Today we went up to my uncles house to get a few things as i had mentioned in my last post. I really was not looking forward to it at all.
First of all though, i went to my art class i have on a Thursday morning. That was good as usual. I can’t wait to learn the route to the community centre where it’s held though as it’s only a 20 minute walk away.
I then went in to town and met my dad and sis. We were going to get the bus up to my uncles, but i suggested that we walk up as it would probably do us all good and it would be a good walk for Ushi. It took us about 40 minutes which wasn’t too bad.
When we entered the house, we went straight upstairs because there were some not nice stains and flies and such downstairs. We didn’t really want Ushi sniffing around either. Even though the place was fumigated, the carpets or anything weren’t lifted, which wasn’t that nice to see i’m sure. It may have been just stains, but we didn’t want to take that risk.
Thankfully my aunt had cleared out the fridge and such and turned off the electric which was good. His Gas was also turned off too.
There was a big 15 kilo bag of Ushi’s old food which i got before i switched her to the burns and never got rid of it. It was in an airtight container, but dad said it probably wouldn’t be good going to anyone else. It’s a shame really as it’s just a waist otherwise.
Unfortunately i was not in good form when dad and my sister were clearing out things as i couldn’t actually do anything. I hate resting on my lorrals and feeling like a spare part. I know there wasn’t much i could do, but it was a bit boring just sitting there while everyone else did things. I’ve always hated being a spare part though. I told myself to wise up though and not be so selfish.
When we left, and were walking back in to town, i started to cheer up again. We walked around town for a bit before heading to get the train back to Ballymena. Dad found some pictures of us as kids that he gave to mum to keep which she appreciated. Dad found an old braille slate and cards explaining the contractions for braille. I asked mum about it and apparently my uncle had asked mum for it so he could braille out christmas cards to me. That was something he kept quiet. Sweet though.
So it was a difficult day for all of us. My dad said it wasn’t pleasant at all looking through his things and that. I’ve said that i will stay at home if anything else needs done, not because i’m heartless, but because there really is no point me being there.
Again i’m just so thankful that we didn’t find him. I think i will always be greatful that i wasn’t with him at the time when it happened.
Off to bed for me shortly. It’s been a long day.
So my uncle has been dead now for about 2 months now. It’s hard to believe. When i want to tell him things, i know i can’t now. Thankfully though, it wasn’t due to his bipollar or anything at all. He had had a massive heart attack which couldn’t have been prevented. It was a genettic condition he had. My granda died the very same way too, and it can be traced right back in mums side of the family. It only affected males though.
Unfortunately he had lay in the house for a few weeks, so the house needed to be fumigated by a specialist team. I am so thankful that we didn’t find him though. Or that we weren’t up at the house when it happened. It sends shivers up my spine to think what would have happened if i had been alone with him when it happened, for example.
Tomorrow my sister, dad and i are going up to the house to take some of our stuff we had left at his over the months. We may take some more things, depending what is in good condition to keep. Me and my sister have been generously left the house by my uncle which was such a nice thought. We haven’t decided what we’ll do with it yet though.
I’m kind of dreading going up to be honest. I know it is ours now, but it seems weird rummaging round his house. It kind of brings it home too. I wasn’t really affected by his death, but i did think of him a lot. But going up to what was his house will deffinetly bring it home alright. We don’t even know what state the house will be in. It’ll probably be freezing.
I hope we don’t spend too long there to be honest as i only have a couple things to grab and i don’t know, but i’m kind of weirded out about the whole thing.
I’m just going to treat the house as if it’s just an empty house, otherwise we won’t want to go in to it at all. I just felt a need to get my feelings out on to paper as it were.
So once again, rip Uncle Stephen, and thank you for all you did for us. You were totally great. I do miss texting you. I often think about when you phoned me to explain why you couldn’t text and that you had a weird illness. I think of the last texts i sent you when i said about you going to stay with Granny. Sorry i doubted in my head that you couldn’t because you couldn’t travel. I hope you’re happy where ever you are..
I was casually reading through old posts, and discovered that the “Feel happy” post that i had written back in April just ended. The perfectionist screamed at me to fix it, so i have just edited it. I don’t know how i could be so stupid. The worst thing was that i sent it to Living Paintings in the first place!
Anyway here is the post from April, which has been corrected. Sorry to those who i sent this to earlier.
From John, I thought i’d write about my relationship with the cane and when i first got it.
When i was a child, i had a fantastic social worker who taught me how to use the cane when i was about the age of three or 4. Now this was before canes were designed especially for kids, so my cane was a tiny simbol cane, which was painted pink and had little bells on the end of it. I called that cane Annabell after my classroom assistant at my nursery school. I wasn’t really that keen on using Annabell though, because i couldn’t understand why nobody else had to use a cane. Unfortunately poor Annabell was stopped when i went to school, as the school didn’t like any of its blind pupils using a cane unless it was with the mobility officer there. So poor Annabell now resides in a cupboard, probably never to see the light of day again. I’m not even sure if she still exists.
When i was at school, i just had to trail the walls which was basically having your hands at about waist height and trailing the walls with the back of your hand. It was horrible when you hit your fingers off horribley sticky out door jams. Not to mention the massive radiators which were at knee height and were ever so painful if you walked in to them as they were big chunky things.
I didn’t get to use a cane until i was about 12. The mobility officer in school didn’t really teach me much. In fact i learnt more from my rehab worker who had started working with me at home at that time, than i ever did at school.
I remember when i started learning the cane with my rehab worker at home. We went to where my social worker works. It is a day centre but that part is upstairs. Anyway the downstairs part has long straight corridors. The very first cane i used was a pencil tip one. It wasn’t recommended much as it would get stuck in cracks in the pavement and such. I eventually moved on to a roller ball when i was propperly measured for a cane.
I remember trying to walk in step with the cane (I don’t really walk in step even now), learning about traffic, different surfaces through the cane, pinging off every lamppost, the first route you learn with a cane…i could go on. I wonder out of interest if i would still remember that first route i learnt with the cane. Hmmmm. Even the first time i had to ask for assistance was hard.
I worked with the cane up until i was about 18 but yet i still could never see eye to eye with it. I had a good technique and could use it pretty well, but i was never that keen. I think it could have been because i didn’t have it from 5 to 12, so that is such a long time without support. Maybe i might have liked and used it more. Plus maybe if i had to use it to get places rather than relying on my family, i might have used it more too. Who knows.
I was very hard on myself when i used the cane. I had to be perfectly straight, perfectly alined, I had to know my left from my right. I remember on a couple of occasions beating myself up ridiculously when i was told when i applied for a guide dog that i had a
For example, or when i kept making mistakes and i
Got in a tiz over my left and rights
Note that it was me putting all that pressure on myself.
I have great admiration for people who can use their cane full time. I personally use a dog, but it’s all different strokes for different folks.
So what are everyone elses experiences of the cane? Would it be your friend, or fo? If you have got this far, thank you. That was a massive case of word vomit there. Thank you for reading though :).
On Sunday Ushi and i took part in an event called
Which is a womens only event sponsored by the Belfast telegraph. It’s been going for about 7 or 8 years i think now all across northern ireland. It was organised by the team over at
This was my first experience of Run her. I was going to go to one in June which was down in Larne, but unfortunately that didn’t happen due to a very poor taxi service, but that’s for another time. Anyway this run her event was being held at Titanic quarter in Belfast and it was at 2 o’clock.
As well as the main run her, there was a “Big school run” which was for all secondary aged pupils. There was also a “Dash for kids” which was for the younger runners. This was the first time holding these two other events, and judging from what i’ve heard, it was a great success. Both these races were 5 k (3 miles) and they happened before the main event.
When i arrived at Titanic quarter, i was met by Julie, my guide for the day. A woman who was also on the train down with me helped me too. First port of call was pack collection as i needed to get my race number and timing chip. This was my first time using a timing chip which is a little disk that you tie on to your shoe laces. This information got me in a panick, as i don’t wear shoes with laces-i could never quite grasp that technique. One of the pure running team suggested i tie it on to Ushi’s collar, which worked a treat. I never thought of that. As well as having Julie, i planned to work ushi round the course which was 10 k (6 miles). I thought since she had done the
Belfast marathon 8 mile walk
Back in May, and the fact that she does parkrun, she’d be grand working the 10 k. If of course she showed any signs of not wanting to do the course i’d have respected that.
While we waited for the race to start, Julie showed me what was in my pure running goody bag. I got 3 cartons of Ocean spray Crambery juice, a pen, a voucher for an hours physio at a place called Apex physio, a voucher for Funderland, which is a fun fair type thing, some sort of seeds, a pure running t shirt, and some sugar free chocolate, which was nice at the time, but it upset the apple cart inside me a bit later on lol.
Finally, it was time to head down to the start line.
were there with a big bus thing they have for broadcasting outside. One of the djs Sonya mac was there too. There was a guy called fitness Freddy was getting a lot of the runners warmed up before the race. You could either run or walk it.
After the warm up, all the runners went first, followed by the walkers. Dame Mary Peters was walking it too. She won a lot of gold medals in the ollympics in the 1970s, so she’s a bit of a hero here. There is a track named after her too. While the women ran or walked, the husbands were left to babysit. There were lots of activities for the kids though.
The course took in a lot of belfast. We went past the old Harlind and Wolf shipyards, up round the back of Bombardia, back round in a loop to the cranes that were used to move the titanic, past the old docs, over a bridge that linked titanic quarter with Holywood, in through Victoria park and back the way we came. I’m sure i’ve missed out something, but there was a lot of looping round to make it up to 6 miles. There were marshils all along the route cheering us all on. There were quite a few women from
Who know me from parkrun doing the run and cheering me along the way.
Ushi worked the route brilliantly, only stopping for busy stops and when we were in Victoria park. She didn’t really like when we had to go on the road sometimes though as that was the only way to go and the roads were closed to traffic.
My guide Julie was fantastic. She was a little nervous at the start, but once she got in to the swing of it, she was grand. We had some laughs along the way.
We finished the course in 2 hours, 2 minutes which i was pleased about. The timing chip didn’t register though as you have to step on these mats and it dings. It must go on your weight though as it didn’t register Ushi stepping on it at all. I still got my time though which was fab. I got a mention on Cool fm and got to meet Mary Peters. I got my picture taken with her which is at the top of this post. I also got a running jacket from Pure running. It is a very thin jacket because it is made of a breathable material to stop sweat and such. Obviously it would probably be too cold to wear it now that it is getting colder, but it will be useful for when it’s maybe humid but too warm for a big coat. I can’t wait to wear it.
I would like to thank Pure running for organising the whole thing, and for the telegraph for sponsoring it. I would also like to thank Julie and most of all Ushi for letting me work her round the course. I would like to thank Dame Mary Peters for saying hello and staying until i could meet her. I think there could have been some more water stops as there was only one, but i had water with me anyway.
It was a fabulous day and the sun shone :).
Grrrrr alert. Please don’t shoot me down.
I am planning to do a 6 mile walk with Ushi on Sunday. I will have someone with me, but i plan to work ushi. I have just read a comment saying that it might be too much for her. I did an 8 mile walk in may for the belfast marathon, and ushi loved it. Guide dogs were worried about the crowds, but the only problem i had was Ushi tailgated the slower walkers and kind of pushed them gently with her head. I had plenty of time to stop and wasn’t rushing her.
I do a parkrun walking every week which is 3 miles. She stops loads on it because it’s open and there are so many smells. She does this when she is off her harness too so i know it isn’t because i work her on it. Again i have someone with me. She gets up every saturday morning when she sees me getting ready and sometimes she stays home but it is her who decides.
When i do the 10 k on Sunday which is 6 miles, she will have plenty of time to stop and water along the way. Her feet will be waxed with paw wax beforehand to stop any sore pads as it is used to stop salt cracking their paws but i use it for if i know we’re walking lots too.
I never do any event without making sure ushi can do it and if at any time she showed signs of not wanting to do it i would respect that.
So is it cruel to be doing so much walking? I would draw the line at 8 or 9 miles because i know i would be being unrealistic if i wanted her to do any more. We walk all the time because we don’t have a car.
I would never do anything to indanger Ushi’s life. I did suggest to another guide dog owner about doing the 6 mile walk, but obviously it depends on the dog and i was just suggesting.
Am i a bad person?
Sorry for the ramble.