Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Having a deafness wobble

What do you do when you cant leave the past in the past?

When emotions you thought youd never feel come bubbling to the surface again and no matter how had you try you cannot ignore them?

This week, my past slapped me right across the face, hard! Except, that section of my past is so clueless, it didnt even know it had done it.

So what did I do?

Well, I called on Tigger and Souper Lou, two of my very best friends and asked them for some advice.

Souper Lou was amazing and offered to cheer me up by going to a festival with me – a whole other story. Tigger put the whole thing in an Excel spreadsheet for me to peruse and deal with at my leisure.

Two equally great mates helping me out.

I think, if I am honest, that I am having my six-monthly deafness wobble. It comes and goes in my life, and I havent had one now for a good year. But this week I am quite foot-stampingly cross about my deafness.

The main clue to this was that inbetween, Run away and learn to surf and Get a cat on the spreadsheet, was Make phone calls better, so that my friends call me more…’

Sad huh!

But you see, just recently, Ive just been wondering if by not making phone calls I am missing out on building the fundamental foundations that build friendships and this makes me a little sad.

So last night, I called Tigger – the fastest-talking tigger in the Wild West Erm Country and we spoke, for 41 whole minutes!

Granted there were moments where I didnt have a merry clue what he was saying, but with a few pardons from me, a few slowing downs from him, we actually had a chat.

The only problem was it was mainly about me, because in order to guess what Tigger might be saying at the other end of the phone and piece it together with the vowel sounds that I can hear, I had to control the subject matter.

So it seems talking on the phone is a great way for my friends to find out more about me but I might get better at this right? I might find a way to guess better about what the other person is saying?

I hope so, because as I hung up last night, I could feel the deafness fug clearing, I could feel the hope returning, and I could feel Deafinitely Girly getting back to her usual self.

And as for the past that slapped me around the face? Well thats where I shall leave it. Right there, in the past.

Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Deaf Girl on TV

Well, well, well, it’s been an odd week of manifestation for Deafinitely Girly.

Firstly, I was walking down the street and was thinking how much I’d like some watermelon. Two seconds later, a promotional person from Rubicon handed me a carton of Watermelon juice.

Then, I thought, wouldn't it be fab if I could catch up with an old friend of mine who I haven't seen for ages. Cue an email from her asking if she could come and stay for a week.

Oooh-er, I'm onto something here, I thought, and quickly wondered what else I should wish for...

World peace? Reckon I'm gonna need some more practice to get that.

Winning the lottery? Not convinced that's a recipe for happiness to be honest...


Well, why not? Why can't Deafinitely Girly find love?

I wished for love! Not necessarily lasting, show-stopping love... just a little bit... a life-enhancing sliver to brighten up my day.

And look what arrived in my email inbox today:

‘Are you looking for love? Would you like to meet the person of your dreams? Do you have a sensory, physical, or a long term condition?

Here at ‘betty’ we’re making a highly romantic, up-beat & insightful observational documentary series for Channel 4 which will follow disabled people and those with a variety of conditions in the highs and lows of their quest to find love. We very much hope to be able to film some happy endings. The intention is also to explore and challenge some of the barriers, issues and prejudices that are faced.

An existing personal introduction agency, taking advice when necessary from experts in disability and other conditions, will be matching people on common interests, likes and dislikes. The agency is fully inclusive, with both disabled and non-disabled people on its books.

If you would like the chance to meet your match and are interested in taking part get in touch with us on 020 7907 0863 or 07503 805614 or

Whoa! Perhaps I should get wanting to win the lottery after all!

Anyway, despite the fact that I am looking for love, being an anonymous blogger, I'm not overly eager about the idea of trying to find it on national television. But, I thought some of you lot might be! Who knows, this could be your lucky day? And then I can make like Cilla Black, lay claim for having set you on your path to true love, have a lorra lorra laughs and buy a hat to your wedding.

Let me know if you apply peeps... and I'll follow your journey from the safety of my sofa, while trying to manifest my ideal man!



Friday, 22 July 2011

Deaf girl cooks

Today I am thankful on this very Thankful Friday for the fact that I can now make a lemon risotto. And not only can I make lemon risotto, I also know how to make it properly. 'None of that throw-all-the-water-in-the-pan-and-leave-it-to-boil malarky' were the words of Top Man before the cooking lesson commenced.

Making a risotto, Top Man informed me as he crushed enough garlic to de-vampire a small country, is a bit like hosting a party.

You put some small snacks out (finely chopped onion and garlic) add the guests (rice) and a small splash of wine to get the party started. Meanwhile while they're mingling (stirring gently) you get the punch on the go (the lemon and chicken stock)

Gradually you ply them with more and more drinks (stock), encouraging them to mingle more (stirring) until you'll see some of them are bursting with confidence and others are shy (cooked and less cooked rice grains).

Eventually they will be hanging out together, fluffed up and confident (cooked), the party mood will slow down (don't stir too much) and then it's time for the cheese (music or edible). And, although my rice were partial to a bit of Rick Astley, Top Man recommends a generous handful of Parmesan instead.

Then, there's always going to be a couple of knobs (of butter) at a party, so it's important as a host to ensure they don't get out of control (stir in until melted) before finally kicking everyone out the door (onto a plate) to head to bed (DG's stomach).

And there you have it – a face-crampingly good risotto and a jolly good party.

Happy Risotto everybody

DG x

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Deaf girl goes surfing

Deafinitely Girlys silence over the last few days has been because Ive been on holiday in Cornwall.

It was a visit of many reasons – a wedding, a catch up with an old friend, and a chance to gatecrash London Aunts holiday in Padstow.

And what a brilliant time I had.

The first two days were spent catching up with the Blinky – an old uni mate who now lives and works on the beach – and we had a great time, reminiscing about old times, chatting about new ones and consuming rather a lot of beer some things never change it seems.

When I was at uni with Blinky, we used to get itchy feet on a regular basis and after a night out in Pompey, sometimes find ourselves in the Isle of Wight, or on one occasion just pulling into St Malo harbour on a giant ferry.

Then, on Saturday, it was Gingerbreadman and the Singing Swedes wedding – in the middle of nowhere. It was so in the middle of nowhere that Google directions sent me to the wrong place, my satnav for iPhone stopped working and I ended up driving down a bridle path in the pouring rain. But, eventually I got there, the rain stopped, the sun came out and we got to celebrate the marriage of two of my favourite people.

And then, before I knew it, it was time to jump in the car and head to Padstow, where London Aunt was staying with London Cousins 1 and 2, in a gorgeous cottage right in the heart of the town.

Padstow is quite unlike anywhere Ive ever been before. Virtually car free – you leave yours in a car park on the outskirts of the town and walk in its almost like going back in time, and as I wandered through the narrow streets to the house, with the time nearing midnight, I marveled at how safe it all felt.

The next morning it was announced that London Cousins 1 and 2 were going surfing, and secretly, I have always wanted to try this. So when they begged me to join them, I threw caution to the wind about wearing a tight black wetsuit, poured myself into one and duly followed Windy from Waves Surf School down to the waters edge.

It was windy, it was rainy and the waves were big enough to do that washing machine thing if you fell into one, but it was the most exhilarating two hours of my life. I told Windy I was deaf and he was great – making sure he looked at me when talking, somehow instilling a confidence in me that made me eager to tackle the waves rather than run screaming in the opposite direction. Basically, I fell in love with the idea of catching a wave.

And did I manage it? Well, I stood up a few times, for a few seconds, swallowed more sea water than I ever though possible and actually managed to face plant to the beach after coming to an abrupt stop.

Will I do it again? Oh most deafinitely – as soon as I possibly can

And so, it was with a heavy heart – and a very achy body – that I clambered back into my car yesterday to make the 250-mile journey back to London. I waved off London Cousins 1 and 2 into the waves with Windy and set off, iPhone satnav plugged in, and a playlist of cheese to keep me going.

But throughout the journey, my music kept getting interrupted by a voice, which I assumed to be the traffic alert kicking in on my radio, and it always occurred when I was changing motorways, making crucial sections of my journey or about to go hideously wrong.

At the M4/M5 junction, it just wouldnt shut up. In fact, not even yelling, Shut up at it, shut it up, and with no idea what it was saying, I was left exceedingly frustrated. And then I entered London, my speed dropped below 70 miles an hour and the roar of my engine subsided.

The music faded and up came the voice again. Turn left at the roundabout I heard it say, before realising that it was in fact my satnav nattering away to me, and that all the annoying chitchat earlier had in fact been vocal guidance to stop me hurtling the wrong way up to Hereford.

Being deaf, I didnt know that satnavs talked. I thought they were visual aids which helped you see when the next turning was, and now Ive found the mute button on mine, thats all mine will be.

And what did I get out of my fabulous long weekend away? Well, I learnt that being the one before the one is not always a bad thing and that it sometimes gets you fabulous wedding invites, I learnt that surfing when youre deaf is actually not that scary and that lots of surfers wear ear plugs anyway, and I learnt that no matter what I do, my friends will always set me up with guys who leave the country.

This one left for Ghana yesterday

But as one leaves, another returns – thats how the saying goes isnt it?

Happy Tuesday peeps.

DG x

Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Today I'm blaming EVERYTHING on my deafness

Today I am having one of those days where I would quite like to just start again.

For a start, I had the strangest dreams last night – Prince William and Kate were my flatmates and Kates insistence to cook healthy meals led to her getting water all over my wooden kitchen surface and damaging it. This then meant I had to explain to her the whole fiasco of being ripped off by a shocking handyman, which is why my kitchen work surface is more pourous than a bath sponge, which then led to me waking up in a VERY bad mood having been reminded of the said crooked handyman, but not before I shouted at the future Queen of England for making a mess in my flat!

What is that all about?

Anyway, stumbling onto the tube, slightly late, slightly disheveled and very grumpy, it soon transpired that I had picked the train that the bulk of the rush hour also wanted – at every stop, more and more people crammed in, despite the tube drivers repeated advice that people should wait for the train that was just 1 minute behind my one.

And the amazing thing? I heard what the tube driver said – well, when I say heard, I mean I picked out one or two words and got the gist of it. How fabulous is that? I actually knew what was going on. Whats even better is that I didnt panic because I knew what was going on. My claustrophobia of being trapped in a small metal tube with a thousand other people was held at bay by a knowledge that it was just a busy morning.

And this means that if I could hear all the time, I would panic less. This makes me happy, because it means I can blame my claustrophobia and panicking on the London Underground directly on my deafness, not on the fact that I am mentally unhinged or just a wuss.

And that people is todays silver lining in what is otherwise shaping up to be rather a challenging day. Heck, if anything else goes wrong today, I may blame that on my deafness, too. Error at work? I'm deaf. Email the wrong person? I'm deaf. Being a total pain in the backside? I'm deaf. Blonde moment? I'm deaf.

In all honesty, I think after a lifetime of challenges from it, it owes me just for today at least.

Friday, 8 July 2011

Deafinitely Girly on love...

Today is Thankful Friday and I am mostly thankful for the fab time I had with NikNak last night.

Since she became a yummy mummy to Baby K, we’ve tried to keep to a regular girls’ night out and so far, it’s working brilliantly.

Last night was no exception, and it was over dinner that we found ourselves reminiscing about the old days, where a night out meant always feeling like death the next day and drinking was done at home first to save money.

In the old days, three nights a week were girls’ nights out – with nights in peppering the gaps, and man gossip filling the texts.

And what’s a bit odd, is that although I’ve been promoted, got older, and no longer go out all the time on the scale of those olden days, my life hasn’t actually changed that much – three nights a week, I am still out and about doing something.

NikNak on the other hand, has got married and had babies.

Somewhere along the pathway, her life sped up and mine chugged along at it’s own pace.

And don’t get me wrong, I like that pace and NikNak loves hers, too. There is nothing wrong with either. What’s more, I have no issue with chatting babies and weddings – indeed, through no fault of my own, they are something of my specialist subject.

I’m sure if I went on Mastermind, I would blitz the round of ‘Wedding venues of the south east’ or ‘The top 10 baby names of each year since 1950’. But this vault of information in my brain is of little use to me personally right now.

And it’s not like I’m desperate to put that knowledge to good use either. I mean some time in the future perhaps, but right now, I would just like a date…

A simple date, where, if it goes well, and I don’t act like a total plank, as I did here, he calls when he says he will and doesn’t fill my head with romantic notions unless he actually means them.

London Aunt and I have a theory that men act like they’re Hollywood movie heroes because that’s what they think we want. And perhaps we do enjoy it. But in order to sustain this, it means we have to act like Hollywood movie heroines, and trying to be Cameron Diaz or Megan Fox every day is nearly impossible – or in my case, completely impossible!

It also means that when the fantasy ends and the guy says, ‘Yeah, this was nice, but I just don’t feel that way about you anymore.’ and you’re left replaying the last few months of incredible romance while calculating just how much money you’ve wasted on matching underwear and beauty treatments while trying to live up to his Hollywood fantasy, that you inevitably come to be more and more disillusioned by what guys say and what they actually mean.

So what do I want here?

Well, if I were to land the man of my dreams in the next few weeks, months or – harrumph – years, I would want him to be him. To follow his dreams, his passions, his own path and let me do the same. Those paths would then have to bump along together, hopefully well.

I don’t want the Hollywood movie script, the unsustainable romance, the feeling that it could all come crashing down around my deaf ears at any moment.

I want reality. Sometimes reality is crap, sometimes it forgets to shave its legs and nearly always forgets to wear matching underwear – but, on a positive note, reality is also sustainable, which when you’re falling in love, is one of the most important things.

Monday, 4 July 2011

To absent friends…

Urgh, I had the worst night's sleep and today I am exhausted.

It all began with a packet of fizzy lace sweets – never good for a quiet wind down on a Sunday night.

So after finally going to sleep, I bounced from dream to dream, waking after each one, and having to get up and check my flat before flopping back into my bed.

Dreaming about burglars is not fun.

Today is a very special day though. OK, so it's Independence Day for my American readers, but it's also a wedding anniversary.

This time 13 years ago, I was putting on my best frock excitedly awaiting the party of the year. This time 13 years ago, I played my flute during the signing of the register for two of my favourite people. This time 13 years ago, a very underage French Cousin 3 got sozzled on champagne and Big Bro plundered the cigar selection of the restaurant.

This time, 13 years ago, rather appropriately on Independence Day, I witnessed the confirmation of commitment at its best.

Thirteen years ago, none of us knew what was going to change in the years that were ahead. Lots of it good but a large part of it downright not good.

So today, I raise a glass, a cup of tea and a big fat cigar in toast to independence, true love without rose-tinted glasses, and absent friends.

DG x

Friday, 1 July 2011

A very thankful deaf day

Today is Thankful Friday.

It is also the first day of July and the cherry on the icing on the cake, is that its gorgeously sunny outside.

This week has flown by. My post-Switzerland funk has slowly been carried away in the haze of sunshine, rumble of thunder and prospect of the fabulous weekend ahead.

And what am I thankful for?

Well, that would be for my readers – yesterday I wrote a piece about considering a text phone and I have had two very useful responses already. Although Im not a technophobe, sometimes its hard to know where to begin looking for solutions to make everyday life easier.

But when you do, or when someone gives you amazing advice, suddenly a whole new world is opened up – like my free fire alarm fitted by the London Fire Brigade, or my Freedom pass and Disabled Rail Card, or the fact that EasyJet boards me with ahead of others – although after Speedy Boarding – to ensure the person I am travelling with can sit by me and tell me whats going on.

Then, theres the amazing little travel vibrating alarm clock I discovered thats far better than any model Ive had before, the lyrics application on my iPhone, that enables me to read along with the music I listen to, all the various apps that help me coordinate, book and run my entire life at the click of a button and tap of a screen rather than by phone, not to mention the fact that I normally get discounted theatre and concert tickets, plus a reduction for the person I am with on account of my deafness.

I know I write about this a lot, but it is amazing. On my flight out to Switzerland recently, I met three fantastic people – one a psychoanalyst, one a mother-of-the-bride who had been over for a dress fitting, and one a director of a budget airline. They were all so interesting to talk to, and naturally, I had to tell them I couldnt hear, because airplanes are noisy at the best of times.

It was only when they asked me how I coped with everyday life that I realised how easy it is to cope these days. So many people are on your side. Even my local MP it seems – but thats a whole other story.

And, so when I roll out of bed on the wrong side – like today – mishear the lady in Superdrug and accidentally answer yes to phone top-ups, mascara and Batiste Dry Shampoo, thus trebling my bill in three swift seconds, I will remind myself that its OK to mishear once in a while – hearing people slip up too, and its OK to be deaf in the city and having fun because the more you look, the more you see ways that make it even easier.

And really, thats all I want to do.