If you have read my blog before you will kmow that I love unusual things. You may also know I love doing my bit to help promote people who want to showcase their talents in the Creative Arts.
LEONE Designers definitely fit into the second category. Ryte and Zoya are two ladies who have decided to promote the talents of Designers from Leicester. In fact the name LEONE Designers is actually a tribute to the LE1 Postcode - where their pop-up shop is based until August 2016 (the shop is close to the Costa Coffee and the Showcase Cinema behind the Highcross Shopping Centre).
I must admit I wasn't prepared to write about it when I first walked into the shop (the battery on my mobile had run out so I couldn't take photos).
When I went back the next day I was in for a real treat. I witnessed a true artist at work - making a leather wallet from scratch by hand using silk with a pattern he had designed himself for the inside pockets.
The start of the wallet-making process - unfortunately I didn't get to see the finished article
The shop is almost set out like an Art Gallery with an eclectic range of products.
The following photos show just a small selection of the items on sale.
The pair of jeans in the next two photos were actually made by Ryte (one of the partners in the business) - the lady modelling them bought them.
The shop is well worth a visit. The staff are friendly and encourage you to have a look around. (To be honest I can find shops which almost double up as Art Galleries more than a bit intimidating - I don't usually feel comfortable touching the items in that kind of shop.)
If you are in Leicester City Centre and you want to escape into s world of msrvellous Art and Design give LEONE Designers a visit. You will be in for a treat.
|If you are one of my Facebook friends you will have seen a status updated I posted on Saturday asking why strangers seem to take one look at me and spill their guts to me (and tell me their life story).|
I had had the most surreal conversation with a total stranger. I am not going to tell you what was discussed. However, I will tell you two things about it.
The first one being - I get the general idea that if the other person had been in slightly different circumstances they would probably not have told me half of what they did. (The half which I doubt they would have told me under different circumstances included the parts which actually scared the living daylights out of me.) They also paid me a slightly backhanded compliment by saying "I have told you more than I told my Psychologist".
Those of you who know me will know that I do not judge until I know the full story. I will give my opinion if I am asked for it. However, if you talk to me expecting to get unsolicited advice, go and find someone else to talk to.
A friend of mine knows me well enough to realise that if I say "Hmm" it means that I am thinking and they will possibly receive an update to my thoughts in the very near future (they will usually have to ask for it first though).
There are times when the best way to help people is just be a "Sounding Board" for them. Do not judge them or tell tehm how you would do things if you were them - just let them talk it out and let them know you are there for them.
I was talking to another friend of mine who I managed to totally either shock or confuse when I said that they were correct about something but they were wrong about my reasons for it.
Put it this way - if I decide to initiate a conversation with you without us never having met before (unless I know there is a very high chance of you having some information I need - or you have an unusual accent) - the chances are you do not exactly look like the friendliest person on the planet (and that is usually something of an understatement). Experience tells me that the friendly looking humans are the most dangerous humans to approach. The apparent friendliness can hide a very nasty sting in the tail.
You can learn a lot just by sitting quietly whilst someone talks to you. Subjects I have found myself being educated about just by following that advice include Mental Health and Drug Addiction (subsection "Heroin").
There is something which I have learned - if you do not judge people on first appearances they are less likely to judge you on the same criteria.
A very dear friend of mine found out that we have got more in common with each other than I have with most of my other friends. They are a big supporter of this blog so I am not going to break their confidence - but we now have a bit of a mutual Appreciation Society going on. I am so proud of them and they know why.
The way they learned so much about me was by me not trying the "Been There, Done That, Got The Tshirt" approach when they opened up to me. Instead - I listened to them and occassionally told them a little of my story to show I understood more than they realised.
I may either come across as a total loudmouth or someone who is cold, defensive, and difficult to reach, when you first meet me. However, if you persevere long enough to get to know me, I have been told I am one of the nicest friends you can have.
There is one question which comes up in job interviews which I really hate. It is the one where the interviewer asks "If I asked your friends to describe you - what do you think they would say?".
(If there wasn't the small matter of something called the "Data Protection Act" - and if I was the kind of person to give out the personal details of my friends - I would be very tempted to hand the interviewer my mobile phone and tell them to pick a friend and ask them themself.)
I can only tell you how I treat my friends.
I am loyal, I will go out of my way to help a friend who is in need if I can (and if they are prepared to help themself as well), I am respectful of their privacy, I am caring (put it this way - I get upset when my friends are upset), I will defend them until they prove me wrong (in which case - I suggest they are very careful indeed). I also love doing things to surprise my closest friends - it might be sending a card with a personal message when they are feeling down. There is one way of finding out how close a friend I consider you to be - if I am totally (bluntly - to the point of saying exactly what I am thinking when I think it) honest without feeling like I have to ask your permission first - your next stage would be to actually attempt to get yourself adopted as a member of my family (either that or adopt me yourself).
Remember - never judge people unless you know the whole story. Your judgements could get you into a world of trouble.
Yes - that is the internationally recognised "No Entry" Sign
The "Disability Discrimination Act" should be a wonderful piece of legislation which enables those of us who either classify ourselves or are classified by others as being "Disabled" to have exactly the same opportunities as the "Able-bodied" members of society.
However, it doesn't quite work like that in my experience (or the experience of other people with various disabilities).
In fact - you could say that in some cases the "Disability Discrimination Act" shares more characteristics with the "No Entry Sign" in the picture at the start of this blog post.
I have blogged before about the fact that the purchase of glasses (as in "spectacles") is not covered by the "Disability Discrimination Act".
However, there are a few other things which I wish were also covered by the Act. Apparently I am covered by the Act when it comes to getting into a shop, cafe, or other building. (Handrails, ramps, etc, should be provided to enable me to get into the building.) The actual layout, lighting, etc, inside the building doesn't seem to be covered though. I have lost count of the amount of times I have walked into a building of any description and found myself unable to access the reason I entered the establishment.
You may call me slightly crazy if you want to (to be honest I am past caring) but - if I manage to enter an establishment on my own - I do not expect to have to leave and return with other people in order to achieve the objective of my visit. It is all very well training your staff in helping people to access your goods and services - but if I find myself needing to ask your staff for help in reading a menu, etc, your system has failed before our intended transaction has even begun.
Put simply - the only time when I will happily ask for help is if I find myself in a situation where I am faced with reading a language I cannot speak or understand a word of. For the rest I would prefer to be given exactly the same chance as everybody else.
Of course - the way I access the goods and services provided by your establishment may not be the same as everybody else. For example - I much prefer being able to hold things like menus, notices, etc, in my hand - instead of either having to locate a stepladder and a microscope or having to stand nose to wall with a notice which has been "helpfully" attached to a wall - because the idiot who designed the aforementioned notice appears to have forgotten that there are humans who cannot actually see extremely small print.
Another object which frustrates me no end is your friendly local ATM (or cash mashine) - and the associated "Chip and Pin" machines.
I will start with the ATM. Leaving aside the fact that the ones outside buildings are usually not shaded from the sun (in fact most of them appear to be in direct sunlight most of the time) for a minute. The major problem I have got with most of them is the size of the flipping contraption - more precisely - the size of the screen and the font. If the screen was bigger you could have spaces between the buttons around the sides of the screens. As for the font-size - I usually end up wanting to laugh whenever I use the "Fasttrack Banking" (or whatever those machines are called where you can get printed statements, etc) at HSBC banks. They let you have a choice of font-size for the screen. You can either have "Small" (for my eyes please read "Microscopic") or "Normal" (for my eyes read "Small"). I heard a rumour that they were considering having a "Large" font-size as well (for my eyes read "Normal") but I have yet to see it.
The "Chip and Pin" devices are the worst offenders though. I never know what sort I am going to be faced with when I want to pay by Debit Card - will I need to squint at the screen because the font is very small on a dark green background? Or will I need to find a welding visor to protect my eyes from the brightly backlit screen (even though the font is actually a readable size for once)???
My biggest bugbear which isn't covered by the "Disability Discrimination Act" is one which I have been known to face alost before I leave my home. In fact- they are two bugbears of mine.
I have blogged before about those things I classify as "Mobile Discos" (cars with music blaring from windows which are apparently sealed shut - and I can hear the music before I can see the car approaching). According to me - the only vehicles which should drive around making that level of noise so loud it drowns out the noise of the engine are as follows - Police, Ambulance, Fire Engines, and that is only when they are on "Emergency" calls. There is something about hearing a siren combined with seeing blue flashing lights which gives the general impression the driver is in something of a hurry. This ensures I keep my distance. On the other hand - hearing the latest chart-topping "tunes" - or even a halfway decent song by a group like Bon Jovi or Queen (if I am lucky) at top volume just makes me want to submit the driver of the vehicle to an urgent hearing test. The funny thing is that the drivers of the "Mobile Discos" usually manage to drive like one of Meat Loaf's songs - "Bat Out Of Hell"!!!
My biggest bugbear is one which I really think should be covered by the "Disability Discrimination Act". Mainly because it discriminates against the highest proportion of people (whether or not they are actually "disabled" themselves - they could actually be pushing a pram or a pushchair).
I know I have blogged about this several times before - but parking your car with most of it draped over the pavement is actually extremely dangerous. You parking your car like that may not pose any danger for you - but for those of us who cannot judge gaps (in particular), or who are in a wheelchair, or pushing a pram, and end up having to enter the traffic on the road (where you are actually supposed to find cars) this has been known to turn into a case of "Take Your Life Into Your Own Hands".
If you are too lazy to actually find a carpark (I believe these are actually designed for the purpose of parking your car safely) I have a favour to ask you. After you have finished draping your car over the pavement - please open the door on the side of the pavement to its widest extent. If you cannot open the door so it is at rightangles to the car - find somewhere else to park. This is especially true on sunny days (at least for me because my limited ability to judge small gaps becomes non-existent in bright sunshine).
We have all heard about reports of Disabled people being discriminated against - for example - Guide Dogs and Assistance Dogs not being allowed in Taxis, buildings not having adequate ramps and things to help people access them, etc. These are covered by the "Disability Discriminination Act". However, as you have seen - in my opinion - it doesn't go nearly far enough to actually prevent discrimination of disabled people.
There again - I wonder how many disabled people were consulted before the Act was written and passed into Law???
We need to be able to have confidence in things like the "Disability Discrimination Act" covering all scenarios which disabled people may face - without having to consult other laws (or even the HIghway Code) and without having to work out which law contradicts the Act itself. Or even - having to know that I cannot use the "Disability Discrimination Act" to cover me when I want to buy a pair of glasses - but I can use it because I am Registered Partially Sighted (which - correct me if I am wrong - would suggest I need glasses more than most people???).
I live in hope of the Act being re-written to cover all scenarios - but I am nt holding my breath.
f you are a long time reader of my blog you may have come across the term "Human Library Books" before.
I use this phrase to describe people (usually friends of mine) who have interesting experiences which I love learning about. The obvious difference between a "Human Library Book" and a more traditional one is that I can ask the Human version questions in order to help me understand what they are teaching me.
I was speaking to four "Human Library Books" today at the Social Media Cafe (I spoke to the fifth one after the event). Some of the "Books" had similar experiences whilst others were totally different.
An example (which has proven extremely educational for me) is that two of the "Books" have Epilepsy. However, one "Book" has "Normal" (as in triggered by flashing lights) Epilepsy - whilst the other "Book" has Stress-triggered Epilepsy (which I had never heard of before they told me about it).
The strange thing is that "Human Library Books" come in all sorts of disguises. This is because everybody has their own unique set of experiences.
For example - if I want to find out about Policing (for example) I can consult several "Books" whom I am in contact with, depending on what aspect of Policing I wish to learn about (and in which country), if I want to learn about life in a different country all I have to do is pick a country and speak to a "Book" who has got experience of living in that country - the same with a different religion, etc. I even know "Books" like the two I mentioned earlier with different health issues.
I am the sort of person who prefers consulting my "Human Library" if I have a question about something - because I know I am going to get an answer based on that particular "Book" and their experience.
For some strange reason - Corporate bodies are not exactly like that. They usually end up either consulting charities or proper paper-based Textbooks. Especially when it comes to things like physical disabilities and Mental Health issues. There is only one minor problem with that - the advice is either "one size fits all" or totally wrong to start with.
Take the "Book" who is typing this blog post. If you and I were in a group of people doing one of those "Team Building" exercises where you have to "file" people in order of different things - and the criteria we had to file ourselves on was the subject of who has got the worst sight - you and I may decide to file me in different places based on our experiences of my sight. Unless the specific criteria was "file in order of the strength of prescription of glasses or contact lenses" - in which case we would both have no choice but to put me at or near the end with the strongest prescription.
The paper-based textbooks only deal with general theories about different disabilities and Mental Health issues and their effects on the people who have them. This is especially true if they are written by academics. (These are the ones which I can prove wrong in a matter of minutes when it comes to visual problems - subsection Myopia.)
Some of the charities - who supposedly exist to either help or speak up for Disabled people or those who have Mental Health issues - do not actually have any member of staff with the issues which are being talked about by the charity. How are they supposed to provide help and support if they have no personal practical experience to use???
It is all very well corporate organisations such as Councils, Construction companies, Organisations who run Festivals, etc, consulting the Charities, etc, for advice about how to make their building accessible for different disabilities. What they fail to realise is that every single disabilitiy or Mental Health issue has its own scale of severity. For example - all seven of the "Books" (including myself) in our little discussions wear glasses at least part of the time. This would indicate that all of us have got some kind of sight problem. However, it would not (at least in my case) indicate the exact severity of the problem - or all the factors which combine to make it that severe. You need to consult each separate "Book" to find out the exact severeity of the sight problem and what the "Book" you are consulting would wish you to do to make their life easier for them.
This may sound totally daft but - surely - instead of asking people who have no practical experience of dealing with the issues you have come up against - it might be a good idea to ask someone who has got that particular issue???
Before you try to tell me that there are people who are qualified to discuss things like Disability and Mental Health - due to the fact that they have got paper qualifications coming out of their ears - I would answer that by saying "by all means feel free to ask any Brainiac you want to - just don't be surprised when you come across someone like me who seems to live for proving the "Experts" wrong".
I know I have said this elsewhere on my blog but - and the two "Books" I was discussing this subject with agreed with me - we need to value practical experience more than paper qualifications. Especially when it comes to subjects you cannot get paper qualifications in the Practical side of - ie, a PhD in Psychology and having practical experience of a Mental Health issue are two very different concepts. The same with a degree in Optometry and having practical experience of severe myopia, photophobia, lack of night vision, a total inability to judge speed to distance ratios, problems with angles and depth of field, etc. (That little list actually describes my sight problems in a nutshell.)
I was informed that I am "Pro-active" today. My answer to that is - if I don't make a fuss about the challenges I face due to my sight nobody else will. Apart from that - if the Disabled "Community" (and I really hate using the word "Community" in that context), including both the physically disabled and those with Mental Health issues, don't stand up for ourselves and start shouting about the problems we face on a daily basis - whether or not it is connected with the issue itself or the stigma which is attached to some issues by Society - nobody is going to start shouting for us.
My blog contains posts on the challenges I face due to my sight in an attempt to educate people about them. This is my way of doing my bit when it comes to being part of a large section of "Human Library Books" on the subject of "Disability". However, my blog also contains posts on other aspects of my life which this "Book" is also happy to discuss with you - all you have to do is ask me.
I am going to leave you with a song by Richie Sambora which I always think of whenever I blog about my sight. The song is called "Undiscovered Soul" - the relevant lyrics are "When you walk that road - you walk alone. Just an undiscovered soul in the great unknown. When your only hope is to find a home. Just an undiscovered soul in the great unknown".
Call me crazy if you want to but I am beginning to think that there might be a connection emerging between this sculpture I photographed in Delft and our current Political landscape. They both apparently serve no purpose whatsoever and nobody knows what the point of either of them is.
We have just had two major Political events - the EU Referendum and the publishing of the Chilcot Report into the Iraq war.
Both of these have completely destroyed my connection with British Politics - but for very different reasons.
The Chilcot Report seems to be the subject of several Post-mortems (it has got to the stage where I am awaiting the announcement of an Enquiry into the Report). Not only that but certain Media Outlets appear to have lined up Medical Professionals to cast doubts on Tony Blair's sanity (or at least his personality) without the benefit of a "Professional" appointment with him. I am not sure but I think this may be ever so slightly against the Professional Codes of Conduct of the British Psychological Society as well as the Royal College of Psychiatrists???
Then we have the British Referendum on the EU - which appears to have finally hit the "Destruct" button on both the Conservative Party and the Labour Party.
Since David Cameron resigned as Prime Minister we have been "treated to" the unedifying sight of Politicians attempting to line themselves up to take over (as I type this the final Candidate to stand against Theresa May has stood down).
On the Labour side we have a party who is on the verge of Civil War with itself. I am too confused by the inner workings of the Labour Party to even begin to explain the process to elect a Leader.
What I do find ironic is that the Labour Party are attempting to get rid of a Leader because he stood up for his principles. I don't really like how Jeremy Corbin comes across on TV but at least he stands up for what he believes in (even to the point of not wanting anything to do with the Toxic Tony Blair - whether or not this would be detrimental to the "Remain" campaign in the EU Referendum).
The one thing I have got a major problem with in all the Leadership Contests is that they would seem to be using the MP's and the members of each party to attempt to decide how the rest of us would vote.
This sounds to me a bit like asking a Construction worker in Glasgow whether a Journalist in London would like a cup of tea!!! Without the Construction Worker having met the Journalist prior to being asked the question.
The Political parties only seem to be interested in their own little worlds. We have been threatened with not having a General Election before 2020 (something to do with the "5 year Parliament Act") even though David Cameron is no longer Prime Minister.
If I had my way the Leadership contests for both Labour and the Conservatives would both bypass the MPs - as well as the membership - of both parties and be put to a national vote.
My reason??? Well, the Political parties all want to choose someone who they think would make a good Prime Minister, don't they??? Someone who will lead the country and have the support of the majority of the population when it comes to General Elections???
So why don't we have a law where we (the public) automatically get a vote in Leadership Elections??? I am only saying this because of the controversy surrounding the spike in Labour Party Members who (allegedly) don't have the best interests of the Labour Party at heart.
As well as the above - I would scrap the "First Past The Post" Electoral system. I would like to see more Coalition Governments in future (without that stupid Law I referred to earlier in place).
I would make one final change to our Electoral System (if I could not abolish it completely).
I am sick to death of seeing MPs on my TV whom I have absolutely nothing in common with. Whether or not they are from the upper eschelons of Society, Millionnaires in their own right (self-made or through inheritence), Career Politicians - or even whether or not they have actually had a job I can actually relate to - I would love to see Politicians who I feel I can trust to understand me if I go to them with a problem.
If we had a Parliament which truly reflected the makeup of our Society we would see a lot less white faces (we might even see more people like Nick Clegg - white but with parents from other countries), We would see a lot less men. We would see more people who have had "lower status" jobs (instead of Doctors, Lawyers, Directors of Oil Companies, etc). We would also see a lot more people with all kinds of Disabilities. I am shocked when I consider that I can count on one hand the amount of MPs I have seen on TV with an obvious disability (and I cannot even name most of them). David Blunkett was blind and became a Minister in one of Tony Blair's governments (that was the only good thing Tony Blair did as far as I am concerned).
I seem to remember typing a blog post complaining about the stock phrase that Politicians always seem to use whenever they are faced with any kind of election - "We need a new kind of Politics".
Yes - we do need a new kind of Politics. One where the views of the entire population are taken into account, where the politicians are not allowed to say things when they are in Parliament which would get you or I arrested (or sued) if we said them in the street, where "Prime Minister's Questions" is actually seen as a civilised debate (instead of a kindergarten full of overgrown toddlers all grumpy because they can't get their own way). Most of all - we need a kind of Politics which I would be pleased to get involved in instead of shouting about it through this blog. This would mean that the Politicians we elected would display compassion for their fellow man and go out of their way (if necessary) to force the Government to change Laws which either intentionally or unintentionally discriminate against the most vulnerable people in Society.
The final thing the new kind of Politics would allow to happen is for everybody to speak out for those of us who do not have a voice.
|Well - the Crowdfunding campaign didn't quite work out as well as I had hoped.|
So I decided to try something else (and I have some more news which I will tell you about in a bit).
I have set up a Justgiving page at https://crowdfunding.justgiving.com/inkyworld in another attempt to fund the blog.
There is a bit of an added incentive for you.
Part of the money will be used to keep this blog going and the other half will (hopefully) be used to publicise a project which I am rather excited about.
Some of the more long-standing readers will know I am involved in a photography project. Until now I have kept some of the details a mystery.
As you know - I have been trying to give you tasters of some of the barriers and challenges which I face due to my sight. This is very difficult through the medium of the written word. That is apart from telling you about my problems with bright light, darkness, and angles (particularly staircases). Attempting to tell you exactly how much I can see without my glasses on - for example - really needs photographic evidence. Never mind the fact that my eyes can play the weirdest tricks on me even when I have got my glasses on.
I can waffle on and on about how I have difficulties with things which you may be able to do automatically without thinking - however, all that will happen is I will bore you to sleep.
If the project comes off as I hope - it will give you a first hand taster of things which you may never have to think about. It will be the next best thing to actually borrowing my eyeballs themselves.
I have seen some photos already and they look pretty impressive. They have captured things almost exactly as I see them.
However, without your funding I cannot carry out my plans for the project - or keep inkyworld going.
Steps from the Grand Union Canal To The Great Central Way (Formerly The Great Central Railway)
I was going to type this blog post last night - however, I was not in the mood to type anything after witnessing yet another example of the subject of it.
There are times when I honestly wonder what we as a Society are trying to achieve.
Never mind the Mainstream Media - with their ideas about going for the lowest common denominators when it comes to "Front Page News". Or the Government (what little of it actually still exists in a form sufficient to govern) and their ideas about condemning the most vulnerable in society to their own fate - instead of adequately providing help and assistance in order for them to reach their goals.
Even certain words have either been twisted so they have a different meaning - some of them have been twisted so much that everybody understands them to have the exact opposite meaning to that found in any Dictionary I have ever read.
The above photo can be seen as a metaphor for the barriers we all (yes - I admit I do this sometimes as well) put in the path of others who are trying to achieve their goals. The barriers can be obvious and physical - or they can be small and not so obvious. They don't even have to be intentionally put between people and their goals.
There is another point about barriers - they can change shape and size depending on your perception of them.
For example - I will see the fact that you have "helpfully" parked your car with three quarters of it obscuring the pavement where I intend to walk (and only left a small gap between the side of your car and the wall, etc, on the other side of the pavement) as a major barrier (like the big fence in the photo above) due to my sight. A bit like the big - physical - fence in the photo.
However, you may see where you have parked your car a bit like the reflection of the barrier in the puddle in the photo. You will think that you have left enough space for me (or anybody else) to navigate their way around your car. Reflections are only temporary and they can be moved at will - more to the point - you can walk through a reflection in a puddle without damaging yourself. Put it this way - if you tried to walk through the big barrier in the photo I really hope you have a lifejacket on as it is a big drop until you hit the water in the canal.
Sometimes our choices just reflect ourselves back at us (like the reflection of the swan in the photo) if we choose to look at them.
I have heard a lot about the whys and wherefores connected with the results of the EU Referendum. Some people seem determined to paint everybody who voted for "Brexit" as a racist - without bothering to ask them about their true motives and ideas.
There are lots of times when I have seriously disagreed with a decision - but I have never condemned anybody for it.
The way I see it is - people's beliefs are their private business until it comes to a point where they directly affect me and my life.
You and I may strongly disagree about things but I hope I will always treat you with courtesy and respect even if we do.
I want to finish this blog post by quoting my all-time favourite lyrics. These have been going around in my head for the last couple of weeks - and the reason may become obvious.
I've been walking in the footsteps of Society's lies.
I don't like what I see no more.
Sometimes I wish I was blind.
Sometimes I wait for ever - just to stand out in the rain.
So noone sees me crying - trying to wash away these pains.
("Keep The Faith" by Bon Jovi)