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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.