once a month, where I used to see me mum and then I'd pop over and see Doug for a
short while. And then it just got to the point where, because I hadn't seen em for so long
and hadn't kept in touch by phone or anything, because half the time I was sort of like, so
dozy with the drugs and that, I couldn't, you know, you don't even think about the fact thatall you can focus on is yourself, how you feel, and it's like sometimes you don't think about
the normal stuff, just giving somebody a quick call and saying hello, how are you? And you
sort of like, as I say, we sort of lost touch really, it wasn't anything fell out about, it was
just, we stopped communicating to a certain extent. Um, and it was just, really, after that, it
was just, other than family, there were, I didn't, you know, I knew people to talk to on a
daily basis, but not what you'd call friends, more acquaintances. Um, so it was, because I
obviously wasn't working as well, it's, when you're stuck at home, you, or- you don't have
the opportunity to socialise, to develop friend- new friendships. Um, I mean, I don't drink,
so I never used to go to the pub, only occasionally for like a meal or whatever. Um, and
we'd sort of like, ok, sort of go on – go to The Golden Lion in a sort of Sunday, you know,
Sunday lunch or something like that. But I mean it's, you- I knew people in St Ives to say
hello to and stuff again, but not where you'd say, oh are you gonna pop round tonight? Or
whatever, so. It was, it's a case of sort of like, again, it's the confidence of going out and
51

meeting new people. Um, and developing friendships from that really. Um, so it's, it's uh,
again, it's a confidence thing I think, so.

Have you had surprises, people who've reacted better than you thought or not as well as
you thought?

Uhm, yeah. I mean, as I say, I mean it's like, a lot of people have been sympathetic. I
mean, as I say, I mean I used to go to a local corner shop that was run by an Asian family
and I got on well with the two sons and whatever, and we always used to chat because we
were into- they were into like gaming with their PS4 or 3, 2s, whatever, and they had a
computer and if they had a problem I would, you know, I'd sort of like suggest fixes, or one
day I went round there and just fixed it for them. Um, and it, so we sort of got quite chatty
and always used to, and I used to sort of, he goes what are you up to today? I was like, oh
I'm going up the hospital for this or that or the other, or it- or I'd come in and I was
obviously in a lot of pain and he goes, are you, sort of still bad then? And I went yeah. And
he goes, it going to get any better? I was going, no. He goes, fucking hell! It's like, you
know, how do you deal with it? I said, well, at times you don't and at times you do, you
know. You just, you either go shit I can't deal with this crap any more, or you go right, well,
you know, it's not gonna to get any better, it's, you know, you've just got to get on with it
and do your best. Uh, and as I say, it's like, people sort of say, you know, they're sort of
sympathetic and then you sort of, you get bored with saying, you know well I don't feel.
You know, how are you feeling? So you sort of go, yeah not too bad today, you know, lying
through your teeth or whatever. But, because it's like, you feel you're always whinging
about stuff, and because it 's, it never gets better over a period of time and people sort of
frequently ask how you're getting on and they don't understand why it's not improving, you
know, it's like. You go, well it's just something that they can't identify exactly what the
52

problem is, so they can't- or there's no way that they can fix what the problem is, even if
they can identify it. Um, so basically, you're talking about pain management and you just
balance it with taking medication to keep the pain under a reasonable control so you can
cope with doing whatever you need to do, and they're going, right. It's like, and half the
time I don't think they really appreciate or understand, and when they do actually
understand they just, they feel sorry for you, and then as I say, it's like, that's half the
reason why I don't like keep saying the same thing over again to a certain person, you
know, and saying, because- I feel crap, because A, I don't want to sound like a whinger,
and B, I don't want, necessarily, constant sympathy. Um, because as I say, it's like, youit's nice once or twice, but if everybody's saying, oh I just think that's really bad, you know.
I hope you get better, sort of, hope something happens soon, you know, you think oh,
yeah never mind! So, again, you just say yeah, not too bad today. Could- you know, have
been- been better been worse, that was my favourite. So, it's easier cos it's like, as I say, I
mean there was a point where it was obvious because I had to have a walking stick to
keep- to try- cos I was sort of- to walk, because it was like so painful to walk. Um, and then
I made sure I got quite a tall one to try and keep myself as upright as possible. Um, and it
was obvious then, people would say oh, like, you know, you've still got, you know. But
when you're sort of walking, even though it's slowly and you're upright and you seem ok,
and they go, oh how are you today? You look a lot better. I thought fucking, yeah yeah,
fucking terrible really but I ain't gonna go into all that again. Um, so it was always like, yeah
been better been worse, so that was what always used to come out. Um, and it was just
easier, cos it's, it- when it does become repetitive, it's difficult to sort of keep going, and
also people get bored with hearing the fact that, you know, you're still in the same thing,
and it's -they're not really interested, so.

People don't really want to know.
53

No, exactly, So it's easy just to sort of like make a flippant comment or whatever, um, and
then sort of get on with what you're doing and try to change the subject to something else.
But, uh, yeah, so I mean, as I say, from that point of view, it's- you sort of make more
make acquaintances. Uhm, but as I say, until I can really sort myself out, get back into
work it's going to be difficult really to sort of develop any relationships outside of the family,
sort of like, or friendships if you like, should I say. Uhm.

So socially, your confidence has been knocked.

Yeah. Yeah, to a cer- to a quite a bit yeah. I mean, it’s like, I mean I think the social
highlight was the Christmas party here! Outside of any family sort of thing, it's like out- it's
literally, it's like a couple of times when there's been like a BBQ they had in the summer
round the corner there, and uh the Christmas party. Yeah, those were the two main social
events of my year!

I can't imagine you being shy before.

Well, no I wasn't. I mean I was sort of quite outgoing and I'd sort of like, go out. Used to, I
mean, when I was a- younger, it's probably more the fact that there was more mus- live
music then, but I used to go out literally every weekend to Rock venues.

Oh, playing the bass yeah.

Yeah, I mean, but I'd just and listen to bands. I mean, I went to see, I used to go up the
Cambridge Corn Exchange and, I mean in the early 80's, I think I saw every Rock band
54

going apart from AC/DC and Status Quo, so! And I managed to see, uh, Led Zeppelin at
Knebworth in '81- '80, '79 or '80. Um, I saw Pink Floyd in '94.

The real Pink Floyd?

Yeah, the proper one. Yeah, that was their last ever one when they did the Pulse tour. Um,
sort of last UK, big UK tour. Um, and that was enjoyable. I went to see AC/DC at Wembley
Area in the mid-80's. So, I think the only two I haven't seen live which I'd have like to have
done was Queen, which my brother saw at Wembley, Couldn't get tickets, it was too late,
and Status Quo that I haven't seen live but I've played all the records to death for years
anyway. But yeah, so I mean I had quite a lively sort of social system where, cos I used to
belong to a Motorcycle Club as well. So, we used to get on really well within the
Locomotive at Cambridge. Again that was in the 80's. And then when I got a car I sort of,
there wasn't really a car club or anything around Cam-. I- when I had me American car
there was an Anglo-American car club I think that was based at Huntingdon. Um, and I
used to go up there a couple of times. They had a show there and I used to meet a couple
of them. And I used to go up a couple of various car club. Um, but mainly it's sort of just
basically, as I say, my friend Doug who I used to visit regularly, he was from went on my
biking days in early 80s from the Locomotive. Uhm.

Can you still um, use a, ride a motorcycle?

No, I never pa- there's- so stupid I was so lazy I never passed my test in the 70s and 80s,
which I should have done. So, it was like a tenner then. And it was like, I took it once and I
failed and I thought, ah I can't be bothered with this.

55

So it's not about your injury?

No, I mean if I could. It’s the fact that it costs about 700 or 800 quid is basically the
biggest drawback now compared to what it was. If I could go out and just take the
motorbike test and pass my test, I couldn't get one of those racing bikes cos obviously
you're bent right over there. You're- cos I'd want a custom bikes anyway, it would be a sort
of sit up and beg type custom type bike. And I could pootle along on that. I mean I'm not
into going 150 mile an hour everywhere. I can- quite happy to do 60 or 70 in the twisty
roads in the car to be honest, or on a motorbike. Um, and I'm quite happy with that. And,
but I haven't ridden a bike for quite a few years, I mean the last one, I had a Kawasaki
550, which I sort of shouldn't really have been riding because I hadn't passed my test, but
uh, I had that for a little while 'til I sold it on and I was blatting around Cambridge in, on.
And it's, I think it's one of the sort of things that you, probably a bit rusty but once you get
back on it and ride again, that you remember and you get back into it. Uhm, it's just one of
those things you never forget, I think. So, it's just a matter of really, I suppose, I'd quite like
to take a bike test but the missus just is not into it at all.

Mm, I suppose if you've had one accident in the car.

Yeah, that's the thing. I mean, well, we had a couple of accidents in the car. Uhm, we had
one years ago and then this last one when I was on me own. So, Jeanetta's sort of, she
was involved in one, and she was, that's made her really nervous, because almost a week
after, she was on a bus, and then the bus had an accident when a kiddy went through the
top window. Luckily she was alright, she landed on the back of this big ARC-type wagon.
On her hands and knees, just grazed and cut her hands and knees. But because the top
windows are Plexiglas luckily. Uh, but she went straight through because the driver wasn't
56

looking where he was going, he was too interested looking at a woman or something on
the side of the road. He was only doing about ten or fifteen mile an hour, and the truck in
front stopped, same sort of thing again, he didn't. Just went boomf like this, the girl was
mucking about upstairs to be honest, jumping about and she just got caught off balance,
went through. It was frightening and it looked a lot more terrifying than it actually was
luckily at the end. But I mean, they took her off in an ambulance and she was crying her
eyes out and when they got there and it was just a few tiny cuts on her, and grazes on her
hands and knees. So I think it was just shock more than anything I think. But uh, that sort
of basically did it for Jeanetta, it was cos it was both coming up to the A14. One was on
the A14 and one was on Huntingdon Road going up towards the A14. So she's been really
nervous driving ever since, or she can't drive, but as a passenger she's been really
nervous ever since. Still is.

Yeah, and motorcycles are worse aren't they?

Oh, motorcycles are fun cos you're on your own there, and the only thing you've got to be
careful of is- I think riding a motorcycle first taught me to be a better driver, because I
anticipate more what other people are doing rather than what I'm doing myself. So, I
always used to like look three or four cars ahead, watch for the brake lights, uh, in a queue
of relatively fast moving traffic. Or I'd keep my eye on, or- every direction where people
are, always checking in mirrors, um, because on a motorbike, if you don't, then you're
dead! It's sort of like, cos, you pull out and someone oaks-, right is coming up, overtaking
me and that's it. Um, but yeah, the worst one obviously is like a T junction, somebody pulls
out and you've got nowhere to go, that's the worst one. But, luckily I've, as I say, funnily
enough, I've never had an accident on my motorbike. And it's like, you know, it's like I've
done some silly things and I've never had a problem, and then I get a car and then I've
57

started, we've had- oh no, it's three accidents, because when I got me- woman drove into
the back of my little Mark II Escort in, when I first got that, after about six months of owning
that. Yeah, so it's three car accidents technically. Two which Jeanetta involved in, that's
why she's nervous! She's had three altogether, that and the one she had with the bus, so.
Yes.

It sounds like your life is better now than it's been since the accident.

It yeah, I mean, oh it's definitely improved. Um, I think my outlook, although I've still got the
lack of confidence and I'm still nervous about certain things, um, I've improved to where I
was, certainly from my low point and, really from the period where I was in quite, sort of,
with- in pain a lot. It's improved a lot since then. Um, mainly through basically thinking
ahead, not ov- not trying to push myself too far most of the time. Um, and basically just
sort topping up medication when I need it when it is getting a bit bad and just trying- as I
say, I tend to be able to keep my temper a bit better now. Um, I tend to sort of not get so
upset or wound up over things. I do, occasionally I do and I have to have a little temper
tantrum, but generally speaking I can sort of cope with most things, and as I say, it's like,
when people sort of say, keep repeatedly say how are you doing, you sort of, you tend to
make more flippant remarks to basically sort of divert the conversation because it's easier
than trying to sort of get involved in discussing it again, because it's the same as it was the
last time, sort of thing.

Do you feel, do you feel optimistic?

In some ways yeah, optimistic in as much as I think that I can still achieve things and I can
still, sort of, I'm not going to be intending to be doing- sitting here for the rest of my life
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doing nothing. I want to get on and get back into work, preferably into IT. Um, one way or
another, whether it is part time or whatever. Um, and impr- I mean, it can't get any worse
basically, the way of the situation at the moment, so it's got to improve in as much as we'll
get a property somewhere, either through, um, either Homelink or if I can get the job and
whatever we'll rent somewhere, so it's just a matter really of not setting your heigh- sights
too high. Just set them realistically, um, something that's achievable and just basically
have the confidence to try and go for what you can achieve, which is within your capability
and try- obviously finding some, a position where that's going to allow that to happen. Um,
so, yeah, from that point of view, I wouldn't say I'm optimistic. I don't think my health's
going to improve. Um, I think it'll probably very very slowly deteriorate over the years,
purely because of this bone wearing away, it will just cause a little bit more pain. Um, so,
but I don't think it's gonna be a major thing. It's just going to be a slow um increase that's
going to be probably manageable. Might need to take an odd other painkiller or whatever
than normal, but I don't think it's going to be something that I'm going to have a major step
down where I'm going to go back to where I was ever again.

Sounds like your quality of life has increased, and maybe that will continue to increase?

Yeah it's just. Yeah, I mean it has to so- and as I say, to be honest, as I say, we're at, it's a
bit weird because we're probably in the worse situation we've ever been in because, as I
say, being technically homeless.

Oh homeless yeah.

So, and, try- you know, and it's like, cos the council's got no housing stocks, they sold off
all the council houses and they're not been building anymore and haven't been building
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any, it's always oversubscribed tenfold, so they've got something like 80 council houses
with 800 people desperately requiring somewhere to live. Um, so you sort of, you get
frustrated because you try and work within their system, you're as honest as possible with
them, but because they can't class what you've got as a disability. They haven't got
something you can say, right I've got this. This is a recognised disability, therefore, um, I
should be on band A or B. Uh, you know as an urgent case. Um, but because you've got
something that's very debilitating but is not a recognised disability, it's like you go, you try
and explain it, and you try and put forward everything and they go, well can get something
from a doctor to confirm, you know, what the problem is and what it is that you've got
lalalaa. And you always get, the doctor alway- won't commit themselves to anything unless
they've got something they can actually prove. So they go, well if but maybe blablabla. So
they go, well you haven't got a disability so we can't class you as disabled.

That sounds like a nightmare.

It was, I was, to be honest, when I was sort of in a lot of pain, I actually applied for
Disability Benefit, cos I was on Incapacity at the time. And went through the process twice,
and the second time I even went to appeal on it. And they just basically said, look, you
don't qualify, you don't have enough points within the five criteria. You don't meet three of
the five or whatever it is. Um, you're just basically, you're not disabled. You're capable of
walking more than the maximum distance, regardless of whether you're in pain or not, you
can do it. So you don't qualify for that. Um, you mo- you know you don't need the use a
wheelchair, blahblahblahblahblah. So basically, you're not disabled, you don't qualify for
disability. Right ok, fine. So of course, in some ways, ah, I'm glad because it wi-, it affects
your life in other ways, where, say for instance, if you drive and you've got a recognised
disability, you've got to let DVLA know, you gotta let the insurance companies know. And,
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so of course the all think, oh I don't really want to insure you, or they bang up your
premium another hundred quid or whatever. So you sort of like, you think, well, to get on
even without a job, to be honest, we'd be stuck without a car. Because, we, yeah I know
you can do your online shopping and all this, but there's always things where you need to
go, just nip in somewhere in the car. And, yes, you could do it by taxis if you haven't got
that many, and that's fine if you've got a bit of, sort of like money coming in. But it's like,
the saving- the money's all gone and we're getting like 130 quid a week as a comb- as a
payment for a couple. Um, for ESA IR now it is, sort of.

Oh.

So basically, it's like, it's paid fortnightly as usual, so, but in effect 130 quid a week. We
were struggling to basically pay anything.

Is that, what to pay your rent and…

Oh God, no, I mean to pay- we needed about- I think, to pay the rent, the water, gas,
electric and everything. I think what I got paid from the SA would've paid the utility bills and
there would have been none left over for the rent. Hence the need for the Housing Benefit.
Um, and the ta-, and the Council Tax Benef- uh, subsidy. We got the Council Tax subsidy,
which helped. Um, but basically, because we didn't get the Housing Benefit, cos she
wouldn't sign the form we couldn't afford to pay the rent, and then we got all nasty with
each other and, it got to an eviction, and. And then of course, the problem is, what- what I
was sort of, to- when I was talking to the council, they were saying like, well you've got to
stay in there to qualify to Band B. Um, otherwise you come under homelessness and you'll
be in Band C. Um, so basically, we, it was ridiculous, because we stayed in there, cost
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she'd- well hadn't paid it yet, but she would have paid the court costs for the eviction,
which was about 300 quid. Then there was the final eviction, the warrant, um, which
apparently, I don't know if we're due to pay that or not, whether she paid it, but anyway,
Um, and then we sort of left on the day. For- she-we left on the day before and I come
back and we were there when they turned up, so, on the final day of eviction we sort of,
moved out. Ha- everything was cleared out. And then we spoke to the council and said,
right what do we do now? Um, because we're now homeless officially. Um, and she said,
well, what are you- where are you staying now? I said, well we'll either sort of like sofa surf
or there or we'll have to sleep in the car. Oh, well if you sleep in the car, you'll have to give
me the car registration, where you're going to be parked...I said look, you know what
parking like in Cambridge. Imagine what it's like at night when everybody's at home and
they're parked outside their house. Basically, wherever I can. You know, if I'm really lucky
it'll be within half a mile of me, somewhere where I can have the use of like, a family
member, have use of facilities like a shower or a toilet or whatever, but otherwise,
basically, wherever we can go. Oh, well the Homeless Outreach thing will need to know
where you are. Really? Right. Oh well, now you're actually homeless your situation's
changed so we'll have to freeze, suspend your Homelink account cos your situation
changed, so we'll have to do a s-, a reassessment. I said, why didn't you tell me that
before? I wouldn't have bothered staying in the house, you know. We would have got out
earlier, been Band C anyway, because the time they did it all, took them two and a half
weeks, load of emails, phone calls. And now we're now band C, under Homelessness
Other. Which is what we were, would- I mean, we were Band B for a couple of weeks or a
month at most, trying to deal with, um, to because we were Homeless and dealing with a
Homelessness Prevention Officer and blahblahbah. And they basically, just, well it was a
total waste of time really. Um, if we'd have got out earlier, saved ourselves the money for
the eviction costs.. Um, and then there wouldn't have been anything to pay. Um, we'd have
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still have been the same, we'd have still had to find some relevant accommodation at the
time mind you. But, um, we could have at least been in the position where it would have
taken two or three weeks and then they said, right you're homeless so that we could have
bid on a load of more properties. Because the ones that we did bid on, which really
irritated me, is three of the properties, when we were Band B, were given to Band C. So I
co-

So you would have had them.

I contacted them and I sort of said, like why are they given to Band C? Can you give me in
writing, explain to me thoroughly exactly why these three properties. Um, or can you get,
sorry, can I- can you get your manager Kate, whatever her name was, um, to explain to
me why, as Band B High Need, um, have not been offered these properties when we were
one to five, and yet ban- the three properties were all one to five have been given to Band
C Medium Need. I said, I need somebody to explain to me in detail how your system
works, because basically it sounds to me like somebody's basically just gone, oh are you
gonna give the- are you gonna make them a priority case? Probably not, oh well we'll give
it to them then. Which is what I think actually happened in all three cases. Um, but
nobody's actually written back and explained, although they've promised in writing to do it,
nobody's come back and explained.

Do you have, um, do you have an advocate, anybody?

No I- it, basically it was a sort of a case of, we were dealing with it ourselves and we just
sort of brought all the paperwork they need.

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It would be really useful. It would really be useful to have somebody.

Yeah.

Well, I mean I was in a homeless situation, um, and people from the Citizens' Advice
Bureau helped me no end. I mean, you know.

Yes I do go to the Citizens' Advice, yeah. They didn't actually go with us[?], but all they
were mainly interested in was basically our financial situation and whether we should
make our self not bankrupt, but personal- whatever the latest, PIB or something, Personal
Bankruptcy type thing. Um, and to be honest we ummed and ahhed about it and we
thought about it and we thought, well no I'd rather not, because it's gonna make it difficult
to get rented accommodation. When you come to do Credit Scoring they're gonna go like
no, not interested, because they, you know, your whole Credit Score goes tumbling down.

Of course, yeah.

Yeah, so. Um, it just, as I say, because we were sort of like hoping we would get a chance
of a Council property. If not, well then we were looking elsewhere, we'd actually registered
with a few different places. And to be honest, as soon as you said Housing Benefit, 95%
of them said no not interested.

Yeah.

Um, which as I say, it's an issue that you can't get round. You know, it's like if they say no,
they say no, there's nothing you can do about it. And when they did say yes, we've got
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some pets, no sorry no pets. Oh right ok. So it's like, you know, bugger can't win. Um, and
they're usually out in the sticks. I mean there was one we were looking at it was in
Wisbech, which technically is in Cambridgeshire but it's on the Cambridgeshire Norfolk
border and it's 65 miles as the crow flies and it's the most horrible roads to get back to
Cambridge. There's no sort of like nice road to get back, so. But, as I say, it's just, it- I've
got to the point where, because all that's happened and I was getting frustrated and
annoyed with that, um, I just felt that we were not being treated well. And that was getting
on- annoying and that was sort of like affecting me. Um, and I just suddenly turned round
and I thought, look forget about it. Right, if we get offered a property, we get offered a
property. Whatever rank we are, cos we were on there at rank, er, Band D, cos we were
just looking for a property before we got the issues with the eviction. Um, and then I
thought, well if we get a private rented property that would be fine, you know. One way or
the other, we'll either pay with Housing Benefit, or if I can get a job three or four days a
week, I can get some Tax Credits to top it up a bit. Um, and I'll have enough money to
basically pay the rent and just enough for the bills and stuff. Um, to cover that, and that will
get me out- A, it gets me back to work, and it gets me sort of back into the normal stream
of sort of people, if you like. I don't know wh- it's difficult to describe what's normal, but
basically what you, what you would class as sort of like, your normal people, where you're
working, you managed to work and you've got your property, the rent is bought, whatever,
and you, you interact with people more. Cos at the moment, it's just literally, it's the two of
us sitting there and the only interaction we've got is with like, her fo- her nephew and her
family, uh, and his family, sorry.

So is Jeanette working?

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Jeanetta, no. She gave up in about 2011 basically, when we got the payment through, Um,
because she wanted to take early retirement. Um, and at the time she was expecting to
get her state pension at 60, but then in 2011, late 2011, 2012 they changed it so she has
to wait till 66, so that sort of hacked her off a bit. Cos she's like 58 now, so she would have
had, she's got her private pension coming out when she's 60, but she'd have had her state
pension as well, so she'd have had a reasonable amount coming in. That was the plan, so
it was like, you know. 2017, retiring in 2011 so it was only six years, seven years to wait.
Um, so I mean it was, it was sort of like, she thought, well the money that we had, sort of
like the 25 grand each after the debts were cleared and everything, we thought well that
should last if we're careful. And, basically, as I say, you just don't realise what you're
spending until it's, after it's gone and then you think Jeepers Creepers, you know, it's,
bloody hell! And you suddenly think, well, well I need another car actually, I need a new
car and, sort of treat myself to- cos I wanted a Chrysler Voyager for ages and that was the
biggest mistake ever, cost a bloody fortune, keep going wrong. So, it was like, uh, nearly
three grand for that and, but two years down the line it started going wrong, cost an arm
and a leg so I just got rid of it in the end. But, it is the trouble where everything goes more
electronic, whereas before I could fix it, I just like tried everything to fix it and couldn't fix it,
and the only way I could get it fixed was to pay Marshalls some extortionate amount of
money to reprogram it, so.

Mm.

But they wanted hundreds and hundreds of pounds just to tell me what I knew already, so.

Yeah, yeah I can believe that, um.

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So yes, going forward looks more positive than looking back.

You seem, I mean you seem…

Yeah.

You're describing a lot of shit happening but you seem, you don't seem depressed, you
seem quite-

No, I think I'm, I'm more capable of dealing with it now than I was.

Yeah.

Say in about, in 2009 I just wouldn't be able to cope with it. It was like, if I'd have been
chucked out of there and we'd have had nowhere to live then, it would like, just like give up
and just sort of say, right somebody deal with it cos I'm not going to, or probably got
depressed and suicide, you know, to the point of suicide.
But I don't know, as I say, it's like, I can appreciate it now because I was sort of seriously
thinking about it, and prior to that I wouldn't have ever thought that I would have got that
depressed and I couldn't see in my own mind then why people would su- commit suicide.
Um, but then again, as I say, my uncle actually did because his wife died and he couldn't
cope on his own and he couldn't, he- cos he missed her so much, and in the end he gave
up and he hung himself, so. But it - you can understand certain things, but sometimes,
because it's a slow process and building up and building up and there seems to be no
progress forward. It's always another problem and it's always going backwards or it's
something, can't sort it so it can't be fixed, that, that's when it sort of tends to build up and
67

tends to sort of get on top of you I think more than anything. And I just think I've now
accepted where I am and what's gonna, you know, where I'm- what I'll be able to do for the
moment, and it may improve, possibly improve, in the future, uh but at the moment I've just
gotta basically deal with what I've got and where I'm going. So, slow.

I do, I do identify with that.

Yeah.

Yeah, you have to, you have reach rock bottom, don't you and then you?

I think so. I think once you're there and you sort of know you're there and you think, well
things can't really get any worse than this, and that anything outside of where you're
feeling. It's like, it doesn't really matter if things, you know, if you lose some money, if you
lose your house. It- that's not as important as, uh, you know, you can, you can sort that's,
you know, that's- it's where you are at the moment where you can't sort things and you sort
of think, right well, basically I've got to either deal with what's happening, accept where I
am, accept what I can achieve for now. And then, once I've achieved that, I'm in a little bit
better place, I can then look a bit further along what I can achieve after that and then build
up. As I say, a lot of it is, is having confidence in yourself I think. It's like, it's just, it's not
just a lack of confidence with other people, but it's, it's confidence in yourself that you can
cope with things and that you can deal with things and that, you know. Th- ah, once- it
can't get as bad as it was. If it gets to the- you've got to that level above that, then it's not
gonna go back down because you don't need to go, that you can, you know, you're only
looking at going forward. You're not going to go back to that, even though you get lots of
this other crap coming in thrown at you. You know, you just tend to right, I'm dealing with it,
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it's doesn't, it's not that important, that's not that important. The main thing that is important
is to progress where you are. And then once you get to a certain position, then all the rest
of it will come in, will come right and you can deal with it and uh. But, and, if you start
worrying about other things that you can't do anything about too much, you end up just
getting overloaded again and going backwards, so I don't, I just think, well.

So what are the most important things to you now?

Oh God, to me now. I think basically, to not go back to where I was when I was that
depressed. To, to real- to accept, I've accept- cos I've accepted where, what's gonna
happen in the future. The minimum that's gonna happen is basically, I may improve a tiny
bit but it's going to be basically the same, or I may deteriorate a tiny bit. It's not going to be
a drastic step one way or the other in any case unless somebody magically works out how
to deal with the nervous system better than they do now. So, in effect, my physical
condition shouldn't be too much different now, than what it is now. So, I know what my
capabilities are, I know not to push myself too far, and that then I can get on with life and I
can deal with things and I can try and achieve what I want to achieve. So, as I say, that's
the main thing that matters really. It's not to get side-tracked and worry about other things I
can't, and at the moment deal with. I'm in the hands of other people to be dealt with. So if I
get, if it gets fixed with them, that's fine. If not, then it's going to have to wait until I'm in a
position where I can fix it either financially or whatever. Do it myself. So it's just, that's the
main thing that I sort of focus on now, and it's just not let, not to get distracted by things
that I can't do anything about. That's the easiest way of saying it I guess.

Sounds like good advice for anybody at any point in life, yeah.

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Yeah, I mean it's. But I mean, from the sort of like, ah, you sort of think about things and
think about things which make you depressed and that. It's, money doesn't really matter,
because you've either, sometimes you've got lots of it and other times you've got none of
it. And it's like, nine times out of ten there's ways where you can get back into things and
you can get some back so you can get what you want. You usually, work on the basis that
if you can get back into work, which is the plan, then you'll get enough income to do- to
pay your bills and have a little bit over, left for yourself. Because at the moment, with the
income I've got now, there's no- just doesn't quite pay the bills in a normal way. Uhm, it
just manages and you've got very little for yourself. So you've, you're always on the sort of,
not the breadline, but very nearly that. You would, what you would call your breadline
where you sort basically, you just about cover your payments and you've got nothing to get
no pleasure out of life because you're just paying, you're earning to pay bills and that's all
you do. So it's difficult to uh, get positive about that. Well it, as I say, it's like, at the end of
the day, it's just, that's the only thing I can do. I can just keep sort of focussing on going
forward and look at things that I need. If I need to know something or learn something,
uhm, if I wanna do a particular type of job, and if I can basically concentrate on what I've
learnt over the years, apply it to it, and then if I need to learn something, new is to read up
about it and just get information I need and con- and then say right, yeah I understand how
that works now. And then go to them and sort of say, well look, I'm not qualified in the way
you would like, I haven't got my degree, but I've had sort of 20 odd years plus, uhm,
working computers as a hobby. Uhm, both taking them to bits, putting them back together
and all that, and but diagnosing software issues as well. You needed some inf- you need
somebody who's au- uhm, sort of like, um, totally in sort of using this particular software.
So, yes I've dealt with this software for years and years and years, like Office or whatever.
Uhm, no I haven't dealt with that, but I've basically downloaded a trial version, I've read all
the manuals and I understand how it works. Uhm, so once, perhaps, you know, with a bit
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of help, um, sort of using it on a day to day basis it will take for a- it will be quite quick that I
can pick it up and use it and get it, cos it's something that I'm interested in doing, so I can
tend to pick up stuff quicker that way. So it's, it's just, persuading somebody to take a
chance I suppose, and uhm, giving me the opportunity to show that I can do it, really. And
having the confidence to go for it and do it. It's, that's the main thing with me at the
moment, it's building my confidence up and saying like, yes I can do this, uhm, I just need
to prove it to somebody and to myself that I can actually do what you need.

Has anything changed for the better since, since your accident?

Uhm, probably in some ways that it's changed my perception on what is important in life.
Um, whereas before it was like, cars, money, houses and things. And, quality of life I think
from a physical and mental position rather than a financial and, sort of, that's more
important where you, where you've, as I say, you can have all the things you want, the
toys, but you've still got a relatively rubbish quality of life. Whereas if you've got health
issues and you're dealing with those health issues and you're not, ah, what's the word I'm
looking for? If you're coping with it, neccesar-, shall we say, and that your quality of life can
be a little bit better, by doing what you want, what you can do and getting access to things
that you need and getting help from necessary people if you need it, can make your quality
of life so much better than sometimes working 100 hours a week, driving 1,000 miles a
week and basically, you get home and you're so tired you literally fall asleep on the, sort of
when you get home because you've got no quality of life because you're working to
basically pay the bills and some, but you only get like a day and a half a week to enjoy it.
So, you, and but, and you're still shattered the day and a half because you're still
recovering from it, all the time you're working and getting, driving up the A14 every day,
twice a day is probably one of the most depressing things ever in this world when you've
71

gotta work there. But, cos I was living in St. Ives driving to Cambridge, and it's like, an
average hour, hour and a half every day each way. Worst case was, I think three and a
half hours it took me to get home one night. But, it's, as I say, it's a constant grind of,
because you've been driving all day as well, then to sort of like, having, it- you sort of like,
you think, God I've got to drive home up the A14, you know. And it is depressing to even
think about it after a while. But it's, it's just, you sort of, you look back and you think, at the
time you think, you know, everything's going great, fine. And you think, well, did I have,
you know, was, what was my quality of life like then? Was it as good as I thought it was or,
was it just basically I was working me bum off just to basically pay the bills and get the odd
toy I wanted, rather than, and not being able to enjoy much time playing with your toy
when you get it, because you're too tired. Uh, or you haven't got the physical time.

Do you think people's attitudes have changed in your, in the time that you've had
experienced disability? Do you think people's attitudes are different now to what they used
to be?

Uh, yeah. I think, pe- yes, because, I think, it's, as I say, it's difficult. When there was an
obvious issue, when I had like the walking stick and everything, then people were sort of
like, probably more, they would hold open doors for you, and sort of like, you know, sort of
chat and ask how are you and all that other than outside of your normal circle of uh, your
acquaintances. Um, whereas if you're just walking slowly, people don't always perceive
you as being disabled, so they just go, oh for God, get out the way , you know, I want to
get by blahlbahblah. Um, so it's, I think it's something if you've got an obvious physical
disability, people's perception to you changes to when you have not necessarily got a
totally, you know, an obvious disability. Um, so pe- you tend to find people's attitudes vary.
If they can see something, it's visual, then they so- you can..
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Yeah, a friend of mine has said that as well. Are you ever tempted to use the stick again?

No, because the problem is with that is, if I do that then I tend to find I end up walking
forward, which is bad for me posture, leaning forward. And also, I tend to sort of, if you
support this, because it's not- oh, excuse me. Cos it's not one side, cos the pain's mainly
central on the neck. Uhm, it was mainly, cos I'm- my shoulder was giving me a lot of pain
and it was, it was sort of flashing across one side more than the other previously. I was
sort of using the stick just to try and keep the s- the pressure off me spine as such, to try
and balance. But, to be honest I- in the end I think it was, I don't know if it was an
improvement or not, and I don't think I'd ever go back to that now. As I say, I'm trying to
look forward to sort of basically improving as much as I can, so I don't really want to use
any aids if I'm honest so it's like.

Yeah, I was just wondering whether the, you know, the oth-, the social advantages you
described.

Oh I see, yeah. Well.

But it's not worth it?

Yeah, as I s-. No, I mean, it's to be honest, as I say, I'm- because of literally, I mean it was,
because it's so painful to walk any distance, I tend to drive even to the bottom of the street.
So, I mean, literally, where we were living, the house was here at the bottom, a cul-de-sac,
and the shop was there and I would drive there and back., so. Because, to walk there
would have took me about half an hour for a start and half an hour back. Um, so it's like,
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and it would have been painful. I would have, because I'm walking really slow, I mean I
did it a few times to try for my exe- I used to do it probably a couple of, three times of week
just for the exercise, uhm, to try and help with the, sort of muscles and stuff. But generally
speaking, um, I would drive wherever I could, so I just sort of tended just to have very
short walks. Excuse me.

Do you think changes to the government legislation have affected you?

Uhm, not necessarily particularly to my benefit, no. Um, I don't, from my per- again, it's
purely because, it's difficult because I'm not classed as disabled is the main thing. It's,
there's no, it's sort of, with the government, it's either disabled or you're not. And because
the ch- with all the cuts to the welfare system and where they're trying to save money,
basically any middle ground's gone. So, it's either like, you're either disabled or we're only
paying you because you paid your National Insurance, National Insurance stamp since
you were 16 and basically that's what we're using, because we've run out of money in the
pension pot so we're nicking out of there to pay this. So, I mean it's, from a s- f-, and the
support, again, again, well mainly like the city council again with like the housing. Again,
unless you've got a proven disability or a known disability, you tend not to basically, it
doesn't help you in any way. So, it doesn't, even though at times I've felt I sort- I have been
disabled because I've not been able to do things I wanted to do, and at worst I've barely
been able to get out of bed. Um, that, from that point of view, it's, it's made very little
difference um, to whatever help I've asked for. So I mean I've just been given the basic
sort of payments that are available. Um, and not- being not classed as disabled, there's no
extra supplementary benefits that you can get. They, so basically, they say right. I said to
them, look, is there any other benefits that I can claim for? And they said, well, other than
Housing or Council Tax sort of benefits, no. That's it. You are on either previously
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Incapacity Benefit or you're on ESA IR, that's, there's no other benefits. To be honest, if I
could get work for three days a work, three days a week working with the Tax Credits and
stuff, I'd be ten times better off. But it's just getting in the door with the three days a week,
um, to get that. And, I mean it would make a huge financial difference to basically not
working.

That's going to 16 hours a week or something? Yeah.

Exactly, yeah. Yeah, as I say, normally it's 20, but cos I'm on ESA it's only 16, so. Um, but
as I say, I mean it's finding an employer who's prepared to take the chance, and, um, sort
of basically give me the chance as well um, to prove to them that I can do the job that they
want.

I think, um, Iain Duncan Smith's new thing. I don't know how it's gonna, you know, I hardly
dare say anything positive about anything that he might do, but there's not going to be this
16 hours a week threshold any more.

Really? Oh right.

You can, you can start to earn money above what- I mean, maybe the- what you get
before you start earning will be a hell of a lot less, I don't know.

Yes, well possibly yeah. I mean, if they've given you- if you've got the minimum wage now,
which is like, or whatever they call it, the National Living Wage or something, I mean that's
sort of nearly eight quid an hour or something it's going up to isn't it?

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Yeah. Yeah, I think so.

I mean, to be honest, it's like, it's gonna, uh, 20, 20, if I can do 20 hours a week, that's
basically 30 quid more than I'd be getting now, already. Uhm, just for doing like, what I'd
class as half a week's work. Uhm, cos I mean I was used to doing sort of 40 45 hour
weeks. Um, from, I mean the motor trade always sort of like, Monday to Sun- Monday to
Saturday you always had to work either a Saturday alternate or you did Monday to Friday
and a Saturday morning. Um, and in fact, when I had me car accessory shop, me dad's
one and also when, after that, I worked for another couple, um, they were seven day a
week jobs. So, I didn't have a holiday for two years when I'd, I worked in my dad's shop, so
it was like a nightmare. I said, look, you're gonna have to come in I'm having a day off.
Urgh, I don't know how to do it. I said, I don't care I'm having a day off from it. It's like two
years I can't stand it anymore, I haven't had a holiday. So, but yeah, so it's just, cos I've
been used to working long hours. I mean, I did- I worked nights, um, for Securicor when
they were, had their courier company. And that was 60 hour week. Um, five nights a week,
twelve hour shifts. So, I mean I've always been used to working long hours, um, and not
being bothered by driving lots of miles and all that, and as I say, since the car accident and
not having the confidence to go for stuff. I did try shortly after the accident when I was, I
was in a period where I was not too bad, and I thought I could probably manage a job now.
So I went and applied for a job, got offered a job. Um, and it was like basically selling
advertising space, but it was selling advertising space to different countries in a magazine
that was rela- that was basically promoting, um, a department of, oh God, a department of
something or other. Basically where they're doing international trading, Um, the
Department of Trade and Industry, that's it, I knew I'd get there in the end. And it was
International Trading and it, you- they were trying to sell half page, full page adverts. And I
ended up getting Kazakhstan! Who have three different time zones because they're so big
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and they're all in the middle of the night and like, I had to memorise this blurb that I was
trying to sell em. And I'm going like, well, I'm not being funny but not many of them are
gonna be able to speak English, and I certainly don't speak Kazakhstan or Russian! So it's
like, well, and they were all Apple Macs, and like, it took me about half an hour just to work
out how to use one, because I'd never used Apple Macs and it's not my favourite
computer. A PC bloke. But anyway, got used to using the Macs and stuff and all that, and
then went through this and then he goes, no you need to sound a bit, you're sounding a bit
too common. So I thought, right ok. Um, and then he sort of, dropped the little bomblet that
it was gonna be Kazakhstan and I'm going like, right, well I've just looked up Kazakhstan
on Google or whatever and it's like, they've got three different times zones. And I said,
basically, the middle of the day when I'm likely to get somebody is gonna be like 1am,
3am, 5am or something. 1am, 2am and 3am. Oh, we might have to sort you working
nights then, and I said oh right, ok. So, got home and thought, nah. Sorry, it's obviously
not for me cos it was basically like a pittance, um, and then lots of commission. And I just
sort of said no. And he goes, all right well I'll send your P45 back. Never got paid for the
week of training. It was like oh, bugger. So I went back to old office and said, nah it's just a
wind up! But it's like, you know, and then basically I got into a state, a phase where it sort
of got worse and all that, and then I went back on Incapacity Benefit cos I couldn't work
again. But I did try, and as I say, I managed to actually do about three, no I did, I think I did
a whole week. And it was, if it had've been a proper job I think I probably would have been
alright and I might have been able to cope with the rest of it, but I don't know cos it was
sort of in between a good bad period, so it could well have been, I can't remember exactly
when, but I think before I started getting really bad, so it was probably just as well I didn't
really.

Well, I think we've, do you want to stand up again?
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Yeah, sorry!

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