Happy BADD – Lets all be positive about disability

As you should know by now if you read this on a regular basis today it is Blogging Against Disableism Day, clicking on the BADD banner on the right will take you straight through to the hub and I would recommend it.

If I am completely honest I didn’t know what to write about for todays BADD. I was going to write something positive about the things I am proud of as a disabled person, not in a everyone smile and cheer at the poor little disabled person getting on with there every day lives but looking at the positive things we as disabled people bring to our communities and on a wider level society.

To oftern the media focus on the negatives of disability or use a patronising tone, unfortunatly this negativity oftern extends to the genral public or even worse service providers. Today at work I was asked to put our this statement on to our jobs database, written by the charity themselves

” Transport is a particular problem for people who are blind and partially sighted. Fear and uncertainty of how to get to their destination, often preventing people from going out altogether, which then can lead to isolation and depression.”

So this add would leave every person that reads it to believe that every blind and partially sighted person in the country feels isolated, scared to leave there own home and depressed. Not just that but its not exactly well written anyway is it? I’m not one to talk about grammar but its just not right in lots of ways. I know that there are pleanty of VI people up an down the contry who live happy contented and actives lives

So why am I not writing about the positives then? (and this is where it gets ironic) Today I have had a very bad day with all my impairments, my shoulder was very painful this morning which made me late, my eye has been playing up all day and you know what I am just having a bad day with my depression, I tried to book an appointment to see my GP today and was told that there where no appointments on the system yet so I would have to ring back and can’t be seen till June.

So basically whatever I wrote today would be utter shit, I have been trying to write something good for BADD all day, but today I just can’t.

Climbing barriers repeatedly

This year at university has been great, but filled with issues and problems and barriers to my learning.

It is important to mention at this point that there have been some fabulous people, and some committed and brilliant lecturers who never fail to meet my access needs and think of me in every circumstance.
Then there are those people who don’t help at all, who for  a time could not possibly produce a large print hand out for me… until of course they were reminded by me of a little something known as The DDA (Disability Discrimination Act). After that shocker people started getting me large print handouts, and copies of power point presentations as they happen so I actually know whats going on. (finally)
That was one major issue resolved for the most part, it took 8 weeks but hey-ho sorted now.
There have however been countless issues…. one after the other in a near constant stream. Every issue is another barrier for me to battle to clime over, wonky legs and all!
Climbing over these barriers and battling to insure that people understand, is quite frankly wearing me down. 
Most of the issues I am facing could be avoided, a little extra planning could go a long way or a little organisation!
The most recent thing that has happened is the start of semester 2, it starts on Monday and I am expecting another bumpy ride at least in the beginning. The time table has completely changed, I have new staff teaching me and new rooms to find. All of this is going to throw up issues,  I am expecting that there will be glitches and I am fine with that.
To try and smooth out issues before they happen I have asked that all my new lecturers see something called a ‘faculty form’. Basically the faculty form states what ALL of my disabilities and conditions are, it states what I need in lessons and spells out the basics. 
I would much rather people know that I am disabled before I walk through the door it allows them time to plan there lesson and avoids embarrassment.
Well I emailed the people concerned as a little don’t forget to look at my faculty form, I have now received a email, that I was copied into from the faculty office with a word document that I produced at the begging of the year that concerns my visual impairment, I was at the time trying to simplify things purely relating to my VI.
Everyone always forgets my other conditions they may be marginally less significant than my Visual Impairment at this moment in time but that will not always be the case, I would rather people where prepared.
There was no mention of my bone condition (the wonky legs and hyper-mobile joints), the one that makes standing still in the same place for periods of time difficult, makes me wobble and makes stairs tricky.
There was no mention of my mental health, I may be in recovery right now but I am still receiving treatment on my way to being fully well again without medication.
I have come to the conclusion they either don’t understand what my faculty form is, or that its filed away somewhere and they can’t find it.
I don’t get it  the faculty form is the most basic and simple of things all I want is for all my lecturers to see it, surly it s not that difficult.
It may be wearing me down but I will just have to keep climbing over the barriers.
Can I also say a big thanks to all the people out there who have ever tried to remove an access barrier from any ones path, your actions make all the other barriers seem achievable and remind those of us who have to climb the barriers that there are people looking out for them.

Change will happen to ME

It seems strange to be writing about change as I have just changed the layout of this blog, it seems to be creating a little sub theme, but the change I am referring to here is a life change.

It’s at this point I need to mention Beth and her blog ‘Screw Bronze‘; I have been following Beth’s blog ever since the start of the Ouch project and she is a truly fantastic example of a human being, if you do nothing else today just pop over to her blog and have a read. Her latest post titled ‘Badminton, illness and change’ has really hit me and helped me with a change I am getting to grips with right now.
As I am sure readers will be aware I have a bone condition in addition to being VI its that (not so) little thing that everyone ALWAYS forgets about, but trust me I never forget about it!
My condition has always been one that is likely to flare up and deteriorate over time, I have always known this but today I have come to a bit of a milestone.
After walking down The (EFFING) Eiffel Tower and then yesterday (just as things where improving) managing to slip over in the mud I am having a very serious flare up.
My left hip and knee take it in turns to be very painful and I am really struggling to balance.
I have hit the point I always knew would happen, it is time to obtain a walking stick.
This is for me a bit of a big thing, I am possibly being a bit pathetic but now the time has come I am finding it rather difficult.
People will see me and Gus and then a stick I’m worried about what will go through peoples heads, questions they might ask and the reactions of my friends, acquaintances and complete strangers.
Reading Beth’s blog has made me realise, its just an adjustment to a new normal for me and everyone else, I have no need to feel self conscious or concerned about peoples perceptions and prejudices.
I am ME; a stunningly beautiful, 20 year old, independent. visually impaired woman who sometimes needs to use a stick to get about and more importantly I will not be ashamed of what I am.
OK its a change for me to think about using a stick, but it will only be a change for so long, and then it will become the norm, nothing will be different.

Paris- Day 2

Day 2 was CRAZY we did so much in a seriously short space of time!

First off we got up thanks to my mobile phone at 7:15 am, and headed down for breakfast.
Breakfast was interesting, it consisted of croissants French sticks, boiled eggs ham and unidentified cheese that I was too scared to try. I had ham and croissants, the ham was gross, but the croissants where good so all was well.
About 9 ish we headed off to Notre Damme on the coach, the weather was not good but even still the cathedral looked beautiful, but dark VERY dark. I took loads of pictures of the place and the stained glass windows that are beautiful, and its all completely symmetrical, there is so much to say about it, we went on a tour and where told about all the carvings and paintings and the main features of the building it was really really great!
Then we went on a boat trip…. I don’t really remember much of it because I fell asleep and couldn’t actually work out which way to look and when I did couldn’t see it anyway! Nothing personal Paris I just don’t like boat trips!
Then we went to a museum of cinema… which was good but dark and a bit boring, and I didn’t like that they had a Video playing showing various animals being dropped from a great height to see how they landed and IF they got back up!
We then went outside and checked out the very random GIANT Mexican man outside the museum.
We then went to the nearest metro station and went shopping, we where let lose and went in search of much needed food. We found the most gross looking kebab shop the world has ever seen and are very lucky not to have food poisoning.
Then we headed back on the metro to go to The Eiffel tower. We arrived slightly late because of the train and headed over to security.
For the first time EVER I managed to get through the security metal detector thing without setting it off, I’m so proud of myself.
We then went up The Eiffel tower, I am scared of heights but have been up the Berlin TV tower and the London eye and been fine with it so I thought I would be OK.
However when we got on the first level high up I decided I was not fine with it! I stood holding on to the metal thing and did not go anywhere near the edge!
I was terrified but still wanted to go to the top so I could say I had done it, so I headed up in the lift with everyone else, all the way to the top, I quickly decided to wait inside slightly lower down and hang on to a handrail and wait for everyone to come down. we then meandered for a bit and went down the first lift.
We then went and joined the cue for the second lift that takes you from there  all the way to ground level.
It broke.
I had to walk down The (EFFING) Eiffel tower, in the dark, with my lack of balance, non existent night vision and vertigo. All rounded off by a strong wind. 
I was terrified and inside my head completely unsure whether I would actually make it down, my bone condition makes going down stairs physically very difficult and often painful so I tend to avoid where possible. There where also thoughts of falling down ALL the stairs to my painful twisted death.
I was shaking all over which did not help my balance every now and then we hit a dark patch where there was absolutely no light meaning I could not see the steps at all, we would then turn a corner and the lights would all be shining in my face, it was incredibly difficult.
At this point I need to commend Tom C for being a complete hero/star/generally fab and staying with me, being incredibly patient and keeping me calm. I seriously could not have done it on my own, and Tom was really calm!
Tom You are Great!
At the half way ish stage we bumped into Paul who found me a seat to sit on, I think by this point I was rather white and I know from my perspective that I was shaking all over very violently and that the world was spinning.
The second half of the journey down was bad, there where occasional spiral stairs and the lighting situation got even worse, my world continued to spin and I ended up clinging on to both the handrail and Paul.
Then what seemed like hours later I made it down, and sat down on a concrete cube for a few moments to recover…. and got several hugs. 
The rest of the group headed up to the restaurant I think I may have been a little short with someone who asked me if I was OK, I wasn’t and thought it was a stupid question, I’m sorry to this person! I also remember that someone called my Jemma Brown MBE but I can’t remember who or why? Its all a bit a blur and if anyone can fill me in feel free!
Then Tom me and a few of the Lecturers who I think where a bit worried I was going to pass out headed to the restaurant. 
I was still shaking and my left leg was strangely numb, or shaking, or painful I am not really sure which and I very nearly fell over as a result.
Again in leaps Super Tom who let me hang on to dear life to his shoulder while I staggered to the restaurant.
I was still feeling rather nauseous and spinning by the time I got there sat down and ordered spag bol.
We then headed back to the hotel on the metro, again Super Tom’s shoulder came in very handy as I could not really walk very well, oh and going on the metro meant going up and down more stairs, which gave me more vertigo.
I was a wobbly wreck by the time I got back to the hotel so simply headed off to bed.

I heart blind cricket!

I’m happy, I just came back from blind cricket and it was really good.

As you may already know I am a very sporty person despite being very unfit and all my bone issues.

Anyway cricket today was really good, I did really well, I really struggle with bowling, and I’m not really strong enough to throw the ball the entire length of the crease. So this time rather than trying and solely focusing on trying to get the ball to the target, the coach told me to come about 4 feet further forward, so I did.

The result was amazing! I got 2 bowlers out and was 100% more accurate. Now I am forgetting about my pride and shall just move forward!

My batting was also really consistent which was good, we did not score many runs in my partnership but we both where hitting well.

So I think I have found my sports calling, there is still a very special place in my heard for woman’s football but its not something I can compete in.

I love cricket, I do however currently have a slight problem I have not got my own bat, so this means I use my clubs bats, there bats are perfectly adequate and fine but it does mean I get a different bat each time I play, I might use say 4 in a session.

This is a bit of a problem as it means I am using bats that are different weights, are different sizes and have different grips and handle lengths.

That means it makes batting really difficult as all cricket players will know all of the things I have mentioned will affect my batting posture and swing.

So I am now saving up to buy a bat, I need one that is standard size with a long handle I have decided so I will be shopping around for either a really cheap one or a second hand one or one in a sale. Probably can’t afford to buy a new one although that would be nice.

Ouch! The Streets, and a bit about me

[Wow yet again it appears to be quite some time since I last blogged, I really am getting lazy so am as of now going to commit to keeping my blog up to date.]



I have no excuses now for not keeping the blog up to date, the Ouch! Guest blogging program has been put to an end with the redesign of there website, so I am no longer writing for Ouch! I still have a webcam that technically belongs to them so you may well see me on Ouch! again in the future. 

Talking of Ouch! they have recently re designed there website and I would encourage anyone involved in web design to go and take a look at what a fully accessible website CAN look like. 

Lots of websites these days claim to be accessible to people that are visually impaired by offering the option of changing the text size, however in most cases this completely messes with the page layout text becomes crowded and overlaps other areas of text and usually becomes unreadable, the Ouch! website with its new design is fabulous!

The Streets 

Ok a band I’m really loving at the moment would have to be The streets, for anyone that has not heard there audio album offering I would seriously recommend it there album, is titled ‘Everything is borrowed’ It’s really worth a listen. One of the, I think lesser-known tracks on the album is this one the lyrics of which I have copied and pasted especially for you!

The strongest person I know – The Streets

One of the first things about you I did see

Is that you verse your views quietly

When nature verses truths I get violent feelings

But softly time will reply that’s wise


A delicate gesture of why you see

The best route through this being right through here

But met with a cute blind snide of fear

Best to go along with their idea


But , you gently take things slowly

You softly bowl them over

That’s the delicate way you’ve shown me

You’re the strongest person I know


You gently take things slowly

You softly bowl them over

That’s the delicate way you’ve shown me

You’re the strongest person I know


After taking the worst route, blatantly

Bang on cue we manage losing way

But in a squirmy backed and screwed up way

They actually managed passing you the blame


With that mad man wrapped with rage

Even then your temper stays exactly the same

And in that manner is the manner you stay

Beautiful person that’s happily unchanged


You gently take things slowly

You softly bowl them over

That’s the delicate way you’ve shown me

You’re the strongest person I know


You gently take things slowly

You softly bowl them over

That’s the delicate way you’ve shown me

You’re the strongest person I know


In the heat of speech

Your words improve

Right out of reach in my stirred up words

But every time they f**king blurt out drool

I’m noticing they’re all learning from you


Cos even though they know they cursed you

They should’ve admitted that they were fools

The next time they’re wanting to work things through

The very first person they turn to is you


Cos you gently take things slowly

You softly bowl them over

That’s the delicate way you’ve shown me

You’re the strongest person I know


You gently take things slowly

You softly bowl them over

That’s the delicate way you’ve shown me

You’re the strongest person I know


You gently take things slowly

You softly bowl them over

That’s the delicate way you’ve shown me

You’re the strongest person I know


On a personal level

Well how am I? Now there is an intriguing question! I have had a few problems of late with my existing bone condition; in short my knee is playing up quite substantially. Approximately 2 years ago now I had a seriously large amount of physiotherapy on the knee in question, the effects of which would appear to have completely worn off. So here I am again feeling old beyond my years and in pain. I have now seen a doctor who has unfortunately not done a lot about it other than give me a prescription for 5 lots of Tubigrip and painkillers.


My problem with this is that its not going to sort out the long term issue (I am aware that nothing will do this completely), painkillers can become addictive and don’t alleviate all the pain very often and Tubigrip is fine as a temporary thing but the way the doctor suggested I should start wearing it all the time. This is a problem because Tubigrip is very flexible and elastic, it does not stay where it is put and with the knee joint in particular it creases up in the bend of the knee and digs in causing more pain.


Technicalities aside it is still essentially the same thing my bone condition and joints deteriorating, I’m not going to try and be upbeat about it, I’m going to be honest and say it’s a real blow, particularly as I have just started playing blind cricket again.


Other than all that I am doing ok, at the moment struggling slightly with a complete lack of creativity but I will get through that.


It could be worse

I keep reminding myself of this little mantra

It could be worse