Thursday, 26 April 2018
Some of us can get on the bus or tram for free, you have to pay lots and lots of money.
Sometimes people offer you their seat, as if you are royalty. We can’t be expected to stand up! Some people seem to think because we can’t see, we can’t stand without being propped up. Why??? It is useful on the bus though, it is hard trying to get to the back of the bus, usually to find there are no seats free there either.
Some of us get a Radar key. This means we can use our own private toilet. We don’t even have to go upstairs. Often this is really good, until you come across a disabled toilet that is being used as Christmas tree storage. I could not even see the toilet for all the trees and boxes of decorations!
Some of us get a disabled parking badge. You may think what is the point in that? Blind people can’t drive! But when we find somebody who can, it makes things easier for us and for them. Plus it saves money most of the time.
Some of us get a cheaper TV licence. Makes sense really, if you can’t get the full benefit of watching TV.
We get to go on Touch Tours at the theatre. This is where we get to see things closely or touch things before the show. You can sometimes go on stage, see props, see costumes and occasionally meet a few of the cast members. This can help a lot if we can’t see the show itself very well. It gives us a better understanding of what is happening on stage and what it looks like.
We can also easily avoid things we don’t to watch, such as gory bits in films. For some people this might be disappointing, for me I was quite glad to miss out on that bit.
Some of us have a better sense of touch and can read braille.
Some of us get a Life Plus card to use at leisure centres around Sheffield. This means I get to go swimming, and my Dad comes for free as my carer. He offers to pay for me, so I don’t pay anything!
When I was doing my exams at school I got to sit in a smaller, more relaxed room. I also got 25% extra time. None of my friends did. I have always been slower at reading and writing than my friends, so the extra time came in very useful.
Sometimes we get to move to the front of the queue. This is always a good thing. Nobody likes queuing.
For a long time my family and friends were trying to persuade me to register my sight. This is where an eye consultant gives you a certificate saying that you are sight impaired or severely sight impaired/blind. I didn’t want that label because I still had some sight and to me it didn’t seem on the verge of blindness. It just wasn’t good. Eventually, to keep everybody quiet I gave in and I got registered. It was very daunting at first, but it does make life so much easier. It makes things happen and you get the support you need to move on with your life and live a happy life.
I used to feel that I didn’t want any special treatment, I just wanted to be treated the same as everybody else. But in time I learned to accept it and embrace it. Because at the end of the day it makes my life a lot easier, more fun and it means that sight loss isn’t just a bad thing.
Because it means I get to do things that you don’t!
Wednesday, 4 April 2018
Sophia is from Bonn, Germany and spoke excellent English and soon we were off on our travels.
As we left SRSB Sophia was quick to pick up the tactile marking which my cane was rolling over and she discovered that she had not noticed it when arriving and was fascinated to learn more about tactile markings as we went along.
I carry a Trekker Breeze (a sat nav designed for blind people) at all times. This gives me information about the street I am on and also junctions coming up.
As we went along the busy streets (it was Friday afternoon) and alive with people all going about their business, I was telling Sophia about the tram I could hear rattling along, suitcases being rolled on the pavements, also some noises from a nearby building site.
When we got to the town centre the Town Hall clock started chiming and there must have been five different lots of street musicians all at various points on Fargate.
I find the singing quite disorientating as I am relying on my cane to pick up noises.
I also told Sophia about the rotating cones underneath the control boxes at pelican crossings as she was fascinated by these and she has told me she is pointing them out to her friends.
Sophia has produced the radio work for her university and here is the link to listen. Sophia and myself were out two hours and she has had to cut it down but I feel you can still appreciate the work she has produced.