Christmas is coming!

Congratulations to the young blind black woman who has just become a barrister.   Now she needs a set of Chambers to take her on as a pupil for the next step into the profession.   I was lucky: still serving in the Navy (first woman barrister), my Chambers could offer pupillage with no risk of me seeking a permanent tenancy with them.   I only started losing my sight about a year or so later.

And lots in the news about the experiences of women in the military: submarines, sexual assaults and more.   During my time in uniform, I can remember two attempts to attack me: one was a very drunken Commander whom I repelled with ease; the second was a besotted Lieutenant Colonel who chased me around his kitchen table.   I confess not taking any further action about the first but did have a quiet word in an appropriate ear regarding the latter.   I never saw or heard from him again.   I do recall, decades ago when women were just about to go to sea, standing up at a conference, utterly furious about the lack of proper protection, policy or thinking about the massive change.   Perhaps one of the drivers to get involved with equality and diversity in later years.

On a more seasonal note, visually impaired podcaster Tom Walker was professionally impressive.   He’d travelled all the way from Liverpool by rail for just over an hour with me before flogging all the way back.   He was recording part of his Christmas “special” well in advance.   For my part, I had to step up to match his dedication.   In that brief time, I managed to knock up a “last minute” Christmas cake, bake it and tell him some of my life story.   The cake was easy.   And hope that his recording turns out equally successful.

And Christmas preparation continues apace.   Jars of mincemeat are already done; Christmas puddings (only 17 this year) stored; proper Christmas cake next on the list.   I’ve been madly wrapping presents too and just about done.   Some are especially distinctive: hand-wrapped and beribboned by this blind person with the paper deliberately inside out.   It adds that extra frisson of excitement when one discovers the paper’s actual design on the inside.   I’m lucky enough to have a loft where I have the space to manage it all.   The ladder does creak disturbingly as I climb up and I’ll need some help later to bring the whole lot down again.

Briefest glimpse of me and tiny mention on local TV news but it was really all about celebrating 100 years of Open Sight Hampshire (we do the monthly cooking demos together).   If you want to watch a blind person teaching a simple soup and delicious ginger cake as requested by local college students, you can join us for free on Monday 14 November at 10:30 by registering free at:

Don’t forget that there’s a free downloadable Christmas recipe booklet with links to demos available –  you too can get ahead of the game!

Blind cook, Tom Walker, women in the military, submarine sex scandal, Royal Navy, army, podcast, Christmas, Christmas cake, Christmas pudding, Christmas mincemeat, uniform sex, Open Sight Hampshire,  A cook’s tour, blind baker, baking blind, veteran, visual impairment

© 2024 - Penny Melville-Brown
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