Blind Social Distancing

The Blind Person’s Perspective on Social Distancing!

How do you socially distance when you have bad eye sight?

Amongst the many, many issues people who have sight loss face, we never thought social distancing would be one of them. The virus has changed our society as we know it and the chances are it is something we will need to live with for some time to come. It sadly means that many people with disabilities have been left behind in too many ways. The equality we were gaining has largely been ignored and the difficulties faced by people with disabilities has been swept under a rug leaving people feeling alone and afraid to go out because the rules make it difficult for those of us with sight loss to follow.

So, how do we get back in to society and get back to some sort of normality? 

The truth is, we need our sighted peers to help us follow the rules. If you see that someone has sight loss, then don’t get mad if they are too close as they are walking around the shop, don’t raise your voice if we step within 2 meters whilst looking for a new shirt and don’t get angry if we are not wearing masks as some of us are exempt. Be aware that social distancing has made life so much harder for people that didn’t have it easy in the first place. 

If you see someone with a white cane, be it a long one or a short one, we aren’t carrying them for a fashion statement, it means that we have bad vision. Help us by keeping your distance, even say hello, your voice will help us to realise you are there and help us to keep our distance.

If you see a yellow lanyard with the words visually impaired on, these aren’t a symbol of us being in a sight impaired gang, these lanyards are a way of us explaining without having to explain. They are bright and stand out so that you can tell the person has sight loss. They mean we will struggle to tell that we are too close so please be aware.

If we do stray into your space, be understanding, it isn’t done with malice, we genuinely can’t tell, don’t be angry, be supportive.

We have an opportunity to make a real difference and to raise awareness of the difficulties all people with sight loss face on a daily basis, let’s work together and come out the other side in a better place.

Let’s not let this virus leave people with sight loss in the dark, let’s use the community spirit that the virus created at the start of lockdown and work together to be a more rounded and understanding world.


Self Isolation, look forward not back.

Self-Isolation – look forward, not back!

I am back! It has been a while and not for any other reason than since moving to the big city, I have been rather busy doing lots of other things. Meeting lots of new people and trying to get my face (voice) known in the community I work with. Thankfully that has all gone very well but now I find myself on LOCKDOWN! Well of course, we all are, struggling to find things to keep us amused and busy during these times of self-isolation.

Avoiding other humans is not what we are used too, and it makes you feel like you are walking around with something hanging out of your trouser zip when people quickly step out onto the road to avoid you. I like to think I can dress myself, so the zip department is usually ok, but it does make you wonder when people are diving into the path of traffic to avoid any potential virus, I often wonder if I am the walking dead.

It does help to have a white cane when walking as people move aside any way and those that don’t inevitably get a tagged ankle (accidently of course). Another win chalked up for the white sabre!

Hay fever is the next paranoia, I was walking by the lake when someone sneezed, 14 ducks, 3 pigeons, a swan and 104 humans all ran away screaming and covering their mouths. The poor girl only had a little pollen up her nose. Don’t ask how a duck covers its mouth, it wasn’t a pleasant sight.

Having one hour a day to exercise is great but when you have 24 hours a day to fill, it just doesn’t seem enough. In order not to break the rules, I had to speed walk around the park, no time for a leisurely stroll, I was walking that quick I think at one point my ball was on fire, (my cane tip, dirty minded buggers lol). Seriously though, I did two laps of the park and two laps of the lake, popped to the shop and got home in 59 mins and 32 seconds. Christ I was worried for a minute that I wasn’t going to make it. Lord knows what would have happened (tongue very firmly in cheek)

So, I am running out of things to enjoy on Netflix, I have my 1 hour speed walk sorted, and now I am looking for more things to incorporate into my self-isolation. I would normally enjoy cooking, but fresh ingredients are hard to come by, especially when you are legally blind, and Tesco’s is terrifying with the 2 meter rule being tricky to judge. I have lost count of how many times I have hoovered and if I polish again the wood will wear away.

So today I found myself thinking, why not write a blog about the mentally crippling four walls I find myself in. It has been a while and Lord knows there is a lot of things to get off my chest.

The truth is, as much as being on lockdown is a struggle and we are designed to be alone, it is the best way to beat the deadly virus; (so we are told). We can only go by our governments advice and no matter how tough it is, we must follow it.

This virus isn’t 5G causing havoc with high-frequency radio waves, it isn’t aliens that have come to probe our lungs to check our susceptible we are to them other worldly ways, it is something akin to the plague of 1347. Which incidentally came from the same place as Covid-19 did. Make of that what you will!

We will get through it!

We could be so much worse off than we are. Think about the many millions of people around the world who do not have access to the luxuries we do. Granted I can’t buy a decent toilet roll to save my life but hey, I have plenty of unpaired socks that need a new purpose in life.

We have the internet, we have many devices to keep in touch with people, we have so many choices of entertainment it’s ridiculous, we can use video calls to speak to groups of friends at the same time, and we have Alexa, if this lasts much longer, she might well be my new girlfriend.

Granted nothing beats the interaction of sitting in a bar or coffee shop with friends and chewing the fat of life but it is the best we have got so let’s make the most of it. Use this time to catch up with people you have seen or spoken to in years, pick up the phone and re-kindle an old friendship, why not pick up the phone and rekindle an old flame? Fall in love, one day they will write a film about how you fell in love dung Covid-19!

The one thing that is bothering me the most, is the fact we don’t have a clue when this is all going to be over, every day I look at the news and check on what other countries are doing, whether they are surviving and whether they are lifting restrictions.

The problem with not knowing when normality will resume is, we have nothing to look forward to. But when you think about it, we do, we all do.

No matter what your beliefs are, no matter what you enjoy doing and no matter who you miss spending time with, we will do it again. That is what you and I can look forward to, that is what will pass the time more quickly and that is what will keep you sane. So many people no longer have that thought in mind and so many families will never be able to do that with their loved ones.

Before I sign off, I would like everyone to spend a minute and think about those who have lost their lives, their friends, family and loved ones. For so many this is a tragic time.

Finally, a massive thank you to all of those working to combat this virus.

Stay safe everyone.


The First Step

Losing ones vision is without and doubt a very horrible experience, one that no one should have to go through but one that so many of us do. The feeling of isolation, dread, fear, anxiety, depression… I could go on is truly terrifying.

I have been severely sight impaired now for 13 years, I have adapted my life and the way I do things to cope with everyday life.

My job is to help others that are going through exactly what I went through, It is a job I have been doing for nearly 11 years now, I really enjoy helping others and I am very passionate about giving people the options in life that I never had.

There was such little support for people of a working age in the area I grew up in that I decided to do something about it. It is that passion that drives me to do all that I can to ensure no one is left alone with sight loss and that people have options they can turn too and that they don’t feel all of those negative feelings I mentioned before.

It is very easy to give up and feel bad about life, I did it myself, for a while I didnt even leave the house. It wasn’t just because I couldnt see properly, it was because I had lost more than i ever thouhgt i could. I lost my sight, my job, my girlfriend and now I was about to lose my mental state.

Then it hit me, if i don’t get up and do something for myself, no one is going to do it for me. It was literally me doing something in order to achieve my goals, or just stay home like a hermit and probably giving up on life completely. I had always been a go getter before, why not now?

So, I tried to get a social group going, with no contacts and no social media to use and not really any idea of what to do, I set about trying to make it happen. Amazingly one person turned up, I will never forget the first thing she said to me, this is my first step into the sight loss world, all I could think was, yes, mine too.

It then occurred to me, there has to be so many people that haven’t taken their first steps into the sight loss world. There must be so many people out there who are too nervous to take the first step and there must be so many people who could gain so much confidence from having the courage to take that first step.

I don’t want to say it was like an epithany or like a light bulb moment, what is was, was the moment I realised it was going to be me that has to do it.

I have since set up social groups, sports groups, coffee morning meet ups amongst others. All of these groups are designed for Visually impaired and blind people to get together, to share idea’s, to share experiences with, to stay active with but most of all, to gain friends.

Out of all of the negative feelings expressed at the start of this blog, I have not only felt them myself, I have worked with so many people who have gone through the same. But then they take the first steps into the sight loss world, they join one of the sports teams or simply go out for a pint with like-minded people and they never look back.

I have seen the difference being around others with sight loss can make, I still experience it myself. There are so many people that I look upto that I couldnt even begin to mention them, they know who they are.

If you are reading this and you feel isolation, dread, fear, anxiety, depression…, then make sure you take your first steps into the sight loss community where ever you are. There are some truly incredible people around all ready and willing to offer you there time, support and friendship.

That’s it for now

Until next time


City Life

This latest blog has taken me a while to get around to writing for various reasons but mainly due to the fact I have recently started a new job, moved to a new house and spent a lot of time trying to get used to my new surroundings.

It is said that moving to a new house is one of the most stressful things you can go through but combine with a new job and trying to find local amenities with poor sight is a whole different story.

The first week I was in Bristol I spent what can only be described as a terrifying 8 minutes walking around an area with nothing but giant buildings and no idea where I was. I was using an app to get a bus to the city centre to find the harbour side. A normal excursion for those who aren’t visually handicapped. The app told me to get off the bus at this concrete metropolis called Cabot Circus. A place I had of course heard of before but my God I had no idea of the sheer volume of the place and the amount of entrances and exits to get in and out is insane.

The app told me to walk to a bus stop for  the 24 which would have taken me too my watery destination. Could I find the bus stop? Not a chance. Could anyone else help, your joking. I think I offended someone by asking them as the reply I got was quite out of order, how was I to know he was sleeping on the bench. It was only 2pm after all, bed time isn’t until much later where I’m from .

It turns out there are some kind people as one chap did help me, he saw I was clearly getting visibly frustrated with the lack of knowledge I had of my new surroundings and  cursing at Google maps on my phone probably went some way to aiding my mystery helper to guide me to my potential new socialising point in Bristol. Turns out he became my first friend in this new city of untapped adventures.

So, I have now been here for 7 weeks and I have discovered lots of new places and lots of new possibilities, I have used the power of technology to find my way around several of the bus routes to some much-needed destinations and I can proudly say I am working it out slowly but surely.

There is of course only so much I  can be expected to find by myself so I have now enlisted the help of Guide Dogs. Not to get a dog as they will not talk to me about what shops and bars are around of course. They are well trained and all but speech isn’t one of their strong points. Guide Dogs in fact have a service called My Guide which basically is a human volunteer who Is matched with a visually impaired person and they are there to help with guiding. Exactly what it says on the tin.

I have been fortunate enough to be matched with a young lady who is very easy to get on with, we have a good time and she is also very good at guiding. It isn’t a service I thought I would ever use as I am ridiculously independent, and I have always been stubborn enough to learn by myself and not take help when it has been offered. I am not sure whether it is because I have grown up a little or whether I just realised the enormity of the challenges in front of me finding my way around the city, but I have now learned to take the help. Either way I am very glad I started to use My Guide as not only is it a life changing service, I have also found a friend who is great company to go on these little adventures with and after all, who wants to go on adventures by themselves?

That’s it for now

Until next time



She Read It But Didn’t Reply!!!

Technology, what a wonderful thing it is, we all use it all of the time. But my word it can get you in trouble. Picture this, I was stood outside the bar the other day minding my own business smoking a cigarette. A couple of people walk past me and into the bar. A normal conversation being had but I have to say I listened in, call it my bat like hearing maybe but I rarely miss something that makes me laugh.
 So the lady tells the guys, I messaged her but she never replied, this got me thinking, how many times I have thought this myself. So, here she is, messaged a friend, friend receives said message, reads it but is too busy to reply, can’t be bothered to reply or maybe the shock of the received message meant she dropped her phone down the toilet, either way, she read it but didn’t reply.

As senders of said messages we now have the ability to tell that it has indeed been read but of course have no idea why it hasn’t been replied too.

So the inevitable interrogation in one’s own mind begins.
Have I upset her?
Is she ok?
Why hasn’t she replied?
‘Damn it I never liked that b***h anyway’.

 Of course all of these thoughts are pointless, there are likely many reasons why the person hasn’t replied and chances are they are not any of the negative reasons you are thinking when you are seemingly being ignored.

 The funny thing is, years ago we never had the ability of knowing if the message had been read and so the rage of not getting a reply was reduced to you thinking, ‘oh well they must not have read it yet, they must be busy or didn’t have their phone with them’.

Thanks to the clever people of Facebook and Whatsapp we now get a glimpse into other people’s message reading non replying ways and without that prompt reply we are all left wondering why. I have often found myself looking at the blue ticks on Whatsapp or at the little head that shows itself on Messenger to signify the correspondence has been received. Waiting with baited breath my reply is either being typed back or realising I am in fact being ignored and my message was likely seen as an annoying irritant that was not enhancing the day of the person it had been sent too.

Don’t get me wrong, I love technology but do we really need to know when a message has been read. Can we not just leave some things a mystery? I realise I am slightly contradicting myself there but I have learnt the hard way that you should never say to someone ‘you read the message 3 hours ago, where was my reply’? People don’t like that!

The moral of the story is be patient, they will reply, you don’t know what is going on with them at the time, there will be a valid reason and they will get back to you.

That’s it for now
Until next time


Blind Sport, Are You ‘Avin A Laugh’?

Blind people playing sport, are you having a laugh? How do you do it? I think you’re amazing, these are just some of the things I hear when speaking to people about my love for playing sport.

I have written blogs on my Real Life Humour blog about sports in the vein attempt to inspire others around me to get involved. When I founded the Gloucestershire Growlers VI Cricket team I was so desperately short of players to get it off the ground I nearly gave up. Me and my friend would sit in the bar trying to come up with ways of getting more people involved. Thankfully it all panned out well in the end I am now (along with my team mates) a blind cricket league winner. But going back to the questions posed at the start, how do you do it?

The simple answer to this is skill and talent but we all know that is the arrogant, moronic and big headed comments that I am so often being told off for saying. The truth is hard work and dedication. Life will always put things in your path to try and block you from moving forward. For some it could be health issues, for others like many of you it is sight loss and for most of us with these issues it is a mental problem. That’s not to say we have mental health issues but it isn’t easy living with sight loss.

When people say I think you are amazing for doing things like cricket, pool or even walking around with my white stick of doom, I just smile and say thank you. I think you’re pretty awesome too. The truth is I don’t consider myself amazing for carrying out everyday tasks or playing sport. There are many reasons why I do play sport, mostly it is because I love to compete. There is no better feeling for me than winning. I hope any future wife I may find doesn’t read this because I get the feeling I would prefer to compete than do a lot of the couple things I hear so much about. Probably why I am still hunting for that special someone. I think I may have found her now though, don’t tell her I told you.

For me though sport is not only about competing, it is a way of life. It is the most social thing you can do, it’s a great way to meet new people and it is a great way to keep fit or lose the winter beer belly in my case.

I am fortunate enough to have played team sports for most of my life and I have always used them as a catalyst to build confidence in myself and others around me. There is no better feeling for me than winning medals or the rushes you get when a game is near its conclusion and you only need a few more runs to win the game. You a standing on the side-lines bugging the scorer because you can’t see the players on the pitch. I am quite sure the scorer gets annoyed at the need for update requests every 45 seconds but we are that excited we just have to know. Then the winning runs are scored and, well actually you don’t really know what happened. The best sighted people are usually on the pitch acting as runners. So the exciting squeal of emotions is lessened somewhat but you get the picture. You have won the game, you are one step closer to winning the league and you are on top of the world. If only we had a commentator at these games it would make life a lot easier.

If I can offer you any word of advice it would be simply this, if you have never tried a sport but you have a little bit of interest in doing so, don’t hesitate. Contact British Blind Sport and see what is on offer in your area. Don’t let nerves stop you from doing it as it could be the best decision you make that day. Sport brings people together, it gives you the chance to speak to people you never would have before. It broadens your social circle and it gives you the confidence to go move onto other things afterwards. It could be the start of something beautiful and you will never know unless you try.

I hope you have enjoyed reading my thoughts, thank you to Henshaws for asking me to get involved with their brilliant work. If you want to read any more of my ramblings, you can find me here –

That’s it for now,
Until next time


Legally blind playing league pool?

Growing up I was always keen on sports, whether that was running, football, rugby or pool. If it had a competitive edge I would give it a go. Always keen to compete I would happily get involved with whatever sport I could. I believe if you dedicate yourself to a particular sport then you can get better and better at it. The problem I faced was always which one to choose going forward.

At the age of 10 I was playing football for my primary school, when I went to secondary school I started playing for my local team Cashes Green Rovers, scoring twice on my debut I was selected as captain for the next game and carried on from there. I was only 13 but was captaining the under 15’s.

I used to run cross countries for my secondary school until the age of 14 when sadly a knee injury stopped me from taking part in too much physical work on it. So sadly my running and football days were pretty well over and any kind of competitive level. Instead I could only really kick a ball with friends for much more limited time spans. Still a lot of fun and always good exercise.

The need to compete was always there and I guess it always will be. At the time my parents were running a pub and I used to go along every now and then and hang out with them which were usually rather boring. However, this was where I discovered the game of 8 ball pool. My dad had played for years, so it seemed right that I should follow in his footsteps. He also played all the sport he could when he was young just as I did. So, I observed, I learnt, then I picked up a cue and at the age of 13 or so I started playing. Not very well to begin with of course but never the less I learned by playing and watching the others in the pub who would turn out week in week out for a few games. At first I think they let me win and didn’t try very hard to beat me but soon after I picked up a few good shots and became a decent player. At the age of 14 I joined the pubs pool team. Playing all over Stroud visiting different pubs every Tuesday it was a really great experience, one that I just loved. My first season was not my finest but this only made me want to improve, so I joined the local pool club and would play hour after hour and eventually I started to win more than I lost and the people that used to let me win were now trying their hardest but often couldn’t compete. In my third year of playing I was made captain of the team and if memory serves it was my second season as captain when we won the league for the first time and so a thirst for success was born.

We went on to win several more trophies over the following few years and even ended up going to Wales to play against a Welsh international side which was a lot of fun. Playing pool had given me a new lease of life at such a young age, something I was good at and it was something where you can meet so many people. My social life improved and my confidence improved to go with. I felt unstoppable, until my dreaded sight loss.

It was just before my 20th birthday when my sight failed me and I could no longer see to play. This for me was a devastating blow, especially after my knee stopped me from playing football. I had now lost all of the sporting activities that made me tick. I literally felt like I had nothing, it wasn’t just the sight and all that went with that, sport for me was the lifeline that kept me feeling confident and social, it’s what kept me sane. I was devastated that I could no longer see to compete, I genuinely thought I would never find any other sport to play again.

Fast forward 5 years and after finding a bar that I could practice in and not feel uncomfortable I started playing pool on my own simply to try and rediscover the skills I had lost; I finally found a way to play the game again. I can’t see one end of the table to the other but if the white ball is close to my object ball then I can just about see it. I use the shadow created by the cue on the table to judge where my cue is and the rest is all done through memory. It was tough to begin with but like I always say, practice makes perfect. It has taken me around 5 or so years to get back to a level where I am pleased with how I am playing, I know I can still get better but I am proud to say that those years of miss-spent youth playing pool were not wasted after all. I just had to find a way around the problem and when you think about it in life, that’s all we can do. If there is an obstacle you simply have to find a way to overcome it.

In 2017 I played league pool for the first time in over 10 years and against some of the best players in Cheltenham, I may not be as good as I once was but I am proud to say I am taking part again which I never thought I would be able to do.

With the pool playing giving me back the competitive edge and the founding, running and playing for the Gloucestershire Growlers blind cricket team, I have never felt more alive.

Sight loss for me was at first devastating, not playing sport was even worse, but now I have found a way to still be able to compete and succeed, I have never felt better.


Back on the Dating Scene With a Bang

Since I became single again for the 125th time in my life I have of course gone down the inevitable route of online dating. You may recall my earlier blog Blind Dating and Awkward Romance as being my take on the dating scene. Well tragically I am back out there again flaunting my wares like an eager fruit and veg man selling his bananas (no pun intended.

Ok maybe there was a little pun intended, so not only am I back on all of the usual rubbish dating apps getting morally beat down and made to feel like the world is against me ever finding a date again, I am also going out on weekends spreading my wings like a proud peacock trying to impress which ever flock of women might want to pay the slightest bit of attention. It’s tough.
So, we go out to the bar, me and my wingman are in place, pint in one hand, cane in the other. He identifies the target and we take aim. Well I say we do, I’m not really sure any more what we do. I have often felt the lead has gone from my pencil and I am instead scratching with a blunt instrument desperately trying to find someone to lend me a sharpener.
Eventually someone has enough curiosity to come over and say hi, normally to figure out why I am carrying a light sabre with me and what fancy dress party I had been too. After the explanation is given and they are now educated to my rather severe sight loss, normally they tend to disappear into the darkness as they probably know I won’t be able to spot them again. Perhaps if it were a light sabre they might stay a bit longer and I could use some Jedi mind tricks on them.
It is said that to catch a girl’s attention you need to catch their eyes. There are two things wrong with this and no, not the obvious glass eye joke, not even I would go that far.
1. How do you catch someone’s eyes when you can’t see them?
2. If you somehow manage to see someone you like, how do you avoid looking like a crazy stalker with your wonky eyes trying to figure out if she has paid any attention to your advances?

It’s an impossible job and regrettable one that I fear I may be stuck in for some time at the rate I’m going. I don’t envy the girls having to put up with my insanely bad dance moves; I must look like a right idiot. Given the only time I dance is when I have had far too many beers on board. I think I have been keeping Jack Daniels in business for quite a while now. But seriously, a blind, drunk and insanely bad dancer swinging his legs and arms around like a fish out of water must be quite the sight. Thankfully no one has filmed it yet, well to my knowledge at least. It’s no wonder this proud peacock gets reduced to a KFC eating monster wobbling home through the streets of Cheltenham at 3am.

There must be an easier way around this guy seeks girl rubbish that us single men go through. Why does it have to be the guy that makes the first move? I know it’s the old fashioned way and I understand that but surely every now and then one of you lovely lasses can turn around and say, ‘Cor blimey, nice cane, can I have a go?’ Again, no pun intended. Well maybe a little bit.

It may well be easier to join the monastery and become a monk; in fact, I think that’s what I will do. It would be a lot cheaper.

That’s it for now,

Until next time



Friends Are For Life Not Just For Christmas

So 2017 has been a very up and down year once again. There have been a lot of successes and a lot of failings but on this day I wish to declare 2017 a good year.

Let’s get the bad stuff out the way first, I have had two failed relationships, nothing new there. I seem to find a way to ruin things for myself all the time. I had a rather bad eye infection which I still feel causes me problems today, and I still haven’t got a new passport. The last of these is me procrastinating for no real reason other than being lazy.
I went through my usual bout of depression but this time I actually did something about it and paid a huge amount of my hard earned money to see a councillor and get things sorted in the nugget of a brain of mine.
Overall the bad stuff wasn’t all that bad I guess, I’m still alive after all. I am still writing for the Huffington Post and I have a few more trophies in my ever growing collection. Seriously, I need a new shelf to put them on, it’s crowded now.

So a couple more women decided I wasn’t for them, I guess it wasn’t meant to be. However in my efforts to find the love of my life I have found something even more special; true friendship, I am not saying I never had true friends before, I did. In fact I still do, surprise surprise. Unlike the failed relationships I am able to hold down a good friendship or two, crazy I know.

During my efforts trawling through the hundreds of women using Plenty of Fish (other dating apps are available) I met one person this year in particular who has changed my life in so many ways it is hard to explain. You can define friendship in so many ways but you always know when you meet someone special. Someone who changes your opinion on people, someone who just has something that you know will last forever and someone who teaches you the true value of friendship without even knowing she has done it.

Stupidly when I was with one of my girlfriends this year I pushed her away. Which I really shouldn’t have done, it was a silly mistake and one which took a lot of making up. But we are now back on track and good friends – In fact I would go as far as to say we are true friends.

The point of telling this story is simple, you may not find the love of your life on a dating app, you may find a few people that want nothing more than a one night stand, you may find someone who is nothing like their profile suggests. But if you are really lucky, you can click with someone on more than just a romantic level. You can find someone who will always be there for you no matter what. If you are down and need a shoulder to cry on she’s there, If you have an eye infection she’s there, If you need a volunteer driver, she’s there.

At the end of the day, I know I may not have found the love of my life but I have found a friend for life and that is far more important than a relationship that can go bad.

I know the person this blog is referring to will read this and I hope she enjoys it.

That’s it for now
Until next time


My White Cane Changed My Life!

Recently there has been a lot of people talking about the use of a white cane and it made me think about how I feel when using mine.

All of us in the Visually Impaired (VI) world know that just because someone is using a white cane or has a guide dog, it doesn’t mean they are totally blind. In fact it is quite the opposite. Research suggests that it is in fact only around 3% of the near two million people that live with some form of sight loss in the UK are actually totally blind. But society’s perceptions of people that have such instruments of mobility are totally wrong. It is a common understanding through most of the general public that anyone with said accessibility devices are totally blind. This is not true. Most of us have some form of what is known as ‘useful vision’. This vision that remains is what we use to do the things that others see as impossible for us to do as they believe we are totally blind.

I am a cane user, I have been now for just over 7 years. I have been VI now for over 11years and I have to say it really did change my life. You can check out my blog Moses of the High Street if you want to read my humorous take on life with a white cane. This blog however is focussing on the mental aspect of using a cane.

I saw a video recently where someone was saying they felt fraudulent using a cane as they weren’t totally blind. With society’s perception of sight loss assuming this, it made them feel awkward when thanking someone if they stopped to let them past. So, instead of being polite and well-mannered, they ended up ignoring the people that let them past and walked on by. In the past I have done the same. Ignoring the world around me and walking around like a grumpy blind zombie. Now this of course is not true, I am just a grumpy old man, but what people don’t realise about the cane is that it is as much for my own safety as it is for others to be aware that I have sight loss.

It is not the fault of us as cane users that most of the general population don’t know about the varying degrees of sight loss. So therefore why should I feel bad that I am being independent and moving around with confidence because of my cane. If I didn’t have it, what would I do? Well I can tell you what I used to do. NOTHING! I literally would get picked up in a taxi, go do whatever I needed to do, get dropped off in a taxi back at home and then sit there trying to figure out what button turns the television on and which one didn’t mess up the frequency. It is far more awkward to walk around sight impaired without a cane and bumping into things, be that A boards, people or even lamp posts. The cane allows me to navigate these inanimate objects with ease and people are usually very good and move aside so to avoid tagging of their ankles.

My cane gave me a new lease of life, it gave me the ability to do and try things I never thought I would. I don’t feel vulnerable anymore using it. But I do see where people are coming from when they say you almost feel like you have to act more blind than you are. I have done it before. But what is the point? By doing that I am just feeding into the negative stereotypes that besiege us all.

I say let’s educate the population. If someone asks, tell them. If you notice someone looking at you funny, tell them. If a parent walks past with a kid that asks, ‘mummy what’s that man got that white stick for? Tell them. Parents are seemingly terrible at educating children on the importance of such matters, it’s as if they don’t want to feel embarrassed. I’m not embarrassed, why should they be. I would much rather the youth of today grow up to be disability aware and therefore have the knowledge that disability is not a thing you have to avoid and be ignorant about. We embrace it, so should everyone else.

Only we as cane users and guide dog owners can make that difference. One day we will take over and the many people who are stuck at home like I was will pick up their very own white stick and we can have our very own ‘Cane Pride Day’.

Mine changed my life, what did yours do for you?

That’s it for now
Until next time