2016 In Review

It’s that time once again for the anual year in review post. It seems to have come around quickly this year. It’s been another busy year for me life wise, but i’m afraid i’ve neglected the blog again and haven’t written for a while. I do mean to blog, but i never get round to it. So in no particular order, here is my year and some of the things i’ve got up to.

The year started with the art class i’m part of having an exhibition in the Ulster Hall. The theme for this was the natural world. We made plaster paris tiles and canvases for it. For the plaster paris tiles, i put things from shells and pine cones, to an imprint of a crows skull that my sister had ordered online for photos as she likes doing photography. I thought it looked cool when i put it in the plaster. For my canvases, i made an autumn sceen and a tulip which was as if you were looking at it through a microscope so it looked bigger than what it was. It was good to get our work noticed in somewhere like the Ulster hall.

It was a relief to finally get all the legal stuff with my uncles’ house sorted. It took quite a long time, and there were a few niggly things that needed chased up and such, but in March, we could hand over the keys and be done with it. Selling a house really isn’t as easy as it sounds unfortunately.

In March, i
Abseiled down the Europa hotel
For Angel Eyes NI. It was great craic and i found it easier than abseiling off a cliff which i did at the Grit Plus residential a couple of years ago. The hotel was very smooth to go down. Unfortunately i ended up with the flu for the next week. I could feel it working on me the day of the abseil, but put it down to tiredness. I also met a youth worker i knew about 16 years ago too that day. He used to work at an organisation called the Blind Centre. I think i was about 9 or so when i went to the Blind centre.

I attended an interesting experiment at Queens’ University all about how peoples brain waves reactive when they hear audio description. You had to listen to different pieces of audio described information and your brain waves were measured. It’ll be interesting to find out the results from that.

I attended the
May Fest sports weekend
Which was run by the folks at
Vision Sports Ireland
The weekend was fantastic. From the minute i set foot in Dublin, i was made to feel welcome. Not that people up here aren’t nice, but everybody down in Dublin couldn’t do enough, i thought. They didn’t care that i had never been to their events before. From the lady on the train who helped me get to my hotel, to the staff at the Maples hotel, to the lady who lived opposite the hotel and made sure i got on the right bus to go to the Alsaa, and everyone else in between. It was deffinetly a worth while weekend.

We got gas heating installed which was a bit of a hassle getting put in. It involved a lot of work to nearly every room in the house so that new pipes could be laid as we had oil heating before that. I managed to be out that day as i hate work being done, even though it needs to be. I just hate the mess and disruption it causes. Once it was all done though, it was worth it. My sister and i treated ourselves to a wooden floor in the bedroom after and got someone in to replaster the walls.

I was elected chair of the disability pannel for our health trust which i was honoured to accept. I was also asked to speak at the leadership conference for the trust in November.It was a very important conference.

I have still been just as involved with fundraising with guide dogs and campaigning too as well as still taking the minutes on the Angel Eyes Board.

There was a
Goalball taster session
Which i attended through Disability Sport Northern Ireland. I had played Goalball years ago, so it was nice to get back in to it again. There have been a couple of sessions in Derry since, but hopefully more will come to Belfast again.

I attended my first Ice hockey game and it was a brilliant experience as i’d never been to a game before.. While i wouldn’t go mad over it, it was good enough that i would possibly go to another game if the opportunity came again.

I am still parkrunning, and have completed my 93rd parkrun. I am still walking it, but i have tried a little running. I say a little, because i take it day by day as to if i will run or not and only run a tiny bit. I still am on the fence on that one.

Ushi is working well now, but we’ve had our little blips this year where she refused to go out of our estate and was lagging way behind when i tried to go for a walk. I had to bribe her with a little bit of cheese and guide dogs help to get her past that stage. It did worry me though given how sudden it was and her age. She will be 8 in February, so i have spoken to guide dogs about her. I want to work her and transition smoothly to a new dog, but as i said to guide dogs, she is working well at the minute, but i want to make sure i am doing the right thing by her and am not sure how to proceed. We’ll just keep an eye on her but thankfully we are blip free and working well at the minute.

I recently got back in to Yoga after not going for nearly 2 years. I didn’t mind doing the yoga up in Belfast, but i usually had to leave around 4 to get the 5 train to get something to eat, then get the bus round to the yoga studio. The yoga started at 8 and finished at half 9 so i wasn’t home until gone half 11 as the last train home is at 20 to 11. The woman who taught the yoga was brilliant, but it was such an effort to go each week that the motivation started to wane a little. About a month after i got rid of my yoga bag and mat as i thought i wouldn’t go again since i hadn’t in 2 years, i went to a yoga class in Rasharkin as part of a community day and wondered if there was a yoga class in Ballymena i could go to. Thankfully i found a class about 20 minutes walk away which means i can leave at half 6 and be home for about half 8. Again the teacher is brilliant at explaining things and i’m glad i have got back in to it again.

Unfortunately the earphone jack on my ipad mini stopped working after 3 years of having it. Since i use my ipad to take minutes of meetings and such, i figured it wouldn’t be good if i didn’t have earphones. So my sister has my old ipad as it still works apart from that and i have a new one. I had to get a new keyboard though as the ipad fell out of my old one since i had a thicker screen protector on it.

All in all, it’s been a good year. I have no plans for next year at all, but i hope it’s as busy as this year has been. I never make plans for the year, i just see what happens. I hope everybody has a happy new year and i look forward to next year 🙂 thank you all for reading as always.