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!

Where'd I Leave It Wednesday

An Inadvertent Dalliance: Where’d I Leave It Wednesday

Happy Wednesday bookish people! It’s Wednesday which means it is time for another Where’d I Leave it Wednesday.

I love going to the Theatre, I especially enjoy musical theatre but of course as my eyes have deteriorated I now need to be sat in the front row to be able to see. This is fine, but it does limit which shows I can see if everything on the front row gets booked straightaway – anyway, that is a different story.

Today’s story talks about a few of the times going to the Theatre has been… an experience – keep reading to find out what happened some of those times!

An Inadvertent Dalliance

I will never ask my two cousins to book anything that I would also be going to for a very specific reason. They won’t let me book any tickets either because they are afraid that I will mix up the shows because of my visual impairment. Despite the oldest of them being trained in how to guide blind people I don’t feel safe in their company. For the reason that I don’t know where I will end up.
               The youngest of the two is the type of girl that manages to lock herself out of her University house while wearing her pyjamas. I was desperate to see a photo of this but one never materialized. Anyway, the moment that stopped me joining their adventures for good happened at the Theatre. In the enchantment of the spotlight that hangs for a moment, vibrating with the echo of an audience’s applause, after the play has ended. When the curtains open, I’m transported, in the same way as with a book, to another life. In this other life I seem to have the most approachable face because I’ve stopped counting the amount of times I’ve been picked on. I thought it didn’t embarrass me anymore until I saw a show with Shane Ritchie in. In this performance half of the show is the serious side of a comedian’s life and the other is him doing his comedy. When he came out onto the stage, carrying a blow-up naked woman and made eye contact with me for the duration of that scene, was the moment I wished I didn’t need to sit in the front row to see. My eyes, and later my brain, wouldn’t have minded never having to live that moment. It wouldn’t have been so bad had the people I was with not noticed he looked at me. They did. They still bring it up at Christmas.
                 I’ve even been coaxed up on stage during a Royal Shakespeare Company performance of As You Like It. I was in a nice dress that I was worried might lift and accidentally flash the whole front row, which included my, at the time, boyfriend Robert. Who – rather than suggest I don’t go onstage for health and safety reasons – all but pushed me onto the stage. Luckily, I didn’t have to do anything too bad and then I was allowed to sit down again. Robert had gotten up and offered me a hand to climb down. To anybody watching his helping hand probably seemed gentlemanly but I know it was just because he was worried that I would fall into his lap. I got my own back later in the second half of the performance. When the ‘Fool’ sat on the step right in front of him, pointed a finger at him and proclaimed “you’re very horny”. They were talking about owning goats so it was out of context but I think my, at the time, boyfriend was suitably embarrassed. He never went with me to a Shakespeare production again.
               But in the case of my cousins it was one of them who was picked on. Originally, we were going to see the performance of 1984. However, I had entrusted my cousins to book the tickets and once we had arrived, taken our seats and could no longer leave the Theatre inconspicuously we realised they had booked the wrong show. What was meant to be an evening of drama and George Orwell became something very different. The spotlight shone on a man sat in the centre of the stage on a wooden stool, wearing a nurse’s dress and eating an orange. If we thought that would be the strangest moment of the show we were mistaken. We sat there for over half an hour of the first half in complete disbelief, the rest of the audience didn’t seem to be confused by what was happening which was even worse for my cousins and I when he began to strip. That was when we could no longer look at each other for fear that we would burst out laughing and interrupt whatever it was that was meant to be happening on stage. Thankfully, he didn’t strip completely. He only took off the nurse’s dress and remained in a white vest and a small pair of underwear. We couldn’t believe it but it got worse from there. He clambered up onto the stool, which was barely big enough to fit both of his feet on, and began to eat the orange in a way that I can only describe as seductively. And while he did this he stared straight at my cousin. That was all her sister, my other cousin, and I needed before we couldn’t hold in the laughs anymore. I had to physically hold my hand over my mouth to remain silent as nobody else in the audience seemed to find it as entertaining as we did. Once he had finished his lunch, he started passing the orange peel between his hands. Left then right and then left again. Then he threw some at the audience, and a bit more and a bit more again. One bit landed on the edge of my cousin’s glasses and hung there like a piece of orange seaweed. Dangling in front of her eyes.  She’s probably glad she couldn’t see what happened next when he started blowing kisses at her. She didn’t notice but her sister and I definitely did. So did the elderly lady and her husband who were sat behind us. “What a lovely dalliance” she said to him, lovely is not the word I would use to describe that performance. My cousins thought I would mess up the tickets if they let me book them and instead, they were the ones who made the mistake.

That’s the end of today’s story, I hope everyone enjoyed it!

Have you had any interesting experiences at the Theatre? Let me know in the comments!

Where'd I Leave It Wednesday

If God Had Siblings – Where’d I Leave It Wednesday

Happy Wednesday everyone! It’s halfway through the week already, is it me or are the weeks passing by really quickly? It’s probably just me. Today’s post is another Where’d I Leave it Wednesday, it seems like the more life story/memoir writing is working for the moment so that’s what I’m going to keep going with.

Today’s story is all about my encounters with religion, there haven’t been many – not including my secondary school Christian assemblies – but some of them are included in this story.

I hope you all enjoy it!

If God Had Siblings

If God had siblings I’m not a religious person. I think that there might be a God but if there is, he’s not that helpful. I was christened. It was the same day my sister got chicken pox and she decided to pick at the spots in the middle of her forehead, right between her eyes. There is a scar there now that I like to poke at. It’s the same size as my fingernail and if I put my finger there it looks like she has grown a horn. She says if it’s a horn then she is a unicorn, I say a rhino.


            I haven’t been to Church since I was a young child and my Grandparents believed that if you didn’t go to church at Christmas you couldn’t be buried there. I enjoyed these visits; I didn’t understand the idea of God behind it but I liked playing with the toy sheep of the Nativity scene. I even slipped one into my pocket one year. I named it Dave. We would stand in order of height and sing Christmas carols from the lyrics on the projector. Of course, to me the lyrics looked like the static on a television. A mixture of black and white waves flowing up and down, over and over again. I did what any other visually impaired child, with an imagination, would do. I made the lyrics up myself. I sang loudly every year to the reimagined Christmas carols “Little Doggy” and “Once Royal Daddy’s Sleepy”. I was not talented at singing. The elderly couple that sat behind my family every year would see us enter the church and take from their bags a set of earmuffs each which they would wear as soon as I stepped up on the bench for the carols. Strangely, nobody would correct my wrong lyrics. They allowed me to sing like nails on a chalkboard, louder every year until my Grandma told me we would not be continuing to attend the church carol services. We started going to the Pantomime every Christmas Eve instead. I wasn’t allowed to talk there; I think that is why they chose it.


     Even though we stopped attending the church these were not the only moments that they have tried to talk to me. There are always people stood outside the large shopping centre in my town. They are usually dressed all in black, black suits, black dresses, long black overcoats that make them look like sketchy stalkers misplaced from an old Scooby Doo episode. They carry poster boards tucked under one arm, chasing unimpressed customers around the grey bollards like seagulls going after a pasty. Usually I try to avoid them, the idea of them stopping me to try and ask about my views on religion makes me go cold throughout my body.


            This one day, I stopped on the pavement the other side of the road to the shopping centre. The paving stones rose up from the ground in front of me, rising and falling, sloping under the ball of my cane like mountains. The texture of the ground changed as my cane met the tarmac of the road. I stopped instantly, allowing my ears to pick up on every sound around me. The whistle came from the left as the air pressure changed, I felt it on the exposed skin of my hands as the bicycle passed me. Then I could hear nothing so I crossed the road. My cane lodged in a hole and I wobbled like a jelly before an arm steadied me. It was an older woman, dressed all in black. “What unsteady feet you have” were the first words the strange woman said to me. It made me think of the story of Red Riding Hood and the Wolf dressed as her Grandmother, I only just stopped myself from checking if the woman had sharp teeth protruding from her mouth. Her coat was zipped up to her chin and leaflets were stuffed in the top pocket where a handkerchief would usually be. They were religious leaflets but she seemed to be trying to help me so I allowed her to lead me towards the shopping centre entrance. Then she started talking. “God wants to help you”, “God wants to make everyone feel happy”. While she continued to animatedly tell me why I should gift my soul to God I watched the drops of heavily falling rain trickle down her cheeks. They looked like tears. Tears don’t make her look happy; God wasn’t making me feel happy right then either. The only things I felt were cold and wet.


         I thanked the woman for her help and attempted to pry my arm from her grip. Her face contorted; her smile changed from a fake smile to a frown. “Sinner” she told me “you must be a sinner; God is punishing you and that is why you are blind. If you pray and go to Church, he will remove his punishment and you will be healed.” First, she was telling me that God just wants me to be happy and now she was telling me that he wanted to punish me. I couldn’t think of much that God would want to punish me for, perhaps the time that I pinned my sister to the floor and sat on her chest to keep her there when I was four years old and my sister was seven. If God had siblings then he would understand. I didn’t want to tell her that there was a scientific reason behind my sight loss or that I wasn’t sure I believed in God because I didn’t want to upset her. I walked away from the wolf grandma who continued to call after me “sinner, sinner”. I pretended that I didn’t know it was me she was still talking to. That encounter didn’t change my opinion. I’m still not a religious person.

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