How long has that been there?

Barry Hill is back with another blog article for our series on travel.  today, he muses on the things that you find with a cane that you can miss when walking with a guide dog.  This is another insightful and amusing look at the day to day things that happen as someone with a visual impairment.  Big thanks again barry – this is excellent:

How long has that been there?

By Barry Hill

As my guide dog has had to retire, I am using my long cane a lot more. A lot more than not? Well, no. I’m just using my long cane I suppose. I could use my spidy sense, but it’s a bit flaky these days.

So, as I’m getting down and detailed with my cane, I am finding things that my guide dog would treat as an obstacle, useful things. Last week I found a post-box. I walk past this post-box almost every time I go into town not knowing, until now, that it was there. I used to walk passed it on days when I was going to town specifically to post something and I have to go right over the other end of town or right up to the top of the town to the post boxes I know. Sigh.

This week I found a phone box. It’s always been there and I’ve been bashing it with my cane for some time on my way into town, it’s just that I didn’t realise that it was a phone box until someone this week shouted out, “Mind that phone box”. I don’t think it was Superman.

Bins are useful, particularly when I’ve got a dog who spends on the way to town sometimes. The only bin I knew the whereabouts of was right next to my bus stop home, which is right in the middle of town. So, as you might have guessed, this means I have to carry a bag of shit right into the middle of town. With my cane, I’ve now found three more on route. Now I don’t need them. I mean, if my cane starts to shit I’m really in trouble.

Even the street furniture that you’d think would be a massive problem has its usefulness. I know that I turn immediately right at the bin by the taxi rank to find the door to Tesco’s, and I know that the table and chairs on one route is outside my favourite café so I just need to walk around them. Still, Street furniture is more of a hinderance than a help, especially A-boards. They’ve been banned from Hull and Bradford city centres, and I’m happy about that.

So, although it is a pain in the arse, and frequently the forehead, to be using a cane instead of a dog, it does have its silver lining. I’m getting to know my town centre intimately.


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