Archive for March 19, 2017

What does sound sound like?

Tomorrow I have my NHS hearing aid fitting appointment.  My hearing aid assessment was very quick and limited; unlike the hearing assessment I had done privately.  My NHS assessment didn’t test how I hear (or rather struggle to hear) certain voice tones or in areas where the background noise was high.

I guess this has led me to feel that I may not gain the full potential from my hearing aids, and also because I am only having one for my right ear. And nothing for my left!

I am fortunate that as I am registered blind, I do receive a second right ear hearing aid.  This is so that should I drop one, or (as suggested by the audiologist) my guide dog EATS one.  I am not left isolated while a replacement is sort.

The NHS Choices website states;

Hearing aids are designed to help you hear everyday sounds such as the doorbell and telephone, and improve your ability to hear speech. They should make you feel more confident when talking to people and make it much easier for you to follow conversations in different environments. They might also help you to enjoy listening to music and the TV again, at a volume that’s comfortable for those around you.

I guess I find it hard to feel confident.  For as long as I remember I have worn glasses and it was actually a feeling of loss that I felt when I was told I didn’t actually need to wear them on a day to day basis, when I changed my prescription for reading glasses.  I tend to just wear them out of habit and the ability to hide behind them.

How will I feel wearing a hearing aid?


Envious of the mundane

Sat waiting for a friend to arrive and watching (as best I can) the people coming and going with their shopping.

And a very mundane task struck me.  People were walking with shopping bags in both hands.  Sounds rediculous, but in that small insignificant moment I became upset.

And the reason for it?  The realisation that from now and forever I will always walk with one hand full; as I will either be holding a long cane,  a guide dog harness or onto another person’s arm.

It sounds silly, but having to consider what you are buying when you go out, to either contain it in a back pack or worst case over my shoulder.  It is very difficult with Fizz to have a bag in my right hand, she works off of tap que’s and a gentle reminder from having her lead in my right hand at times.

I guess for now I shall just add it to the list of ‘no longer possible’ and carry on by focussing on the ‘can do’ list.

“Stop rubbing your nose against everyone”

For any dog owners reading this, be it a guide dog, assistance dog or family pet I only have to say one word for you to understand what I am talking about …. HALTI !!

Fizz is a Labrador first and guide dog second.  She is incredibly well trained and it goes without saying that she is fantastic at her job.


She is often led to distraction by the smell of something more interesting, someone greeting a friend, a rough pidgeon or even a leaf!

And this is where her ‘naughty nose’ works so very well.  It enables me to hold more control over her and as a dog is not as strong in their noses as they are in their necks, it allows me to keep her focused on the direction I want her to go.


As a dog, she will take any possible opportunity to get it off her nose!

This means, if I stand still she will rub against my leg, or more embarrassingly; she will use the leg of a stranger.

I have commented before about my love of coffee, a love that Fizz now associates with standing in a queue.

It would just so happen, a queue is the ideal opportunity to rub her nose against strangers.

And she won’t do this at a point on their legs where they can see her.  No, she will sneak behind them and nudge at a point of their legs that will cause the oddest of sensations and some times even fear to them.

Although, this fear is probably greater in the summer months, when a wet nose touches bare flesh!

Yesterday while in such a queue, Fizz introduces herself to a man infront of us.  He was very chatty and would not allow me to apologise for her behaviour.  He joked about how he was wondering about what explanation he would have to offer his wife; thinking he was being propositioned by me, not the daft dog!

We spoke for a few moments while I waited my turn, and when it came to it I ordered my coffee as usual only for the gentleman to offer to pay for it.  I tried to stop him from doing this, but he was rather insistent, he said to think of it as a thank you.  I asked him why he should be saying thank you to me, to which he replied

I am thankful to Fizz, for her enabling me to meet an inspirational young woman who has made me smile at a time of sadness in my family.

I didn’t know what else to say, other than

Your welcome.

A little over SIXTEEN climbs isn’t THAT much!

… In one day, with each of those climbs topping out at 14m, doesn’t make a 225m climb sound TOO difficult, does it?

Or is it wishful thinking on my part?

Either way, there is no backing out now.  The posters have been printed, the wall booked and my climbing partner (in crime) has agreed.

So, on May 3rd I shall be climbing the equivalent height of The Cheesegrater; otherwise known as The Leadenhall Building, the 225m office building that towers over its closest neighbour (and another building who’s height I have climbed) The Gherkin, 30 St Mary’s Axe.

Time to ‘earn’ my hearing aids.

Poster reading "Climbing a cheesgrater, having conquered a Gherkin."

If you would like to show your support, you can donate HERE

Blinded by the light

…. isn’t that a song title?

Whether it be the Manfred Mann Earth Band in 1975 or The Streets 2004 hit that springs to mind, it felt like the perfect title for this piece.

Today at a Multi Level Marketing Meeting in a lovely Portsmouth hotel, I found myself being blinded by the light.  Only in this instance it was from the bar.  A bar that, having visited several times before I had never noticed before, and from the picture you will hopeful quickly see why.

The entire bar looks like it is sat on a light box, here in this google photo it looks beautiful, but in the cold light of day in a bar where the main lighting was coming from this.  It meant that I was literally ^blinded^ by it.

Thankfully I have a guide dog who I can target with “find the bar” she managed to navigate me to a gap between the bar stools and I waited for someone to serve me.

And after what felt like Fifteen minutes, but was probably more like two the staff member who was stood behind the bar spoke!

It turned out that she had been stood their The entire time and was waiting for me to order, she hadn’t seen me approach the bar, so was not aware of Fizz, we spoke and she was very apologetic.  Asking me to take a seat and she would bring my coffee over.

So, back to my seat me and Fizz went, when just a short moment later she arrived with my coffee and apologised AGAIN (and I quote her here)

….for not introducing myself as your server and asking how I could assist you.

And explained that my coffee would be free of charge, as way of her apology.  I insisted I would pay for my coffee and she had more than made up for the mistake, but she insisted her manager had agreed that I was not to pay for my drink.

I took a photo of the view I had from my seat, I had ensured we moved away from the bright glaring light of the bar, while taking the photo I managed to get the image in a way that I ACTUALLY saw the view, along with a clear photograph of it too.

Clear photograph of bar interior looking out towards the hotel entrance

Blurred interior view from the seat I had at the bar interior looking out towards the entrance to the hptel

Next time I find myself at The Marriott Hotel, I shall ask one of my friends to go to the bar for me.  Because as mush as I like my coffee; I feel guilty for accepting one free of charge.

And on the subject of the soundtrack to this post, despite being in my 30’s, I am most definitely more a Manfred Mann fan than A Streets fan, so will leave you with this little bit of fun……


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