Thursday, 31 March 2011

Coming Soon - lets talk positive!

Pic: of large green tick 

I've been amazed at the feedback from both the Blog and the Documentary - mainly from sighted people who are surprised that there are blind people who are out there, holding down a job, getting out and about, being professional. 

Readers of my Blog come from, Australia, Korea, Japan, Netherleands, Canada, Italy, France, Russia, USA, Luxembourg and more  So, I want to know more about some of the positive stories that out there in this big world of ours.  Send me your good news, your upbeat, I want to hear of people "doing" things..real daily life scenarios..from travelling to work, getting out of bed..yes ok to climbing mountains.....- but I want real life snapshots...of gadgets that you have developed or use, which have helped you.

I'll sort out a separate page in the blog over the next couple of days to collate all the info.  

But send me your stories or audio clips, news clips, 
Youtube links - lets start moving on this

You can email me

Guide Dog Aids blind owner and old guide dog

I got sent this story from a friend of the Blog.  I think I can hear a collective.. sigh!..awwww... but it is a good story.  Just click on the link below.
Guide Dog Aids blind owner and old guide dog

After six years of loyal service, Graham Waspe was devastated when his guide dog Edward was left blind after developing cataracts.

But his devastation turned to joy when his replacement Opal turned out to be a real gem.
Mr Waspe's new dog is not just aiding his owner to carry out everyday tasks, but also helping Edward to get around.

Wednesday, 30 March 2011

iPlayer link is working

Just a quick note BBC is now playing the programme on iPlayer click the link below.

Born to Lead

Monday, 28 March 2011

Programme TV channel details

Pic. of Renton in the snow, looking small!! would you believe

In Scotland it will be on BBC 1 Scotland in England, Northern Ireland and Wales the programme can be accessed on Sky channel 971 and Virgin 862

Sunday, 27 March 2011

Smashing the myths surrounding Blind people

I'd like to take the time to talk with you about Myths.

According to the sighted people around me, I've been letting down the blind community. I don't appear to be fulfilling all my obligatory requirements as
a fully paid-up member of the blind brother and sisterhood. I'm not sure how far back in time blind typecasts and myths evolved, but I don't seem to be conforming
to any of them. I'll explain.
Contrary to the myth that blind people have heightened audio talents to make up for visual loss, I am living testimony to the opposite. When I sing I sound
like a camel with a hernia, rumbling my way through a song. Mark, my blind musician friend, said that he didn't believe in people being truely tone
deaf. He thought that if someone could hear and appreciate a piece of music, they couldn't possibly have a problem. Then he heard me sing. Mark reassessed
his theory and made an exception in my case. He went a step further and added: "Ian, your singing is against human rights and it should be immediately
band from public areas.
When it comes to playing musical instruments, it's no different. Frustratingly, I've had a go at a number of instruments over the years with no success.
I'm so bad, I can barely get a tune out the radio. Stevie Wonder, Ray Charles, George Shearing and Jeff Healey have done me no favours and I feel I've
let everyone down by not fulfilling my blind stereotype.
Another myth is that when moving around, blind people look like the walking dead, arms outstretched in front of them, at shoulder height, in order to feel
their way. In a room that I'm familiar with, I don't do this, although, admittedly, I have walked into the occasional door, but I'm sure someone must have
moved it while I was out. Another "bad habit" I've got is looking at people when I speak to them. Now I think I am just being polite. Let's be honest,
it's not hard - all a blind person has to do is to turn their face towards the voice, but doing this doesn't half confuse people. "Is he blind? I knew
he could see a little, but he seems to be looking straight at me."
Now, this next myth always makes me laugh. People are always disappointed when I don't ask to feel their face, so that I can get a better understanding of
what they look like. Going around seizing people's ears and inadvertently sticking my thumbs up their nose to get a better understanding of a stranger's
looks isn't for me. We can blame a 1980s pop video (Lionel Ritchie)and  for this fallacy. 
Oddly, those people who do offer their face for examination (usually drunks and idiots) - are not generally the kind of people I would like to get my hands
on anyway.
I don't even have the basic blind tools such as a Braille
watch or an audio liquid level indicator. It appears that the only blind stereotype I do conform to is having a guide dog; thankfully, this is one symbol
of blindness I am more than happy to have. 

Friday, 25 March 2011

Born to Lead

Well things have been a bit manic here.  The Documentary goes out soon and there has been some publicity to get sorted out. I appeared as a guest on the Fred MacAulay radio programme this morning and you can listen to the whole programme or move the start bar to 23 minutes - just a short interview but you can listen to it again on the BBC iplayer link
below     and click on the 25th March prog.

Some Scottish Newspapers have picked up on the potential story, so, we will see what happens next.

Born to Lead



Monday19:30 on BBC One (Scotland only)


Episode image for Born to Lead
Blind BBC journalist Ian Hamilton has to find a new guide dog. For eight years Ian has relied on his trusted guide dog Moss but now Moss is getting old and has to retire. Born to Lead charts Ian's journey as he tries to find a replacement dog. Along the way Ian asks why so few visually impaired people rely on guide dogs and he explores what the alternatives are to guide dogs from white sticks to cutting edge technology where you can "see" with your tongue. As Ian sees his guide dog as a key to his independence the film also uncovers the startling fact that across Britain 180,000 visually impaired people never leave their home alone.


Ian Hamilton
Preeti Prasaad
Jonathan Rippon
Jonathan Rippon
Preeti Prasaad

Friday, 11 March 2011

Mirror mirror on the wall......

Pic. Mirror of dreams (Lanark Glass)

Being blind I've no idea what I look like. Up until my thirties I had a little vision. If I pressed my nose up against a mirror – I could just about make out, well... a nose. If I put my photograph under a very strong magnifier, I could pick out more. Hazelnut coloured curly hair, blue eyes, pale smooth skin and square jaw line. I had a reasonable idea of my appearance.

Now that I'm in my forties, and I've no vision, I no longer have any idea of what I look like. I still have the same image of myself that I had ten years ago. Of course to this there are pros and cons.

A friend of mine is even luckier. He is also in his forties and he went blind in his late teens. In his imagination he is for ever youthful and punky. When it was his round at the bar recently, he wondered if he would get served, due to his youthful looks. The words 'delusional, hopeful and skinflint’ came to mind!

I feel so sorry for you sighted folks. Every day you are reminded in the mirror that you are ageing. Hair going slowly grey, a few more laughter lines around the eyes. You spend your hard-earned cash on potions and formulas to fix your youth to your face.
       However, I am still thinking that I am in my 30-something prime. 
Pic. of magnifying glass

Then the spell was shattered. Sighted people just have to spoil it for us, don't you?
This week my partner was reading out an article from a woman's magazine. It was all about how some celebratory had just had a face lift to stop them looking saggy. "What do you think of that"? she asked me. "There's no way I would get anything like that done. After all, it's not necessary."

Silence. She started off slowly,"Well, You could get a little tuck around your eyes. Plus perhaps a little work on your chin. Oh yes, um, and your ears." She started to gather pace; to my horror the list of remedial work I required was getting longer and longer. I was stunned. Oh my God, what kind of state was I in? Clearly she's just saying these things to wind me up.

The difficulty was I couldn't go and confirm this. I only had her word on how my face was coping with the ageing process. My friend and I used go to the pub looking like Robert Redford and Brad Pit. Now we must look like Shrek and his ugly younger brother.

Thursday, 10 March 2011

The talking dog...

We have found that Renton can say a few words..he can be quite vocal you know....and then we looked on the Internet..font of all knowledge..and voila!   here is a film about Mishka, who is a Husky dog  and she has  got a lot to say for herself.  She has 12 words..some clearer than others..but it is obvious she is well loved