Had a full on week, last week. Monday, the Partnership Steering Group’s one day conference at Manchester University, Day 82, #107days. An event shared and chaired by learning disabled people throughout. Tuesday, a meeting with our MP, Andrew Smith, and Deborah Coles from INQUEST. Wednesday evening, Rich and I hung out with young people at a group run by My Life My Choice and Parasol. They wanted to talk about LB. Anger, rage, disbelief and bafflement that he was left to bath unsupervised.
Friday, the Cardiff Law School’s conference, Deprivation of Liberty Procedures (Safeguards for whom?), at the Law Society. LB’s artwork illustrated the flyer and Paul Bowen, QC, dedicated his paper to #107days. The bar (sorry) preventing the involvement, engagement and recognition of learning disabled people as full citizens is clearly under assault.
That morning, I walked from the hotel to the Law Society and realised within minutes I was going to pass LB’s favourite shop of all time. One of the spaces that anchored London as his favourite city and his longstanding desire to ‘be a Londoner Mum’. Model Zone. At the far end of Oxford Street. Model Zone. Where LB would carefully snap the wing mirrors off thoughtfully selected, hugely expensive, limited edition die cast coaches before leaving the shop. With an audience of gawpers. He’d learned over time, and a shedload of distress, that these would break at some point and found a way of managing that moment of inevitability.
I instantly got that now familiar feeling of part primal howl, part panic attack, instant blurred vision and countering internal steeling of ‘deep.breath.deep.breath…’
MZ was shut. Boarded up and being redeveloped.
……? When? How?
I googled it on my ipad in a nearby doorway. They went bust days before LB died.
Walking on to Chancery Lane, I carefully removed the wing mirrors as LB learned to do over time. Model Zone was shut. A piece of his childhood gone. A space we shared and enjoyed. Better it was shut than experiencing the pain of seeing punters carrying on die cast model life without the quirky young dude who broke all the rules of die cast model ownership. With care.