Are You Independent?

Not so long ago the powers that run our country decided to change DLA to PIP. For those of you who don’t know what this means they are as follows –

DLA = Disability Living Allowance, this means for those of us that are unforunate enough to have a disability, we get paid for it. Sort of a pat on the head to help you on your way through the hassles that come about from being less abled than other ‘normal people’. 

PIP = Personal Indendance Payment, this means that the more independent you allow yourself to be, the less help you get to lead a ‘normal life’. 

So, lets be frank about this, the change was made because the government wanted to ‘save money’. Well if spending millions on the change is saving money then fine. This change was not needed. It means that people with severe disabilities are forced to go through the stress of an assessment centre and speak to someone who chances are havent got much of a clue about your condition. Not many doctors know much about my issues. I am currently going through my PIP application and I am finding it very stressful. Just making the initial phone call was hard enough. Its mad that the systems arent in place with for someone with sight loss to be able to fill out the form themselves. You simoly get a paper form in the post which you can’t read. So you have to find someone to go through the form with you, unveilling every part of your struggles. My girlfriend has helped me to fill out mine and has been amazing but it is difficult to have every part of your life and struggles being written down on paper. It is not easy as a proud Englishman to explain to someone everything you have trouble with. Opening up is hard a the best of times, but my advice to you all is to be open and honest when filling out the form. It is essential that everything you struggle with is made clear and that you do not put a brave face on things. 

I was given a life long DLA but the first thing on the letter that came through states that even if you have a life claim, this is no longer valid. Well im sorry Mr Government official, my sight is not going to get better any time soon. If you want to cut costs, don’t attack those of us that need it most. There are far more people that claim money that don’t actually need it. Being fat for example is not a disability, these people have chosen to eat more than elephants, I didn’t ask to be as blind a bat. 

That’s it for now

Until next time

MRWG.

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I Wish You A Merry Chirstmas From Mr Bah Humbug

​My Christmas poem – Wishing you a Merry Christmas, each line starts with the letters from this phrase, why not write your and send it in to me.  I will post the funniest ones on my blog and give you a name check, wish I could offer a prize but read on and you will see why I can’t.
Wish I didn’t I have too

I  don’t see the point

Sorry 

Hurry hurry must do this 

I don’t have the patience

Nor the the will

Go buy your own presents
You won’t like what I buy

OMG I hate shopping

Ugly decorations do my head in
A horde of people in my way
More on to New Year

Energise again

Return to work

Right lets go

You know the year will fly by
Christmas again

Hanging with friends

Retire from work

Indulge some more

Sing to your hearts content

Try not to argue

Moan about the weather

Annoy the family

Succombe to the joy of Christmas day.
There is a message to my words, I am not a big fan of Christmas, I never have been, To me it is over commercialised and you can almost guarantee that the most people who celebrate Chistmas don’t actually know why we celebrate it in the first place. It is a holiday to celebrate a birth but nowadays we use it as a way of gift giving for the sake of gift giving. There is so much pressure to buy things that you just can’t afford. I am sorry but when you struggle to make ends meet at the best of times it is not really a good thing to expect presents from me. This Christmas I feel hibernation is in order. Otherwaise I will be made to feel bad by the tribe of extended family that this year has been a tough one not only mentally but also financially. Sorry fam, I just can’t afford it this year. 

I Wish You A Merry Chirstmas From Mr Bah Humbug

Don’t Get Wet, Get Equal

 

Disability is a massive word. It is an umbrella to say many things but I can’t help but think that so many people that should be dry under the umbrella are instead soaking wet because their disability is not a seen one. For example, take a partially sighted person using a cane, you see the cane you think blind person. I see that and think that person has a sight problem. Doesn’t have to be totally blind but merely an issue that restricts them from having the illusive 20/20 vision. But on the other hand, if you see someone in a wheelchair, you say that person can’t walk. That may not be the case, it I see that I think, that person has a impaired mobility. Disability is not black and white. There isn’t one condition that effects everyone and has the same outcome. If it were that simple the world wouldn’t be in such a mess.

What really gets me though is that when people consider disability and accessibility they don’t consider what should be under the umbrella. Predominantly, wheelchair access is addressed and that seems to be enough. I can almost picture the conversation between the decision makers, oh yeah we will put a ramp there, a lift there and disabled toilet there. Smile and pat themselves on the back for helping all of the poor disabled folk and drink a cup of tea from the same mug they have probably been using for 25 years on the rise to important man in big building. Well let me tell you sir, how am I to find the ramp with no tactiles? How am I to press the correct buttons in the lift with no indication of which one does what and how do I find the button that opens door without groping around like a complete idiot?

Don’t get me wrong, I applaud the efforts of wheelchair access to places. But, it isn’t just wheelchairs that need access. Ok I don’t need wheelchair access to walk into a building but what I do need is clear directions when I am in the building. This is a very general assessment and I am not pointing at any particular place but the issue is far and wide. Think about where you live, I bet it’s the same where you are.

Disabilities of all shapes and sizes should be considered in everything when developing anything, could be a website, could be a museum. The example I do want to use is the Wilson Art Galleries and Museum in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire UK. A few years back millions was spent to redevelop it. Great I thought, a perfect time to incoorporate accessibility for all. When I turn up there to have a look around, there was nothing there for blind and partially sighted people at all. I realise I am not doing much for the tourist trade of Cheltenham here but I don’t really care. The horses will be back soon anyway. I want  to make clear, there is excellent access for wheelchairs on every level and disabled toilets a plenty. But it just goes to show, covering disability is a box ticking excersize whereas it should be seen as a total accessibility for all set up, the publicly owned gallery should be open to all to enjoy.

I am not ranting without attempting to do something about it either. I am a visualy impaired advisor to the visually impaired. I have worked with other museums in the past to make them accessible and I did offer to do this with the Wilson. However after offering them a less than £500 solution to the problem, it was swept to one side of the desk and never followed up. Not only wasting my time and effort but also not giving access to the museum to some of the 2million or so people in the UK that could make use out of it.

So, the next time you are considering ‘making your business disabled friendly’, consider the umbrella and don’t leave people outside to get soaked.

That’s it for now.

Catch you soon.

MRWG.

Don’t Get Wet, Get Equal

Is Humanities Laziness Making Life Easier For Us Blind Folk

Over the last few years there has been a whole range of smart devices that have incorporated the ability to use your voice to control all sorts of devices. It started with Sat-Navs which made perfect sense, not a good idea to use your hands to set a device when you are driving. This then moved onto the smart phone. Now people are using smartphones in cars and the Sat-Nav is becoming more and more unused as time passes. Why would you have a Sat-Nav when your phone will do it for you? Your phone can pretty much do anything for you these days. But this is not a bad thing. What people see as convenience as a sighted person, as a blind person, we see it as essential. The same device that sighted people use to get them from A to B, we can use to control a huge part of our lives. It could be adding reminders, it could set your morning alarm or it could be searching for information on Google. The advent of voice control on smartphones has not only allowed convenience for the lazy humans, but it has opened up a whole world of easy access to the ‘smart world’. Ok so it’s not only lazy humans granted. It is also for those who are so busy that everything needs to be done at once. So, you are driving along in your car, making calls, sending emails and checking the weather all with your voice. Well guess what. I am walking with my Moses stick and doing exactly the same. It probably looks like I am going mad whilst doing so but still. I know the truth and that’s all that matters.

This may not have been the intention with the likes of Siri, Ok Google or Alexa but I for one am very glad this has happened. The task of using a digital radio to many may seem like a simple task, but when you can’t read the screen to select the station, it is a real frustration. I now own an Amazon Echo and it is quite possibly a revolutionary device for the blind and partially sighted community. Simply say Alexa – play TalkSport and within seconds, there it is. You can adjust the volume with your voice so the lazy humans don’t even need to get off the sofa. Alexa is also very intuitive and will learn all the time. Her limits are endless. Talking books are seen by many as a life saver, if you are a member of Audible from Amazon, simply ask Alexa to play your book and she will, and she will do so from the place you last left off and she will smile whilst doing so. Not literally but you can tell she is happy. A very good voice tells you that. I have been using synthetic voices now for years and most of them are dull and very uninspiring. Alexa however, if you didn’t know any better, could well be mistaken for a human voice, and not the lazy human either. She sounds emotional, she actually sings, and sings well too.
I will be doing a full review of Alexa’s features in a later blog, I just want to realise her full potential before I write about her.
So, with Amazon, Google and Microsoft all ploughing vast resources into lazy humanity, I say keep up the good work It can only enhance the lives of us with bad sight.
Humans, be a bit more lazy and let’s see if Apple can catch up. Stay on the sofa use your voice, they know what you do, the more you do it the more they will develop it.
That’s it for now.
Check back soon for my review of the Amazon Echo.
MRWG
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Review Of The Week #1

As any good human being should, every now and then you have to change things up a bit to keep things fresh. Hence this new hopefully weekly addition to my blog, my review of the week. I do like to keep you all guessing as to what my posts mean, it is my own evil sense of humour what does it.

This week my review of the week is going to be all about local bars in Cheltenham. As a member of Cheltenham’s local bar fan club, I like to think I know a thing or two when it comes to the qualities that make a good bar. I may be the only member of my club, but still.

I have certain expectations when it comes to  a good pub, not much is better than a good pool table, good beer and good music. That being said, The Feathered Fish on Winchcombe Street is one of the better pubs around. An excellent pool table which is usually well maintained. There are usually good people, good staff who enjoy a good banter as much as the punters do. Sadly let down by it’s choice of music although secret DJ does allow you to remedy this if indeed you can find anything on there worthwhile. Not many have, a rubbish app that is so hard to use its unreal. The pub also boasts a great function room and serves very tasty food at a reasonable price. It must be said that the pub is not wheelchair accessible but is blind person friendly on the whole.

Feathered Fish, Winning! 7 out of 10, just sort that glass issue out and I will raise it to 7.1.

Check them out here – http://www.thefeatheredfish.co.uk

I am a big fan of live music, I was quite upset when the St Pauls Tavern closed down. An institution in it’s own right and always an absolute blast when everyone got together. Nicky was awesome and always made me laugh. Some of the best live music acts I have ever seen, played at the Tavern. Cashes Green were there for there first ever gig and tore the place down. A great band with a bright future. I met some great people there who have supported me in some of my fundraising efforts having performed at the HRCC Beer Festival which we hold every year. Dan Browne has been a brilliant help with that and what a talent he is. A great voice and excellent performer. Not to mention Gaf, who is simply brilliant. I have sung with these guys as well, they tolerated my voice but we all had a great laugh doing it. Sad to see the closure of the Tavern.

Now the best place to go for these simply brilliant talents is the Cotswold Inn. A great little venue always full of people celebrating the joys of life. A fine little pub which is now home to the world famous Sunday and Tuesday Open Mic nights, and of course the Kareoke on a Wednesday. Always a great laugh and if your lucky you might even get to hear Matt Hyde sing. He knows all the words to one song and he is proud of it. Good on you Matt.

Cotswold Inn, big thumbs up – 7 out of 10. Keep up the good work!

Check them out here – https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Cotswold-Inn/78271291341

if you are looking for all out carnage then the Bierkeller could be for you. Three times I have tried it now and three times it hasn’t let me down. You have a scouse german on the microphone singing his little oompa heart out.

Apart from when you are at the bar people are hardly ever in your way due to the fact they are all on the tables dancing and trying not to fall over and some making every effort to keep themselves decent. Longer dresses will do that job for you ladies.

The beers not to bad either. Vastly over priced but hey. Someone has to pay old ScouseGermanOooompaMan.

Bierkeller – Good effort but for me a bit to pricey – 6 out of 10.

In the interest of fairness I probably should include somewhere I don’t like. So, that being said here goes. The Midland hotel on Gloucester Road. Not the best place I have ever been to. Although effort was made to make things happen there, it never really took off. Beer was ok, atmosphere left a lot to be desired. If a pub was a pit stop before you went off on your travels, then this would be it. Just there to serve a thirsty punter whilst he is waiting for a train. No decent food to talk of and the last time I was in there, MAGIC FM was on the TV. This was on a Friday evening whist I was pit-stopping waiting for a friend. Next time I think I will get a brown paper bag and a bottle of whisky and sit outside. Not much of a difference either way.

Head back sooner for more reviews on all sorts of different subjects and if you would like me to review something then please let me know.

That’s it for now

MRWG

 

Review Of The Week #1

The Mannequins Revenge

Have you ever thought to yourself that you could get more sense from talking to a wall rather than someone you are actually having a conversation with? I genuinely was talking to a wall the other day when a voice piped up and asked ‘what are you on about?’ little did I know I was standing right next to the changing room area in Primark. I jumped out of my skin. I actually thought the mannequin I knocked over had come back for some revenge. At the time I was genuinely terrified, until the curtain swung open and out popped a regular human being.

This isn’t restricted to blind and visually impaired people either. When you are doing something and then you get a fright caused by something unexpected, you jump out of your skin. They say you have a guilty conscience if this happens. Has it ever happened to you? What are you feeling guilty about? I thought my mind was quite clear, then I was walking to work the other day and a tree made me react in the same way as the talking wall from before. Damn thing smashed me in the face, didn’t apologise and then got on with its oxygen producing day. Little did it know the devastation it caused me that morning. Normally I float like a butterfly and sting like a bee. I react quick enough to dodge them and if they are causing me too much grief, you may well see me snapping some branches. I have lost count of how many branches I have left strewn on the floor after they have ruined my perfectly well-groomed hair. Not a good way to start the day. This time I must have had something on my mind, and it hit me full on. The worse thing is, I apologised to a tree. I apologise to all sorts of things. You name it, A Boards, trees, benches, people, cars, lamp posts and even things that aren’t even there. I was walking along an empty street the other day, could swear I nearly knocked over a dwarf. But when I turned around to check, there was nothing there. I still apologised.

The one and only time I lose my will to apologise is when someone is walking along and playing on their mobile phone at the same time. If they walk into me, that’s on them. I aint moving. Pay attention and my cane won’t ‘accidently’ go between your legs. It’s funny how fast that cane can move north even though I was only trained to go side to side.

The other time is push bikes on the pavement, at times I actively try and get in there way. They should be on the road. The only wheels that should be on the path are buggies, wheelchair and shopping trollies (children not included in this)

Anyway, just some randomness from a day in my life.

That’s it for now.

Speak soon.

MRWG

The Mannequins Revenge

Don’t Be Afraid To Talk

Given the fact this blog is called real life humour I do aim to write some comedy in all my posts. However today is different. I will not use any jokes at all and you will find out why as you read on.

Depression is no laughing matter, chances are if you live with sight loss you may well have been through it. There are many feelings and emotion that can lead to someone feeling down and depressed and it is extremely difficult to talk about it. The empty feeling you get when you feel all alone and that no one has ever been through what you feel now and that nothing can ever make the feeling of dread go away. I have been there myself, I was newly diagnosed with my sight loss, I had just lost my girlfriend my job and what felt like everything good about my once beautiful exhistance. It is one place I wish never to visit again. At the time you just don’t know what to do with yourself. You just keep living out the same stuff in your mind over and over again.

If you are reading this and you can relate to it but you have got through the down times and are now feeling good, you will know that there is no set course to make things better. The trigger comes when you least expect it and without prior warning. It could be a new job, it could be reluctantly spending time with friends you ignored for a while or it could be a smile from a beautiful person that you like. Whatever it is can’t be forced but you have to believe will come along sooner or later.

This year to people I know and was very fond of haven’t been able to get through the depression and instead have taken there own lives. I can’t imagine how down you have to be to do something like this. I was low and thought about it several times but could never act on it. It is a very sad time when something like this happens but at the same time it made me want to write about it to say to anyone that may read this post, you are not alone. if you ever feel that low there are always people around that want to listen and want to help you. Whether it’s your doctor, family or friend there is always someone you can rely on to support you through any period of feeling down. It may be difficult to approach the subject to someone you are close to and if that’s the case there is always the Samaritans.

Please do not feel isolated if you feel depressed, please talk to someone and sooner or later the trigger that will help you through the tough time will happen and you can start to rebuild your life back to the beautiful person you should be.

This has been a tough one to write and I am doing it in one take so that my feelings do not get blurred and that I don’t edit what I truly want to say. If there are any spelling mistakes then please do excuse me.

That’s it for now

A very emotional MRWG.

 

Don’t Be Afraid To Talk