Back to it again

Hello again, 

Hope you’re all well. This week has been the first week in about four months I have had to leave the house for work. This involves me getting on the train. 

The first day back on the train was ok. The conductor helped me on the train and to find a seat. If someone offers to find me a seat I say yes. The reason is that I have learned it takes away the visual stress of having to do this myself. As the trains are busier than I expected this is something I will continue to do. 

When I go into the station I use on my way to work I found that the one way system has been changed. This now means there is no one way system on the platforms themselves. Only on the bridge routes linking the platforms together. This I can see making life a bit more difficult as things get busier. If they keep the one way system on the bridges it will really help. 

One ways systems are better for Visually Impaired and Blind people because we don’t have to worry about navigating people coming towards us. It really reduces the levels of visual stress. 

Once I am off of the main bridge and down towards the barriers things became a bit stressful. The reason being they are relaying the floor. So there are barriers which means my brain cannot easily find a quick route around them. It wasn’t too busy so I just took a bit of time and wandered slowly where everyone else was going. Once through the barriers I noticed the same thing. I stopped. 

The issue is not just the visual stress, but the unexpectedness of the train station having work done to it. Once I knew where I could walk I just focussed on the exit and made my way towards it. 

The next issue with all of this is that I am using my long cane. This means I am sweeping the floor to find out where things are. So when a surface changes it can impact how I am going to navigate my way through the station. After a few trips to work and home I am feeling a bit better about it. 

I just want the work to be quickly so I don’t have to deal with ongoing upgrades to this station. 

The work they are doing though is very good. It will definitely modernise the station which is something that has been needed for years. One of the biggest improvements is the new glass ceiling. It really lets in a lot of light. Which compared to how it previously was is so much better. The ceiling used to be old darkened wood. 

Please be mindful while you are out and about as a lot of people are feeling anxious. Disabled People find travel difficult at the best of times and we are having to navigate a new way of travelling. We want to be able to get out, get to work, see our friends. We just need you to be patient with us. Going back to normal is a scary thought for some of us. I am not looking forward to jam packed trains and people pushing and shoving me because they can’t wait. Lets just be nicer and be mindful of others as we ease out of this lock down. 

Be back soon, 

Philippa B. 

While you’re here please check out my fundraising page.

my guide cane is in the foreground, there are two blue seats the background facing me, with two 'Out Of Use' signs pace on the tops of the seat.

Where to sit?

April Update

Hello again, 

How are you?

I am dropping in to tell you about the last few weeks. 

It’s been quite difficult in some ways as I had a piece in the news paper about my fundraising. Talking about being born with Congenital Heart Disease is very difficult. It was hard to articulate my emotions around it and my feelings now I am going to be turning 30. Having my story shared in the paper was a good thing overall as it hopefully has allowed me to make other people feel less alone. 

One thing I have aimed to do with this fundraising is to share my story as it may help others feel less alone. When you are going through something as horrible as my family did, you are feeling alone. You don’t know what do. So by me sharing my story I hope to also make other people feel like there can be hope. Hope that their child can have a future. 

As well as raising the £3000 for the British Heart Foundation and the Children’s Heart Surgery Fund, I also want to encourage people to think about the long term impacts of Heart Disease. For myself it was just the beginning. If you have read any of my other blogs you will know I am also Visually Impaired. This has a massive impact on my life. Heart Disease is not just about your heart, it is everything else which goes with it. 

But this blog is not a woe is me, it’s a look what I am doing with the problems I have. I am aiming to raise awareness in the hope that others know that they are not on their own. That no matter what happens I hope they can find the support they need to live their lives as much as possible. I know I am very lucky. Even with all my other health problems. It’s about what you make of what you’ve got. 

Please do not assume that I am happy all the time, everyone has days where they feel down. Emotions are a part of life. If you need help I hope you can find someone to help. That help can even be in the form of just reading this blog to know you are not alone and someone out there understands a bit of how you’re feeling.

I have found it so moving hearing from people who they have in their lives who has a heart condition. It makes me feel connected to them in some way. It makes me really want to keep pushing on and raise this money. 

Me on the front page of the Yorkshire Evening Post. Headline 'I will be forever greatful'
Yorkshire Evening Post

In the past few days my fundraising has reached £1347!!! I have to reach £3k. That will be £1500 for each charity. If you can donate please follow this link. If you can share my page please do. Thank you so much for your kind donations in helping me to raise this money. It really means a lot to me.

Thank you for reading my blog.

If you want to follow me on instagram it’s @VisuallyImpairedPip

or my fundraising Twitter @PhilippaB 

World Book Day

Hello all, 

I’m back after my Covid Vaccine, but that’s to be written about in another blog. I am feeling very grateful though that I received the vaccine. 

Today is World Book Day and for as long I can remember I have loved books. I always enjoyed English at school and it was probably one of my favourite subjects. No wonder I opted for an English based Degree in Media Studies. 

Do you remember in primary school when you used to get a new book? There was one occasion I remember trying to pick a book and putting it back and choosing from another basket. The teacher told me I had to chose a book which went alongside my reading level. This irritated me. I told them what kind of books I was reading at home and didn’t understand why I had to chose from the book box with my reading level. Eventually we came to a decision. If I read the books and brought them back quickly then I could move up the levels quicker. I did this and got to read harder books and proved a point which we all knew I could do, but for the sake of the system I had to have it noted down. 

Looking at a  book shelf, there isa clock on the all above.

Reflecting on this and the fact that it is World Book Day I have been wondering how many books was I aware of when I was younger which featured Disabled people? What is that representation like now? 

Looking back I do not really remember that many books, especially from when I was younger which featured Disabled characters. Thinking about this I have just asked my Mum if there was a character in the Biff and Chip books who was a wheelchair user. She says there was. 

For World Book Day I have done a bit of looking around and found that there are some great books available which represent Disabled Children. A great article I found was in the HuffPost about a variety of books which feature Disabled people as the main characters. In the article there are a number of different representations, the best part is that in some of the books the Disability isn’t even the main plot line. Which is fantastic. After reading it I sent the article to a friend who teaches in a primary school and they loved it.

Part of the problem is not just having books about Disabled people, but also having them be written by Disabled people as well. So you know that as a Disabled child  ‘hey this book has someone in it like me’ then they can be told the Author is like them too. It is about allowing people to see themselves in stories and know that the person behind the story is able to understand how they feel. 

Whilst looking at wether representation is better today than it was when I was in school I came across Pablo and the Noisy Party. There is a TV series linked with the book which is brilliant because as we all know everyone learns differently. Written on the books Trust Website is ‘This empowering series competently reflects neurodiversity and like the TV series, has been developed by writers who are themselves on the Autistic spectrum, and is based on real-life experiences.’ When I saw this quote on Books Trust it made me smile to know that the comment I made in the previous paragraph is trying to be addressed. Children need to not only see themselves in books, but know those writing them are like them too. 

The other part of the problem is having access to these books for all children. It can not just be the case that we talk about them only to parents of Disabled children. They need to be in book boxes in every school. Otherwise how does it just become the norm that the woman in the street is using her white stick to feel the floor beneath her feet and get around safely? Or that the man wears headphones in the supermarket and hums quietly as he puts his items into his basket because he could be Autistic? 

These questions need to be addressed and by writing this blog have made you a bit more aware that these books are out there. You just need to look. But them being out there is not enough. They need to be in classrooms and libraries and they need to be seen as the norm. Hopefully by writing this and also in sharing the book list with my friend I have done something to help make a difference. 

Here are the links below to some of the things I discovered whilst doing this blog. 

Until next time,

Philippa B.

If you have enjoyed this blog and would consider donating to my fundraising for The British Heart Foundation and the Children’s Heart Surgery Fund, please click here

Pablo and the Noisy Party https://www.booktrust.org.uk/book/p/pablo-and-the-noisy-party/ 

Fun in the Sun https://www.scope.org.uk/advice-and-support/storybooks-featuring-disabled-children/ 

Disability Horizons- https://disabilityhorizons.com/2019/09/8-books-with-a-disabled-character-as-the-lead-or-focus-of-the-story/

A Quick Update

Hello, 

This week I have been taking some time away from Twitter. That’s why my blog didn’t go up on Monday as it normally should do. 

Part of the reason for taking time away is the need to reduce screen time. Working from home is nice and I like it in some ways. Not having to deal with public transport. Not having to put up with people staring at me as use my cane, yes I’m Visually Impaired, I can see stuff- just not as much as I’d like. 

It has been nice not being on Twitter, putting my phone on silent and just spending time away from my devices. I’ve also had 4 days off in a row as I booked in some holiday. So this was the perfect time to take time away from my devices as well. 

Over the past two weeks I have found myself busy with work, which is another reason for me to have some much needed screen time. I get quite involved with areas which I am passionate about and then I tend to use up a lot of energy in doing so. Maybe this was a bit of burn out? Who knows. 

The other thing I have noticed is that I need to be kinder to myself with my cycling challenge. I feel as though I need to push myself more to get the miles done. Which I do, but I also need to remember that this is a challenge for myself to raise the money. I have been quite open about my Scoliosis and how it effects my cycling challenge. I am pleased with myself, I have raised £1087 without gift aid. The charity’s which I am supporting are The Children’s Heart Surgery Fund and The British Heart Foundation. I aim to raise £3000 before August 2021. Here is a link to my ‘What’s virtually happening page’. 

A yellow daffodil

So that is me for this week. Just a quick update. Be kind to yourself. Remember Spring is coming, so we’ll be able to play outside more soon.

I’m on Twitter: @PhilippaB

I’m on Instagram: @VisuallyImpairedPip