May 2018 Favourites

May was a lovely month. The weather’s been gorgeous lately, for the most part, and with no major events going on it’s been quite a relaxing few weeks .But there are still various bits and pieces I’ve enjoyed, and want to mention in this latest post and video update. So I hope you find this interesting.

To start with though, I just quickly want to plug a couple of upcoming events in June that will interest some of you. They’re for people all over the world to join in with, not just the UK. The more the merrier really, as it will help to spread vital awareness in both cases.

Sue Ricketts talking to a lady at the Nystagmus Network table ,with a tall poster next to it giving details of the charity.June 20th will be Nystagmus Awareness Day, which is its new permanent date, having moved from November. This year’s theme is Nystagmus In The Open, where people are being encouraged to do outdoor activities to raise funds and generate awareness. Sue, who runs the Nystagmus Network, is opening her garden for people to visit, for instance. People are also being invited to submit their stories online to show how amazing people with nystagmus are.

The Aniridia Day logo is a cartoon style image of the Earth, wearing sunglasses, smiling and giving a double thumbs up. Curving over the top, in yellow text with black outline, are the words “Aniridia Day”. Below the Earth in bold black text is 21 June, and below that the address for aniridiaday.org.June 21st will then be Aniridia Day. This is the second time it’s been held, as it was a big success last year. This year’s awareness campaign is called Aniridia Sight, where we want people with aniridia to share a photo or video of a scene, and describe how they see it through their eyes. So the more people that get involved, the more we can show how varied the vision of people with aniridia is. And then there will hopefully be live webinars too, for people to discuss aniridia related topics e.g. doctors, researchers, people with aniridia, etc. If you’d be interested in doing a webinar on the day, please fill out the form to sign up.

So now that’s out of the way, let me tell you what I’ve been up to in May.

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Harry Potter & The Night Bus

During the past week I’ve been on a couple of very enjoyable tours, including my first bus tour here in London. There are no spoilers here, as I don’t want to give away any surprises. I just wanted to write a little review of each tour, as I do recommend going on them.

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Fashioneyesta & The Five Murders

Although the Open House VocalEyes tours I did last weekend were great fun, the highlight of the weekend came on Sunday evening, when I got to meet the exquisite Emily Davison from Fashioneyesta for the second time. If you missed it, our first meeting was at Knole Park on the August Bank Holiday Monday (which Emily vlogged as well).

This time, the plan was to have something to eat and then go on a Jack The Ripper walking tour. And we had a lovely time.

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Open House Tours

Last weekend was the Open House London weekend, where hundreds of buildings across the capital opened their doors for free for the public to look around and take part in talks and tours. These include many places that you might never have heard of or never considered visiting before. Some of the places also do tours during the rest of the year, but you may have to pay for them, whereas on this weekend they’re free. And some places may rarely grant public access at all, so this may be the only opportunity you get to look around. So it’s a great initiative that’s been running for 25 years now, and the volunteers who help to make it happen deserve thanks and praise for their work.

As part of this event, the team at VocalEyes arranged special audio described tours of 4 different buildings for visually impaired people. I went on 3 of them (I didn’t do the 4th as I had something else planned). It was my first time going to an Open House weekend, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. So I’ll definitely be keeping an eye out for it next year. So here’s my summary of the tours I went on.

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Audio Description – My First Experiences

In this post and video I’m going to discuss my first experiences with audio description in London, for museums, galleries, theatre shows, cinema screenings and walking tours.

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Hyde Park Walk

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.

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Southwark Walk

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.

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