To avoid repetition today I shall focus on what went wrong and finish with the good points of the day. Take it as read that I got frisked (fourth time) again by security and they confirmed that I do have legs even though they were encased in three layers, tights, thermals and sports pants.....
The buggies were at the ready at the pick up point - turkey man was there also, and reiterated with glee that I wasn't going on one of his buggies (you could almost see him dancing with glee) and directed me and another volunteer ('L') for Eton Manor to the worker's shuttle situated by the Aquatic Centre...........as a parting shot he shouted 'you'll not travel unless you're tied down' this I was told had been decreed by a wheelchair user! Arguing would have brought me down to his level so off to the Aquatic Centre and the worker's shuttle which hopefully would be warmer than the buggies anyway.
Now access to the Olympic park is controlled by the letters on your accreditation - mine was blue with ETM (for Eton Manor). To get through the Aquatic Centre I needed a red and AQC - so you can't come through here said the security guard - I pointed out that we only wanted to use the lift to access the worker's shuttle bus - which was in plain view! I suggested that he took us down just to make sure we didn't trespass - no was the reply and 'in any case the lifts aren't working'...............he suggested that we use one of the buggies that were sat doing nothing! Stalemate.............. I rang my contact, she obviously rang some one else because about 10 minutes later a lift maintenance man and a top security person arrived! The lifts were working but they had taped them off to stop people using them!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Eventually we were taken down in the lift to the shuttle - and then the lift on the shuttle wouldn't come out - another 20 minutes was taken up, and while we were waiting another wheelchair user turned up also to Eton Manor............................eventually they worked out what they were doing wrong and we got on - they didn't tie me down, but weren't happy! One hour and six minutes to travel 1500 metres must be some sort of world record!! Perhaps negotiating the Olympic Park in a wheel chair should be included in the Games?
Play began at 10am, and again I was on an outside court. I was teamed up with a great guy 'P'and we actually managed to record the whole game without a mishap.............. I was beginning to enjoy myself. Plus I was on rest during the lunch period..................
I also had to make a full report about the morning's fiasco and later it was confirmed that access to the shuttle had been re-classified so shouldn't be any problems the next day!!! Strangely for two days I and the other wheelchair user 'A' had been scheduled on the outside courts - seemed funny as the others were alternating between Centre, Number One and Two courts!
Here I will just explain that Eton Manor is the only purpose built venue for the Paralympics - it will be used for exclusively for the wheelchair tennis competition and afterwards it will become a hockey venue with indoor tennis courts. Should then be wheelchair friendly surely - oh no that would be too simple - access to the stats area and the press boxes on Court One and Two are not accessible!
On Saturday, 'A' and I would be, we were assured, on Centre Court - that meant being indoors and in the dry. That and getting home without too much trouble were today's good points