Archive for April 22, 2013

St George’s Day sewing marathon

So, tomorrow is St George’s Day and at 2.40 this afternoon my daughters school sent out a text message to say that any Beavers, Rainbows, Brownies etc are free to wear their uniforms instead of school uniform… With full badges!

This created 2 panics….

1) where were all of her badges that still needed sewing on? (all of them in fact!)

2) how the hell was I going to actually sew them on to her T-shirt?

As a child I learnt to sew in home economics, I even made a pencil case with my name stitched on it with flowers, but that was in my ‘days with sight’ era.  Not now.

Being an ever resourceful mum, I do have a full sewing box, with pins, every colour of thread imaginable and even spare buttons, hence to say its content was completely undisturbed.


First to thread the needle…

It took several attempts to even get the end with the eye in it, I’m glad to say my fingers are quite thick skinned as they sustained a few injuries this evening.  My kit actually came with a funning looking needle threader, but that just confused me.  So I doubled the length of thread, triple knotted the loose ends and proceeded to spend the next 14 minutes to get it on the needle, a good bit of spit and I was ready to go.

Placing the badges…

Anyone who knows me will confirm that when I do things, I pride myself that they are done right, so the next 24 minutes were spent arranging the badges, lining them up, putting them into a vague remembered date order and pinning them in

Let the sewing begin….

The first stitch was nerve wrecking, but thankfully the badges were very good quality and had a lovely thick raised edge, so once I started, I stopped having to look and was able to slowly and steadily sew the first badge in place, purely by feeling the edging of the badge itself.

I was off…… It was great to feel a real sense of achievement tiling this, with only a few hiccups, like sewing on a badge before Realising I had pinned it upside down!

My sewing effort is by no means perfect, but it is done.  My daughter can now wear her Rainbows uniform tomorrow with pride and be able to share each of her badge achievements with her class mates.

Ok, so she won’t understand the blood, tears and expletives that went into it.

But I will, and that matters.



Going Alone

I struggle with staying indoors or doing nothing when the sun starts to shine.  With the bad weather we have had despite it being April, I am getting serious cabin fever.

So on Sunday morning with my swimming partner out of action due to illness, instead of going to the pool alone, I popped to my mum and dads for a large mug of green tea….. This was my first solo bike ride, a round trip of just under 11 miles!

I struggled to hold the bike up at first as my whole body was shaking with a mix of fear and excitement.

Even writing this I feel pathetic.  I am a 32 year old woman, who has been riding a bike since I was about 4…. This was a huge step for me though.  And one that deep down I know is not pathetic.


I know the route to mum and dads really well, some would say I could do it with my eyes closed….. And in the dark, that would be almost the same thing.  It is almost all cycle path, no problem at all.

Until you factor in joggers, other cyclists and the odd low flying buzzard!

As part of my condition I lost my ability to judge speed and depth, so when seeing another cyclist, I just stop.  sounds daft, but then I can’t possibly ride into them that way.  This does leave me often standing still for a while, but its the safest way I can think of.

I’m not sure what my consultants would say if they knew that I did this, I am not legally allowed to drive a car, but I have never been asked to take a test to ride a push bike.  If I didn’t feel safe….. I wouldn’t do it, and like I said in a previous post, I do know my area very well and will only ride within cycle lanes, cycle paths and on the odd footpath in between.

In doing this and trying to keep my independence, I have also been called a fraud, but then, in reading a label in the supermarket or looking at my own watch I have also been called a fraud.

This is an open blog, please feel free to let me know your opinion.  Good or Bad, all I ask is that you keep your language polite.

So over to you…….

Rock Bottom

Having thrown myself into everything and anything, I began to freakish that my time was being overtaken by my need to help others, and the reason I was helping others was to stop me thinking about my problems and my issues that I was having with understanding and coming to terms with my own condition and sight loss.

The catalyst for this came when I began to find out that magnification on my computer was not enough to help me at work, it was time to move on to a screen reading piece of software.  This is a wonderful technology, using hot keys you move around a document reading your way around each page instead of seeing it.


For me, this was just a nail in the coffin to confirm that I was different and couldn’t just get by like I always had in the past…….. Still now almost a year later after it was suggested to me, I can’t bring myself to do it.

I am a MAC user at home, you name it, I got it…. Mac Book Pro, Ipad, Ipod, Iphone…. Me and Siri have a love hate relationship at times and a my friends are now getting used to reading between the lines in my messages.


But for me, screen reading is a major hurdle and because of this, I have not been at work since October and my future in my role is now in question.

Its not the learning something new part that I struggle with, I have learnt brailleIts so much more than that….. its letting go of using my eyes so much.

Its Hard.  It has led me into a world of depression and feelings of loneliness.


Writing about this is very painful, so bear with me please…..

Now however I feel that I have hit my rock bottom.  So for now I’m learning to climb.  And to not fear, but instead accept help when it is offered.

That is the hardest part, being strong, independent, yet allowing myself to ask for help and not seeing myself as a failure for doing so

Burying my head in the sand.

As you have probably worked out by now, receiving the news that you have an eye condition that will only get worse and could result in you loosing all of it in time wasn’t the best news!


when I was first diagnosed I researched my condition and looked for the positives…. Or ‘perks’ as I know refer to them.  As silly as it sounds, I had to find some good out of this bad situation.

I received lots of help from my consultant, social worker and good friends.  This was when I discovered just how many VIPs there actually are in Fareham and support groups to help… So I started volunteering, first at an active group called FAAB and was soon followed by volunteering for a local club that ran under the umbrella of the Hampshire based charity Open Sight.

Disability issues and sight loss became my world for a few years, I threw myself into volunteering and in an odd way helping others with their sight issues shelled me.  but I began to feel that I needed to spend more time on myself and my family.  I do still volunteer and enjoy helping out, just a little less than I did.

When I stopped helping others, I realised  just how much my own sight condition did actually upset me, and this was when I fell apart.

This was when I started to really understand my sight loss and me……. To put this post into perspective…… Despite my registration being in 2008, this has only just happened for me!


Getting on my bike!

So with just under 29 weeks until I find myself running the great south run,  which I am doing for 2 reasons…..

1) To raise money for guide dogs, who without their support and funding, I would not be have half the independence that I have today.

2) As a person achievement for me – I’m not going to break any speed records, but I am going to complete it by jogging/sprinting the entire course.

As a mum of 2, the reading on the scales has up radially gone up, something that I am determined to change.  I don’t believe in fad diets, but healthy eating and that everything is good and allowed within moderation.  To help with this I have joined my local Slimming World group for moral support.  This hasn’t been without its own ups and downs, but it has also proved that a lot of the scales gain has come from loosing or thinking that I had lost my independence…..   Life also gets in the way of exercise alot of the time, well the excuse that it does is actually what gets in the way!

With a guide dog I do try and walk as much as possible, I don’t have the luxury of jumping in the car to pop out for milk!  But I really missed the bike rides and the swimming.

So guess what?

I do both !!!!!  With the help of a friend I have gradually built up my confidence to swim, he has helped me strengthen my technique and we aim to go swimming together once a week, in addition to this I have signed up for a swim membership and often find myself at the pool, by myself at least once more each week.

Now that the weather is cheering up (although as I write this, it’s started to rain!) today the bike got dusted off and taken out….. With my daughter who is 7 we rode 4.2 miles to a nice pub for lunch, before taking the slightly longer route of 4.8 miles home again.

Some of you may be reading this with a sense of fear, for not only my safety, but that of my daughters…. Please trust me when I say that I would not do this without feeling safe.  I am a firm believer that pavements are for both cycles as well as pedestrians (showing respect for each others space) I am also very lucky to live within fareham and its neighbouring town of Gosport, that both have a wonderful network of cycle track and designated cycle lanes on the roads.

With my central vision and concentration I am able to cycle very comfortably within these perimeters and pay full attention to my daughter.


Today we did also had a bit of help from a friend as my daughter had not previously had a lot of confidence with her riding.

But once she started there was no stopping her, I think she definitely carries my determined gene.

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