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This blog is a cross between a scrapbook and a diary. I hope you find something here of interest. If you’d like to keep up with things as I see them then you can subscribe to my news feed by clicking the icon below:

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Please note that any reviews/recommendations are based solely on my own experience and does not constitute a guarantee that you will have the same experience. Please do your own research before parting with any money - the risk is all yours!

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Flexiciser - Physical Movement Therapy Device

Permalink: http://paul.us2uk.eu/?x=entry:entry130209-025613

image The Flexiciser is a device which allows wheelchair users to experience a physical workout while sitting in their chair. It sounds like a great product and from the faces of the people trying it at the LA trade show in the video on their web page it seems like it has some merit.

I’d need to read up some more on this device because I’d be concerned about the thing wearing out and not being able to buy spare parts very easily outside of the US. Still, it’s good to see something which brings a smile to people’s faces. [Read More…]

Hand physical therapy with the Hand Mentor

Permalink: http://paul.us2uk.eu/?x=entry:entry130209-021501

Here’s an interesting device which trains a patient to use their hand again after a stroke. It’s expensive - about 10,000 USD - but seems to have gained a lot of fans in the short time it’s been in use. [Read More…]

Biodex FreeStep SAS - Supported Ambulation System

Permalink: http://paul.us2uk.eu/?x=entry:entry130208-022754

In my search to try and find something to help Georgi to learn to walk again I ran into the Biodex FreeStep SAS - Supported Ambulation System, which is surprisingly similar to an idea we were throwing around for fun in our warehouse today - which involved using Unistrut channel and channel nuts: [Read More…]

Just updating my blog theme

Permalink: http://paul.us2uk.eu/?x=entry:entry130201-020922

giraffe-fallThings could get a little messy here for a while until I’m finished “twiddling”!

Flying Saucer - Tbilisi 22nd August 2012

Permalink: http://paul.us2uk.eu/?x=entry:entry120921-235851

Make your own minds up - personally I don’t believe in them and I think it’s a cloud. [Read More…]

Oh bugger… they’re back

Permalink: http://paul.us2uk.eu/?x=entry:entry120724-181341

image

My letter to Jenny Chapman MP

Permalink: http://paul.us2uk.eu/?x=entry:entry120530-083753

Dear Jenny Chapman,

I know you were involved in trying to save Darlington Football Club and also raised a question in parliament about it, asking when a debate could be arranged to discuss how to better support historic clubs such as Darlington. Sir George Young answered you by saying that he would bring your concern to the attention of the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport.

As you know, things have moved on since that time and DFC 1883 Ltd. bought the assets of the club from the Administrator, Harvey Madden.

I’m sure you will be well aware of our (the fans) attempts to raise funds to pay off the creditors of the old club (DFC 2009 Ltd) but, due to what could be called the obstinacy of the previous chairman (Mr Singh) it was not possible to agree a CVA with the non-footballing creditors, of which he was the main creditor. Although he had publicly stated (on BBC Tees) that he would waive his debt and walk away if the community wanted to take control of the club, he never did.

Nevertheless, we moved forward and continued to raise funds and fully intend to repay the footballing creditors - the bulk of which is the back-pay owed to the players who stood by the club and deserve this, at least.

If we had simply formed a “phoenix” club we would not have this debt - we would not have debts, but we have taken on the debt of the old club as part of our agreement to purchase the history and assets of the football club.

Why, then, are the FA now treating us as a new club? We have been relegated 4 divisions and place (at best) in the Northern League Division 1. Further, we are now told that we must change our name. Further, we are now told that we cannot take part in any FA competitions next season (e.g. the FA Vase) the revenue from which would have formed part of the business plan which DFC 1883 Ltd. put together before making their offer to Harvey Madden.[Read More…]

Nature Corner - The European Hornet

Permalink: http://paul.us2uk.eu/?x=entry:entry120516-191616

European Hornet We had a visitor to the office yesterday - a hornet. It was on it’s last legs and it was dead this morning, so I gave it a decent burial in a pile of dust in the corner of the building’s wall.

This one was about 25mm long.

 

 

You can see from the picture below that part of its wing was missing - maybe it came off worst in a fight, or got hit by a truck or something.

European Hornet

Georgi’s gone to Armenia!

Permalink: http://paul.us2uk.eu/?x=entry:entry120428-114818

We were tipped off by a great friend of ours about a rehab centre in Yerevan (the capital of Armenia) so last weekend we rented a Dodge Caravan and headed down there - it’s only a 6-hour drive from Tbilisi.

yerevan.jpg

The specialist here in Tbilisi had been to see him a few weeks ago and suggested that he needs an operation to straighten his legs, so we mentioned this place to him and he knew all about it, knew the specialist down there very well indeed, and urged us to take Georgi down there if possible as the therapy he could get there is like nothing he can get in Georgia.

Our friend in Armenia did a bit of groundwork for us - sorted an apartment out for us and made an appointment to see the specialist, though we didn’t know beforehand whether they could do anything for him.

I was very impressed by the professionalism and general “can-do” attitude we were met with in Armenia - so much different to Georgia where people are more interested in lining their own pockets by opening fancy clinics which look like hotels, but which fall well short of all the promises made on their websites when you scratch the surface.

In contrast the rehab centre we went to in Armenia was run as more of a public service (so it seemed) and the people who we saw there seemed to tick all the right boxes for me. They said they would give him physio & speech therapy for a month, and that I would definitely see some positive changes at the end of it. My wife’s certainly been impressed during the first few days of Georgi going there, and Georgi enjoys it too as there are lots of other children there and the place itself is set in it’s own little grounds with small cottages for parents and their children to stay in.

They’re going to use Botox on his legs (to relax the muscles from what I can tell). I was a bit surprised about this till I read up on it.

Fingers crossed it all works out. It was a bit of a gamble renting a place for a month and taking him down there, without knowing what they’d say, but so far so good.

It’s all go at the moment!

Permalink: http://paul.us2uk.eu/?x=entry:entry120119-060218

My little soccer team Darlington F.C. (The Mighty Darlo) DID actually go bust yesterday and I was about to head down to the Hangar Bar and turn my Darlington scarf upside down, but the fans gathered round the body and resuscitated it…

Darlington go bust and then revived after fans raise £200,000

The club have NO staff (not even players) - they were all made redundant by the Administrator but the backroom staff are all volunteering to help stage the two next home games, the coach is working for free, and what players are still around are going to play on a match-by-match basis. The fans are collecting money to pay their wages while our “Rescue Group” tries to thrash out some sort of community-led business plan. The coach, Crag Liddle, deserves an OBE or something - he’s really the Youth Team coach who’s been looking after the first team for the past few weeks, he’s Darlington through-and-through and a monument to all that is good and decent about the game. I think he’s been the glue which has kept us all together - even the players who had to leave (they had to earn a living) were gutted at abandoning ship and many ex-players have sent messages of support or even donated to the fund.

The first is at home to table-topping Fleetwood on Saturday and we’ve got fans coming from all over the country for a Fans United day where they wear their own club colours. The second home game is against nearby rivals York City - so we’re expecting a bumper crowd for that game too.

darlington-fc-next-game.jpg

I’m also one of the admins for this page…

http://www.facebook.com/savedarlingtonfc

I’d really appreciate it if anyone reading this could “Like” that page and help spread the word. We’ve got about 10 days grace to save the club from extinction - Georgi’s quite upset about it - following Darlington is something which helps to fill his world up and if there’s no match for us to sit down and listen to on a Saturday then he’s going to make me get the colouring books out, or build the same Lego car I’ve built ten times before, or get all his toy cars out…. again…

P.S. if you would be so kind could you please print out the poster at the bottom of that first link (or just click here) and stick it somewhere prominent.

Up the Darlo!

Paul

Half full or half empty?

Permalink: http://paul.us2uk.eu/?x=entry:entry111105-063412

Here’s to the next half-century. Got a nice new jumper and this great birthday card from Georgi – I think I’m the really slim one with the full head of hair on the right!

paul-50th-birthday-card

Making yorkshire puddings and mash tonight – I’m normally banned from using the oven and stinking the house out with the aroma of yorkshire pudding (no, I don’t know why either) but today is an exception.

I hope the day is rounded off with a fine win for Darlo, and boy how they need it. Footie report (sponsored by Kleenex) to follow :(

Georgi has his own web site!

Permalink: http://paul.us2uk.eu/?x=entry:entry111104-122718

Georgi’s having fun posting links to his favourite films, music and games etc. on his new blog. He had one before but couldn’t use it very well so I took out a domain name for him and set him a new one up.

http://blog.georgi.co.uk/

blog.georgi.co.uk

“FlatPress” is the blogging software I used to create his blog as it’s very easy to install, setup and use, but the real beauty of it is that it allows you to write and edit your posts using Windows Live Writer, which is very much like using Microsoft Word.

Georgi gets a big kick out of seeing his name “up in lights” and loves it when people comment on some of his posts - he has a pretty cool taste in music too ;)

His English is improving all the time, though his spelling is very phonetic (he hasn’t had any English lessons - he’s just picked up what he knows from listening to me and using the internet) but he likes to have a go at sending people replies.

It’d be great if he could use this to make some new friends - being stuck in the house all the time means he doesn’t really have any :( so I figure this is as good a way as I can think of to try and remedy that.

Also, if anyone out there has kids in a similar position, and you’d like any help setting them up with a similar blog so they can do the same just let me know.

You don’t really need to register a domain name - though it adds a nice touch - and there are plenty of cheap (even some free) places on the internet where you can host your blog. http://www.110mb.com is one of the free ones I know of.

A friend of mine runs his own hosting company so in my case all it took was a quick check to see what domain names were available, and a quick email to my friend asking him to register the name and set the server space up. In case anyone wants to go down that tried and trusted route then, again, just let me know and I’ll act as a go-between for you and make the process as painless as possible.

BBC News - Dutch engineers make ‘robot legs’ for stroke patients

Permalink: http://paul.us2uk.eu/?x=entry:entry110924-060604

http://www.bbc.co.uk … news/health-14823404

Scientists in the Netherlands are using robotic legs to try to improve the movement of stroke patients.

The prototype device is called the Lower-extremity Powered ExoSkeleton, or LOPES, and works by training the body and mind of a patient to recover a more natural step.

The machine is also being tested on spinal injury patients who have recovered some restricted movement in their legs.

It is hoped a commercial version could be made available to rehabilitation centres around the world as early as next year.

lopes-robot-legs.jpg

Dr van Assledonk believes that by physically showing patients how to walk properly, the machine can help them develop the brain signals required to drive improved movement.

I think this is a good point - I’m sure Georgi would benefit from something like this… but he really needs it now, and not later. He’s strong enough to stand but doesn’t seem to remember how to control his muscles, but he’s getting bigger all the time and it’s very difficult to “walk him” these days. His legs are a bit crooked and it may (yet) take an operation to correct that problem to allow him to plant his feet on the ground properly. We need proper advice on that - I don’t trust the opinions of the local surgeons because I think they’re still rooted in old world ideas about how to treat people.

We’re just about to start him on hydro-therapy (always happy to try something new - and it’s something else we can get him out of the house for).

My life as a care-giver just got tougher - red card to EA Sports!

Permalink: http://paul.us2uk.eu/?x=entry:entry110326-230258

This is a rant.

I am one of 70,000 or more thoroughly disgruntled fans of EA Sports’ Fifa Online Beta, which was a multi-player online football (soccer) game.

What I discovered when I first tried it (to my joy) was that it was entirely mouse controlled and, having a disabled child with very restricted mobility, I’d finally found a game which he could not only use, but which he could actually beat me at.

In their infinite wisdom EA Sports have decided to end the Beta trial. Great, no problem, where can I pay my money to play the final release? Uh? There IS NO final release?

As I write this Georgi just thinks there’s a problem with the server and that he’ll be able to play his favourite game of all time tomorrow. Really - he has little else in his life which he can do to while away the hours.

He spends most of his life in the same chair in the same room and Fifa Online was a godsend - here was something he could not only play on his own but which he could actually BEAT ME AT, genuinely - no “letting him win” or anything like that. It brought great joy and sense of achievement to Georgi and great relief for my wife and myself - because care-giving is a really tough thing to do, at the best of times.

I wrote an email to the BBC Click programme (a computer show which is where I first heard about the game) and asked if they could raise the question of why EA stopped the beta trial so abruptly, and without any consideration to their many thousands of users. All we got was a “thank you for all your feedback - don’t call us, we’ll call you” posting on their forum:

http://forum.ea.com/ … sts/list/436005.page

From what I can tell they’ve provided no more information since that message and people are crying out for the game to be reinstated. Ok, so they never made any money out of the beta but they built up a HUGE following and could have converted A LOT of those to paying customers if they wanted. Why not simply say that the Beta was coming to an end and call it version 1 (and ask for some money). I would certainly like to pay them some money to keep our little boy occupied.

http://www.collents.eu/georgi

Encephalitis is a life changer

New (February 2011) European Commission English Style Guide Released

Permalink: http://paul.us2uk.eu/?x=entry:entry110311-141526

This Style Guide is intended primarily for English-language authors and translators, both in-house and freelance, working for the European Commission. But now that so many texts in and around the EU institutions are drafted in English by native and non-native speakers alike, its rules, reminders and handy references aim to serve a wider readership as well. [Read More…]

Wedding Cake Suit

Permalink: http://paul.us2uk.eu/?x=entry:entry110215-172409

P1000193_s Lana’s sister got married last week and I was given the honour of transporting the cake across Tbilisi with it balanced on my knees in the front seat of a taxi.

For anyone who knows how smooth and flat Tbilisi isn’t, they’ll understand why my suit looks like it’s been attacked by pigeons.

Robot legs and curry powder for the brain

Permalink: http://paul.us2uk.eu/?x=entry:entry110211-183614

Two new stories caught my eye this week. The first was news of research being carried out in the States that turmeric may be able to help the body repair some of the damage caused in the immediate aftermath of a stroke. The second was about yet another pair of robotic legs being developed in… Japan (where else?) [Read More…]

eat… her… first…

Permalink: http://paul.us2uk.eu/?x=entry:entry100929-181318

I don’t normally feel compelled to go into print about such things but to learn that the UN have deemed it necessary to appoint someone as “Earth Ambassador” to greet aliens, or whatever fancy title they’ve decided to waste money on is… well, words fail me.

Why? Why not focus on the really important things like all that’s wrong down here on terra firma than reaaalllly frivolous things like this?

Read the fool story here

[tag]rants,UN[/tag]

New Discount Airline for Georgia

Permalink: http://paul.us2uk.eu/?x=entry:entry100923-054607

pegasus_logo.gif Flying Pigs is not the name of this airline, though I think they could’ve chosen their web address a little more wisely, before they got the paintbrush out and emblazoned it all over their planes.

But who cares so long as they’re cheap?

They fly via the new airport in Istanbul - the one on the Asian side of Istanbul, not the main one (Ataturk). From there they fly to many places, including the UK.

http://www.flypgs.com/en/

They’re starting flights in the next few weeks, about half the cost of Turkish or BMI.

You have to pay for your meals, but well worth it - and you can order the meal you want online.

Worth remembering - they only fly to Stansted in the UK (which is North of London but a lot easier to get to than Heathrow for people who travel to the Midlands and the North of England) but they’re less than half the price of Turkish Airlines. 280 EUROS return TBS-Stansted against about 600 EUROS flying on Turkish Airlines to Manchester - flight times aren’t too bad either.

I know someone who’s flown with them in Turkey - he says they’re ok with quite a new fleet of aircraft.

Air Fungus is one of the partners in this RyanAir-like airline. RyanAir were talking about flying to Georgia too - but to Kutaisi not Tbilisi. Kutaisi is a good 3-hour drive from Tbilisi, at break-neck speed along a dimly lit and largely single-carriageway road.

Posted via email from collents’s posterous

[tag]travel[/tag]

You don’t see many geckos in Tbilisi

Permalink: http://paul.us2uk.eu/?x=entry:entry100723-105451

I like geckos - I just spotted this one when I moved a small rock (our “door-stop”) outside our office. I wish we had more of them to keep the pesky fly and insect population down.

Here’s some more information about them

Support our caregiving

If you found anything on this site of use, interesting, or even mildly amusing then please consider dropping a few pennies in the jar to help us to take care of our disabled son who contracted encephalitis in 2007 at the age of 6 and who is now confined to a wheelchair. He is getting bigger as his mother and I get older, imagine that, please. Every penny we collect goes towards his upkeep, and towards his future care requirements.

Thank you.

Support our caregiving

Support our caregiving

If you found anything on this site of use, interesting, or even mildly amusing then please consider dropping a few pennies in the jar to help us to take care of our disabled son who contracted encephalitis in 2007 at the age of 6 and who is now confined to a wheelchair. He is getting bigger as his mother and I get older, imagine that, please. Every penny we collect goes towards his upkeep, and towards his future care requirements.

Thank you.