Sunday, December 14, 2014

Get on the Social Scene

The days are getting really short now. I have always liked this time of year. Not because of the long nights but because soon, very soon the days will start to grow longer again.

This season is also party time.

Last week my local chapter of California Council of the Blind had their Christmas party. It was great fun at a local 'Old Spaghetti House' Restaurant.

One thing I highly recommend a blind or visually impaired person to do is to try and join a local group of people like the CCB, various States have their own groups affiliated to the American Council of the Blind or the National Federation of the Blind (NFB)

I only joined the Fresno Chapter of California Council of the Blind in July. To be honest I only heard of the group in June. Now I am only saddened by the not knowing of them beforehand.

Joining with a group of people who share a similar experience is good for you. Some of the members have been blind since birth, some blinded by injury others have progressive visual impairment from a variety of disorders. But the group is very friendly and we have some good meetings.

The fact is blindness is isolating and meeting these people  eases lots of the loneliness of blindness. We laugh at the way sighted people often behave, we share tips on the latest gadgets, it all builds into a positive experience.

For instance last month some of us took in items we use as aids. Some shared their ideas of the latest apps others gave tips on how to arrange basic chores to make them easier.

Because of the group I am even getting to learn my Braille alphabet. The group spreads the social scale from retired to young people, a recently qualified chef to teachers and social workers. All of whom have something special to add to the group.

So if you haven't examined the idea before, as a New Year's Resolution why not take a look at what groups there are in your area.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

iPhone 6 Plus: First Opinions

I have had an iPhone 6 Plus for almost ttwo weeks now. It has been a fun time. As you may have guessed I am very happy with my Apple experience.

Here is some background: I only bought my first Apple product an iPad Air in June. Having been shown some of the things that Apple phones and tablets can do by a great guy at Guide Dogs for the Blind. He is a fellow guide dog user, he actually has Leif, my guide dog's, half sister and most importantly he is a programmer at Apple in Cupertino. So he knows his stuff about the product and how to use them.

I had been looking to buy a new phone for a while and when I heard of the new iPhone 6 I decided to wait until they were released and then buy an old "reduced price 5's." but the 5's did not come down in price and a 6 Plus was only $100 more to purchase on my current phone plan. So I waited almost two months for the iPhone 6 Plus to be in a store at the right time.

I had limited choice of color, only silver were available at the store but since I am blind and I was going to buy a case anyway. Why bother about colors for the phone.

The phone was set up to take my fingerprint to allow it to work. You also need to set up an unlock code at the same time in order to act as a back-up if the fingerprint system fails. This was good for me as the case I bought means I can't use the fingerprint scan very easily. Fat fingers don't make contact as easily it seems.

Siri, the built in assistant now works if the phone is charging, you can say "Hey Siri!" and Siri activates to do your bidding.

I use Siri to check my stock portfolio, help me call numbers from my contact list and send text messages.  Siri will also read me texts (the last text received) or will tell me what e-mails I have received.

I also like that I can say to Siri, call 571 XXX 1234 when a phone  number is not in my contacts and Siri will dial the number for me. That is a great deal easier than trying to fiddle with a piece of paper trying to read a number, trying to dial in a number as you do so with fingers that hit two numbers at one time. That was sometimes the situation with my old phone/

Siri's voice is clear,  I personally prefer the male voices which are easily changeable in the settings area. I haven't tried Voice Over on the iPhone yet. Just not had time to play around with that function yet, but if it is as good as on the iPad Air there will be few complaints.

So in all after two weeks I am happy with a phone that I can use and functions that are now easily available.

I will keep you posted as I learn more iPhone tricks. Until then maybe you should take a look at this book :

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Walking Through Molasses

Do you ever feel sometimes that you are walking through molasses to get to a goal?

Recently I have felt just that way. Every step forward in recent weeks seems to be at such an effort it hardly seems that I am making progress.

In the summer I made attempts to get the training that I missed out on when I first went blind five years ago. Training in using adaptive technology, training in just living, cooking, organizing. What I now have is a series of ad hoc skills thaat I put together for myself, re-inventing the wheel at every problem.

Anyway earlier this summer I learned that there was no need for that, there are teachers out there to assess and train you and I for those problems. The only problem.

We have to be introduced. We cannot access them ourselves. Civil Servants have to introduce us and agree to pay for the services.

Civil Servant bereaucrats who are the molasses at our feet.

After six months now. I have had an assessment for independent living skilss, a low vision assessment and am waiting on a  workplace assessment.

The low vision test has already bourne fruit, I go to collect some eye glasses on Monday.

The independent living skills has led to an interview and they are recommending actions.

The workplace assessment has been postponed twice by either the assessing agency or my employer.

It is just so frustrating that after five years of inaction and ignoring my requests for help, that now the powers that be just continue to slow down every possible movement forward.

Maybe instead of embedding our feet in the molasses of bureaucracy they should just hang us from our feet and drown us in the damn stuff,

Friday, October 24, 2014

Waiting for my iPhone 6 Plus

Have you seen anyone with an iPhone 6 plus yet?

I haven't. And no that is not just because I am blind, thank you.

No one has come up to me to show their bright new  shiney phone. No-one has called me to tell me they have a nice new iPhone 6 Plus. They  seem only to exist in the realms of TV advertisements and on the showcase stands of my local Best Buy stores.

I have seen one. I even liked the look and feel of the nice display one whivch I first drooled over  almost six weeks ago now.

I had planned on upgrading my old phone to an iPhone 5 when the price fell after the release of the sixes, but that didn't happen. In fact to upgrade from my old phone to an iPhone 5 would cost me only $100 less than to go all-in with the iPhone 6 Plus.

So why not go for that product.

I now sit patiently waiting. I call my phone company, I call Apple, and I call Best Buy.

"Have you an iPhone 6 Plus?" I ask hopefully.

The reply always the same "Not yet."

I long to ask Sirie to make my calls, I want to send texts again, I yearn to be able to take a good photograph on its magnificent camera.

I Wanna be a Geek again!

Sadly I'll have to wait a bit longer. Dreaming of the day when I will hold the sleek line of its body in my hand.  Caressing its screen. Texting and posting merrily.

Or maybe I'll just wait 23 months until the iPhone 7 comes out and I can get the 6plus for the same price as a 5 now?

To read my first opinions of the iPhone 6 Plus click here  iPhone6--plus-first-opinions.

The Geek Mug
The Geek Mug by Bretsuki
Get custom imprinted coffee mugs online at Zazzle.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Support Fresno Chapter, California Council for the Blind

One of the best tools for a blind person to use is, apart from their white cane or guide dog, a support network.

Earlier this summer I was a little adrift as to where to go for help and just a welcoming laugh.

Then I heard that Fresno has a Chapter of the California for the Blind (CCB).

The group recently arranged a fundraiser for the Chapter and I was able to attend. The group offers lots of social help, someone has most certainly already overcome a problem which you are encountering or at least knows a way to get past any obstacles  either with government bereaucracy or just how to get that particular new app to work on your iPhone.

I do design some Teeshirts and have come across a crowd funding Teeshirt printer.

You can help me raise some extra much needed fundds for this great chapter to expand its work in both the sighted and blind communities in and around Fresno.

See the Teeshirt, hoodie or garment of your choice at Support is the Best Tool T-Shirt

Please feel free to share or tweet the link. We need only sell 50 products to support this great group.

For more information on the  Fresno Chapter of CCB See their Facebook Page

Saturday, October 11, 2014

The Result of the Low Vision Assessment

Last Wednesday saw me  going to visit a low vision specialist. After being legally blind for five years just the suggestion to go seemed odd, but I am glad that I did go.

We arrived for the appointment bright and early, people here in the U.S. will know going to a new doctor is a hassle with lots of paperwork at the reception describing you medical history.

After my wife filled in all the forms, we went to have my eyes checked for the curve of the eye, eye pressure and such. I had the curve of my eye measured in a machine which held my head in a headrest and then a lens moved in front of my eyes. The machine didn't touch my eye, I am guessing it uses something like a low power laser to measure the distance to the eye.

Then it was into the consulting room with the doctor. He was very pleasant, asked me to go through my particular history of eye problems and then asked me to read an eye chart.

Of course I saw nothing with my left eye, and was able to use some of my right eye peripheral vision to see the charts largest letter dimly.

His assessment was that I have 2800 vision in the right eye, that is well into the realm of legally blind, which I believe is at 200.

Then seemingly inspired he placed a lens in front of my right eye. Suddenly the eye chart cleared and I was able to say that there were two letters on the second line.

So with correction my vision improved to 2400. Still legally blind but "What the Hec!" I saw a second line for the first time in five years.

It seems that no one had recalled that I had been short sighted in the right eye prior to my central retinal vein occlussion, the measurement of the curvature of my eyes had shown this short sightedness, which of course can be treated with glasses.

I will still only have peripheral vision in the right eye, the macular in that eye is destroyed by the blood clots of the CRVO and has been dead for over ten years.

So then the doctor moved over to trying a variety of hand held lenses to help me see, but these didn't work as I have large areas of damaged tissue in the retina which means my vision is a little like looking through a Swiss Cheese. Then he moved me to a monitor and closed circuit television system because of the wider angle of view, my brain could reasonably fill in the blanks of my vision. So he will be suggesting a CCTV enlarger be suitable for me too.

From this one visit I gained a lot of information. The blurredness I see now is mainly the short sightedness, not blindness and easily treatable.

That there is help out there even if sometimes you need to ask several times for it.

"Keep Calm and Have A Cup of Tea "Mug  Available from my Zazzle Store

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Going For A Low Vision Assessment

I find it a little hard to believe that today, after five years of being legally blind, that today I am actually going for an official low vision assessment test.

You would think a test to see if low vision aids or such might have been attempted before. But I guess in my case this slipped through the cracks of bureaucracy. My problem seems to have been that I just about went blind at the wrong time. Is there ever a good time? That is a rhetorical question and made with tongue firmly in my cheek. But 2009 coincided with a budget crisis here in California as well as the global financial crisis. So put in context, a single man going blind is a little concern for the world.

Anyway at that time I did get some aid $24.00 to buy a white cane. Though the check did not arrive until late 2010, and six hours training on how to use a white cane properly. Eeeek I was so naive about going blind back then it is scary to think of how little it really seemed to have caused me to react.

Anyway, earlier this year, my wife, Leif my guide Dog and I visited The Lighthouse for the Blind in San Francisco, actually to see their gadget store, when we happened to ask about services. We were amazed to find there are real services out there, provided with the help of a wide circle of advisory groups, from Orientation and Mobility (O & M) through instruction in cooking and daily living skills, to workplace training to help you keep your job or find another job.

This all begins with a visit to the Department of Rehabilitation here in California.

We all went to the Department of Rehabilitation back at the beginning of July. But the reception we got there was less than helpful, so as we live in Fresno County a trip to Valley Center for the Blind seemed to be the order of the day. Inspired it seemed at the time.

In fact we got to see an advisor from the  Department of Rehabillitation within 24 hours rather than the 6 weeks or more promised at the D. of R. itself.

Then we got to fill in the required forms with the advisor, who is also blind, and her assisstant.

Now just over three months later, the work is bearing fruit, today sees me having a low vision assessment, soon I will be having training in the workplace and  daily living skills training.

This part of the blog is sure to expand. As I will be taking you along with me to some of the training sessions with me.

 To read more see The Result of the Low Vision Assessment.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Blindness. A Punishment from God?

Recently I have met several people, who seem to me to have made comments that see my blindness and the blindness of others as a punishment from God.

The thing is they conclude this idea for themselves, making comments like; "You will need to pray for God to forgive you." or "God will let you see eventually, when you accept his love."

But then they fail to ask me, if I see blindness as a punishment.

In short no blindness is not a punishment from God, Nature or any other supernatural source. Blindness is just something that can happen, accident, illness or deliberate injury. Blindness happens.

If God wanted to punish me, blindness would not be they way to do that. In fact for me, my blindness has been a positive matter in my life.

I cannot think of one area of my life which has not changed for the better now I have become blind.

This is not to say there are not times when blindness can bring about frustration. But frustration is fleeting. Punishment is long lasting and interminable. Punishment is demoralizing and leads you away from life. Blindness doesn't do any of these things.

Those who have said that my blindness is a punishment are often surprised when I say that I see blindness as a blessing. They think that I must be mad. After all I now live in a world of the sighted but I cannot see.

But I do live in a sighted world. Of course I do. But I LIVE. Blindness took away my sight, nothing else. I have memories, friends, a loving family and a handsome guide dog. That most of those came after I went blind is for me the blessing.

If God had wanted to punish me would He have given me all those things?

Blindness raises a lot of fear in those who are not familiar with blind people.  In the end don't let others perceptions of what you are be your guide. Look to your own knowledge about yourself and your life to create you world. You don't even have to believe in a Christian God, you can believe in whatever you like, as long as you are happy and comfortable with your own blindness, it is not a punishment, it is just a part of you and frustrating as it is there is a great deal to be positive about.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Fantasy Football and other Stories⌠█

You know your in trouble as a human being when suddenly your dog is beating you at fantasy football, when you go to a restaurant and people ask to pose with your guide dog in a photograph and your guide dog is invited to your local middle school soccer team practices because he walked over the pitch one day and the team won so he is now their lucky mascot.

I never imagined that these things would ever come to pass one year ago, as I waited anxiously for the 21st October to come around.

Then my guide dog would just be a guide, I could go out and work with him or her. Life would stay the same but get a little better.

Now life is completely different. Despite the Chicago Bears beating the San Franciscco 49ers the other week, Leif still won our Fantasy game and we are now going into week four with Leif at 3 wins to my 3 losses.

Last week-end my wife, Leif and  I were waiting to go into a restaurant for a meal and a complete stranger said how handsome he is. Then asked to have my wife  take a photograph of Leif and their party. So Leif is definitely gaining celebrity status.

Most fun though,  is the reaction of the local middle school boys soccer team. Leif was at the school with my wife a couple of weeks back while I was in hospital. She and Leif walked across the soccer pitch as the boys practiced. One or two of the boys patted Leif and the next day won their game.

Do you see where this is leading?

The next week the same happens. This week the boys asked for Leif to watch a home game from the sidelines. We attended, it was fun, the weather cool and nice to be outside. The boys played their hearts out and won in style.

Of course to them their own skill was only the partial cause. Leif was the galvanizing factor.

So anyone out there thinking of applying for a guide dog. Be prepared for celebrity in your midst. Being a lucky charm and losing to the best darn pickers of quarterbacks, tight ends and defensive linemen in the nation.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Fantasy Football

This week-end sees an important face off for Williame andGuide Dog  Leif.

"You see we joined the NFL Fantasy League. Just a little private league, four teams. My wife plays a team too and we have a fun team between us." said William today

"But for Leif and I this Sunday sees us in a full blown battle as Leif's team based around the San Francisco 49ers, meets my team based around the Chicago Bears in both our fantasy league and in real life."

Leif the Guide dog, looks william in the eye as William snarls for the camera. Leif the black Labrador wears a red neckerchief and William wears a Chicago Bears uniform shirt.
Leif on Left, calmly observes as William dressed in Bears uniform shirt snarls for the benefit of the camera.

Leif is coming off week one of the fantasy season with a lead of 107 points to William's 84 points.

Guide Dog Leif was his usual calm self at this mornings meeting. Commenting only by licking the face of the opposing coach. This was seen by onlookers as a promise to give William's team a good licking on the field on Sunday.

Guide Dog Leif licks William briskly in a manner which suggests his team motivation style for Sundays game
"Come on for a good licking"

In an interview after the meeting William exclaimed that : "It is something when I am being beaten in this game by my Guide Dog! Maybe it is time for me to show him who is the boss. "

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Thoughts of a Guide Dog - 3

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Do You Like to Play Card Games?

Do you like to play card games?

Are you a whizz at Bridge? Have a hot hand at Poker? Or just enjoy a little Solitaire?

A few days ago I was going over some recent photographs of Leif, my guide dog, and saw this picture which I added to a set of Large Register Playing Cards from Bicycle.

You can buy the cards which are ideal for visually impaired people by following the link below.

Leif and Flag Playing Cards 

The large print numbers and face card identifiers make it easy to identify your hand. The cards are the quality product that you have come to know from the Bicycle brand. I have had a similar pack of cards for two  years now and they are still very usable.

Also Available from my Zazzle Store:

Eagle and Flag Large Register Playing Cards from Bicycle

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Free U.S. Currency Readers for the Blind and Disabled

The U.S. Government will be providing free currency readers to all elligible U.S. Citizens and legal residents later this year.

In the first wave any blind or disabled person, citizen or legal resident and registered with the National Library Service, sometimes known as the Library for the Blind and Disabled , may call the NLS Currency Reader Number and they will be supplied with their reader through the mail, just as they would receive their books.

The first phase begins September 2, 2014. To obtain a reader in this first wave check out the details at the Free Currency Reader Website.

From January 2, 2015 all other US citizens and legal residents  who are elligible can apply to receive a Free currency reader under the same program.

I would recommend anyone who is not already a member of the National Library Service to join.

All you need is to be able to prove disability and you can receive a basic book reader, free books and also access to the Library of Congress BARD website, which has thousands of audio books ready to download as MP3 files to a flash drive which can be read on any compatable reader, all for Free or at very little cost, you do need to buy a flash drive  to store books on and you may also buy a upgraded reader such as the Victor Reader Stream New Generation   for the playback of books.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Coming to Terms With Blindness

Going Blind is not easy. It is to say the least a traumatic event in anyones life.

Though you may think it an individual event, it isn't. When you go blind it affects others around you. Family, friends, colleagues at work, or health service agencies. Lots of people are touched by your blindness, throughout the time when you are trying to adjust to your own changing life events, they too are involved for good or ill in those events.

I ofdten heard during my transitioning period. "Stop the pity party others are worse off than you."

To say this however is possibly the least helpful thing to say to a person going blind. At best it shows a lack of feeling on the part of those who say it. At worst it only makes you feel more isolated.

I say allow yourself to feel sad about your loss of sight.

Feeling sad about your situation allows you to cope in the long run. Sadness, even anger allow you to build a new life of acceptance. This acceptance of trhe changes you have undergone allows you to find solutions to many of the new problems that you will face.

For instance, you may see blindness merely in terms of a loss. You lose your ability to act independently, you lose friends, you lose the enjoyment of going out, you lose the ability to read. The you lose cycle can go on indefinitely.

One the other hand, losing your sight doesn't mean anything of the sort. You lose your sight, so you accept the use of a cane, you lose some independence for a time but you are able to regain much of that in the long term. So the cane tells people you are blind. It gives you independence. Maybe later you could get a dog to guide you, but first comes acceptance of some limitations rather than maintaining a struggle that you are not going to win.

Give yourself lots of time to adjust.

I have met people who think that going blind is simply like turning off a light. OK now you are in the dark, you don't need to adjust, just get on with it. But you need time to learn day to day living skills again.It took me several months of walking with a cane to become comfortable with my surroundings, playing out my route to work day after day as I moved about. Eventually I could tell where I was from the noise my cane made or the pressure of a tree branch as it brushed my head. 

Now all this has been learned again as I have moved on to work with a dog and a whole other set of skills had to be learned.

You will often be infuriated by other people. I can promise that. The store clerk who when asked where something is, waves an arm and says "Over ther." The colleague who leaves a hand written note on your desk and then indignantly says" You can read? Can't you?" When you go to ask them what the note says. Or the ever helpful restaurant witer or waitress who will ask anyone but YOU in your group at the table what YOU want to eat or drink.

Coming to terms with blindness is not easy. For you , if you are the one going blind, it can seem personal. For those around you, it can be a minefield of emotions too.

Never feel bad or apologetic for going blind. It is what it is. Give yourself time to adjust, feel sad, feel angry allow negative emotions to flow because if you don't they only get worse. Allow the bad feelings to foster a state of acceptance and drive you toward a fuller life.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Do You Prefer A Guide Dog or Cane?

One thing people often ask me is; if I prefer my guide dog or would I prefer to use a cane?

Bearing in mind that this answer is a personal answer, my own personal view  and if you are blind or know a blind or visually impaired person, they have their own opinions on the matter.

I used a cane for about four years, it worked for me as I no longer fell off sidewalks or walked into trees. As a tool it was useful and still is. In the recent hot weather I have fallen back to use the cane when temperatures soared to 110 degrees Fahrenheit. I hate being out in those temperatures so I feel Leif my Guide Dog would hate working in those temperatures.

Eight Months On

It is now just over eight months since I met Leif for the first time and we did get off to a sticky start. I was nervous of a strange dog, not wanting to spouil or break him. But that fear soon disappeared as he showed me just how clever he was. He did this by guiding me around several obstacles, but choosing a route which gave him  much to the laughter of our instructors at Guide Dogs for the Blind (GDB). I definitely have to say this dog is smart. Way smartewr than me.

Guide dogs are much more work than a cane, I have to say. You don't just get to a destination and fold them away and forget them. A guide dog must be groomed several times per week. A guide dog which appears dirty can be refused entry to public places, restaurants, buses or taxis. They also need to be fed carefully. Leif gets three cups of dry food per day, two cups in the morning from which his treat bag is filled and a third cup at night with any kibble remaining in his treat bag. I also have to make sure he is allowed lots of opportunity to pee and poop. As a caring  guide dog partner I also make sure I clean up his poop in public places too. You need a regular supply of good poop bags when you are out and about together.

Work though is pretty boring stuff, so we love lots of playtime together. Leif loves a game of tug of war, either with his rope or a Go-Nut toy. I recently bought him a new Go-Nut ttoy shaped like the number 8. He loves that as much as his rope and will bring them both to playtime. So there is a lot of fun time to having a guide dog.

Having a guide dog is also more social than having a cane. People rarely interacted with me when I used my cane. Now with a guide dog people comment on how nice Leif is, they ask to say hello and pet him. Life definitely becomes less solitary with one of these beautiful animals at your side.


Having a guide dog from GDB also brings with it a great support team. GDB in San Rafael have a support team of instructors, an alumni association and a call center on campus operated by trained instructors and vetinarians who can help with a myriad of problems. If needs be, they can even send an instructor to your home to help with particular problems. This service was much needed in the few weeks after returning home after graduation.


Having a guide dog is a constant learning process. Once you master a cane it is easy to just walk and almost forget about it. Working together with your dog is very different, it is hard work, your guide dog guides you across streets, around obstacles and you hjave to give your dog the trust he or she needs to go with them. But all the time you are the one guiding your dog to and from place to place. You have to work on knowing where you are at all times that is hard.

Something Special

In the end, a cane is a great tool. It's simple and it works just fine. But there is a magical feeling to working with a dog, which a cane never gives you. A dog is much more than a tool, it is a living breathing creature which a lot of people have put a lot of effort into training and raising and it just makes you feel that bit more independent and free to be given the chance to work with them,.

Cane or dog?

It's a dog for me.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Time to Get Rude?

I have to say, that I have never met with outright rudeness on the part of sighted people until yesterday. Ignorance can cause a myriad of sins. Ignorance can even cover up rudeness and most of the rudeness I have encountered from sighted people over recent years has been the kind that is fostered by ignorance. The kid, usually a teenage boy who sees me in a crowded shopping mall and decides to test my eyesight, and for his pains gets bumped when I don't peel off to one side. The motorist who decides the crosswalk is the stop line not the mark for his back wheels. Those I attribute to ignorance.

Yesterday, I encountered the basest form of ignorance, the willful kind. The "I know that I want to make life hard for you, but you are blind so it's ok."

My wife, Leif, my guide dog and I, had traveled out of town on the train to meet my wife's parents for a nice day, and it was a nice day.

The return journey was delayed because the train was running nearly two hours late. Not a problem if you are used to Amtrak, it is par for the course and time at the railway station let us stay in cool air conditioned comfort.

When the train arrived in the station one of the conductors directed us towards the front of the train saying there were disabled seats available there. Boarding the train was pretty difficult because it was pretty full.

For those unfamiliar with trains here in the U.S. most passenger trains are on two levels, the main seating area is upstairs with lower level seating for those who have real difficulty with stairs such as the disabled and elderly. There is extensive labelling of disabled seating asking able bodied people to give up  the seat upon request by a disabled person. In the past I have had assistance from conductors who have told people to vacate a seat for me.

We moved into the lower level of the carriage the first seats were occupied by one young woman with her purse and an overnight bag on the seat opposite. My wife asked if the seat was taken and the woman said no but that we should sit upstairs. She was not obviously disabled, but when my wife said that it is not easy to get a guide dog  upstairs the woman waived her hand and said "whatever."

My wife and I made our way upstairs, the only way to do this is in single file, my wife, Leif then me. At the top the train was crowded, a couple of people gave up their seats for Leif and I but poor Leif was still partway out in the aisle, a tripping hazard for people going back and too from the food service car next door.

I decided then to make my way back down to the lower level to go to the bathroom. The only safe way was to sit on the stairs and shuffle down from step to step as by now the train was moving.

I knew I couldn't get back upstairs again in safety so after visiting the bathroom I made my way to the seat that was still only occupied by the young woman's bags. I asked if she would move them, but she ignored my request. So I sat down on the seat, at which point she began complaining to the others in the carriage that a  blind man was being rude and invading her space.

She scrambled her bags from around me and got on her cell phone. Complaining to someone on the other end of the call that a blind man and his ugly guide dog were acosting her on the train.

I noticed the conductor coming into the compartment and asked him if the young woman was ok. She obviously seemed in distress that I had sat there and was complaining about my dog. She told the conductor that I never asked her I just sat down on her stuff.

She then produced a tale of woe. Which included a story that she had a broken back and was disabled. A nearby passenger then commented on her wearing high heels and how that must be uncomfortable with a broken back.

By now she had her legs drawn up over the arm of the seat and resting her back against the wall of the train. Other passengers also began telling me how she had made several trips to the food car without much need for assistance. Another told me how she had told him that she loved jet-skiing and para-sailing as hobbies, so a much less disabled picture was appearing.

She was by this time, even to my blind eyes, appearing less and less  comfortable. Luckily for her she was getting off the  train  one stop before me and as we approached Fresno, she picked up her things to walk towards the doors. Sadly for her however, our train was pulled into another passing place for half an hour to wait for a passing freight train.

After she disembarked the train. I thanked all the other passengers for their patience with me and giving me some insights to the appearance of this rude, spoiled brat of a woman.

Next time I travel on Amtrak though, I am getting a conductor to take me to my seat. Just to save myself the hassle.

Friday, July 18, 2014

I Left My Paw Prints in San Francisco

As you may recall, last week was very hot here in the Central Valley. So I planned a little trip for Leif, my wife and I to the Bay area for some cool time and also to visit the Guide Dogs for the Blind campus for their Funday Celebrations on July 19, 2014.

Guide Dog Leif, sits beside Williamn on Pier 14, San Francisco California, the Bay Bridge can be seen in the background.
Leif and William stand on Pier 14 in San Francisco, with the Bay Bridge behind them.

On Saturday we went to San Rafael, to enjoy a full day at the Guide Dogs for the Blind campus. We met many puppy raisers, including some people who knew Leif as a puppy in training.

We also had a great time watching the latest graduates receiving their dogs. Personally, I would have found graduating with several hundred people in the audience terrifying,  but this group of graduates did very well.

Also there was a special presentation of puppies for a group of Future Farmers of America, FFA students from the High School in Lemoore, CA , who were receiving puppies for training on behalf of students in New Mexico who will raise the puppies in the Fall.

On Sunday we took a ferry trip from near San Rafael to San Francisco. The trip took about forty minutes  each way. We got to walk along the Embarkcadero and out onto Pier 14, now a breakwater for the Ferry Terminal. We had lunch at a sandwich bar and Leif also received a well  deserved drink of water from one of the waitresses, for which she received a great big Labrador kiss.

Altogether we had a great week-end break. Sadly we had to return home, just in time for the final spike in high temperatures on Monday night.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Like Leif on Facebook- An AppealHello Everyone,

Hello Everyone,

I am asking you to Like me on Facebook. My page is Guide Dog Leif.

Guide Dog Leif, a black Labrador, sits in harness looking appealingly into the camera wearing a white bow tie around his neck.
Guide Dog Leif, wearing a White Bow tie.
My Facebook page is full of lots of fun and chat with people who live with, work with and raise guide dogs like me.

The conversations are generally fun and informative. Come along and like my page at Guide Dog Leif's Facebook Page  even if you are only a dog lover. Dog lovers are my people too.

Enough of the Hot Already

Leif , my guide dog and I are suffering.

Leif is hot and bored and I am just too hot.

This past couple of weeks has seen temperatures here in the 100' Fahrenheit. That is too hot for Guide Dogs to work even in their boots. So poor Leif is bored.

Guide dog Leif sits patiently on a porch as the late afternoon sun marks checker board patterns over the dog and floor on a hot day.
Leif sits on the porch as the temperature passes 100 F.

It is the normal temperature for this time of year here, but I never had it have so much impact on my life before.

In the past I would take out my cane and go. You cannot do that with a dog. You cannot think of going outside between 11am and about 7pm on such hot days. Stay inside and chill with a poor air conditioner that is flogging itself to death to keep a room in the house below 90 F.

I have a little plan that might cheer Leif and me up though. But more of that in a post later.

Till then we will bear the heat and press on. Doggedly.  (I can't believe I just said that LOL).

Friday, July 4, 2014

4th July

This will be Leif' and my first 4th July together.

We will try to keep quiet today, guide dogs are special but they are not immune to fear. So tonights fireworks are something to be avoided. Besides I am not a fan of fireworks myself.

Back in England, the big night for fireworks is 5th November.

Towards the end of the 1990's I worked at a local sports stadium. One 5th November I was helping with crowd control at the town firework display. It was a very windy night and I remember watching one rocket soar into the sky, bursting into dozens of stars.

To me the rocket seemed to burst a little early, and as I watched one of the stars seemed to get closer and closer. I pushed the portion of the crowd beside me back a little and the star came closer.

It landed with a hiss still burning on the toe of my right boot.

If we had not moved back it may have hit someone in the crowd, or  at least hit me in the chest.

Since then I have not really liked to attend any firework displays.

So for those of you celebrating the 4th July have a safe day. Keep pets indoors and safe.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Breakthrough With Smart Glasses to Aid the Blind

The British newspaper the  "Daily Telegraph" has reported a new breakthrough with smart glasses technology which may eventually aid the blind to see.

Today's article Smart Glasses Allow Blind to See Guide Dogs for First Time discusses use of new technology developed by scientists at the Nuffield Institute, part of Oxford University in England.

The glasses cannot help those with no residual vision, they appear to be vision enhancers. The glasses create black and white images which some blind people can see, then outlines the items directly in the persons vicinity enabling them to avoid dangerous items and allow some facial features to be recognized.

I am drawn to the idea of at some future time being able to put on some high tech pair of glasses that would enhance my vision, it is possibly the guy thing. A gadget. A hope of independence.

But then I start to think with my heart. What would life be like without Leif, my guide dog?  Would I be happier with a new pair of glasses instead of that cute black rascal who shares my life, 24 hours a day.

My heart says, Leif is  much more to me than a pair of glasses could ever be.

We'll have to see where the glasses thing goes. If it will move forward and change from a large box on ones head to something chique and fashionable. Time will tell, the glasses will get smaller and the technology will be hidden.

Maybe in time I could even enjoy the old tech alongside the new tech. Who Knows?

Do you have any comments on this article? Leave your comments in our comments section below.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Where is Your Ideal City for a Blind Person to Live?

Usually at this time of year, my wife  and I  look towards the long summer that is rapidly approaching, with its 100 degree plus temperatures and sky high electricity bills and wish to move somewhere cooler.

Normally I think of the coastal towns here in California.

But then I got to thinking.

Here we have a great resource, you, my readers.

Where do you recommend as a good place for blind people to live?

I would ask some real feedback on this question. Don't just name a city.

Tell me and everyone else why you recommend the city. Tell us about, transport, entertainment, job opportunities or access to resources.

Sell the city of your choice.

Send your answer in our comment section. Remember it could be read by hundreds of other people, not just me.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Thoughts of a Guide Dog: 2

I am on my travels again. We went to a town called Parkfield recently, Parkfield is in Central California and for what I could tell there is a nice valley with lots of little buildings belonging to someone called USGS.

William tells me it is all San Andreas' Fault.

Whatever this San Andreas does it must be important. I'll have to look up my brother Langley to get some info. Langley knows lots about everything.

Anyway. William tries to design stuff, so he was dressed in a T-shirt he designed and took the picture for, years and years ago. At some place called Gettysburg. Looks a nice place. Humans had a battle there once. Anyway the shirt is black with some photograph that William, aka "Bill Board" says is a  ghost. Brrrr scarry!

On top of his head he also had his "Guide Dog  Team at Work" hat, which I must say his version is very bright yellow.  So anyone can see him coming for miles. Well those who look where they are going can see him.

You can see  his T-shirt here: Gettysburg Ghost Shirt

You can find the hat here:  Guide Dog Team at Work Hat

"OK Bill Board. I've done the ad portion of  this post  so how about some kibble in here!"

Parkfield is a really cool place though, nice shade trees and a great little cafe in a real log cabin. I could have sat in there all day. There where some great smelling burgers. Real grass fed beef the waitress told me. mmmmm my mouth was watering so much I made a little puddle.

Will have to remember to blame San Andreas for that too.

Here is a pic of "Bill Board" and me, the cute black fur person beside him.

guide dog, parkfield, san andreas fault
William and Leif the Guide Dog, Parkfield CA. May 2014

I do get to do a lot of things outside of my day job. Which is fun.. I also meet lots of great people who always want to say hello, scratch my ears and just talk to me. Being as cute and special as I and my other Guide Dog friends are means we are very visible. Though I and William like all the fuss, please remember that every guide dog team is different. Please ask the Human if you can say hello to their dog, and don't be offended if they say no. They are the expert with their dog and they don't want
 them to lose concentration  while working.

If you have enjoyed my post, share it with your friends.

Thank you.

Leif, the Guide Dog

Read"Thoughts of a Guide Dog :1" Here

Sunday, May 25, 2014

How to Make Cumberland Sausage

This week-end was a real treat. My inlaws, wife and I spent Saturday making Cumberland Sausage.

Cumberland Sausage is a delicious spiced sausage from the North of England. Here is a small portion of the sausage cooked and presented on a plate.
A Portion of Cooked Cumberland Sausage

What is Cumberland Sausage?

Cumberland Sausage is a British Sausage. When you think of Sausages from Britain you probably think of "Bangers" or the "Traditional" meal of 'Bangers and Mash'. Cumberland sausage is not a banger. The true banger was a short lived sausage from the World War Two era of rationing where meat was scarse and bread more plentiful to use as a packing agent.

The Cumberland Sausage is much older by comparrison. Possibly several centuries old.

The sausage is famous for two reasons.

  1.  It is not a link sausage but is made in one long length and spiraled around.
  2. It has a very spicy / pepper flavor. 

Where is Cumberland?

 Cumberland is a region of England. The ancient area of Cumberland covered the far North-West of England, including the Lake District and South -West Scotland. Today Cumberland is much smaller and is shown on maps as the County of Cumbria.


68% Pork Shoulder

12% Pork Fat/Belly

 7% Rusk or dry breadcrumbs

7% cold water

6% spice mixture

 Spice mixture:

40% salt

12% White pepper

8% Black pepper

10% nutmeg

10% mace

10% thyme

10% sage

(Spice proportions can be varied to account for personal taste but Cumberland sausage is characterized by its strong flavor of pepper.)

Hog Gut Sausage casings if you want to make cased sausage. If you want to make sausage patties you will not need casings.

We usedEastman Outdoors 100% Natural Hog Casing for Italian, Bratwurst & BBQ Size Sausages (Makes Approximately 25 Pounds of Sausage)


1. Placecoarsely minced pork shoulder and coarsely minced pork fat in a bowl and mix.

Coarsely minced pork shoulder and fat in a large mixing bowl.

2. Measure and mix spice mixture in a seperate bowl or measuring jug.

3. Add rusk or breadcrumbs and spice mixture to meat.

Meat and Dry Mix added together.

4. Mix ingredients thoroughly. I used my hands but you may use a food processor or mixer. You don't want to use cutting or chopping blades though, Cumberland Sausage is a course sausage.

Hand mixing Cumberland Sausage Filling

5. Add water to mixture and stir in .

6. Leave to stand covered in the fridge or cool place for one to two hours.

7. While mixture is curing in a cool place it is time to wash the casings.

cumberland sausage casings

Handwashing the Casings.

To wash casings thoroughly, insert a funnel into one end of the casing, rinse through with cold running water for a few minutes. Keep the casings moist in a bowl of iced water  until you need them to be placed on the sausage stuffing machine.

8. Take a small amount of the sausage  filling and make a small pattie. cook this to see how the filling tastes and make final adjustments to spicing and salt.

9.  Run casings onto your sausage stuffing nozzle on your stuffing machine.  If you are looking for a sausage making machine the LEM Products 5 Pound Stainless Steel Vertical Sausage Stuffer has a good reputation on

10. Begin stuffing the sausage by loading your sausage machine and wetting your fingers with ice cold water let the filled sausage casing slide through your fingers. Your fingers add some slight resistance. Don't squeeze too hard or the casing will split and tear.

                                    As the sausage casing fills we begin to coil our Cumberland Sausage.

finished roll of Cumberland sausage

A Completed Cumberland Sausage. All we need to do now is to cut off portions and grill or fry the sausage until cooked.

Great with a nice cold beer, or a thick hunk of bread.

From 15pounds of meat we made five large Cumberland sausage, a string of seven link sausage about 6inches long each and one dozen palm sized sausage patties enough for all the family to share, and lots of good family memories of a fun day sausage making.

British sausages

Please feel free to use this recipe and adapt it to your own tastes.

Cumberland Sausage is one of thousands of traditional sausages from around the world. Search for all your sausage making books, recipes and supplies of materials and sausage stuffing machines.

If you like the result please share this page with your friends.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Guide Dog Care

One of the basic needs of a guide dog is grooming.

Though it is true that working Guide Dogs have a right of entry to public places such as buildings, taxis and other public transport, a guide dog that is not clean and properly groomed can legitimately be refused entry.

I personally choose to groom Leif daily, he gets a light grooming with a Kong Zoom Groom.

The  Kong Zoom Groom is ideal. It is made of rubber and fits nicely in my hand.

Kong Zoom Groom
I use long sweeping movements down Leif's back from his neck to the top of his tail, and repeat these movements down either flank.

The soft bristles of the Zoom Groom collect lots of dead fur and also add a shine to his coat as they disperse the natural oils he produces across his body.

Thanks to the great handling he received as a puppy in his training days he loves to be groomed and he will often move about so I can get to both sides easily.

Sometimes he will seem to enter an almost trance like state.

After just a few sweeps of the Zoom Groom, it looks like this:

See how effective the Kong Zoom Groom is?

This was remember just one days fur, both his soft under coat and course top coat fur has been lifted.

All that is left to do is to give him a quick finishing brush with a soft bristle hand brush to finish.

The Kong Zoom Groom is quickly cleaned as the fur pulls straight off the teeth to be disposed of easily.

For day to day dog care the Zoom Groom is probably the most useful item in my dog care kit. I love it and so does Leif.

There is a Skunk Out there!

Tonight is going to be a sleepless night I think.

The night is humid, unusual for this part of California. I live on the brink of a  desert you see. Nights are often cool if not cold and the air is normally very dry. But tonight I can hear an owl hooting outside my open but screened window and there is a soft rustling from beneath my zuccini plants. The air is also filled with the thick scent of skunk.

Leif, my black labrador retriever and guide dog, is blissfully snoring in his sleep. But I am here, wide awake and waiting for a chance to sleep.

Skunks are pretty common in my yard. I live at the edge of town, just yards from open fields and a dry creek bed. It seems that the skunks come in from the fields to pickover my neighbors cat's food. A couple of my neighbors have cats, some of which use my house to sleep in during the heat of the day. Leif  doesn't pay much attention to them, and they mostly ignore him too.

But the presence of cat food is of course very attractive to the local skunks who would possibly even die without the added suplement to a meagre diet of frogs and maybe the occasional snail. Humans water their lawns, build garden ponds  and such, turning this part of the desert green and feeding the cute but smelly little critters in the process.

If you have never smelled skunk it is not an unpleasant odour in moderation.

As they go about their business, they smell of sulphur. Strike a match just enough to make it sputter and spark, it will produce a thick sulpherous smelling smoke, this is pretty close to the calm smell of a skunk.

When panicked or feeling threatened  though the skunk squirts a thick oily liquid from glands under its tail. This is a million times more pungent than their normal scent. It will make you vomit in seconds and doesn't even have to land on you to make your eyes water and nose run and you will stink for days.

So where normally I might consider going outside to sit on my porch in the dark to wait for sleep to come, tonight I am here typing away

With a skunk out there. I am staying safe inside. Tonight the night can belong to the owls and skunks.

Goodnight friends.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Almost One Year Ago ...

It is hard to believe that it is almost one year ago, Memorial Day 2013, that I had my home visit from Guide Dogs for the Blind.

I was so nervous then. It was an important step and my aim was to impress on them that I was a good candidate  for their training program.

The day came hot and although we started early, my visitor arrived at 9 am on the dot, and we were out and about by 10 am, it was exhausting mentally.

I had to show her a regular route that I walked and along the way she made reccommendations as to the suitability of the route for a guide dog. The  walk to my workplace took about forty minutes with regular stops for me to give explanations for my route choice and for her to give me feedback.

The route home was all  Juno work. "Juno" is the name given to the training harness used by students. The instructor pretends to be a dog in harness and asks the student to follow, and consider corrections and encouragement of a real guide, so you get to feed the invisible dog and talk to it too.

That portion of the morning took aboutt an hour as the instructor assessed my direction finding abillities, even leading me around the local Taco Bell parking lot in circles to see whether I could maintain a sense of direction.

This may seem silly but you soon find when working with a dog, a sense of direction is a must have quality. If your dog leads you around an obstacle you may have done several ninety degree turns in no time and if you can't tell your original direction of travel you can quickly become very lost.

Well after all that. The visitor told me she  was reccomending me for training. A month later I received my invitation for a start date in October.

All those weeks were blogged in my "... Days to Dog Day" series. Now over six months have passed since graduation and I have a great guide in Leif my two year old black Labrador Retriever.

Leif, a male Black Labrador Retriever
Sits in his Guide Dogs for the Blind Harness.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Eurovision Song Contest.

One of the great things about modern technology is that I can hear radio from half way around the world live.

I have just spent the afternoon listening to the Eurovision Song Contest on Radio Two from the B.B.C.

I used to love listening to Radio 2 back at home in England. So I was glad that the dear old "Auntie Beeb" adopted internet technology very early on.

Today or tonight if you are in Europe was one of the highlights of the year, the often controversial, sometimes camp, always over politicized Eurovision Song Contest.

The Contest is now over sixty years old. Created in the early days after World War Two and the "Cold War", it was meant officially to tie European national bbroadcasting systems together for joint ventures. The contest is a Song contest where each nation competes for the title of Song for Europe winner.

It has thrown up a lot of silly songs in its history, too many to count really. But ocassionally there is a jewel.

Forty years ago I well remember seeing a new group from Sweden get up to sing some little ditty called "Waterloo".  The group was of course ABBA and they went on to become pretty famous.

Tonight we heard Austria win. A very good song, well sung, but whether Conchita Wurst will become an international sensation with the song "Rise Like a Phoenix" is to be seen.

But Conchita does get one other claim to fame, the first bearded drag queen to win the competition. Now that picture comes over much better on radio I guess?

You can listen to BBC Radio 2 online here

The Youtube video above is the winning song. Not a bad song really. As one announcer described it, "like a Bond movie  theme." and Conchita does have a Shirley Bassey quality to his voice.

Friday, May 2, 2014

Shoe Time for Doggies

This last week has been pretty warm here in Central California. Temperatures have hit the high 80's on several days and even approached the 90's.

That is of course togh on us humans. But for Guide Dogs it can mean disaster.

I am not talking of the obvious danger of overheating, from being out in the sun.

The heat we feel is mostly air temperature, hot in the air five or six feet above the ground can be blisteringly  hot on the surface. Burning hot on tough but delicate paws.

So last week-end I dug out the doggie boots, that Guide Dogs provided us with last November.

While it is about the time doggies who have had a freezing winter to endure are casting off their boots for a season or two, dogs like Leif must now endure the indignity of wearing boots.

Leif hates his boots, he walks like a trotting horse. High lifting gate with each paw thumping hard into the ground. Looks funny but better than a dog with blistered paws.

He will get used to them in a few weeks I am certain of that. But in the meantime we raise a smile from some passers by.

A blind man and his doggie in red boots is a pretty remarkable sight I am sure.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

How the Blind See Beauty

It is an interesting concept. Most people would consider beauty to be a visual perception, but beauty can also be a feeling.

In this fascinating video from YouTube several blind people describe their conceptions of beauty.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

A Visit to the Retinologist

Last Monday was my first visit to the retinologist this year.

It came as a shock to realise that I hadn't seen my retinologist since a few days before Christmas. Bear in mind that I had been seeing her every four weeks before last July when she stopped the avastin and Lucentis injections.

This visit was very pleasant, it's nice when you know that you are not going to get a needle in your eye in a few moments.

I did have some explaining to one of my doctor's assistants who insisted that I needed to look directly at the eye chart to read it. Eventually she accepted that I cannot see anything directly in front of me, and the only way to even find the chart was to use my peripheral vision in my right eye.

That done. My retinologist examined my eyes. The news was in part good.

The swelling in my left eye can now be classified as chronic, rather than acute.

Chronic being the medical term for long standing and the problem no longer reacts to treatment. Acute meaning that it is treatable  and reacts to treatment.

Anyway, that was it. Leaving I had to make my next appointment. Believe it or not, it will be the week of Thanksgiving, November, before I see my retinologist again.

Do you know how many times I wished for such a long wait in the past?

As the old adage goes, "Be careful what you wish for, you might just get it." Well I sure did, and went blind to get it!

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Do Uber Taxi Drivers Refuse to Carry Passengers with Guide Dogs?

I was reading an article on the San Francisco Lighthouse blog about complaints against Uber Taxi drivers who have refused to carry blind passengers with their guide dogs. Read "Have you been Refused Service?

In this day and age it just seems counter productive to refuse services to any person for whatever reason, as long as their request is legal of course.

In general service dogs such as guide dogs are well mannered, they are groomed regularly, kept clear of parasites such as fleas. Guide Dogs for the Blind even provide their graduates with a free supply of anti-Tick and Flea treatments  every year for the service life of their dog.

I have travelled on public transport many times with Leif, my Black Labrador Guide Dog, the greatest problem we generally cause is the clamour of oo's and ahhh's as people reach to praise and stroke him. The one time we travelled in a taxi, the driver was great, he made sure of taking corners gently and helped us both in and out of his taxi. Of course he  rewarded with a healthy tip and a thank you lick from Leif.

Come on Uber Taxi drivers, think of all those well paid blind people out their, grateful to have a driver who is honestly helpful, courtious and willing to carry them to a destination.

So you may have to roller over the back seat occasionally with a lint roller. But think of your bottom line, the cash, the tips and proving you are decent.

Did you know Guide Dogs are not required to sit on the seat, in fact they are trained to sit  on the floor, beside the handler or between the handlers legs.

If you enjoyed this post you may enjoy Time to get Rude? where I encounter a passenger on an Amtrak train who thought her luggage required a seat in the disabled section of a packed train.

Monday, April 14, 2014

It's Sometimes Like Blindness is a Contagious Disease

Some days blindness is like having a contagious disease.

I am not completely blind, I can see shadows moving around me. I see the outline of a table or counter that people shuffle their way around. More than that people are not as quiet as they think, tip toeing around is still noisy. And why did Leif suddenly just sniff at something? Oh yes you thought you would sneak by with a bacon sandwich did you?

It can be hurtful to be sat there, at a party, all the others going around chatting and enjoying themselves, but to find yourself in a cone of not so silent movement.

Strangers are actually better at dealing with blindness, I find. You can't always know when a stranger is blind.

Relatives and so called friends however, know your blindness, they are often ok with it, but on some occassions it seemss they collude to deceive.

You walk into a room, they move slowly away. You sit at the table and they move to another room. Some don't speak until they leave the room and supposing the new room must be sound-proof, speak. You sit by the drinks, they go the long way around to pour, or get some brave soul to get drinks for all.

Edging by like some terrified peasant, moving silently by a sleeping dragon, you know they are there. But you know thet don't want you to recognize them.

So what? To hell with it. Play along with the stupidity of it all.

Being blind is not really a contagious disease, but it sure lets you SEE who your friends are.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Three Wishes ...

What would you wish for if you had three wishes?

Wish # 1.

I would wish for a regular supply of Cumberland Sausage. One of the foods I miss most from home in England. For those who are not familiar with Cumberland Sausage, it is a long sausage, not made into links and has a very distinctive spicy flavor. It is delicious on some nice fresh bread.

Wish #2.

To have the ability to help others see what I see, or don't see, whichever way you look at it. I often tire of people saying to me w What's this? Or looking for things that I need and put in a regular place, where I know it is, only to have it moved by someone else.

I maybe hold a false belief that if people could just see through my eyes, they might understand how they frustrate me with their antics. But the cynic in me tells me that is not going to be the case even for the moment.


My final wish is that I could learn to draw as a blind person. I did used to draw. I was never a brilliant artist, but I could draw a picture which looked reasonable.

I even made my own Christmas card one year. It was on black card and was little more than blobs of white and colored paints, but when you looked at it from a distance it was a snow scene, a cottage by a road  and a lamp-post, all edged out with snow. It looked pretty good even if I say so myself.

So if you could have three wishes. What would you wish for?

Well over Memorial Day week-end 2014 one of my three wishes came true, or bore sausage you might say. See me and my family making Real Cumberland Sausages ourselves here.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

iPhone Cases on

I know the iPhone is very popular among the visually impaired.

I am considering getting an iPhone 5s myself towards the end of the year. I heard last week on Bloomberg TV that there is a rumour that Apple Inc. will be launching an iPhone 6 this Fall, September or October, I can keep my HTC Android phone another 6 months until the 5s comes down to a reasonable price.

In the meantime I was looking on for iPhone cases and came across several great styles including these:

peacock iphone 5 case
peacock iphone 5 case by jashumbert
Find other Peacock Casemate Cases at
Black Lab "Labradot" Case iPhone 5 Cover
Black Lab "Labradot" Case iPhone 5 Cover by Bretsuki
View other Black Casemate Cases at