A few months ago, i explained that i wanted to do something different and was going to be abseiling down the Europa hotel in Belfast. I signed up and promptly forgot about it. That was until Today.
I arrived nice and early to the hotel because we needed to be there for 12.40 so getting the next train would have been too late. When i got to the hotel, i was immiediatly met by one of the door men, who i never knew existed and taken up to the second floor where the regestration desk for the abseil was located. As soon as we left the lift, we were surrounded by the buzz of people abseiling or who had just abseiled for other charities. I got in and got registered pretty quickly and was able to chat to some of the other people doing it. There were something like 100 people who had been doing it for The Cancer Fund for Children with a further 90 apparently going throughout the day. The hotel does the abseil once a month it seems with the
Belfast Activity centre
Organising the abseils. It was fascinating listening to everything going on and it passed the time nicely until our group arrived. There were 12 of us altogether who were doing it for
Angel Eyes NI
So we were well represented.
First of all, we were given numbers in order of who was going when. We then watched a dvd about the abseil, before eventually getting our harnesses and helmits on. We also had to wear gloves to stop the rope from burning our hands if we held it too tight. The gloves were rather large for my tiny hands lol. All the preparation took about an hour roughly by the time we got everything done that needed to be done.
Eventually, after a bit more waiting, we were taken up to the 12th floor. We then had to clamber up a huge spiral staircase as they are doing quite a lot of work on the roof itself. There were quite a lot of potential trip hazzards, but thankfully i had a fantastic guide to help me. At one point, there was a very very deep step down with nothing to hold on To. I had to be half lifted down because it was so deep, or it felt so deep. to me anyway.
After all that clambering, we were hooked up to the rope which was attached to a ladder. We then had to walk backwards to get the feeling of the rope and see how the rope could support your weight. I thought it was off for more practice work after that, but no, it was the real thing. The nerves were starting to kick in now alright. I kept telling myself that as long as i trusted the instructors and the ropes, i’d be fine. We were once again hooked up to the ropes, and i was told to sit down on the edge of the roof. I then had to hold on to a beam above me, duck down and face backwards with my feet on the wall of the hotel. The instructors were great and told me to take it slowly as i started to descend. It was then time for a photo before I whizzed down. I accidentally pushed away from the wall which made me eventually turn round to face the crowd which you aren’t rally meant to do lol. At least it was near the bottom though. Once i stood up, my legs were likejelly. We then headed back inside to take off our equipment.
There was another guide dog owner who did the abseil as well as me, so our dogs were brought back up to meet us. Ushi did her famous stop when she was taken down to the ground earlier as we thought it would be safer for them to be at street level rather than on the roof. Ushi apparently didn’t make eye contact with anyone the whole time she was away from me and looked as sad as she could until she was reunited with me bless her. We got a printed photo to keep which each of us could buy if we wanted.
We finished up in Robbinsons across the road afterwards for a well earned drink and to compare everyones experiences. It was a brilliant day and i found it easier abseiling down the hotel, than i did when i did it as part of the Grit plus residential i attended a few years ago. I would like to thank everyone for sponsoring me and for the Belfast activity centre for having us. I have attached a photo of me waiting to descend for anyone who is interested.
If you would like to donate to my page, you can still visit
My just giving page
Which stays open for another 3 months. You can also text the code “EUAB69” (all caps no spaces), plus your amount to 70070. Thank you again for the donations.
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.
I’m a terrible blogger. I’m only getting round to writing my post about how the belfast city marathon actually went. Between not having any motivation, and not knowing how to put it all in to words and having other things to do, i’ve been rather slacking. So sorry it’s late but here it is anyway.
I met my guide at central station at about 20 to 9 that day. We walked in to the city centre to the city hall from there. Already the crowds were starting to build and the roads were starting to close to traffic. It was so strange being able to walk across the roads without anything on them.
When we got to the city hall, the streets were litterally lined with thousands of people. There was music being played too. The main marathon runners went first, followed by the fun runners, followed by us walkers and finally the wheelchair crowd went after us. I wasn’t sure what to expect at all.
I did the walk with Ushi and i must say she worked it brilliantly. I really wasn’t sure how she’d take it not because she wasn’t fit enough, but because it was so crowded. We had to walk on the road at some points because it was so busy with spectators, and initially Ushi tried to get up on the kerb again, but she was okay walking on the road for a little while. We got straight up on the pavement after and stayed on it for as long as possible. Unfortunately there were times when there were slower walkers in front of us. Ushi kind of started tailgating, and pushing peoples legs ever so slightly lol. I didn’t even know she was doing it but she did it ever so subtle so that i wouldn’t notice. It made me giggle a bit. The two people who were guiding me were like “You might want to move ushi out a bit” and when i asked them why they explained what Ushi was doing lol.
Unfortunately the weather wasn’t too good, but we just put on our coats and got on with it. When we were travelling along the sydinham bypass though Ushi became black because all the dirt kept splashing up at us. My legs were covered. Ushi’s harness was disgusting.
There were different people cheering us at different points too. I thought they were just randomers lol. We finished in just under three hours i think but i didn’t get an official time. We finished in ormo park. There were different stalls and that but we just went home as one of the parents from Angel eyes needed to get back to Limavady. When we stopped though we really noticed the cold. It was quite chilly.
I really enjoyed the day even though it rained and we didn’t get our time. The medals we got were brilliant. They had all the people taking part for the different groups and it feels lovely. It is very tactile. The only other bad thing was i got an extra large tshirt because they had ran out of large or medium.
I would like to thank Sara and Michelle from Angel eyes for walking with me, but most of all i would like to thank Ushi. I couldn’t fault her at all. When you think about it she had a lot to contend with. Way above what she was used to. But she handled it beautifully. She wasn’t stressed at all and i made sure to give her water when we stopped. I would deffinetly do it again with Ushi next year. I would never do a full 26 miles with her no way. But an 8 mile walk to her is wee buns.
I would also like to thank everyone who has donated so far. My page will remain open for another months. If you would still like to donate, please either go to
my just giving page
Or text all caps no spaces BMCM51 to 70070. Any amount is appreciated.
Bring on next year, i say.
I have been asked to do a blog for
I’m not sure where to start, so I’ll just blog about what living paintings is, and how i heard about it.
I think my parents first heard of living paintings through my social worker. Living paintings is a charity who provide blind and partially sighted children with books. They have braille and print and the pictures are raised. They are on Thermothorm plastic. I think it’s not just a case of heating plastic, i think there is far more too it. The pictures are then described in detail.
I was a very impatient child. The thermothorm would tell you to feel all over the picture. So I did. My hands were away down the picture until I came across something interesting, before the tape had told me what the first thing was that I needed to look at.
I remember the first book i read. I think it was called Rosies walk, about a wee chicken who went for a walk. I remember having the book sprawled out over a wooden chair and the tape beside me. Mum and i would go through the book together.
When i was about 9, i became an edditor for the charity. This involved me getting a book before it was due to come out. I had to comment on the descriptions of the pictures and i had to say if there were any mistakes. I remember finding it quite boring, but mum said that i used to get very annoyed if my sister wanted to help me with it.
As well as doing childrens books, the charity also did packs for schools. I think i brought in a book about the normans if i remember correctly.
I remember being particualarly fond of a particular picture in a book once. I think it was just ros of books all raised up, but i could be wrong. Mum had written to Living paintings explaining how much i loved this picture. They sent me a spare copy of the picture which i put up on my bedroom door for years.
Living Paintings also do a range of adult books, ranging on art to fashion for teenagers. They have also moved from 4 cassette tapes, to cds.
Living paintings is a great charity, and it brings pictures alive for blind and partially sighted people. The “Feel happy” library for children still goes on today. I am so glad i found out about this. Thank you Living paintings :).
I’m probably mad, but i have decided to enter the Belfast city marathon. I’m not doing the full marathon though. As my dad says, “only run when
you’re being chased”. Instead, i’m doing the 9 mile walk. I haven’t done anything like this before, and i’m still hmming and haing. It’s too late though
as i’ve already registered.
I’m doing the walk for
angeleyes Northern Ireland
Which i’ve mentioned before. I figured that since they are a small charity and i believe support in the early days of a blind or partially sighted childs
life is vital. I am so greatful that my parents got the right support for me so that’s another reason why i am running, or walking, for angel eyes.
If anyone wants to register for their own charity, you can go to
The belfast city marathon page
It costs £24 to register and you have until the 5th April.
I didn’t want to turn this in to a begging post, bit if you fancy sponsoring me, you can go to
“>My just giving page
You can even text any aamount you want. Just text all caps BMCM51 to 70070.
I’ll be greatful for any amount, or even some company.
Thank you for supporting me or sharing or whatever. Sorry this is becoming a begging post though but i really do appreciate anything that you can give.
I just thought i’d let you all know about a country and western concert the Ballymena and Antrim branch of guide dogs are holding. It starts at 8 PM and there will be a raffle too. One of our local papers,
Has published a piece
About it listing all the artists who will be performing.
I’m not taking ushi because there would be nowhere for her to go if she didn’t like the music. If there was maybe a room off to the side or something i would have braught her and we could have sat there, but she can have a night at home instead.
I know alot of you probably won’t be able to come, but i thought i’d mention it anyway. It’s always a bit of craic anyway. I’m not really looking forward to it but i should be alright when we get there.
Maybe i’ll see some of you there!
Tonight, me, the branch organiser, the treasurer and another branch member went to
Carniny Primary School
In Ballymena. It was a big christmas fair thing. There were lots of stalls and i think there were some other charities but i’m not sure what they were or if all the other stalls were just for people to buy things off and it maybe go to the school or something.
I thought we would all be in a hall, and was wondering how crowded that was going to be but thankfully we were in classrooms which was good. When we came in we had two or three boys directing us to where we needed to go lol.
I was sitting just behind the door so people would see us i suppose. One of the teachers was dressed up as an elf and ushi found this quite fascinating. She wanted to take his hat!
There was quite a crowd of people who came in to buy things or just to look at the dog. From little kids to parents to teachers to other stall holders. Ushi was fascinated by everything and just sat there looking up and down the corridor. At one point she lay right in the doorway of the classroom! I presume that was so that people would notice her lol.
We eventually moved in a bit as people were having to step over her and other people couldn’t get in to look at the other stalls. She still tried to get nearer the door.
At one point she had about three or four kids around her all calling her name and asking for her paw. She gave it to them which i was surprised about. She normally gets bored of it!
One kid couldn’t understand how ushi could be so big for being two. (My little 8 year old brother had this problem too lol). I explained that you get big and small dogs just like you get some tall people and some small people. He was just like oh right.
I was amazed at how generous the kids were being. They litterally came and put any change into the donation box without being asked to. There was even one kid who sponsored a puppy and then another who baught something and litterally put all her change into the box. This was little kids too. I was so shocked. I’m sure alot of adults wouldn’t be so generous.
I could tell by the end (we were there for three hours with a constant stream of people) that Ushi was getting tired because it was a bit of an effort to get her out of her down position to say Hi to everyone. She still managed it though.
Ushi even managed to see Santa (my rehab worker has a son who goes to the school so he was dressed up as Santa). Ushi went mad to see him and was wagging furiously! When i let her say hi she didn’t want to though!
She hasn’t moved from her bed since we got home lol. Talking of beds, i’ve decided to make Ushi a new cover for her bed. The one she has the cover can come off but the main bed can’t be washed. I’m using a pair of old jeans so hope she finds it comfortable!
It was a good night and one kid even came up to me at the end and handed me a little cone of sweets and a chocolate lolly!
That is all the fundraising events for the year. We are heading out for a meal on Tuesday though so that should be good. I’m not bringing Ushi though as the time of year it is probably wouldn’t be the best for her as it would be incredibly busy. So she can chill while i stuff myself!
I’ve also got a couple of posts to do next week that i haven’t got around to writing yet lol.
Have a good weekend!