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.
Last week I had to go up to London for a couple of days, so I took the opportunity to spend a long afternoon exploring Sight Village, an exhibition showcasing products, services and organisations for visually impaired people. Their main show each year is in Birmingham, but they also have roadshows in Leeds, Edinburgh, Glasgow and, in this case, London. So I thought I’d do a write-up bout my visit. Which, fair warning, is quite long! But I’ve added headings throughout to split it up, in case you want to jump to any part in particular. So I hope you find it interesting. 🙂
If you’ve seen my School Days video, you’ll know I used to be a member of a local sports club for disabled people when I was a kid. So, as well as doing sports at school, I would also take part in lots of swimming galas around England, from Darlington in the north, to Plymouth in the south, and lots of other places in between.
There were people with lots of different disabilities at those events, so to try and make things as equal as possible, they would either try and group people with similar conditions together in each event, or the competitors in each race would start at different times (from slowest first, to fastest last), based on their personal best times. The theory being that the finish of each race would be quite close, although often that never really held true.
In any case, I won a lot of medals and a few trophies over those years. And it got to a point where I was offered the chance to train for the national disabled swimming team. But I decided not to take it any further. I wasn’t sufficiently interested or motivated to take it to a more professional level, instead having my sights on things like my exams, university and my career beyond that.
I didn’t even know about the Paralympics back then. If I had been aware of it, and if it had been as widely covered as it is now, and if the right support, coaching and funding had been available, maybe I’d have thought differently, who knows? But at the time, I was more interested in other things. And I don’t regret my decision at all, I’ve been very successful on the route I did take through life. But when you watch the kind of performances that we’ve seen over the last couple of weeks, it’s impossible not to wonder how things could have been, potentially, with the right drive and determination.
I hadn’t heard of the Liebster Award before I started blogging, but it seems to be a fun way of promoting other bloggers. The basic idea is that you answer the questions you’ve been asked, then nominate a few other bloggers and give them some questions to answer. And I’ve been very kindly nominated by The Invisible Vision Project – thank you so much! 🙂 They’ve also nominated Nataemily and Blind Moving On, whose blogs I also recommend checking out.
So here are my answers to the questions I’ve been asked, followed by my questions for the bloggers I nominate at the end.
This is an idea I’ve seen elsewhere that I thought might be fun to do, so you can find out a bit more about me. A few of these facts you’ll know from elsewhere in my blog, but most I’ve never mentioned here before.