living with blindness

An unexpected Consequence

It’s just less than 3 months since I started working with my guide dog, Fiji, with all the incredible and liberating changes she has brought to my life. But there is one… shall we say unexpectedly negative consequence of working with Fiji, and that relates to the way I pour a mug of coffee.

Yes, I do know that sounds like I’m straining the boundaries of credibility – how on earth could my guide dog impact on the way I pour coffee???

Since I began my career as an inspirational speaker I have used a description of how I pour coffee to demonstrate how I use my other senses to accomplish everyday tasks. For those of you who have not yet heard me speak: When pouring the coffee I can either feel the weight of the mug to assess how full it is, or I can listen to the sound as the boiling water fills the mug (the higher the pitch of the sound, the fuller the mug is). And I used to stop pouring the water when I could no longer hear because the pitch was too high for my hearing range.

My hearing has definitely improved since I started working with Fiji – listening to traffic to make sure it is safe to cross a road requires acute hearing. With my hearing improving, I can hear the pitch of the water more than I used to… which means I no longer know when to stop pouring that all-important mug of coffee.

I know I will eventually find a way to do so… and in the meantime, I guess I’ll just have to get used to mopping up spilled coffee.

Podcasts: information at Your Fingertips – Even for the Blind!

I admit that I am not the most technologically aware blind person. I may not use all the technology that is available to me (I’ve still not found my way to Twitter), but I manage to do most of the things I need to using technology… with a bit of help from my husband, Craig.

When I was on training at the SA Guide Dog Association in cape Town earlier this year one of the other trainees, Johandre J Den Haan, introduced me to the wonderful world of podcasts… and boy, were my eyes opened to a whole new spectrum of what is available to me!

Since then, using the in-built podcast player on my iPhone, I have subscribed to a number of different podcasts… and below are just the first that I have started listening to on a regular basis:

Accessible Technology Update: a weekly podcast dealing with technology designed to help those with a range of special needs.

The Moth: a storytelling podcast with some incredible human interest stories about human beings and their real life experiences – the first one I listened to was the story of the first man to row across the English Channel in a bathtub… I kid you not!

No Such Thing as a Fish: a weekly podcast presented by 4 researchers from the BBC panel game, QI, sharing their favourite facts from the preceding week… usually with hilarious results.

There is so much information out there nowadays, and so many different ways to engage with that information, that keeping ourselves informed, entertained, and enriched is simply a matter of choice, even for those of us who cannot always access information through the written medium.

Yay, technology! And thanks, Johandre!

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