This is an idea I’ve seen elsewhere that I thought might be fun to do, so you can find out a bit more about me. A few of these facts you’ll know from elsewhere in my blog, but most I’ve never mentioned here before.
1. I have the eye condition Aniridia. This means I don’t have an iris, the coloured muscle which controls the size of the pupil to determine how much light enters the eye. As a result I can be very sensitive to light, even if it’s not particularly bright to most people, and I struggle in the dark.
2. I also have the eye condition Nystagmus, which means my eyes move involuntarily all the time. This means I can’t focus clearly on anything that isn’t right up close to me. I don’t usually notice the movement too much, because my brain compensates for it fairly well, but it does get more pronounced if I’m tired or stressed.
3. I can’t drive because of my eye condition. I was able to try it on a driving school’s private road, along with some other friends, during a visit arranged by the specialist school I went to. But it’s not something I’ll ever be able to do legally. I don’t mind that though. I’m happy using public transport and taxis, and it saves money not owning a car.
4. My favourite band of all time is Queen. I first got into them after seeing a Queen tribute act in concert. Other favourite groups include The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, The Who, Lynyrd Skynyrd and Madness, to name just a few. You’ll see many more as I keep posting about my extensive music collection.
5. My favourite TV comedies include Only Fools And Horses, Fawlty Towers, Monty Python, The Big Bang Theory and Family Guy, to name a few of many. You’ll see more when I post about my DVD collection at some point.
6. My favourite dramas include Doctor Who, 24, Minder, The Sweeney, Chuck and Prison Break, among others.
7. My favourite film series include Harry Potter, Lord Of The Rings, The Hobbit, Star Wars, Die Hard, The Matrix, Naked Gun and Toy Story. Favourite individual films include Speed, Independence Day and The Theory Of Everything.
8. My favourite pizza is the Hawaiian – ham and pineapple.
9. My favourite meat is chicken. I love beef, lamb, pork, etc as well, but chicken’s top of the list.
10. The most unusual foods I’ve tried and enjoyed on holiday are squid (in France) and kangaroo steaks (at an Australian bar in Spain).
11. I went to the top of the World Trade Center in the year 2000, during a school exchange trip to the USA, and it was an amazing view. I had my camcorder at the time, and you can see the footage from there and other holiday videos on my Youtube channel.
12. My family and I were once escorted from the Channel Tunnel by the police. But it’s not as dodgy as it sounds, I assure you! I was very young when it happened. We were trying to get to some museum or exhibition about the Channel Tunnel, which was nearby. But we took the wrong turn off the motorway and ended up approaching the entrance to board as passengers instead. The area we had entered was only one-way, so the police had to escort us and raise a barrier, to show us how to get out and back to the motorway.
13. I enjoy doing puzzles like sudokus, crosswords, word puzzles, logic problems, etc. I like keeping my brain busy with stuff like that.
14. My best subjects at school were maths and information technology (i.e. computers). Call me a nerd if you like, I don’t mind, I’m proud of it!
15. I got a degree in Accounting and Finance at university, although that’s not the area of work I went into in the end. I work in I.T. now, as a developer and administrator.
16. I can do a bit of programming in a language called Python. Not to an expert level, as I haven’t had formal training, but just basic things through self-teaching, as it’s come in handy for doing certain tasks at work.
17. I once sprained my ankle while doing an obstacle course on a school trip. I misjudged the drop when jumping off one of the obstacles and landed awkwardly.
18. I did the Ten Tors walking challenge on Dartmoor three times, getting my bronze, silver and gold medals for doing so.
19. I once got to say a very brief hello to Tony Robinson (Baldrick from Blackadder and presenter of Time Team), when he came to our school to do a bit of filming about our training for Ten Tors one year.
20. I got to talk to Jimmy Carr when I went to one of his stand-up comedy shows with a blind friend of a friend. The two of us, and a couple of other disabled people, were given early access to the theatre to meet Jimmy by the stage before the other audience members were allowed in. He talked to us a bit and posed for a selfie with us – although it was taken on the other guy’s phone, and he never sent me the picture despite promising he would, which is a shame. And then, after the show, the theatre staff offered to jump us ahead of the queue to get our programmes and posters signed by Jimmy more quickly, which meant we got to chat to him again. He’s a really nice guy, and I love his stand-up comedy, it doesn’t offend me.
21. I used to be a member of a local disabled sports club, primarily going to swimming galas and doing a bit of athletics as well. Although I did well, ending up with loads of medals and certificates, I stopped doing it during my teenage years. There wasn’t any encouragement or excitement involved by that point, and I really wanted to concentrate on other things like my education and future career. Becoming a sports person full-time just didn’t interest me. Had the Paralympics in London come along 12 years earlier, maybe I would have felt more inspired to keep doing it, but who knows? I made the right decision for me at the time though.
22. When I was younger I used to own a PlayStation games console, and then a PlayStation 2. My favourite games on those consoles included Burnout 1 & 2, Crazy Taxi, Crash Bandicoot 1, 2 and 3, Grand Theft Auto: Vice City, Jak & Daxter, Rollcage, Worms and WWF Smackdown (before they changed their name to WWE). The worst game I ever bought was London Racer – the graphics and gameplay on that were absolutely awful!
23. I’ve also enjoyed playing Goldeneye and Perfect Dark on the Nintendo 64, as a friend of mine has one (notice the current tense – he still has it somewhere!).
24. I enjoy board games like Scrabble, Monopoly and Trivial Pursuit. I’ve never played Chess, but I would like to learn it one day.
25. I enjoy card games like Uno and Pontoon/Blackjack. I’ve played poker a few times with friends for fun, but I’m not very good at it.
26. I also enjoy other games like ten-pin bowling, snooker, pool and mini-golf or crazy golf.
27. I’m not very interested in football (soccer if you’re American). I generally find it boring – not just the matches themselves, but the endless analysis of pundits that goes with them. And I don’t agree with the ridiculously high amounts of money a lot of the players earn either.
28. I once cut my leg open walking around a pool table. It was in the common room of the boarding house I stayed in at school. There are screws around the edge of the table, holding the metal sides in place, and one of them had become loose and was sticking out a bit. I didn’t see that, and I was walking right next to the table, so as I passed by it ripped open my shorts and caught my leg as well. Thankfully the school’s medical centre was a short hobble away, so (while crying in pain as you’d expect) I was taken there and patched up!
29. I once fell over a wall when walking back home after a night out. I’d had a couple of drinks, but that wasn’t the cause, though it may have hindered my judgement slightly. It was quite dark, and the street I was walking along wasn’t one I use a lot. I saw a bus stop ahead of me, and thought it was one of those that was next to the kerb, so confidently moved to walk around behind it. But I ended up smacking into the low, rocky wall that was next to it and fell forward over it, my hands landing on the other side to stop myself, while my feet stayed on the pavement. I ended up with a big cut on my leg, so it was hard to walk on for over a week afterwards, and had a few cuts on my hands as well from where they landed. I managed to hobble home and bandage myself up though, and I was fine again after a couple of weeks.
30. I don’t drink tea or coffee. It’s nothing to do with allergies, I’m just not keen on them. I do like hot chocolate though, that’s fine. I mainly drink fruity things like apple or grape juice, and squashes of various flavours, or just water. I like occasional fizzy drinks as well, like Coke, Fanta, etc, and my favourite alcoholic drink is cider.
31. I don’t like eating eggs on their own – whether they be scrambled, boiled, poached or whatever. Again, I’m not allergic, I just don’t like them. It’s fine if they’re part of a recipe, like in pastry, or egg fried rice with a curry, or something like that. But not on their own.
32. I’m an atheist if you want to know about my beliefs. But I do respect other people’s rights to believe in whatever they wish, as long as it’s for good and decent purposes.
33. I once wore a skirt to school when I was very young, when it was Comic Relief day. Thankfully there are no pictures of that event!
34. I once jumped off the end of a ship when we were on a school sailing trip. We were staying on the ship which was moored in a bay for a few days, and taking little boats out from there, and we were given the opportunity to jump off the back of it. I really didn’t do want to do it, as it absolutely terrified me given how big the drop was, but for reasons I’ll never understand I was still made to put on a wetsuit and do it. I only relented and agreed to do it if I could hold the hand of a girl I was friends with. Some people think I asked her out shortly after doing it, but I’ve always been very doubtful about that.
35. I can roll my tongue, which basically means rolling the sides up so the tongue forms a sort of tube shape.
36. We once had mock elections at school, to coincide with the real-life General Election that was happening, and I won as the Liberal Democrat candidate. Nice to see they’ve gone from strength to strength since… oh…
37. Although I use an iMac and an iPhone, the streaming box I have connected to my TV is actually a Roku box. I had it before I got my Apple products, otherwise I would probably have been tempted by Apple TV instead. I’m very happy with the Roku though, I use it for Youtube, BBC iPlayer, Netflix, Now TV and Sky Store in particular.
38. One of the most common phrases I say out of habit is “fair enough”. A work colleague says it a lot as a default way of agreeing with things, and it’s a habit I seem to have picked up.
39. The last musical I saw was The Lion King in London a couple of years ago, and I loved it.
40. I’m just over 6 feet tall and my feet are size 11.
41. The oldest member of my family, my grandmother, died when she reached the impressive age of 105!
42. I was best man at my best mate’s wedding last year, which I’ve previously written a post about.
43. My mother and I are hopefully relocating to London later this year, into a house we’ve inherited from a relative. I’m really looking forward to that, as it will open up tons of new opportunities and experiences. Having visited London a lot over the years for brief holidays, I’ve always been in love with the place. It doesn’t intimidate or scare me, and I’m very comfortable using the Tube and buses to get around.
44. The first social network I joined on the internet was called Bolt (which no longer exists). It was advertised to me when I first signed up to Hotmail, so I decided to give it a go. The journal/blog I wrote there was the first ever diary I’d ever really written, and I archived a copy of it when I left the site, afterwards keeping a private and more detailed diary instead. I did make a few friends on Bolt, but have lost touch with them since. I was also briefly on MySpace after that as well, but never really got into that site in a big way. I’ve been on Facebook for quite a while now, but Twitter’s a very new venture for me.
45. I once held a lottery scratchcard with a winning prize of £100,000. Sadly I wasn’t the winner – it was a neighbour of a relative I was staying with, who had come over to double-check she wasn’t seeing things! It was absolutely genuine and, not surprisingly, she moved to a bigger and better house soon after that.
46. I hate buzzing things like flies, bees and wasps, because I can’t see where they are, and they’re a damn nuisance to get rid of when they get into your house. Look, the window’s open right next to you, just go out of it for goodness sake!
47. We once had a baby seagull fall down our chimney. Instead of a fireplace, that part of the wall was covered with wood panelling, so my father had to break it open and get the poor thing out (Mum and I stayed out of the room to be safe, in case it got vicious). It wasn’t really injured, it was just very upset and distressed, as is understandable! So, on the advice of the RSPCA over the phone, we took it outside and put it up on the (much lower) roof of the conservatory. That way, it had a chance to recover and its parents could get to it. It was able to fly away a day or so later, it was fine.
48. One of the my biggest pet peeves when I’m out and about is cars parked on the pavement. It’s really inconsiderate towards so many people e.g. those who are blind or partially sighted, people in wheelchairs or with other mobility problems, the elderly, mothers with pushchairs, etc. Having to go out into the road is very dangerous, especially when you can’t see properly. If you’re able to park somewhere else, even if it means walking a little bit further, please do so, it’s only fair.
49. Another big pet peeve are cyclists that ride on the pavement, or who jump traffic lights when I have right of way across the road. I can never see them coming, and I’m incredibly fortunate I’ve not been hit by one yet. It’s bound to happen one day.
50. I am very grateful to the followers I’ve already been getting on this blog and on Twitter. It’s particularly significant to have had follows and likes from people whose blogs and Youtube channels inspired me to start my own, a long list of which can be found on my Bloggers page. But I’m just as thankful to all the other people who enjoy this as well. I’m just doing this blog for fun, to give my own perspective on what being visually impaired is like and to list things I’m into, so I’m happy with the attention it’s been getting. Thank you! 🙂