Playing Tennis As A Blind Person.

I wouldn’t consider myself to be a sporty person at all, I exercise to stay healthy and fit, but I have always struggled with motivation.

I have never understood those people who really enjoy exercising and the way it makes them feel, until I actually started exploring different sports.

Earlier on this year I was introduced to Sound Tennis, a fantastic and inventive way of playing the traditional British past-time.

Blind and partially sighted players can enjoy this sport with only a few adaptions to the game, the most obvious one being that we use a sound ball.

This is a foam tennis ball with bells in the middle, which jingles when it is bounced on the floor, so it is not the typical tennis ball as that would really hurt if one hit you, and there is a very minor possibility of that happening.

The next change is that the game is played on a Badminton court, or the service court of a Tennis court; this way there is a smaller space for a visually impaired person to navigate.

The racket used for Sound Tennis is called a short racket or a training racket, it is a bit smaller than some of the rackets on the market, but it is a little easier to handle.

When a player is ready to serve to their opponent they first have to shout, “Ready”, the opponent has to confirm and then as the ball is served the player shouts, “Play”.

This helps the person who is serving to adjust their body position correctly by hearing where the opponent is standing, and then by shouting, “Play”, the opponent knows to ready themselves to return the ball.

Finally the net is slightly lower, and all the rest of the game is played exactly the same as a normal game of Tennis.

I have been playing Tennis every other week for a few months, and I am hooked.

I am a better player now than when I was able to see, I’m not entirely sure how that works, but hey… I’ll go with it.

I have even ordered my own pink Tennis racket, which I am extremely excited about.

It is a fantastic way of getting fit, and I am going to be honest, it is a little frustrating at times as it does require a lot of practice in how to locate the ball, and then returning it to your opponent.

It is always funny to tell people that you play Tennis as well, as they have absolutely no idea whether you are joking or deadly serious.

I recommend anyone who is remotely interested in learning how to play Sound tennis to take a trip over to Metro Blind Sports>, as they have some great videos showing the game in action.

I will post more about some of the sports and exercises I have tried out, and give you my VI low down on how accessible they are.

Happy exercising.

Fibromyalgia Awareness Day

Today is Fibromyalgia awareness day, and although I don’t have the specific condition I know partly what it is to live with chronic pain.

It can be a debilitating condition with the added disadvantage of being more importantly, invisible to those around you.

I was diagnosed with Chronic Regional Neurological Pain in 2015, after suffering with unexplained pain in my left arm for around four years.

All I wanted was a miracle cure that was going to take the pain away, and yet I went for countless hospital appointments and tests, and still they couldn’t diagnose me with any of the typical conditions that are commonly associated with pain.

It was extremely hard on those around me as they didn’t know how to help, and dare i say it, whether my pain was real.

I built my hopes up before every appointment with different consultants, hoping that they had perhaps missed something and would be able to diagnose and fix whatever was causing me pain, and after each appointment I came out a tearful wreck.

The only thing that kept me going was that I knew what I was experiencing was entirely real, and extremely painful.

Finally after a few years of Physical Therapy, which unfortunately didn’t improve the situation, medical tests and consultant appointments all of the experts conceded that there was nothing else to be done and I was referred to a pain specialist.

This felt like an utter defeat, after all, my hopes had been pinned on getting to a pain free point with out the use of medication.

I went to see the pain consultant and I actually found it extremely helpful, not only was he the first person in the medical profession that had treated me as though what I was experiencing was real and valid, but he also took the time to explain the situation.

I found out that the body can in fact experience pain, with out there being a physiological reason why your body is reacting in the way it is.

So in short the nerves in my arm were in fact experiencing pain, but it is the fault of the brain as it is sending pain signals to the nerves.

So the next step was to try appropriate medication to combat the pain I was experiencing.

Again it is extremely unfortunate that everything I tried didn’t seem to work, and I was very reluctant to pump my body full of drugs.

As a present I was bought a Tens machine, which doesn’t sound like a very interesting gift, but you would be wrong.

It has been one of the most useful presents I think I’ve ever had, using the Tens machine has meant that I can get rid of a certain level of pain with out resorting to taking medication.

This combined with being more active, and strengthening my body to help deal with pain has worked better than most things I’ve tried over the years.

I currently feel lucky that over the last six months or so I have had a relative grace period from pain, but I know it is a very real possibility that it could get worse as well as improve.

These are just some of the things I’ve experienced as someone living with a chronic pain condition, it can be hard, and it does change you, but until we find a way of stopping the pain, for better or worse, chronic pain sufferers we are united.

Five things that make studying with the Open University awesome

1. Where else can you study diligently in your pyjamas?
Whether its attending online tutorials or writing an assignment, it can all be done from the comfort of your own sofa, in pyjamas… Fantastic.

2. Likewise you could also study in the nude.
I’ve never done this, but I’m just saying that it is entirely possible… anything goes as long as that assignment is in on time.

3. Speaking your mind.
You can tell your lecturer exactly what you think about that bat cat crazy topic that has been slotted in to the curriculum for reasons unknown to anyone on earth, all be it aloud, in front of your computer, which she will never find out about because you have Facebook open and your not brave enough to write an email anyway.

4. You can study with your pets.
Where else but the OU can you bring your pets to school? My case is closed.

5. Studying where ever you like.
If you fancy studying in the pub, or on a train, then its all good as your text books can go where ever you go. Right, see you all later I’m off to the pub.

If your an Open University student tell me what your favourite thing is about studying with them in the comments section.

Happy studying fellow students.

Interesting Experience Working With The BBC

The other week I spent two days with the lovely team at BBC Out Reach, creating a documentary style film about a charity called Blind In Business.

This charity helps blind and visually impaired graduates find employment, by giving them the skills to compete with their sighted counterparts.

By interviewing different people we were able to find out exactly how, and what, Blind In Business has done to help them.
It was great for me to work alongside media professionals interviewing so many different people, from a vast array of backgrounds, and find out their personal stories.

I always love talking to people and finding out what is unique about them, whether it is how they have overcome challenges or just what is interesting to them.

I’m really looking forward to seeing the final edit of the film, as everyone had an inspiring story to share.

It can be extremely difficult for disabled people to find suitable employment, and I have my own experiences of how hard it can be to secure that first job.

So thats why its great to have the support of a charity that understands disability, and in particular visual impairment that you can turn to.

Blind In Business offer tailor made support suited to your needs, so if you need more practice with interviewing, or you just need someone to help look over your CV, its worth giving them a call to see how they can help you.

Is home Made always Best?

Ok, so I’m going to come in with the opinion from the off, I love home made Christmas gifts!

So this year I’m going to try and make as many as possible, and avoid buying mass produced presents.

There is something so thoughtful about making something yourself, choosing what you’ll make them, and getting the materials, takes a lot more time than you’d think, and it doesn’t always work out cheaper, but at the end of it you can give your loved one a fantastically unique gift.

Last year I made hampers for all of the family; we bought a hamper basket kit from Amazon, which included baskets, paper shred, cellophane, and ribbon.

Then I had to decide what theme I was going to do, and find all of the items to go in it.

We eventually decided on something traditional, and in went cheeses, crackers, nuts, jam, chutney, chocolate, recipe cards, and a small votive candle from Yankee Candles.

We bought big bags of nuts, and separated it out in to smaller decorated paper bags to give it a more home made feel. We did the same for the crackers as well.

With the recipe cards I bought a box of them from eBay, and again separated a handful in to each basket.

Unfortunately I didn’t have the time to make the jams and chutney, but I did search for brands that looked like they had been made by hand.

The one I settled on had a hand written label, with paper over the lid secured by a rubber band.

We had a really fun evening sorting out all of the baskets, making sure all of the items were included, and then arranging the shred to protect the contents, and finally making them look attractive.

I then attached a hand written label to the bow, with the person’s name and a Christmas message.

The nice thing about hampers is that you don’t have to be particularly crafty, you just need to find a theme, source the items, and what they will be stored in, and away you go.

If you do want to make any of the items to go in the hamper, then BBC Good Food have some great recipe ideas, why not try your hand at their apple chutney, or traditional vanilla fudge?

I’m busy knitting my Christmas presents, and I’m just hoping that they will be finished in time for the Christmas!

Happy hamper making, whatever you decide to include.

Why not comment below with your own hamper suggestions.

What Is Normal?

I was browsing through Facebook the other day when I spotted a post that was doing the rounds about social networking platforms being a life-line to special needs families.

This made me think a little, how is it that we come to rely so heavily on technology to interact with one another.

Or is it that some people with a disadvantage of some sort still after all these years, aren’t fully accepted or integrated in to society.

So I asked myself a question, how much do I know about other disabilities, and the answer was not very much at all.

I’ve written here before about the funny instances that have occurred when people don’t know how best they can help me, but actually some of these things should never happen in the first place.

As a society we’re not very open about disability, and if it is portrayed in the media at all, then it goes either one of two ways, the negative benefit bums and scroungers living off of the tax payers money, or the amazing disable person who has made it through life against all of the odds.

On my blog I give you an insight in to the comical side of living with a disability, and there are of course lots of those moments, but no one talks about the everyday truth of actually having a disability.

For me it can sometimes be exhausting having to concentrate so hard on using my other senses, and how sometimes you get so stressed with everything and everyone, because your having a really bad day.

Of course this is only one disability that I’m representing, but I can see how having a forum where you can be anonymous and share the ups and downs of life with people who completely understand, and have probably experienced what your describing, can be liberating and most definitely a life-line in equal measure.

Unfortunately though, we still have a long way to go before normal becomes the person who is just a little bit different to you in some way, because when it really comes down to it, what is normal anyway?

Getting Inspired by The Knitting And Stitching Show 2015

I’ve written in previous posts about my new found love of crafting, so when I was invited to take a trip to the Knitting And Stitching show in London you can imagine how excited I was.

The show is a five day event held at Alexandra Palace, and thinking it would be ever so slightly less crowded we booked tickets to attend on Sunday, 11 October.

After a decent journey aided by the Sat Nav we arrived at 10:30 in the morning, and got straight in to browsing all of the wears on offer

We came across a lovely lady who was knitting jewellery, and on inspection it didn’t look anything like how I’d first imagined it would.

The item she was in the process of making was gorgeous, the jewellery was made by knitting with a thin wire, and inserting different coloured crystal and beads to the specified pattern.

After that stall there was only more and more beautiful wools, patterns, and inspiration to be found.

The show stopper had to be Sophia, the six foot crocheted flamingo, made by an Alpaca wool company… She was expertly crafted and so soft to the touch, but my burning question was how many balls of wool did it take to make it?

Unfortunately I didn’t get to ask this question as we were distracted by selfies and the like, and also the soft fluffy balls of wool on display.

I knew what knitting projects I had planned so I shopped accordingly, as well as buying some extra accessaries to help me in this task, but I also can honestly say that I’ve made a start on my Christmas shopping… I now just have to get round to the mammoth task of making them all!

If I could pin point one of my favourite parts of the show, then it would have to be going to visit the sewing machine section, but I hear you ask “When did I become so interested in sewing?”.

Well, actually only on Sunday, before then I had decided that this craft would be completely inaccessible due to sharp needles and no vision, I’m sure you get the picture.

However I couldn’t have been more wrong, I tried out a couple of different brands while I was there, and came across only one floor in some of the designs, this was the touch screen models.

Although, there were plenty of machines to choose from that had nicely laid out option panels, with large buttons that gave an audible beep as they were pressed.

So no, they didn’t talk or have braille, but considering these machines were never made with visually impaired users in mind, they could’ve been a whole lot more inaccessible.

The outcome of my perusing these stalls is that I would now love to own a sewing machine.

I’m not saying it will ever become my main craft, but it would complement my knitting nicely, and would in actual fact be easier for me to use in some ways than a traditional needle and thread.

I’ll definitely be attending the spring Knitting And Stitching show, but in the mean time I’ll keep you all up to date on my latest projects.

Watch this space as there will soon be a craft podcast by yours truly, I’ll post all of the details very soon.

Sun, sangria, and singing

As some of you may already know from browsing around my website, I’m a singer.

Last year while on holiday in Tenerife there was a Karaoke evening in our hotel, the Isla Bonita, and having some with drawl symptoms from not being able to belt out a few notes, I decided I would give it a go.

If I remember correctly I chose to sing Jackson Five I Want You Back, and Don’t Stop Believing; over all it was a fun evening, and that coupled with a few glasses of the local rum made it even more enjoyable.

By co-incidence when we booked to come back to the same hotel this year, they recognised my name on the list, and contacted me to see if I’d like to sing in the hotel while I was here.

I prepared a few Jazz songs to sing on one evening, and on the second day I was there, sitting quietly at the pool side I was introduced to the head of animation at the hotel.

He had already been described to me as a bit of a “whirlwind”, and he didn’t disappoint.

He is ridiculously energetic, and made me knackered just looking at him… I think I had to have a snooze on the lounger after that, or that was my excuse anyway.

That night I was invited to do a pre-show warm up, and I sung a couple of Jazz classics, Fly Me To The Moon, and Sway.

I absolutely love singing Jazz, but unfortunately its not all that popular with everyone, so I wasn’t sure how it would go down with the crowd.

Luckily the audience enjoyed both songs, and I had such a big cheer that the animation team invited me back the next night, well… every night after that to be more precise.

I’ve now performed a few pre-show warm ups, and sung a few different genres just to mix things up a bit, and at the end of my first week I was then promoted to be a part of the main evening show.

So yesterday night I performed another couple of well known Jazz songs during the main cabaret show.

It was definitely a fantastic experience, and its been lovely to work with such friendly and talented entertainers.

So my holiday at the Isla Bonita has been lovely and relaxing, and lots of fun at the same time, I’ve had a lovely fortnight away and I’ll really miss Tenerife when I’m back in rainy old England.

Check out my Facebook page to see some of the performances from the Isla Bonita in Costa Adeje, and if you do, I hope you enjoy them as much as I loved performing them.

From Sketcher To Stitcher

A few Christmases ago I asked for a pair of knitting needles and a couple of cheap balls of wool so I could try my hand at this age old craft.

I don’t know what made me want to start knitting, I think its because when I used to be able to see I loved nothing more than to get my pencils and paper, and spend hours drawing anything and everything around me.

Whether it was a vase of flowers, or something from my imagination, it didn’t really matter as long as I was drawing, I was happy.

So after I lost my sight I didn’t have another outlet for my creativity, other than singing, and sometimes you just want to sit quietly with your thoughts.

Christmas came round, and my boyfriend bought me a pair of circular knitting needles and a ball of pale blue wool to start practising on.

There was only one problem with this new found hobby, I didn’t know how to knit, and I wasn’t entirely sure where to start either.

We spent Christmas day round Matt’s parents, where I discovered his step dad knew how to knit… And after finding this out he showed me how to get started.

By the time I got home I had already knitted a few rows, and I was really excited to carry on knitting my wholly… something.

Accept when I woke up the next day I couldn’t remember how to make a single stitch at all, and its safe to say it went down hill from there.

In a fit of passion I threw my knitting needles down, convinced it was impossible for me to do, and that I would never be able to knit.

In a corner my needles stayed until almost a year later, when I joined a Stitch And Bitch group.

If your not familiar with Stitch And Bitch, then it was set up by a lady in America who wanted to knit, and meet knew people at the same time.

This is not exactly revolutionary, but it turned a craft that is usually quite insular in to something sociable.

So I went along to one of these meet ups in a pub just outside of Reading, and the girls there were absolutely lovely, and not at all how I expected.

I had this vision of old ladies out on a Wednesday night,but I was completely wrong, they were all girls in their twenties and thirties, drinking cocktails whilst knitting teddy bears.

They showed me how to get started casting on, and then carry on with a simple knit stitch, and in no time at all I had a sizeable knitted square.

I felt so proud of myself for managing to knit even a small amount, especially when I had written this hobby off as no good.

After a few months of going to the group, I managed to break my ankle… but thats another story entirely, it meant I couldn’t get to the group for quite a while.

So a year of knitting on and off, producing extremely wholly projects, and I decided to set up my own Stitch and bitch group in my local area.

I put the idea out on a Facebook group called gossip girls, and I got a fantastic response from lots of people that knew how to knit, or wanted to learn.

Eventually we decided on a regular time and day, and we set our first meet up for a few weeks later, giving everyone time to get supplies.

We all met up in the local pub, and I was surprised to see just how many people turned up to join in, and there were even some newbies to be found.

I brought my lilac scarf that I was trying to work on as a Christmas present for my mum, trying is the operative word here, as it already sported some very lovely air wholes.

Almost a year on and I’ve knitted blankets, both big and small, hats, scarfs, bags, and there is so much more I want to get my knitting needles around.

I always look forward to meeting up with the rest of the group as we don’t stop chatting, and have even been known to stray on to a few odd topics… How did we get on to Fifty Shades Of Grey again?

I can’t recommend this hobby enough, or tell you how much I’ve learned from the rest of the experienced knitters, but I would definitely advise anyone to go along to an S&B group if your curious.

Knitting has even been linked to improving your mental health, as it gives your mind a task to focus on, and helps to keep you relaxed.
Go on, try it, you may just enjoy it if you give it a go.

A broken ankle causes even more palaver

To everyone that wished me well yesterday evening I thought I’d update you on my progress.

After resting my foot for a few hours, covering it with a cold compress, and taking lots of tablets, I decided my ankle still didn’t feel quite right.

I took a trip up to A&E at 11:30PM, where I expected to be in and out fairly quickly, how wrong was I.

After playing a crossword, eye spy- which is interesting with two blind people- and consuming tea and hospital sandwiches, I was finally taken in for an X-ray about three hours after I arrived.

A further hour sat waiting around confirmed what I was starting to suspect, I had fractured my ankle.

I have a temporary, and extremely attractive protective boot on my foot, and I have an appointment at the hospital tomorrow morning to see an orthopaedic consultant.

I will keep you all updated on what they say, but please keep your fingers and toes crossed for my speedy recovery, as I’m a nightmare to deal with when I’m cooped up in the house.

Pavement Parking Palaver Causes Much Pain

Guide Dogs For The Blind Association as well as the Royal National Institute Of Blind People are currently pushing a a national campaign to see cars banned from parking on pavements.

This campaign is currently making its way through parliament, and would be beneficial to more people than just the percentage that these charities represent.

Today I was on my way to aqua tone at my local swimming pool, I took my usual route which is roughly around a seven minute walk from the bus stop.

I was almost at the turning to the leisure centre, when my guide dog Tara steadily and confidently stopped in front of a car that was parked on the footpath.

At that point I had to make a decision on how best to proceed, should I let Tara take us in to the road, potentially putting us in more danger, or should I walk in the dirt bed beside the pavement?

I chose the latter, on the basis that it was the lesser of two evils, and we would just have to push a few branches out of the way in order to get round.

As I stepped in to the dirt bed my foot caught on the edge of the ledge, and I’ve fallen over, spraining my ankle in the process.

I’m sure I don’t need to tell you how upsetting this experience was, my dog was only trying to do her job, and I’ve ended up hurting myself rather badly.

I just about managed to pull myself up out of the dirt, and leaning on the car for support I raided my contacts app to see who could help.

As I was frantically phoning people I lady walked past me, and I asked her rather tearfully for some help as I suspected I’d sprained my ankle.

I’m honestly not sure what I would’ve done if she hadn’t been going to the gym, but she ran to get her car so she could drive me home.

I’m ridiculously grateful to her for helping me like she did, but this obviously shouldn’t have been an issue in the first place.

It was embarrassing, extremely painful, and completely avoidable, I think thats what annoys me the most about it.

I also worry that one day Tara will be put off of her work if something like this happens again, she is a wonderful natured dog, and very sensitive to my moods, and another accident like this could really knock her confidence.

It was a silly accident, and I’m now laying on the sofa with an ice pack on, and its safe to say a little shaken up.

Please think twice, and even a third time about parking on the pavement, because its not just visually impaired people this affects, its a huge problem for everyone.

Footpaths are for the public only, and cars should stay where they belong, and thats on the road.

Please visit to find out more about their current campaigns, and see how you can help in your area.

I’d love to hear any of your experiences of this issue, and you can do this by commenting below.

Falcon Throne The Tarnished Crown trilogy book review

Since the Game Of Thrones by George R.R. Martin books were released I’ve been hopelessly searching for another epic fantasy series to delve in to.

I get through so many books a year, that my two measly Audible book credits just aren’t enough to keep me going each month.

So when I stumbled across The Falcon Throne The Tarnished Crown trilogy by Karen Miller, I was pleased to discover that the audio book version is nearing 35 hours long, that should keep me going for a while.

I’ve read other books by Miller, but I’ve found them slightly predictable in places, and the elements of magic were lacking in substance.

Where were the spell books, the wands, or whatever they need to make the magic work, because surely it just doesn’t happen.

The Falcon Throne didn’t exactly feature magic as such, but the suggestion of a higher power at work was ever present in the story.

To describe the book as complex is an understatement, and doesn’t do justice to the well thought out characters and plot lines that were at play here.

The reader starts off with a character called Salenbeen who is instrumental to the story, and the way it plays out.

You could be fooled in to thinking that his association with the story is short lived, as the reader is only aware of his presence right at the very beginning of the book.

Salenbeen is the first born son of a king, who is rejected because of superstition around an illness he contracts.

The illness leaves him horribly disfigured, and by his physician’s estimation on the verge of death.

So the King disinherits Prince Salenbeen in the hope that his new wife will bare him another son to take his place.

Salenbeen vows he will take his revenge on his father, with the aid of a book of magic that was passed down to him by his dying mother.

We then jump forward a couple of hundred years in to this fantasy world’s future, with no knowledge of whether Salenbeen lived or died, or even managed to carry out his revenge.

The once mighty kingdom has been split in to two countries, ruled over by Dukes, and bad blood exists between both Harcia and Clemen.

Balfre first son in line to his father Aimery’s Dukedom, has an insatiable lust for blood and violence, which threatens to unbalance his position of succession.

Its clear that Aimery believes that his second son Grefin, should be the one to succeed his father, and keep the peace in Harcia and the Green Isle.

However Balfre has other ideas about Harcia’s future, he has a grand plan of wearing a crown and not a coronet.

Clemen’s unstable position on the political stage, gives Balfre just the excuse he needs to stir up trouble.

The Lords of Clemen meanwhile are unhappy with their current Duke, things are taking a turn for the worse and Harold has had enough chances to make it right.

So the Lords take matters in to their own hands, and kill Harold, his wife, and their infant son Liam, and place his bastard cousin Ederic on the throne instead.

The trouble that Balfre is creating in Harcia seems to affect Clemen’s new Duke where ever he goes,, and things steadily go down hill for the country.

Tax’s are raised, harvests are poor, and his grace fails to produce a living air, could anything get worse for Duke Ederic?

In fact yes it could, it gets much worse, war is declared between, Harcia and Clemen, Duke Ederic’s wife dies in child birth, just after she confesses a grave sin, and he is captured by two young boys who seem to have a vendetta against him.

Meanwhile Balfre couldn’t be doing better for himself, he has become Duke of Harcia after Aimery’s death, conveniently done away with most of his family, and found himself a seductive new lover to keep him occupied.

To go in to much more detail about this epic first novel, is to give more of the plot away than I already have done.

Its the best book I’ve Read in a long while, and I highly recommend this to anyone looking for something new to read.

Low Blow For Charity Tactics

I switched on the radio yesterday afternoon only to hear an extremely disturbing news story, an elderly lady had gone to the supermarket to buy her sick friend some flowers, only to be accosted by a charity tin rattler who proceeded to guilt trip her into handing over her money.

As I’ve said in previous posts I’m all for giving to charity, but I think its disgusting that people are being victimised in to donating funds.

After all, isn’t caring for a friend enough to pick out a bunch of flowers, and then going to that friend’s house to cheer them up a kind of charity, all be it closer to home.

The volunteers who give up there time to stand in all weathers to collect funds are to be admired, its generous, kind hearted, and vital work for a lot of charities.

However donating money should be a choice, not something you feel obliged to do because a volunteer has given you a speech about how else you could’ve spent that few pounds.

People work hard for the money they get, and it should be up to them where or when they decide to give to charity.

Let me know what your views on this issue are by commenting below.

It Could Only Happen To A Blind Person

Yesterday evening a friend on Facebook shared one of those “Funny stories you have to read”, and for a change I decided to not do my usual thing of skipping straight over it, but I read on.

For once I had to agree that it was pretty hilarious, a woman and her guide dog were travelling on a plane to Sidney, where it stopped for refuelling.

Everyone else got off of the plane to stretch their legs a bit, and the lady Cathy stayed on the plane with her dog.

The pilot must have recognised the lady as a regular passenger as he greeted her by name, and offered to help her off of the plane so she could get a bit of fresh air.

Instead, she asked the pilot to take her dog out so he could have a bit of a walk, the pilot happily did so.

There was mass panic as the passengers saw him walking out of the plane with a guide dog in tow.

Apparently there were even people trying to change flights, and there were complaints about there supposedly blind pilot.

I would have loved to have seen everyones faces as the pilot stepped from the plane,, no pun intended here.

In the spirit of funny blind related stories, I’ve come up with a few of my own.

5. As some of you may have already read in the sun column I wrote, a very well meaning lady obviously recognised me as a regular traveller, so she bent down to tell my guide dog Tara, that the number 14 was on its way… I think I muttered thank you on her behalf, I wasn’t sure what else to say.
4. Me and Tara had been out in London all day, so it was late by the time I got back to Reading. We got on the bus, and I told Tara to find us a seat, now usually she is a pro at doing this, and to be fair on her she found us a seat… it just wasn’t empty. I found this out as I plonked myself down on an unsuspecting man’s lap. I only wonder now why he didn’t say anything straight away.
3. A few weeks after qualifying with Tara I ventured in to town to try and master finding my way around the Auricle shopping centre, I was absolutely fine until the very end when we were trying to find our way to the exit.
I got us a little bit confused, and we ended up walking around in circles for some minutes, until I could work out which direction we were meant to be going.
Unfortunately before I could achieve this a security guard saw me, and wondered over to help, this resulted in him radioing over to every other security guard in the shopping centre that, “There is a blind lady with a dog, who is confuse. If you see her she needs help”.

I’m sure I don’t need to point out how embarrassing this situation was. Its safe to say I went home after that and called it a day.
2. This next one actually involves a little bit of guide dog mischief, which mine and my boyfriends dogs seem to be very good at.

I had an appointment at the local beauty salon, as usual I harnessed up the dog, and left the house.
It wasn’t until I got to the alley which I use as a short cut, that I noticed something following us. I have to be honest and say that I panicked a bit, but I bravely reach out my hand to see if I could work out what it was, as I did so a huge bushy fox like tail brushed up against my finger tips.
At this point I freaked, I genuinely thought we had a fox stalking us to the beauty salon.

I made Tara go a little bit faster so we could get to the refuge which was to be Beautiful Escape, and I heard tap, tap, tapping of doggy claws behind us.

I made noises to encourage the lost dog, as I thought it was by now, to come over to us. I thought if I can keep it with us until we get there, I can enlist the help of the therapists.

I made it to the salon, with the dog trotting behind me, and one of the therapists sounded bewildered as she asked me, “Georgia, why have you brought Unity along as well?”.
Unity is my boyfriend Matt’s guide dog, and she clearly didn’t fancy staying in the house with him, she must’ve fancied getting her nails done as well.
This is probably my favourite one of them all. I think this actually happened on the same day as the shopping centre mishap, as I’d gone to get a Build A Bear as a present for a friends little girl.
Tara had her eye on the soft toys all the way round the shop, so I was pleased when we made it to the counter with no apparent incident. I paid for the teddy I’d designed, and we set off with our purchase.

We were half way down the shopping centre when a lady was shouting, “Stop!”, right behind us. Well, we stopped and the lady caught up with us, only to tell me that Tara had a counter display bear hanging out of her chops. Yes… Thats right, my guide dog is a thief.
I haven’t been in build a bear since!


Shopping trip to funding embarrassment

Not so long ago I decided that me and my guide dog Tara would take a Saturday shopping trip in to Reading town centre.

Now surprisingly I’m not such a girlie girl when it comes to shopping, especially on a Saturday, I hate battling the crowds just to get to where I want to be.

So in preparation for this on coming shopping slaughter I took a small detour in to Starbucks, where I treated myself to a tall chai tea latte.

This simple act of fuelling up on caffeine was interrupted by a very polite man cautiously saying “Hello”.
This extremely well meaning man saw me drinking my lovely hot beverage, standing outside of Starbucks, holding the harness of a somewhat charming guide dog, and he proceeded to offer me money.

Now there are only two responses in this sort of situation… laugh or cry! I had no Guide Dogs branded clothing on, or a strategically placed bucket for collecting coins, so I was a little confused as to why he was handing over his money.

I should probably add at this point that this sort of situation had already happened to me a few months earlier, accept I was on my phone making a call when a lady hesitantly approached offering me money for guide dogs.

Of course such generosity is to be applauded, after all I wouldn’t have my wonderful guide dog with out people parting with their cash, but its a little embarrassing when they offer it to you in the street.

As I had done with the first lady, I explained that I was actually a guide dog owner, and that it wasn’t me directly that they needed to donate too, instead they should do it online or over the phone.

This bit of information didn’t seem to deter the man, and he persistently offered me a ten pound note.

At this point I really started to wonder whether there was something wrong with either him, or me. Did I look like such a sorry sight that even the useful bit of information I’d passed on didn’t stop him from throwing his money away, or did I look so harassed at the thought of shopping that he thought he’d donate to my caffeine fund?

Unfortunately readers I can’t give you an answer to this question either way, because after waving the tenner at me for a while with me protesting, he wondered off muttering something like “I was only trying to help”.

This is a mystery I’ll never solve, but it tickled my funny bone so I thought I’d share it with you.

I’ll leave you on one bit of advice, if the person isn’t holding a bucket, or said person isn’t wearing a t-shirt, chances are there probably not collecting for Guide Dogs. So however well meaning, don’t just hand over your money because that person might not be quite as honest next time, and that money will go towards funding their caffeine habit instead of cute little guide dogs to be.