Blind Veterans UK (BVUK), Llandudno 13-17th September 2015 …
“I can do this with my eyes closed …”. Actually, I couldn’t! A couple of members made poppies from cord that I was unable to do without looking. That’s despite having tied dozens of them.
Typical of the dexterity and determination of the folks Barry and I teach at BVUK.
Sure, like any workshop, there was a mix of expectations and abilities. More to the point, this workshop had a mix of disabilities too – not just sight loss, but loss of mobility.
All our students were great company, with many stories to tell, some of which were very disturbing.
Here’s Alan, wearing a poppy that he made. We got to know Alan as “The Trivia King” because of his knowledge of celebrity gossip! Just the man to have on your side on Quiz night, I reckon. Alan was also extremely patient with us when we were busy with other people. He never complained, just waited until “his turn” came up again – thanks Alan, a pleasure meeting you.
Then there was Mary, a young slip of a lass at 91 years of age. Here she’s wearing a “Paracord Pal” brooch she made.
Mary and Joan, a Scottish lady, became the expert paracord pal and Solomon bar key fob makers. These girls were hard to keep supplied with cord at times.
Peter and Dave (sorry, no photos of these guys) progressed to making giant poppies and bracelets of various types.
Albert was a helper/demonstrator, rather than a “student”. Albert is a very established knot tyer, although his sight is now severely restricted.
Here he is, tying yet another Kringle mat around his fingers. He turned up this week with over 120 Kringle mats for the Arts and Crafts Department to sell! He also demonstrated rope making, with the rope making machine he brings every time. Nice to meet up again, Albert.
Staying for a whole week, we were lucky enough to meet and socialise with members who were on other training courses, or simply having a holiday …
Mark was brilliant company, along with Isabelle and Jim, his friends. Mark has a t-shirt for every occasion.
We managed to introduce Mark to one of our students, Peter, who teaches self-defence to blind people. Mark showed me a few moves that he learned from Peter, reminding me of the days I studied Aikido. I won’t be messing with Mark or Peter, that’s for sure!
It’s a sad fact that blind people, being vulnerable, are subject to attacks and muggings. There are some despicable low-lifes in our society, unfortunately.
Kerry, a blind masseuse, was working at BVUK Thursday and Friday, and it was great catching up with her again. Kerry massaged my head, neck and shoulders on Thursday evening when I had a headache, and the headache disappeared, so she certainly knows what she’s doing! Spirit, her guide dog, is a fabulous fellow, and is due to retire soon – we’ll miss you Spirit. Kerry also proved again what an aptitude she has for knot tying, so I’ll be knocking up some audio instructions for a couple of projects for her, and others who may be interested.
I could write a book about our experiences at BVUK, but I think I’ve gone on long enough now! Thanks to everyone at BVUK for making our week such a memorable one.