Poor accessibility review for Rome – but great assistance.

What do you think:

  • How to pick up men in Rome?
  • Accessibility more than just lifts and ramps?
  • Physical impairments limit work in the fitness industry?

How to pick up men in Rome?

Relaxing at destination


Completely impossible to book passenger assistance at the main Termini railway station in Rome –lots of long-distance phone calls rang impregnable option menus but never quite connected with a living, breathing human.    It feels rather like a metaphor for modern life.

Faced with a trolley-free panorama, I and utterly diminutive co-traveller, not-quite-shoulder length Rosemary, exerted our double death grip to drag stacked luggage towards the distant horizon beyond the station’s 20-odd platforms.  As Number 1 hove in to view, we knew that the struggle was succeeding –the medley of directions had all confirmed our train was just around the corner and along a bit.  Celebrations all round and Rosemary deployed on lunch logistics.

Nonchantaly confident, I stood guard over the bags and surveyed the station soundscape (basic building site).  Same sensors picked them up: incoming at 12 o’clock and another to starboard; close range; Intelligence limited but signalling native, purposeful, non-hostile – General Alert but Hold Fire.  “Are you Penelope and where is your friend?” was subtle opening gambit: superior Intel on force composition and deployment.  Need to avoid friendly fire and decode remaining unintelligible message.  Colossus-like, the enigma came through en Claire: SIGINT discarded as phone calls had target-error; honey trap HUMINT source confirmed as conversational airport assistance (code name Guiseppe) deploying tradecraft to side-step the system.

OK, it was two of the station assistance chaps offering us a lift in the buggy –but how was I to know? And, when Rosemary got back, we had to be persuaded that just around the corner and along a bit really justified the help.  But it seemed discourteous to decline. Buggy was duly mounted and Rosemary consigned to luggage bay.  Off we trundled, round the corner and on a bit – and a bit more and then a very lot more: down slopes and up again, out of the main station, along seemingly endless stretches of concrete with no perceptible alternative life forms except the odd birdsong.  It measured at least a mile by buggy and an impossible 10 by bag-dragging foot – we would never have made it alone.  Our laughter became increasingly hysterical as we realised the disaster so narrowly adverted.

Lessons learned:

  • Be as chatty and nice to anyone who helps you – you never know when you might need them and their friends again.
  • Tempering flight or fight urges is one of the advantages of being blind.

Taxis can be safer and easier – but far less exciting!

Accessibility more than just lifts and ramps?

Even leading UK retailer Marks and Spencer has realised that awful music doesn’t improve our shopping experience.  And you can imagine that noisy venues are even more difficult for people who rely on their hearing, have hearing loss or find that volume disturbs their mental health – we just spend our money elsewhere.  The new international Access Earth website allows anyone to rate venues on their accessibility and provide comments about places to eat and drink, sleep, shop and do other activities.  Hopefully they might extend this to other less-optional venues such as doctor and dentist surgeries, schools and colleges, hospitals and other public buildings such as Jobcentres and Council offices.  There will be a mobile app too in a couple of months.  Visit: http://eab.li/1m

Physical impairments limit work in the fitness industry?

Of course not.  We all know that physical impairments don’t stop sports fanatics competing at the highest level such as the Paralympics.  So it makes complete sense that work in the fitness and leisure industry can also be open.  The award-winning “Instructability” programme run by charity Aspire is one route to such jobs.  Visit: www.aspire.org.uk


There’s also a vacancy for a part-time “inclusive sports coach” in Liverpool – a good way of getting on to the sports and leisure industry ladder.  For an application form, or if you have any further enquiries or issues, please contact Daisy Inclusive UK on 0151 261 0309 or email info@daisyuk.com – closing date for applications is 8 August.


Penny Melville-Brown

Disability Dynamics ltd www.disabilitydynamics.co.uk

Helping disabled people to work since 2000

© 2024 - Penny Melville-Brown
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