Tag Archives: visual impairment

Eyes I Can Not See

Eyes I can not see
Look back at me.
A man can be
Without sight
Yet penetrate the darkest night
If he chooses.
But oft times he loses
Courage and says “let it be
For I do not wish to see
What has become of me”.

At other times he sighs
For his inner eyes
That within himself, which causes him to grieve.

I do not need to see your eyes
To know the lies
That hide behind
For I find
That mine
Are as thine.


Does he take sugar?

Yesterday evening, while out for a meal with my friend Brian, I was reminded of the former programme on BBC radio 4 entitled “Does he take sugar?” The programme derived it’s title from the question posed to the non-disabled companion of a disabled person, as to whether the person with a disability wanted sugar in his tea. The obvious point being that the question should have been directed to the disabled person (not to their companion), as by addressing the non-disabled individual the man/woman posing the question was patronising the disabled person.

To return to my meal yesterday evening. As a blind guide dog owner I have been eating in this restaurant for approximately 18 years. The food is (almost invariably good) and the service (usually excellent). Yesterday evening our waiter was attentive and the food arrived promptly and tasted as a good Indian curry should taste. However the waiter proceeded to address Brian (who is fully sighted/non-disabled) and asked “Is the dahl his”, “is the chicken his”.

The above was most odd as I have (as I said above) been eating in this restaurant for some 18 years or so. I sometimes pop into the place alone and enjoy a quiet meal and on these occasions the waiter in question has interacted with me in a civil and friendly way. It is, therefore most bizarre that yesterday evening he chose to basically ignore me and interact with my non-disabled friend.

To ignore a disabled person and interact with their companion is deeply disrespectful. It is, in effect treating the person with a disability as a non-person (as though they where incapable of thinking and acting independently). In the vast majority of cases those with disabilities are more than capable of answering for themselves and treating them as non-persons is deeply demeaning. There are, of course exceptions to this. For example a minority of people with very severe learning disabilities are not capable of making decisions for themselves and do need others to act and speak on their behalf. However many other people with learning difficulties do live independently and are capable of speaking for themselves and the assumption should always be that an individual is able to represent him/herself unless their exists strong evidence to the contrary.

Some people fear what they have not encountered and this may help to explain why they disregard the person who is disabled and choose instead to interact with their non-disabled companion. More education is needed to drive home the point that those who are disabled are persons in their own right and are possessed of thoughts, hopes and desires in the same way as are their non-disabled peers. I will, I feel sure encounter other incidents of this nature. It is deeply depressing and all I can do is keep my temper and politely request that the person doing the patronising please address me and not my non-disabled friend.


The Blind Leading The Blind

As I neared my home yesterday evening, a man called out from the other side of the road, “Do you have a light, please?”
“No, sorry”, I replied and continued on my way home.

As I walked on, I heard the voice of a young woman, “no, don’t, it’s a blind dog!”
Being registerd blind, I wondered what the point would be of me having a “blind dog”. One hears of the blind leading the blind. However, I, having no desire to become intimately connected with a telegraph pole or other such obstacle will stick with my trusty guide dog, Trigger!

The above occurance is far from being an isolated one. Indeed I have lost count of the number of occasions on which people have refered to my guide dogs (I am now working with my fourth) as “blind dogs”. My heart goes out to all those visually challenged dogs manfully leading their owners to who knows where. A medal should be struck in their honour and, of course the blind who entrust themselves to these fine animals should also be honoured for their … bravery!

To be serious for a moment, the evening was dark and the panic in the young woman’s voice made me conjecture (perhaps in error) that her companion might have been up to no good and, seeing that I was accompanied by a guide dog the lady’s conscience kicked in. As I say, I could be barking up entirely the wrong tree here. I was, nonetheless extremely glad to reach home yesterday evening.

Now In Audio – The Degu Books

I’ve posted here on Kevin’s blog in the past about the writing of my Degu Days Duo. But – for the benefit of those who may not have seen that post – I’ll briefly recap by telling you that it’s a duology that is essentially a semi-fictionalized account of two different days in the lives of my own four degu boys: Jacob, Jasper, Jenks, and Joshua. Those two books are told from Jenks’ point of view, and my most recent degu book “How To Trust Your Human” – which is a semi-fictionalized account of my attempts at regaining one of their trusts after we lost the first three – is told from the point of view of my last remaining degu, Joshua, under the nickname of “Buddy” (to separate it from the duology it’s not officially part of).

I call them “semi-fictionalized” accounts, because they’re based on real experiences, but since they’re told from the point of view of one of the degus, it’s difficult for me to be completely accurate about events, and they can’t really be considered non-fiction under those circumstances, can they? So, I list them as fiction, and advertise them as being semi-fictionalized.

There’s a fourth book too. One that is entirely fictional, though it was one of my boys – Jasper this time – who was the inspiration for the story, after an escape attempt on his part when I didn’t double check the cage door, and accidentally left it open. In this book, a degu named Oscar takes advantage of an unlocked cage door to escape his cage and explore the world outside of it without humans to supervise him and tell him where he can and can’t go.

You can read all four of them as eBooks or paperbacks, and now – thanks to narrator James Watkins – you can also listen to them in audio.

Working with James has been fun, and I’m pleased with his reading of all four of my degu books. If you buy the audiobooks, I hope you’re as pleased with them.

Regardless of the format you’d prefer, if you’d like to grab copies and explore the world from the point of view of a small and furry rodent, here are the main places where you can buy the books:

Degu Days, Book 1 – The Great Degu Round-Up
Audible: https://www.audible.co.uk/pd/Children/The-Great-Degu-Round-Up-Audiobook/B075WZP3WK/
Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/385933
CreateSpace: https://www.createspace.com/5493760
Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-great-degu-round-up-victoria-zigler/1117667258
Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/the-great-degu-round-up
Chapters-Indigo: https://www.chapters.indigo.ca/en-ca/books/the-great-degu-round-up/9781311126009-item.html
iBooks: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/the-great-degu-round-up/id778182110
iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/gb/audiobook/the-great-degu-round-up-degu-days-duo-volume-1-unabridged/id1290400235
Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Great-Degu-Round-Up-Days-Duo/dp/1512165131/
Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/Great-Degu-Round-Up-Days-Duo/dp/1512165131/
Amazon Canada: https://www.amazon.ca/Great-Degu-Round-Up-Days-Duo/dp/1512165131/
Book Depository: https://www.bookdepository.com/Great-Degu-Round-Up-Victoria-Zigler/9781512165135

Degu Days, Book 2 – A Very Degu Christmas
Audible: https://www.audible.co.uk/pd/Children/A-Very-Degu-Christmas-Audiobook/B0767MYSD9/
Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/385942
CreateSpace: https://www.createspace.com/5493860
Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/a-very-degu-christmas-victoria-zigler/1117667259
Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/a-very-degu-christmas
Chapters-Indigo: https://www.chapters.indigo.ca/en-ca/books/a-very-degu-christmas/9781310351044-item.html
iBooks: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/a-very-degu-christmas/id778182118
iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/gb/audiobook/a-very-degu-christmas-degu-days-duo-book-2-unabridged/id1294815308
Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Very-Degu-Christmas-Days-Duo-x/dp/1512166014/
Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/Very-Degu-Christmas-Days-Duo-x/dp/1512166014/
Amazon Canada: https://www.amazon.ca/Very-Degu-Christmas-Days-Duo-x/dp/1512166014/
Book Depository: https://www.bookdepository.com/Very-Degu-Christmas-Victoria-Zigler/9781512166019

Degu’s Day Out
Audible: https://www.audible.co.uk/pd/Children/Degus-Day-Out-Audiobook/B07664D83S/
Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/589067
CreateSpace: https://www.createspace.com/5841040
Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/degus-day-out-victoria-zigler/1122874667
Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/degu-s-day-out
Chapters-Indigo: https://www.chapters.indigo.ca/en-ca/books/degus-day-out/9781310137778-item.html
iBooks: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/degus-day-out/id1054305510
iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/gb/audiobook/degus-day-out-unabridged/id1294439347
Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Degus-Day-Out-Victoria-Zigler/dp/1519326319/
Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/Degus-Day-Out-Victoria-Zigler/dp/1519326319/
Amazon Canada: https://www.amazon.ca/Degus-Day-Out-Victoria-Zigler/dp/1519326319/
Book Depository: https://www.bookdepository.com/Degus-Day-Out-Victoria-Zigler/9781519326317

How To Trust Your Human
Audible: https://www.audible.co.uk/pd/Children/How-to-Trust-Your-Human-Audiobook/B0767Q6QPQ/
Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/724848
CreateSpace: https://www.createspace.com/7188605
Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/how-to-trust-your-human-victoria-zigler/1126412328
Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/how-to-trust-your-human
Chapters-Indigo: https://www.chapters.indigo.ca/en-ca/books/how-to-trust-your-human/9781370897407-item.html
iBooks: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/how-to-trust-your-human/id1237703591
iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/gb/audiobook/how-to-trust-your-human-unabridged/id1294815409
Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Trust-Your-Human-Victoria-Zigler/dp/1546844899/
Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/Trust-Your-Human-Victoria-Zigler/dp/1546844899/
Amazon Canada: https://www.amazon.ca/Trust-Your-Human-Victoria-Zigler/dp/1546844899/
Book Depository: https://www.bookdepository.com/How-Trust-Your-Human-Victori-Zigler/9781546844891

You can also find the books listed on Goodreads.

Degu Days, Book 1: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/19286797-the-great-degu-round-up
Degu Days, Book 2: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/19287273-a-very-degu-christmas
Degu’s Day Out: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/27391344-degu-s-day-out
How To Trust Your Human: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/35160154-how-to-trust-your-human


About the author:
Victoria Zigler is a blind poet and children’s author who was born and raised in the Black Mountains of Wales, UK, and is now living on the South-East coast of England, UK. Victoria – or Tori, if you prefer – has been writing since she knew how, has a very vivid imagination, and spends a lot of time in fictional worlds; some created by her, others created by other authors. When she remembers to spend some time in the real world, it’s mostly to spend time with her hubby and pets, though sometimes to indulge in other interests that capture her attention from time to time. To date she has published 8 poetry books and more than 40 children’s books, with more planned for the near future. She’s also contributed a story to the sci-fi and fantasy anthology Wyrd Worlds II.

Author links:
Website: http://www.zigler.co.uk
Blog: http://ziglernews.blogspot.co.uk
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/toriz
Facebook author page: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Victoria-Zigler/424999294215717
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/victoriazigler
Google+: https://plus.google.com/106139346484856942827


About the narrator:
Canadian born James Watkins spent a number of years wandering extensively, studying and working at a variety of exciting things, including surveying in the Yukon, fighting forest fires in the boreal of northern Ontario, sailing on the merchant schooner Avontuur through the Caribean, working as a singing cowboy, and teaching in Central America, to name a few, until finally settling in San Diego, California in 2011. He loves good music, good stories, good writing, fresh air, animals, and a healthy balance between action and quiet time.

Working from his home studio, James offers a full suite of services – from voice over production and scripting, to sound design with music and effects.

James currently has a podcast in production together with SC Watkins, that will feature original spooky stories, set to launch in late October, 2017. You can check it out at http://thebonefire.com/

If you’d like to contact James, he can be reached at jameswatkinsvo@outlook.com

Can I ask you a daft question?

Being a guide dog owner brings with it many advantages, (the companionship of a wonderful brindle Labrador/retriever and a highly effective mobility tool being 2 of the most obvious).

During my social and working life I am asked many questions regarding how guide dogs work, most of which are perfectly reasonable. I always answer such queries as its important that people understand the vital role played by guide dogs in enhancing the independence of visually impaired people. I am however sometimes flabbergasted by the daft questions put to me.

I have lost count of the number of occasions when a question along the following lines has been asked, “so does your dog go to work with you?”

I recently came across a variant on the above query. An acquaintance, being aware that I was traveling to Liverpool to visit my mum asked, “so does Trigger (my guide dog) go to Liverpool with you?”

I am known for my dry (some would say sarcastic) sense of humour. Consequently I am highly tempted to reply along the following lines, “no, he will stay in London for the 7 days I shall be in Liverpool. Don’t worry I shall leave him enough food and water to cover my absence. I am, however a little concerned that my home might be rather messy on my return …!”.

I do, however bite my sharp tongue and respond that the whole purpose of a guide dog is to act as a mobility tool. Consequently Trigger goes everywhere with me (the UK Equalities Act makes it an offence for a provider of goods or services to discriminate against a person for a reason related to their disability.

As a guide (or other assistance animal) is necessary to the independence of many disabled people, the Act makes it an offence for restaurants and other establishments to refuse to admit a disabled person when accompanied by their working assistance animal).

I shall continue to smile and patiently explain about the role of guide dogs when confronted by silly questions while, all the time furiously biting my sarcastic tongue …

“My Old Clock I Wind and Other Poems” is available, in braille from RNIB

I have today received notification that my collection of poetry, “My Old Clock I Wind and Other Poems” has been added to the Royal National Institute of Blind People (rnib’s) catalogue.

The book is available (for sale or loan).

To order please email library@rnib.org.uk, or call RNIB on 0303 123 9999 (quoting order number 25870603.

Alternatively please visit the library’s catalogue, and enter the search term, “my old clock I wind and other poems”, hit search and my book should be displayed.