If We Were Having Coffee – Life Musing #3

If we were having coffee I might struggle to find a suitable table. The day after I wrote this post about chips that included a mini rant about tables, my rage got multiplied.

I went into the world famous coffee chain I have a love/hate relationship with (Starbucks) to find they’d had a refurb. Some interior design non-genius had obviously been given the brief to make this popular coffee shop less accessible. There were bar stools and sofas everywhere. It’s hard enough having everyone standing at a higher level than yourself, but now they’re likely to be at a different level to me even seated. Not only that but I won’t be able to reach my deliciously smooth rich roast decaffeinated coffee from the stupidly high or extra low tables.

There are a few regular seating height tables left, for the non-cool people amongst us, but guess where everyone decides to sit first? Yes, the practical tables. My photos and Twitter poll proves this too.

Three photos of tables in Starbucks. On the left two low armchairs with a small low coffee table in between. On the top right is a row of bar stools at a high bench table. On the bottom right is a row of low armchairs with coffee tables. All the seats shown are empty.

Screenshot of twitter poll reads : You walk into a café/restaurant, there are bar height tables and stools, dining height tables and chairs, or coffee tables and sofas. You’re having a quick lunch with a friend. Where do you sit? (Reply your reason as a comment is optional). Votes, At the high table 10%, at the coffee table 13%, at the dining table 77%

If we were having coffee I’d confess to having a thing about sandwiches lately. The underrated food. With everything in them. A sandwich cannot be too filled. I’m quite the fan of tuna mayo, egg mayo, anything with mayo.

A sandwich isn’t the same without crisps though.

If we were having coffee I’d watch you closely to see if you’re one of those people that open a packet of crisps upside down. Because I’m not sure I could handle it. I mean why would you even consider doing that?!

If we were having coffee I’d ask what you think about the Malteaser advert. Yes I love Malteasers too, can’t get enough of them. I do have to cut them in half or ram them in though, but that’s another story, about jaw contracture. Disability representation in these adverts is making me cringe a bit though. I’m all for raising awareness and having disabled actors represented in the media. It’s brilliant. But why does our disability always have to be the focus? Why can’t we just blend in? When you’re including jokes about the girl running a guys foot over with her wheelchair but getting the best mans number… please stop. I’m so sick of foot running over jokes that I would never say that in real life. Tell me if I’m wrong.

If we were having coffee I’d tell you my wheels have been quite prominent in my life lately. You’d probably eye roll and say ‘well obviously’, but believe it or not sometimes they’re just my wheels and they don’t get in my way. Other times they’re everywhere, always on my mind.

Within just a few days I have complained to a restaurant who’s lift was broken, emailed my doctors surgery because their accessible toilet isn’t accessible, asked to move tables because I can’t get under the one I’m given, ranted on twitter about the inequality of purchasing gig tickets, and followed this up with emails to the venue.

All of which wouldn’t have been necessary or taken up hours of my life if I didn’t have wheels.

The broken lift is a long and ongoing story, so we should probably grab another coffee.

I’d tell you I went to Prezzo, the one that has the amazing lift. The lift isn’t so amazing anymore. It’s broken. I’d booked a table for six, wheelchair access requested obviously, because I know how my life goes, and triple check these things. I booked by phone, left a contact number, quadruple checked access, even asking for a specific table. I’m fussy. We’ve spoken about tables.

I’d tell you we arrive to a building I cannot access. The lift at the entrance is broken. Nobody told me. I wasn’t informed. The group is let down, the ladies that lunch had to find an alternative lunch. I feel to blame, responsible. I’m not.

The emails between Prezzo and I are still back and forth. Apparently the lift won’t be fixed until sometime next year, because things take longer than you think when they don’t really matter. I suggested a ramp wouldn’t take that long. They didn’t answer this one.

If we were having coffee I’d ask if you’d like to pee in public with the door open? Because that’s pretty much what I had to do at my local doctors surgery.

Fortunately (well in this instance), I don’t have to get out of my chair or bare all to provide a sample. But that’s not the point. An inwards opening door on an accessible toilet with a high chance of wheelchair users using is just stupid. I’m fed up with peeing in public or in storage cupboards.

Talking of access there’s a Twitter hashtag going around (not mine) #ItsAccessibleBut It’s basically my life story. Check it out and add your own. I have.

I can’t even enjoy a simple tv show without moaning about accessibility.

If we were having coffee I’d tell you I’ve been watching a lot of makeover shows recently (the house rather than body kind) and it just gets me frustrated.

Upon seeing restaurant designs on Interior Design Masters my initial feeling was one of dread, having to push through a packed restaurant of diners asking them all to stand because I couldn’t wheel through to get to my table. Hell, I wouldn’t have got to a table had the restaurant been empty of diners, the chairs and tables were crammed so so close!

Then there’s the garden show, the one where Charlie Dinmock has returned, but this time without Titchmarsh (showing my age now!) and all they do is build unnecessary steps and platforms.

There I am trying to raise awareness of poor accessibility, how if accessibility was at the forefront of design then it would save a lot of work and adaptation in the long run. And there are these makeover shows with their aesthetics and innovation coming behind me ruining stuff. Making me rage.

I want to write in to them all, pointing out how inaccessible their designs are. But we all hate people that write in to tv. So I’ll just sigh while watching them and moan at you instead.

If we were having coffee I’d tell you I feel like a constant moan sometimes. So much so that I’m thinking of dedicating a whole blog series to it. I have a title already, ‘The Serial Complainer’. So keep tuned for that entertainment.

If we were having coffee I’d update you on the new wheels. I’m in them full time now but I still don’t think we’re friends. The seating is situated higher which makes even my favourite style of table more of a challenge. I struggle slightly more with shingle and steps, but can turn on a sixpence, as they say. Not that I need to turn on sixpences that often. It’s quite the ninja though in small spaces. Comfort wise I’m getting there. Like a new pair of shoes we had blisters, but once it realised I’m no quitter we seem to be gelling a bit more. My wheels will be scuffed in no time.

If we were having coffee I’d apologise for not being very chatty lately. It’s been a busy couple of months and I’ve also been in the crafting zone. When you feel like crafting you’ve got to go with it. Creativity in all forms only comes when it wants to.

If we were having coffee I’d tell you two of my friends turned 30. Lucky them. That meant cross stitch cards were being made. Some may think only old ladies gift handmade cards, well I’m proving them wrong. That’s how cool I am.

If we were having coffee I’d show you my blog post on finding my thing with crafts, so you can catch up with what else I’ve been up to.

If we were having coffee I’d invite you to join me with taking part in this years #DisabilityReadathon. It’s ok if you haven’t heard of it. I hadn’t, and I’m meant to be one of them! ‘A month-long readathon with a focus on disabled writers, stories, and characters!’ there are suggestions of what to read and you can find your own to add to the list.

So far added to my list are

The Girl From Aleppo – Nujeen Mustafa, Christina Lamb

Resurrection Bay – Emma Viskic

A Curse So Dark and Lonely – Brigid Kemmerer

The Kiss Quotient – Helen Hoang

I’ve tried to choose a variety that suits my interests and covers each of the categories, all I need now is a podcast. So if you can recommend any by those with disabilities please let me know.

I’ll update you on my progress but please bare in mind I probably won’t finish in October as the challenge suggests!

If we were having coffee what would you tell me?


An image to pin. A glass tea cup filled with dark liquid is in the centre on a grey marble table. Title text is placed over ‘If we were having coffee- Life Musings #3


23 thoughts on “If We Were Having Coffee – Life Musing #3”

  1. When ever I go out to eat here in Germany I think of you and Lorna. I would never be able to find a decent place to take either of you out to eat here. The buildings are all super old, small passage ways, and the toilets are always downstairs….narrow spiral stairs, that even I am afraid I am going to fall down.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I love historical building and architecture, I can totally understand why they need to be preserved. Some are so stunningly beautiful. But there are often ways around this and adaptations places can make if they really want to.
      I’m glad Lorna and I get people thinking though. It’s the aim.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. You’re not wrong.

    And true story, the last time I went into Starbucks, I said, kinda out loud, Where’s the accessible table? She’s in my spot. Do you want my money? We for real didn’t buy anything.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Urgh! Goodness, that is a whole lot of wheel-related rubbishness this summer! Just as i think the UK is getting better, it goes back a few rolls. 😦

    Btw, I already hate PREZZO. The manager of one of their branches tricked me into working for free for them for a week when I was a student and I have hated that company ever since. They do not deserve your awesome ladies lunch! I hope you found somewhere amazing to eat in the end!!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. It’s annoying that Starbucks, as one of the biggest coffee shop giants, don’t consider accessible friendly aspects with their outlets. Ours is awful, and no disabled loo either, just two very nasty toilets that are upstairs, and no elevator, and barely useable for non-disabled folk. I wouldn’t want a wee in there, let alone try to to change a stoma bag. Peeing in public at the doctor’s surgery doesn’t sound like much fun either! Hadn’t come across that #ItsDisabledBut hashtag. Nor had I come across the readathon, but that’s such a good idea!
    People who open crisps upside down are a different breed. Then again, I think the same of people that eat mayo! I’m looking at you, Gemma 😂
    Caz xx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The Starbucks I am guilty of using has one toilet for all. It’s labelled as ‘accessible’ but the meaning of that word gets stretched so much the more places I seem to visit. This toilet in question is tiny and never clean.
      Oh, the more mayo the better!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. If we were having coffee I would tell you I am also $*(^& over the table, lift and general accessibility situation. I find people just don’t get it – or think the world resolves around them. My example is senior or accessibility seats on the bus. Kids sit there, headphones on and don’t move – makes me wonder what their parents are doing or not doing. OMG Gemma you know have me on a rant!! xo

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Rants are encouraged here, so go for it! I don’t think people are aware or their surroundings much anymore, or the other people that inhabit this planet. People are becoming ver self involved I fear.


  6. If I was having coffee with you I would tell you I only drink green tea…I would also tell you our KFC has had a refurb and copied your Starbucks…Neither of which would be accessible to you unless you can negotiate really steep ramps…I kid you not they are practically vertical…I do complain on yours and other wheelchair users behalf but with their lack of English and my nik noy Thai it is pretty futile…Have a great weekend 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I like a green tea as long as it’s not too bitter. I have to watch the caffeine too.
      You’d think when places do a refurb they’d take all their customers into consideration, but that’s too straight forward.


      1. If it is bitter it has been brewed too long or the tea bag or leaves left in it should never be bitter… You would think so maybe they should be spoken to before the refurbs go ahead.. By whom I don’t know… Have a great weekend, Gemma x

        Liked by 1 person

  7. Hi Gemma, I enjoyed our coffee/ tea catch up with you having just written my own post yesterday! Our lives are very different so it’s always good to read what you’re up to and what you’re thinking. It’s good to see that you’re proactive in your dealings with restaurants etc but it’s a shame you have to be in the first place. Don’t give up!! I like your idea of a serial complainers series 😊

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Lately, I constantly seem to have a gripe about restaurants or shops. So much that has annoyed me that I can’t go into it.
    I went to Prezzo for my birthday last year soully because of your good experience and am disappointed for you that it let you down.
    Starbucks furniture is not comfortable for any one. Why do they bother?? When I spent more than three euros on coffee I want comfort.
    Hopefully getting the words out on the post helps the frustration ebb away. Let me know if it does- then I might do the same thing. Just let it out. Like Walt Whitman- ‘a barbaric yawp over the rooftops’

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think restaurants, shops etc are so concerned now with aesthetics and being different, also fitting as many people/stock in as possible, that they forget about customer experience and being welcoming for all. By 2020 we should be improving not going in reverse.
      This is a rant zone, I’m always here to listen and cheer you on with any gripes and complaints. It’s what coffee chats are for.
      It definitely helps to share frustrations, so get it all out!


  9. I know how it feels to be on a constant rant. In my case it’s online rather than building accessibility, but sometimes it just wears you out – when it’s things that other people can just take for granted. They usually come in multiples too – like busses – all at once.

    By the way, I may be one of those people who opens crisps upside down, but only because I can’t see the writing 😀

    I do have a podcast, but it’s mainly for people who are learning English or interested in learning languages, so it might not be what you’re looking for!

    I hope you succeed in educating Prezzo and the doctors…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s definitely wearing. Life can be challenging enough without added access obstacles. Sometime I feel people eye roll me when I triple check access routes etc, but there’s a reason I have to do this.

      You’re forgiven for the dodgy crisp packet opening. But those who know they’re doing it, I’m not sure I can accept that!


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