Archive for Days Out

Fun with Fizz

Today we (me & Fizz) found ourselves faced with a very different challenge.

Our local coop currently has one of its outer shutters down, so we have a slightly odd turn at the top of the steps by the door.  The door is set at a 45* degree angle to the corner of the building, meaning that when both shutters are down, the building looks square, yet with them both open, you can access from either side through the same entrance. (With one down, we have to walk around to the other, which isn’t at all an issue of difficult to do)

So, we did the turn & Fizz stopped dead and sat down.  This is a very odd thing for her to do.

She doesn’t just sit down like this if there is an obstacle, if there were an obstacle she would remain standing and then guide me around.  If she couldn’t guide me around it, she would turn me around to indicate the way was blocked.

Today she just sat, nothing would move her!

I focused in on a bull dog type dog sat by the railings a little way up, it’s tail was wagging and it wasn’t barking.

This is normally all the invitation Fizz would need to rush me over to say hello; yet she still sat.  So it wasn’t the dog!
Maybe it was a bike laid on the ground, I scanned but saw nothing….

A man came out the shop but before I could ask him, he rushed past and away.

Curious !!
Then out came a lady with a trolley and my mystery was solved

sorry dear, my cat has come out for a walk with me and my dog, he is sitting between you and the door.

So I scanned, I was able to work out another animal, about the same size as the bull dog and also similar colouring.

It was a cat!

It was a very HUGE cat, and he was happily sitting licking his paw with his tail wagging, just like the dog !!
Knowing now the situation I asked Fizz to walk on; nothing!

She did move eventually, but only then cower behind me until the cat had walked past !!

My clever.  Highly trained.  Intelligent. Problem solving guide dog is officially a WIMP.

Jumping without a parachute …

Who needs a comfort zone anyway?  Last weekend I not only stepped out of mine, I jumped out of it without my parachute !!

Not even those closest to me may have even realised the inner turmoil I was battling with …… Fizz knew, she kept me calm, she kept me from falling apart and she kept me safe every time I needed her to put on her harness and be my eyes.

Any event/conference/summer spectacular is daunting for many!

A room with 2,000 other people is also terrifying in itself!

Then add to the mix you can only see shapes and colours; the lighting is set up as corporate and moves with the music; the music that is loud, pumped out around the room to ‘raise the roof’ to ‘motivate’ and to ‘excite’ EVERYONE in the room.

Having recently decided to stop ‘messing around with diets and fads’ and actual take control of my eating, my inner nutrients and my health, I looked to my cousin for support.  She introduced me to Herbalife, a safe, clean, nutrition fuelled way of eating, not a ‘diet product’ rather a way to live, a way to improve myself from the inside out, while being able to support me through training, rock climbing, bringing up my children and running around with each of my volunteer roles.

… Fast forward a few months and here I was, sat in Manchester, watching, learning and feeling empowered by The Herbalife Summer Spectacular.

The chosen venue was literally a large box!  A MASSIVE exhibition space that was broken up and segmented by heavy curtains, false walls and carpeting.

Having previously been to Manchester a few years ago, this didn’t concern me.  With the new Google Street View App on my phone I was able to walk around the outside of EventCity, I was able to find Starbucks, plan how to get from the hotel in MediaCity, again having visited the area before, I felt OK here.

I had a room-mate for the weekend, she absolutely adored Fizz and was wonderful, even volunteering to take her out for walks having never met either of us before.

…. Back to the venue…. I was invited to sit at the front of the room, an area reserved for those prestige members, an adjustment made just for me if it would help me see the event clearer.  Sadly no where I sat would have done that, so I stayed sat with my cousin and her friends.  Fizz was fabulous, she was so calm and took all the noises and light changes in her stride, not letting it bother her at all.

In the evening, we returned to EventCity for a dinner and awards ceremony.  I though I would be OK, I though that I now knew the venue and would be OK.  I had realised in the 2 hours that we had left the venue for, that the room had changed, the big round tables were still in place, but upon our return they were dressed in white linen cloths, fully dressed with red, white and blue balloons.  The large screens were in place also, but now decorated with the same colours, there was now also a checkered dance floor and the lighting was much dimmer.

Dressed to match the colours, as advised on the invitation I found a seat with my roomy and sat down to enjoy the show.  I had preordered drinks, that she kindly collected from the bar, we had a fabulous time, laughing, chatting and watching the awards ceremony; that saw my cousins husband won first prize of £10,000 !!!

The food was interesting and incredibly difficult….. Apparently it looked very pretty, but served on white plates with dim lights and light coloured food, it was a bit of a struggle for a VIP like me !

I survived though, my anxiety didn’t get the better of me, I had a pretty good time and I am now going to be giving away my inner turmoils of the weekend to those who were with me and will hopefully be reading this.


 

 

Madness of Muse

19.30 ….. The time has come, the big event of my year is just one sleep away.

Tomorrow sees me return to the London O2 in North Greenwich, this time to see a very different performance in the act Muse.

I am currently laid on the bed in my hotel room, with a view (via the zoom view on my camera) of the O2 just across the river.  And the excitement is building….. Especially as when the traffic noise dies down; I can hear the sound check!

This is set to be a very ‘visual’ gig.  So I have my faithful friend and PA Simon with me to support me.  Unlike my trip to see Adele, this time I have bought my guiding girl Fizz with me, as I am away for a few days I wanted to be able to feel confident and comfortable while we are out tomorrow before the gig.

So, I have arranged with the accessibility team at the O2 to ensure that she will be well looked after.  This is the bit I am nervous about, how do they ‘look after’ her?

But for now off to sleep so we can enjoy a full day out tomorrow.

07.00….. Awake a breakfast eaten, I am thinking I am maybe just a little bit excited !!!

First, we are off to Stratford for the day, last night we grabbed the tube and went for a walk around the Olympic Park, but Sam hoping to go back today to ‘see’ it in daylight.  Simon was very fortunate to be one of the volunteers involved with the opening ceremony for the Olympics I’m 2012…. So, who better to be my guide?

The weather was interesting…. Bright blue sky, that thick black clouds. Here is the photo of what things looked like when we arrived it Stratford, we then went into the shopping centre and when we came out again, the sun was shining, yet the ground was soaked.

I had chosen the hotel for the ease of travelling to the O2, it was just one tube journey away.  After our day out, we got ready and left early to get to there with plenty of time.  As the tube got closer, more and more people joined the train and the buzz was so calm and yet exciting.  Fizz was calm and happy with the added attention she was getting each time someone got on or off.

I have previously visited the O2 (for dinner) with Fizz in the past, so she knew the route and remembered it well.  She was a star, the crowds were large, however she took it all in her stride and expertly Weaved her way through, I think even Simon was amazed by her work.  She was amazing and her skills were being put to good use, making it a much calmer experience for me.  And most of all, she was also enjoying the challenge.

The O2 isn’t just s concert venue, it’s a centre of entertainment, there are masses of restaurants, bars, coffee shops, a bowling alley and even a multi-screen cinema!  So, on entering we went for a drink, it was very busy, but not manic and we had kind of expected it.  Once the doors opened to the arena.  I had been advised that I needed to take Mizz Fizz to the customer service desk, where we would find assistance.  This was when we found our ‘ANGEL’ literally, it was a friendly member of the O2 staff, who had huge beautiful white wings made of feathers on her back.  She showed us which entrance that we were needing to go in to get to our seats, before taking us to the customer team, she introduced me to the senior member of staff, who had been expecting Fizz.  She took my contact details and introduced me to the male member of staff who would be Fizz’s guardian while we enjoyed the concert.  He would be taking her to a carpeted sound proofed room above the arena, she would be offered water and he would take her out for a short walk to enable her to go to the toilet.  I had bought w toy and treats with us, so that she would enjoy her experience.

Then information the staff gave me was a complete surprise and not something that I had thought of, but clearly it was a point that the staff were aware of, it wasn’t anything bad or of a concern, it was actually a great benefit.

Towards the end of the gig, a member of staff would walk Fizz to the entrance to the arena that we would be leaving by, this was so that we would be able to leave straight away, without having to battle amongst the crowds.

So, with fizz taken care of, Simon guided me to our seats and we were ready for the show!

Photo shows view from out seats, it shows the central stage with large lled lit balls attached to drone..... The title of the Touri could easily fill this post with photos of the show, I could bore you all with the enjoyment of the show….. I won’t, I will just say that I was amazed at how visual and precise the lighting was I was able to enjoy myself, the sound quality was spot on, I could clearly hear each word, for everything else I was able to use my phone to view, photograph and film.  For my own enjoyment later, not for sharing around.  So I have just end added one.

It all ended too quickly, it felt like we had been in there only an hour, rather than nearer three.

Muse had left the stage, the lights went on and all of a sudden I was aware of the sniff of Fizz behind me…. She had dragged her handler in through the doors as soon as they were open.  She, never being there before, came straight to us.  This was brilliant, as I had her harness with me, we were ready to leave.

…… Filled with memories that will never leave, even if my sight does.

 

 

What can I say?

So…. Following on from This gal is off to a Gig, I am sure you have all been waiting with great antisipation to hear my update of The O2.  I honestly don’t know what I can say, I was absolutely blown away.

We weren’t in any ‘special’ seating, we were in ZZ and oh my, that may sound terrible, but it was actually brilliant.

We walked in to the arena and our seats were on that very level on the left, no stairs, no panic over how the hell I was going to walk down amongst crowds of people.  All we had to do was shuffle along in front of people who had already taken their seats and we were there.

I was far too nervous to need the loo!  Even with the Vente Starbucks and the best part of 2 bottles of rosé…. I just wanted to watch it.  (I know I mostly listened, but the term ‘watching’ is part of my vocabulary. Just like ‘I’ll see you later’ even though it will be a very long time if ever that I actually SEE them!)

….. I hate those people who go to a gig and then watch it through the tiny screen on their phones, but tonight that was me!  Not for the whole gig, but definitely for the beginning, for the ‘pre show’ sitting down bit.

I wasn’t recording it, I was able to take the odd snap and look at it, the set up was amazing though.

photograph showing the stage, which has a large image of closed eyes, surrounded by a large light framing it.
photograph showing the size of the arena, showing the central stage along with the different levels down from my seat
As my photos show, we were high up, but with the big screen (and the use of my iPhone) where we sat was irrelevant.

Going to the gig was more about the atmosphere, the unexpected and the ‘live-ness’ of it all.

Adele probably has one of the most powerful voices of this age, she knows how to sing… She also knows how to talk to the crowd, in a way that makes you feel that you are at an intimate location, not sat in the O2 with 20,000 plus other people.  I guess being from London herself, she felt more relaxed in her surroundings.  She didn’t just sing though, she performed to the crowd.  Those sat close enough got involved, including two little girls who were 7 and 8.

There were two parts to her ‘stage’   She initially came up out of a box on the centre of the arena before moving to the large stage.  She then moved back to be centre stage, to me a small dot of lights was all that enable me to see this, until she was encased in a curtain…. That was when I got to see her, properly see her.

Photograph of the central stage with Adepe stood in the middle, surrounded by a sheer curtain that is showing her projected onto each of its 4sides
As the photo shows, she is projected up onto each of the four sides, she joked that she shouldn’t spin around, before doing just that…. Because it would make the audience dizzy and feel sick!

The whole event was amazing, the atmosphere was brilliant and when I began to get nervous about leaving, the staff were quickly on hand to help (while also checking out that my cane wasn’t some sort of weapon!)

I am even more excited now about returning next month to see Muse!  This time with Mizz Fizz who will be escorted out of the arena after I have been seated to spend her evening with the management team….. In an ‘almost’ sound proof office!

I would like, if I may, to take you on a strange journey.

The Rocky Horror Picture Show is Touring …… Who’s coming?

Was the Facebook post of a friend in October.  Having only been talking with a friend about the very same show a few weeks back, there was only one answer;

Me, Me, Me !!!

So, never having seen the film, let alone the theatre production I set to work on my costume.  I grew up doing ‘The Timewarp’ I knew the background behind the story, so wasn’t going to be shocked by the performance.  But thanks to an ‘ex’ I had been put off watching it before!

He had never seen the show, just the movie….. Which he continually raved on about, being in Am-Dram himself, his not seeing the theatre show is what had stopped me watching even the film.

As you may have realised (if your a regular reader)   I am independant, some would even go as far to say stubborn.  I like to make up my own mind.  And I guess him insisting I must watch it had the opposite affect.

But now, many, many MANY years after our relationship ended I was ready to make up my own mind.

I wasn’t going to ‘spoil’ the show by watching the film first… I simply googled images from the show to see the charactors, then based upon the female cast (not the men dressing as women) I looked up quotes, from which I got;

I ask for nothing, Master.

Appealed to me, along with the maids outfit and crazy hair, there had to be hidden wonders to this gal…. And I wasn’t disappointed !!  So, Magenta was my character of choice.

I faught back the temptation to watch the film, to read the reviews, I was going to see this show ‘blind’ (Yes, pun intended!)

I hadn’t planned on the ‘blind panic’ I found myself in earlier in the day. All bought about by me going out with a ‘different’ group of friends, friends who I had enjoyed drinks with at the pub, friends I had been with at family fun days, but they weren’t friends that had ever had to support me with a long cane, in an unfamiliar environment.

This bought me to come incredibly close to cancelling the whole idea, I wasn’t strong enough to do this, I didn’t want to ruin their evening, I didn’t want to be in the way.

Then my babysitter arrived and verbal ‘kicked my ass!’

so, wig on, costume fitted I awaited my lift.  Thankfully no public transport needed, she picked me up before heading to pick up a few others.  My calmness washed over me as we sat in the car, the others who got in complimented me on my outfit.

I felt good!

Photograph taken in the mirror of me wearing a French maid outfit, red frizzy permed wig and smiling

I felt even better when my ‘disability’ was able to secure us a parking spot directly outside the theatre….. Given my lack of clothes, along with the lovely gentleman who was with us dressed in very little and the cold wind that was blowing… I was thankful to have my blue badges with me!

The closer we got to the theatre, the more people in costumes we saw (when I say we, not me but those I was with) it was a fabulous atmosphere from the second we pulled up.  Others in our party were already there, they too had made an effort and gone all glam!

Our seats were in the stalls, at the bottom of the staircase, without even having to ask, one friend linked arms with me and helped guide me without making anything of it or causing me to  feel as if I was any different to anyone else out for the night with their girlfriends.

The show amazed me, the lights, the sounds and the music…. But what made it for me more was the audience participation.  The narrator had some wonderful lines with just the right pauses and even he broke character and joined in with the banter, commenting on how we were the earlier show so ‘supposedly’ better behaved.

We joined in, we sang, we danced, we laughed so hard our ribs hurt.

The show was very unique to me, I mean in the way I saw it.  With the little sight I have left, anything further than my nose is a blur.  So the lights of the show and the colours of the stage were very unique to me.

If you haven’t seen either the show or the film, even if the theme may seem out of your comfort zone. I would suggest you go see it.  And for me, not having a good view or being able to see the actors didn’t detract from it, not at all.

Not following the rules

Rule 1 of working with a guide dog: TRUST.  So, when your faithful guide tries to turn you around because there is something blocking your path, you go with her, right?  ………  WRONG! 

In this instance a MoP explained that the cycle path had a puddle covering it, it  wasn’t deep, (she had just walked through it) but to Mizz Fizz, this is an obstacle, so when she turned me around, I turned her back I wouldn’t allow her to turn me around again, she sat down and refused to move!

Arguing with your guide dog gets you no where (apparently) and they don’t understand sarcasm. (which is utter rubbish)

So, handle down and I took the lead, yes the ‘blind one’ was guiding the guide dog through the puddle …. I say guiding, is was more of a drag, resulting in her getting much wetter than if she had just walked though.  With several laughs from passing cyclist who had stopped to watch the performance!  Madam was clearly showing me her Stubborn Retriever side today.
The ridiculous thing is, had she not been in her work uniform (lead and harness). She would have had no issues running through said puddle.  Probably even laying down to roll around and splash about.

(MoP is an abbrievieation for Member of the Public)

The Awards

Today is the day when Adrian Chiles, Joey Essex & many more British celebs get to meet with my gorgeous guiding girl Vicky Osborne. Tonight we join other wonderful guide dog partnerships, volunteers and staff to celebrate their achievements. In addition to the achievement that all 45,000 partnerships & 4,000 pups in training will have. To some, “they are just dogs” but to me and other GDO’s they are our independence, our guides, our eyes.

I for one as a VIP, would not even consider the train & tube journey to London today. But as a team, together, me & Vicky will fathom out Victoria station some how. And regardless of the results of tonight’s awards, she is my guiding girl, without whom I wouldn’t be half the gal I am today.

10.39

Warm, almost empty train… And off we go!!!
Whether it is a blind persons thing or any traveller. My bag has been checked, checked and checked again for travel cards, purse, headphones and phone….. Then the case, for dog food, bed, bowl and finally phone charger!

So, one final check for my travel card & off we go…… Eek !!!

12.45

I haven’t travelled to London Victoria train station since I was a very small child, it seems just as big and scary a place now as it did then. I have the time of the next tube to get me to Kings Cross, but as the tubes run every few minutes and I am in now hurry. I set Vicky out to “find coffee”. Where she weaves me through crowds and shoppers to Starbucks. Such a refreshing break and decent coffee to plan how and what to do next.

First order on the agenda, loo for me, grass for Vicky!

Then off to Victoria Underground we go.

With the help of the underground staff and a turned off escalator we made it to our tube and along to Kings Cross.

Vicky was in her element with the crowds, tourists not knowing where they were or where they were going, she guided like a dream.

If only she could read street signs and it would have been an easy trip from the underground to the hotel.

As I have said before, I rely on maps on my phone, 3G signal was good, head phones were in one ear and I was ready to go….. GPS however had other ideas.

London Kings Cross area is surrounded in its fair share of tall buildings. St Pancras International being one, The British Library, then there is the clock tower at Kings Cross, the office buildings, the hotels and the apartments.

It was at this point I discovered that high/tall buildings and GPS don’t mix!

But then, one thing you can be almost certain of in London is a police man or 3… All of whom were willing to walk me the 5 minutes to the hotel. They appeared most put out when I said directions would do! So a quick ruffle of Vicky’s head and off we went.

The directions were spot on, but the guide dog sense was even better…. The arrival of not 1 but 7 guide dog puppies as we were on the approach to the hotel symbolised that we were in the right place, and Miss Vicky’s wage to revert to her (never-forgotten) puppy years was growing by the second.

The hotel was simple, clean and absolutely perfect for a vip like me, no fuss, no frills and no silly unnecessarily placed furniture. We checked in, put the tele on promptly fell asleep !!

Eek….. Waking with just an hour to go before set off for the dinner, I laid out my clothes. Only to discover that I had not packed my tights….. Double eek.

So, on went the harness and off we rushed back down the road to Kings Cross to find a chemist, easy enough surely? Ummm Nope!!

We made it to the chemist, we located the assistant and got the tights. Then upon leaving, the reality of it hit me. The light was going down, I was in London, not entirely sure of which street I had to take for the hotel and I only had 45 minutes to get back, shower and change before te coach left.

This was where Vicky came into her own. She seems to know what I wanted and where it was. So with a great tension on the harness I let her lead the way, through the crowds rushing in and out of the tube station, patiently waiting for the beep of the crossing despite others rushing through the traffic built up. We were off and in less than 8 minutes we were back at the hotel.

Quickest shower, hair dry and dress I have ever performed.

Quick brush of Vicky….. And we were ready !!

The only bonus of this mad panic was that the nerves I had been feeling all day had gone, I didn’t have the time to remember them. Thank goodness!

5.25pm

The coach is heading through bright coloured streets, flashes of Christmas decorations, The London Eye (I overheard someone say behind me say). Then we were at the Hilton. THE HILTON. The Christmas tree in reception was huge, thinking colours and lights. Guests were wandering around. People crowded around people asking for photos and autographs, while I found myself amongst the crowd, feeling the loneliest I have felt in a very long time. Oh, so very very alone.

A member of the guide dog team came into me, introduced themselves and offered me their arm. I was guided to the lift, up several floors and into an area with a coat check. Coat checked in, then the arm was offers again and I was walked into a large ball room, handed a glass of fizz and introduced to people who’s names I didn’t recognise and faces I couldn’t see.

It was a whirlwind of introductions, explanations of why I was there, what type of dog Vicky was and warm wishes of ‘good luck’ before being walked through to the main event. The stage was set with bright white Christmas trees, the room had a blue ice illumination to it and the tables were set with far too much cutlery and a very heavy, thick white table cloth.

The feeling of loneliness and dread filled me again, I felt myself beginning to feel anxious and clammy. That was when I found a trustee for guide dogs by my side pouring me a glass of water and reassuring me that they were there to help, with anything I should need.

I welcomed the water, quenching a thirst I wasn’t even aware of and then he offered to pour me a wine, white or red? Or both? I said I would never be able to see the white, so best make it a red.

And the rest of the evening was a whirlwind of fundraising, silly entertainment, singers and then …. The awards.

The first award was for an individual or group that had supported guide dogs, I don’t remember the name of the award. Because it was the moment I realised that Vicky wasn’t the winner of her category.

How did I know you ask?

It was simple, the winner of the first award had a short video all about what they’d had done.

I hadn’t done any video recordings.

I was gutted, so very very gutted.

When the guide dog became the attraction at the zoo


My guide dog is often admired when we are out and about.  Many people are surprised when they see a dog in an inside environment, such as a shopping centre or cinema.  But people appear much more surprised when they meet us at somewhere like a theme park.

As it’s the Easter weekend I got the opportunity to go to Drayton Manor to visit Thomas Land with my little boy.  We had a fabulous time in the park, lots of rides and my GD Vicky enjoyed all the fussing she was getting while we waited in line for our turn.

She didn’t go on any of the rides with us, she stayed with one of our party so that I had her to guide me, but didn’t have to miss out on the fun and thrills of the rides.

Drayton Manor have their own zoo with a collection of owls, monkeys and a black leopard.

Having phoned ahead of our visit, I had spoken with one of the keepers and they were happy for my GD to go into the zoo area, with the provision that if she of the animals appearedto be distressed I was to walk away.

There were numerous zoo staff around the zoo who were very happy to see us and help explain what was in the enclosures.

The monkeys were the first to spot Vicky.

They were very interested and intreaged by her.  They came up to the bars on their cage to see her.

Photo 19-04-2014 13 48 51

Photo 19-04-2014 14 02 43Photo 19-04-2014 14 02 43Then there was black leopard, she came right up to see Vicky, yet she wasn’t stressed or showing any aggression, just interest.

image

image

And then there was the gibbons, they wanted to play, they were chatting away to Vicky and she in return was making noises to them too.  But again, with a zoo keeper on hand, I was reassured that this was friendly chatter that they often sharedamongst themselves during play times.

image

Photo 19-04-2014 14 02 43I was able to get some lovely pictures of the animals in the zoo, so once home I could actually sit down and look through the pictures with my son and he was telling me about what he thought of when he had seen the animals.  For me, seeing animals when visiting the zoo with my children is not something that I get to do very often.

It is only in more recent years that zoo’s have allowed guide dogs and other assistance dogs into the grounds, with many restrictions for the safety of the animals and the dogs.  With Vicky by my side, both me and my son were able to have a much closer encounter to the animals than we had ever thought possible.

Fireworks

This week saw me with my family go and watch a firework display with my daughters Cub group, after navigating in the dark from the car to the camp site where the bonfire was crackling away.

We sat around enjoying campfire songs, I was mesmerised by the flames, watching the little flecks fly off into the night sky, thinking how this looks to others, do they see the flames as I do?

This was when I began to think about what a firework
Actually looked like when it went off
In the sky?

For me it is just a burst of colour, but I wondered if ‘sighted people’ saw individual flecks or different colours?

So after the camp songs & warming up by the fire we walked up to where the fireworks were being set off from & I divided that I would film some of the fireworks on my phone so I could see it as others.

This was what I filmed

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The film shows almost perfectly what a saw from the embers that were coming off of the fire, little fuzzy balls like those I spoke of in an earlier post (looking through raindrops)

Looking at the practicalities of using an iPhone to film fireworks that are roughly 100 feet in the air won’t give you the clearest image, but actually the ‘poor film quality’
Allows me to explain more to you about how I actually do see.

Maybe you can have more of an understanding as to why I was mesmerised by the little embers flying off the fire rather than the fire itself.

This has given me the chance to let you literally ‘seemyway’

I hope you enjoy?

Blind Dating

I have explained before that I have a wicked sense of humour….. This blog post shows this off perfectly.

Sitting yesterday with a friend having a much needed catch-up over a leisurely Sunday brunch at a popular Italian American restaurant, the following occurred.

As usual, my trusted guide dog was laid on my feet under the table waiting for any food to drop. Me and my friend had been talking about how life had been for me since seperating from my long term partner earlier in the year. She knew that I had struggled with others opinions about being a single parent, she also knew that I had taken the decision to end the relationship and that it had been a happy decision for me.

This led us to talking about dating and how after having been in a relationship for so long you would even start going about this. At this point, a couple were seated in the booth behind us. I remember this point as the woman in the couple was sneezing continually, so I passed a packet of ultra-balm pocket tissues behind me to her partner.

Me and my friend continued talking about dating, she commented on how I could try internet dating or speed dating. This tickled me, so I made a joke of how she was fundamentally suggesting that I went on a ‘blind date’ as I went on to say, my days of catching someones eye across a crowded pub were behind me, I would be lucky to even catch the eye of someone stood right beside me. The irony of ‘blind dating’ continued and she by this point was looking on her phone and discovered that there were dating sites just for disabled people. I made a joke of how a guide dog had a great pulling power, but how to train them to seak out single guys for blind people would take real indepth training…..

 

At this point I was aware of uncomfortable mummbles from the couple in the booth behind us. Me and my friend continued to speak about how a blind person would go about dating, when the ‘gentleman’ in the booth behind me turned around and commented, (these words have stayed with me….

“You really are being quite rude and insensitive, talking about poor blind people who can’t possible have as enjoyable and free life as you ((me))”

To which I was shocked, so I said all I could which was, “I beg your pardon?”

“Well, you two are sat her enjoying a nice leisurely breakfast, probably off to do some shopping laughing about those less fortunate than you who have a horrible disability and can’t even think of coming out for treats like this. Whilst you both sit here poking fun at them for not being able to date, you both have such freedom, people like you make me sick.”

At this point my blood was boiling and I’m sure my friend could sense this too, as she reached across the table and asked me if I wanted to leave, which no I did not.

I was not going to be accused of being insensitive, rude and worst of all being called a ‘poor blind person’.

 

I kept my cool (dog knows how!) and out came the sarcasm……

 

“I’m sorry sir if my ‘private’ conversation with my friend has upset and sickened you, I am so very sorry that you feel that ‘poor blind people’ don’t have such freedoms as to go out for a long breakfast or enjoy shopping. I am so very sorry that you feel that I was insulting those with horrible disabilities. I was in fact talking about myself and how ‘ironic’ it was to use the word ‘blind date’ you see because for me now that is what it would be, I am sorry for that.”

At this point he stood up and called over the waitress, he said “I can’t believe the nerve of you ((me)) now pretending to be blind, while you clearly aren’t to justify and make excuses for your terrible behaviour, I wish to be moved. (Directed at the waitress)”

I was close to tears at the point and the waitress was about to speak, the very same waitress that had seated me and my friend and made a fuss of Vicky before she had curled up under the table.

I myself now stood up and turned to the gentleman, a term I use very loosely as he was about the same age as me, and definite not gentle!

“It’s ok, no need for you to move, we were just finishing up and off to enjoy some carefree shopping, I will even go to the till to settle up my bill as to not upset you a moment further, if you would just be so kind as to give me a minute to get my guide dog in her harness?”

He sniggered at this, but he soon stopped when I woke up a sleeping Vicky and got her out from under the table….

In fact his face was so red with embarrassment, even I could see it!

 

I finished putting her harness on and walked toward the till. My friend was talking behind me to the man and his girlfriend, but At this point I just wanted to leave.

She came and joined me a moment later to tell me that on the girlfriends insistence her boyfriend would be paying our bill for us, he hadn’t spoken another word apparently, just stood there shocked and embarrassed.

My friend said that she had explained that I was clearly upset by his insults and assumptions of ‘poor blind people’ and that it was incredibly rude to earwig on others conversations.

His girlfriend was very apologetic, but still he said nothing.

As we left the restaurant, my friend said she could see through the window that his girlfriend was clearly shouting at him.

To be honest I didn’t care…. I was using every muscle in my body to stop me from breaking down in tears, I was so shaken by it that we didn’t go shopping, without a word spoken, we got in her car and we went straight to the nearest pub for a large whiskey (for me anyway)

We had been having such an enjoyable time and only a true friend would laugh with me while we spoke of blind dates and meeting someone new. She knew instantly that I had been upset by those cruel words, but that I wouldn’t scream and shout, but calmly and with sarcasm allow that horrid man to be left thinking about what he had said and done.

I am not a ‘poor blind person’ with a ‘horrible disability’, I am me Tee, with a visual impairment…. I have plenty of freedom to go shopping and enjoy long breakfasts with friends, I am also privileged to have such wonderful friends that won’t talk over me, but know me well enough to know that I am fully capable of speaking my own mind. Also just like on that day, also know when I need a stiff drink and a huge hug.

 

And to answer the question you may be thinking by now…. No, I haven’t and nor will I be signing up to an iNternet dating of any kind !!!

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