Back On My Feet (Life Update)

It’s fair to say that this past month has been a bit of a write-off. A few things forced me to take a break from blogging for a little while, and prevented me from going out and about the majority of the time. So I apologise for not posting recently, but I just haven’t been in the mindset for it.

I’m getting back into things now though, so I’ll be resuming my regular Favourites posts shortly, along with other posts that I want to publish. The next Favourites post will cover both July and August together, as there’s very little to mention for the latter month.

But this mini update wouldn’t really belong in a Favourites post. As much I like to be positive and share all the good things that I get up to, nobody’s life is perfect, and these past few weeks haven’t been easy. So in this post and video I wanted to quickly let you know what’s been happening, to help bridge the gap in my regular posts, and to put things into context going forward. Specifically, there are 3 things that have had a big impact lately.

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Only Fools And Horses The Musical

Only Fools And Horses surely needs no introduction, certainly for anyone in the UK at least. It is still regularly voted as Britain’s greatest sitcom (which I heartily agree with), it is still constantly repeated on TV, and it still holds the record for the UK’s most watched programme (not counting coverage of special news and sports events, or figures for soap operas that include mid-week repeats, of which there are only a few instances anyway).

It seems hard to believe that 24.35 million people in the UK, over a third of the entire population, were all sat in front of their TVs at the same time on 29 December 1996, to witness Del Boy and Rodney becoming millionaires. And who knows how many others have seen that episode on TV, video, DVD or online since then? It shows just how much affection there is for the characters that such a huge audience wanted to see them finally succeed, and that so many of the fans got upset when they lost their fortune 5 years later. Although it’s logical that Del wouldn’t be a wise investor, the fans still felt bad for him.

And that’s why this year’s launch of Only Fools And Horses The Musical at Theatre Royal Haymarket has proven incredibly popular, and has hopefully helped to introduce some new younger fans to the series. The musical has already had to be extended until next year, given the positive reviews and the high demand for tickets.

So as a big fan of the series myself, I was certainly keen to go. And my wonderful girlfriend Claire knew this without having to ask, so she very kindly booked tickets for us to see the audio-described performance in July, as an early birthday present for me. Which of course means this post isn’t sponsored or endorsed by anybody connected with the TV show or the theatre production. So I wanted to tell you what I thought of the musical, and also take the opportunity to pay tribute to my favourite sitcom.

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June 2019 Favourites

We’ve reached the halfway point in the year, and summer is finally blessing us with decent weather. And I’ve had a very busy month!

Firstly, there have been some disability related developments, most of them positive. In particular, I’ve spoken at a conference, been a guest on a podcast, and I was filmed for another documentary. So my visual impairment led to a few great opportunities in quick succession, I’m happy to say.

On the downside, I’ve finally received the call-up letter to switch from Disability Living Allowance (DLA) to Personal Independence Payments (PIP). This basically means I have to fill out a huge form about how my disability affects me, and then have a face-to-face assessment with a health professional, so the government can decide if I’m entitled to benefit payments. It sounds relatively simple when worded like that, but most disabled people will tell you it’s anything but. So that’s going to be on my mind a lot over the next couple of months at least, and I’m not looking forward to the process. But I’ll let you know how it goes at a later date. I’m not going to bore you with a rant about it in this post!

Thankfully, apart from that, I’ve been able to enjoy the month in many other ways. I went on a lovely weekend break with my girlfriend, I’ve been out in London for more exhibitions and walks, my girlfriend and I enjoyed a new film at the cinema, and I’ve enjoyed new TV shows and music releases at home. So there’s plenty to get through. As always, I’m not sponsored by anyone mentioned here, I’m just sharing these things because I enjoyed them. And I hope you enjoy this month’s post and video!

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Liverpool – My Magical Mystery Tour

Even though I will never tire of all that my home city of London has to offer, I’m also keen to travel and explore other places as well. Yet I’ve never fancied going on holidays by myself. Some people love doing that, and I’m well aware that there are companies that enable visually impaired people to do so. But I much prefer to go away with people I know. It’s much more sociable and fun as well as helpful.

And now I have someone very special to go on adventures with – my girlfriend Claire. The prospect of expanding my geographical horizons and sharing new experiences with her is a lot more exciting and makes things much easier.

So earlier this month, we had our first trip away, to the city of Liverpool. Claire has been there before, but I hadn’t, so I was very much looking forward to it, as it clearly has a lot to see and do. We could only scratch the surface for 2 days of course. but we certainly packed plenty in and really enjoyed it.

So I thought I’d give you an overview of what we saw there. Rest assured this post isn’t sponsored or endorsed by any companies mentioned here. We simply decided to go there ourselves and we paid our own way for everything. I hope you enjoy reading about it!

Update (September 2019): I’ve also been featured in an article by Age UK Mobility, with a few comments about my visit to Royal Albert Dock. Check it out here – What is the most accessible attraction in the UK?. Welcome to my blog if you’ve arrived here from that page!

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May 2019 Favourites

Hello again, and welcome to my latest monthly recap. I’ve been a bit quiet here this past month, and that’s because I had to take a step back while working on a couple of important things – neither of which I can give you a lot of detail about in this post, although I will briefly tease you about them.

A lot of my time was spent preparing for this year’s Aniridia Network Conference. Not only was I going to be capturing photos and video, but I also had to prepare and rehearse a talk of my own, about how I’ve grown in confidence with aniridia. So that was naturally on my mind a lot. The successful event took place on 1 June, and all of the talks were filmed, which I’ll be editing and uploading to the charity’s Youtube channel in the weeks to come. So I’ll share my talk with you at a later date. In the meantime, do also keep an eye out for Aniridia Day on 21 June, which will raise awareness of the condition worldwide, and show your support if you can.

I was also on camera during May itself though, for another exciting reason, because a mini documentary was made about me by a wonderful group of film students. I really enjoyed the experience, and I’m very pleased with how the film’s come out. I’ll tell you all about it in a separate post later, after the video has been published (although there is a sneaky preview in the video relating to this post). It was made for a major disability charity, so I’m waiting to see if they’ll post it first. But I have permission to publish it on my own channel as well, so it’ll end up there in due course. In any case, I’m really looking forward to sharing it with you!

Those events aside, there are still some other bits and pieces I can tell you about in this month’s post and video. As always, I’m not sponsored by anybody mentioned here, nothing has been gifted, and all opinions are my own. So let’s crack on with it, and I hope you enjoy as per usual!

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Doctor Who – Series 11 – Blu-Ray & Soundtrack Review

Recently I finally got around to watching the Doctor Who Blu-rays for Series 11 and the Resolution New Year Special, featuring Jodie Whittaker as the first female Doctor. Of course, I first saw the latest series when it was broadcast last year, along with Resolution at the start of 2019. And I bought the Blu-rays as soon as they were released earlier this year. But as it’s going to be some time before we get the next series on TV, I wanted to save them for a little while before watching them. And now felt like a good time to do it.

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The Big Bang Theory – Finale Review

One of the big things on TV in May was the big finale of The Big Bang Theory. With 279 episodes over 12 seasons, it holds the record for America’s longest running multi-camera sitcom. But now its universe has stopped expanding and we’ve finished unraveling the mysteries, as it’s now come to an end.

I’ve not tended to be a fan of live action American sitcoms in general – I never got into shows like Friends or Frasier for instance – but I’ve always loved Big Bang from the start. It has a great mixture of characters, who have evolved considerably over the years, and there have been many enjoyable storylines, which often appeal to the nerdy side of me. There’s also a bit of drama and emotion among the comedy, which has helped to ground the series in realty, and made the characters very relatable. And overall it’s just been a great laugh. So I was very much hoping that it would get the send-off it deserves.

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