Thursday, 30 June 2011

What about a text phone?

Loving this weather!

You know when its sunny like this, I remember what my dream place to live looks like – and it doesnt include my nutty neighbour.

Ever since I was little Ive always seen myself to have a place with doors in the bedroom that open up onto a sunshine-filled balcony with an amazing view.

Hmmmmm, does a sash window and a fruit-filled cherry tree count?

Seriously though, something tells me I shall one day have that, but for now, I have my lovely flat and my nutty neighbour.

This week has flown by – what with spinning in my lunch hour and catch ups with Fab Friend and the Singing Swede, its hard to believe its almost the weekend – and that this time last week, First Ever Friend and I were getting ready for her legal wedding.

Last night, at dinner with the Singing Swede, thoughts turned to her wedding, which is in July. Its my last wedding of the year – unless anyone gets in there quickly.

Anyway, today Ive been thinking about text phones. Ive never had a landline in London as its an expense with little benefit for me. But what about a text phone? Mostly I rely on text messages, email and online booking systems to organise my life – indeed, I booked my car MOT in this way just the other day – but sometimes, there is no option of this.

Take yesterday, when I saw a man acting very oddly, shove something down a manhole cover and run away at great speed. It was all a bit dodgy – he wasnt in a utilities uniform or obviously carrying out work, so and wondered if I should let the police know – but its hardly a 999 scenario, which left the option of calling the non-emergency number.

Except, I knew, in all honesty, that I wouldnt be able to hear and that my confusion could actually cause more panic than necessary – like the time I called the British Gas emergency number to report a gas leak in my flat, from my work phone, couldnt hear so hung up and then caused mass hysteria at the office when British Gas rang back about the gas leak.

I also got told off by British Gas for hanging up – but I couldnt hear and there was no available alternative for me.

So yesterday, the only available alternative was a text phone, which I dont have.

This means that I didnt report the strange man and the manhole cover, and I have no idea if I should have done.

So today, in my lunch hour, I am going to read up on text phones as I know very little about them. I will also read up on anything else that bypasses the need to make phone calls when there is little alternative.

If UK peeps know of a good solution, please leave me a comment – all advice greatfully received.



Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Deaf Girl in Switzerland

I’m back!

And with a resolution to learn how to type one-handed while standing up on the tube, so that this blog doesn’t get neglected as much as it has been recently.

You see, on the bus, it was easy for me to write my daily thoughts, but on a busy tube train, it’s not such a piece of cake.

And speaking of cake…

…the one I made for First Ever Friend’s wedding was a complete success – give or take a few icing sugar disasters along the way.

The whole week I spent in Switzerland was amazing actually. First there was our trip to the Alps to a town called Grindelwald, where we walked, chatted, admired the 360-degree amazing view and chilled out in an outdoor salt-water Jacuzzi.

What I loved most about being in the shadow of the Eiger, it’s snowy peak some 4,000 metres up, was how wonderfully quiet it was. On the first walk we went on, all I could hear was the rattle of the trains in the distance and the chattering of the millions of Japanese tourists.

The second day saw us take a wonderfully wild flower-strewn walk on the hill opposite the Eiger. Knee-high grass hugged the path, dotted with vibrantly coloured blooms of all different varieties, which in turn were serviced by a mass of bugs.

And it’s these bugs that First Ever Friend could hear throughout the walk. The drone of the flying ones, the click of the crickets and erm… the clanging of the cows wearing bells – OK not strictly bugs, but I couldn’t hear that either.

It was just SO quiet! I loved it.

What I did hear however was a low, large rumble, which we soon realised was caused by some ice breaking off from the Lower Grindelwald glacier. It was such an amazing sound and quite a captivating sight to see the torrent of crumbling ice making its way down the mountain.

There is something quite amazing about Grindelwald – about its location between some of the highest peaks, about its crazy attraction to Japanese tourists, about the fact that the Eiger is right there.


Of the 300-odd photos I took last week, one third of them are of the Eiger – it’s formidable North Face, it’s backside with the fast-retreating glacier, and it’s gentle snowy slope linking it to its neighbour. I loved it completely.

So it was with sadness that we boarded the train taking us back to the city.

But there was little time to be sad, because there was the official wedding to enjoy, for which I was the witness. This involved standing to the right of First Ever Friend and, well that where I kind of stopped knowing what I was doing.

You see, the ceremony was in German and beyond ‘Ich liebe schnee’ my German is very limited – and my Swiss German is even more limited. So when the registrar said something and looked at me expectantly, it was unsurprising that she got a clueless expression back.

But legally, she couldn’t proceed with the wedding until she was sure I had a clue what was going on. Cue some frantic signaling from First Ever Friend until I realised that if I said ‘Ja’ then things would get moving again. So I said ‘Ja’.

So that was it. I said Ja, they said Ja, we all said Ja and First Ever Friend and Swiss Boy were husband and wife.

Then, all too soon, it was time for wedding number two. As witness for this one, too, my main role was making sure everything went as First Ever Friend wanted it to. From popping her in her rather fantastic dress – and yes, I did cry – to helping her sit down, walk up stairs and all of the other things that become challenging when you’re wearing a big white frock.

It was marvelous! The cake went down a storm, and so relieved was I when it was finally built that I threw my hands up in delight and catapulted white wine and water down Swiss Man from Japan.

And then the party started. The shoes came off and we started to dance… and dance… and dance. And, according to Pa, I did this with such enthusiasm, that people were taking photos of my dancing.

Walking home, up the hill to the flat, I realised how utterly brilliant the whole trip had been and how much I could take away from it. From spending a week with some of my favourite people and making a whole bunch of new friends to discovering that Swiss icing sugar is no Silver Spoon contender and that perhaps I should hem my dresses rather than buy shoes high enough to keep them off the floor.

And finally, I realised that I’ve got itchy feet. I need an adventure…

But quite what it will be yet, I’m not sure.

Friday, 17 June 2011

Happy Father's Day lovely Pa

Today is Thankful Friday and I am thankful for my wonderful Rents.

With Fathers Day on Sunday, and me not going home to see Pa, they have surprised me with the news that they are going to pop down to London tonight to deliver my new folding bike, a suitcase and just say hello.

Arent they marvelous?

Or should that be, arent I spoilt?

I really am blessed with the most wonderful Ma and Pa. Since the word go, theyve been 100% supportive of everything I do and when theyre not completely in agreement, such as the time, aged 16, I dated a plumber who was nine years older than me and tattooed and pierced all over, they keep a diplomatic silence. This was in this instance the best thing to do, as it meant the novelty wore off far more quickly than it otherwise would have done.

They have also helped me move house more times than either of them would care to remember – and usually up five flights of stairs in buildings without a lift. On one occasion, when I was moving 10 minutes down the road, we did the whole move on foot – double mattresses balanced on heads, coat stands, TV units, you name it, everything was carried down the street like some strange carnival procession.

Reading a news article the other day about how children are not as close to their parents as previous generations due to moving away for work and wotnot, I am wholeheartedly proud of the relationship I have with The Rents, of its transition from one of adult/kid to adult/adult, and of the fact that I can now be there for them in the same way that they are there for me.

And what of my lovely Pa this Fathers Day? Well, I hope hell be sat on the sofa listening to the not-so-surprise present I have bought him. I hope that hell remember, that even though both his children will be in foreign countries on the day, that we love him very much.

And thats all Ive got to say really – Happy Fathers Day lovely Pa.

Big love

DG x

PS. Big Bro, this a erm... subtle reminder that it's Father's Day in the UK on Sunday.

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

Hearing dreams

This morning it was not my ears that let me down, it was my eyes.

You see, while washing my hair in the shower – without my glasses on, obviously – I suddenly became aware of a rather large black blob moving in the corner near my face. And you see the thing is, if I could see it even without my glasses on, that meant that whatever it was, had to be massive.

And, upon throwing my rather steamy glasses on my nose, I discovered that it was indeed massive – all eight legs and hairy body of it.

Now, whenever possible, I do not kill bugs, except clothes moths as they eat my jumpers, so this meant that Operation Rescue Spider had to commence.

By this time however, he was staggering about in the steam, and I was terrified he was going to tumble to his death down my plughole, so I moved the shower head direction, leapt out the shower covered in shampoo and dashed to my kitchen to grab a glass.

By the time I came back, it was apparent that I should have really just turned the water off, as I was greeted by torrents of water running down the edge of my bath – I had succeeded in flooding my bathroom floor.

Then, I had to open a window – no easy task when youre covered in shampoo, starkers and the said window only has a blind and isnt frosted

I can only hope none of my adjacent neighbours were looking out their windows, because if they had been, they would have seen me, in my birthday suit, hair standing up on end from the shampoo, talking to a spider while popping him gently on the window sill from the confines of a crystal wine glass!

And so, with the spider alive and well and no worse off for his experience, I continued my shower – glasses on this time, incase he left a friend behind!

The chaos this morning reminded me how much I love the fact that glasses make my eyesight perfect in a way that hearing aids fail to do for my hearing.

Sometimes I allow myself to consider what it would be like if there was a hearing aid equivalent to glasses. Just imagine, I could pop them on and hear birds sing, children cry, cats meow and my violin and flute.

It would be amazing if you could be guaranteed a replica of what you once had.

I remember having 20:20 vision. I remember being less deaf. Every day, I manually create 20:20 vision

But every day I am still deaf.

But maybe one day heres hoping.

Monday, 13 June 2011

When I had a hearing cat…

Hello on this rather grey Monday. This week looks set to be a busy one at work, a fun one at play and a lunch-hour-filled one of being yelled at by a very over-zealous spinning instructor.

Last week, three people walked out of her class in the first 10 minutes. I stuck it out and even when she was yelling, MORE, MORE! and YOURE NOT TRYING! at the top of her voice and my little legs could barely turn the bike peddles, I kept thinking, No pain, no gain.

The following morning it was actually be case of Lots of pain, cant walk! but hey ho, it is actually quite good fun, once you get past the lungs-feeling-like-theyre-going-to-explode warm-up.

Anyway, Deafinitely Girly has something shed like to share with you. After speaking to someone at Drama Queens wedding who works with assistance dogs, I have decided I would very much like a hearing dog.

So today I went online and checked all the criteria and I meet it – the guy at the wedding also confirmed that he thought I would – so I then had a look at how to apply.

So popular is Hearing Dogs for the Deaf that it is not taking new applications until 2012 and theres a five-year wait for a dog


That seems like an awful long time, and it made me think, if they had more money, would the waiting list get shorter?

If thats the case, then its time for DG to do some fundraising. Im not sure what Im going to do yet – a sponsored run? Eek! A bake sale? Yum! A sponsored silence? Hahahahahaha ahem

Well, there are endless possibilities! And lovely reader peeps, I urge you to think of Hearing Dogs for the Deaf as a charity when you next want to raise money. Youve only got to look at the website to see the amazing difference these wonderful dogs make to the lives of so many people.

I already know what its like to have an animal who alerts you to things. When I was growing up and growing deaf, I had a cat called Toddy – he was the kitten of our other cat so I had known him since he was a wriggling ball of eye-closed fur and he was all mine.

He used to sleep on my bed every night and spend most of his indoor time in my bedroom, too. I once spent a whole afternoon trying to get him to speak and another time, I showed him flashcards to see if he could learn to read.

Unsurprisingly, he could do neither

But what he could do was alert me to high-pitched sounds that happened in the house when I was at home. This was probably because he didnt like them, but nevertheless, wherever I was in the house, if there was a high-pitched noise, Toddy would come and find me and bug me until I stopped it.

This worked for our whistling kettle, telephone, smoke alarm, and violin except I was the one playing the violin and as a result I had a flouncing cat huffing at my feet whenever I practised and, seeing as I was going deafer at this point, I really cant blame him for wanting me to shut up.

Now, I have my neighbour to alert me to any noises in my flat – she too flounces around in a catty manner, although its not nearly as endearing.

But until I get myself a hearing dog, I guess she will just have to do

Friday, 10 June 2011

Deaf girl on a bicycle

Today is Thankful Friday and I am very thankful that I timed my late lunch perfectly with the break in the apocalyptic London weather. As I write this while munching my Tesco vegetable thing, its bucketing down outside.

But actually I am thankful for this too, as we kind of need rain right now

The thing I am most thankful for this Friday though is that I finally took the plunge and bought a folding bike

I already have a much-loved, although somewhat neglected, Dutch bike, which has been sat in London Aunts alley for the last 18 months after I moved house and lost the keys to all four locks on it.

This bike was evicted last weekend – quite rightly so as it was cluttering up what is normally a minimalist space – and has now gone to a foster home oop norf at The Rents.

So this left me bikeless and, with my neighbour already causing more than enough hassle with her own bikes, I decided I needed one that could live in my flat. So came the idea for a folding bike.

Now, I cannot afford the fancy Brompton ones, nor do these really suit river path jaunts and Richmond Park escapades I intend to go on, so in the end I plumped for a retro looking Raleigh Shopper in lilac… with a basket on the front. On this bike I will either look 100 or 5 years old and I LOVE IT!

Well, I think I love it, as so far all Ive seen is a picture on the internet and I couldnt find any online reviews, perhaps because everyone else in the world chooses to buy a better, less embarrassing bike than me, but I think it will suit me just fine.

The wheels are big enough to cope with the wilds of London parks but small enough to fit in my spare bedroom cupboard and theres a basket for my handbag

What more does a girl need?

Well, a guarantee of not crashing my new bike would be nice. You see, because of my deafness, I cant hear cars coming up behind me – although in London youve got to pretty much assume there will always be a car coming up behind you

I also cant hear emergency sirens so thats a bit hair-raising, too.

So Im just off to Google bike wing mirrors and see what I can find.

And in the meantime, if you see a mad blonde girl on a purple folding bike completely oblivious of everything around her, make sure you wave, Ill try and wave back!


Thursday, 2 June 2011

Losing my volume control

I am here, I promise!

Im just a little busy right now with my day job

On a positive note, spending so much time at work at the moment means that I get to eat all my meals here Marmite on toast, peanut butter on toast, jam on toast, just toast, you name it, Im eating it with toast at the moment.

Toast really is the most wonderful comfort food. If I was in a burning building and had to save the future of chocolate or toast, I would choose toast – so long as someone else grabbed the toaster.

Anyway, the other advantage of working long hours is that it gives me very little time to experience life with my nutty neighbour. Last night, she was obviously having a tantrum of some kind because she started slamming the cupboard doors that are below my bedroom. But what she forgets is that being deaf, any noise is just like adding colour to my life with exceptions being bad jazz, bad sopranos and pneumatic drills!

So if shes trying to frustrate me or annoy me, its not really working. It does however make me sad that shes so intent on us not getting along.

But lets not think about her.

Lets talk about my progress on London Underground.

This week I was stuck in a tunnel for no less than 10 minutes, without any placebo Rescue Remedy to hand – OK, so I was thinking all the usual thoughts of, Why do I live in London?, Why arent I in the country? etc etc, but I didnt freak out


This feel the fear and do it anyway approach is quite life changing. If youd have asked me six months ago how Id feel about taking the tube to work every day, I would have probably freaked out. In fact, when I accepted this new job, it wasnt worries about the new career challenges that kept me awake at night, it was wondering how I was going to get to and from work each day.

Mental, eh?

Its amazing how the decisions you make can change and shape your life in ways you never imagined. Things that make you braver, things that make you laugh and make you cry. What Im coming to realise is that if you try to keep out the bad, you also keep out the good. If you only go with the familiar, you miss out on discovering the unknown. And if you choose to stay in the shadows, then no one really notices you.

Thankfully Ive never had any problem with the last one, mainly because of my frequent loss of volume control.

Ive bellowed twice today already – one time unwittingly announcing to the entire open-plan office that I was off to the loo.


I guess what I am trying to say is – live life today. Dont let your nutty neighbour get you down. Dont sweat the petty stuff and dont pet the sweaty stuff.

And if you dont hear from me until next week, have a fab Thankful Friday and weekend.