30 June 2007

Have cane, will travel

Getting around town when blind is difficult - at least it is here - I realised this a long time ago but it has recently hit home just how bad it is. I tried getting around Cambridge at New Year, when it was dark and there were few people around for me to get in the way of, and that was bad but here it's worse.

Cambridge - the parts I was in at least - has had the good sense to not pave its footpaths with uneven lumps of rock and its pedestrian crossings have the decency to beep when it's safe for people to cross the road. Here the marketplace and most of the surrounding streets (i.e. the main portion of the pedestrianised shopping and entertainment district of the city) are paved with either slabs that are unevenly laid or cobbles dating back to the Victorian era at the very least.

I have found one pedestrian crossing that beeps when it's safe to cross and even then it's hard to hear over the noise of the traffic on the nearby not-quite-a-motorway which, because our civic leaders have a sense of humour, runs through the middle of the city. This town is a death trap for blind people.

You might be wondering why I complained about the cobbles and uneven paving slabs. The reason is simple: to use my cane, you have to run the roller tip along the floor in front of you. I believe it is canes of this sort that influenced the addition of lumps to the paving slabs at pedestrian crossings - when you feel the cane run over them, you know you're at a crossing. It's very useful.

Now, bearing in mind the fact that when out and about I'd be running a cane along the ground, when I hit cobblestones, the cane starts to bounce and more often than not I'll catch it between the cobbles. This usually stops the cane moving, but I'm usually walking forward when this happens. Ever had five feet of metal rammed into your ribs? I have; it's not pleasant. The same thing happens with uneven paving slabs.

I'm sure there's a workaround for this but I've yet to work it out.

24 June 2007

Don't worry, I'm not dead

It's been a few months since I had the time to write anything in here and I'm starting to get people e-mailing me to make sure I'm still alive. Rest assured, I'm still here. The depression BIID can cause has not made me do anything stupid.

Anyway, I'm back now I have free time again so rest assured I will write something when I have something to write.