Wednesday 31 March 2010

I said, brrr it's cold out there

Today is my Friday as it's my last day of work before the Easter break.


Today I am thankful and VERY happy because Friend Who Knows Big Words, Gingerbread Man and I finally won the pub quiz last night!

After time after time of coming second to a bunch of alleged Google-cheaters, we finally won!

And even better, I actually knew some of the answers because it didn't centre totally around sport or audio clips – thanks to a new quiz master.

In fact, the whole quiz is deaf friendly, mainly because right from the start of this new guy doing the quiz, I have drummed it into him, and spoken up when he’s been out of sight and I can’t lipread. That means, that I hear everything. It’s therefore the best pub quiz I’ve ever been to – and my friends agree too, as they don’t have to keep relaying the questions to me.

Anyway, blogging from my iPhone is tricky today because my fingers are numb – it is so flipping cold! I know I haven't rabbitted on about the weather for quite some time now – Miss K used to think I was bonkers – but seriously, it's April tomorrow... I want teenage temperatures not preschool ones.

And on that note – I’m just off to sit on the radiator. It’s the only thing for it.

Tuesday 30 March 2010

The running deaf girl races!

OK, Deafinitely Girly has some very erm… exciting, no wait, that’s the wrong word for it… SHOCKING news!!!!

She is running… in a race!

*pauses and waits for people to get back up off the floor

I know!

I don’t know what came over me, but Tigger inspired me. He’s visiting soon you see, and he suggested we do a race together that weekend. So we are...


Seriously though, I am a teeny tiny bit excited – even though it is only a 5k run – as it will be my first ever running race since the house cross country nearly 20 years ago, when I came last out of the whole school… and you wonder what put me off running!

I’m hoping that this race will also give me added incentive to get out there and keep running. This morning – despite only having 4 hours sleep – I still got up and pounded the pathways of my local park. And I actually felt better for it.

OK, who’s kidnapped DG and put this odd running deaf girl in her place?!

It’s all thanks to Tigger really though – he kept quietly encouraging me. And now I have ‘come out’ as a runner – he’s noisily encouraging me. He even wants me to do the Great South Run in October but I’m… aherm… most deafinitely busy that weekend.

But if I am really going to keep at this running business, I really ought to invest in some running trousers that aren’t frayed to the knees, a top that isn’t meant for skiing and something more sophisticated than an egg timer.

Time for a shop at lunchtime today, I think!

Monday 29 March 2010

Passionate about St John's Passion... erm!

Today I missed my morning run because I forgot to change the time on my alarm clock!

I woke up an hour late and have felt out of sync ever since.


It also means that I have to go tomorrow – but hopefully the rain will hold off and enable me a dry meander through my local park.

The main thought getting me through this week is that Ma is coming to visit! She’s coming down for a long weekend for Easter, with Pa joining us later on. It’ll be great to relax and catch up with her – and if it’s rainy we can simply relax and enjoy crap TV while sitting on my lovely sofa.

Anyway, I had the most lovely weekend with SuperCathyFragileMystic and The Photographer. The car journey was quiet as I really couldn’t hear a thing – but we ate our weight in Percy Pigs from M&S, which would have kept us quiet anyway.

On Saturday evening, we went to watch SCFM singing St John’s Passion by Bach in Colston Hall. It was very official, with a traditional Baroque orchestra, which I found fascinating! Luckily, I was sat a mere few metres away from the bassoon, double bass and cello, so they more than made up for the fact that I couldn’t hear the violins, oboes or flutes.

I must confess, I was a little scared about sitting through two hours of no-interval choral music, but I was actually pleasantly surprised. What I could hear was very nice – and if the bits I couldn’t hear, weren’t, then it didn’t matter to me!

It’s sung in German – which isn’t the most attractive language in the world to lipread but I managed to pick up a few German words I recognised, and we were provided with a loose translation in our program for the rest of it.

Am I now passionate about Bach’s Passion? Absolutely not. But it was a very good experience and I was most impressed with SCFM’s singing abilities… two hours in rising temperatures and a big velvet skirt must have been character building.

The only thing I would have changed if I could, was the uncontrollable giggles I succumbed to just 10 minutes in. I can’t even remember what triggered it now, but the Photographer and I set each other off and I was silently (I hope) laughing so hard that I nearly fell off my chair. The more I tried to stop, the worse it got.



Friday 26 March 2010

Hearing in my car

Today is Thankful Friday.

I am thankful that I finally get to see SuperCathyFragileMystic’s new house in the Wild West erm… Country – it’s called Christmas Cottage and it looks really rather cute in the pictures.

The Photographer – SCFM’s boy – and I are driving up after work in my little car. Once it gets dark, I will no longer be able to hear him and drive in a straight line at the same time on account of lipreading issues.

Don’t worry though (especially if my Ma is reading this), I will pick to do the latter not the former!

And that reminds me, I had better warn him that conversation will be sparse and that he should bring music, as the only thing in my car right now is the Glee Soundtrack and Pavlov’s Dog – an eclectic mix of pure cheese and bonkers-ness.

Poor guy – it could be a very long journey!

Thursday 25 March 2010

Lipreading silent letters

You must excuse me, my cheeks are still glowing a warm shade of red from an embarrassing episode in Pret a Manger this morning.

There I was, buying my banana and sparkling water and after the 10th pardon, still with no clue what the man behind the till was saying to me.


It’s a noisy place, to be fair, but even my lipreading skills were no help, because in this instance, it turns out he was pronouncing a letter that’s usually silent – and this letter was the ‘p’ in receipt.

This ‘p’ and closure of his lips in the pattern of this word completely threw me. I had no clue what he was saying.

I looked to his colleague, who also seemed to pronounce the ‘p’, which was no help and eventually he gave up and said – do you want the paper thing?

Hurrah! Now I knew what was going on… but by this stage I was a gibbering, stammering, embarrassed ball of blondeness and he was pretty baffled, too.

‘I’m deaf,’ I reassured him – desperate for him not to think it was his English that was the problem – although it kind of was, but I don’t think he understood me.

So I grabbed my stuff and legged it – still red – to work.

It’s a long time since my lipreading skills let me down – I’m normally too on the ball, nosily reading people’s conversations in bars and restaurants, or from my bus in a traffic jam.

The other day I witnessed THE BEST fight between a couple – I think tourists – who were lost on Oxford Street. The guy had his back to me, so I was treated to a one-sided conversation as the girl ranted and raved about the fact that he didn’t know know where they were. It was getting so heated that I almost felt like getting off the bus and telling them where they were, just so she’d stop going mental at him.

Tomorrow, when I go into Pret, I am going to be on ‘p’ alert – or maybe I’ll just buy my banana from Somerfield like everyone else.

Tuesday 23 March 2010

Jawlking home

Hurrah the sun is shining, the birds may well be singing and spring has finally sprung.

All this is a sharp contrast to yesterday evening when I made the decision to jog/walk or jawlk home!

Keen to try out my new running trainers, I decided last night I would walk the 4.9 miles back to my little flat. I set off and it started to rain. Halfway home, it was really raining so I decided to speed things up a bit and jog. Now, as I am only in week 4 of my walk-to-run program, I had no idea how I would fare, but I did alreet, running for 15 minutes and speeding up my journey considerably!

My goal now is to run the whole way home, but maybe I'll leave that until week 8 or something!

Having decent trainers that match my running style has really made a difference though. For starters my feet didn't hurt, and it's much easier to keep running when your feet don't hurt. Secondly, because I know they fit me, I worry less about getting nasty things like bunions – sore feet for life in exchange for fitness doesn’t seem like a good deal to me.

Ooh, and while we're on the subject of trainers, yesterday I won a pair of MBTs. For those of you that don't know, these are trainers with funny rounded soles and they are meant to improve your posture and give you a workout as you walk. More importantly, they cost a fortune!

So imagine my delight when I learnt I would soon have a pair for absolutely free.

Between them and the running, I will have my double-figure figure under control in no time at all.

Or at the very least, I'll break even in relation to my chocolate addiction!


Thursday 18 March 2010

Content with my deafness

Don’t know about you, but I am loving the warmer weather we’ve been having.

OK, so it’s not really warm as such, but it’s deafinitely not a cold as it has been.

Today, I even considered shedding the fleece on my morning run – leaving me with just three layers on, not four!

What I am not loving however, is the roadworks that are still happening outside my house – two months after they started and well over their deadline. It’s so frustrating as it’s making my morning commute much more stressful – and I’m not the only one. People are still behaving incredibly irrationally – driving down cycle lanes, ignoring pedestrian crossings in a bid to get through while the lights are on green, and winding down their windows and shouting at each other.

If it wasn’t making me late for work, I would almost be entertained by the whole thing. But really, it’s not entertaining anymore so I am going to write to the utility company in CAPITALS and tell them exactly what I think of their lateness.

Crikey, if I am doing this now, at 29 years old, imagine what I am going to be like as an old lady – I’ll get RSI from all the complaint letters!

Anyway, today is my Friday as I have tomorrow off for the arrival of my new deaf fire alarm. I am MOST excited about it – mainly because, well, I’ve never had a fancy gadget in my home that helps me with hear stuff before. To know that when I close my eyes at night, there’ll be no chance of me ending up drowning in smoke like on that hideous fire-warning advert on TV at the moment, makes me very happy.

What also makes me happy is that I am gradually becoming more proactive about asking for things I need. I’ve never really been very good at that.

Having my Wear My Hearing Aids Day yesterday, has also given me a new contentment with what I can hear. Hearing aids don’t make it better, I have confirmed that for another year. What’s more, it made me realise just how much I like my world with not much hearing…

OK, so that didn’t come out very eloquently, but I guess what I am trying to say that, lack of cinema outings, subtitled Virgin Media On Demand, phone calls, and whispered sweet nothings aside, I am more than happy with what I can hear.

And, also with what I can’t – as the bawling baby, lipread only, on the bus this morning confirmed.

It’s making me feel unbelievably content – for the first time in ages. Rather than just getting on with this whole deaf thing, I am actually happy about it.

At last…

Wednesday 17 March 2010

Today is Wear My Hearing Aids Day

Today is a very special date in my annual calendar.

Yup! It's DG’s Wear My Hearing Aids Day!

This rare and sometimes forgotten occasion last took place over a year ago and came to an abrupt halt before 9am after a police car went by and sent me hurtling for cover, my flight reflex telling me World War Three had begun.

So naturally today, I'm intrigued to know if my hearing aids will make it to lunch!

Now, I must let new readers know that I have absolutely no ‘issue’ with hearing aids, they don't dent my sense of identity in any way, nor do I feel self conscious, they just don't help me an awful lot, that is all. I’m rather jealous of friends like Fab Friend who get on with theirs so well – it’s not just me being stubborn, I promise.

At my last hearing test, I had the chance to try out three of the latest models – and remained optimistic that at least one would make a difference. As the most important thing to me is speech clarity, we popped over to the children's clinic where I did a Word Test sat on a teeny tiny blue chair, trying to resist playing with the Lego. I did one Word Test without hearing aids, and then one with each of the new models.

In the end I chose the pair that helped me hear just three more syllables then when I was aidless. And for one week I knuckled down and wore them. And for that one week, in spite of high-tech digital tuning, I found myself not hearing what I wanted to hear and being unbalanced by the extreme volume increase of things I could already hear in the first place.


So today, on my way to work, I sat on the bus and heard the whirr of the air con, the chug of the engine, but not one single voice! And people were talking, I could see them. So in fact, my hearing aids actually succeeded in drowning out the sound of voices – something I usually have even without clarity! It felt as though I was in some bizarre 2D world with only the sounds of machines for company, and no sound of life!

On arrival at the office, what can I hear? The whirr of the air conditioning, the clicking of my keyboard, and softly, underneath all that, some voices. But with no clarity.

I hear no phones ring, no fire alarm test and no office gossip. It's like my non-hearing-aid world, only with louder air conditioning.

So technically, I am wearing expensive digital hearing aids so I can hear the air conditioning more clearly.

On attending a morning meeting, someone with the lurgy sat down beside me, and sneezed.

‘Jesus!’ I exclaim, halting the meeting.

I am wearing expensive digital hearing aids to hear people sneeze better and embarrass myself in public.

Which brings me to think maybe I should cancel my annual Wear My Hearing Aids Day and get back to hearing 'normally'. It can't be any worse than this, surely?

Tuesday 16 March 2010

Hearing(?!) a clock tick!

Ooh, today the weather feels positively spring-like don't you think?

This was definitely reflected in my lack of layers when I went running this morning. I'm improving every time I go now, although I'm still not completely won over by this whole running thing...

Today I'm thinking about the weekend... already! You see, it's gonna be another weekend of DIY as I attempt to put right yet another piece of shoddy workmanship in my flat done by a previous owner.

And to help me with this one is DIY expert, Onion Soup Mate. Together with FSA Boy, she is renovating her own lovely house and having just done her bathroom, I reckoned she was the expert to ask for help with mine!

I will of course be doing some work, too, but I shall mostly be doing what I'm told.

Anyway, as I was lying in bed last night, I heard(?!) the strangest noise. ‘Tap, tap, tap, tap’ it went. My heart was in my mouth as I wondered if it was my heating again, but thankfully the heating had been off for some time, and it was a different tap. (At ease, Blanco!)

I got up to investigate, noticing that it got louder in the hallway. ‘Tap, tap, tap’ it went.

High and low I looked until my ears and eyes finally came to rest on a bright pink cuckoo clock given to me by NikNak for my birthday.

I've never really heard a clock tick before. Not since before I lost lots of my hearing, and certainly not without holding it up right to my ear.

How could this be?

And then it clicked. In my unsupervised DIY mania, I had put the clock up on a hollow wall, which was acting as an amplifier... even for deaf old me!


But then of course, I was torn between so happy I could hear something like a clock ticking but also not being able to sleep because of it.

In the end I reached a compromise. By day, the clock ticks and by night, time stands still.

I wonder what else I can nail to the wall to make it louder?!

Monday 15 March 2010

Would this happen if I wasn't deaf?

Well, I started my day in style today, by falling down the steps at my rents' local station. Not quite sure what happened but basically, I went one way, my case went another, and my pride went out the window.

All in view of a cute guy...

What is it with me, cute guys, and public transport?

The said cute guy jogged over to me, collecting my suitcase on the way. He checked I was OK before safely depositing me, the suitcase, and my pride on the train.

Happy Monday to me!

Anyway, this weekend from a Mother’s Day point of view, was a bit of a disaster. Namely because I had somehow managed to book the spa day for the erm... wrong day!

We turned up on the Saturday to discover we should have been the allegedly on the Friday. Confused I checked my iPhone and the original email I sent was requesting appointments for Saturday 12th – and seeing as Saturday was the 13th, I began to see how this could have happened.

But what frustrated me was that I did say Saturday, and I also said I was deaf, so couldn't call, and if I had said Saturday 12th on the phone, I'm pretty sure she would have asked me which date or day I meant. But she didn't on email. She just said, yes that would be fine for the 12th. No mention of the day and that was that. So when the confirmation email came in, work being busy and all, I didn't really pay much attention to it. My bad!

But even so, when I didn’t turn up on the 12th, no attempt was made to contact me, which is just poor customer service in my book!

So OK, this whole thing started with an error on my part, but what wasn't my fault was the way the peroxided-to-within-an-inch-of-her-life woman at the spa reception dealt with the whole thing. She did that beauty school-belittling thing you often come across and left me feeling more than a little wounded about the whole episode.

It’s frustrating and I tweeted about it – wanting to add the # of: Wouldn’thappenifIwasn’tdeaf because I really think that’s true.

However, on a positive note, it’s only the first time ever that internet booking has not worked out for me. And would I really want to hang out at such a snooty spa anyway?

Most deafinitely not!

Friday 12 March 2010

Thursday 11 March 2010

The silent, singing mouse

Phew – today is Thursday, which means tomorrow is Friday and then it’s the weekend!


It’s Mother’s Day this Sunday, so I am off home to The Rents and on Saturday, I am taking Ma to a Spa – she’s having some tension melt back massage thing, while I laze around the facilities, which all sound rather fab. Afterwards, Pa is going to meet us for afternoon tea!

What a high life I lead eh?

Back to earth with a bump though, and today I am still struggling with this flippin’ cold. This morning I looked like a fish out of water as I kept dropping my jaw to try and clear my ears – with little success. It was only when the guy beside me on the bus shot me a rather strange look that I realised I must look quite odd and stopped. But the stopping seemed to make it worse and I began sneezing, lots.

At this point the guy on the bus moved.

What is it with me and frightening guys on public transport?

I suppose I should be used to making a fool of myself by now, I’ve been doing it for 28 years or so. But I think last night just about won the award for ‘Biggest fool made in quite a while’!

Shakira Shakira came for dinner and to see my new flat for the first time. Wine was poured, shepherd’s pie was eaten and the mood was jovial. It was then I picked up a soft toy mouse on the table and said to her, ‘Look what my Ma gave me at Christmas.’ I then proceeded to dance about with the mouse.

She looked at me quizzically.

‘It’s not doing anything,’ she said, trying not to laugh.

‘You mean it’s not playing a recording of Jingle Bells with a Polish accent?’ I said, going bright red in the realisation that I had just danced around the room to absolutely nothing.

‘No,’ she said, not even trying not to laugh.

This stuffed mouse is meant to play Jingle Bells when you squeeze it, but I had forgotten to do that. I can only hear it if I hold it right up to my ears, so I hadn’t realised it wasn’t playing.


Thnakfully Shakira Shakira knows me well, so she wasn’t shocked, or surprised by me dancing around the flat holding a silent mouse.

Mental note to self – No doing that on the bus!

Wednesday 10 March 2010

A wasabi deaf fire alarm!? YUM!

Right, important things first – it seems I was hasty to contact the London Fire Brigade to ask them to sort out an alarm that would shake me from my sleep.

I should, according to this week’s Stylist magazine, have contacted Japan.

It says, and I kid you not, that a Japanese company has created a smoke alarm for hearing impaired people, using wasabi paste!


Air Water Safety Services discovered that virtually every person with hearing difficulties woke up after the wasabi smell was released as its odour was so powerful!

Amazing stuff – but I think I’ll stick to my vibrating under-pillow pad thanks so I don’t wake up craving sushi in the event of a fire!

Anyway, enough about that and onto more about me, me, me!

At the moment, I am in week 2 of my Walk-to-run-in-10-weeks program, and it's going well.

I have proven to myself that I can run – something I've always doubted, and I'm already noticing the difference in my recovery time after each running section.

However, being unsure about whether I'm going to stick at this running business, I haven't really invested in any kit. I've got decent trainers as I don't want to get bunions, but beyond that, all I've got is a mash up of ancient sports gear.

On my first run I went out very unprepared and froze to death. On my second, my body was warm but my ears were cold, so ear muffs were added.

Classy huh?

On my third run, my hands were cold so I popped on some fluffy Peruvian gloves that Fab Friend gave me to complete the outfit. Then for good measure I added a Quicksilver fleece with flared sleeves as it really was bitterly cold, and the running outfit was complete.

But ah-ha! I haven't told you what the icing on the cake is yet!

My egg timer!

You see, the Walk-to-run plan involved walking and running, which requires a timer as there's no way I'm counting while trying to get a grip on putting one foot in front of the other at speed and remembering to breathe in and out at regular intervals instead of just randomly gasping for breath at sporadic intervals!

And, as I said earlier, I don't want to splash out on all the kit if I am not going to stick at this running malarky, so an egg timer is the only thing for it really!

So, if you see an ear-muff wearing, Peruvian-glove clad little michelin girl half walking, half running, around a park while clasping a bright orange egg timer, be sure to give me a wave, won't you!

Tuesday 9 March 2010

My can't-hear cold!

Does anyone believe that an ulcer on the tip of your tongue means you've told a lie?

If so, I must have told the most humungous lie as I have the most humungous ulcer. It's so painful that talking hurts, and people who know me well will know it takes a lot for me to stop talking!

What I really need is some Bonjela and a week in the Bahamas… think we all know which one I'll be buying at lunch.

Anyway, the love/hate relationship with my iPhone continues to rage. When I accidentally poured water over it the other day, I realised I loved it and apologised repeatedly for ever thinking bad thoughts about it, promising to never think bad things again if only it would keep working.

But then, when auto correct changes words that are already correct into completely insane alternatives, I find myself tempted to immerse it in an entire bucket of water as punishment. It really is driving me bonkers.

And another thing, I never thought I could miss buttons this much. I never thought I would ever write a sentence about missing buttons.

But on the other hand, I love iTunes and Pocket Lyrics, and the tube application that tells you how many minutes away a train is, even if the station display board isn’t telling you.

Love/Hate – it’s a very fine line indeed, it seems.

This week I've managed to catch the tail end of the lurgy that has left French Boy bed bound for two days and knocked Friend Who Knows Big Words off her feet as well. It's not nice, but so far the main thing I have is blocked ears. It feels like the pressure is constantly changing and I can't clear them.

Naturally, this makes me a whole lot deafer.

For example, my TV is on twice the normal volume right now, and I'm sure I'm shouting when I speak, too.

On the whole, I'm not really aware of it until I do something so loud that even I notice. Like this morning when I went into tidy-up mode in my flat – Niknak is coming to dinner tonight – and started putting lots of things away in a hurry. It was only when I made the floor shake that I realised I was probably being very noisy, and then I remembered that French Boy is bed bound and sick and that noise will probably not make him feel a whole lot better.

I resolved immediately to be a whole lot quieter...

... and at that moment managed to drop a large box of cutlery onto my stone-tiled, kitchen floor!!


I did try, honest!

Monday 8 March 2010

What?! No Subtitles!?

A few weeks ago I had a bit of a Twitter disagreement with Virgin Media because I felt it was unfair to advertise broadband as costing less when you took a phone line in addition, than if you just got broadband on it's own.

Now, I know that just broadband is cheaper than a phone line and broadband put together, but what I really wanted to know was why, if broadband only costs £12.50 to line-renting customers who pay a further £11 for their line rental, it can't cost just £12.50 for broadband customers? I mean, I’m deaf, I don’t want a phone line, but I do want broadband for £12.50 a month.

Does this make sense? Or am I just being blonde about the whole thing?

Long story short, it was a discussion that went nowhere, so I bought a Vodafone Pay-As-You-Go Dongle for my laptop, which is incidentally fabulous, and forgot all about Virgin Media.

Then yesterday, I began to wonder if perhaps I shouldn’t have been so hasty after all when I was at London Aunt's house. You see, she has the broadband, phone and TV package with Virgin Media and, as we were tired, we thought an afternoon movie might be a nice idea.

There was nothing on TV that caught the imaginations of London Cousins 1 and 2 so we decided to investigate the Movies On Demand section, which I didn’t even know existed. ‘How exciting,’ I thought. ‘This would be worth paying that little bit extra for!’

With a massive selection of movies to choose from, Night At The Museum 2 was duly selected and we pressed play.


…no subtitles

‘Doh, silly me!’ I thought, before stopping the movie, going into settings and turning on the subtitles.

Still no subtitles!

Seriously, I checked three further times just to make sure but there really didn't seem to be any. There wasn't even an ‘S’ in brackets like you get on normal TV when calling up the programme information!

Why? Why? Why? Why? Why?!

With two excitable cousins waiting to watch the movie, I couldn’t very well suggest watching the EastEnders Omnibus instead, so I watched Night At The Museum 2 without hearing a single word.

London Aunt and Cousins 1 and 2 did an admirable job at keeping me informed of the storyline as much as possible, but apart from that, all I could do was watch the pictures. It was like being back in the 90s again. It was depressing. Even worse, it cost London Aunt £3 and something pence to buy! The DVD with subtitles and special feature probably doesn't cost a whole lot more than that – in fact, I just checked and it’s available for £6.98.

Keen to see what they'd say about this, I tweeted Virgin Media this morning first thing and eagerly awaited their reply as they were very speedy last time. Nothing has come through yet, but once it does I will update this post.

However, a quick Google revealed a press release from Virgin Media about the lack of subtitles currently available on On Demand. So it really is true. And although I am sure, like the iPlayer, something will eventually be done about this, it makes me sad that there are no apparent – please correct me if I’m wrong – concessions for a service that doesn’t serve deaf people well.

There’s only one thing for it – at lunchtime, I’m ordering the Night At The Museum DVD from Amazon using my laptop and internet from my Vodafone Pay-As-You-Go Dongle.

Friday 5 March 2010

Hearing plane announcements

Hurrah! It’s Thankful Friday again and today, I am thankful for my latest visitors – French Cousin 3 and his girlf, whose blog name I have yet to decide on.

They arrived last night – him from Birmingham, where he is studying, her from Paris, where she works and I found them huddled in the cold by the tube. It’s cold alright, and poor French Cousin 3 forgot his hat, so this morning he departed wearing a rather fetching crochet and flower-adorned number belonging to his girlf!

He did look funny!

I am also thankful that tomorrow I can sleep, relax and hang out with London Aunt, reminiscing that this time last week we were on our way to Barcelona – or actually just delayed at Heathrow for hours and hours and hours due to a French air traffic control strike.


Hopefully this weekend I will also collect the amazing photographs that London Aunt took so I can upload them along with my account of how fantastic the weekend was.

It really was!

The only bit I’d like to change is the flight home.

You see, I’m not that keen on flying. Something about the announcements sends me into a tailspin – I can’t hear them but I can hear the voice, so in my head I’m hearing, ‘The plane is failing, we’re gonna crash!’ which is bonkers, I know, but I can’t help it.

So anyway, as you know, last weekend there was a terrible storm lashing France and Spain and I was more than a little worried that the flight home would be bumpy and plagued with apocalyptic announcments – and, feeling a little fragile as a result of alcohol, I decided to ask the BA air steward on arrival on the place if the journey to Barcelona had been bumpy.

‘Oh, yes!’ she said, brightly.


‘How could she be cheerful about this?’ I wondered. And then she saw my face paling at the prospect of bumps, unheard announcements and a hangover in a confined space and realised she’d said the wrong thing.

I sat down with a huff beside London Aunt and took out my crossword puzzle, but my hangover prevented me from reading the clues, let alone understanding them.

Closing my eyes, I felt a tap on my shoulder. It was the lovely air steward from earlier to check I was OK – even though we had yet to leave the gate. I assured her I was fine but just hated turbulence, while London Aunt threw quizzical looks at me.

Not content however, the lovely air steward went and got the pilot from the cockpit to have a personal chat to me. London Aunt by this point was hiding behind her paper, cringing with embarrassment, while I felt like a 5-year-old child.

In many ways, I was most impressed by the service I was given – it’s just that, I only wanted to know if there was going to be bumps on the way back to London. That’s all!!!! I didn’t want to be the focal point of the plane, which I was fast becoming.

And then came the icing on the cake. The empty seat beside us was waiting to be filled by the MOST gorgeous man – except he couldn’t sit down as the pilot was having a chat to me. He was stood behind, smirking at me, as I went redder, and redder until I practically shooed the captain away to fly the bloomin’ plane.

By this point, my mouth and brain were completely disengaged and when he signalled that his seat was in our row I declared, ‘Fabulous!’ a little too loudly.

The cabin once again focussed on me.

He sat down, a little baffled.

I sat down, red.

London Aunt sat down laughing so hard, the Daily Mail she was hiding behind started to quiver uncontrollably.

‘Made a new friend I see,’ he teased.

‘Erm, bliuejhvskdjhkv kjhkh’ I replied, quite unable to speak.

Once more, a quizzical look.

Once more, a red-faced DG.

When the place landed, I clapped – which in context was an illustration to something I was saying to London Aunt – but out of context, to the cute boy made me look like some sort of Fruit Loop.

I learned something on that flight, you know. And here it is: Never, ever fly hungover and ask an over-enthusiastic air stewards about turbulence… especially not when the cutest boy you’ve met for some time sits right down beside you.

Travelling it seems, is insanely bad for my love life.

Thursday 4 March 2010

My Make-things-better-for-deaf-people wish list

Phew, how can it be Thursday already?

This week has been a bit mental to tell you the truth. Yesterday I had my day ruined by a barium X-Ray, which involved drinking 5 cups of chalky white stuff, being X-Rayed a lot and prodded with a wooden spoon – all high-tech stuff I'm sure you'll agree.

Anyway, it left me feeling pretty rubbish and so the only place I wanted to be was my bed. So there I went.

But that's enough boring health stuff.

More importantly this week, I got an email from London Fire Brigade, offering me a home visit where they'd fit a flashing, vibrating fire alarm... for free!

How amazing is that?

Now, I knew that councils offered this service but the fact that the fire brigade do is bloomin’ fabulous.

I'm rather excited in fact that soon, I shall know when my smoke alarm is going off when I have burnt my toast.

It will give me one less thing to worry about – and that can only be a good thing.

It always gives me a warm, fuzzy feeling when things happen that make my deafness better – like digital subtitles that can be recorded, the iPod lyrics app on my phone, Stagetext captioning being available at The Globe, and anything that used to go beep that now vibrates.

Every year I have fewer things on my Make-it-better-for-deaf-people wish list, but right now at the top is subtitled movies extensively available on iTunes, subtitled iPlayer on the iPhone, and subtitled cinema at sociable times.

If I get all that this year, I'll be a very happy DG...

Guess I'd better think of new things to add to the list, just in case.

Monday 1 March 2010

New beginings

Phew, today's post is late because I have the day off and am recovering from my amazing weekend in Barcelona.

More will be revealed on the weekend for my blog so I won't give too much away. But it was absolutely brilliant - from the amazing room overlooking one of the nicest streets in central Barcelona, to the literally life-changing visit to see some of Gaudi's work.

We even found some time to stay out partying until 3am, with me telling London Aunt our hotel was just around the corner continuously for 10 minutes as there were no taxis.

Barcelona gave me a chance to really think about things - what I want, how I react to stuff and how easy it is to change things.

And today I started on one tiny thing I have been thinking about doing for a year, but have never done.


Knowing that if I just went out and ran, I would fall over after 30 seconds, I have found a beginners programme and today I got started. And, do you know what? Once I got over the weirdness of wondering if everyone was looking at the red-faced girl hotfooting it through the park, I really enjoyed it. Just me and my egg timer - an odd running companion I know, but I have to do interval running apparently and build up slowly.

It's step one of my new beginnings...

I'll keep you posted on the others.

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