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"If you throw that thing at me, ..."

Hi everyone!

This is going to be a very lighthearted blog entry but with quite a serious conclusion!

When I first met L, it really wasn't in the best of circumstances. She was in very poor health and I needed to "look after" her for a while. She survived, so that's OK!

During the time I was with her, I wrote a blog entry, (although I didn't have a blog at the time)! Let's not even go into how that works.

Anyway, I wrote a blog entry about my initial impressions of L's home. I thought it might be good to review that and perhaps enlarge on it a little and to see what has changed, if anything.

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I get the impression that L's flat is situated in a very modern block of apartments. There is a lot of security around, including entry phones, alarms, and so on.

In the flat there is a fair size bathroom with shower, a bedroom which can easily accommodate two people without any difficulty, but the most impressive space is the living area. It is much much bigger than I was expecting, although through Skype I had gained an impression acoustically as to what it may be like as I've heard L moving around it. But it is a very spacious living area which has a kitchen at one end of it. Yes, the big squashy sofa exists, but there is also room for desks, chairs, any equipment she may need, and so on. Despite accommodating quite a number of items, this does not obstruct most of the floor space. I can easily walk across the floor without fear of treading on something or tripping over an object.

One thing you cannot fail to notice is the large collection of Lee Middleton dolls, (L's babies), which she has here. They live in both rooms. The latest arrival, Miranda Taylor, lives in "the den", the living area.

Now that I've broadly described the flat itself, apart from being with her what are the things I have enjoyed most about being in L's home and my time here.
1. The peace and tranquility. I love the fact that there is very little noise going on unless we specifically want music to be heard, more of that later. Usually however, I just hear clicks from the two wireless keyboards, the occasional nature sounds, harp music, wind chimes, that's about all. Its all very gentle. Heaven!
New Text.
That still is very true, but wait, peace and tranquility does occasionally get interrupted? To repeat, L often uses a headset which has this "noise cancelling" ability, not from a microphone perspective but very little outside sound intrudes into L's hearing. There are two problems from my point of view about this headset. First, she can't hear a word I am saying!

Now some people may think that is an advantage, but I can be quite happily carrying on a conversation, and is she listening, no, not a chance. If anyone has ever heard that Down for Double promo where I say that I am not listening to what L is saying. Believe me dear reader, the reverse is true. Quite often, I just talk to myself.

The other thing that often happens is that L will recite snatches of songs or just sing out loud! Actually, L does have a lovely singing voice so that's fine. But take today as an example. I was sitting on the sofa, just relaxing, playing around with StationPlaylist Creator. The room was nice and peaceful and I was concentrating hard. Suddenly, I hear a squeaky voice saying, "If you throw that thing at me, I'll jumpp right on your head." I mean, I ask you! Where did that come from? It came from L, that's where. It was so incongruous. That odd phrase being spoken against the lovely calm atmosphere. Obviously I got the reference immediately and knew what she was listening to. Why I let her have access to my music library, I'll never know! (smile).

Oh yes, there's something else. She's got herself into these iPhone games like the Accessible Fruit Machine. So she's playing this game, I am trying to do something, and suddenly, there is this humungous scream! You have never heard anything like it! "I'VE GOT 960 POINTS, WO'O'O'O'O'O'O'O'O''O!" Gosh!

Original Text.
2. No television. The fact that the TV is not switched on for most of each day is just awesome! If I have to sit through another quiz or reality TV show where celebrities are featured I will scream! There is no TV here so it cannot be switched on.
New Text.
I cannot say I have missed the television at all. There used to be TV shows I would listen to just because they were on at the time. I read tweets and Facebook posts from people who talk about shows I used to watch, such as Britain's Got Talent or The X-Factor, and I have thought to myself, "Do I miss that at all? Do I want to be part of that again? Do I want to watch it?" Just because there is no TV available when I do come to see L, that doesn't mean I couldn't watch it if I wanted to. There are ways I could do so if I really wanted to. But no, I haven't missed that.

Original Text.
3. Listening to music on good quality speakers. When we do hear music or a movie, we hear them on speakers which just make everything so lovely and gorgeous to listen to.
New Text.
Actually that is still just brilliant. Whether it is in the evening, or first thing in the morning while we are having breakfast etc, to hear music which sounds good is wonderful. Actually we both like similar music, but where our musical tastes differ, we are quite tolerant of each other. For example, L is now very tolerant of my penchant for slushy romantic songs, aren't you L?

Original Text.
4. Watching movies with AD. Watching films with audio description is just the best thing ever. Without AD, often you lose the concept of the plot and you miss out on important information. L has plenty of these. I have come to enjoy them.
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Yes, we've watched quite a lot of movies together and it's wonderful to sit down for an evening to watch a film or two. L does have this great collection of movies we can watch.

Original Text.
5. Having time to read a book and to do all the things I otherwise couldn't do, like finding out new things about my iPhone.
New Text.
OK, I want to comment on this issue of reading books.

Yes, we both do like reading, it's just that the way we tend to do this is quite different. When I come to see L, I know I cannot possibly listen to a book and become engrossed in the story. I cannot get through a whole book when I am here. Why not? Because L will keep the book on for hours. If she falls asleep, it doesn't seem to matter. When she awakens, she'll not go back and re-read a section, and she won't let me go back either, no no no. Worse still, the book is on "looped play mode". So when it completes, it starts again at the beginning. Just ugh.

So, to enlarge on my earlier statement, I do get to hear the whole of a book, but it's just that I hear chapters in the wrong order. It's a bit like a jigsaw puzzle as I have to sort out the whole book in my head having heard it all in the wrong sequence. If I want to hear a book from start to finish, I get it from Audible myself and hear it on my phone when I go away.

Original Text.
6. Doing housework for L. There are times when L really isn't well enough to do some things, so I like being able to make food, drink, tidy up, that kind of thing. I can do it at my own pace without being rushed. Consequently, things get done which should be done.
New Text.
You'll have to ask L about whether that standard of mine has been maintained, I hope so in the most part. But please see point 8, below.

Original text.
7. Acktimel and real coffee. They are to die for. L has both of these each and every day and I don't blame her.
New Text.
And so do I when I can! I still enjoy them! L has introduced me to lots of new things I never thought possible. Rosé instead of cold red wine, having a really good time, appreciation of the good things in life, staying up into the early hours of the morning, her lovely family , to name but a few things.

Original text.
8. Neatness. L's flat is just so incredibly neat and tidy. As the saying goes, there is a place for everything and everything is in its place. I think that's important. When someone is blind, its even more essential that everything is kept exactly in its correct place and I have to say L is quite fanatical about that which I love. She doesn't need to be in the kitchen for example to know exactly where everything is and can describe it down to the minutest of detail. Hopefully, I have followed this tradition. It has certainly helped me.
New Text.
Quite fanatical? It is obsession! Absolutely every single item has a place in the flat, and sometimes, I do admit to getting it wrong. Every individual cup has a place for example, oh, and a name as well. It's OK, this is Planet L we are on, where every object, (almost), has a name. If I put something in the wrong place, panick stations! There's a real problem! Believe me, you can hear her squealing all the way from here to Australia!

Seriously, I know why she does it and it is all perfectly logical, but to say L is a "neat freak" would be an understatement.

Please, please, you mustn't run away with the idea that I am complaining in any way about L, I am not. She knows I am posting this. I wouldn't change any of her characteristics in the slightest. It's just an outsider's look at Planet L!

Anyway, that's L for you. There is a serious side to this entry though, and two things which I left out of the original 8 items I posted.

I am so so glad that L cannot see. There is nothing better than having a partner who knows about how blind people adapt to life's challenges, who understands that we need things to talk or there are particular ways of doing things, who likes the same things as I do, who has memories related to visual impairment which are similar to my own, and much more besides.

The other thing I love (apart from L's loving and caring nature), is the fact that she is so so feminine. That has always appealed to me. I love the fact that she likes to dress up and makes herself look good when she goes out, that she loves perfume, make-up, jewellery, to keep her hair nice, all the things that many ladies like to do. I like that a lot.

I cannot end this blog post without telling you of the beautiful ring L has just bought for me. It's not been a great week. I've not been too well of late, and also there was that fiasco with the website I wrote about in a previous blog entry. Now as well as being loving and supportive over that, L bought for me a ring which is wonderful. It is a titanium ring inlaid with enamel, set with 2 small diamonds. It was so good of her to get that for me and I will have it with me always.

So despite "neat friekery", the strange way she hears books and her tendency to chunter away (or squeal) about whatever she is hearing in her head, she will always be my L.

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