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Name dropping

21st August 2007 • Dave

The 2007 Edinburgh festivals are almost over. :sniff.

Entertaining house guests, (wait all year for one and then 4 come along at once) plus pending trip to Islay, oh and not forgetting the monster mortgage are all milking my various lines of credit to the max! Consequently I cannot realistically run to a quick trip up to Edinburgh this August.

What could be described as the disability media is doing its level best to make everyone feel like we are there though. You can be the judge as to whether r not they are doing a good job? Those of us who have been know there is no substitute for bingeing at the Fringe. Bar, stand-up comedy, bar, stand-up comedy, bar, play, bar, comedy, bar, sleep was all in a typical day when I went in 2005. I can’t imagine what the attraction is for the Ouch and In touch teams? Anyway to the name dropping.

On-demand until 28 August In Touch features Chris McCausland – stand-up comedian with whom I went to school and college, and Sally Clay who I may have fancied the arse off once upon a time. That was before she went off to posh music college and started using all that fowl language! Anyway, they are both talented in very different ways. What with busy schedules all round they sadly do not see anywhere near enough of yours truly!

Ah well, life’s a shithouse! Maybe I will save my beans and try doing Edinburgh next year.

Anyway, gotta run as my fingers are recking after
guitar lesson number 2. I’ve got two new chords and we even started a bit of picking. It could be wishful thinking but I am convinced I am starting to sound slightly less crap than I did last week. Watch this space.

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Guests, guitar and whiskey Galore

19th August 2007 • Dave

Last Monday a friend from Preston and his young son made an impromptu visit to my flat in Worcester on their way back from holidays on the Channel Islands. I quickly realised how little I had in my home to amuse a 7-year-old boy. Braille playing cards, the Franklin Language Master talking dictionary including ten word games and the BBC kids TV channels all held limited appeal. Most excitement seemed to be derived from the front door intercom system which I usually use to talk to taxi drivers and pizza delivery people. There was lots of pressing of buzzers and running in and out of doors. Not sure what my neighbours made of it all? However, it was good to catch up with friends, have an excuse to go out of a meal and watch a DVD of their holiday.

Tuesday I had my first guitar lesson. I learnt half a dozen chords and that changing between them is a lot more difficult than it sounds. I may take up the Arts councel offer of help with buying a Guitar. Take it away is an Arts Council initiative designed to help more people get involved
in learning and playing music by offering interest free credit on the purchase of musical instrements.

At short notice Martin showed up on Wednesday. We made lite work of a few pints in my fave Worcester pub before inflicting our selvs on an unsuspecting curry house at stupid o’clock.

During Martin’s visit we hatched a plan for me to join him on a spectacular trip to Islay next month. If you want to know more about this Hebridean island you could do worse than starting at the Islay blog. There is a strong possibility we could be doing a podcast or two from a distillery next month. Watch this space!

Over the weekend I have been trying to get through some of my reading list which as well as a slew of political biographies now includes a couple of titles to get me in the mood for Islay.

  • PeSmokan Spirit- A portrait of Islay and its whiskeys by Andrew Jefford.
  • Raw spirit; in search of the perfect dram by Ian Banks.
  • Whisky galore by Compton MacKenzie Sir and Ken Stott.
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A month full of surprises

2nd August 2007 • Dave

I began July exhibiting Dolphin’s range of assistive technology products at the forty sixth annual convention of the American Council of the Blind held in Minneapolis. The ACB elected a new President, First and Second Vice Presidents as well as a new secretary. As well as voting it was also a marvellous opportunity for me to catch up with friends and former ACB colleagues. 2007 was the first year of the ACB auction at which I got just a bit carried away bidding against the outgoing president for a special ACB edition bottle of Makers Mark which has now taken up residence in my kitchen here in Worcester. Much to my surprise and pleasure it was bourbon I found myself drinking on the final evening of convention with RNIB Chairman and president of the European Blind Union Lord Low, who described Makers Mark as “Heart warming” and rprisingly I completely agree.

During the third week in July, I attended the launch of the RNIB National Library Service at the Sight Village UK Exhibition. The service unifies access to libraries previously offered by RNIB and NLB. Hopefully by sharing overheads the RNIB NLS can reinvest any savings and substantially increase the breadth and depth of content on offer.

The final title in the Harry Potter series was waiting in my mailbox on Saturday 21 July. Frustratingly I was not here to read it as severe flooding on all routes back to Worcester meant I could not return from Birmingham following the British Computer Association of the Blind Gala dinner at which I had been invited to speak. This provided me with a perfect excuse for an impromptu visit to see friends in Preston, a hearty Sunday lunch followed by some crown green bowling in the sunshine. Thankfully my flat in Worcester escaped the flooding and so when I did get home I raided my mailbox and pretty much devoured Rowling’s Deathly Hallows.

Following the Microsoft sponsored Smart Hal launch in London last week I had some leave scheduled for the end of July. Cinema, Scrabble, Worcester Walks encompassing: Worcester’s Cathedral dating from the 10th century, the site of the Battle of Worcester and the Royal Worcester Porcelain Company all helped me relax. I spent a day in Birmingham including an unexpectly pleasant boat trip, followed by Mel Brooks’ The Producers at the Hippodrome. Musicals are not usually my scene but I found the Producers to be an hilarious piece of offensive self-deprecating cheese worthy of a few good belly laughs.

It’s August now and today I was back at work. It is nice to return to some semblance of normality. I feel suitably revitalised and enthusiastic about the next couple of months. I’ve got a stack of blogs and books I want to read, bellyaching over whether to attend the Edinburgh Fringe, thinking about some shelves for my flat, contemplating whether or not to learn to play the guitar?

Anyway, it’s Thursday which means it’s pub quizz night, it’s been a while!

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