Hello again, hope you’re all doing well. May has been a mixed month for me health-wise, though the good outweighs the bad, especially now I’ve had both my Covid vaccinations and restrictions have been eased further. And in terms of entertainment I’m focusing more on paid streaming services again, having found my way out of the Youtube wormholes I happily got sucked into during the depths of lockdown, though there are still occasional things grabbing my attention there too of course.
So there are various things to mention as usual, none of which is sponsored or gifted, and I hope you enjoy this latest post and video roundup!
Merry Christmas! 🎄🎅 It’s a strange one for us all this year, and will be very difficult for many, but I hope you’re able to find some happiness, comfort and support, and can immerse yourself in things that you enjoy.
Throughout this month I took part in Accessible Advent on social media, created by Ginny Butcher, where each day I highlighted something that would make life more accessible for me and other visually impaired people. So I thought I’d share the full list here as well. I hope you find it interesting and useful!
I still find it very humbling and flattering that so many people have taken an interest in my adventures over the past few years, whether it be reading my blog, watching my videos, or seeing me speak at events. I’m very grateful to everyone for the support and encouragement, and I wouldn’t be doing this if nobody cared, so thank you.
I never imagined that I’d have a documentary made about me though. Yet that’s exactly what happened for the first time a few months ago. It was an exciting experience and I’m delighted with how it turned out.
I’ve held it back until now for various reasons. Firstly, whilst I have permission to post it regardless, I wanted to give a bit of space for its creators and sponsors, including a major charity, to publish it first if they so wished. But I also had a few things distracting me over the summer too, as regular followers will know, which has further delayed it.
But now’s a good time to release it, as it ties in nicely with the recent publication of my Aniridia Network Conference talk – Growing In Confidence With Aniridia – which was filmed shortly after the documentary was completed. Soon after that I was also in a second documentary – See Differently by Yiwen Feng – which featured myself and others. You can find out more about my speech and that other film in my June Favourites. I was certainly getting my 15 minutes of fame around that time!
In this post, therefore, I want to share my first ever documentary with you, and give a behind-the-scenes insight into how it all came together. I hope you enjoy it, and please do share the film around on social media.
So without any further ado, I present my documentary debut – What Is Normal?
I feel very comfortable using the public transport in London, and generally have no problems getting around on it. I always plan my journeys as best I can, and feel confident travelling around the city by myself, because I find the public transport in London to be very accessible.
There is a Transport for London Accessibility Page giving lots of information to help you access public transport in the city. It’s well worth looking through everything there, even if you think you’re very familiar with the transport system, because you may well discover something you didn’t know about. There’s a recent article about accessibility that TfL have published as well.
But there is still lots of room for improvement, so TfL are constantly making efforts to improve accessibility, within the limits of funding and other resources available to them. And with that in mind, they held their Access All Areas event at ExCel London in March, to highlight the current accessibility options and services that are available, and to share future developments. It’s a great opportunity to hear from decision makers and engineers, and get to know a variety of organisations.
So I decided to go along and check it out, because it sounded very interesting. Plus it was free to attend, and just a short bus ride from my house. So in this post I want to show you some of the things I discovered there. I hope you enjoy reading about it.
Note: I am not sponsored by TfL or any of the other organisations mentioned here, and have received no incentives to mention them. I just want to tell you about what I saw at the event, and make you aware of things you might find useful. So all opinions are my own.
This was my second time going to this event, following my experience last year when I gave my first public talk. So this year was much more relaxed, because I didn’t have to do anything! And it was a wonderful day, so I thought I’d give an overview of how it went.
For this post, I thought I’d do something a bit like the TV show Room 101 (where celebrities nominate their pet hates to be locked away forever). It’s named after the torture chamber in George Orwell’s novel 1984, which is said to contain “the worst thing in the world”. We also had a Room 101 at my college which was rather memorable, because it was the examinations office! So that felt both appropriate and ominous!
So I wanted to do a post along those lines, using it as an excuse to list some things that frustrate or irritate me because I have a visual impairment. I’ve also made a Youtube video to accompany it. It’s not at all intended to be offensive or to upset anyone, and I’m not a negative or moaning person. I’m actually very positive, as I’ve hopefully conveyed throughout this blog. But it’s nice to get some things off your chest now and again, and to try and spread a bit of awareness in the process.
So here are 10 things that frustrate me as a visually impaired person, which either affect me directly or have an impact on my friends and family. I could think of more, but this is plenty. If you’ve done any of these things, please don’t feel bad about them. We all make mistakes without meaning to, that’s life and that’s fine. All I ask is that you take it on board for future reference.
In this post and video I want to talk about guide dogs and assistance dogs, in support of Guide Dogs Week (1st-9th October). They are amazing and beautiful animals who make such a huge difference to their owners, and they should be treated with the utmost respect, without any discrimination. I’ve also published an extended cut of the guide dog footage i’ve used in the video, which you can see by clicking here.
I don’t have a guide dog, because I can see well enough not to need one. But I have many friends who do use them, and I would certainly consider applying for one if my sight ever deteriorated to a level where it might be useful. They are the most beautiful and amazing animals, and I have a lot of respect and admiration for them, and for those who train and use them. They aren’t just pets, they’re a real lifeline to their owners, enabling so much freedom and independence.
And yet, sadly, there are still people out there who don’t understand or respect guide dogs or the blind people who need them – something which has, yet again, become clear in the past few days.
Welcome to another set of journal entires. There wasn’t anything to mention in the first half of this birthday month, but during the last couple of weeks I’ve had fun staying with a mate in Portsmouth as well as seeing some friends in Exeter, so there’s plenty to mention about all of that. And while in Portsmouth I also captured some photos and video footage on my Nokia 6303 phone, so I’ve included some of that here too. I hope you enjoy!