Monday, 27 October 2008

Blind Drive Challenge for Guide Dogs

I’ve been on the waiting list for a Guide Dog for 6 and a half months now. I was told that it will take between 6 and 12months to match me up, but I don’t think I’ll hear from them until next year to be honest.

Anyway, in the meantime I thought I’d do a Blind Drive Challenge for them, as it costs a fair bit to train, work and retire a Guide Dog. So this is the least I can do. My target was £200 and I raised £187, which by my standards is excellent since I don’t really know many people.

The drive was yesterday at Donnington Park and I was really looking forward to it, as I’m an avid formula one fan and from 2010 the grand prix will be held there.

I was hoping for a flash red Ferrari, but unfortunately had to settle for a Causer whatever one of those is! It was a jewel control car and the instructor sat next to me. I wanted to go as fast as I could, but every time I put my foot down the instructor told me to slow down, as we were coming up to a bend. I also found it frustrating that the instructor kept controlling the steering wheel; I wanted to do it all! It was a shame that we could only use a small part of the track, as I couldn’t go faster than 50mph plus all the other drivers kept getting in my way. I can’t remember how many I over took, but lets say I take after Michael Schumacher!

The drive didn’t last long, 15mins I think, but at least I’ve supported a good cause. I was moany afterwards so my mum offered to let me drive out of the car park. I think she regretted it! I was going too fast, swerving left and right and slammed the brakes on when told to slow down!

I would love to drive again though, but I was surprised that I didn’t get all depressed that I can’t drive generally. I’m not in to driving properly more recklessly. 100 times more fun!

Thanks to everyone who sponsored me. I want to run for a charity next. Whether it’s Guide Dogs I don’t know, but British Blind Sport are desperate for money too.

Saturday, 25 October 2008

Paralympic Princess

Oh I hope I will be one day, but today could have been my first steps to being crowned Paralympic Princess! I was one of 40 athletes to be selected for a trial in order to be considered for the Paralympic Fast Track Power Programme. It was held at Loughborough, which was good as it’s local.

It was a very long testing day, but I gave it my all and feel happy with the way I performed. We were split in to 3 groups. In my group were 3 lads with CP (cerebral palsy), a wheelchair user and a totally blind guy, Ameer who plays Goalball for GB.

The first discipline was throwing. We had to do an overhead shot. They seemed impressed that I threw 7.08m with a 3kg put. Next was a cricket ball throw outdoors, but I only managed 10.5m.

Time to jump! Standing long jump I achieved 1.63m and they said that 2m would be a really good jump. After we had to do a standing triple jump. It took me a while to get the footwork right and I hop, skipped and leapt to 3.79m. Johnithon Edwards eat your heart out!

I put my spikes on now and was revved up to sprint. Obviously I’m most passionate about running and desperately wanted to fly down the track. We had to run 60m and the 10, 30 and 60m splits were noted down. 9.78secs I believe was my best effort. I did the math and if I kept that speed up I would run 100m in 16.3secs. That made me smile, as last week I ran 17.4secs in training. My PB is sub 16secs though. I got positive feedback about my running, but I just don’t know if it was quick enough. I really respected the CP lads though as they ran great with their impaired legs.

There was a rumble in my tummy and I was pleased it was lunchtime, but was dreading the weights sessions in the afternoon. First up was a handgrip and my fingers and wrist were throbbing after it! Then we had to do a leg, chest and arm press. A few growls from me as I struggled to push and pull the weights but what can you expect from a skinny thing like me!

Finally, a 3min row. At the gym I do interval training on the rower, so I do 1min with a 30sec rest before continuing. I was aiming for 500m and was chuffed when I reached 569m. I swear I heard they wanted 600m though!

As I said I gave it my best shot and will hear whether I’ve made the programme next week. From a VI point of view I was the best girl there (the only girl there!). Seriously, Paralympic are screaming out for VI athletes and especially females so hopefully they see my potential and give me a chance. However, the first camp weekend is next month and it’s when I’m meant to be going to Teignmouth with some VI friends!

Friday, 24 October 2008


Last night I went to the theatre with my mum, dad and brother to see Shout, which is a 'swinging 60s musical'. I really enjoyed the show that had Claire Sweenie and Sue Pollard starring in it. I was quite surprised that I knew most of the songs including; Down Town, You Don't Have To Say You Love Me and of course Shout! It took you through the decade and I found it very comical.

It always astonishes me at the theatre how talented the cast are. I mean they can sing fantastically, act amazingly and dance incredibly! I never fail to envy them, as I love to perform too. However, I'm not the best singer, strongest actor or most dazzling dancer. I give it a good go though! It's a shame though, as the West End isn't really designed for the visually impaired to participate.

Although I have no useful vision now I still force my family to sit near the front. It makes me feel more a part of the action and the flashy lights keep me focussed. Occasionally I convince myself that I can se their shadows moving too, but I'm fairly certain that's just an illusion!

Monday, 20 October 2008

On Your Bike Love

It's official that my contract will terminate on December 31st at the Council. I was told today that there were no plans to keep me on in the Adult Learning Service.

I'm not sure what to think I'm so happy to finally be leaving, as I've hated every second of it! However, the thought of unemployment is frightening.

It's not unexpected and last week I started job hunting. I've applied for 4 jobs, but only 1 is disability friendly. I just hope someone will give me a chance though.

Apparently 4 out of 5 visually impaired people of working age are unemployed. It's terrible really.

Anyway enough of my moaning I just have to get on with it and hope for the best. I shall keep you all updated on my progress.

Saturday, 11 October 2008

Amy's 21st

Today I went to Amy’s 21st birthday party. Amy is a friend from school and I’ve known her properly since year 10. She did come to the same play scheme I went to at the age of 8 or 9 and although we were friends there we didn’t stay in touch, as you don’t tend to at such a young age.

Amy is different and had her party during the day. There was a bouncy castle and all the children’s classics like Music Man and Superman!

I stuck with Cara who I also met at the play scheme and became proper friends with in year 10. She’s a motherly type and someone I can rely on to look out for me. Other old school friends were there too including amy’s boyfriend Leigh, Dave who was in my tutor group in 6th form and always guided me to my lessons, Phil who is generally crazy and Aaron who’s ex girlfriend had my name, but was a total bitch!

I bought Amy a charm bracelet with butterflies and bumblebees on it, which she seemed to like. Personally, I love charm bracelets. Overall it was a nice party and I won’t be seeing Amy and Cara until Christmas now, as they’re both at uni.

Sunday, 5 October 2008

Stevie Wonder

Last night I went to see Stevie Wonder in concert with Jack, my mum and brother at the NIA in Birmingham. It must have been the longest concert I’ve ever been to, as it lasted two and a half hours with just Stevie Wonder and no support.

The first one and a half hours bored me to death, as he played the piano, harmonica and sang loads of songs that I’d never heard of before. At 10pm when I thought the show was coming to a climax it was like the show had just started! He sang most of his classics including: Isn’t She Lovely, I Just Called to Say I Love You, Signed, Sealed Delivered and Superstition.

I can’t deny that he doesn’t have an amazing voice, as he seems to be able to really show it off in every song very naturally. He interacted with the audience a fair bit getting them to repeat words and raps.

The highlight of the show for me was when he referred to his blindness, which was towards the end. I’m probably quite sad to say that, but it was nice to see him acknowledge his disability. He made it humorous by explaining that he was trying to flirt with a female. His chat up line was ‘what I can’t see can I touch?’ I’m liking that saying. He did a short rap with the lyrics ‘what I can’t see can I touch, just close my eyes, what I can’t see can I touch, act like a blind man’.