Archive for March 31, 2013

Training for the great south run-30 weeks to go

The blog title is right, in just 30 weeks I will be running in the great south run to raise money for guide dogs.

Before you ask, no I am not an avid runner and yes this blog is rewritten by a VIP.

So, how does a VIP train or even run you ask…..

Answer….. With a very trusted buddy and a bungie rope or tie of some sort!

In the coming weeks I will keep you updated on my training….. And exactly how this VIP is going to learn to run.




Monkeying Around is the Bizness

Having 2 children who are always on the go makes life very interesting and active.  Being a VIP adds extra challenges to day-to-day life, but I have always tried to not allow this to impact too heavily on my little ones and allowed them the same freedom and adventures as others their age.

The fact that for now the 4 year age gap doesn’t stop them playing together is a great help!

i am a great believer that children shouldn’t just sit infront of the tv, but play out in the garden, run and get messy in the rain.  That’s why I bought a good washing machine.

In the wetter winter, spring and occasional summer days the great outdoors is nice and grey and makes it an enjoyable place to be with the children.  But in the summer months or when there is snow I struggle.

This is when I utilise the annual passes that the kids have for Monkey Bizness, an indoor play centre with large climbing frames, soft play, slides. Where pretty much everything is covered in foam and is brightly coloured.

This to me is heaven!

i can run around with the kids, having knocked myself out or bumped myself a few times, but not having to worry about the sun getting in the way of seeing them.image

They are within a secure area, which they need a member of staff to let them out of, they aren’t being burned or damaged by the sun’s rays and I know that even I can play with them too, if the mood takes me.

It is a place where the children are dressed in bright colours, to try and help, but this doesn’t always work.  We do however have a base point that the children know they can come back to me, if they are upset or in need of a drink.

As seen above, I also love joining in the fun, and monkeying around with them too.

Looking through rains drops

A blurred night time image of car and street lights,

The reason behind this blog was to give you the reader an idea of how I see things, both with my eyes and with my thoughts and opinions. So I thought it would be a good idea to show you some images that I found on the web that best describe my sight.

A friend many years ago likened it to looking through raindrops.


Please comment below and let me know that you think x




Wicked sense of humour

They say that many people hide sadness and pain behind a nervous laugh.  I don’t, I find using sarcasm and humour as a great way to detract from me feeling any different….. Although I’m not to sure others would agree!

My sense of humour can be very dry and my tone very dead-pan at times that even good friends can miss it.  It is just another part of me, but since loosing more sight it has stepped up a level.

I never use it to be deliberately mean, but it is often a defence, a wall I put up to stop those who in fact mean nothing to me from hurting me.

an example of this is when people bend down to my GD to give her directions, I apologise to them and explain that she doesn’t English, only Portuguese!  Then they look at me as if I’m the silly one.

i remember going to a meeting once standing with a group of delegates, having already introduced them to Vicky to be asked if I had had the same trouble as them in finding a parking space!  I explain that Vicky is too young to take her test just yet.

They call it a blind humour, maybe it is, I call it a good way of answering these types of questions.


I am always happy to chat with someone about my GD or sight if they treat me as a human. Like in the first example.  And I make light of others silly comments, that are made out of our need for polite conversation.  As in the second.

I am a firm believer that there are never silly questions, it is in fact the answers that are…… Hence my responses some times.





Running my hands over a bronzed beauty

This post is not necessarily what you are expecting, I thought I would share a ‘perk of being a VIP’. When I found myself stood in Southampton art gallery, watching the curator unlock the glass case that surrounded Auguste Rodin’s crouching woman, a small bronzed sculpture.  So along with other members in our group I was stood with a pair of white cotton gloves ready to do something special that very few get to experience.

Black and white image of rodin-s bronze cast of crouching lady.

I grew up being constantly told by my parents that “you look with your eyes, not your hands” and here I was about to dispel this theory.


Black and white - newspaper print image of Rodin's bronze cast of crouching lady.


Bronzed sculptures have always been something of great interest to me, but by their nature, I often miss most of the detail other than the outline shape.  But here I was, about to run my gloved hands all over a cast of a sculpture that had been handled with such love and care when sculpted by the artist himself.

It felt amazing, that first touch, the coldness of the material.  The feel of the finger marks beneath mine.  The detail of the sculpture, you can feel the individual vertebrate in her back, the bones in her shoulders.

This was a wonderful experience that I can’t wait to repeat with other works of arts and artefacts and make the most of my new found ‘perk’.

London – A Big Journey

It’s 4am & the alarm is set for 6.20am. But after a week of knowing about today, it has arrived. Today I travel to London, a part of the capital I have been to many times but never alone. Ofcourse I will have my trusty guide dog (GD) by my side, but no human support. In addition, today is a bigger step as it is the first time EVER that I will use the tube alone, the first time for me using a tube since my sight deteriorated & remembering back I was about 12 the last time, so lots would probably have changed in 20 years!

The reason for this is an important eye appointment at Moorefields Eye Hospital on City Road. For which I got just 7 days notice. This in itself makes today scary, but I’ll talk about that a bit more later.

The reason this is such a big thing is because as I mentioned briefly before, I have a GD, I am registered blind with a deteriorating congenital condition from which I have some sight, but in general terms its not good.

Yes I did say I’m registered blind, but that doesn’t mean that I can’t see anything… A very common misconception, one I myself used to believe before all of this. My condition has long fancy names, but in layman’s terms, my distance vision means that I struggle to see the detail of someone’s face, when they stand directly in front of me and I have severe tunnel vision, like looking through the tubes on the inside of Christmas wrapping paper, I can’t even see the arms on my glasses anymore if I’m looking forward.

Yes, I wear glasses and what I have just described is the best corrected vision I have when I wear them. Without them, anything more than 2 inches away is a blur. Again, another preconception of many is that glasses fully correct your vision, they don’t and that is often the reason I get stopped with my GD as people think I’m training her, not using her as my work partner

Sorry I went off on a tangent, you’ll get used to me!

I have travelled to London several times since November 2011 on my own since making regular visits to the head office of RNIB (Royal National Institute for the Blind) having gone once with a colleague who showed me the stations to change at, we always went by train, never via the tube as she herself did not like the tube.

Rnib HO is situated several minutes walk from St. Pancras. Which is now home to the Eurostar, making it with its small train station at the far end, one of the busiest station in London. It is filled with designer stores, coffee shops and ofcourse, hundreds of thousands of tourists and businessmen and women. So that in itself if no mean feet, and one thankfully I have only ever had to tackle without my GD on one occasion. When we get there, she takes over, goes into her mummy mode and guides me safely through the crowns, the luggage, the hectic, noisy, smelly surroundings without a moments hesitation.

Today my journey consists of many of the same stations as this that journey, to help me keep some control and familiarity over what I am doing. We break our train journey early, having changed at Three-Bridges, when we arrive at London Bridge.. Another station with its own shopping centre attached, to go down from the train platform into the basement to join the Northern line Tube. The journey has been planned in a way that I need only use one tube, on one line and not need to change. From Tower Bridge, Old Street just a moments walk from the hospital is just 3 stops away.

Yes I know that trains now all have audio and explain what stations they are stopping at, but on my other travel companion, my iPad is a list of all of the stations each of the trains and tubes I will be traveling on stop at and even the trains surrounding my chosen journey incase alterations need to he made.

I’m.a planner and and organiser, often taking this to extremes in trying to do this with other people and their lives, but it is how I can keep my control. A word and emotion that is incredibly important to me in this ever decreasing world.


we made it!

Although I am unable to fault the help and support that I received from the underground staff, I have to say that the information I had received about the stations I was travelling between was completely misleading and very unhelpful.

Walking up and down an escalator that was switched off as the GD is not cleared to use them was very exhausting on the way up…. And even more scary on the way down, with over 215 steps in total in each direction, it was on a positive note a bloody good workout for my thighs!

London bridge station is accessible and one of the highest awarded for this in London, but if you need the lift, be prepared to walk. With the nature of the buildings and ages of them that house the tubes, accessibility is always an issue and one that I underhand. I am more than happy to have to do things differently and as said, I couldn’t fault the staff, they even walked with me out in the rain to get the lift, take me to the platform, sit me on a train and radio ahead to ensure that there was someone waiting at the other end to do the same. But the information available as to how the stations are accessible is limited to lifts and flat access onto the tube.

There is not a one size fits all solution to accessibly and disability issues, but information and the web is infinite, so this could be done.

As a blindie I rely heavily on google maps and google earth to do a virtual walk around from the comfort of home…. Could you do this for a train or tube station?

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