Thursday, 15 August 2013

Devon Delights

Last Wednesday until Saturday Calvin and I went down to Teignmouth to stay at the Cliffden Hotel. The Cliffden is one of four Vision hotels in the UK that specialise in catering for the visually impaired. I have stayed at the hotel once before, but not in the actual building. For my friend’s hen do, we stayed in the self-catering Coach House. It was therefore nice to experience another side of the hotel and Teignmouth itself.

I only stayed for three nights, but everybody I met up with excluding one other stopped for a week. I thought a week would be far too long, yet on reflection, the time flew by before I knew it. Five out of the nine in our group I met back in March on the Action residential, so it was lovely to catch up with them all again and make a few more new friends too.

After missing my connection at Birmingham New Street by the skin of my teeth, an unwelcome extra hour was added to my train journey. On the bright side, this gave me time to finish the third book in the Fifty Shades of Grey series (those books are over rated in my opinion, but a must read nonetheless). Calvin and I arrived in the late afternoon and a few wanted a light or in some cases a substantial snack before dinner. We therefore took the short walk to the beachside cafe where we hoped the dogs could have a free run too. Unfortunately for Calvin and Mitsey, the tide was in, so we couldn’t let them off.

In the evening some went back to the beach, only I’m a bit of a wimp or sensible, you decide (I don’t like going out at night) and chose to have a quiet drink in the hotel instead.

I was stupidly excited about going to the beach! What was more exciting was that the weather was lush! After some people struggled to drag themselves out of bed, we made it. It was the first time I had taken Calvin to the beach since his dog attack, so I was wary about letting him off. Much to Calvin’s disappointment, I kept him on the long lead, as the beach was very busy and he had no Guide Dog friends to protect him. Calvin displayed his disapproval by digging holes in the sand that we took turns to fall in to. We had lunch at a tasty chip shop and went back to the beach in the afternoon. I left Calvin at the hotel for the afternoon session.

One of my new male friend’s amused me in the afternoon by purchasing a pink bucket with a pirate crab pictured on the front with a yellow spade to match. He then proceeded to try and build a sand castle on a slope, although to be quite honest, I’m not sure it would have been much better on a flat piece of sand! I thought I could do better, only when I tipped the bucket over to make the castle, the sand ended up more in a pile than a solid shape, fail! The remainder of the afternoon’s entertainment slash panic was provided by another friend who is totally blind and was left to fend for himself in the sea! When you go away with other visually impaired people, you really have to trust in each other! Around half an hour later, after I had had several heart attacks with worry, said friend casually emerged out of the sea and wondered towards us, oblivious to the frenzy that he had caused. He had gone for a long paddle, none of us could see him and feared he was lost at sea!

That evening I did venture out since we had a set destination in mind, a local bar. One thing that has to be said for Teignmouth as a town, they are just as VI aware as the hotel. People seriously go above and beyond to help you out, which makes everything that much more enjoyable. So a pleasant evening was had.

A relaxing morning was spent on the beach, (Calvin got to have a free run with Edey) followed by most consuming more chips. I was saving myself for afternoon tea that has to be done when you’re in Devon! We caught the bus to Dawlish, a nearby town and found a tea room. I did have my sights set on cheese scones, only they had run out so I had to settle for sweet ones. I won’t moan, as they were pretty scrummy. I donated my tea after hearing how inviting the hot chocolate was, it came with cream, a flake and marshmallow. So naturally, I had to have one, it was worth it!

On the last night some went to Spray Point, I can’t remember what is special about that place, as I didn’t go, whilst a few of us tortured ourselves listening to the karaoke. None of us participated, just judged. After we got our hearing back, we played a few party games to pass the time, which worked well until the others returned.

Everybody went swimming, except for me. This is because I met up with Calvin’s puppy walkers who live nearby. I met up with them the last time I was in Teignmouth too, a few years before. Calvin recognised them, which is lovely for them and filled me with pride, well, I was just pleased he didn’t show me up and make out that they were complete strangers! Calvin had an epic run on the beach and splash in the sea, which tired him out nicely for the train journey home.

Overall, it was a great few days to unwind, chill out and have some laughs with some fun and funny people. One of the guy’s I met helps run a radio station called Dodge Radio. I like their slogan on their website, which says ‘dodge the world, enjoy the music’! I am a bad friend and haven’t yet taken a listen, I’m assured they play a wide variety to suit all though, just click here to take a listen.

Monday, 5 August 2013

First Class

I started my degree with The Open University when I was 21, the year most of my friends graduated. It took me 4 years to complete a BA (Hons) in English Language and Literature. Despite being late to the party, I am glad that I did it. I never expected to actually get a First Class degree! I don’t know if it sounds boastful of me to say, but I feel like I deserve the grade. I have always been regarded as an intelligent individual, but cleverness has never come naturally to me. My ethos with anything is to continuously work hard and you will be rewarded in the long term. Ok, enough with my attempt to be modest since I am clearly failing. I am amazing! I don’t usually play on my disability however, on this occasion I am not ashamed to say to achieve a First as a non-disabled person is excellent, but to achieve one after gradually losing your sight is simply exceptional! I am so so so proud of myself!

EA300 Children’s Literature module results:
TMA 01 – 75%
TMA 02 – 82%
TMA 03 – 85%
TMA 04 – 85%
TMA 05 – 85%
TMA 06 – 80%
OCAs – 82%
EMA – 86%
Overall – Distinction
Degree Classification – First Class Honours BA (Hons) English Language and Literature

My graduation is on 20 September in London!