Christmas 2020 Favourites

Happy New Year! Well, as happy as it can be in the circumstances. Let’s face it, 2020 is the year that nobody wants to look back at. Referring to perfect vision as 20/20 will forever carry a certain irony with it now. And if you were to try and sum up the year with a word or phrase, there isn’t much that’s family-friendly that truly does it justice – other than dumpster fire perhaps, which I’ve seen a lot of people use very accurately.

But I did manage to find plenty to keep me occupied, as you can see from my many Favourites posts during the year. The major highlights for me were definitely being interviewed on the BBC’s In Touch programme, taking part in the CXcon Accessibility Panel Discussion, and being able to see at least a couple of my friends after such a long period apart. I also started publishing my old journal posts to fill the gap left by my lack of activity, which have had a surprising amount of interest, and my very in-depth reviews of Queen’s albums for their 50th anniversary. Both of those projects will continue to keep me busy on my blog throughout 2021.

Granted, 2021 hasn’t started off any better, but that’s because we’re still experiencing the fallout from the damage caused by its unruly predecessor. 2021 has its work cut out trying to repair that, and it will undoubtedly require the assistance of 2022 and beyond to achieve it. However, 2021 is giving us a lot of reason to be hopeful, so there is definitely light at the end of this long, dark tunnel we’ve all been stuck in.

But I need to wrap up 2020 nevertheless. It was a strange and difficult Christmas without a doubt, not the sort any of us wanted, and it’s going to be a hard winter for many, especially now we’re in lockdown again. There’s a big ray of hope with the rollout of the vaccines though, so the future’s looking good, and many thanks to all the health workers who are doing their utmost to dish them out as quickly as possible.

My thoughts also go to everyone in America after the recent terror attack amid the fallout from Trump’s defeat. Biden’s inauguration on January 20th can’t come soon enough. Best wishes from across the pond, stay safe!

Those challenges aside, however, I hope you were able to find some enjoyment and comfort during the festive period, insofar as the rules allowed in your part of the world.

Mum and I are doing fine, I’m pleased to say. We’ve enjoyed lots of nice treats, and have had plenty of fun things to watch and listen to, all of which has been a welcome distraction from the news. I continued to have a few long walks around my local area during December as well, as that was the only way I could get out and about, so it was important to make the most of it. Mum’s had a bit of fresh air too of course, but doesn’t go on the long hikes like I do, and we’ve made sure she stays well away from other people apart from her sister (and even then they keep their distance at the front door, she hasn’t been in the house).

So we did pretty well this Christmas despite the limitations, and here’s my festive post and video to round things up. I’m not going to mention absolutely everything we filled our stomachs with, or every little bit of entertainment we watched or listened to. I’m just going mention my favourite things, as is the purpose of these posts. Nothing here is sponsored as usual, and any gifts are just from friends, not the people behind the products. So I hope you enjoy!

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August 2020 Favourites

Hello again. Hope you’re all keeping well and have been enjoying the summer safely. Thank you for the many birthday wishes too, they were much appreciated. I went out to celebrate the occasion, and bought a few things to treat myself, which I’ll mention during this post.

Apart from that, I’ve been out for a few walks, and have continued to keep myself occupied and entertained in various ways at home. So as always there’s plenty to mention for the month in this latest post and video, none of which is sponsored or gifted. I hope you enjoy!

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Lockdown Favourites – Weeks 9-12

Hello again, I hope you’re continuing to keep safe and well. It’s been a strange few weeks for me. It started with the loss of my uncle over the Bank Holiday weekend, although fortunately he didn’t have the virus, and my mother and I are hoping to go to the funeral to support my aunt if the rules allow. And then of course we’ve had the Dominic Cummings scandal, which I’m not going to rant about, suffice to say there’s been a major misjudgement of the public mood by him and the government, they’ve lost a lot of trust and goodwill.

On the plus side, however, our lockdown has been eased in various ways, including the re-opening of non-essential shops, the compulsory use of face coverings on public transport, and the partial re-opening of schools. But many scientists feel too much is being done too soon – and if the experts are wary then so am I, because I trust their judgement the most. So I’m happy to continue staying locked down, because I have no compelling reason to go out anyway, and my priority is still protecting Mum by not bringing the virus home.

Best wishes to my friends and followers in the USA as well, all our thoughts are with you right now. Black Lives Matter, and those taking advantage of peaceful protests to cause destruction and misery have no respect for peace and equality. I sincerely hope that stability and civility is restored very soon. We should all be pulling together at all times, but it’s more important than ever during this pandemic.

Anyway, apart from all that, I’m doing fine and have been quite productive, and I’ve continued to find lots of pleasant distractions. So let’s get into my latest post about what I’ve been enjoying, and there are accompanying videos for week 9, week 10 and weeks 11-12. Apart from the Def Leppard box set noted in the music section, nothing else is sponsored or gifted here, and all opinions are my own. So I hope you find it interesting!

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Lockdown Favourites – Weeks 1-4

Hello there. I hope you’re all keepinng safe and well, and that you had a nice break over Easter, with plenty of chocolate goodies or whatever you like to indulge on.

I think we’ve all earned a few treats at the moment, given that things have felt very strange since we went into lockdown on 23 March. Like everybody else, I was very anxious about the situation at first, and it’s still going to be a concern for a while, because all of the changes to our lives are a lot to get used to. But I know that we’re doing it for the right reasons, to save lives.

I do also feel that my mother and I have been adjusting as well as can be expected, we feel relatively relaxed at the moment. It also helps that I’m not checking news and social media updates as often as I was initially, and I’ve muted certain phrases and blocked various accounts to make browsing social media a calmer experience. Things like that certainly make a big difference to one’s mindset.

I’m already a homeworker too, so that’s made things easier. Although, as it happened, I didn’t fully go back to work straightaway, because by chance I had already booked the first 2 weeks of lockdown off to use up my annual leave quota (after an illness last year meant I couldn’t use as much holiday as I’d hoped). Granted, I couldn’t use that holiday time to go anywhere nice, except the local park, but the time was very useful to ensure that Mum and I were stocked up and could start settling into this temporary new way of living. So it’s only been the last couple of weeks that I’ve started getting into a proper routine again (and even then Easter ensured that I had 2 four-day weeks).

But of course, many people have far more important, difficult and stressful jobs than I do. So if you’re a key worker – including employees and volunteers in the health service, social care, retail sectors and local authorities, among many others – then thank you!

It’s a very uncertain time, and we don’t know how long this will last, but I want to keep myself occupied as best I can. There are certainly lots of options for things to do – and if you need any ideas, check out my special Lockdown Resources page – so I’ll try my best not to get bored. Indeed, it feels like time is moving more quickly again, after the month of March felt like a year. Maybe it’s because I was already used to homeworking and spending a lot of time at home, and because I’m finding plenty of ways to stay busy and entertained.

So with that in mind, here’s my first lockdown post about the things that have been keeping me occupied. There are 3 videos to go with this – for weeks 1-2, week 3 & week 4 – because with more free time I’ve been able to produce videos a bit more frequently, at least for a little while. So I hope you enjoy looking through this selection.

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My Favourite Childhood TV – Part 3 – Other Shows

Welcome to the third and final part of my posts looking back at my favourite childhood TV shows. In previous parts I looked at animations and game shows, and thank you for the kind feedback on them already.

For this post I’m going to share a random mixture of 30 other shows that I also enjoyed during my youth up to the age of 18. This doesn’t include things like sitcoms that I already own in my DVD & Blu-ray collection, but I do mention one or two other shows that I have DVDs for as you’ll see. There are also DVDs available of some of the other programmes in this list, although I haven’t mentioned them here in most cases.

As before, you can find out more about the programmes by going to the Wikipedia articles and websites I’ve linked to, and searching for other details online. It’s amazing how much information is out there about all of these old shows, the internet’s great for ensuring we don’t forget these pleasures of our past. I’ve been getting sucked into a lot of the Youtube videos I’ve found while compiling this list, and have had to avoid the temptation of watching too many, otherwise I’d never get these posts finished!

So let’s crack on with it. I hope you enjoy looking through this list and it generates further memories for you.

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My Favourite Childhood TV – Part 2 – Game Shows

Welcome to the second part of my nostalgic look back at TV programmes I enjoyed during my childhood. In the previous post I looked at shows involving animation and puppetry, and now for this post I want to explore my top 40 game shows, again covering the period of my life up to the age of 18.

I enjoyed keeping my brain busy as a child, often with my nose buried in puzzle books, especially when travelling, so I enjoyed word games and quizzes. But I also adored the many game shows for children where they got to play silly and messy games, and I often wished I could be on them. As I was rather a shy, quiet, well-behaved child (yes, I was a good boy most of the time, honest!), it was a great form of escapism and excitement.

Of course, this is just a summary look at the shows I enjoyed, so I haven’t gone into detail about the history of each one, how the formats were sold between countries, all of the revivals that have taken place, any DVD releases that a few of the shows have had, and so on. And I haven’t listed any programmes that I already have on DVD or Blu-ray either. The occasional mention of such details will come up here and there, but ultimately you can find out more about the shows at the Wikipedia articles, websites and videos I’ve linked to below, and you can do further searching online if you wish.

So I hope you find this second part interesting, and that it brings back more fond memories for you like it has for me.

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August 2017 Favourites

Hi there, welcome to my next update! My birthday month has been marked by a number of special outings, including my first meeting with one of my favourite Youtubers, my first audio description experiences at a theatre and a cinema, my first visits to a few places outside London, a park outing with a visually impaired social group, a music pub quiz, some talking statues, and a couple of other walks too. So yet again there’s a lot to cover here, with lots of photos and video footage accompanying it, and I hope you enjoy!

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My Favourite Computer Games

One of the programmes I’ve been enjoying on TV recently is Dara Ó Briain’s Go 8 Bit, a comedy game show where celebrities compete against each other on a variety of video games, both old and new. It’s great fun, and it’s got me thinking about some of the games I used to play when I was younger. So I figured it would be a good excuse to wallow in the nostalgia by writing a post about them.

These days I spend more than enough time on computers as it is – as part of my job all day, and then doing other things in my spare time like going on social media, blogging, watching videos, etc – plus I go out and about a lot too. So I’m not big into gaming as well, as I just don’t have the time, money or inclination for it. And the friends I have aren’t big gamers either.

That’s not to say I wouldn’t play modern games though. I would gladly give them a go if I had the opportunity, and I’d love to try Virtual Reality out of curiosity, as it would be interesting to see how accessible and immersive such experiences are these days, especially for someone with sight loss like myself. After all, it doesn’t matter how amazing the visuals or audio or storyline are, it can still be an awful game if the menus are tricky to navigate, text instructions and subtitles are hard to read, the controls are a nightmare, or it’s impossible to see what you’re supposed to be doing.

But thankfully there were many games that I was able to enjoy when I was younger, despite not having perfect vision, ranging from very basic PC programs to heavily detailed console titles. So I hope you enjoy reading about them here, and feel free to comment with your own favourites!

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July 2017 Favourites

Hello again, hope you’re doing well! This has been another busy and very enjoyable month, most significantly including my first experiences of audio described museum tours, along with more social events, festivals and some other nice walks. So I hope you enjoy this latest roundup!

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June 2017 Favourites

Hi there, welcome back to the next instalment of my monthly updates. It’s hard to believe that it was the 6-month anniversary of my move to London in June, that’s certainly flown by!

Of course, I appreciate that this month is one that some people would rather forget, given the despicable attack on London Bridge and the devastating Grenfell Tower fire, and my thoughts go out to everyone affected by those terrible events.

But for me, I’ve happily continued with my explorations of London, taking advantage of the glorious weather to walk around a lot of different places, capturing lots of photos and videos along the way, as well as celebrating Aniridia Day, seeing TV shows being recorded and socialising with friends! Hence this is a very busy post, and I hope you enjoy it all!

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