Wednesday, 30 June 2010

Subtitled Innocent Smoothies!

Tonight, I am going to a private art and photography view organised by London Aunt.

I've been going along to support her for several years now and it's usually a great night. It's a great time to catch up with her friends as well and every time I see them, they ask me about my man situation. And every year so far, I've had some great gossip or at least something for them. Except this year... unless I can get a date in the next 8 hours that is!!!!

But actually, don’t they say galleries are the best place to meet people?!

Anyway, I'm a regular visit to the Innocent drinks website, and a fan of the smoothies, too, I like the witty banter that takes place on the site, so when I went on recently and found that the AGM Q&A was all video uploads I was quite disappointed. So I wrote and asked them politely for a transcript. And yesterday, slap bang in the middle of
Deaf Awareness Week, the link to the transcript of this PLUS another interview regarding the sale of a percentage of Innocent to Coca Cola was sent to me.

Hurrah!

And it was a great read – so a big thank you to the person who typed all that up!

I wish the same could be said for subtitled movies on iTunes though! The other day I searched specifically for these and I'm pretty certain there were just 4! One of which had a bizarre title of Angus, Thongs & Perfect Snogging... Or something along those lines!

So I'm going to write to iTunes/apple/anybody today and remind them that it is Deaf Awareness
week and ask them to fix this!

Hopefully they'll be nice, like Innocent, and do this...

…hopefully!

Tuesday, 29 June 2010

Hearing aid jewellery?

Yesterday evening, after coming home from meeting Fab Friend and Flo for a post-climbing drink, I reached under the front seat of my car and my neck seized up on one side.

At the time it was like that urgent cramp you get in your calf sometimes, and I tried to stretch my neck the other way but it hurt... a lot.

And this morning it was no better – so much so that I've put off uploading my blog until now. I feel like a ragdoll whose neck has come unstitched on one side.

I can't look right, tilt my head right or look up without a seering pain, and I don't like it...

*sniff

Not being able to move my head to the right is also going to make lipreading very difficult – my boss sits on my right.

Luckily however, I have s swivel chair so I can always swivel my whole body when she speaks to me.

Anyway, don't know how I missed this news story, but according to Flo, who read it in The Metro, you can now buy jewellery for your hearing aid moulds – or at least you will be able to soon.

A partially deaf audiologist Kate Cross has created, with the help of a jewellery designer the ‘Hearings’ collection – ornate pieces designed to look pretty and mask the fact you’re wearing a hearing aid.

Both Fab Friend and I were intrigued by this, so this morning I got Googling, but not much is on the internet about it, except the original Metro story here.

I’m not utterly convinced I’d want daisies on my hearing aid ear pieces, but then I’ve never been worried about the stigma of wearing them, what really bothers me about my hearing aids is that they don’t really help me.

Would a designer accessory on them make me want to wear them any more? Probably not, but it’s still a quirky innovative idea that I’m looking forward to finding more about.

Guess we’d all better watch this space!

Monday, 28 June 2010

Supporting Deaf Awareness Week

Deafinitely Girly’s usual spiel is interrupted today with an advert for Deaf Awareness Week!

People are so judgemental, right?

From what you’re wearing, to the colour, cut and style of your hair. From your interests in life, hobbies to choice of partner and the way you behave.

But so many of the above are personal choices – you choose your haircut, what you wear, what things you like to do and who you go out with. But imagine being judged on something you couldn’t change – something that you yourself struggled with on many occasions…

…your disability.

To be on the receiving end of this kind of judgement can be soul destroying. It’s a battle you can’t win. And, while there are certainly some judgemental people out there, all too often the reason the person judging you is behaving that way is simply because they’re not aware about your disability, or how to deal with it.

That’s why, when the RNID asked me to support Deaf Awareness Week simply by writing about it, I was more than happy to. From my own personal journey as a deaf person to watching Ma struggle with losing her hearing, I can honestly say that a little bit of deaf awareness goes a long way.

As a kid, I was very bull-in-a-china-shop about my deafness – I told people in a ‘Don’t care’ way and often liked the shock factor it caused. I thrived on being the only deaf person in the village and if I’m honest, I don’t think I even knew what ‘deaf awareness’ was.

But then came the realisation that not everyone was so accepting. My teacher made me stand in the corner of the classroom for not wearing my hearing aids and then spoke to me without letting me face her to prove that I couldn’t hear.

At a charity evening one day, I missed my number being called out in a tombola and the man on the microphone asked if I was stupid or something. When I told him I was deaf, he replied, ‘Oh, so you must be stupid then.’

And stupid I may well be, sometimes, but it wasn’t his judgement to make.

So if you do just one thing today, make sure its peruse the RNID’s website – particularly the section on Deaf Awareness Week. There you’ll find simple communication dos and don’ts, with my favourite being up there:

Do repeat yourself. Or rephrase until you're understood.

I can honestly tell you, there’s nothing worse than someone giving up on what they’re trying to say to you! It makes you feel very, very small!

For me, being deaf aware is as much about the little things in life as the big – and it’s also about recognising that everyone has different needs and what works for one person doesn’t work for another. I actually find being tapped on the shoulder makes me jump out of my seat at work and prefer to have my desk tapped.

I know I’ve got lots to learn this Deaf Awareness Week, and maybe you have, too. So why not make a big change with something little and support Deaf Awareness Week.

Oh and one more thing – I can't report back on the T-loop system in my car as when I put my hearing aids in on Friday, I discovered they had no batteries in them. See, I really have still got lots to learn!

*blush!

Friday, 25 June 2010

Hearing in my car!

Woohoo it's Friday! Almost the weekend! Two whole days of fun!

Thankful Friday wise, I am thankful for the weather, the weather and the erm... weather!

I love the sunshine!

This weekend I am taking London Cousins 1 and 2 on a road trip to see The Rents. London Aunt is going on a girly weekend away so I offered to look after them.

I love London Cousins 1 and 2 and, at 10 and 8 years old, it's amazing watching how they're growing up and what interests they have and how much they seem to know about everything – way more than I did at that age.

I mean, there I was pondering over what music to play in my car when London Cousin 1 piped up, 'Can we have Capital radio on?' – apparently it plays her favourite music.

As a result, when I was out last night, I tuned my radio into Capital – which at volume 48 on my car stereo isn’t actually that bad, so it's all ready this evening to pick them up.

I am a bit nervous about the journey because I know I won't hear anything they say to me. I should be able to lipread London Cousin 2 in my rear-view mirror if I have to, but I have warned them both that I won't be able to chat to them on the journey up there.

I think I feel sadder about this than they do to be honest. Rather randomly, not hearing in cars is one of the main things that bugs me about my deafness – coming in a close second to not hearing guys talking in my ears in clubs. They always find someone who’s easier to talk to rather than get to grips with letting me lipread them – but that’s a whole other bugbear.

So anyway, after pondering about the not-hearing-in-the-car issue on the bus this morning, I suddenly remembered my portable T-loop system. OK so this doesn't work for me most of the time but what if I rig it up so that if London cousins 1 or 2 want to speak to me, they just grab the microphone part and talk directly down that, so I'll get their voices much louder than the usually are.

This has made me very excited and the T-loop is charging as I type this.

I'll let you know if it worked in Monday's blog.

Thursday, 24 June 2010

The off-side rule according to girls

Yesterday, when England were playing football and tumbleweed was blowing through the deserted office, I had the offside rule explained to me by a girl, and here’s how it went:

Imagine you are in Primark, queuing in single file. The girl in front of you doesn’t have her purse and, to your dismay you realise you don’t have yours either. A solution is that your friend towards the back of the queue is offering to throw her purse to you. You can’t queue jump until the purse has been thrown to you, but once the purse has been thrown you can quickly dodge the lass in front then confront the girl on the desk.

And, it seems, when you take condiment bottles out of the equation – the favoured bloke’s way of explaining the off-side rule – I can understand it better!

What’s most amazing about all this, is that this is yet another blog about football – anyone would think I liked this sport or something!

Anyway, I seem to have lost my writing mojo recently – perhaps it’s the World Cup consuming my brain, or perhaps I am just not feeling very inspired. I seem to have writer’s block.

And unfortunately, the only cure I know for this is to write naked with an unlit cigarette in your mouth – something I was taught by my writing tutor at university. I’ve tried it often and it really does work – although perhaps not on the packed London bus that I am travelling on this morning.

So instead, I will leave you with perhaps my finest moment during this World Cup so far…

There I was, sitting in the pub for the first match against USA surrounded by enthusiastic, emotional boys. Halfway through I turned and asked the guy next to me if the goalies were Dutch as they were wearing orange…

Ho-hum!

Tuesday, 22 June 2010

'Bogus' subtitles!

This morning after a news bulletin on BBC breakfast about the BP oil disaster a single word was displayed on the TV screen - bogus! As it followed a sentence about BP hoping to stop the leak by August, I couldn't help wondering if maybe the subtitler knew something we didn't, and as a result, deaf people nationwide now know that the BBC subtitler, electronic or otherwise, thinks BP's claims are bogus...

Well isn't that just food for thought!

What gets me though is the order of the news stories at the moment – everywhere, not just on the BBC. The headlines go: football, football, football; oop Budget doom and gloom; oop oil spill; oop soldiers dying in Afghanistan… now tell me – isn’t there something wrong with that order?

Now, I'm not a football lover, I never have been. And while that doesn't mean I don't recognise the importance of the World Cup for football lovers, I am still left struggling to comprehend just why this takes precedence over important news that’s actually affecting the world!

And so far what I've managed to grasp from my football-orientated friends about the World Cup, is that they'd all quite like to change their nationality to Portuguese...

Anyway, tomorrow is THE match apparently, so it's probably not a good time to try and achieve any work – I’ve even heard some companies are closing up early, and in the ones that aren’t, the Internet connections are going to crash due to the high levels of live screening and oh crap... I've managed to write an entire blog about football.

Maybe it is headline news after all!!

Monday, 21 June 2010

Reading along to Calendar Girls

Wow, what an utterly brilliant weekend I had!

So much so, that I didn't want to leave, which resulted in my not getting back to London until gone 10pm last night.

I was in the Wild West erm... Country visiting Jenny M, who's a hotshot theatre director don't you know.

Summer, with it's deluge of open-air plays, and unfortunately rain, is her busiest time, so I thought I'd squeeze in a quick visit before she became too caught up in cider, musketeers and Canterbury tales!!

We also decided last minute to go and watch Calendar Girls, which was showing at a theatre nearby. It wasn't captioned, so I was a bit worried about hearing any of it, but we had amazing seats six rows from the front so was a little bit hopeful might get something, so we took the plunge and bought the tickets.

But then I came to my senses and remembered I was deaf! Deaf! Unable to hear!

And so instead I asked Jenny M to use her excellent contacts and see if she could get me a script to read along to.

She wasn't hopeful as apparently, theatre scripts are closely-guarded things and no one likes to part with theirs – and I remember The Girl That Can't Help Knit saying something similar, too.

But by some miracle, the crew had several non-closely guarded scripts and, as a result were happy to give me one to follow.

And what a difference it made!

OK, so it meant I was looking down more than up most of the time but without it, I would have been asleep in my seat within 10 minutes as a result of the exaggerated Northern accents.

To be fair though, it was still fabulous, funny and all in all, a bit of a tearjerker, with a recognisable, in a don’t-I-know-you-from-somewhere way, cast, including Madge from Neighbours, Inspector Monroe from The Bill, somebody's wife from Only Fools and Horses, Charlie Dimmock from Ground Force and Dennis Waterman's daughter!

And when wandering around backstage afterwards, bumping into them, they all seemed rather lovely, too.

It did get me thinking though, I wonder if other deaf people would be happy to read along to a personal script in the event of subtitles not being available – I know I would always jump at the chance. And if they were, would the theatre companies consider having a couple of scripts spare that, on request could be loaned out with a deposit for the evening?

It would be amazing if this could happen. I could go to the theatre every night, instead of whenever Stagetext is there.

Don't get me wrong though, Stagetext is still royalty to me, but after finding out just how much time and energy goes into Stagetext’s attendances at performances, I'm not surprised it isn't able to do more.

So isn't this a lovely back-up plan?

What do you think?

Friday, 18 June 2010

Just a dream… phew!

Before I go info Thankful Friday, I just have to get the hideous nightmare I had last night off my chest. It was so horrible that it actually woke me up as I sat bolt upright in bed with fear.

So there I was on my way to work and the traffic was terrible. I got out to walk the rest of the way, Ma was with me, when all of a sudden we noticed people watching the skyline. London was on fire. What's more, the sky resembled a Space Invaders video game, with rockets, spaceships and planes left right and centre crashing out of the sky.

In my dream, I got out my iPhone and hit Sky News, where it said that London was under attack. Ma and I were running for cover in the park as debris scattered all around us.

And then, as it was a dream, I was magically somehow at work, London was still on fire and Gym Buddy was the only other person in the office.

Suddenly ash started to fall in vast quantities and the room went black as it coated the office windows.

And that is where I woke up. Completely freaked out, praying it really was a dream and not some weird parallel universe.

So this means I have been awake since 6am, which isn't making me very thankful on this Thankful Friday. But what I am thankful about, is that last night really was just a dream, and this morning on my bus to work, London was as it should be – dirty, smelly, clogged up with traffic but utterly fabulous all the same!

Thursday, 17 June 2010

Missing Fab Friend

Sun shining? Tick

DG wearing a coat? Tick!

I know! Ridiculous huh? I'm surrounded by people in vest tops and cotton skirts and I'm sat here in jeans and a coat and scarf – albeit a lightweight one!

I quite simply just don't get hot – except in direct sunlight, but usually, before I get too hot, I will have passed out from sunstroke instead.

Rarely is there a day when I don't leave the house without at least three layers on! One ex-boyfriend even likened my outfits to a game of pass the parcel!

*blush

I wonder if it's actually that I am afraid of being cold – something maybe to do with being stuck in a car on a mountain in the snow as a child maybe – and therefore I do everything in my power not to be.

I mean take yesterday for example, it was warm in the sun, but there was a bitter wind. Whenever the wind blew, I kept thinking, ‘Oh, I wish I had my down jacket on’ – when it was 21 degrees – whereas the rest of the population was probably thinking, ‘oh, a cool refreshing breeze – how fabulous!’

Anyway, today is the day before the weekend nearly begins, which can only be a good thing. It is also the day before Fab Friend's birthday.

Happy Early Birthday Fab Friend!

I'm missing Fab Friend a lot. But so long as she is happy in the Wild West erm... Country with Country Boy 2, then I am happy, too!

And on that note, I must email her to check how her search for Country Boy 3 is going...

Teehee!

Wednesday, 16 June 2010

Subtitled SATC2 – finally!!!!!!!

Last night, with Fab Friend's permission to go without her due to geographical differences, I went to see Sex & The City 2 with subtitles with Friend Who Knows Big Words.

I was very excited, and FWKBW did a noble job of putting up with me bounding along on the way there like an excitable puppy, buying every snack known to man, and getting impatient through the non-subtitled trailers.

You see, the cinema for me is such a rare experience, that I like to do everything related to it. The too-much food that you eat anyway, the drink on the side, etc etc – it's all part of my night out.

So anyway, we sat down in our prime seats and the night began – loudly. During the trailers I turned to FWKBW and asked her if the cinema was usually this loud.

She shook her head and then started laughing at me! 'Maybe you should tell them you’re deaf and that the movie is too loud!' she said chuckling at the prospect.

And the idea of that made me giggle. But it also made me wonder whether they do turn up subtitled films louder with the view that people with a hearing loss might be watching them.

At last night’s screening, I think I was in a deaf minority – most people seemed to need the subtitles because they were foreign, and the girls next to us didn’t even seem to know they were at a subtitled showing until the movie began and the subtitles came up!

Their looks of horror were hilarious.

And what of the long-awaited second Sex & The City? Well, I loved it – apart from the scene in the market where Samantha goes berserk over her Birkin. That had me hiding behind my snacks and wishing the ground would open up and swallow her.

My only gripe? Well, that we don’t get to enjoy all those storylines over an entire series anymore…

I’d have loved to see the nanny storyline developed and Miranda’s work situation explored but with the constraints of a 2-and-a-bit hour-long movie, that was always going to be hard.

For all the SATC sceptics out there who’ve chosen to slate the movie, if you hate it that much why bother to go in the first place? I mean, I hate Star Wars, so if a new movie came out, I just wouldn’t bother to go and see it – simple! And I certainly wouldn’t slate it on those grounds, which is what many of the critics seem to be doing.

SATC doesn’t promise to carry an important message, it doesn’t promise to change your life, it doesn’t promise much except to continue updating SATC fans everywhere on the lives of the four women we came to know and love when it was on TV. If you’re one of those women, they you will probably take the cringesome moments of the movie with a pinch of salt.

If you’re not, then go and see something else, unless you’re deaf of course, and nothing else is subtitled that night!

Tuesday, 15 June 2010

Good erm... vibrations!

Phew, Monday was manic...

So no blog from me!

I hate it when I don't get to blog on the bus in the morning, but yesterday morning, I spent the entire journey deleting 400 emails from my Hotmail account after my iPhone died, had to be restored and then failed to sync properly...

Harumph!

Anyway, this week, I am back to running properly again. I’ve regained the spring in my step – turns out the trick is to go to bed at 10.30 and also some new batteries in my vibrating alarm clock.

Recently, it just hasn’t been doing the wake-up thing as well as it used to. I mean, sure, it’s been shiggling me awake gently but not the full-on erm… earth-moving (no rude thoughts please) vibrations I normally get.

So this morning at 6am, it went off. I flew out of bed thinking the end of the world was coming, before remembering that I had in fact replaced the batteries of my alarm clock, and this meant I had time to go running. What’s more, the adrenaline from the alarm clock episode propelled me around my usual route faster as well.

So this weekend, I am catching up with Jenny M. I haven’t seen her for absolutely ages and so we’re planning lots of fun things, including a trip to the theatre to watch Calendar Girls. It’s not subtitled but I am going to watch the movie to refresh my memory and I am also going to wear my hearing aids and rent one of those audio things from the box office on my way in.

I’ve never found them helpful before, but there’s always a first time.

Now all I’ve got to do is find some hearing-aid batteries in my kitchen drawer that aren’t out of date, so my hearing aids actually work… I’ve also got to find my hearing aids.

Um… time for a trip to the audiology clinic I think!

Friday, 11 June 2010

Les Miserables again! Whoop

Hurrah, today is Thankful Friday and I'm thankful that true colours have been revealed this week.

You know when you're on the fence about something, unsure, but you can't put your fingers on what the problem is? Well, now I can! And I'm taking steps to eradicate the negative energy from my life!

Er… anyway, onto more sane topics, I am also thankful that I have a fun weekend planned, starting with seeing Miss K tonight, who I haven't seen for ages.

I will also be seeing The Singing Swede, Gingerbread Man and Friend Who Knows Big Words at some point, too.

And speaking of Friend Who Knows Big Words, I finally booked her 30th birthday present yesterday.

Turns out, she's always wanted to see Les Miserables, one of my favourite musicals, but with no subtitled performance until later in the year, and FWKBW's penchant for travel, I wanted to book it pronto.

So I emailed the box office, explained my deafness and would it be possible to get seats nearer the front to I could lipread and a lovely lady replied that ‘Yes, I could, and that I could have these premium seats for just £20 each!’

Amazing!

It's this kind of thing that makes me realise there are people on your side. People who realise that we do need seats near the front of things but can't afford premium rates – especially if there aren’t many subtitled showings.

It never fails to give me a big grin on my face when something lovely like this happens.

What amazing discounts and deals have you found for deaf people?

Let’s spread the word here!

Wednesday, 9 June 2010

Too deaf for the gym?!

Hurray! Last night we won the pub quiz!

We came joint first with another team and lost on the tie-break question. But I was actually happier with my runner-up prize of a pint glass than I would have been with the free wine.

Anyway, people who follow me on Twitter will know that yesterday I joined a gym with Gym Buddy.

Since our last gym got shut down to make way for the still-non-existent Crossrail, we haven't exactly been gym buddies so we were thrilled at the prospect of this happening again.

On the back of the registration form was a health questionnaire and when it asked if I was deaf or hard of hearing, I naturally ticked the box.

I also checked whether they offered any discounts for deaf people. They did not, which I didn't mind about, but it's always worth asking.

Anyway on returning to work, I had an email from the gym asking me to provide a doctor's note regarding my deafness.

Erm...

So I wrote back and reminded them that deafness is not a physical disability and that I have never even spoken to my current GP about it.

They replied that they needed confirmation from my doctor that as a deaf person it was safe for me to exercise.

I felt annoyed, mildly insulted, and completely inconvenienced, as this means asking one of my friends to call my doctor to request a note, as funnily enough I can't do this myself.

Intrigued as to whether any other deaf people had been asked to do this, I announced the situation on Twitter and the support I got was amazing, proving that I wasn't being difficult about the whole thing and the gym really is being out of order.

So cross was I that I emailed the Equality and Human Rights Commission about it and I’m really hoping I get a reply, as otherwise I can't see any other solution than to ask a GP who doesn't know anything about my hearing to declare me safe to exercise.

I mean last time I saw any GP about my deafness was to ask for a referral so I could get on the list for my local audiology clinic.

The first thing he said was, ‘Now let's just check it's not caused by wax in your ears.’

I was 24! I'd already been deaf for 24 years, eight of them severely...

If wax was the problem, don't you think someone else would have worked that out before.

Oooh, I am just so mad about this whole thing. About the fact that people are so ignorant they think deafness makes it dangerous to exercise.

I can tell you what will make it dangerous for me to exercise at that gym, and that will be my high blood pressure caused by the rage they have sparked within me.

Maybe I should get a doctor's note for that too!

Tuesday, 8 June 2010

A mishearing mishap

Well, this morning I had a fun time getting to work. It was pouring with rain and there was a busload of people at my bus stop with no bus. Literally masses of them.

When public transport stuffs up in London, it really makes you aware of the volume of people who travel in rush hour in the city every day. I mean that's not even taking into account the people on the tube.

Once on the bus, we passed bus stop after bus stop of people all clamouring to squeeze themselves onto the teeniest last available space. It was not great. After a while, my bus driver gave up and just sailed passed the crowd-riddled stops, which actually meant I got to work earlier than usual!

Yay!

So, last night I had a great climb with Flo, who in spite of demonic hay fever came all the way to meet me and climbed brilliantly.

I however, seemed to have left my technique at the door! Seriously, at one point, as I was perched on a ledge in a position resembling that of a can-canning crab, I wondered if I had actually been climbing before!

Flo was great about my sanity lapse and made me redo routes I'd previously stuffed up, to remind me to do what I was meant to do, rather than scrabble up with the elegance of a drunken mountain goat.

Anyway, this morning, after arriving at work early, I got into the lift with two other people. As I was first in, it was my job to press the buttons and I asked them their floors:

Three and Six.

At level three, the doors opened and the woman in the lift said, ‘This isn’t my floor, I asked for two!’ before stomping out and muttering something about walking back down to the second floor.

‘I’m deaf!’ I wanted to scream, but she didn’t give me the chance. So I had an excruciating elevator ride, glowing red right to the tips of my ears, with the guy who was going to the sixth floor. He was probably wondering if he was in the lift with a primitive life form. And if he’d seen me in action at the climbing wall last night, he’d probably have been right!

Monday, 7 June 2010

Meeting Speak Up Librarian!!!!!

After a week off, I'm hoping it won't be too difficult to kickstart my brain into action today. It was smart enough to hit snooze on my alarm clock a bunch of times this morning so hopefully, it'll be smart enough to do what it's paid to do.

Anyway, my lovely week with The Rents went very well – from the ballet at Covent Garden to walks in the sunshine –I think we all had a good time. And, after they left to go home yesterday, I went into town to meet an American in London – a fellow deaf blogger called Speak Up Librarian.

We met last year through our blogs and when she mentioned she was coming on holiday to London with her son, The Chatterbox, I jumped at the chance to meet her.

And it was lovely. We had dinner, chatted about our writing, and she told me about some of the other deaf bloggers she had met up with since she arrived.

I was sad to say goodbye too, especially as she lives so far away, but the great thing is that by reading each other's blogs, we'll know what the other one is up to until the next time we're in the same city.

Anyway, this blog is up somewhat later than usual today because I went on a lunchtime run with my colleague The Triathlete at lunchtime. Honestly, I was dreading it, as my running has somewhat fallen by the wayside recently. But honestly – I loved it!

Four miles later and I felt invigorated and swept out my Monday Grump. Hurray!

We’re going to make a regular thing of it, along with The Lawyer and have vowed to spur each other on.

It’s nice to have my interest in running renewed – just in time for summer to try and shift some of my double-figure figure back into single figures again!

Bring it on!

Wednesday, 2 June 2010

Making things better for my deaf Ma

Coming home last night in the pouring rain, late, after a brilliant night out with Gym Buddy, I found out that my garden gate is the main route of neighbourhood snails on their evening strolls. And I discovered this because, as I put my hand on the gate to open it, two came off into my palm, while another hit my shoe.

Now, if there's one thing I hate, even more than the subtitles breaking during Top Gear – which is quite something, it's snails.

Indeed, until last night, I'm not sure I'd even touched one in all my life. And now, I had two, in my hand.

It was after midnight and I was conscious that screaming wasn't the wisest of options, so instead, I flailed about wildly, sending my two snails into orbit and sensing some crunching between my jigging feet.

Worse still was the fact that I then had to get up the garden path, which, now my eyes had adjusted to the darkness, resembled the snail equivilent of the M25 in rush hour. And I was probably about to cause the most almighty pile up.

I finally made it inside and washed my hands twice, but even now, just thinking about the whole episode causes my left hand to spasm involuntarily .

But it got me thinking about fears and how bizarre they can be. I mean, let's face it, unless I ate them raw - putting myself at risk of lungworm - there was very little harm those poor snails could have done to me, and yet they had me more panicked than a cat on a hot tin roof.

In contrast, once home and sat on my sofa with a humungous cup of restorative tea – wild life I live – a huge spider popped out from under my TV cabinet and this didn't phase me one bit. And I'm reckoning spiders probably bump off a whole lot more people than snails do on an annual basis.

Anyway, on another note, my Ma is coming to stay for some her half term today. She's going to help me with some DIY and we're going to watch London Cousin 2 play in her tennis tournament. I can't wait.

I'm also going to look at booking my Ma onto some lipreading courses to help her with her deafness.

While Ma going deaf has been tough for her, it has a bizarre experience for me. I have found myself at a loss how to advise her. And it was then I realized how lucky I was to go deaf younger.

I learnt the skill of lipreading automatically, I have an amazing support network of friends ready to make important calls for me, and it's second nature for me to let people know I can't hear.

For Ma, it's not second nature. She can't lipread and she's still expected to make the same phonecalls she always has. And the difference too? She's has 50 years of hearing. I had 6, maybe 7 at a push, so I don't really known what I am missing.

There has to be a way to make this better for my Ma, the same way she tried to find ways to make it better me all those years ago.

So I'm going to find it…

Subtitled Cinema: Daydreaming of a better deaf world

Sometimes, just sometimes, I allow myself the chance to daydream about all the things on my deaf wishlist coming true... It's a bit li...