Friday, 13 August 2010


I'm going to talk a little more about the deaf side of Ushers. It's something that we, (from now on assume that 'we' means those of us with Ushers!), don't really talk about much.

So why don't we? Because we're ashamed? Because it's too big a subject to our heads around? Because we don't know how to articulate what it's like to be deaf?

I don't think so, and having spoken to others who have Ushers, Type 2 at least, I think I might have an idea why.

It's because we were born deaf. Well..... Partially deaf. The Deaf world is a funny one with the labels it gives people. But thats something I'll talk about a bit later!

So, born partially deaf, hearing aids from a very young age, speech therapy, the ability to lip read, the saying 'Sorry, I can't hear you, let me turn on the light/put on my glasses!', the ability to 'read' body language far better than hearing people, mishearing things people say and either being really embarrassed or having a right old giggle about it, ignoring people if they're just behind you..... It's endless!!

But unlike the sight, it really doesn't feel like an issue for me. Being deaf is me, it's a massive part of who I am, it's formed my charactor, my personality and I suppose my stuborn nature!

One of my favourite things to do is to listen to music without my hearing aids in. Just have the music on, and feel the music through the floor, or through the chair. It's actually really really relaxing!!

I like that I can just ignore someone irritating if I choose to, and then say 'Oh I AM sorry, didn't hear you darlin'!!'

There are bloody annoying times with the deafness..... Like those who actually tell you that you are NOT deaf, 'Hmmm, I wearing these hearing aids as a fashion statement do I???'

Or those who when you ask them to speak clearly either start shouting or just over exaggerating the way they speak. Shouting doesn't make it clearer, and taaaaaaaaaalllllllllllllkinnnnnnnnng liiiiiiiiiiiiikkkkkke thiiiiiiiiiiiiiiis certainly doesn't make it clearer!!

However, if someone were to turn around tomorrow and say 'At the flick of my wrist, I can give you hearing, proper hearing with no hearing aids!!'

I'd say straight away, with no thought 'No thanks!!'

Thursday, 22 July 2010

Canadian Nuns!

I thought it was about time I wrote a little something about the deafness side of Usher Syndrome. So here is a little tale from the deaf side.....!

Years ago, there was a knock at my front door, I opened it and there stood two Nuns..... It sounds like the start of a bad joke doesn't it??

I can assure you that the following really happened, I don't have the imagination required to make up something as surreal!

So... Two Nuns on my doorstop, me holding the door open with my mouth ever so slightly agape!

'We're from Canada!!' One exclaimed.

There was a slight pause and I realised that I was expected to say something,

'That's.... Nice.....!'

I continued to stare at them as they stared back at me. For me it was beginning to feel a tad akward.

See I'm not a religious person, I don't go to Church, I don't pray, I don't believe in God, Jesus, Allah, Heaven or Hell or any of the other stuff religion likes to preach.

I do celebrate Christmas, but for me that's about family, spending time with them, telling bad cracker jokes, eating with them and just enjoying each other... For me, there's no religious aspect to it at all!

As a result, I've never really had ANY interaction with any of the faiths, so to have Nuns on my doorstop really threw me off balance!!

'Erm.... Can I help you at all?'

'Yes!!' Big grins from the pair of them, 'We understand that a deaf person lives here?'

Now my mind felt like it was going to explode!! Nuns on my doorstep who knew that I lived there???!!! How the hell would they know that??? Maybe there was a God and he had told them?? Maybe I'd got this religion malarky all wrong!!

'Err..... Yeah..... That would be me.'

'Oh no,' one of them said, 'you're not deaf.'

'Pardon??' (see what I did there???)

'You're not deaf' she said, I don't think she got the irony of having to repeat what she said! 'You see, we've come over all the way from Canada to help the deaf community in the UK hear the word of the Lord.' Again two massive big grins. 'So could we speak to the deaf person? We've been learning sign language especially!'

By now I was internally feeling a little bit freaked out. It felt a bit sinister. It was dusk. There were two Nuns grinning at me almost manically demanding to speak to a deaf person and not believing it was me!

'Seriously, I'm that deaf person.....' and pointed to my hearing aids.

They looked really puzzled. 'It's just that... We were told that a deaf person lived here'.

'Yes... ME!! And WHO told you this??'

'Oh we can't tell you that.' Big grins.

WTF...... Am I on some kind of religious deaf list??

'So, you're the deaf person?'


'Can we talk to you, about God and Jesus?'

I didn't want to be rude, after all they'd come all the way from Canada, and learnt sign language, so I just said,'There's not much point really, I don't believe in God, and there isn't much you could say that will change my views.'

Yet another big grin from the two of them.... 'Yes, because you're deaf and can't hear the Lords voice, and we're here to help you.'

I stared at them again..... Feeling a tad annoyed that they would say something like that to me.

And then the normal me came back, it was like I had arisen from the cave and realised what was going on!

'I find that quite an insulting statement to make actually, I'm not non-religious because I can't hear all that well. I'm a non believer because I have the intelligence to make up my own mind, and not be brainwashed into believing something that, which lets be honest, is 99.99% certain to be a myth!'

It was their turn to stare at me with their mouths hanging open. I stared back at them for a few more seconds and then quietly closed the door. Went back into the front room and sat down, 'Who was that?' asked my brother,

'A couple of Nuns' I replied.

I would like to add, that although I personally have no religious beliefs I respect the beliefs of others... I just don't like it when people, or Nuns, try to make me believe!!

Thursday, 24 June 2010

Guide Dogs, Part Two.

Like many people, I'd always assumed that Guide Dogs were for those who were or are completely blind. Something I would never think about as I had been told that I would always have some vision!

I couldn't but feel a bit confused when a lady I've befriended on Facebook, with the same Ushers as me and who as far as I knew had some sight, had a Guide Dog!

So I got in touch with her and was basically very nosey! Asking her what field of vision she has, at what point she was entitled to a dog, how she found having a dog, why she had decided to get one etc!!

She was really kind and answered all my questions and told me that in fact there are no criteria for getting a dog, (you have to have a visual impairment obviously!), and that she had found a new lease of life when she first got her dog!

She encouraged me to at least looking into getting a dog, and said it would change my life!!

So I spent the next few days reading the Guide Dog UK website, talking to various friends and family about it and ringing the number to make an appointment but hanging up before it had even rung! As far as I was, and am concerned, this is a MASSIVE decision. It's me saying to myself, 'right Usherchic2, you need some sort of help.' And for me..... Admitting this does NOT come easily!!

Eventually I rang, let the phone ring, let the other end answer and said while shaking like a leaf.......

'Hello, I'm calling about applying for a Guide Dog.......'

An appointment was made for someone to come out and see me, and now the ball was well and truly rolling!!!!!

I asked my brother to come along, for both moral support, and to have someone there to hear the bits I might not hear or just plain forget!

Me, my brother, the lady doing the assessment (Dee), her trainee (Dave) and his guide dog! My brother and I instantly fell in love with the dog, he came in with his big brown eyes, waited for his owner to tell him to sit down and just sat down with a massive sigh, as if to say 'thank god for that!!'

For the next three hours, we talked, about when I was diagnosed, how my life had been effected, why I felt a dog would benefit me, what a guide dog actually does, about my road, how I felt my world had become smaller, and god knows what else. Dave also spoke about his experiences, how having a dog had improved his life.

After all this they told me that I seemed like an ideal person for a dog! (EEEK!!!!!) We made a further appointment to go for a walk, so they can get an idea of the way I walk, and what kind of dog would be most suited to me.

I really like/d both of these people who came into my home and spoke to me about the life changing experience I am about to embark on.

Dee is someone who can chat for England, she obviously REALLY knows her stuff, she's sympathetic and empathises without a hint of patronisation, (I'm not sure if that's actually a word, but you get the gist!).

Dave is a man who it seems can chat for Wales! A huge presence, and bucket loads of dignity. He told me never to lose mine, as it's something no one can ever take away from me. It really struck me and I hope that I will keep hold of those words.

After they left, David and I sat on the settee, had a fag, chatted about all that had been said, and then went to get some chips!!

Thursday, 17 June 2010

Guide Dogs, Part One.

I'm getting one. It's a massive step for me, and a sign I think, that I'm finally realising AND accepting that I need extra help..... Those who know me will know what a big thing it is for me to think this about myself.

I'm very independent, and find it really hard to ask for help. Stubborn as well, which again, doesn't help much with the hole 'I can do it myself' attitude.

Loosing your sight takes a massive chunk of the independentness... It sometimes makes you think 'Do you know what..... I'm not going to do such and such, or go to here or there'. Because what should be an enjoyable thing, going to the pub, going to a museum, going to a party, whatever it is..... Can become stressful and totally unenjoyable before you've even got there!!

For instance, just stepping out of my front door to walk down to the train station no more than fives minutes away can be a trail. If it's really sunny, it's hard work. The glare from the sun, even when wearing sunglasses, makes it so everything becomes hazy and glarey. Think of really over exposed photo's, where everything looks really washed out and even ghost like. But add the fact its BRIGHT. The amount of people I've walked into because I've not seen them is countless! It's also embarrassing. People think you're ignorant, rude, stupid..... I'm none of those things!

When it's overcast, it's hard work. Everything becomes duller, you don't necessarily see where the curb is. Curbs and roads are quite similar in colour, and unless you intently stare at the floor, you don't always clock it/them. Stubbed toes, jarred hips and knees can be quite painful. And again, it's something I do all the time!

If it's raining, it's hard work.

If it's drizzling, it's hard work.

If it's snowing, it's hard work.

It's not only the fact that I have really limited vision in the degrees. My eyes take a few minutes to adjust from coming from outside to inside, from inside to outside, from one room to another, even getting onto a train or a bus takes my eyes a few minutes to adjust to the difference to the lighting.

There's also the fact I get bursts of white lights and black spots... You know when someone takes a picture of you with the flash on and you go 'eurgh!!!!!' I get that ALL the time! Not continuously, but it's always there, and there's no rhyme or reason as to when it'll happen either!

It's tiring... It's knackering.... It brings on migranes...

Because my brain is going at 140mph, I'm constantly scanning, the floor, to my sides, up ahead, back to the sides, the floor, the sides, up ahead, the floor and so on and so on and so on and so on and so on and so on.

Plus, I don't hear people coming up behind me. The shock of someone suddenly appearing from nowhere is massive.

Sometimes I feel like I'm on a constant adrenaline rush..... Again, its knackering!

And as I've said before, you can't see my disability, and therefore I look 'normal'. As a result, people don't make allowances for me, don't give me the space I need more than most people.

So sometimes I'll think..... 'I'm not gonna go, I'm gonna sit in and watch a DVD!'

I hate thinking like that. I hate that I might have missed out on something really fun. I hate that people might think I'm a boring fecker. And I hate that one day people might stop asking to things!!

So I'm in the process of getting a Guide Dog. I'll tell you more about that in the next instalment!

Monday, 14 June 2010


When people find out that I have Usher Syndrome, or more importantly realise what Usher Syndrome actually is they more often than not tell me that I'm brave. Or that they couldn't imagine having to deal with it. That they would most likely not be able to carry on. That I'm an inspiration. That I must be incredibly strong. That I'm a special person. And the most odd one.... For me at least, that I must be a 'good' person.

When people say, email, text, facebook, MSN etc these to me, I find myself feeling really uncomfortable. Because I am not any of these things, not really, not especially. I'm actually a fairly ordinary, average person!

I'm not brave, I sometimes still feel like someone has punched me full whack in the tummy and winded me when I think about it. I still think to myself that it's REALLY unfair. Although I wouldn't wish this on my biggest enemy, I wish it was someone else who has it, not me. To me, this isn't brave, it isn't cowardness, but it's certainly not brave either!

I've met a young adult, not quite sixteen years old, who has Ushers Syndrome. She's brave. she puts herself out there, telling people about her Ushers, gives talks in front of numerous people and doesn't falter in getting her view of the world across!

When people say they don't think they could cope, I think to myself 'You would..... Because, well, because you have to!' You find out you've got something, you don't just give up on the world. The world, your world doesn't just fall away. It becomes different yes. But your friends are still there. Your family are still there. Music is still there. The news is still there. Ashes to Ashes is still there. Your favourite meal is still there. Dog poop on the pavement is still there. Day trips to the seaside are still there. Holidays are still there. Death is still there. Your cat is still there.

You see, the world in general doesn't change. It's still there, offering you the mundane, the amazing, the horrors, the highs, the lows, the laughs and all it has to offer. There are days when you think, 'it's crap, it's horrible, I hate it.' You wouldn't be human if you didn't, but more often than not, it's actually pretty bloody good!

Those who think I'm special, or automatically a 'good' person, couldn't be more wrong! My Mum thinks I'm special, but she'd think that regardless, she's biased, she's my Mum, it's allowed! But I'm no more special than the next person. People deal with far worst than I do. Person work far harder than I to try and make the world a better place. In that sense, I'm actually quite a selfish being!

And as for being 'good'..... Well, I was brought up well. I don't intentionally hurt people. I'm polite, I have morals and ethics, I smile at people on the street, I watch the news and feel a slight sense of despair at what goes on. But I don't actively fight a cause for the greater good, I've picked up money on the street and pocketed it, I've thought that someone deserves their rough justice for whatever it is they've done wrong!

So just because I have this condition, it doesn't make me better than the next person.

I'm flawed, simple, complexed, staintly, wrong, right, self aware, self involved, stubborn, passive, assertive and as many other opposits you can think up!

Just like you, and you..... And you, you, you, and you!

Friday, 14 May 2010

Thank you.

Well.... I've not written for a few weeks, and can blame nothing other than my lax behaviour!

There's been a lot going on, and lots of exciting developments, but I'm not going to talk to about them this week, they're to be saved for the next instalment.

This week I want to pay tribute to my friends and family.

I started this as a way of talking about me and my journey through coming to grips with what I have, Ushers Syndrome. The cheapest form of therapy if you will......

Don't get me wrong, it's still all about me! But thinking about what to write, getting feedback from complete strangers and from those closest to me has made me realise that this doesn't effect just me.

Forcing myself to think about how things effect me, in turn forces me to think about how it effects those close to me.

I have an amazing group of very close, very dear friends to me. Your ability to talk absolute crap or to listen to me rant, or whinge or just listen to me be a bit down in the dumps is invaluable. I love that you keep me grounded and still moan at me about whatever's going on in your lives. Or share the exciting things that are going on. To not let what I have define me, to accept that it's a part of who I am, that I am still who I was before I found out about Ushers.

In no particular order, Jayne, Jo, Luke, Claire, Whitney, Mike, Stephan, Nisha, Agi, Elly, thank you for being the best a gal could ask for from friends!

My oldest friend..... Who probably knows me better than I know myself... Sam, thank you for letting me cry on your shoulder, for making me laugh, for getting me inexcusably drunk when I need it most, for letting me bare my deepest darkest thoughts and never judging me and for never letting me feel too sorry for myself!

My family.....My Nana, who will probably never read this, for her undying belief that at some point there will be a cure and for constantly worrying about me walking or being out in the dark!

My Aunt, for all those lunches or general meets for no reason what so ever and who has an unshakable belief that I'm going to fine come what may.

My Uncle, Pete, my fellow drinker in the family :-D who has listened in an amazing way for someone who talks so much! My strongest older male role model. Pete, I don't, and haven't for many years thought of you as my Aunts husband. You're MY Uncle!

And then the two most important people.... My Mum, Trish, and my brother David. I don't think I can ever put into words how much your love and support over the past few years has meant to me. I've kicked out at you two emotionally. I've cried at you two. I've laughed with you two. I've sat in silence with you two. I've leant on you two. You two have listened to me. You two have just been there. I've taken so much more from you two than I've ever given. And you two have never complained, never got narky, never told me to feck off and most importantly have silently been there for me.

David, you're a gentleman, a gentle soul and someone I try to be like most of the time..... Annoying at times, but I guess that's a little brothers duty eh???

Mum, you're the best Mum in the world.... I honestly don't think there is any other way of putting it. You're selfless, kind and beautiful inside and out!

I guess the whole point of this is.... I find it hard to say in person, and I know I do not say thank you.

So, to all of you.......

Thank you.

Monday, 19 April 2010


I wasn't going to write about this, but have decided I will as I told myself I would be as open and honest about Ushers as I can be.

And now I've decided to write about it I have to do so now so I don't lose the nerve/bottle at a later date!

Yesterday morning I was waiting for a bus to get to work. The sun was really bright and despite having my sunglasses on the glare was glaring in a glary manner! Now, for those who don't have or know about Ushers, sun glare can be a right pain in the jacksie. You know those really over exposed photo's, it's a bit like that. plus my eyes water a lot when it's like that, so I have to contend with the blur that watery eyes give as well.

The bus came, the doors opened and I went to step on.

Before my foot hit the deck someone, a man, barged into me so HE could get on before me.

Because at that precise moment I was on one leg it knocked me sideways. My shoulder hit the side of the bus. I stacked and ended up on the road between the bus and the curb.

The man spun around and started shouting at me!

Apparently I should have been looking where I was going. I was taking the piss. I was making it far worst than it actually was. I was trying to make him look bad. I was a fool. I was f*cking waster. It was all my fault.

He then went and sat down.

The bus driver didn't anything other than look at me.

Behind me a group of teenagers were laughing.

No one asked me if I was ok. No one helped me up. I got up and walked away.....

I have never been so humiliated in my whole life. I have never felt so ashamed to be me. I have never felt quite as vulnerable as I did then.

So much so I didn't tell anyone at work once I got there. I didn't tell any of my family that evening.

No one wants to admit this sort of thing happens to them. But I am going to admit to it, because it takes a fair bit of bottle to do so, and I reckon I got that bottle!!

Wednesday, 14 April 2010

Buses and trains.

I recently had cause to think and write about trains, it's not as geeky as it sounds.... And I'm not a closet train spotter..... Honest!!

And it got me to thinking about public transport in general. And how much of a pain it can be.

A train journey can be a stressful experience at the best of times for most. Overcrowding, delays, cancelations and last minute platform changes can make the most patient of people lose their rag! Throw into the mix a duel sensory loss such as deaf/blindness and suddenly it’s an absolute minefield!

Announcements over the tannoys can be difficult or impossible to hear, especially when train announcers seemingly specialise in white noise and mumbling!

It can be disconcerting when everyone on the platform suddenly runs, jogs, hops, skips, barges and elbow their way to another platform as if they have received a telepathic message that you have somehow missed out on. The boards show no changes, your train shows no signs of appearing, you know the train you're waiting for is the last one of the night OR the one just before the massive crush of rush hour..... So you make the decision to find someone who might be able to help you!

You stride down the platform looking frantically left and right looking for the man or woman in a blue coat with yellow trim, and they're nowhere to be seen! You reach the barrier and there's no bugger there either! So you end up hanging around, either totally on your tod, or with thousands of people pushing pass you to get to where they want to be. It's stressful..... Sometimes it makes you panic a bit cos you feel like you have no control what so ever. Eventually you find someone and ask what has happened to your train,

‘There was an announcement’ you are told brusquely,

‘Yeah, I didn’t hear it though because –‘ you start, but before you have a chance to finish you're told

‘You should have listened to the announcement, you’ll have to go back to the main station to see when the next train is.’

You try again to explain you didn’t hear the announcement, and that going back to the main station could be very difficult, as you are also blind.... Deaf/blind in fact..... But you're just met with a blank gormless face and a shrug of the shoulders.

Buses are just as bad. You get on, pay your fare, settle down with a book only for the bus to stop two stops later and about 15 stops before yours, with the whole bus filing off!

When you ask what's going on, more often than not you're told the next one will be along in a bit..... And of course you can't get on that one cos everyone bundles in front of you, shoves you out of the way and when you FINALLY get to the door it shuts because not a single other person could possibly squeeze on!

Wednesday, 7 April 2010

Bat in the shower!

A few years ago I worked in Wales. It was absolutely gorgeous! The building was a 400 year old farmhouse and set in the middle of farmland, at the foot of Pen y Fan.

There was only one spot where I could get mobile phone reception, right slap bang in the centre of a window sill, and only if I balanced the phone on it's side! Other than that if I want to make a call or send a text I had to go for a little ten minute walk!

I had a bike, and it took about 15 mins to ride into the local village, and about an hour and half to ride back up the steep hill back!

Buses came by on the hour every hour, but there was no bus stop near by so you stood on the edge of the road and waved like a lunatic to get them to stop and pick you up! And, once you sat down someone would always start a chat with you. Bare in mind, I'm a London girl born and bred and the first few times that happened I was a tad weirded out!!

I lived and worked with two other people, and obviously all the people that came to stay, but it was myself, Cheese and Beef who were the main people there!

Sometimes because of the way days off fell, we would be there all on our lonesome, and not have any guests because it would have been silly!

I can honestly say there was only one time when I was terrified....... It wasn't the time I was in the building on my own for a couple of nights and a lone man came and tried to convince me to let him stay, calling through the windows

'Cooooome out, I promise I wont hurt you!!!'

Yeah mate, I've watched those horror films where the girl on her own lets the man in because he's cold, tired, hungry and only wants to sleep, and then he rips out her intestines with his bare hands!!

It wasn't the time when I'd gone on a little walk and after half hour of walking sprained my ankle and thought that there was no way I'd be able to get back.

And it wasn't the time when there was the biggest storm I'd ever seen, heard or felt in my entire life!

No....... It was the time when I was naked, in the shower and discovered that there was a bat in there with me!!!!!

How on earth did this happen I hear you ask?! Well..... I will tell you!

The barn that was adjacent to the farmhouse has just been converted, so me and Beef had been moved in there, very nice, bigger room and a nice new shower room.

We'd been there a few days and had settled in, and so far there were no mishaps at all. I had reached the end of a morning shift and toddled back to have a shower and then laze around because it was raining and I didn't fancy schlepping around the mountains!

So I went into the shower room, got undressed, took out my hearing aids, took off my glasses and put on my shower cap.

In I stepped and turned on the water, wishy washy washy wishy..... I turned round and glanced down.

'What the.......???' On my shampoo bottle there was a big brown lump! I couldn't see it properly as I didn't have my glasses on. My immediate thought was

'OH MY GOD............!!!!! Beef has poohed on my shampoo bottle!!!!!'

I have no idea WHY I thought Beef would do that, he hadn't done anything previously to make me think that he would, but..... It was my first thought and I felt disgusted and violated!!!

I then thought to myself, not only would Beef NOT do such a thing, but there was no smell so it couldn't be a pooh!!!

So, I crouched down to get a proper look at whatever it was, having not the foggiest as to what it could be! I leaned in closer, I didn't want to touch whatever it was until I knew what it was! I leaned in closer still when all of a sudden.....

It stretched out it's arms/wings, reared back, pulled back it's mouth and showed me fangs the size of tombstones (but much sharper!), snarled at me in a menacing manner and clawed in my general direction!


I screamed.....

'AAAAAAAARRRRRRGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!' It was a high pitched, blood curdling, terrified scream of a London bint who had only ever seen bats on nature programs before.

I leapt out of the shower, grabbed a towel as I ran out of the shower room, slammed the door shut, ran into my room, got my key, ran back and locked the door shut!!!

I then ran out of the building in just a towel and shower cap and ran sans glasses to the other building where Beef was! Barefooted and not really able to see I stubbed my toe, fell over in pain and cut my knee.

So when I burst into the reception area I gave everyone a shock, and by everyone I mean Beef and the group of about ten ramblers who were booking in for the night!

There I was, in a towel, with a shower cap on, bloody knee, hopping because my toe really hurt, screaming far louder than I would have normally screamed because I didn't have my aids in


And of course, because I was slightly panicked, my saaarf east lahndahn accent was coming out far stronger than it normally does!

AND I was just screaming this in the general direction of the people because I couldn't SEE Beef!

The group of ramblers must have wondered what on earth they'd let themselves in for, and if the local mental hospital had had an escapee in the past few hours!!!

I went running through reception to the back and sent Beef to sort it out.

Of course it wasn't all that big, or scary looking, it was according to Beef quite cute and no bigger than a jam jar lid.....!

Thursday, 25 March 2010

Sheep pretending to be snakes.

I have a friend who, whenever I'm in her company we seem to end up having some kind of adventure.

I shall call her Cheese, she knows why I'm calling her Cheese, it's a long story, but is not related to her feet at all! She really hasn't got cheesey feet!

Anyhoo..... I digress! Adventures..... More often than not rather strange ones! And more often than not, they're 'mishaps'!! Sometimes, occasionally, perhaps booze is involved..... Sometimes booze isn't!

We decided to go and explore another part of Wales one day because our days off had fallen at the same time.

So we packed our toothbrushes, some pants and a few CD's to play in the car. Sat in the car and pulled out a map. I closed my eyes pointed to somewhere on the map and our destination was a place called Milford Haven, so off we went!

We were pootling away, music blasting, windows wide open cos the weather was gorgeous and beeping and waving at good looking men, and sometimes at OAP men for a giggle!

We got to the local YHA there, sorted out our accommodation and set off on the half hour or so walk to the village to have food and a drink or two!

Fast forwards to after dinner, we decided that we should buy some vodka and go and drink it on the beach because it really was a beautiful day/evening.

We spent a few hours there, drinking, paddling, getting to know the local teenagers that were there. Then it started to get dark....

'We'd better not go back along the road' said I, 'for we are sure to be knocked over and killed by all the speeding cars!'

'You're right' agreed Cheese, 'We should walk back along the coastal path, no matter that you wont be able to see in a few minutes, or the fact we've been drinking, it's the safest and most sensible thing we could do!'

So off we went, the coastal path was a maxium of six inches from the edge of the cliff and there was no fence or wall or anything that might have prevented us from toppling down to the sea if we fell!

Cheese walked in front in order to guide me, tell me when there was a bump, an upwards bit, a downwards bit, a crumbly bit etc etc etc!

She was wearing a light coloured top so I was able to see a very faint block of grey to also help guide me on my way.

We had walked no more than ten minutes when Cheese suddenly fell to the floor, giggling like a mad woman and saying 'I can see, you can't and I've fallen over!'

Hmm..... Suddenly risking the roads seemed like a far wiser idea! I sat down and said

'I'm not moving, I'm staying here! If we carry on we'll fall in the sea!!!'

Cheese was still giggling like a demented woman, and eventually I started giggling too!

Cheese pulled herself together and said 'We should climb this tall fence and walk across the fields, that way at least we wont fall in the sea!'

So over we climbed and started to walk through the fields.

Now as you should all know by now, I can't see in the dark, at all. So I've got a hand on Cheeses arm to prevent me falling over. I wear hearing aids and so can hear fairly well with them in.

We had been walking for a while when I was suddenly aware of hissing noises...


'Cheese, Are there snakes in Wales?????'

'Dunno, why?!'

'Can't you hear them...........???'

Cheese stopped suddenly, 'Hear the snakes??? What are you about?????'

By now my heart was starting to pound a little faster and my fear levels were verging on panic mode. 'There!!! Didn't you hear it??? That hissing noise!! It's a sodding snake field!!!!'

Once again, Cheese started giggling like a demented woman, 'You can't see them can you??? It's the sheep weeing whenever we go past them!!!'

'WHAT??? What the hell are you on about??'

Giggle giggle giggle giggle giggle.......

'When we walk by them they either get up and run away or get up and do a wee!!!!'


Wednesday, 24 March 2010


I like it I do..... I would go as far as saying I love it! I wouldn't go as far as saying I'm obsessed with it. I'm not a geek with it, I don't have an indepth knowledge of shutter speeds, lighting, frames and all that whatnot!

I have a camera that I'm ever so slightly in love with, and a couple of lens to play around with. And there's nothing I love more than going for a walk and pottering around, snapping away and sometimes getting some reasonably good shots!

Some say I'm a little too trigger happy, but my view is that for every decent picture you take, there are going to be at least ten - twenty appalling pictures!

Not only do I love taking pictures, I adore looking at other peoples stuff, professional photographers work, people at the same level as me, I can easily while away hours nosing through flickr if I'm not careful!

I own an obscene amount of photography books, they're my 'porn' if you like!!

When I was first diagnosed with Ushers one of my biggest fears was that one day I wouldn't be able to look at others photography, or carry on doing photography myself.

It was such a horrible and wretched feeling, that one of my main passions in life might be wrenched away from me. Through no fault or doing of my own.

Thankfully though, it's not going to happen.....

And....... I've discovered another reason to love photography.

You see, my camera lens' field of vision is FAR wider than mine. Even when taking the shot, I see only what I see.

And it's not until I get home and upload the pictures to my computer, that I see what I don't see.

So while photography, for many is a record of what they've seen or memories of an event, for me it can be an intriguing mystery.....

Who is that old man waving at with a massive grin on his face.

What made the toddler screw up her face and cry.

How comes I didn't see the tree with a squirrel running half way up with what looks like a sandwich in it's mouth???

The couple I didn't see, and who obviously didn't see me as they only have eyes for each other.

My favourite shop with MASSIVE sale signs..... (and by the time I went back to take advantage of the sale, had closed down!)

The stunning building, church, cloud formations, graffiti.....

I have to say though, that there are advantages to a limited field of vision with photography too.

Because I'm so focused on 'my' subject, I don't get distracted by mundane bits and bobs surrounding it.

I've recently had a few ideas for photography projects, all related to my Ushers, I shall keep you posted. You never know, they might end up being shown somewhere!

Short and sweet this week folks, I had a real struggle with not procrastinating, and the internet played silly buggers for quite some time last night!!!

Thursday, 18 March 2010


I don't make a sound when I have fall, or trip, or bash my shins or stub my toes on something, or burn myself.

I don't scream, shout, yell, wail, swear, groan, moan or make any other noises of pain.

I just take a sharp intake of breath.

I've walked slap bang into a tree, and just took a sharp intake of breath.

I've stubbed my little toe so hard I pretty much ripped the whole nail off, and just took a sharp intake of breath.

I've burnt myself on an oven, and just took a sharp intake of breath.

I've reached to grab the banister at the top of the stairs at my Mum's house, missed it and went flying over, and fell about ten feet to the floor kicking out some of the rails and very nearly missed landing on a friend, but fortunately(?) missed them and crashed to the wooden floor, and just took a sharp intake of breath.

I've whacked my head on shelves, door frames, getting into cars, handles and god knows what else, and just took a sharp intake of breath.

I've been on many walks, fallen down little rabbit holes, turned my ankle and just taken a sharp intake of breath.

I've had tree's jam their twiggy branches in my eyes, and bizarrely up my nose, and just taken a sharp intake of breath.

I've walked straight into so many low walls, barriers and bollards, and just taken a sharp intake of breath.

I've tripped over curbs, wonky pavements and even litter, and just taken a sharp intake of breath.

I've tumbled down a flight of concrete stairs and just taken a sharp intake of breath.

It's not because I'm tough as old boots and don't feel any pain from what happens, far from it... I actually have one of the lowest thresh holds to pain ever.

It's shame! Think about how mortified you are when you fall over, how you hope no one's seen you and you leap back up and carry on as if it didn't actually happen!

I suppose..... I've subconsciously trained myself not to make a sound so as not to draw attention to what I've done. Because then, I don't have to explain to random strangers '

I'm not clumsy, I'm not a pleb, I'm partially blind'

'Yeah I know I don't have a stick or a dog...... But I am!'

Most of the time it works. But sometimes, the mishap that has befallen on me is too big to pretend it didn't happen. The looks of shock, and awed

'Didn't it hurt???'

'Yes it frickin' did!!!!!'

'But you never made a noise!!!!!!!'

I'm lucky, so far (touch wood), I've not had a serious injury as a result of all that stuff..... Bruises, grazes and bumps for the most part.

And I'd love to say that these tend to happen mostly in the dark, where I can honestly not see a thing!

But........ A lot happens in broad daylight.

Wednesday, 3 March 2010

Old Ladies

There are many dangers and fears in this world today, dangers to ourselves, people around us and society as a whole.

We hear on a daily basis how yoofs are becoming more and more feral and involved with gangs, knives, guns and drugs.

About the next big virus that might or might not wipe out entire populations, think bird flu, swine flu and mad cow disease!

We are in a time at the moment where unemployment is at an all time high.

We are told NEVER to throw out ANYTHING with personal details on them as otherwise your identity will be nicked.

Terrorists causing death and destruction.

Young men and women, dying out in conflict zones (as apparently it's NOT a war!). Or those young men and women coming home with missing limbs or damaged minds.

The media scaremongering us that the country is full to the brim and we can't possibly have any more people come here.

That the police are both over zealous, and don't do enough to keep us safe.

Our politicians are liars thieves and rotten scoundrels.

Then there are the more personal fears and dangers.....

Will we be happy, healthy, loved, will we be mugged for looking at someone the wrong way, fears of flying or enclosed spaces.

There are many more of course, and each person will have different fears, different dangers which the next person might not even consider to be an issue!

The other day I discovered the biggest danger to my own personal safety.....

It's little old ladies..... With grey or white permed hair..... Who for the most part look harmless and sweet as pie.

Put them in a supermarket though, in the day time when they quite simply over run the place they are my nightmare!!!!!

They dart about with those little old lady trollies with a basket on top, and suddenly stop for no apparent reason!!! Or they walk really slow and then suddenly sprint off in zig zags. They tend to be short! And I'm actually rather tall, so whilst walking around a shop looking for the eggs, if one of these short old dears stops I have to stop adruptly, usually because I've clocked them right at the last nanosecond!

My biggest fear is I will simply not see one one day and send her toppling to the floor and cause a broken hip!!!

And because they're seemingly sweet looking short old ladies, and I'm a tall not obviously blind 'youngster' I'd probably be run out of town and lynched!!!!!

They're like my cat, lovely for the most part, but also a danger that I'm going to tread on them!!!

So I'm not going to go food shopping in the mornings EVER again! It stressed me out and I don't like that!