A Spell Of Good Fortune

Today, June 17th, marks my 6-month anniversary as a Londoner already. Half a year living in this great city has flown by, and it only continues to get more interesting and exciting as time goes on, so I haven’t regretted it one little bit. Things here have been keeping me happily occupied for a variety of reasons, which is why I haven’t been writing here frequently. But I wanted to catch-up on some of the things I’ve been doing, and that’s going to need a few posts to get through.

So here I want to talk about a couple of the gaming nights I’ve been on most recently, essentially as a follow-up to the Name Of The Game post I wrote back in April.

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Train Of Thought #AllTheStations

When I was looking ahead to my move to London, I was naturally looking online for various things to do with the city. And on Youtube I quickly fell in love with the videos made by Geoff Marshall and Vicki Pipe, which are a joy to watch (it’s important to stress at I’m not affiliated with them, this is all personal opinion only).

You can see their clips on Londonist and Geoff’s own channel, Geofftech. They’ve made videos about secrets of the Underground, the least used stations in the country, facts about London, vlogs and more. So it’s not just about the railways. But it is a big passion of theirs, so a lot of their videos are related to it in some form.

That may sound boring at first, but Geoff and Vicki aren’t trainspotters, and the videos aren’t specifically aimed at trainspotters. You don’t need to be into trains and railways in a big way to enjoy them. These are accessible, fun and informative videos that aren’t nerdy or patronising. They’re looking more closely at a rail network that millions of us take for granted on a daily basis, and considering the history and features that are unique and unusual to each location. They clearly love what they do, and it shows.

And right now, they’re embarking on their most ambitious project yet, called All The Stations, and it’s the reason behind my latest outing this weekend.

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Meeting Elvis at the Museum & Marathon

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.

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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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Passport Photo Apps

This is a video in which I demonstrate a couple of apps that I’ve used recently to take passport sized photos. I used these to take photos of Mum for a couple of things she needed to apply for – I couldn’t use them on myself, as I can’t see well enough to do a selfie, and there was nobody handy to take a shot of me. So I did use a photo booth for myself, struggling with a monocular to see the screen in there. But for Mum, who is blind, it was worth trying a couple of apps to see what worked.

So the first is Passport Photo, which lets you save an electronic copy of a correctly-sizd photo for sending to someone else or uploading to a website. And the other is Passport & ID Photo, where (for a small fee) the app’s developer will print and cut down the photos and send them back for you. He’ll also check your photo first and, if it’s not quite right, you can have another go at taking them at no extra charge. Both apps worked well and gave us the results we wanted, and in this video you’ll see how they work.

This is not sponsored or endorsed by the app makers, and the opinions expressed are entirely my own. Other passport photo apps are also available, these are just the two I happened to find first. I hope you enjoy it!

 

 

 

Twitter Image Descriptions

This video demonstrates how to activate and use image descriptions on Twitter, from the mobile and desktop sites. These are very important for visually impaired people, as it enables them to understand, enjoy and interact with your content more fully.

More detailed instructions can be found on Twitter’s help page, and I also recommend the videos by Annie Elainey and James Rath explaining the importance of image descriptions.

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