Zero To Hero:National Citizin Service Talk

I’ve been really slacking on my
Zero to hero posts
Oops. The wordpress app is working on my ipad again so i can post from here at least. It’s not working on my iphone yet though.

On Saturday i was asked to do a talk to about 200 young people at the titanic centre Belfast. It was a woman from
Volunteer now
Who asked me. It was for the national cytizins Service program or
Which is a program for 15 to 17 year olds. It is only in Northern Ireland for a short time. The young people do a month program. They go on a residential and they do things like team building and stuff. They have to then create a social action project. This could be things like doing work for charity, to collecting things for the homeless.

On Saturday the young people were collecting their certifficates and then some of them were collecting their 200 hours for volunteering under the mellenium volunteers scheme.

The day didn’t start until about 2 o’clock. There was a volunteer fair first of all, before the main awards. I would first of all like to say a huge thank you to Eamer who was from
Cooperation Ireland
Who helped deliver the ncs program. She stayed with me from i arrived right up until the end. She made sure i had whatever i needed, along with making sure i knew what was happening throughout the day. She even showed me the layout of the room before i was due to do my presentation. When i did my talk, which had to be prepared, she possitioned me correctly at the lecturn, and even carried my guide dogs award up which the volunteer now people wanted me to show off. I wasn’t as nervous as i thought i would be, even though the minister for social development was there as well as the young people. I had to talk about when i started volunteering, and i had to incoporate some of the values of ncs such as mixing with people from different social backgrounds, and chalenging yourself.

We also had a talk by a young person who was now the ncs ambasador for Northern Ireland, along with a performance from Conor Scott who was from the voice.

It was a great day and i got a £50 amazon voucher and a little badge from cooperation ireland. Both are presented in lovely boxes too. The box looks like it is something that would be given to big corporate donners or something.
Here is a picture of the lovely presentation box for the badge.

This is a picture of the presentation box.  It was especially commissioned by cooperation ireland for people who had helped out or whatever.  It says Slim Barrot on the front

This is the lovely black pouch the badge is presented in.  It has the Slim Barrot logo in silver

Finally here is the box the voucher came in. I have no idea what i will buy though lol.

This is tha amazon presentation box for the voucher.  It has an orange ribbon around it.

I would like to thank volunteer now and cooperation Ireland for inviting me. I would also like to thank the young people for listening to me and the colleraine ncs crowd who took me home since they had an almost empty bus. It was such a great day.

Zero To Hero:”Out Of The Whirl Pool” By Sue Martin

I haven’t posted for the Zero to hero in a while but to be fair it’s been just about tweeking your layout and such.

I finished a book the other day called “out of the whirl pool” by Sue Martin. In the early days, i’d read some of the chapters of the book and was hooked. Normally i don’t like audio books, especially ones read by the authors, but Sue has a nice drawl to her voice. The book grips you right from the start. At the start i didn’t want to read about it because it dealt with sucide but i am glad i did stick with it. Sue has had a hell of a roller coaster of a life and i think she still has much more to write. I caught myself smiling when i read about her orientation and mobility training. I thought of my own training i had when i first learnt to use the cane. I can still remember that day. I even thought back to school when i learnt braille.

When i read her early chapters there were different details, but the audio book now has the little details smoothed out. It must have been so hard for Sue to write her story. I thought it was cool she remembered all the details.

I am so glad i read it. If you would like to read the book, or buy it, i should say,
You can go to her website
Where you can read more of her blog.

Can’t wait for the next book, Sue.

Zero To Hero:Why Do We Fear The Blind

Todays post was only really about getting blogs to read so i thought i’d post
This article
Abbout the fear that seems to surround blindness. It is quite a shocking article about how blind people are still treated in the likes of India and Affrica.

I always think it is so important that people know that we’re not scary. I would always say that if you have any questions it’s better to get them answered rather than being scared and believing things you read about blind people. I do a lot of talks to schools about having a guide dog and i think the the kids should be allowed to ask questions. Kids will ask questions adults are afraid of like “how long have you been blind?” or “how do you cook?” for example. The amount of parents that will rush their kids away from a blind person, or anyone with a disability for that matter is just horrible.

When i am out on the street the amount of adults who would ask me a question then trail off when it comes to the horrible b word. I once had someone who nearrly ran down the street when she asked me how long i’d been blind. It was actually she asked me if i saw something. I told her to wait and explained that i used words like “See” or “look”. IIt’s so annoying when people pussy foot around with certain words they should use in case they offend me.

I remember one woman who came up and was chatting away to me when i was waiting for a train. She started telling me about her cousin who was blind. I asked her if he would considder getting a guide dog. She informed me that he had passed away and then just burst in to tears. I told her that i didn’t mean to upset her. She said that i hadn’t upset her but she was so thankful that she had sight. I could have cried myself so i just hugged her.

I think what i’m really trying to say is that blindness isn’t something to be feared. We won’t explode if you mention the b word, and underneath the blindness is a person just like everyone else. You might even find you can relate to us once you get past that barrier of us being blind. If you ever see a blind person in the street, ask them if they need help, for example. Most of the time we will decline politely, but of course you do get some ignorant blind people like everyone else. Don’t let that put you off. Don’t put us up on a pedistil either. Yes it does take a bit of adapting if you do lose your sight, but we’re not brave or couragious just because we do things slightly differently.

I know this is kind of preaching to the converted, but really there is nothing to fear from us.

I hope this post maybe makes you realise that all you can do is ask. I would say ask away, in fact.

Sorry this post is kind of flown together and it doesn’t sound that good, but i hope it helps someone out there who fumbles for the right things to say or do when they meet a blind person.

Zero To Hero:Guide Dog Awards Pictures

Zero to hero
Post was a hard one. It was all about writing what was on your mind when you were writing a post or writing a post you’ve been holding back. I’ve been holding this one back for a while so thought i’d post. I emailed the posts so i’m not too sure if they all posted. I can’t seem to add alt text so i’m hoping you’ll still know what they are. Unfortunately they have the photographers contact details on them. If you can’t see them or don’t know what they are i’ll try and post them individually.

Zero To Hero:titles

Zero”>zero to hero to hero</a>
Post is all about creating the title and tagline of your blog but since i’ve already got mine, i thought i’d write about why i have my title and tagline. I don’t know why i called my blog "The average blog by an average blogger" but the name’s kind of stuck. I guess 16 year old self thought that my blog was no better than anyone elses and i guess that’s kind of true. I don’t believe in making my blog sound like it’s better than anyone elses. My blog is just a blog in among the millions of other blogs around the internet. If people stop by, then happy days. If they don’t, then i suppose that’s okay too. I wouldn’t have a clue what to call it now if i did change it which i have thought about doing but haven’t managed yet.

When i was on Live journal my blog was called "a good dose of nerdiness with a pinch of salt" lol. I couldn’t remember what it was called but when i moved it kind of didn’t suit. When i was 16 i liked medical terms a lot so i think that was why i called it that. I can’t really remember.

My tag line is just that. It’s just everything and anything comes in to my head really. Sometimes it’s guide dog related, sometimes it’s music related, or sometimes it’s just a rant. In my early blogging days, i used to post a lot about
The archers
But soon stopped that. It was mainly the weeks spoilers so i then decided that people wouldn’t want to read that on my blog.

I can’t think of what else to write, so i hope that anyone new who comes along likes my little "average blog" and sticks it out and doesn’t just decide not to read when they see the title. Never judge a book by its cover, as they say.

I’m actually amazed about how much writing it just flowing out of me when normally i struggle to get motivated. See you tomorrow for the next challenge.

Zero to Hero: 30 Days to a Better Blog:Introductions

Zero to Hero: 30 Days to a Better Blog.

I decided i’d take part in this chalenge run by wordpress for the fun of it. Plus it sounds cool.

Todays topic is Introductions. I just looked there and when i was moving my blog i chose not to move the very first post because it was so bad. I was 16 when i first started blogging. 16, wow. I don’t know why i started it up. I think i was so bored. My writing was so so immature too. I had to start each post with “hi” and i ended it with something like “Take care, xxx”. I’m so ashamed to be even writing that lol. I just use that for emails now.

When i first started blogging i was on
Live journal
A few years later, i moved to
But moved again because it became inaccessible. Unfortunately not as many of my blogger readers came with me.

I guess i still keep blogging because i want to record what i hope will be interesting thoughts about life in general. Sometimes i think of giving it up because i hardly ever write and i have barely any readers but the way i look at it is i don’t really know who could be reading but not commenting as sometimes i will do that too.

I look forward to the other posts that will be posted. I hope maybe i’ll get more readers or just that my existing readers will come along for the ride. I don’t know if i’ll be able to stick it out but i’ll certainly try :). Read the rest of this entry »

2013 In Review

It’s that time of year again where i look back at the year. I always wonder if i will have anything to write but i always do. I’m hoping my links copy though since i’m writing it out first because i can’t add posts with the wordpress app.

In January, i decided to start traveling independently. I started off using busses and then my friend taught me to use trains. Now i’m loving using trains and i’m always suggesting going on the train. The translink staff are brilliant too. The only station i am not keen on is central but if i need to use it i will.

February was quite eventful with our pet dog Marlie
Giving birth to 10 little pups
When we got her we weren’t told that she was pregnant. I remember when they were born though. Marlie had been downstairs and mum had told me to keep an eye on her since there was a bit of mucus from her. We didn’t expect the first pup to arrive quite so soon. I heard this little squeak and then the first pup was born. She was so quick too giving birth to all 10.

It was a very crazy couple of weeks after that. We had to cover the house in old shower curtains and puppy pads. The pups were in to everything. It was so hard not to step on them. Marlie was great at feeding them but things got even more interesting when they started eating solid puppy milk and propper food. They ate out of baking trays and they litterally covered themselves in the mushy mixture of food.

Unfortunately Ushi was petrified of them for about 6 weeks. It got to the point where she was making herself sick each time she would be fed because she’d rush upstairs after going to the loo. It was quite sad to see.

Marlie ended up getting mastitis and ended up passing away because of it. We kept one of the pups called Angel. Ushi will tollerate her at best but i just let her and Angel do what they need to do. Angel thinks that Ushi’s attempts to get angel away from her is playing still though. I think when Angel grows up more Ushi and her will get on grand. I do worry in case Ushi will hurt Angel but Angel keeps coming back for more so she must be okay.

I went to see The script and snow pitrole in concert which was great.

I have attended various meetings with the minister for regional development on trying to get the audio announcements on the busses. It’s a very slow process. The minister and that are trying to push for a smart phone app but while it is a good idea, it also has it’s drawbacks. I also attend some meetings with the all party working group on visual impairment in stormont. Those meetings are very early as they are breakfast meetings. I also attended a scrutiny committee in stormont but to be honest that was a bit unnerving as they are so precise and if you said the wrong thing the mps would rip you to shreds so to speak.

I did a mistry shopping experience for a charity called Adapt Ni. I did it to see just how accessible a place was for people with disabilities. That was scary but fun once i got in to it. I did feel kind of awkward though at the start. I think it is good doing things like that as lets people see if improvements can be made.

I took the plunge and
Got an ipad mini
I only got it because i wanted to take something with me when i was traveling and staying with my friends and i didn’t want to lug a heavy laptop around. I hardly ever use the laptop now and i also got an
as well. I’ve had a few problems with it as it turns itself off quite a lot. I took it in to Apple and they gave me a new one. This one still turns off but not as much so i’m seeing if it’s maybe some apps causing it or if it is the software. I love the fact that everything sinks and it seems so responsive compared to the old nokias.

I’ve spent a lot of time with my friend and also a lot of time with my uncle which is good. I’m still amazed at the transformation Ushi brings in my uncle. She really takes him out of himself.

While i’ve been at my friends, i’ve tried
A few old things, and some not so old It was good trying new things as well as things like singing again in a choir.

Throughout this year we’ve been meeting up with a puppywalker and her puppy. It’s been great having another dog for Ushi to run with as even though we have Angel we don’t take her out with us. It’s great meeting up with the puppywalker and her pup enjoys meeting up with Ushi and that too.

Talking of puppywalkers, I
Visited ushi’s puppywalkers
Which was brilliant. It was so nice to see where Ushi grew up so to speak and meet them in person. I think they really enjoyed seeing Ushi.

I visited Jordanstown again to talk to the kids about braille. It saddens me how the kids aren’t being taught it. Instead technology is leading the way. I understand that it might be easier for kids to learn technology but i didn’t have the choice like a sighted person wouldn’t have the choice not to learn print i think it should be the same for braille. I was meant to be going back in September to help teach the kids but nothing came of it which is disappointing. I did look in to seeing if i could teach it but there is nowhere that does it here unfortunately. I can’t force them to learn it though.

I got to
Drive a tractor Which was pure class.

Unfortunately there are a lot of issues running in our guide dogs fundraising branch. It’s such a shame because i really considdered the organiser as a friend. I will not be lectured by any of the other volunteers though. I will not be made to feel like crap because i texted asking to get a later train. I am a volunteer too. While it wasn’t the branch organiser directly other things have happened as well which have made me take a hard look at myself partly and just made me realise that perhaps i was wrapped around people’s fingers too much. I think these issues will run in to 2014 unfortunately. It is such a shame as it was simple things like good communication and talks and things being propperly organised which should have happened but didn’t. I do wish things were the way they were but somehow i don’t think they can ever be now. I am not going back to being wrapped around peoples fingers. I am not going to stand there and take another lecture like i did that day at the truck fest. I think that was what i learnt about the experience was to step back. I also know not to push my luck again and i will not text anyone to get another train unless i need to. I know that if anything else happens i can just walk away. I was always good at time keeping but now i am even more vidulent about it.

I attended a residential run by a program called Opportunity youth. I wasn’t going to because when i read what opportunity youth did i automatically thought no. I am glad i didn’t just go with my gut feeling for once as i had a great time. Me and Ushi were just treated like any of the rest of them. It certainly opened my eyes. When i look at my life it’s pretty peachy compared to what some of those girls went through. I would encourage anyone who isn’t in employment and education and who are 16 to 24 in Northern Ireland to apply. Some of the residential is hard but then life throws us things sometimes that are hard too.

I have started Yoga and i am glad that i am getting in to it more now. At the last class i braught something for ushi to lie on as she was very unsettled but it seemed that all she needed was something to lie on as she settled right down. I still sometimes think why do i do this but now that i’m getting in to it i am enjoying it more. The woman is great and one of the guys even showed us where the bus stop was and all.

I have also started an art group for visualy impaired people in Divice community centre. We are doing a print making project called ship to shore which is about the docs and that around belfast. I really do enjoy it as it’s something new. I like for that kind of thing to have something to work on as if i was just doing art on my own i wouldn’t know what to make at all.

Unfortunately my granny died earlier this year. She took a massive stroke. In a way it was good she did go because she wouldn’t have had any quality of life if she had survived. I know that’s hard to say but it wouldn’t have been fair on her living out her last years like a vegetable.

Finally i got nominated again for the young persons achievement award of the guide dog of the year awards. I wasn’t expecting to get nominated, yet alone win it!

That just about wraps everything up. I’m finally being able to post this after multiple refreshes from saphari. I have enabled posting by email until i can use the word press app again. I will just see what the year brings and keep doing what i’m doing.

I hope everyone has a healthy happy new year. Thanks for reading and i hope you’ll stick with me throughout the next year.