Tag Archives: visual impairment

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.

Advertisements

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.

The Cane Explained

The Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) has produced a short film, explaining how sight impaired people navigate using the white cane.

Prior to getting my first guide dog, Nixon (no jokes about Watergate please), I used a white cane to navigate. I well remember people not paying attention to what was going on around them and tripping over my cane.

Admittedly, when I was in the process of learning to navigate using a cane, some of the tripping stemmed from my imperfect utilisation of it. However, as my technique improved, the tripping incidents which did happen flowed from the lack of attention demonstrated by sighted people (I apologised none the less)!

I am now working with my fourth guide dog, Trigger so my use of the cane is extremely rare.

However, back in 2016 Trigger had several lumps removed (fortunately all where found to be benign). While he recovered (a period of some 2 weeks), I used my cane.

Having fallen out of practice I had several bumps and scrapes as a consequence of my imperfect technique. I was, however soon back in the saddle and my acquaintance with telegraph poles and other obstacles became a distant memory.

For RNIB’s film on the cane please visit http://rnib.org.uk/cane-explained.

My collection of poetry, “Lost in the Labyrinth of My Mind” is available, as a braille book from RNIB https://newauthoronline.com/2017/07/21/lost-in-the-labyrinth-of-my-mind-is-available-to-purchase-in-braille-from-rnib/. “Lost” can also be obtained, in print and ebook formats from Moyhill http://moyhill.com/lost/.

I am working with RNIB to make my recently published collection of poetry, “My Old Clock I Wind” available in braille. Once “My Old Clock” has been added to RNIB’s shelves, an announcement will appear here.

In the meantime “My Old Clock” can be purchased, in ebook and paperback formats from Moyhill http://moyhill.com/clock/.

Variety is the spice of life

One of the advantages of being blind, is that it enables me to live in a world composed of many and varied surprises. To take one example, when opening a can I am never quite sure whether it’s contents will delight my taste buds with Baxters vegetable soup (please note that other brands are available)! Or custard …! It is, I often think fortunate that my guide dog, Trigger eats a complete dried food, otherwise who knows what I might be enjoying the next time that can opener goes to work …
Today I popped into my local supermarket and purchased (amongst other items) 2 boxes of microwavable porridge and 1 box of Earl Grey tea bags (again other varieties of tea are, of course available)! On reaching home I found that I had 3 cardboard boxes and was faced with trying to ascertain what each contained. By placing the boxes together I discovered 2 where of the exact same size while the third was of different dimmentions. Given that I had bought 2 packs of porridge I therefore correctly concluded that the odd one out in my interesting collection of boxes must, of necessity be the tea. Had I purchased a greater variety of packages I would, almost certainly have required sighted assistance to determine what each contained.
Things are easier for visually impaired people than was previously the case. For example all medication now comes with braille labelling, which as a user of this medium is extremely helpful to me. Again most bleach now comes with a braille label clearly identifying it as such, although many other poisonous products, for example toilet cleaner do not.
There are solutions to enable visually impaired people to label products, for example a hand held device allows those with sight difficulties to record a short note on a plastic card identifying products which can then be affixed via an elastic band or string. However this solution relies on sighted assistance to identify the item in the first instance thereby enabling the VI individual to label it.
A hand held scanner has been developed allowing blind people to identify products and I am considering purchasing one. In the meantime I remain thankful that my guide dog eats dry rather than tinned food …!