Today i wanted to go to a thing up in the guide dogs office, so decided to get the bus up. I’ve only used the bus once before to Cushendall, so technically it wasn’t my first independent journey today. Suggesting it was the hardest part though. My family are quite good, but for some reason they weren’t so keen for me to do independent travel. They came up with very good excuses like how would you know where you were going etc. Thankfully they agreed no problem this time.
I asked on facebook if anyone was going just to see if someone could meet me off the bus. A guide dog owner said she would so that was fab.
Me and the branch organiser went to a presentation first, to collect a cheque that a school in Antrim had raised for us. We walked in to the kids doing something called “brain gym” which was where they were bouncing up and down and stuff. It was to help kids who had reading difficulties. Ushi thought this was great and wanted to join in! Then the bell was rang for the kids to go to assembly. I think 10 o’clock is deffinetly a good time for assembly rather than when we had it at a quarter past 9! Suppose that got it over and done with though. The kids had held a non uniform day and raised £232 for us which was brilliant. Members of the school counscil and the boy who suggested it were invited up to give us our cheque.
After that, other certificates were presented for a five asside football ternament, and then the branch organiser was asked if she would help present the certificates for the “star of the week”. This was for kids who tried really hard at their reading, team work etc. It was pictures next for the Times and the guardian. Ushi jumped on top of the photographer and started licking away lol. I had kept her harness on just because i thought she would be calmer. No chance!
The branch organiser left me to the bus station after that. I didn’t realise we were going to be finished so early, but thankfully there was a bus just pulling in. So the branch organiser got me a seat and then got off again. I was panicking when it came to my stop, and wondered would the driver actually tell me, but he did more than that, he pulled up to right outside the station, and got a passenger to make sure i was alright when we got inside. the man unfortunately was a bit elderly so it was a case of “right you’re inside now”. I said i would text my friend and the next thing i knew he had gone! I stood waiting for a while until one of the staff came up to see what the craic was. I said i was waiting for someone but asked if he would take me to a seat. I said my friend was a guide dog owner so he said he’d keep an eye out. My friend then phoned to say that the person who was dropping her off would give us both a lift up to the guide dogs office. I hope i didn’t confuse the poor man though when he came back to tell me that there were no guide dog owners yet. He seemed grand though and wished me well as i left.
When we got to the guide dog office, Ushi and the other dog who was there, Zeta, went mad as soon as they got out of the car. They ran round the carpark like maniacs. I was dreading in case anyone looked out of the window and thought i couldn’t control Ushi or something. They eventually came back to us though and we harnessed them up. We were very early for what we were doing, so the girls played together as we sat and chatted for a while.
The thing we were taking part in was a project run by RNIB and the heritage fund or something. It is called “a sense of the past” and it’s all about the last hundred years and visual impairment. When it’s finished it will be produced in print and audio and there will also be an exhibition to try and make museums and that accessible. That’s what i understand anyway! Guide dogs decided to do a piece too on it. There were four of us together. Some of the things the two older guide dog owners told us were just shocking. Things like how before the centre opened here you had to go to exiter or forfar in Scotland. You qualified there and then were sent home. You didn’t really get matching visits apparently they just assessed you and worked on that info. If you had trouble you had to wait weeks before someone could come and see you.
They also talked about what working a dog was like during the troubles. It was all very interesting stuff.
At about three o’clock, we were all sent home early as the snow got very heavy. It’s a good job i did go home with a member of staff though since they offered, as the busses weren’t able to go because of the snow.
Apart from that it was a great day!