The Way We Roll

Gym Gains and Grandchildren: Navigating Life's Highs and Lows

February 03, 2023
Gym Gains and Grandchildren: Navigating Life's Highs and Lows
The Way We Roll
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The Way We Roll
Gym Gains and Grandchildren: Navigating Life's Highs and Lows
Feb 03, 2023

Welcome to the first show of 2023, where Phil and Simon are ready to serve up the year's hot topics! In this episode, we'll discuss everything from the highs and lows of 2022 to the exciting things on the horizon for 2023.

First up, we'll be talking about the joys of hitting the gym as a visibly disabled person. It's not always easy, but the gains are worth it (pun intended). We'll also discuss the excitement of welcoming a new grandchild into the world and pondering the meaning of "equal love."

We'll also be delving into the struggles of dealing with a decline in physical abilities. You know, like when picking up a cup of tea becomes a weightlifting competition and pulling up your trousers becomes a marathon. But we're all in this together and will discuss ways to confront these challenges.

And last but not least, Simon will be chatting about the thrill of being involved in a BAFTA-winning TV show (and six other awards!) in 2022.

We approach serious topics with thoughtfulness and humour, promoting positivity while acknowledging the need to confront reality and find the best way to navigate it.

Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Welcome to the first show of 2023, where Phil and Simon are ready to serve up the year's hot topics! In this episode, we'll discuss everything from the highs and lows of 2022 to the exciting things on the horizon for 2023.

First up, we'll be talking about the joys of hitting the gym as a visibly disabled person. It's not always easy, but the gains are worth it (pun intended). We'll also discuss the excitement of welcoming a new grandchild into the world and pondering the meaning of "equal love."

We'll also be delving into the struggles of dealing with a decline in physical abilities. You know, like when picking up a cup of tea becomes a weightlifting competition and pulling up your trousers becomes a marathon. But we're all in this together and will discuss ways to confront these challenges.

And last but not least, Simon will be chatting about the thrill of being involved in a BAFTA-winning TV show (and six other awards!) in 2022.

We approach serious topics with thoughtfulness and humour, promoting positivity while acknowledging the need to confront reality and find the best way to navigate it.

Announcer  0:08  
Welcome to The Way We Roll with Simon Minty and Phil Friend.

Simon Minty  0:14  
Hello, and welcome to the first the Way We Roll of 2023. My name is Simon Minty,

Phil Friend  0:21  
and my name is Phil Friend.

Simon Minty  0:23  
Today we are going to do a mini review. It's not a mini review. It's a review of the last year and I really look forward to next year. Mr. Friend, let's get straight into it. It's lovely to see you. Can we still say Happy New Year?

Phil Friend  0:37  
I think we can can't we. I mean it is still newish. Yeah, but you were just saying how busy you are again, so maybe some of the glisten has come off the silver vase. Oh God, where's this going?  

Simon Minty  0:50  
Silver vase?

Phil Friend  0:53  
You know one of the traditions in my family used to be that before Christmas, we'd get all the silver stuff out. And I'd sit there with Duraglit.I'd clean it all the picture frames and all the little silver spoons and all those things. 

Simon Minty  1:11  
When did you do? Because you were covered in soot from up  the chimneys. 10 minutes earlier. How did you do that?

Phil Friend  1:17  
You're very good. But anyway, that's what what Anyway, happy New Year Simon. I hope you had a good Christmas.

Simon Minty  1:24  
I will just say I will be with Phil in that cleaning silver with Duraglit or anything like that. And that Polish afterwards is one of the nicest things to do.

Phil Friend  1:33  
It is I mean, there is the results. You start with this slightly tardy burnished thing and then you end up this gloriously shiny. 

Simon Minty  1:42  
Did you ever you know use flame to stop as well and then you'd polish after that. Did you ever do that?

Phil Friend  1:50  
No, that sounds mediaeval.

Simon Minty  1:52  
 my boys brigade. But oh, you would burn it with an open flame and then shine it.  Yeah, well,

Phil Friend  2:02  
Would you? I can I can share with you that one of the one of the masters at my special boarding school taught me to get great chunks of shoe polish. Smear it with a knife on your black leather boots because leather boots, smear it all in great dollops and then set fire to it. And this somehow burnished the thing and then you put layers and layers and layers of polish back on. And my understanding is that this was how the military used to clean their their toecaps

Simon Minty  2:37  
If then, and that's the burning bit yeah, that makes sense. And boys brigade was a bit military more than

Phil Friend  2:42  
it was spit and polish you spit in the polish tin, smeared it around with your cloth and then put this on and shined it and put more on and shined it brilliant. It worked. It was hard work though.

Simon Minty  2:52  
Why don't we make it like a household tips podcast?

Phil Friend  2:57  
Idea how'd you get red wine stains out of a white carpet? No idea.

Simon Minty  3:01  
And one quick disability related story to this. I went for a walk with my cousin Georgie. In between Christmas and New Year to Richmond Park. She took her dog Crumpet I was on my mobility scooter. We went after about 30 minutes went off the main path to this sort of slightly muddy bit and I negotiated two very muddy wet puddles. We got to the third one and I didn't want to do it but we went for it. Of course my scooter got stuck. I got off Georgie tried to get the scooter out but she's obviously never used the scooter before so she pulled the accelerator pulled it out but you know when they just keep flying because people don't know how to stop it so she went careering off into the field. I put my foot on in this mud which was so deep it went up to my ankles and I fell over. And so landed on my hands. The best bit of all of it I got home and I was wearing Ugg boots or you know like that type thing, but I'd scotch garded them. So I got home, went out on the balcony scratched a wire brush. All the mud came off there as good as new.

Phil Friend  4:04  
Well, there's another little helpful hint for 23 If you find yourself stuck in a puddle in the middle of Richmond Park make sure you're wearing waterproof Ugg boots,

Simon Minty  4:14  
the gloves that saved me when I felt they were a real mess. They've been through the washing machine. But anyway, thank you, everyone, if you're still listening, send us your cleaning tips. The plan we've got for today is we're going to do a review of a good thing from last year and not so good thing. And there may be some hopes for next year. So why don't you kick off with a good thing or two from last year?

Phil Friend  4:38  
Okay, I will try to do that. I think the first and most obvious thing for me from 2022 Was I think listeners probably know, by now that I'm married. I've got four grown up kids and I've got five grandchildren. Well now I've got a sixth. 

Simon Minty  4:55  

Phil Friend  4:56  
 2022 Jack my younger son and his partner Jenny, had a little baby girl called Bobbie. Bo BB i e. And it was just joyous. And then of course, they came and stayed with us with the new baby. Oh, they've also got a new dog because Jenny's dog, Misty, lovely old black Labrador died. And they replaced her with Nala, who is sort of crawler. Yeah, Nala. I don't know why not

Simon Minty  5:32  
so scary. Scary dogs gnarly,

Phil Friend  5:35  
the lovely dogs, she's a lovely, she's a cross between the Labrador and something else. Jack listens to this, he's going to kill me when he hears me say I can't remember what breed is. But anyway, so that was brilliant. And all is well and Bobbie is thriving and Jenny looks radiant. And Jack looks suitably tired.

Simon Minty  5:56  
One little point because obviously, when I first met you, Jack was probably nine or 10 or something. So the fact that he's a young man with a child is amazing. This sounds a clunky question. You sound excited. You've got six grandchildren. Now is every time another one pops out a moment of joy? Or is there a little realisation of age? I mean, it's just?

Phil Friend  6:18  
Well, I think there are some practical things, which is, how the hell are we going to sit this lot around the Christmas dinner table? Some of the practical stuff. But I it's very interesting. It's a good question. Because it's like the question you ask yourself before you've got children, and then you end up with say three? Do you love them all? In the same way? Are you excited by them all in the same way kind of thing. And I've got four kids and and I can honestly say that I love every one of them. I really do, but in a different sort of way. Because they're different people, you know, they're not the same. They have many of the same attributes. But they're all very uniquely different, as are all other human beings. So being the father of four children now grown ups, I can't answer the question, do I love them equally? Because that doesn't. That doesn't explain it. Same with the grandchildren, they're beautifully uniquely different.

Simon Minty  7:14  
I imagine I don't have as much experience, I think about my parents. I imagine my parents love me and my sister equally. But I also know that we had different relationships. So the love stays the same. But the the nature of the relationships different.

Phil Friend  7:30  
Well this is deeply philosophical, isn't it? Because what is the love? What do we mean by that? I can't describe the emotion, I often I get close to being what feeling what the emotion is, when I'm feeling something's not going well for them. And then I feel sad and very sad. And it doesn't have to be a big thing. It could be a look, sitting at the table, and I see one of the grandchildren looking a bit left out and it makes me feel sad. You know, so I try and include them. But, or a joyous moment when they do something really well. And everybody applauds or clap, or they get a gold medal. Whatever it is, you feel great, enormous pride. Is that love? I suppose it is? I don't know. It's an interesting thing. Bobbie is the newest addition. So she's a baby.  And that brings with it all the things that babies bring with them the need for incredible attention. And, you know, but when they get to be a little bit older, like Isaac is now 13, for example, spends most of his time on his phone and you interrupted me gets quite annoyed with wants to be left alone.

Simon Minty  8:43  
Yeah, maybe next year, you could come up with a sort of charm rank in order.

Phil Friend  8:48  
That would be really good for me, I probably last 10 minutes wouldnt I what you said is right, you try and treat people equally. But that doesn't mean you treat them the same. You know, that's a classic disability equality stuff that we talk about. 

Simon Minty  9:01  
Treat them fairly, but not in the same. Yeah. And that that would have to be any other. That's a lovely moment. Any other highlights anything short of professional or disability wise, that was a good.

Phil Friend  9:15  
Having got through the two years that went before it, ie you know, the COVID and all of that which you me and our mate Geoff, of course, spent quite a lot of time managing our way through I think, as a sense of relief isn't a specific thing. But it's a general thing to say, being able to see people going out in groups, doing stuff going out with you know, doing things together. Meeting up I remember we met up with an old mate didn't we a couple of times and had a really nice meal and a great conversations, those kinds of things. Being able to do that, again, I think just reminded me of how awful the two years before had been really.

Simon Minty  9:58  
And we shouldn't underestimate Mind you this morning I was just getting out of the bath from I thought the amount of creativity that happened over lock down and I remember some of the things that people had to do because we couldn't do all the normal things we do but yeah, okay, I've got you.

Announcer  10:11  
You're listening to The Way We Roll with Simon, Minty and Phil Friend,

Phil Friend  10:14  
What about your What about your

Simon Minty  10:16  
I think I've got two got to the first one I think is got to be. These are very personal. And obviously it's me so slightly show offee, so forgive me, but one is the gym going to the gym. I find this remarkable that as a 54 year old disabled fella, I suddenly started going to the gym two or three times a week, and I enjoy it. Get something out of it. I must confess I' havent been for a week partly because I went away. But partly, my bones ache so much after the gym. And I thought, is it just age that they're aching? Or is it related to the gym? I've taken a week off and it's the gym. But when I was away with my boys, I told one of them am I going to the gym and he kept prodding my What's this part? 

Phil Friend  11:02  
Oh, yeah. Yeah. Your pecs 

Simon Minty  11:04  
Oh, god, they're tough. And I'm like, You better believe it, buddy. I still got big tummy. But it's the I there's lots of levels going on one I'm a bit older, two Could I use your equipment, three, the attention levels that you get, because you're physically different and look different. And all of that I always relate it to being a sort of a beautiful woman at the gym, people look at you. And you know it and sometimes it's alright, and sometimes it's really annoying. But my gyms really, really cool. And they just,

Phil Friend  11:34  
I'm gonna claim all the credit for this. 

Simon Minty  11:37  
Oh, yeah. 

Phil Friend  11:38  
Yeah, yeah, I think I think my role at Activity Alliance, Vice Chair of Activity Alliance where we have been promoting physical activity for disabled people for I don't know how long I have been subtly working on you underground. And there you are, you know, a role model to all sorts of 54 year olds for a start, you know, I have to say, being serious. That had nothing to do with me at the gym. But I'm really pleased you are, I'm impressed that you are. And I was really surprised when you said that you were doing it (Simon laughs)  well, because it had never, I know you like sport. And you've enjoyed the dwarf games and things like that. And I know you get a lot of pleasure from doing those things. So that side of you I do know about but the idea of going to a gym, and doing all the stuff that goes on in gyms as well. And I think serious point, you know, being different and being stared at for those reasons. I was I was very surprised and very impressed, Mr. Minty. But I will claim credit for it.

Simon Minty  12:43  
And you've done brilliantly well, in encouraging me by never ever mentioning this. And yet it still got through to me. I mean, it's a beautiful skill.

Phil Friend  12:51  
Sub conscious or unconscious, that the annoying, no serious point, you know, you clearly have benefited because, you know you feel fitter and better in all sorts of ways, which we all know exercises is about.

Simon Minty  13:06  
It annoys me because people used to say this, and it really bugged me. But that feeling that you get when you got yourself exhausted. So the first few times I ever broke a sweat doing something. And I'm just I sort of wobble a little bit and I'm like, oh my god, I'm so tired. And I'm hot and sweaty. But it's the best feeling. And the last thing, I'm so busy. And as I used to go to the gym, I was like I could do so much work in this time, I could catch up on loads of work. And then you go to the gym once you've got through the door, which is the hardest bit. Thank you Lucy for that line. Once you're in, it changes. And I do think of work. I think of family, I think of life and love. But I mean, in my own little world, and it's a good thing.

Phil Friend  13:49  
Well, I think more power to your elbow. I think it's and I'm being really serious. 

Simon Minty  13:54  
I think my elbow is  quite strong now. 

Phil Friend  13:56  
Yeah, I have to be very careful of your elbow, it's called giving him the elbow used to be the thing. But you know, the message is that Activity Alliance are promoted or that disabled people need opportunities. And if the gyms are set up, you're good example of, you know, one of the things you said in your two or three minutes is, is could I use the equipment? Could I you know, would the instructors, for example, understand how to get the best out of me, given that I'm not the same shape as everyone, all those things are really important. If disabled people are going to take part in these things.

Simon Minty  14:32  
I go to one local to me, and I had an appointment and the person showed me around the gym. Then she said I'm going to link you up with our PT for personal trainer who specialises in people who've got injuries, because I think you're not gonna get an injury but your body is going to work different. And that person spent an hour and 10 minutes with me. We went around the whole place trying everything out. And they didn't even charge me for that at the end of that. And so I had two and the end of that He said, Now you can decide whether you want to join or not. Will this work for you? That was the perfect intro. And you know, I've been a member three or four months now.

Phil Friend  15:08  
Brilliant, and you're still going, which is great. 

Simon Minty  15:10  
One quickie. and I never used to care about these things, but you certainly do when it counts as in that television show and part in Gogglebox. We got a BAFTA. We got a TV trophy every award we went for last year, they won. And I love that. We're part of something that and also it.

Phil Friend  15:32  
Do you think it's coincidental that you and Jane join and then they start winning the awards? Do you think that's? Or is that just

Simon Minty  15:39  
It's a very good point. I've only mentioned it 100 times. Smart, smug stupidity. Now, it doesn't really matter to me, the fact is, for a show, there's been running for a few years. And to suddenly get that and we know COVID gave it a big boost. Everybody started watching it again. So

Phil Friend  16:00  
I can't remember, how COVID Whether they when COVID was around. Gogglebox? Presumably they obviously couldn't you couldn't be I suppose if you were in someone else's bubble you could. And social distancing? Did they sit on either end of the sofa in those days and drink from different cups? Yep. Back.And forgotten all that? 

Simon Minty  16:22  
Yep. And someone said the nicest thing, I think second hand when it got to me, but people said, I used to get really anxious during COVID. And then I'd watch Gogglebox and think, Well, they're all right. So if they're right, just watching TV, then I'm alright. Anything. Yeah. Amazing. Yeah.

Phil Friend  16:39  
No, I can see that. I can see. I can see. Well, congratulations. You're the only BAFTA winner. I know. Not met a BAFTA winner before. I'm looking at your office Simon, where you're with recording this. I can't see the awards on show. They don't

Simon Minty  16:54  
know me. I'm very modest. And I have them above my bed. I wake up in the morning, I can see all the awards on the ceiling.

Phil Friend  17:04  
By the bed. You don't stroke your BAFTA before you go to sleep

Simon Minty  17:07  
this is going weird when it because there's so many people involved in gogglebox know, we got an afternoon with it. I've got a picture of me my mum or dad and the sister and then boom. Off it goes. Yeah.

Phil Friend  17:19  
And we'd like that award. We won for the best Supplier of the Year with Motability all those years ago. Do you remember that? You've got that? I've got it. Yeah, I've got it for the next six years, because you add it for the six before? Yeah,

Simon Minty  17:30  
that needs a polish by the way.

Phil Friend  17:33  
Very good. But I'm looking at it now. You know what, it could do with a polish? You know why it hasn't been polished? Cuz it's on a shelf icon I cannot reach it

Simon Minty  17:42  
Exactly. Okay, all right. Let's do some serious.

Phil Friend  17:48  
Let'slook at the downer? Well, well, why don't you kick off with that one.

Simon Minty  17:54  
I moved house. And I think the location is amazing. And my gym is amazing. The people are good. I've got some lovely neighbours. All of this is great. I haven't found my feet yet. And every now and again, I think I made a mistake in terms of the inside. So that's, that's still a what I call a work in progress. The thing I gotta remember, I lived 18 years and the other place. I've lived eight months in this place. And, and I also have plans to change it. It isn't how I want it yet. And ironically, or not, ironically, interestingly, the office which is where I work and do this is the best room that is just how I want it. So it gives me hope that that will get better. And there's a little add on. If you'd said to me five years ago, Simon, this is what you'd be doing. Work wise and engagement wise and stuff like that I'd have bitten your arm off. Now when I'm in the thick of it, it's been too much it's been overwhelming. And I think I became ratty with people I was impatient. Nice people would write nice things to me saying can we speak and I'd be angry because I couldn't cope with it all. So I think there's been a lot of disruption this last year moving house getting a bit overwhelmed with it. And the best thing linked to it is me spending the last month of the year looking at things that I could do to try and change it because I don't want to carry on like that it was it was busy as anything but I wasn't enjoying it. And it's got to be some joy in there. So slowly things are slotting into place and getting a bit better. I think last add on is the other bit is just I'm cautious because my Mum listens to this. But recognise my mum and dad and knocking on a bit and you know, when they get a bit poorly, it takes a bit longer to recover. And that that worries me the nice bit is I'm only half an hour away. That was one of the reasons I moved so I can go and see them a lot more and it's quicker. So have I turned it into a positive at the end there?

Phil Friend  19:55  
Oh, well that's a positive but the reason you moved were very positive reasons. I remember you endlessly, you know, tooing and froing. About whether, aside from choosing the place, should you shouldn't you was a long discussion, wasn't it with yourself and so on? I think the other thing, so yeah, I mean, being close to your mum and dad, I think matters hugely to you. I know it does, because you talked about it often. And being able to help them as they get older is clearly a big motivator and why you are where you are. But I think the other side of what you were talking about is that, that lovely thing that we used to talk about, together with personal development programmes, and thing is, is Freudenburger, and his burnout scale, at the idea that we, you know, we do all sorts of work, which we really enjoy doing, but actually it gets to a point where the balance is wrong. So you going to the gym, trying to do more to be fitter. You taking stock of your workload, and how you manage that better. Yeah, I know, you've taken on a member of staff now to help you with some of that. It's a brilliant idea. That kind of thing. But Freudenberger was a man who observed burnout and wrote papers on it. And one of the things he says keeping it simple was, when you're under real stress, don't go and do other things that you control to make it even more stressful. So one of them is don't move house. If somebody dies that you love, you can't avoid what happens then. But don't move house in the same year. So, so they're you were doing all of this, and it's therefore hardly surprised, very human, to not cope, and to feel ratty and, and all those things. But you do feel you've had two or three weeks off now of a Christmas which is brilliant. Clearly, you've settled in. I mean, I think your flats, lovely, but I know that you've got to do some stuff in the kitchen, particularly 

Simon Minty  21:52  
I can't reach anything even the bloody tap!, 

Phil Friend  21:56  
It's like living somewhere. Like if you go to a hotel, I can't use the bathroom. Well, it's only for a night. But if it's

Simon Minty  22:04  
everyone says it looks like you're living in a hotel, I feels like I'm renting an Airbnb of somebody, but actually, it's my home. There's a little add on to that in terms of the work, I remember going to see my counsellor five years ago and saying to her, I've lost my voice. I don't know whether I've got a voice in what I do anymore. And now five years later, and that there's a little if someone's listening, going, it's not great at the moment, these things do change. That's the truth of it has been for me. And the other bit by moving the positive is I wasn't sure whether moving was the right thing. What it's done by moving from north to south London, all of ten miles. But in, in my world, that's I've moved at 200 miles. And it's opened up other things. I know I can live in loads of places now. I mean, I probably got a little bit too stuck there. And always these things that decision for me is the hardest. Once I've made the decision, the rest of it follows.

Phil Friend  22:58  
I think the other thing is that we also know don't we that, that when you when you have got a grip of it, I mean, some of the things you talked about, as you described that were about getting control, actually getting control back over certain things like the kitchen like that, when you've done that, you then tend to look back and think you know, actually it was worth the struggle. I've got a really nice flat because the way you are now in many ways is is is an improvement on where you used to be.

Simon Minty  23:28  
It's gonna be a park opposite me got shops, people are lovely, or it's gonna be it's gonna be it's not there yet. How about you? What's been tough, what's been difficult?

Phil Friend  23:40  
I suppose in some ways, it's not an event. It's a, it's a recognition of my loss of amenity, my you've talked about amenity in terms of a house and stuff. I'm talking about my physical amenity, my ability to do things, I've got weaker, I'm not as strong, I'm finding it harder to do things, very ordinary things. And the prospects of needing support are not there yet, but and Sue's just brilliant course. But as I've said many times before, you know didn't marry Sue to look after me in the way that I don't want her to be a carer in that classical sense that we all mean it. So So that's, that's a kind of constant drip going on in my head about. And so what I what I do my natural default position is to try and problem solve this, how do I do now? Could I change that? Would I make this different? So it's not one event? It's a kind of year of recognising that bit like your mum and dad. I'm not that different in age to them. Although I've got polio, so that makes a big difference. I think that's one thing. I think the other thing There's a general point and I know this has affected you too, is the impact of the last six months on disabled people in the UK generally the loss of amenity for them no money, mainly not being able to pay bills not being the heat your house, all those things, the story we did about support workers and severely disabled people not being able to recruit new support workers. And the loss that that means for them, independence is just been horrible. It's not one event. It's a series of bloody awful events, that it's hard to stay positive, isn't it when all of that and we throw away lines like Ukraine and God, I mean, compared to what they're putting up with some of this. It's just middle class waffle. But even so, if you're in what we're going through now, it's not funny as it

Simon Minty  25:55  
I'm going to come back to that, because I think it's very good. And big point. Back to your you said, feeling weaker things, simple things you can't do in my head, it's like picking up a cup of tea or something. But what are you what can you give me an example of something that you're more limited

Phil Friend  26:09  
is that it is reaching for things now that I can't and when I got hold of them, I can't hold their weight. So it isn't just, it used to take me when we you and I worked together. I could be up and on the road by half past five in the morning, I didn't want to be doing that. I had to be in Leeds by nine or something. And I do it, you know, and it would take me 15/20 minutes to get ready and be out there. Now, if I rushed to be ready for the day, it takes me nearly an hour. Just getting dressed, getting showered, it just all takes so much longer. Because I can't and I've had to adapt my bathroom this year. In fact, it was back end of last year and this year to make it safer, but the process is slower. You know, it's just and it's such a bore, isn't it taking an hour to get ready to go out and do something.

Simon Minty  27:04  
I always it takes me not as long but I allow an hour because then when I'm done early, I feel I've cracked it. I watched a lovely series called The Old Man with Jeff Bridges on television. And the bit that I had empathy with no one if it works for you, he gets himself dressed in the morning takes it well. And then he's sitting on the bed and he looks at his socks. And he sighs and I think absolutely, I'm fine. And then I mean, what's it like putting socks on for you? 

Phil Friend  27:32  
Yeah, it's all very exhausting. Worst bit, any wheelchair user any paraplegic? tetraplegia, whoever you are out there, if you're still listening to this, the most annoying thing of all is pulling your trousers up, right? Because I've not found a way to do that. I can't if I if I get a get in my chair, I go and shower, I then come back to my bed. I get my shirt and stuff on and then I've got to say right, I've got to get out my chair to get on the bed again to pull my trousers up. So I'm gonna arch my bum. Whatever. Now the options are very, very many, you know, I could get Sue to doit. I could have a support worker come and do it.

Simon Minty  28:12  
Would your trousers fit Sue?

Phil Friend  28:14  
No no she'd look nice. And then they wouldn't fit. You know, it's that kind of thing. It's just It's

Simon Minty  28:23  
when a year ago, I put a tweet out saying if you could make one luxury item and mine was a snooker table that was my height. Yours was a pair of trousers I could put on without standing up and then I pull up my I'm sitting on the bed of I pull my trousers up to above my knees. Then I stand up and pull them up is that the point because you can't rest your feet on the ground? Because you need your hands too bad.

Phil Friend  28:48  
 Yeah, I can't load bear. So I can't actually get into an upright position. I mean, I can still with some danger this is the worry of course lean against the toilet with grab rails around so I can do what I can pull my trousers but for how much longer? Yeah. And it is it is it I know people listening to this it What is the matter with this bloke, but it's it's the it's the recognition that some of my things that I've always been able to do pretty easily are now not and I know older people will talk about this without disabilities would say, you know when I was younger I could do this, this and this and now I can't do this.

Simon Minty  29:27  
What do you mean why do people go What's the matter with this bloke? Are you think you're being I think

Phil Friend  29:31  
well in some ways I do. I mean in some ways this is this is kind of third world what do they call it? First world problems. That's it You know where people are starving but I'm worried about doing my zip up. Do you know

Simon Minty  29:45  
you're under i when people say first world problems, I totally take it on the chin but I hate it if it devalues what someone's experiencing because you almost go stop worrying about it. You go and now I'm sorry not being able to put my trousers on or it takes me an hour By now, and it exhausts me and sets me up for a difficult day. That's absolutely real

Phil Friend  30:05  
That's a very good summary of it actually, it's a very good summary of it first of all, it takes a lot of energy for me to do it so I'm I am like Jeff Bridges looking at me socks it takes a long time. I'm annoyed doing it. So I'm in when I've finally cracked it and I'm ready for the day. I'm really annoyed because I wasted so much bloody time doing this. And then by lunchtime I just want to snooze.

Oh it's all over Oh for God sake,

Simon Minty  30:38  
I think we're gonna pop round one day and you'll be sitting there having a snooze your trousers just below your waist not done up. Oh, hell it's all happened

Phil Friend  30:45  
one of the great things of zoom of course, is that I could get through most meetings without ever putting my trousers on. I have got some elasticated trousers now for me that sort of old man stuff 1930s Whatever. Do you know?

Simon Minty  31:02  
Right now you're a muppet. I'm I if I'm not going out. It is elasticated waist. It's slippers and it's easiest t shirt. I remember buying you a t shirt. Thanks so much. I don't wear T shirts or wear shirts. What do you do? When are you going to chill out on you're relaxing?

Phil Friend  31:20  
In the summer you can find a t shirt again I'll wear it in the summer. That's not a problem but

Simon Minty  31:24  
I'm worried that you got to do 10 buttons you got to do actually i I only wear trousers that got a zip and a belt if I'm going out

Phil Friend  31:33  
yeah no and I understand that. I think partly being serious is warmth. The kind of elasticated things tend to be thinner. They're not they are a bit more some away aren't even bright

Simon Minty  31:44  
on trousers. We are going to Primark to get you jogging pants

Phil Friend  31:50  
I don't mean Daimart they used to make these sorts of long John's, this is what I mean the imagery of the catalogues, go and ask your mum and dad what Daimart means and they'll tell you what it means. It's 1950s, long, John, pants and vests,

Simon Minty  32:09  
depending on your point of view, a friend of mine is very angry with COVID because it's made us all dress down. The flip side of that is it has given you me and other disabled and everyone a licence to just chill out a little bit. That's true. I, I now I lost 3% of my empathy or what's the word support for you because you're putting on a stupid clothes.

Phil Friend  32:31  
And maybe this is somewhat seasonal, in the winter, it's much more difficult because I have to wear a lot of layers to stay warm. And I generally do I'm wearing a t shirt at the moment. I'm wearing a shirt on top of that, and I'm wearing a fleece on top of that. And if necessary, I'll get that lovely thing you gave me that your dad wanted. And I got and he didn't. And I put that on top of this lot.(Gilet) In the summer. It's nice and warm. I just as you say that T shirt and a pair of trousers is fine. Anyway, what about you?

Simon Minty  33:06  
Yeah, last one. My jogging pants at the moment are all fleece line. There is warmth as you can possibly imagine. So I think we need to go shopping, Mr. Friend, and you're I think you're worried that you'll be it'll be a giving in and being an old man or an old person type thing. But you're forgetting that 18 year olds wear this stuff. It's it's a smart I do

Phil Friend  33:29  
need to hang out with you in Poundland that's obviously the case. I mean,

Simon Minty  33:33  
Poundland not so good for jogging pants Primark as someone keeps telling me. Okay, I'm there real stuff, though. And I I have a milder empathy. And the truth is, it's going to come to me as well. But you're bang in the middle of it. I hope you do find solutions. I saw a friend the other day, and you and me are a bit similar. The friend said, the way you articulate about your condition is really illuminating. But he said you tell me about the difficulties, but I don't ever since self pity. And that's the same and I sometimes that's stupid. We're allowed a little bit of oh my god, this is rubbish. For me. I think it's weird if we didn't have that. But we're not be we're not playing a victim. We're saying this is difficult.

Phil Friend  34:19  
No, and I think I think that's right. And I think I certainly wouldn't want people listening to us to feel sorry for me in that way. But what I'm what I've always done always is to think okay, so here's the problem. How do I get around that? What can I do that would fix that? Is there a solution to this? I think pants, jogging pants and going to the gym. I could go to the gym, it would help I'm sure. But the the I think the thing is that you begin to realise you're getting to a point where the options are fewer you can take whereas when you're younger and fitter and so on If I can hold the clock back a bit if I did more exercise and stuff, but I can't stop the clock.

Simon Minty  35:05  
Very good. There are lots of older people go to my gym. So yeah,

Phil Friend  35:09  
good for them. And yeah long may that continue.

Simon Minty  35:13  
Next time we meet I'll give you a few few workouts.

Announcer  35:15  
Thank you for listening to The Way We Roll with Simon minty. And Phil Friend, if you enjoy the show, don't forget to subscribe, rate and share.

Simon Minty  35:22  
So 2023 wants to look forward to and what's your hopes, you know, out of fear? Maybe

Phil Friend  35:30  
I want to hear that something's been gripped and is changing.

Simon Minty  35:36  
So you're talking about what's going on out there in this country? Yeah, yeah.

Phil Friend  35:41  
And I'm thinking ambulances and health care and social care. I'm thinking about that these are massive issues. And I'm not, you know, politically, it doesn't matter who the government was, this would be an absolute nightmare to try and tackle. But what I'd love to see in 2023 Is somebody try instead of just talking about it, but to actually target for example, the ambulance service and say, What can we do to improve that? How do we get people off trolleys in bloody hospitals, just concentrate on I know, it's a massive complex system, but just targeting some bits of it. And I don't care what the government is. But it would be nice to see a group of politicians actually doing something to change this, instead of just five vague promises or, or Kier, Starmer saying I can't talk about it until we're in kind of thing. That would be massive. Because I suppose partly and very selfish. As I'm getting older, I get more worried about needing more health and social care support and those kinds of things. And all I'm watching is all our institutions, it feels like everything is falling apart, you know, the trains don't work the buses, whatever it is, maybe that's just a depressive kind of view really. And but that would be mine.

Simon Minty  37:01  
My boys away weekend, one lives in Switzerland, one lives in Australia. And they were like we watch from outside. And it looks really tough in our own country. Now. I mean, there's always this thing, recency bias, we hear it on other podcasts where you, it's what's happened there last month. Both of you, and I've been around for a little bit you a little bit longer. I totally agree with everything you said. And it is beyond disheartening. Right now, it feels a terrible place. And there's so many things that are horrible. And I think as a country, we're crying out for some proper leadership and acknowledgement that taxes is gonna have to go up to pay for this and do it properly. I just wondered, has it Do you remember, in the time that has been worse, I mean, I'm trying to think the late 70s When everything was stopped through strikes, or I'm thinking about the recessions in the early 90s, I'm even thinking of COVID when you know, COVID hit and everything stopped. And we thought, well, this is the end of the world. I mean, I actually made decisions about doing things quickly, because I thought the world was waiting, or whatever. I'm just wondering, is this just a slow, gradual? It has it has been as bad and or is this a slow, gradual? Last question, which is really muddled up I heard it on a radio or podcast where it might have been the rest is politics where they say there's a moment a country votes accidentally for its own demise. And that's what it feels like. It feels like that with Brexit ever since David Bowie died, Brexit happened, and we've not recovered from it.

Phil Friend  38:33  
I kind of I think, well, let me answer you a part of your question. Back in the 50s. I remember rationing. I remember bomb sites. Yes there's a war. Yeah, there was a war got it finished. But the after effects of that war were huge. Homelessness, joblessness, all of that stuff. But I never sensed I mean, we were, we were part of the have nots, we didn't have much we were Council tenants, that kind of thing. But we were all in the same muck together, it felt. At the moment. And this is very political view. But at the moment, there's a lot of people in the muck, but there's an awful lot of people making profit out of it. So there's a kind of very two nation thing going on. And no, you know, philanthropists, people who have got power and wealth and so on. Deploying that to make the world a better place instead of just increasing their wealth seems to me to be an honourable thing for a richer person to do, but I can't remember a time no where I everywhere I looked. Something was wrong with it. And and as you say, we both are people who voted to remain so we would say this, wouldn't we but I do think that was a terrible mistake. And the economic ills that we're suffering and I know Europe are also going through major problems economically. But ours seem to me to be, I can't see how you get out of them. Whereas in Europe, you're part of a much bigger club and you will eventually, you know, see your way through it. Ukraine hasn't helped. And I do feel I don't, you know, I don't have a beginning to understand how they must be coping. Watching all the cities being bombed flat and, that kind of thing. But it does feel very scary,

Simon Minty  40:28  
because I reckon you can pull up news story, we've also got a new story of Richard Baker signing off in 1981. And the BBC News his last ever one. And you watch it and you go, Oh, my God, it's the same as Europe troubles is unemployment. It was this. And that's when you got to go. Oh, my God. This is just repeat after repeat that philanthropy bit. I've had this debate for a while yet. There are people who help and some of the boards and some of the things I'm involved in, we've got fabulous donors, the tricky bit of that as a nation, and they're in the US wealthy people give money away, because it's very tax efficient. Yeah, problem with it, though, is there they choose where it goes, where if it's not through general taxation, that's when it should be allocated to the right spaces. Otherwise, we're gonna have all the wealthy people deciding what's going on. Maybe we have shocker. But is, that's great. That should be the bonus for top up rather than the fundamentals

Phil Friend  41:21  
It's also charity, isn't it? I mean, you know, do we want to be reliant on other people's gifts. And as disabled people? I certainly don't want that. No, you're right. I think the state must deal with this. And taxation is one way of doing it.

Simon Minty  41:38  
My lovely neighbour who's coming around later on tonight, because my electricity bills have to pay for it twice. I've got two sources. And I've looked at it and it's terrifying. I've got underfloor heating, and then water. And that's one thing, and then I've got my general electricity. And I wrote to them, I said, I can't, I think I'm being and that is a person that I'm still earning a living. It's going to whack me, but I'll survive it. I just think if it was anybody else you're right if you listed the things that are not great right now. It is a very long list. And then you add on. There isn't that leadership or that feeling that we're going to get out of it? Yes.

Phil Friend  42:14  
I think that's the point. It's not having a plan. I mean, after the war, that sort of Marshall Plan that was rebuilding Japan and Germany and so on. Yeah, this idea that you put together a plan and you went for it. We don't appear to have that we don't appear to have a way through this. So here we are in a major crisis. Maybe it isn't anybody's fault. Maybe Brexit isn't the reason. But what we need, the crisis is real. So what we need is a plan to get through and I hope 2023 trying to be more positive. Now we're going to see something emerge from 2023. That helps us feel we're on the road to getting out of this mess rather than just wallowing about in it again.

Simon Minty  42:58  
I was gonna say I can't remember. Are we still on the downers of last year? Are we still on? Oh, I mean, some people say disabled people moan, I think we know that doesn't happen here. Oh, we were uplifting, bouncing.

Phil Friend  43:14  
Absolutely. Absolutely.

Simon Minty  43:16  
Let me. So again, you make me look like the selfish nob.When I looked at what I want to happen next year, I agree with all of those things you've said. Because it's doesn't it's a contradiction in that I think of disability in terms of a an individual and where we are in society. And it worries me, it doesn't feel great, particularly those with more complex conditions, and the right support and health needs. Then I flip it to something like what's going on in corporates or employment or representation in the media and theatre and arts, I don't always quite good, you feel was quite good right now. So there's a real disperate change on that. I would like to do a little bit more travel. i This is I feel I haven't quite got back to the pre COVID days. And I did go away a couple of times last year, I went to America and got COVID on my second day there, that was great. But the idea of doing a little bit more travel would be really exciting. And I think personally its getting a balance. I haven't got a balance and I'd like to get balanced, right. But that's purely selfish. And I feel a bit rubbish for that.

Phil Friend  44:31  
I suppose. You know, when people say to me, you know, they'd like to travel more again, you see this overarching climate change issue flashes. Do you know what I mean? No, that's the point isn't it? You Why shouldn't you go and travel somewhere and have a good time and there's me going you You're killing the planet you

Simon Minty  44:51  
you know, I've stopped using that private jet now. I go with everybody else. And yeah, yeah, cool. And I paid seven pound extra to offset my emissions. Do we still do

Phil Friend  45:05  
What kind of emissions are they?

Simon Minty  45:07  
Oh, stop it, you're filthy. And I do agree that even when the idea of just travelling for the pure sake of travel makes you feel a bit guilty, which you didn't before and

Phil Friend  45:17  
that, but on one level, of course we've got, I mean, if one thing that's happened, you talk about your underfloor heating and all that kind of stuff at the expense of just heating your home. I've got the same issue, I've got the one of these bloody smart monitor things that I can watch as we turn the oven on that thing. But the upside of that is that I am being more careful, you know, I'm not leaving lights on all over the place. And I'm not doing that sort of stuff. You know, Sue I go around the house with luminous dressing gowns.

Simon Minty  45:48  
You reminded me,  I'm gonna be both in touch and out of touch in the same sentence here. I got home from Sainsbury's yesterday, and my cleaning person was here. And she didn't think I was coming. And every light in every room was on full blast. Even in the living room, there's two sets of lights at both. So I went around the flat turning all the lights, not where she wasn't. So what are you doing?

Phil Friend  46:15  
So I mean, it's, that's part of this all invasive nature. On the one hand, the positive is we are saving on fuel, because we're not using as much. But the other is that I'm going around freezing to death because I can't get warm. Anyway, we ought to draw this to a close.

Simon Minty  46:34  
Yes, we do. I think we've done a pretty good review of last year and serious look at this year.

Phil Friend  46:42  
Yes, yes. I mean, yes. I mean, it's, it is difficult to be really positive. I mean, I'm sure you and I could think of some little things that would make make us smile in 2023. But the overarching thing that sense of life needing to get, we need to get a grip. And that's the thing, you need to get a grip. But maybe we could ask listeners, maybe we have been a bit down in the mouth. And now our listeners have got some much more positive thoughts about what 2023 might be for them personally, you know, that would be nice to hear. They could drop us a line, couldn't they?

Simon Minty  47:24  
Absolutely. And if you're going to become an MP and give us the leadership we want we'd welcome that as well. Yes, you get our votes.

Phil Friend  47:33  
Definitely get our votes. There's no vacancy for Pope at the moment is there, one did die, but there's still somebody in post. So we 

Simon Minty  47:42  
Spiritual leadership, that's what we need.The church and disability always have been best.

Phil Friend  47:47  
And Richie, of course, has been in post now for several days. So there's no vacancy for Prime Minister so we can't get in there. What about is there a vacancy, the head of the health service? Could a disabled person get in there?

Simon Minty  47:59  
I do one of my talks? And one of the talks like you and I both used to become prime minister. What would you do? And I say to them and Minister, I say that Rishi texted me during the break and said he's been Prime Minister for a bit too long now and wants to let it go. And people always laugh. I wasn't really trying to be funny, but yeah. Okay, yes, we'd love to hear if you got something good, whether it's personal, or you've got an idea to make the world a little bit better, particularly for disabled people. And in the broadest sense of what disability is now, that'd be amazing.

Phil Friend  48:35  
We'd love to hear and you can contact us at the usual things. Our email address is

Simon Minty  48:44  
Amazing, through that and I didnt see that coming we have Facebook, we have Twitter, we have LinkedIn, we have Instagram, just clinging on there. We have YouTube. And if you want to cut all of those out and just get straight to it, you go to Beacon and put in The Way We Roll and you'll see all of the latest stuff its very, very good. We got a few videos up on YouTube now that get regular views or big debates and interesting talks. So yeah, check them out.

Phil Friend  49:14  
Yes, definitely. Anyway, good to see you, Simon and let's look forward to 2023 with Vim and vigour.

Simon Minty  49:21  
Oh yeh, you've really set me up well, I'll tell you. Happy New Year.

Phil Friend  49:26  
Happy New Year to you too.

Simon Minty  49:28  
Bye everyone. Bye bye.

Announcer  49:31  
This is The Way We Roll presented by Simon Minty and Phil Friend. You can email us at or just search for minty and friend on social media. We're on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn

Transcribed by

Phil's positives
Simon's poitives
Simon's not so positives
Phil's not so positives
Phil's hopes for 2023
Simon's hopes for 2023