Thursday, 30 July 2009


What is it with people? The next person who puts on a baby voice and asks me if I am ‘excited about getting my doggie-woggie’ I shall bite on the nose. Savagely.

I presume you don’t get this kind of patronisation when you first get a wheel chair ‘Ohhh you must be sooo excited about getting your wheelie-beelie.’

In case you may still be confused about why taking on a guide dog is emotionally more complex then just ‘getting a doggie- woggie’ please imagine being suddenly handed a toddler to care for over several years. Then cover your eyes with several layers of cling film, Vaseline and glitter and try changing a nappy. In fact the next person who even thinks ‘doggie woggie’ near me I shall wrap in cling film and dirty nappies… breathing out…feeling better….

Of course there have been many more of you, thank god, who have been incredibly astute and useful with your insights – and with your silent support ....and I certainly don’t mind the barrage of canine related and ap-paw-ing puns flooding my phone (a horrendous amount may I say from my dad) and I can only say thank you. Your support is essential and I am so grateful.

On an entirely different note, …well its not at all entirely. Only if I am grumpy this woman is f++=ing furious. This is a fascinating opening gambit in the equality debate from Disability Bitch’s Blog.

Disability Bitch logo (BBC)

It’s about Obama’s recent speech on equality and disability. She ain't impressed....

Remember that chances are we will all be disabled in our lives at one point or another..even if that is just a leg in a cast for several weeks, temporary deafness from an ear infection, chronic back pain from a slipped disc, old age...or various forms of blindness to the rest of humanity.

It comes to all of us.

'Twist' Self Portrait: (c) T. Bush 2008

Friday, 24 July 2009

Hardly Sex for the Superconcious.

My good buddy sends me a link to an article by the BBC entitled ‘Dirty Talk for Blind People’. In the hope this may be a new government benefit cobbled onto my income support, I read it eagerly. It is however a discussion about what kinds of erotica and pornography are available for people with disabilities….. ’discerning’ people with disabilities that is (this being a BBC article) …and it turns out not a lot.

‘Society’s reluctance to accept disabled peoples sexuality is perhaps based on a deep-rooted but unspoken belief that they should not reproduce.’

Yeah well and ho hum…

Having already posted here of my murky albeit brief slide into selling phone sex I am not surprised by the lack of imagination when it comes to erotica for women let alone disabled people. (oh hell..just realised you probably don't know about this Dad...errr.. opps. It just paid better then the bingo calling...Goodness, I must make you so proud!)

I worked once with a brilliant young and very sexy TV presenter who, due to his being stuck in a wheelchair, was not able to find any kind of serious presenting work outside of ‘Disability Rights shows in UK. He was in constant pain but said he had discovered a remarkable way of controlling and converting the pain through a form of Japanese bondage. I believe he eventually made it to the States and is fronting a show on cable about such things. Now THAT would be a more watchable form of ‘The X Factor’ surely!

Personally I think there would be a fantastic market for erotic tactile pop-up books. They could have plug in audio although might be tricky reading them subtly on the train......
(images from the internet.)

Thursday, 16 July 2009

Attaining Grace

‘How many times have you been shat on by a bird?’ My friend M is gingerly swiping the top of his head with his hand. Its only water dripping from the overhead pub awning but still he looks across at me, his eyes darkening.

‘Well, how many?’ He is insistent and I note his fist is clenched.

Startled I shake my head. ‘Errr …nefariously onceI think. Splashed in passing. ‘

‘Yes yes,’ M leans forward. ‘That’s the usual response.’
His breath comes out in a hiss. ‘And how many times do you think I have been shat on..? ‘

‘Err …’

‘Eighteen!’ He blurts out wildly.


‘Eighteen times! ‘

‘But… surely that’s not possible…. ?’
Image from internet

He slumps back on the bench, his handsome face pale, his terrible secret out. ‘Once it even happened twice…. in the same day.’

I gasp. That’s less the odds on a lightning strike!

We sit silently for a moment sucking on warm beer. I glance, with a phoney casual pretend flicking of my hair, at the sky over his head. Its empty but I still feel we are being watched.

Could it be the same bird every time? I am imagining some serious starling vendetta or a love-sick tern but he tells me that it started way back when he was a child and a bird managed to spatter him through the open roof of a car. (That takes some serious co-ordination and aim.) Ever since then he has been regularly ‘blessed’. Its even been caught on camera, on film.

Birds poo on this man.

‘Its lucky.’ I am trying to be up beat. He sighs. I think he has heard that one before.
‘Good thing pigs can’t fly..’ I think.

M has taken me out to this London pub after a long day’s photographic workshop and he is actually doing a very fine job of distracting me from my current state of emotional stir-fry as I have just made a decision that might completely change my already rather baffling life. I am going with the Guide Dog.

I met her on Tuesday. I went out to the car to greet her expecting the usual gorgeous, dewy-eyed beast and out lolloped a stocky, black and brown grinning mutt acutely resembling a small rottweiller.
I sat on the pavement and we bashed heads in greeting. The trainer, a stern woman with a skin tanned to leather, was all action and within seconds I took up the handle on the dog’s harness. The dog confused, looked around a couple of times for the trainer who insisted, in that ghastly British way, on calling herself the dog’s ‘mum’ as in; ‘ she’ll keep looking for her ‘mum’ so you will have to use your voice to push her forward.’ I do and the dog shrugs and we are off.

We walk the block passing interested neighbours and disinterested cats and the dog happily snuffles and galumphs and tail wags her way ahead of me. Later back at the flat she is splayed out on the floor and my feet. Her ears are soft and cool, dark brown. She snores.

Taking on a working dog is incredibly tough. There will be three weeks immersion training in a crumbling hotel in darkest fenland with visitors restricted and no access to a decent pub to start with. If I survive the training, then there will be six months adjusting to my local routes..except there isn’t time because I start my MA course in October. She will have to commute back and forth to Bath with me and sit under formica tables on nylon carpets bored out of her mind whilst I attend lectures and indulge in endless conversations about composition and structure.

She will need feeding, cleaning, pooper scooping, walking every day.

And she’s not a pet. She’s a working dog. I won’t be able to nip off for a few days. I won’t be able to stay in bed all Sundays. And I will have to think twice about all my plans for the rest of my life.

And my blindness will be ‘official’.

Interestingly several people including M, are confused. ‘Do you really need a guide dog?’ they ask. ‘You seem to get around fine with chutzpah and cane. ‘

Then, ‘ Won’t you stop using your useful vision as you start relying on the dog?’

And I can’t answer either of those questions and I suppose all these things will become apparent during the training.

But I do know I need help and could certainly do with some animal magic and am immensely lucky to have been even given the chance to learn a new skill and find a new route through the world.

So I just say ‘lets do it.’

You will not find your mission by standing still. The way to find it is by challenging yourself in something – I would almost say it does not matter what. Then by making consistent effort, the direction you should take will open up before you quite naturally, just as wide new horizons before someone walking up a hill. Little by little you will come to understand your mission. That is why it is so important to have the courage to ask yourself what it is you should really be doing now, at this very moment.
Daisaku Ikeda; President of the Sokka Gakkai International

'Prayer Flags' (c) T. Bush
And by the way, the brown dog with the small, smiling, gold eyes, dodgy eyebrows and velvet ears is called Grace and I know I could always do with more of that!

'Saving Grace' (c) T. Bush '09

Saturday, 11 July 2009

Out of Stock.

I started off today with a skip to my step Tonight I cook paella for some friends. I love the stuff and as I I was given a paella pan for my birthday am keen to experiment

The shopping list is long and I have already failed with the prawns and am having to improvise with frozen seafood cocktail. I came early to this huge supermarket to avoid the crowds but my sight is blurry and I am can’t find anything and consequently I run over time. The supermarket fills with fretting families and fast-walking weekly-shop wannabies. I have my cane out but no one understands its significance and it just gets in the way of pushing a trolley. I am beginning to bash people.

Sorry sorry


Oh you me. Oh ok..oh shit …


I need to get out now and am scanning frantically trying to find someone who can help. Unfortunately this bloody supermarket has kindly chosen to dress their stuff in understated grey and blue fleeces with the tiny logos embroidered discreetly on their chests. I can’t tell who is staff and who is shopper.

I hit the bread aisle at about 20mph and knock several stacks of prebake bagels to the floor. A woman tutts so loudly more bagels slide to the floor.
By the cheese aisle I am flagging, consider abandoning it all and cancelling supper but finally there is someone who looks morose enough to be staff and is wearing a set of key cards around their neck. I ask for chicken stock.

‘Aisle 4,’ she says and then asks if I need any more help.

‘No, no absolutely fine thanks.’ My upper lip quivers then stiffens.

I turn away with purpose but am immediately confused. I scan and scan for aisle numbers and then start running, shoving and dodging past people thinking ‘I know- I’ll just count from Aisle 1.’

Not in this shop sister.

I try being logical twice and only succeed in finding deodorant and bath gel.

And then I see the chicken aisle.
I rush forward thinking that I can grab the stock and be out of here in five blurred minutes.

I peer up at the top shelf and can see the large plastic containers and exuberantly grab the first. What I do not see is that the first is attached to the second and the second to the third and so on.

I bring down an entire shelf of chicken stock.

Three of the plastic containers burst open splashing their yellow brown contents all over the floor, the shelves, my legs and the trainers of the man standing leaping to me.

I look at him aghast and only then discover that he is absolutely gorgeous. Tall, dark intelligent eyes, shoulders to lean on and damn him, damn him..a dimple. He has said something like ‘oh dear’ quietly and kindly and looks to see if I am all right. There is my opportunity to make contact, to start something beautiful and what do I do..
I look down at our legs dripping chicken broth and say with a ghastly giggle (it’s the one I do when I meet someone I am attracted to. It is unfailingly unnerving)
‘We’re going to smell really ‘fowl’.
And then I do a kind of eye brow ‘taa daa!’.

The man’s face freezes slightly and I turn pink with embarrassment spinning around to try and wave down a helpful staff member ..when I turn back I see he has escaped. I catch a fleeting glance of his back disappearing into the veggie aisle.

I stick by the mess I have made, feeling anxious as hordes of people keep pushing their trollies through it. I don’t know why I don’t walk away ..but I don’t and moronically stand for over ten minutes directing people around the pooling mess suddenly realising that the chicken stock looks suspiciously pee like and with guilt written all over my sweaty face people are drawing their own conclusions. Eventually a man with a blue fleece, a sour expression and a yellow ‘spillage’ notice comes into my vision and I nod politely and flee.

‘Can you go slowly? I’m visually impaired’, I ask at the check out. My hands are shaking.

‘Do you want help packing then?’ Whinges the man. ‘See there is a queue and we can’t have you holding other people up....’

I wish.

Friday, 3 July 2009

Blackbird in Blue

I am watching a juvenile blackbird. She is incredibly excited having recently discovered the concept of flying and launches herself at everything with huge enthusiasm but seems to have still a bit of a problem with depth perception. She doesn’t care though. She’s just kind of..well …‘plummeted’ from the roof, smacking into the top of the fence and whammed down onto the grass popping back up, yellow beak high, with a Russian gymnast’s flourish Ta daaa! . It’s bloody glorious!

It makes me feel better which is good as I am sore. At 8:30 this morning, I, a woman with a truly pathological fear of needles, find myself desperately trying to console a near hysterical Irish nurse called Maureen.

‘Its okay.’ I say soothingly. ‘ Really. I had a riding accident when I was nine. My veins are tricky on that arm… ‘Here you go..’.
I slowly and without making direct eye, in case she bolts like a lunatic horse, lower my right arm to within range of her glinting needles, twitching in her shaking hands. .

‘Here you are about this arm. There you go…’ I proffer my remaining arm hoping my relaxed and expansive attitude will stop her hyperventilating.

20 minutes later I am forced to suggest I lie down to stop myself from passing out. Strangely I am still relatively calm.

‘ all you need now?’ I ask kindly not looking at the bruising spreading up to my armpits. ‘Please stop apologising..please. Your weeping is shaking the examination table. ‘

Seriously the worst blood lett..I mean ‘taking’ I have had in many years. She even managed to put the sticky plaster on the wrong parts of both elbows.. I didn’t even get a sodding lollipop. At home I had to lie down for 45 mins until I could raise my arms above my head again. Thank goodness I don’t earn a wage as a shot putter.

It’s nothing serious. I am still trying to figure out why I am always so knackered and am sure it is not just that my eyesight makes things ‘soooo’ much harder. I mean for Gawds sake! Other people cope with much more then this…and only a few years ago I was bloody running my own charity in come on! I am hopeful for a strange and exotic Zambian parasite feeding on my guts… or a strange brain fever. How about consumption? That’s relatively romantic. But NOT bloody ‘ tired eye syndrome’.. Hell!

Anyway..on the very up side , I have had a call about a potential guide dog. It is all very coy. I get to meet her (she’s a black and tan Retriever/Labrador bitch) in a couple of weeks with a chaperon on hand (for the dog…not me) and then make a decision if I want to carry on to the three week immersion training in August.
She will have to like me too- after all she is worth a hell of a lot more then I. Guide dogs are specially bred for smarts and wit and start training at 6 weeks old. They start professional guiding at 2 years old and have to have the best food and vet treatment until and during their retirement five years later. I on the other hand was a rubbish toddler,..well lets not even mention potty training..bad student, fail every mathematical test I’ve taken and spell I have dodgy medical treatment and self medicate with gin and tonic. I don’t have a pension.

The dog is younger then me better looking and probably has more friends on her Facebook page. Bitch. Yes. Quite.

My first thought was, would you believe… ‘Is it going to impact on my love life?’
Oh stop bloody laughing. I did ONCE have one..a long time ago in a galaxy far far away. It is still possible, I’ve seen ‘How Stella Got he Groove Back.’ I’ve seen ‘Amalie’..more appropriately I’ve seen all the ‘Shrek’s’ and all the ‘Aliens’. However pitching up led by a Guide Dog..?
Relatives – especially those still gunning for grandchildren - say ‘Oh Tanvi, the right man will look PAST the dog.’
Yeah right.
Us ‘disableds’ (to coin a Zambian expression of note) know that that right man doesn’t exist. Many blokes (sorry..he/she or transgendered) are going to be put off by
1. a fear that others will see them as ‘lesser’ for going out with a ‘lesser’ person or even see it as a way of getting other women (men/ transgendered) by being seen as ‘compassionate’. (I’m not being daft here.. Sadly I talk from direct experience) ,
2. a fear that they might have to keep plucking the ‘disabled person’ from burning buildings, traffic accidents, exploding toilets blah blah.
3. or worse want to rescue us from our own cynical angst. Me? Cynical angst? C’est moi mojo n’est pas?
4. or ..and unfortunately (and yes I know I haven’t had much luck with blokes –) be rather too interested in the dog.
'Noir' (c) T. Bush (all other images from internet)

But strangely and out of the blue I still want to be open for the possibility. It’s partly the weather: concrete-cracking heat, humidity at 60% and storms like tiny, black smoke signals gathering on the horizon. Its also in part the fact that I have absolutely no idea what might happen next in my life. I am totally free falling. And i love the feeling and I bloody love storms! And that’s the problem. Stormy heat and a completely unreadable future does up my level of erotic greediness and that addictive and bizarre compulsion for romance. Call it the 'Year of Living Dangerously' syndrome.
Oh - the lovely 'Lemonade Award' from marvellous Val from Monkeys On the Roof.. I need to nominate ten blogs with attitude and gratitude.
Therefore the following blogs are officially nominated:
Tinku Tales
Velo Gubbed Legs
Siren Voices
Fleeing Muses
Fush and Chips
123 I Love You
Up The Hill Backwards
The Gold Puppy
The Times Of Miranda
I want to wish my blogger friend The Gold Puppy much much love and strength. And she of Times Of Miranda much joy with the new baby.