The about me post

 Can be found here!

Thursday, 25 December 2008

Guitar hero for the DS (lite) review

Initial impressions look good; the grip that controls the game play looks solid and securely fits against then hand. However I found to securely fit the grip to my hand using the Velcro strap it was best to hold the grip without the DS attached.

One you are comfortably attached to the grip it is then simply (with the DS lite) the case of inserting the connecter into the game boy advanced slot.

Then your ready to start, wait where’s the pic? This was my other issue, I keep putting on the grip without taking the pic out of its holder, it is then slightly tricky to remove the pic in situ but it’s a minor issue.

Game play at first seems impossible, although the in game tutorials are a great help.

In easy mode it was possible to complete all 25 of the stages within about 4 hours. The easy mode does not however utilise all the keys, the blue key (for a right handed user this is the blue key) is left to one side. Easy mode is not challenging but gives you that warm fuzzy feeling that you have within 4 hours completed the game in the first mode!

All other levels (medium, hard and expert) use all 4 keys including the dreaded blue key.

This is where the pain sets in!

In honesty the game puts you in a completely unnatural position, forcing you to perform repetitive movements, that are equally unnatural.

Pain is inevitable, there are a few in game tips on avoiding the dreaded repetitive strain injury (RSI or should that be DSI!) but in reality there is little you can do.

From the options menu it is possible to select lefty mode, this flips the screens so that the console can be held the other way up with the left hand strumming and the right hand in the grip. When the pain set in I attempted to play in lefty mode, which for me as a right-handed person was impossible. Moral of the story, don’t try and be left-handed if you are not.

Over all the game is highly addictive, the increasing difficulty levels drag you in and keep you hooked, as soon as you start you don’t want to stop. That is of course until the pain becomes too much and you are forced to stop as you can no longer press the buttons. On a serious note the safety of this game does concern me, I followed all of the health and safety suggestions and all I can say is my hand hurts and my little finger does not want to work.

Wednesday, 24 December 2008

Merry christmas one and all!

I just really wanted to wish all the readers of DOAM a vary merry festive season, no matter what it is your celebrating or if your not!


So anyway its Christmas eve tomorrow and I shall be spending vast amounts of time rapping everyone's presents, as I generally haven’t yet. 


I'm like a very immature big kid at Christmas I love it, and as usual I am very excited I love the whole thing with presents and can honestly say I like watching other people opening their presents probably more than my own and seeing how pleased they are with what I brought time. (Hopefully) 


Of course the sheer excitement of not knowing what is wrapped in the shiny paper is all to much for me, I love shiny things because they are really easy to see and catch the eye so all the wrapping paper gets me very excited as soon as I see a present I want to open it! 


I have to also confess that I have brought myself a little Christmas present in the form of a very shiny and very lime green trimmed cricket bat. Its a very nice but not to expensive Kookaburra bat with lime green livery and grip, so hopefully when it is on the sidelines I will be able to find it easily, also it was available with a long handle and choice of weights so that is also good, it will probably be waiting for me back at halls. The only slight downside is that I will be missing the next training session because I will be in Paris so I don’t get to give it a spin for 2 months!

Saturday, 20 December 2008

Cricket video

my dad has just revealed that he took a video of me practising batting at blind cricket so here it is. He did not know how the zoom worked so i shall inform you that I am the pink thing.

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.

Thursday, 18 December 2008

Disability Discrimination-it's still happening

Today I went out for a lovely meal with one of my very best friends, we had a great time and it was very nice over in Gunwarf Quays this evening. There was a brass band playing Christmas hymns lights up everywhere and a generally nice Christmas atmosphere. However all of my Christmas spirit disappeared thanks to a security guard. 

I was in Boots in Gunwarf, when the security guard asked me to leave, repeatedly.   I had done absolutely nothing wrong, I was stood with my friend looking at toothbrushes, and Gus was sitting at my side good as gold.

The security Guard came over and pointed at Gus and said ‘not allowed in here’, his English was by all accounts terrible.   I explained that Gus is a Guide dog and that he is allowed in shops, the security guard, either did not understand or simply ignored me pointed again and said ‘not allowed in here’.

At this point I informed the guard that he was breaking the law and asked to speak to the manager. He said that the manager was not there and walked off.

This is the first time I have ever been asked to leave a shop, and it was because of one member of staff’s complete lack of disability awareness.

It really upset me, big time; I was shaking with a mixture of anger and sorrow at the time. I will be phoning the manager tomorrow morning to inform her of what has happened.

It really hit home also that I know some Guide Dog owners face this kind of discrimination every day, everyday they are stopped from going about there business by peoples complete lack of understanding.

Given all the press coverage that The Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) has got all over Brittan and the steps that companies have to take to make sure there services are accessible I am disgusted.

This example proves that disability discrimination is still a problem in the UK.

Asking me to leave with my guide dog is just the same as asking a wheelchair user to leave their wheelchair outside.

As a major chain Boots should know better, they should be training all their staff in all aspects of The DDA. Furthermore their staff should be able to communicate in and understand English, as I am sure this contributed to the issue I faced today.

Well there we have it a day ruined by the misunderstanding of one person.

I am a very passionate campaigner for disability rights and do all I possibly can to educate people on my own disability so that hopefully they can gain a better understanding of the barriers faced by people who are VI.

I thought we had moved on passed the stage where people are regularly removed from shops due to the presence of an assistance dog, apparently I am mistaken.

Tuesday, 16 December 2008

Panic over

Well panic over as of  last night our internet connection and phone line are back up and running, I hear however we are the lucky ones as many people still have no phone line.

Really put into perspective how much I use the internet for everything, I was without connection for 2 days and struggled to cope.

Saturday, 13 December 2008

Signing off!

I'm heading into the dark age abyss that is Gosport at the moment.

Don't get be wrong I really enjoy going back home and seeing all the people and places I know, catching up with friends, dog walks and a coffee by the sea, but recent events have plunged Gosport back into the dark ages.

Some cretins have been going around Gosport in a no doubt dirty white van stealing peoples phone cables. My house is one of around eight thousand that has been affected.

Some would say this is the credit crunch rearing its ugly head, forcing people into desperate measures around Christmas. 

I'm understandably annoyed by this I don't mean to sound in any way patronising but it has left my disabled mum without a phone line or internet connection for 14 days I think it is now.

I really can't think how someone that has gone around stealing phone cables just before christmas can live with there self. Its a horrible crime that has no doubt left thousands of possibly venerable people without a working phone, for many cheesy as it sounds it may be their lifeline.

BT have said they hope to have all the faults fixed and working again by Christmas day

On a different level it has pissed me off and will leave me rather disconnected with the online world I know and love so much so for possibly quite a long time this is Jemma Brown signing off!

Friday, 5 December 2008


Ok excuse me for being incredibly hyper about this but wow I have managed to get myself a job.


Not only that but it’s a job I am feeling incredibly positive about; you are indeed reading the words of a volunteering ambassador!


I start in January and I am just so pleased about it.


Lets look at my employment history, its not great I have had one paid job which was the summer after my GCSE exams secured by my dad working in an office.


For every job I have ever applied for which must have been hundreds until now I received a negative response.


I had until now never had an interview for a job or anything. So my first interview for a job and what happens I get the job.


I have written on here about discrimination and the potential ways in which employers can avoid the disability discrimination act (DDA) previously and I am very pleased to report that I think maybe times are changing, maybe the DDA is having an effect, or maybe I am being naive

Monday, 1 December 2008

Ive done 76 out of the 132 stupid things (but I might have got the math wrong!)

Do this and repost it with the title:
I've done X out of the 132 stupid things.

(I'm not quite sure how some of these things are stupid, but never mind!)

Level 1
(x ) Smoked A Cigarette
( ) Smoked A Cigar
(x) Kissed A Member Of The Same Sex
(x) Drank Alcohol


Level 2
(x) Are / Been In Love
(x) Been Dumped
( ) Shoplifted
( ) Been Fired
( ) Been In A Fist Fight


Level 3
(x) Had A Crush On An Older Person
(x ) Skipped School 
( ) Slept With A Co-worker
(x) Seen Someone / Something Die


Level 4
(x) Had / Have A Crush On One Of Your Facebook Friends
(x) Been To Paris (i'm going in January so it counts)
( ) Been To Spain
(x) Been On A Plane
( ) Thrown Up From Drinking

SO FAR: 11

Level 5
( ) Eaten Sushi
( ) Been Snowboarding
( ) Met Someone BECAUSE Of Facebook
( ) Been in a Mosh Pit

SO FAR: 11

Level 6
( ) Been In An Abusive Relationship
(x) Taken Pain Killers 
(x) Love/loved Someone Who You Can't Have
(x) Laid On Your Back And Watched Cloud Shapes Go By
(x) Made A Snow Angel

SO FAR: 15

Level 7
(x) Had A Tea Party
(x) Flown A Kite
(x) Built A Sand Castle
(x) Gone mudding
(x) Played Dress Up

SO FAR: 20

Level 8
(x) Jumped Into A Pile Of Leaves
(x) Gone Sledging
(x) Cheated While Playing A Game (the game WAS Cheat...)
(x) Been Lonely
(x) Fallen Asleep At Work / School

SO FAR: 25

Level 9
( ) Watched The Sun Set
( ) Felt An Earthquake
( ) Killed A Snake

SO FAR: 25

Level 10
(x) Been Tickled
( ) Been Robbed / Vandalized
( ) Been cheated on
(x) Been Misunderstood

SO FAR: 27

Level 11
(x) Won A Contest
( ) Been Suspended From School
(x) Had Detention
( ) Been In A Car / Motorcycle Accident 

SO FAR: 29

Level 12
( ) Had / Have Braces
(x) Eaten a whole pint of ice cream in one night
( ) Danced in the moonlight

SO FAR: 30

Level 13
(x) Hated The Way You Look 
(x) Witnessed A Crime
( ) Pole Danced
(x) Questioned Your Heart
(x) Been obsessed with post-it-notes

SO FAR: 34

Level 14
(x) Squished Barefoot Through The Mud
(x) Been Lost
( ) Been To The Opposite Side Of The World
(x) Swam In The Ocean
(x) Felt Like You Were Dying

SO FAR: 38

Level 15
(x) Cried Yourself To Sleep
(x) Played Cops And Robbers
(x) Recently Colored With Crayons / Colored Pencils / Markers
(x) Sang Karaoke (does Guitar Hero and Rock Band count?!)
(x) Paid For A Meal With Only Coins

SO FAR: 43

Level 16
(x) Done Something You Told Yourself You Wouldn't
( ) Made Prank Phone Calls
( ) Laughed Until Some Kind Of Beverage Came Out Of Your Nose
( ) Kissed In The Rain

SO FAR: 44

Level 17
(x) Written A Letter To Santa Claus
( ) Watched The Sun Set/ sun rise With Someone You Care/Cared About
(x) Blown Bubbles
(x) Made A Bonfire On The Beach or anywhere

SO FAR: 47

Level 18
( ) Crashed A Party
( ) Have Travelled More Than 5 Days With A Car Full Of People
( ) Gone Rollerskating / Blading
(x) Had A Wish Come True
( ) Been Humped By A Monkey (WTF?!)

SO FAR: 48

Level 19
( ) Worn Pearls (I don't suppose they were real)
( ) Jumped Off A Bridge
(x) Screamed "Penis" or "Vagina"
( ) Ridden an elephant


Level 20
(x) Got Your Tongue Stuck To A Pole/Freezer/ice Cube/ Ice Lolly
( ) Kissed A Fish
(x) Worn The Opposite Sex's Clothes
(x) Sat On A Roof Top

SO FAR: 52

Level 21
(x) Screamed At The Top Of Your Lungs 
( ) Done / Attempted A One-Handed Cartwheel
( ) Talked On The Phone For More Than 6 Hours
( ) Recently stayed up for a while talking to someone you care about

SO FAR: 53

Level 22
(x) Picked And Ate An Apple Right Off The Tree
(x) Climbed A Tree
(x) Had/Been In A Tree House
(x) Been scared To Watch Scary Movies Alone

SO FAR: 58

Level 23
(x) Believed In Ghosts
( ) Have had More Then 30 Pairs Of Shoes
( ) Gone Streaking
( ) Visited Jail

SO FAR: 59

Level 24
( ) Played Chicken
( ) Been Pushed into a pool with all your clothes on
(x) Been Told You're Hot By A Complete Stranger
(x) Broken A Bone
(x) Been Easily Amused

SO FAR: 62

Level 25
( ) Caught A Fish Then Ate It Later
( ) Made A Porn Video/got asked to make one
( ) Caught A Butterfly
(x) Laughed So Hard You Cried
(x) Cried So Hard You Laughed

SO FAR: 64

Level 26
(x) Mooned/Flashed Someone
(x) Had Someone Moon/Flash You
(x) Cheated On A Test
(x) Forgotten Someone's Name
( ) French Braided Someone's Hair
(x) Gone Skinny Dipping (not since I was a kid, mind you!)
( ) Been Kicked Out Of Your House
(x) Tried to hurt yourself

SO FAR: 70

Level 28
(x) Rode A Roller Coaster
( ) Went Scuba-Diving/Snorkeling
(x) Had A Cavity
( ) Black-Mailed Someone
( ) Been Black Mailed

SO FAR: 72

Level 29
(x) Been Used
(x) Fell Going Up The Stairs
( ) Licked A Cat
(x) Bitten Someone
(x) Licked Someone

SO FAR: 76

Level 30
( ) Been shot at/or at gunpoint
( ) Had sex in the rain
( ) Flattened someone's tyres
( ) Rode your car/truck until the gas light came on
( ) Got five quid or less worth of gas 


Sunday, 30 November 2008


I came home so I could get some good uninterrupted quality sleep.

I did not sleep!

What is worse is that i think I no why, I usually take my lovely antidepressant every morning, yesterday I forgot and took it about 8 PM .

I was still awake at 5 am this morning.

I feel really crap today!

Thursday, 27 November 2008


In the last few weeks I have discovered that there is indeed a new type of craft activity that I dislike, it is the art of the scrapbook.

I will say right now from the start that I have always been rubbish at anything vaguely artistic or crafty.

I’m a Guide leader that hates craft activities, which may well be a rarity.

My lack of talent in the craft department is not something that I’m really bothered about. Lets face it everyone is crap at something; some people are crap at lots of things. I’m crap at any activity requiring pens, pencils, wool, glue, glitter, fuzzy felt, paint or any other craft material.

As a child at school it used to bother me that my painting was not as good as anyone else’s, or that my roman chariot looked like a penguin- now I’m fine with my crapness I accept and love it as an individual feature of me.

My lack of crafty artisticness does occasionally cause me frustration. I can’t sow for example which is a relatively common skill that the vast majority of the population possesses. It is also a skill I find people assume I can do, I’m not entirely sure whether that is some deep routed stereotype that every woman in the land can sow, o the fat that I am a guide leader. Either way people are often shocked when it arises that I cannot sow. Even my totally blind mother can hand sow and does the majority of my sowing, so its not even that I can say its because of my disability I’m just crap at it!

So anyway I went off on a bit of a tangent there I am currently involved in a project that requires me to make a scrapbook.

Scrapbooking I have recently discovered is both an activity I do not particularly enjoy, one that I find very difficult and that realistically I am crap at. (After all making a scrapbook requires craft skills)

I can also conclude that scrapbooking is also a dangerous activity; I have indeed sustained a scrapbook injury.

Whilst cooking on Monday evening I burnt my thumb, it was quite a nasty one there was the sizzle and the smell of burning flesh, still there was no blood and after some time under the cold tap all was well until….

Later on in the evening whilst adding to my scrapbook I got UHU on my burn.

For those that don’t know UHU is a solvent-based glue that can stick anything. 

I used UHU because its good at sticking things together as its very sticky but when it dries I can peel off the large amounts of it that I get all over the place.

Unfortunately getting it on the area of burnt flesh and subsequently peeling it off was not good.

In short I peeled off the glue and a lot of skin came off with it. (That does not normally happen)

Lesson learned don’t attempt to do anything crafty if you already know you are crap at it.

Sunday, 9 November 2008

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

Saturday, 4 October 2008

University begins

University life has begun I'm two weeks in now and thought I would share with you all the slide presentation that somebody made of our breaking news day.

Breaking news day was a mock up terrorist attack on a gas storage facility in Warsash! We interviewed eye witnesses, attended a press conference and then rushed back to produce the finished article.

Gus and I are settling in well to university life, unfortunately Gus has had a bit of a bumpy start and is at the moment temporally out of action but enjoying putting his paws up with nanny and granddad!

Sunday, 31 August 2008

About me

I was recently asked to write a piece all about me and disability, the scope was to challenge perceptions and raise awareness of visual impairment, this is what I came up with.

About me
By Jemma Brown

Hi I’m Jemma I’m 19 and about to start at Solent University to study journalism. I currently live in Gosport although I will be moving into halls in a few weeks with my guide dog Gus. I have multiple disabilities including visual impairment and a mild mobility impairment. I have the philosophy that I can do pretty much anything, it may take me longer, I may do it in a different way and it may be more difficult but I will do it. This is all about my disability and how it affects my day to day life.

The eye stuff

The eye starts to develop from 12 weeks of pregnancy, when my eyes where developing they did so with a cataract, this damaged them in many different ways, leaving me with a collection of eye conditions. I was diagnosed as having eye problems when I was 8 weeks old I then had my first operation to remove the cataracts at 11 weeks.

My mum also has the eye condition as it runs in her side of the family, although she has considerably less vision than me. I also have a blind aunt and a partially sighted cousin.

Throughout my childhood my vision varied, at one stage it was thought that I may one day have enough useful vision to drive, however that was not the case.

Because of the cataracts the pupil in my eye did not develop as it should have. I had surgery when I was younger to make my pupils bigger as they where too small. As a result of the surgery my pupils cannot get bigger or smaller to adjust to changing lighting conditions. This means my vision is considerably worse in the sun and when there is not much light.

When I was 11 my eye condition deteriorated, as a result of the surgery I had when I was younger, the fluid inside the eye ball was not draining away properly causing increased pressure in the eye. This is known as glaucoma and is relatively rare in people my age. The build up of pressure inside the eye can damage the optic nerve leading to irreparable loss of vision. To attempt to control the pressure inside the eye I was put on medication, and have been on several different treatments.

Unfortunately in May of this year the pressure inside my eye was found to be higher than it should be, up until that point my glaucoma had been under control and stable for the last 4 years.

As mentioned earlier I have quite an extensive collection of eye conditions (I’m greedy!), so I’m going to give you a brief run down:

Nystagmus - involuntary eye movement. My eyes often wobble without my control, I don’t normally even notice. It produces some very interesting photographs though!

Photophobia- excessive sensitivity to light. (NOT the fear of light) I am dazzled by light; car headlights, reflections, street lights and the sun all make it more difficult to see. I have done A level acting so am used to working under bright lights when I can’t see a thing. Having Gus has really helped me to be able to get out and about in the sun or when it is dark. The annoying thing about photophobia is that it’s a no win situation, can’t see in the sun and can’t see at night because of all the lights that are around! (Clubbing can be an interesting experience)

Squint- a squint is when they eye appears to be ‘stuck’ in one position. For me this meant that I was severely cross eyed as a child, I had surgery and eye patch therapy to correct this, but my eyes often turn inwards. This is linked to Nystagmus, because the muscles in my eyes are weak and under developed.

Corneal oedema- excess fluid in the cornea causing it to become cloudy. I have to confess that I actually don’t know very much about this one as I was only diagnosed with it in May of this year. It can be caused by glaucoma or previous cataract surgery. Right now it is relatively mild in my case and sometimes causes me to have blurry vision.

Glaucoma- excessive pressure with in the eye leading to optic nerve damage.

Cataracts- the clouding of the lens.

So what can I actually see? There is no simple answer to that question. The vision in my right eye is not very good most of the time I can just see fuzz. With my right eye I can read the top letter of the eye chart from 2 feet away. Fortunately my left eye is a lot better than that. In perfect lighting conditions I can get quite a long way down the eye chart. My vision varies immensely, for example I can hardly see anything at all outside when it is sunny or dark.

I have issues with perception of distance because I have one eye doing most of the work. So I often misjudge gaps, bumping into door frames is a regular activity. Having rubbish perception of distances means that I am very uncoordinated and clumsy.

I also find it difficult to recognise people, don’t take it personally when you next speak to me and I have no idea who you are. Life would be a lot easier if everyone who spoke to me did so by starting off saying their name and how I know them.

The bone stuff

I have a slight mobility impairment because I have odd joints! I have hypermobility syndrome meaning that a lot of my joints have a larger range of movement than they should have. The main downside of this is that I have some very weak joints and sprain things quite easily, although I have some amazing party tricks with the odd things some of my joints can do! I also have some misalignment issues with the lower half of my body; I have twisted hips, a twisted pelvis and twisted tibias (tibial torsion). That’s a bit of a mouthful but all it really means is that my knees ankles and hips are not lined up properly so I have a few issues with them. The main problem that causes is going down stairs, I’m fine going up but I find going down stairs quite tricky and I lack balance.

About my life

My independence is incredibly important to me. At this stage in my life there are still things I find difficult and there are times when I have to ask other people to help me to do something, but I try to be as independent as possible. Reading is possibly the area where I need the most assistance from other people, its not that I can’t read, it’s that I can’t read ‘standard’ size print. The font size I use most of the time is 18 with a really bold typeface.

I think that having a disability gives me potentially better problems solving skills than a person without visual impairment. I am always coming up with adaptive ways for me to be able to do something. Usually the best solution is also the simplest, whilst on my duke of Edinburgh expedition I put pieces of blue tack on the compass to allow me to do bearings – simple but effective.

My independence whilst out and about has improved greatly since I got my guide dog Gus. Gus is my first guide dog and goes everywhere with me, he is great as he often guides me around obstacles that I don’t even notice. Gus also really enjoys finding things like crossing buttons, doors and bus stops; I can now also go out knowing that I am not going to bump into anything!

As previously mentioned I am a full time student and I am about to go to university to study for a degree in journalism. When I’m not studying I can usually be found out and about somewhere, I play a Paralympic sport called goalball as well as blind cricket. I’m a really sporty person and I enjoy going to the gym and playing most sports, I like playing and sometimes watching football, badminton, tennis and cricket. I will be the first to admit that I am rubbish at most sport due to a complete lack of coordination but I still enjoy taking part.

I am also a (apprentice) Guide leader currently working with girls and young woman ageing from ten to fifteen years old. Guiding is something that I really enjoy I have helped to run various camping events and also taken a team of girls to complete in a county football event. Being a guide leader gives me the opportunity to be a big kid taking part in carnivals and all kinds of activities. Through guiding I have done kayaking, archery, rifle shooting, rock climbing, abseiling, skiing, sailing… the list is endless. When I am not out having fun with the Guides I also work as an adviser on visual impairment at national level, I have helped to write a book on including people with disability’s in guiding activities. As well as delivering disability awareness training.

When I am not doing all of the above I also manage my websites and blog for the BBC’s disability website Ouch! Writing is something that I really enjoy and I hope to do a lot more of in the future, I am also hoping to harass the lovely people at Ouch! for some work experience!

As you may have gathered I am a very active person and I do not like to let my disability get in the way of what I want to do in life, I probably want the same things out of life as any other person regardless of disability. I think it is important to challenge people’s perceptions of disability and that many of the barriers people with disabilities face can be overcome, quite often it is other people’s attitudes that provide the biggest barrier for a person with a disability.

Monday, 18 August 2008

Well I passed

I have indeed passed all the AS and A levels I took this year at college, I also passed my level one British sign language which was good.

Gus came with me to pick up my results and was a bit hit with everyone we had a few photos of us taken which may be used in college publications.

Finally my DSA application is all sorted, I had problems because the equipment I need came about 2 thousand pounds over budget, but luckily some items have been changed a little bit and swapped around and it all now comes in budget and is being delivered in a few weeks.

I can't wait to get my 15.4 inch macbook pro!

Monday, 28 July 2008

Fashion advice!

OK I have done something I promised myself I would never do!

I have brought myself some proper blindy fit over cover all sunglasses.

Now in the picture on the website they did not look too bad there are in plum which is supposedly a purple colour, and they had a kind of fade down kind of effect so there where dark at the top and slightly lighter at the bottom. now in reality they are a VERY VERY dark grey with a hint of puple, not quite the shade I was expecting but that aside I need to know can I get away with wearing them in public or do they look seriously bad on me!

This is a serious question so please be brutally honest this is me asking for YOUR fashion advice!

So here's the picture

Friday, 25 July 2008

Fed up of number crunching

Well joy of all joys my DSA budget for technology to help with my course has gone WAAAAY over budget I have spent the last 2 days trying to work out what I can delete of the list of things I need, downsize or try and persuade uni to purchase.

It's supposed to be easy but no, it couldn't just run smoothly this is me we are talking about.

On top of that I have to find insurance for all the stuff that the DSA is paying for and get quotes. (luckily the LEA pays for the insurance of the equipment) its really complicated because lots of the stuff is really specialised to me as a Visually Impaired person, I'm filling out forms trying to work out if a talking spell checker come under computer equipment or portable electronics. its of course the same for the CCTV (video magnifier) talking dictaphone etc. I also have to take out a separate insurance policy for all of my belongings so its all really complicated.

I have had enough!

Sunday, 29 June 2008

It's been a while

Wow the gaps between my posting seem to get longer and longer, sorry!

Everything is a little mad right now, I have just come out of a relationship, I have to say it was the longest relationship I have ever had lasting a grand total of 6 months (just), it's taken me some time to adjust to being free and single again and get my head around are split, but in a way I'm pleased it happened now and not further on down the line. Really it’s the best thing for both of us because I'm busy training with Gus and I think he needs some time to sort his life out before he ends up wasting it!

So right now I'm sitting in a hotel room in Southampton that has been my home for the last week and will be my home for a further week, along with Gus my soon to be fully qualified guide dog. The training is tough in a variety of ways but we are both baring up really well, although Gus appears to have developed a slight cough.

The other people on the class are a little older than me and both have kids my age, but we all get on really well and have laugh about getting scrambled egg in our eye and having to have a bath after breakfast because I have spilt so much of mine all over me! We also have a great laugh about all the mad things our dogs do and great lengthy conversations about spending routines and anal glands over breakfast lunch and dinner.

The trainer is an apprentice GDMI and she is absolutely fabulous we all have great laugh and the atmosphere on class is amazing and very relaxed which makes us all nice and chilled and better dog handlers!

I was supposed to hear about halls by Friday and be told about my room allocation but I have not heard anything yet and apparently my final exam result for BSL should be through but I have not heard about that either so I'm waiting on the post!

Sunday, 8 June 2008

some news and other useless information for your reading pleasure

Well first up I absolutely feel it is necessary to declare my extreme hate and disgust at my computer! For no apparent reason it is running slower and slower everyday it seems and I am battling against continuous crashes, freezes and general slowness!

The usual defragment's and disk clean-ups don't seem to be having an impact, I even removed a whole gigabyte of data from it and its still not speeding up, I fear its coming to the end of its life.

I have been trying to do a project using Windows Movie Maker this evening and it has crashed twice already, I have now given up on what I was trying to do after it got to the point where I had to unplug the computer and boot it up again!

So I'm here updating this, for your reading pleasure and about time too! Its probably karma telling me to vent to you all about the crapness of the technological situation!
(if there are any large computer manufactures out there I would like it to be known that all donations are great fully received!)

The huge moan aside the real reason I wanted to write was because I found out on Friday that training with Gus is defiantly going ahead and that we will be training residentially in a very posh hotel!

Its great news, if I had been given the choice I would have always preferred to do residential training, it being my first dog it will give us some really good quality time without Ian or anyone else being a distraction.

So we start training together on the 23rd of June and I am seriously counting down the days, I have a lot of stuff to do before I disappear off for a whole 2 weeks, not to mention another 2 A level exams to sit. I really can't wait to get stuck in to training; I know its going to be hard work but it's going to be worth it!

Apparently there are 3 of us on class with one trainer and the class is taking place in a really nice hotel in Southampton, I will spend 2 weeks residentially there and then another 2 weeks (ish depending how it goes) training at home. It's really good the training is in Southampton because I will be living there in September, it will give me a chance to get to know the place a lot better and hopefully learn some routes.

Sunday, 25 May 2008

Bad health

I've been a little poorly of late unfortunately, my last post here was mostly focused on Gus, quite rightly too but I was also at the time battling against one hell of a virus and coming to terms with deterioration.

Well I'm glad to say I am feeling a lot better than I did when that was in full swing but I have had more health related issues.

Due to a change in my glaucoma meds and all the other meds I'm on I had to have an ECG last week, luckily that went OK, and my heart appears normal.

Then I started getting really bad nose bleeds, they were literally happening every day I had 2 on Thursday alone, at which point decided there was nothing else to be done but to go and see a doctor.

Luckily I managed to get an emergency appointment that day and after a few people informing me that I was probably wasting the doctors time as it was likely to be exam stress, I was off.

It turned out I was not wasting the doctors time at all. The virus thing I had really affected the blood vessels in my nose a lot, to the point where I had lots of them cauterised at the doctors on Thursday.

Basically they use a chemical on a swab to burn away at the effected blood vessels, its not nice, my nose felt very crispy and sore for ages afterwords!

Unfortunately I had another nosebleed on Saturday morning so it is yet to be seen whether it has really worked and weather the pain was worth it.

I'm still unfortunately getting over the virus it really hit me hard and I'm still finding it hard to talk sometimes and getting really tiered, probably not helped by having to just keep going through it (I'm mid A levels which does not help). I am feeling a lot better though and will hopefully be back to full fighting fitness soon!

Wednesday, 14 May 2008

A mixture of happenings

I think I already have a post with this title in the blog archive somewhere but really its sums thing sup so well I had to use it again!

First off I have picked up the latest bug that's going around, went down with it on Friday so have been feeling rather rough and had to have a couple of days off college. Talking of college my first exam was on Monday so that was perfect timing in terms of getting ill.

However it’s not really being ill, college or rubbish exams I wanted to blog about today it’s the happenings of Tuesday.

Tuesday morning I had the hospital for an eye check up which I was kind of worried about because of all the stuff the contact lens people.

Well the cornea mystery has been somewhat solved, I have another eye problem to add to the list cornea oedema. In English they a basically tiny little fluid filled cysts on the surface of my cornea that are microscopic, they make my cornea a little bit more cloudy than it should be. Right now they are not really causing a problem apart from I will never be able to wear contact lenses which isn't the end of the world.

Unfortunately my glaucoma was rather sky high in my left eye, it was 28 (18 is the highest it should be) but my right eye was not quite as high. The plan of action is to change my eye drops and luckily it hasn't affected my vision so here's hoping the drops sort it all out! I have to go back in 3 months for a check up; it’s a bit frustrating because my glaucoma has been well under control for about 4 years but meh these things happen.

Then in the afternoon I met Gus he is a black Labrador retriever who is going to be 2 years old this Saturday we went for a walk and it was decided jointly between all three of us, me Gus and the guide dog trainer T that we were a successful mach!

So I will be disappearing off to train on the 23rd of June and I'm counting down the days!

Gus is absolutely beautiful we walk at the same pace and he is lovely and tall I feel like we instantly bonded!

Here is a picture of us at the centre yesterday

Saturday, 10 May 2008

I got a call

Well on Thursday I got a call from Guide Dogs to say they might have found me a dog!

It's very exciting news but I'm trying not to get to madly crazy excited about it encase it doesn't work out. All I no right now it that it's a male called Gus and that he is a Labrador retriever cross and that he is black. Apparently he is a very big strong boy who needs firm handling. Oddly enough my mum has met him (complete fluke there) and thought he was cute he seemed to get on with Ian OK and they were talking to each other underneath the table while Gus rolled!

It's wait and see time to see if we are a good match. I'm heading down to the centre on Tuesday afternoon to meet him and find out if we will make a good partnership.

I also have eye unit check up on Tuesday morning so its going to be a very busy day.

Also I have my first exam on Monday so things are madly busy right now!

Tuesday, 6 May 2008

A simple question

What's the frequency Kenneth?

(can you tell I have been listening to my extensive R.E.M collection)

But on a serious note does anyone actually no what the frequency is and who Kenneth is?

All theories accepted!

Thursday, 1 May 2008

Disablism on the application

So picture the scene your disabled you want a job, you see/hear of one being advertised you apply what happens (in my case 9 out of 10 times) bugger all.

Now excuse me for being confused but wasn't the DDA (disability discrimination act) and all its little additions supposed to give us more rights to employment so it is illegal to discriminate against people purely based on there disability?

Don't get me wrong I'm sure there are success story's but from my own personal experence employers have a simple way of getting around the DDA legislation, a crafty way which makes it difficult to prove disablism.

In my experience they simply do not reply to your application or give you any acknowledgement, its hard to prove that they have not responded to your application because of your disability yet it nearly always happens, in my case.

There are of course plenty of other ways employers get around the DDA, I don't actually think further legislation is the way forward for getting disabled people in to work, nether do I think that government moves to remove or reduce benefits to disabled people is the way to go either.

I think the government need to focus on education, I may have rabbited on about this before but its to late for the elder generation. Children should learn about disability the same way they learn about smoking; OK perhaps not quite the same but the topics should be of equal importance.

How about this a new subject on the national curriculum: Disability Studies, learning all about the culture and great things disabled people contribute to our everyday lives.


Yes everyone today is blogging against disablism day!

Happy BADD to everyone who is out there publishing stuff across the world on the internet today!

Now unfortunately I have to admit that I have been very BADD in that I completely forgot it was today. It wasn't until I saw a blog entry on Ouch! today at college that I remembered so unfortunately I havn't really planned what to blog about so now I have to think of something.

So I have set myself a challenge: it is now 4:33pm (GMT) by 12Am (GMT) I will think of something that fits the theme to blog about.

What this all means? I here you cry.

Well basically if I succeed you will have the opportunity to read some truly wonderful words written an arranged by none other than myself.

If I fail, well this will have to do!

Wednesday, 16 April 2008

The contact lens latest

Well the contact lens latest, it didn't go so well to put it bluntly!

My cornea's are fuc£ed!

Lots of damage showing up on them basically which is apparently a new thing. Even without the contact lenses in which rules out them as the cause. At this stage they cant do any more about the possibility of contacts until they find out what the hell is up with my eyes. The contact lens specialist said she had never seen anything like it so is referring me back to a consultant.

Its not so good, bit of a worry really that I might have another eye condition, I don't want another eye condition I have enough already! My consultant appointment is not until the 13th of May so I suppose its less than a month but still I just want to no what's up and get it sorted.

Monday, 7 April 2008

Ouch Webcams

Its official the web cam stuff has gone live on ouch! it can be viewed here or on youtube here Its all very exciting all though there are currently a few technical issues to sort out so bare with me.

Its all very exciting!

Wednesday, 26 March 2008


The title says it all really here I have to make a big apology for one of my entry's that has caused offence and upset. (THIS entry)

When I started diary of a monkey it was never my intention to upset, harass or offend anyone, and I am upset myself that it would appear that I have. Until it was brought to my attention today I didn't realise that comments I had made here were offensive and upsetting.

I have myself made the mistake of generalising and misunderstanding the situation mentioned.

Depression makes me see the negatives in situations, in many instances it causes the good things to be completely consumed by all the bad things that happen, thus leaving me with a negative view of the situation, this is what happened regarding that entry. This is in no way an excuse I should have thought more about the comments I made, but it defiantly clouded my view point.

All that is left for me to say is that I am truly sorry and have learnt from my mistake and will endeavour not to let anything like this ever happen again.

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