Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Deaf girl camping

What a marvelous weekend I had.

It was a weekend of learning many things it seems.

Firstly, I learnt that driving at speed down country lanes does tend to scare people who more commonly live in London – poor Advertising Whizzs husband was at this point regretting asking me for a lift to Drama Queens wedding.

I also learnt that putting up a tent in the rain and howling gales is not as much fun as drinking wine in a marquee, which is why we really did leave it until the last minute before pitching my Cath Kidston flowery number in the field.

But the wedding? Well, it was utterly magical. Isolated yet with all the home comforts you could possibly need, the location was quite honestly breathtaking. The marquee was nestled into the hillside overlooking a wooded valley, while a wild-flower adorned arch, where the vows were said, sat over a dip in the hill so we could all watch Drama Queen and the Taxidermist make this amazing commitment to each other.

By some miracle, the rain stopped 10 minutes before the ceremony began, and apart from the gale, it was really quite exquisitely perfect.

At 3.30am, while trying to get to sleep, I learnt that I am not that deaf, because I was able to lie awake listening to the pounding bass still coming from the marquee – the survivors made it through until 5am.

And likewise, at 7.30am, I also learnt that I am not that deaf, when a dawn bugle awoke me calling me to a fry up and cup of tea – teamed with leftover cheese from the night before.

Getting away from the structure of London was so incredibly refreshing. Waking up in a field, the light illuminating my tent, the breeze billowing the top sheet, the birds most probably singing, was relaxing in a way that you just dont get waking at dawn to the orange glow of the street lamps and the rumbling of the traffic in London.

But trundle back to London I did – and I admit, that after eight years, it does feel as though I am coming home – and it was then I learnt that ladders are not that easy to balance on when youre holding a pot of bright pink paint and a paintbrush between your teeth.

And so I took a tumble – the bruise and graze on my arm a record of this – and as I was midair, flying through the air, my first thought was, I do hope my nasty neighbor doesnt complain about the thud Im about to make!

But, after recovering from this, I learnt that patience, perseverance and precision are key to painting gigantic cupboards. I have one of those – the middle one – but as a result I discovered that if you have enough of that, then it eventually cancels out the need for the other two.

And, on that note, Im just off to persevere through the week.

Have a good one peeps.

DG x

Wednesday, 25 May 2011

Deaf girl sleepwalks

Ever had one of those weeks where if someone could just give you a few more days or even hours to fit stuff in, then itd go a whole lot better?

Im having one of those years at the moment. There never seems to be enough time to fit everything in, and while I love the whirlwind that my life is, it is frustrating watching sections of it crumble or simple dissolve into a disorganised mess because I havent been able to maintain it.

If only sleep wasnt so essential, eh?

And its sleep I am actually lacking in the most right now as Ive started sleepwalking again. Not only have I been sleepwalking but I have also been having the strangest dreams, which of course I am never deaf in.

Take last night for example, I was at the wedding of Best Friend and Head Girls little sister – shes already married – and there were these breakdancing priests, and I was wearing Pippa Middletons bridesmaid dress and her sister had humungous flowers in her hair that quite frankly looked ridiculous, and the Rents and Penthouse Flatmate were there.

And somewhere in the midst of this, I went walkabout and I know this because I fell over everything on my way until I eventually woke up. You see my flat is in a state of chaos as I am still trying to finish the painting of the new and amazing cupboards in my bedroom so that I can put my furniture back in and hang all my clothes up, and this means that for now, everything is displaced. There is a shoe rack in my hallway, a mattress in my lounge and a Marmite teapot by the front door...

Last nights main offending item was a 245cm tall sheet of MDF that is currently leaning against the hall wall. It is so big that even when I am awake I have trouble navigating my way around it, so achieving this in my sleep was never going to be that successful. And so, I woke up, hopping, holding my toe and swearing loudly.

Anyway, this week is also all about the lead up to the second wedding of the year. Its Drama Queen and Taxidermists and is in the Wild West erm Country in a field. Shes a wonderfully creative chick, so I cant wait to see what her big day will be like.

And its these wonderful occasions that will carry me through the lack of sleep, chaotic flat and somnambulating, because lets face it, love is energizing. Seeing other peoples love, watching them take this amazing step to promise to be with each other until they die, well what could be more inspiring than that? If you ignore the dying part…

And on that joyful note, enjoy the sunshine, peeps. Thats just what Im going to do.

DG x

Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Chocolate martinis, subtitles at the gym and a lipreading light

British Gas emailed me this morning to remind me that they needed my electricity meter reading.

They will not be getting it. Regular readers will know that the reason for this is that the meter is in the basement of the old house my flat is part of. This basement has a winding staircase thinner than a supermodel doing a somersault and more spiders than the scary wood in the grounds of Harry Potters school.

Paying a bit more for my electricity is just a price I will have to pay until I find someone willing to head down there while I guard the door as given the tensions in my block right now, I would also half expect to find myself accidentally locked down there by persons who shall not be named.

Anyway, the last two days have been something of a revelation. Firstly in the form of chocolate martinis – oh my, these are quite something – and secondly in what my gym offers me as a deaf person.

So the martinis – chocolate, tasty and quite refreshing – were sampled yesterday with The Cameraman. We went for a drink before he embarked on a work trip to Samoa and it was lovely to finally meet him properly, chat about random things and discover that the anonymity of my blog makes me comparable to Superman! Hurrah! Although the deciding of this occurred after several of the chocolate martinis had been consumed.

And now he is in the sky, possibly dodging volcanic ash en route to a tiny island in the Pacific Ocean

I wonder if I have any readers in Samoa?

So the second revelation occurred when I attended the gym today in an attempt to burn the calories of first revelation off! There I was on the bike, which has a snazzy TV screen built in, and while on a hill climb, I started pressing buttons – this revealed a channel list – hurrah for the tosh on E4 – and also

drum roll please...

A SUBTITLES OPTION!!!!!!!!!!

Can you believe it? I could actually watch TV, on the exercise bike, in the gym, with subtitles!

Its when things like this happen that I am reminded about how technology really is developing when it comes to making life easier for deaf people. But while this is all amazing, the real challenge is convincing big companies to make these changes available to us. Cinemas that offer subtitled films every night of the week, DVDs that always have subtitles – even on the special features – and subtitles on films available to buy on iTunes the list is endless.

And it was while I was thinking about this that I remembered I actually got one of my recent wishes granted last night by The Cameraman. There we were talking about how I needed a lipreading light for nights in back gardens, BBQs at dusk, camping, and that sort of thing, that didnt blind my friends, and he suggested downloading a Torch app on my iPhone. Most of these are famous for not being bright enough to be torches and just being a white light on the screen, but as a lipreading light, they are perfect I would highly recommend iPhone peeps downloading a free version of one to try.

So there you have it – three revelations before Tuesdays out. It really is all good.

Monday, 23 May 2011

Things I can't hear

Good grief, it’s Monday again already.

It seems like only yesterday that I was off to see Imogen Cooper play at the Queen Elizabeth Hall on the Southbank. She was playing Schubert on Friday night with the Takács Quartet.

Now, I love watching and listening to Imogen Cooper play the piano. Her grace and poise is amazing and even if what she’s playing is too high for me to hear, it’s still visually entertaining.

However, what I had forgotten was that she was only playing in the second half – the first half was just the string quartet and the only instrument in the collection that I could hear was the cello.

Bother!

This meant that the first half was largely silent for me, save a few squeaks and pips to accompany what was just a long and quite dull cello solo.

However, the second half improved with the departure of one of the violinists and the arrival of a double bassist and of course the piano. But I still found myself flicking through the program during the higher sections to help keep my mind occupied. I did this as quietly as possible – never really being sure how much noise this actually makes – but just three pages in, the man next to me put his hand out to stop me turning the pages.

I felt like a naughty school kid and felt my cheeks burning up with embarrassment.

Pa however, said that the program wasn’t making any noise so perhaps the grumpy old man just objected to me multitasking.

It is something I have to keep in mind though, as I go about my day-to-day life. I forget things make a noise, such as this very keyboard, which I am hammering away on – to me soundlessly – but to everyone else noisily. Other examples include the clicking sound a retractable ballpoint pen makes and games on my iPhone. These often come with default sound and I am only aware it is on once I notice the death stares other commuters are giving me.

But perhaps the most embarrassing example of this was in my old car, Jennifer, who was a soft top British racing green mini – the old model, not the stoopid BMW version. There I was driving through the tranquil countryside at 2am, after a night out with my car alarm blaring. I had no idea the car even had a working alarm, let alone that it could go off when I was behind the wheel.

Luckily, in this instance, Friend Who Knows Big Words was with me and she was the one that pointed out that perhaps the ‘Wah-woo-wah-woo’ din coming from my tiny little Mini was not normal, and that also perhaps, the neighbours in the sleepy Cotswold village we were in wouldn’t be too pleased with this early morning wake-up call.

But could I get it to stop?

Erm no! So I had to drive the 8 miles home with the alarm still going off.

And in this instance, I was very glad I couldn’t hear it. And Friend Who Knows Big Words? Well let’s just say, it was a while before she got in my car again!!!!

Thursday, 19 May 2011

Deaf girl paints cupboards... badly

Todays blog comes to you typed with brown fingers

Hmmm, yes you see, Blanco left me with one task regarding my new fitted wardrobes that he has expertly built me, and that was to varnish the inside.

I did this last night and it looks like a chocolate mousse exploded all over the place. There are visible brush strokes, bits that are thicker in some places than others, and the white wall at the back of my cupboard? Well lets just say its not that white any more.

I. AM. ASHAMED.

In my defense, its the first time I have ever painted anything really – if you forget the time I painted Whiskey Cousins bedroom navy blue and red – and so it was never going to be amazing. But its not even halfway to amazing. If my painting was a cake, itd be flat, burnt and biscuit-like.

And whats even worse is that I have no way of rectifying this before Blanco comes to hang the fourth and final cupboard door, and possibly me with it. Although I do have a plan…

This morning I rang Pa – who is coming down tomorrow for a concert with Great Aunt Wander Nut and me – and asked him if he could make an emergency dash to Homebase today and pick me up a pot of Lollipop paint. This wonderful paint is the most fabulously, edible sweety-coloured shade of pink.

And it is this shade that I am going to paint the back wall of my cupboards in order to conceal the car crash that is my DIY capabilities.

Unless of course, something goes wrong with that

But its pink, what could possibly go wrong with pink?

Actually, dont answer that!

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Deaf girl bakes

Apologies for the silence these last few blogging days, but I've been caught up in a fog of icing sugar, making cakes for Uni Housemate's wedding.

The big day was amazing – it was a clear display of what true love really is, and what could be more inspiring than that.

And my cakes?

Well, see for yourself:


Happy Tuesday peeps.
DGx




Wednesday, 11 May 2011

Can I hear if I'm noisy?

So, as I have mentioned quite a lot recently, I am making a wedding cake this week.

Last night was the top tier and 60 hand-made chocolate roses. It was also the night that saw me put my Dualit mixer straight through the bottom of my best mixing bowl.

Harumph

Its a wonder my cakes ever come out edible if Im honest as Im a bit of a disaster in the kitchen. Indeed, it was requested that I didnt do home economics GCSE for fear I would bring my schools league table placement down, so I did sewing instead.

Then there was the time I thought a cake would rise if placed on the bottom of the oven, and that a pressure cooker didnt need as much water as the recipe said, and that microwaved chicken is edible

I could go on, but thats all in the past.

The one thing that hasnt changed is that I dont really do recipes. I tend to get ideas from one and just do my own thing. Sometimes this works – my wedding cakes are a good example – and sometimes it doesnt. But then how was I meant to know that eggs explode when

…but thats a totally different story and the kitchen ceiling looks much better after a repaint.

Anyway, regular readers will know that I have a rather frustrating neighbour. Shes like Mrs Mangle from Neighbours, but 100 times worse.

I have tried the nice thing – for nearly two years in fact, but recently, for various reasons, I am struggling to maintain my smile when I see her. Its more of a grimace if Im honest.

You see, she really does complain about everything. For example, my small vibrating alarm clock fell out of my bed the other night and hit my carpeted floor. She emailed to complain.

I have a front door, which gets opened and closed on average twice a day. She complains about that.

I exist.

She complains about that, too.

The problem is though, perhaps I am being noisy and I just cant hear it. Perhaps my tiny 100g alarm clock really does make such a crash when it hits the floor that its capable of waking the dead.

I dont know

And this means I dont feel totally secure in this battle.

I try to be quiet. I tiptoe around, dont wear shoes in my house, installed an underlay so thick that Blanco and I had to plane all my doors, and I never play loud music or have raucous parties.

In fact, Ive never had a party, I fix things when she asks and in return all she does is moan and leave three bikes in the hallway.

But back to that party point – my neighbour clearly doesnt know how good shes had it for the last 18 months, so its time for a party I think!

Watch this space…

Monday, 9 May 2011

I want a portable lip-reading light

Hurrah hurrah for a lovely weekend in the Wild West erm...
Country with Jenny M!

I had the most marvellous time catching up, seeing her family, enjoying the Wap, which is an ancient, annual tradition in her village involving throwing the mayor in a pool of water, a queen and several Morris dancers.

Then, when I got back to London, I dashed out to a BBQ at Neu's house. The Photographer was there, too, but no SuperCathyFragileMystic as she had to work...

Boo!

Also there was Neu's bro – the Cameraman – who travels all over the world filming amazing things. It was genuinely refreshing to meet someone who not only does something they love for a job, but also makes a difference with it.

Anyway, it was a great evening, except that once it got dark that was it for me. No more conversation could be had.

When it’s dark, it's like I'm a budgie and someone's put a blanket over my cage, because when I can't hear, I get sleepy.

I did have my headtorch in my bag, but the problem with this is, that while it helps me hear, it blinds everybody else, which is not a very sociable-good-first-impressions kinda thing to do!

Someone needs to invent a portable anti-glare lipreading light.

So this week is a three-day one for me because from Thursday onwards, I will be baking a VIP wedding cake. Those of you who wonder where I live can stand on Primrose Hill and look for the plume of icing sugar rising in the west. That'll be me.

Of course, I'm nervous about this cake. Nervous about the transportation of 100 butter-iced piped cupcakes in what looks set be the hottest seasonal temperatures since records began, nervous about braking suddenly and seeing 100 butter-iced piped cupcakes flash before my eyes, and nervous that out of the 100 butter-iced cupcakes, there will be one that's gone a little bit wrong.

But on a positive note, 1 out of 100 ain't bad.

Happy Monday everyone!

Wednesday, 4 May 2011

Deaf Awareness starts here

It’s hard to believe it’s Deaf Awareness Week already, isn’t it?

It seems like only yesterday that I was writing about it here…

So it seems fitting that yesterday, I could have done with asking for a little deaf awareness.

You see recently, I have joined a new gym. It’s a lovely, shiny, all-singing, all-dancing gym, with every class imaginable and lots of fancy equipment. One of my favourite classes is spinning because I feel like it more than burns off my daily chocolate intake, so I have recently been trying out all the different instructor-led classes to see what they are like.

Last week I told the spinning instructor that I was deaf and she checked over to me at regular intervals in a nicely unpatronising way to make sure I knew what was going on. I liked her!

Then yesterday, the instructor – a man – arrived late and rushed in, turned the lights off and set the music blaring before I’d had a chance to mention that I needed to lipread the important things.

So there I was, sat in the dark, completely unable to hear anything, and by then it was too late to stick my hand up and bellow, ‘I’m deaf!’ across the class full of people.

So I did this one basically senseless…

I couldn’t see, and I couldn’t hear, and after the hill climb, I couldn’t breathe either.

And to think I do this for fun!

As I’ve said before though, the responsibility to be deaf aware does not begin with hearing people, it begins with us deaf peeps. We have a responsibility to make our needs known, to say what helps and be proactive in letting people know we can’t hear.

If we expect help, then we owe it to people to give them the very best knowledge of how they can help.

At the next spinning class, I may well be more proactive, but if I don’t tell the instructor I’m deaf, then I can’t get upset about not following the class.

Yesterday was actually an incredibly empowering. I was able to successfully get through a class with absolutely no idea what was going on and no guidance, and I took responsibility for that.

And the best part? Well, actually this was the same as the worst part – the class was in the dark, so no one could see me getting it wrong, gasping for breath and slowly expiring in my bike saddle.

Spinning today?

Bring. It. On!

Deaf Girly and subitled Mamma Mia: Here we go again

Regular readers and my followers on Twitter will know that recently I've been talking a lot about the lack of subtitled showings availab...