As the househunting continued, we had to organise a solicitor to do the conveyancing. As they are based in the next town to us, where I used to live, we thought we’d make an afternoon of it. The sun was shining, the weather was good and we found a Blue Badge parking spot straight away so everything pointed to a good day out. And so it was for a moment especially when we discovered that we didn’t have to pay for the parking as it was free for disabled users!
We left the car park and crossed the road with no problems, smiling and enjoying the day, until we arrived at the solicitor’s office…….. (you just knew the good times couldn’t last didn’t you!)
Now I know that lots of South Wales Valley towns are full of old high streets, old town halls and even older clubs and pubs but I was hoping that the solicitor’s building would be accessible. In fact, I hadn’t even given it a thought seeing as they advertise for help in securing compensation for people who have been injured in work related accidents. I just assumed that if you had been injured, you’d be able to get into the office to discuss these matters. But no, when we got there it had the usual ‘step‘ . Not being ones to be deterred, good old P went in and very politely challenged the very young lady at the reception. She was most apologetic, said that there was no one else there to help us and that no, they didn’t have any other way of accessing the building. No ramp, no back/side entrance, nothing. She was obviously embarrassed and nervous and even more obviously, untrained in dealing with accessibility issues. She just said “it’s a very old building” and “well, I didn’t design the building“! P then asked her if she wouldn’t mind coming outside to get the signatures/forms sorted etc. So out she came, papers in hand with a little board underneath so I could do the necessary. It certainly was the first time I’m done legal business on the pavement, thank goodness it wasn’t raining!!
As we walked back to the car, I had my phone in my hand and thought it would be interesting to see how many more ‘steps‘ there would be…..
I stopped counting and photographing after 15……(all in the same short street!)
High street shopping was abandoned for the day and we just went home. I wasn’t sure if it was frustration or surprise I felt; was I surprised? I’m not sure! My own town isn’t much better I suppose but I didn’t realise that my old home town was that bad! Do shopkeepers, chip shops and everybody else there actually realise that they are, in essence, refusing us entry? That even if we wanted to, we couldn’t buy something from them? I’m sure they don’t, surely not or they’d do something about it?
Dont they want my money? Believe you me, when I get the clothes/accessory shopping urge, I can help them out by buying many, many sparkly things! So maybe we need to let them know?
Which all led to me posting on Facebook, being contacted by a very lovely journalist called Tom from Wales online and having my interview published!
Not bad for a morning’s work eh?
And if you didn’t catch it, the article is below……..!