Being visually impaired, one of the things I’m naturally keen to do is get to know other people with sight loss in London now that I’ve moved here. And I’ve already met a few such people individually, and have plans to meet others, so I’ve made a good start. But in this past week I took another important step by meeting up with a local social group for people with sight loss for the first time.
After my Southwark Walk on Good Friday, my Hyde Park walk on Saturday, and a wonderfully lazy Easter Sunday, I finished off the long weekend on Easter Monday (17th April) with a stroll around the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in Stratford, which is very local to me. I actually went there with a friend last year, but we only covered a very tiny area as we didn’t spend a lot of time there. So I wanted to have a more extensive walk around, and that’s what I did on this occasion. And even then I know there are bits I missed, it’s so huge.
Following on from the Southwark Walk I posted about yesterday, the second walk I took over the weekend, on Saturday 15th April, was around Hyde Park. As before, photos from all the walks are on my Instagram, some of which are shared below as well, and there are video clips on my Youtube channel, which are also linked to during this post.
I knew London had lots of parks and garden spaces, but it’s only when looking into them online, to figure out where I might want to go on my wanderings, that I was reminded just how many royal parks, green spaces and lesser known outdoor areas there are (and those links still don’t cover all the possibilities). To have such a variety of beautiful, peaceful, natural areas in and around this big city, where you can relax, stroll and admire the scenery to your heart’s content, is one of the great things about living here.
So I knew I wanted to take in at least one or two of them over the weekend, with the nicer weather coming along. And Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens seemed a natural first choice.
As mentioned in my Springing Into Action post, I didn’t go out and about much during March, due to illness and important things going on at home. But now I’m feeling better, I wanted to make the most of my free time over the Easter weekend, and make good use of my new Freedom Pass (which grants me free travel on the Tube, buses, etc, in London, and on local bus services elsewhere in the UK).
Consequently, of the 4 days from Good Friday to Easter Monday, I spent 3 of them going out for nice long walks (with a lazy Sunday at home in the middle). Photos from all the walks are on my Instagram, and there are video clips are on my Youtube channel.
So in the next few posts, I’m going to summarise the walks I took. And this first one is from Good Friday (14 April), which includes a review of a touring app I tried out.
It’s been a couple of months since I last made a post here. So now that Spring is upon us and the weather is improving, I thought I’d do a bit of a catch-up to let you know how things are going, as I have been busy lately. So this is going to be a long mixture of all sorts of things.
As I noted in my previous post, social isolation is very possible in a busy, vibrant city like London, strange as that may sound to some. When you’re new here and you don’t know anybody, all you see is people going about their everyday business, and it’s easy to just get lost in the crowd and do your own thing. And it is indeed wonderful to do things by yourself sometimes, especially when there are so many places to visit and explore in this wonderful city. But I certainly don’t want to be on my own all the time. And on top of that, being a homeworker, I don’t get to experience the social interaction that I used to in the office. Plus I’m visually impaired, which doesn’t necessarily help matters either.
So I knew I needed to avoid that trap, and not become isolated with just myself for company. This is a fresh start for me in many ways, and making new friends and having new experiences is the most important part of that, as far as I’m concerned. I’m escaping the old routines and starting afresh, so I want to make the most of it as best I can.
I consider myself to be very fortunate to have retained a steady job for 12 years now. For many (far, far too many) disabled people, gaining employment is way more difficult that it needs to be, and attitudes still need to change in many areas. So I do count myself lucky, and I’ve worked hard to keep my position, by doing jobs promptly and to the best of my abilities, and earning the respect of the colleagues and customers that I interact with. And I do like the work, because of the people I share it with, the variety of tasks that I do each day, and the fact that I’ve learned a lot from it over my time there.
Moving to London, however, led me to assume that I would have to ditch that job and get a new one. Not necessarily easy, given that there are so many people in London also looking for work no doubt, coupled with the fact that I have a disability. But I would at least have a good deal of experience to build on and promote myself with. And maybe there would be better opportunities for training and a higher salary with a London-based job. So I was very prepared to go down that route. If it took a little while to find work, so be it. There would be no harm having a change, so it would be worth the effort. But as it turned out, that was one less thing to worry about.