April 2018 Favourites

The view from the top of Primrose Hill, looking over Regent's Park towards the centre of London. Many buildings of varying heights can be seen on the distant horizon, including The Shard and the BT Tower.

Time for another monthly favourites post, and April was very busy for me. There were a couple of big important events, a couple of interesting museum visits, vanother theatre trip, and a few nice walks now that the weather’s improving. So I hope you enjoy this little post and video recap of what I got up to.

Contents

Events

Aniridia Network Conference

The Aniridia Network Conference was the main focus for me this month. It was the first time I’d ever been to the Aniridia Network’s annual event, and I really enjoyed taking part and meeting lots of great people, including an old school friend and her mother, a child from the school I gave a talk at last month, a lady who helped me with the Aniridia Day promotion last year, Sue Ricketts from the Nystagmus Network (whose Open Day I spoke at last year) and motivational speaker Fern Lulham (who gave an amazing talk about her own life experience with aniridia). All the speakers were great, and I nearly ended up giving a speech myself when someone dropped out, but a late schedule change meant I wasn’t required after all.

I’m also helping the Aniridia Network with their social media content, and recorded videos of all the presentations on the day with that in mind, so we’re gradually posting the videos at a rate of about one a week. So it was a really fun and interesting day, and keep an eye on the Aniridia Network’s websiteFacebookTwitter and Youtube for conference videos and other general updates if you have a connection with the condition.

See my blog post for more about the day.

Naidex

I then attended Naidex at the end of the month, which is Europe’s largest disability and independent living event, at the Birmingham NEC. When their marketing team told me about the show, they invited me to become an ambassador for them on social media, where I promoted them a little bit and they promoted my blog in return. And I’m glad they made me aware of the event, because it was really interesting, and it’s free to attend as well. I loved chatting to so many people and finding out about so many different publications, technologies, services, etc and hearing a few of the guest speakers.

So it was well worth the trip, and you can read my extensive blog post for all the details, including the seminars and exhibitors I saw.

Museums

V&A Ultrahaptics Testing

I got involved with some ultrahaptics testing this month at the Victoria & Albert Museum, which was very intriguing and unusual. It uses ultrasound waves to represent the shape of objects in mid air that you can feel with your hands. It’s a bit like air being gently blown against your hand, but it’s ultrasound waves instead. And there were other experiments going on with tactile objects and audio description, so it was a very interesting afternoon. Check out my blog post for more info.

Wallace Collection Access Study

I also visited The Wallace Collection, as part of the accessibility study being conducted by a lady called Rafie Cecilia for her PhD. This is the third and final museum visit we’ve done for that, and it’s always a pleasure meeting her. It’s the first time I’ve been to this particular museum, and I explored The Great Gallery on the first floor, which is absolutely stunning.

However, as you’ll see from my blog post about my visit, their accessibility for the visually impaired is very poor, as the audio guides were useless. Thankfully I was able to get information about the artworks using a brilliant app called Smartify though, which uses your phone’s camera to recognise the artworks and bring up the details, which is really cool.

Other Outings

Motown The Musical

I went to see Motown The Musical with East London Vision this month, and it was brilliant. The touch tour on stage beforehand was wonderful, getting to look at and handle the various costumes and wigs and a mixing desk, and chatting to some of the people who work on the show. And then the musical itself is great fun, with loads of wonderful songs and an interesting story about Motown’s founder as well. Definitely worth checking out if you like that type of music. See my full review that I’ve written in a separate post if you want to find out more.

Parks

I took the opportunity of the improving weather to go and have a look around a few parks I hadn’t explored yet. So in East London I explored Mile End Park & Victoria Park, and the latter was particularly fun because there’s an audio Memoryscape Trail you can download from the Victoria Park website, which was really interesting to listen to on my phone as I walked around the park. Meanwhile in Central London I had a lovely stroll through Regent’s Park and up to Primrose Hill, where the view of the London skyline is really lovely. There are photos on my Instagram of course, and a few video clips too.

The weather’s been so nice and warm lately, in fact, that I’ve even had to get the suncream out. And the one I’ve been using, which I discovered last year, is Nivea Sun Pocket Size SPF 30. The fact that it’s pocket sized makes it really easy to carry around, and putting a layer of that on my skin protects me nicely for a long time. I was out in the sunshine for about 5 hours the other day and didn’t have to re-apply it, and I didn’t at all sunburnt. And I do burn very easily without suncream. So I highly recommend that, it’s really useful to have a few bottles of that around.

TV & Radio

There isn’t a lot to mention in terms of new entertainment this month, because I’ve been busy with other things, especially the Aniridia Network Conference and Naidex. But I’ve still been watching the same regular shows – Not Going Out – Series 9 and Dara O Briain’s Go 8 Bit – Series 3 both finished during the month, while The Big Bang Theory – Season 11Young Sheldon, The Flash – Season 4 and Family Guy – Season 16 are still going strong.

And we’ve also had the return of Have I Got News For You – Series 55, which is always good for a laugh, and The Unbelievable Truth – Series 20 on Radio 4 (a funny and interesting fact-filled show presented by David Mitchell). So I’ve been glad to see all of those back during April.

The one completely new series I saw during April, and can recommend if you like comedy, is Cunk On Britain. If you’ve seen Charlie Brooker’s Wipe shows in the past, you’ll recognise the clueless character Philomena Cunk, played by Diane Morgan, who would give her inane views on anything and everything. Well, now she’s been given her own show, exploring the history of Britain, and it’s a wonderful parody of history documentaries. It’s very cleverly written by Charlie Brooker, packed with so many little gags and references throughout. And the interviews Philomena does with actual experts, where she asks the most ridiculous questions, are brilliant because of their reactions. So if you like the sound of a history mockumentary, see if you can find it on the iPlayer, it’s very good.

Other than that, I haven’t got around to listening to any audiobooks or new music this month, again due to time. But now things have calmed down a bit, May will be a much better opportunity to get back into that stuff. I have been exploring Amazon Music more in fact, as I’ve signed up to the Unlimited music package as part of my Prime subscription, and there’s loads to explore there. Makes a change from listening to music on the radio, and is giving me a good opportunity to explore music by artists in more detail when I only know a few of their songs. And I have already downloaded some new music this month, but I’ll mention that when I do my May Favourites.

Conclusion

So that’s all for now. It’s been a very busy month, where I’ve got to meet loads of interesting and wonderful people during a couple of big events, try out more museum accessibility tools, see another fun theatre show, and have some lovely walks. So I’ve done a pretty good variety of things, and I hope you’ve enjoyed reading my posts about them this month. Fingers crossed for more nice weather now that we’re properly into Spring, and I hope you all have a lovely May too!

Author: Glen

Love London, love a laugh, love life. Visually impaired blogger, culture vulture & accessibility advocate, with aniridia & nystagmus, posting about my experiences & adventures.

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