Where'd I Leave It Wednesday

Where’d I Leave It Wednesday – Tuesday Troubles

Happy Wednesday everyone! It is time for a new Where’d I Leave It Wednesday story and the one I will be putting here today is about my trip to the Theatre yesterday, I went to see The Dresser with Julian Clary, it was very different to what I usually go and see but I enjoyed the performance immensely.

The moments of the story focus on two points. One thing that happened before I went into the Theatre and one thing that happened during the half-time interval.

Tuesday Troubles

I met my Mum, who I was going to the Theatre with, in town on the Tuesday afternoon and we had to buy some Christmas gifts – we like to be prepared early- and some cards for family birthdays. We went into the market for a while, then when we came out we were walking up the street chattering away as we do when I stopped completely dead. I was frozen where I stood in the middle of the street, in the pouring rain. I suddenly had this thought that I had no idea where I had left my white cane. I couldn’t remember any of the places that day that I had had it with me. I was panicking while rain was going down my neck and coming through my shoes. My Mum looked at me confused and looked down at my hand. I was holding my cane in my hand. Well, I felt a little embarrassed but then I laughed because that is something my Mum does all the time, she asks where her glasses are and they are always on her head!

The second thing that happened was during the Interval. In the Theatre I always try to be sitting in the front row to give myself the best chance of seeing the shows. But this means that when it gets to the interval the front row has to wait in their seats for the silver barrier to come down before we can go to the bathroom. This meant that yesterday a woman got there before me. I use the disabled toilets in most places because I struggle with others and it gives me more room. This room went rushing past me to get into the disabled toilet before me. I never judge because disabilities aren’t always visible however for the purposes of this story I will say, this woman did not have any problems with her legs as she pushed past me. I was happy to wait for the bathroom, I wasn’t in a rush. When she opened the door again to exit the toilet, she seemed to notice me for the first time and as she walked away, she started limping. My Mum and I both looked at each other and it reminded me of a scene in the TV show Outnumbered where Sue, the Mother, uses a Disabled toilet and when she leaves she puts on a limp because there’s someone in a wheelchair waiting outside. It really reminded me of that.

That’s it for today’s story, I hope you all enjoyed it!

Where'd I Leave It Wednesday

Where’d I Leave It Wednesday: Passagers

Happy Wednesday everyone! I hope you’re all having a good day today. My story today is about my trip to the Theatre last night. It wasn’t quite what I expected.

My mum and I decided to go and see this show called ‘Passagers’ at the Theatre after seeing a poster advertising it. On the poster the show reminded me of the circus, with the aerial acts and the acrobatics. So I went in expecting an exciting circus acrobatic performance.

The first thing I thought when I sat in my seat was thank goodness I was on a corner. Usually, because of how limited my sight is, I have to sit front row but this time I was sat in the second row and because I was on the corner there was a gap between the two chairs in front of me. There is nothing worse than being sat in the second row and having a six foot something person sat in front of you. Yes, this has happened to me before.

Then the show started.

Now, the show itself started with an interesting dance number. I knew it would be hard for me to see but there was so much going on, multiple people dancing in different parts of the stage and it felt like my eye was pacing the amount of back and forth it was doing.

When the acrobatic elements started I realised the show was going to be more difficult than I thought. The aerial acts were beautiful and I think my mouth was open the entire time I was watching their outlines. I say outlines because they were so far away I couldn’t see any more of them. It was like watching stick figures dancing in the air.

Then there was the juggler. My Mum said he was talented and with the amount of cheering the audience were doing they must have been great. The things he was juggling, they looked like bowling pins and as soon as they left his hands – poof! They disappeared in midair. Then they were suddenly in his hands again.

The music of the show was beautiful and kept me entertained as much as the parts of the show I could see.

That’s it for this post I hope you all enjoyed it!

Where'd I Leave It Wednesday

Where’d I Leave It Wednesday: Braille Lessons

Happy Wednesday everyone! I am back with a new Where’d I Leave It Wednesday post and today it is all about the braille lessons that I’ve started taking.

So, a little bit of background might be helpful to you. I am registered as Severely Sight Impaired (Blind) but I still have a little bit of sight. Then September 2020 I was sitting in my living room and I got a pain in my left eye, a few minutes later I could only see colours out of that eye. Which is rather terrifying but I’m used to how that eye is now. As this blog is mainly a book blog I’m sure it is pretty obvious that I love to read, and I struggle sometimes with e-books because of looking at a screen for any length of time so I read physical books mainly and I have worried about if I might lose the sight in the right eye as well so I decided it was time to learn braille, just in case.

The day of the first session it absolutely poured it down with rain, the lovely British weather, I had my umbrella with me but it didn’t give me that much protection. Mainly because I’m useless with umbrellas and it was swaying above me without the help of any wind. One half of me would be under the umbrella and the next second the other side of me would be. It was a nightmare. I turned up at the place leaving a trail of raindrops on the carpet. If I’d worn white or grey I could have looked like one of those ghosts of drowned people that I’ve seen on television. But I didn’t.

I went up to the reception, trying to peer underneath my hood. My head is so small that if I wasn’t wearing my glasses the hood would cover up to the bottom of my nose. I was wearing my glasses so my hood perched precariously on the top of those. I had to wait there, rainwater still dripping off me, for the receptionist to notice me before being told to wait in one of the chairs. I sat in the chair with my cane in one hand and my umbrella in the other. This is all before I’d even started the session.

Then I did start the session and it was like I had walked into another world and growing back down a couple of years – and by a couple I mean a lot.

We started by talking about why I wanted to do braille and then she got me to trace patterns on strips of wallpaper…. I assure you it felt as strange as it sounds. And my finger got lost, or I got lost with my finger, I’m not sure which but I got confused anyway. Then the session got weirder.

The woman took out an egg carton from a box she had beside her. At this point I had no idea what was happening but I did assume it was empty. It wasn’t. It was full of ping pong balls. I had to use them to create the braille shapes for some of the letters of the alphabet. I felt like I was inside the memory game of the brain training game my sister used to have for her Nintendo. If it secretly was a game like that – I passed.

Then the real work started. I learnt I’m a left handed braille reader. The fingertips on my left hand are more sensitive than the fingertips of my right hand. Did anyone else ever realise that one hand would be more sensitive to things it touches than the other? I certainly didn’t. It’s also pretty hard to read braille with your left hand, other than the obvious learning a new language thing I also have to take my hand across a piece of paper in a line – but I’m used to using my right hand for everything because I’m right handed so it feels like retraining my own hands.

I enjoy the sessions, as I said I’ve only had two so far but they are very good and I’m learning quickly. The amount of concentration it takes though makes my head hurt. The funniest thing is the sessions are an hour long, and about halfway through that some of the dots of the braille just stop being felt. Fingertips stop feeling things if they’ve been used too long that’s what I was told and it is a very unusual feeling.

That’s the end of this Where’d I Leave It Wednesday, I hope you all enjoyed it!

Where'd I Leave It Wednesday

Where’d I Leave It Wednesday: Hampshire Crazy Golf

Happy Wednesday bookish people! I’m back with another little story about my time in Hampshire earlier this year. I haven’t been posting my Where’d I Leave It Wednesday’s for a little while because my life got a little hectic what with the move and still trying to get onto a PhD programme – there may be some good news regarding this soon so fingers crossed. But now I’m bringing them back!

I travelled to Hampshire earlier this year with my parents, my sister, my sister’s partner and his daughter. On one of the days we travelled to the seafront (don’t ask me where because I have no idea). We had actually been to a shopping centre in the morning and then we headed to the seafront which was filled with museums, shops, amusement arcades and an area that had rides and games in it.

We decided that instead of going on the rides, as I don’t like them anyway, we would play crazy golf. Now, I’m a competitive person but this goes up five levels when I’m playing crazy golf – just ask my boyfriend he knows what I’m like when we play. And if I win then I’m not going to let my opponents forget that I did.

So, we got the equipment and decided our order. I went last. The main reason for that is while playing crazy golf I’m carrying two sticks – my cane and the golf club – and I have been known to make contact with people if I don’t go last in the order. Oops.

It was going well for me to begin with, I had the lead for a few holes. But then it all went downhill. The golf ball just was not doing what I wanted it to at all! It would get close to the hole and then swerve. I swear it was doing it on purpose.

So I lost that game and I was not happy about it. I will get my rematch some day.

That’s it for this story, I’m sorry it was so short but I hope you all enjoyed it anyway.

Uncategorized, Where'd I Leave It Wednesday

Where’d I Leave It Wednesday: Portsmouth Historic Dockyard – The Mary Rose

Happy Wednesday everyone! I’m back with another Where’d I Leave It Wednesday, today’s will be the next part of my time up in Southampton/Portsmouth and more specifically for today’s story, my trip to the Mary Rose Museum at the Historic Dockyard.

The day began with meeting Henry VIII in the middle of the street before we’d even gotten to the Dockyard. It was the strangest feeling, my family and I had just been talking about how places like Hampton Court Palace had people dressed up as Henry VIII and his queens, then I look up and right in front of me is Henry VIII. That was a pretty surreal start to the day. I got a photo with him, this Henry VIII actually sounded northern which was interesting, then he asked where I was from and I told him. His answer was “this must be a busman’s holiday for you lot then”….. I didn’t get it but my family laughed. Henry VIII said he’d see me in the Mary Rose Museum and then headed off for the Post Office.

When he said he would see me again, he meant it.

At the time I just thought I might see him in passing because he must be somewhere in the Museum. What I didn’t expect was Henry VIII jumping out at me multiple times.

The first time was on the middle level, the level that you enter the exhibition on – I’d just seen the Mary Rose herself which is a chilling experience and we were heading towards the lift to go down to the bottom level. There were a few other groups in the area as well. Then the lift opens and who steps out but Henry VIII and he of course spotted me immediately.
“Pretty girl, I told you I’d see you here”. Yes, he did, though I wasn’t expecting him to step out of a lift towards me.
He spent some time having conversations with me and some of the other people there, one of them was actually called Henry – nice coincidence.

The next time I saw him, or rather he saw me, was the other end of the bottom floor where he was stood with his hands on the bar in front of him and he was looking out over everyone going in and out of the different floors.

The final time I saw him, he snuck up on me. I was on the top floor of the exhibition. In this part you are able to look over the railings at the Mary Rose but I couldn’t see very well that way. So, I had knelt on the floor to look through the glass at the Mary Rose at the better angle from me. I’m there minding my own business when from down the end comes:
“Olivia, what are you doing on the floor!” bellowed at the top of his voice. I instantly stood back up, it was like being shouted at by a teacher at school. I’m sure my eyes were as wide as saucers, then he took me over and showed me how the map has raised parts on it that I could feel with my fingers and helped me to visualize parts of the ship that couldn’t be brought up.

That’s it for this story, I hope you all enjoyed it!

Where'd I Leave It Wednesday

Where’d I Leave It Wednesday: Portsmouth Historic Dockyard – HMS Warrior

Happy Wednesday bookish people! I’m back with another Where’d I leave it Wednesday and today’s story comes from this past weekend when I went up to Hampshire to visit some relatives. On the day after we travelled up we went to Portsmouth Historic Dockyard – which I really enjoyed by the way and this is some of the things that happened along the way.

The day started off early. I had barely slept the night before, I was in a hotel and I rarely sleep the first night in a hotel anyway but that night there were trains passing by constantly, there was a nearby clock tower going off every hour and my Father’s snoring was louder than a school fire alarm. So I was running on about two hours of sleep and I was in the shower just after six in the morning. We had a breakfast delivered to our hotel door, there was a pot of fruit, a pastry and a yoghurt with a bottle of orange juice.

By half past nine we had met my great aunt and her husband at the train station and so commenced an hours trip to the dockyard. It went faster than I thought, usually on trains I read but there wasn’t enough room so I ended up looking outside the window at all the blurring colours. It looked like a watercolour painting.

When we got to the Dockyard we sat for a a moment to get ourselves comfortable again after the train trip and had a delicious cup of coffee. I am biased, I like coffee even though I shouldn’t drink it for a few reasons. Then the day properly began. While having our drinks out of the window we could see the masts of a huge ship, it turned out to be HMS Warrior.

My journey on this ship began uphill, literally I had to walk up a steep ramp to get onto the ship. The ship had been kept pretty much as it had been when it was being used – or so the men walking around told us. It was very interesting to see the difference between how the sailors and the officers would eat, sleep and generally live. The men on board, telling us about the history of the ship, was dressed how the sailors would have been at the time which added to the whole effect of being on the ship.

The problem with the ship was the rope ladders. If you’ve ever been on this ship, or one similar, you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about. Small wooden steps that you have to climb down one foot at a time with your feet turned sideways, instead of banisters there is rope that swings and moves all over the place as you climb down them. There were many sets of these stairs and they just kept going further down into the ship. It was down near the bottom where I slipped. My foot didn’t get a good enough grip and it fell off the step, I only stayed on the ladder because I gripped so hard to the rope on the side. It shook me up quite a lot. I was happy to climb back out of that ship pretty soon after.

After that we went to the Mary Rose exhibition and I made a friend in Henry VIII… but you’ll have to check back next Wednesday for that story.

Where'd I Leave It Wednesday

Where’d I Leave It Wednesday: Father’s Day

Happy Wednesday bookish people! I hope everyone is having a good day, and that you all had a good Father’s Day last Sunday. That’s what today’s story is all about – what I did this year on Father’s Day.

Car Shows and Cats

It was an early morning start to this years Father’s Day, and by early I mean we left home before seven in the morning. That’s not too bad for me because I’ve always been an early bird, the same as my Mother. My Dad and Sister though, they could sleep through anything. Literally, this one time we were in a hotel on the Isle of Wight I think and a helicopter landed right by the hotel. It was so loud, my Mum and I both woke up but my Dad and Sister slept through the entire thing.

Anyway, we left early. We travelled up to Beaulieu for the vintage car show that they were holding this year. My parents both love cars, I on the other hand can’t tell the difference between them. The only thing I can see is one is red, one is blue, one is green… so you can guess that my Parent’s don’t ask my opinions of the cars as we walk around. So, we finally got there – after three and a half hours of driving.

The only good part about the travelling is that it gave me plenty of time to read. My book of choice for this trip was Serpent and Dove by Shelby Mahurin, which was an amazing read. Unfortunately doing this I managed to strain my eye.. (Just don’t tell my boyfriend) but it was worth it.

W went to the show. I can’t comment much on it because there wasn’t much there for me, some of the cars were nice. The stalls had some nice 50s style dresses and in the afternoon I ate a hot donut. On the way home we went to visit my Great Aunt, that was really nice to get to go and see her, especially because she’s not very well at the moment. She also has a cat which makes everything better. My sister getting a cat has really changed my opinion on them. On the way home, another four hour drive!, we stopped for dinner which turned out to not be very nice. My Dad’s dessert arrived but mine and my Mum’s didn’t show up for another twenty minutes and of course when it finally did I dropped chocolate cake down my dress…the stain placement was not good.

And that’s what I did this Father’s Day, I hope you enjoyed my story!

Where'd I Leave It Wednesday

Alien Skin

Happy Wednesday bookish people! I’m back with another Where’d I Leave It Wednesday. This one is a bit different to usual, it isn’t focusing on my cane rather just my life in general at the moment. It was a piece that I wrote for a competition, that I didn’t win, and I thought I would share it here.

I hope you all enjoy it!

It was thin in my hands. Blue, and it crinkled like paper. With a string hoop stitched into each side of it. My hands fit through the hoops, it scratched at my ears as the blue front compressed to fit the contours of my face with each intake of breath, a second alien skin over the top of my own. Everyone else around me has blue alien skins now too. It only shows up when we go outside, or the postman knocks the door, but he’s already outside – that’s why his alien skin is already showing it’s had chance to fit to every crevice long before he sent the post through the letterbox or rang the doorbell with his gloved hands. Sometimes people have theirs hanging from their faces, dangling precariously from an inflamed ear that always has a crimson crescent curled around it’s back. It looks like they are shedding. Like a snake does when it’s done with its original skin. If you laid my alien skin out on a table it would be smaller than my sister’s is but when it is smoothed onto my face it covers just the same amount. My tiny brown eyes stare out at me over the top when I look in the mirror, it’s the same look my sister’s kitten gives me when he hides on the stairs but drops his head on the step above with a thump. Some days I think I’d quite like to be a cat. All I’d have to do is stalk through my owner’s open and welcoming legs, brush up against their skin and bite with my fanged teeth if they tried to move while I was walking through because, how dare they move. All I’d have to do is wait for hands to feed me, then lay on my back while the same hands, and others, would rub my belly and I’d pretend to push them away with my paws while really wanting them to continue. And I’d purr all day because I wouldn’t have to wear an Alien’s skin on my face whenever I left the house and I wouldn’t have to guess whether or not I knew the person I was talking to because as a girl registered as blind in a world where we are all wearing Alien skin faces, I can recognize even less than usual. We got Shadow, that’s the name my Sister gave her Kitten, in October 2020 and it’s fitting that he’s black and white when we got him in the month of Halloween – we tried to dress him up in a Mickey Mouse zip up jacket but he wasn’t having any of it, he hid in my backpack with one tiny paw poking out the side to swipe at our legs instead. Revenge for the dress up, he’s definitely my Sister’s cat – and he also really hates the Alien skins we wear when we go outside.

That’s it for today’s story, I’ll be back next Wednesday hopefully with another one!

Where'd I Leave It Wednesday

The Puzzle of Building a Jigsaw

Happy Wednesday bookish people! I missed last week’s Where’d I Leave It Wednesday but I’m back! This will probably be a shorter post than usual but I hope you will all still enjoy it.

Today’s story is about the struggle of completing a jigsaw…

I love doing jigsaws. The satisfying clunk as each piece slots into place. Seeing the picture growing because of the work being put into it. It takes up time but I barely notice as the hours pass by. At the moment I have a jigsaw half completed taking up residence on the front room carpet. It’s pride of place, balancing precariously on a green mat that rises in different places like countryside hills have sprung up overnight. The pieces bend and crack over the hills, the tabs are like arms trying to grip to their neighbour or otherwise crumble to the bottom. An avalanche of puzzle pieces with every footstep in the house.

I’m getting close to finishing this puzzle. With a few more days of working it will be completed and the dressmakers shop it depicts will come to life in my living room. It’s 500 pieces taking up the space of 1000 pieces. The puzzle drew me in from the very first web search I did. ‘Extra large jigsaw puzzles’ that’s what I searched. There aren’t many, that’s what I discovered. Even this one saying extra large pieces all over it’s packaging isn’t as large a piece as you’d expect. it’s a constant search for me.. to find puzzles that I can see the pieces of without having to resort to puzzles that have ‘7 and up’ scrawled over the front like a flashing label that says look at me I have to do children’s jigsaws when I’m 22. This doesn’t include Disney, because Disney is for any age and I won’t hear anything against this.

I have a lovely Disney puzzle. I took it down my partner’s Dad’s on Boxing Day last year. Set out every individual piece with a careful precision. Took in each and every colour and distinguishing feature. The edges were built, an elegant frame. Then the inside was filled, piece by piece, I put in what I thought was the final piece. Wonderful, I sat back to take in what we had completed. Then I noticed, there was a piece missing. I looked everywhere for it, it wasn’t in the bed or on the floor.. no, my partner had it. He had taken it at some point during the day and kept it hidden from me so that he could put the last piece into the puzzle. Then he looked at me and said ‘I win’. I still contest this.

That’s it for today’s story, I hope you all enjoyed it!

Where'd I Leave It Wednesday

The Misadventures Of My Bladder – Where’d I Leave It Wednesday

Happy Wednesday everyone! It’s time for another story. This one is a mix of a few stories around a topic. I hope you all enjoy it.

The misadventures of the bladder

I have a weak bladder. More recently especially. This had led to some interesting events and many embarrassing moments throughout my life. I think it stems from being at secondary school and holding it all day. I wouldn’t go to the toilet from the time I left home at twenty to eight until I got home at four each day. Simply because I couldn’t see well enough to go down stairs to the toilet in the basement. The stairs were redecorated to ‘help’ me and they made them a navy blue with heaps of glitter flowing in it and a black stripe on the edge. They might as well have taken the stairs out all together and made it a ramp because that is what it looked like, to me anyway. I also took a few trips down them missing out more than a couple steps on my way down each time. That is the only adrenaline rush I ever needed.
          Not that I wanted to use that toilet anyway, the rumour was that many years before I went there a girl hung herself in that toilet. Nobody ever checked if it was true or not but it was enough to frighten me. Not that it takes much to frighten me. I have weak nerves as well as a weak bladder. I was only prepared to use that toilet, even though I never did, because the toilets upstairs in the main hall were the meeting place of an older group of girls. They hung around in the toilets at break and lunch as if they were a secret agency and didn’t want anyone to see them. Either that or they were hiding from a male teacher. They would be in there eating their lunch and I have a problem with other people and food. Generally other people touching my food. I can’t drink out of a glass somebody else has drunk out of, I can’t eat off a piece of cutlery somebody else has eaten off. So, girls eating lunch in the bathroom ruled out me ever going within touching distance of the door handle let alone actually going toilet in there.
            This is what I believe was the beginning of my misadventures. It certainly wasn’t the end of them. Trains are disorientating for me. You can sit in your seat and not know if you are going to be travelling forwards or backwards. It doesn’t help that I can’t see which part of the train is the engine so when I find my seat it really is a mystery. But the toilets on trains really are the things that haunt my nightmares. For one thing, you have to walk past everyone else in your carriage to get to the section where the toilet is. You might as well have a large sign stuck to your forehead in neon flashing letters saying “I’m going to the toilet”. As if that isn’t bad enough you don’t know until you get there if the toilet is already occupied. If it is not only have you tried the handle and let the person in there know you are waiting but, I know from experience, it makes them try and hurry whatever they are doing. It’s a very awkward moment between two people when they have to squeeze past you as you swap occupants of the toilet. Both of you at this point also know you heard everything that happened in that bathroom since you have been there. Its an intimate knowledge of a stranger that you could probably have lived without knowing. I know I could have. It’s happened to me many times, I have been both people in that situation. Toilets are difficult for me in general because I have hypermobility in my fingers and so locks can be difficult to navigate. Luckily, I am also disabled and I can use disabled toilets. It’s a luxury I don’t think I deserve. An expansive space, an easy handle lock that I can fit my whole hand around rather than using two nimble fingers to gently edge a bolt lock shut. No fear surrounding me as I use the bathroom that, maybe this time, I won’t be able to get the lock open and I will be stuck in the toilet forever. I’ve even been known to think up a list of toilet monster names for myself just in case this ever happens. The toilets on trains are not like disabled toilets. They are small and not very helpful for blind people. There are little signs with instructions hidden behind the toilet and behind the sink, you would have to be a contortionist to be able to read them. And that is if you have working eyes never mind eyes that like to do their own thing. I’ve become accustomed to spending most of my time on a toilet, not just on trains, because of being locked in. I’ve always gotten out eventually but there is one moment that I remember well.
           It was 2014 and my whole family was on the Eurostar on the way to Disneyland Paris for my sister’s eighteenth birthday. We had been lulled into a false sense of security when they upgraded our tickets to first class for free. They had fed us up like they were the Witch and we were Hansel and Gretel. We didn’t suspect a thing. Then it got to the inevitable moment when a few of us, my Grandma, my Sister and I, all needed the toilet. It was lucky on this train there were enough toilets in a row for us to all go. Then, unbelievably, all three of us got stuck. We pulled on the locks but they wouldn’t budge. The toilets were our prison cells for the next ten minutes or so. At least they were next to each other. We could talk to each other through the walls like we were convicts in a production of Les Misérables. Then finally we were freed. Nobody could believe how unlucky we were, its bad that one person could get stuck but for all three of us at the same time it was barely believable. Although, I would rather get stuck in a toilet than what happened during one of the trips to London. If you have ever wondered what the walls of the toilet stall feels like when travelling at a mid to high speed, I can tell you it feels like you would imagine hitting a solid wall feels like. It hurt. Yes, the train jerked when I was the most vulnerable and with no chance of stopping myself, I was propelled off the toilet and into the wall. It happened fast and it took me a few moments to realise that I was now sprawled on the floor. I had to try and leave the toilet with a dignity that I no longer possessed. And that everyone in that train carriage that I now had to pass on my way back to my seat almost definitely heard the impact I made with the wall. It was not my best moment. These are only some of the misadventures of my bladder.

That’s it for today’s story, I hope you enjoyed it!