I would like to thank you all for reading my blogs this last year. This doesn’t happen very often that I am left short for words – friends and colleagues “take a sharp intake of breath”. I can’t summarise this past year, but regular readers will know that when I have an opinion others know I have one.  I wouldn’t say that I am blinkered though, I will still listen to the views of others.

This year I feel I have really developed as a person, I have learnt so much, even though I can’t say specifically what. This is probably due to two factors, one colleagues here at Southampton Sight have supported and encouraged me to take on a different role within our organisation.  The latter half of this year I have been slowly building up my confidence with facilitating sight loss awareness training. Some highlights of this year are working alongside colleagues on the development of our new sight loss awareness delivery program of which we have used when working with Winchester Science Centre’s staff.  This has also impacted on the fourth-year medic student sight loss awareness sessions that we deliver on a regular basis at the hospital.  I am also pleased to say that because of the work that Lorna, Angela and myself did at WSC I am now a member of their accessibility panel.  If we hadn’t done this work, I would have never thought of visiting a science centre as an adult because they were always inaccessible to me as a blind child.

Secondly, my passion in life is my sailing, (I feel sorry at times for my long-suffering partner and family as this is all I talk about at times).  The enhanced communication skills and working with different sailors and trainers has taught me so much about the sport.  I am beginning to remember more of the jargon and am building on my understanding of how movement of my body weight can impact on a boat’s performance.  I carried on with life and doing all types of sailing but at the end of July through a conversation with a very honest lady, I realised I needed to get fitter and would help myself with achieving my goal of competing in a blind world championship by losing some weight. Fast forward to the present day, I have been exercising more, eating better and have lost some weight. In November I took part in the Blind Sailing UK National championship and our team won the GOLD medal.

So to my new adventure and challenge – way back in February I was looking for my next JST voyage, Jackie casually said what about an Atlantic crossing, this was immediately met with complete resistance “no! this is for too long”, “I can’t do that”, she knew she’d sown that seed.  Tick, tick went my brain and before I knew it, I’d had a heart to heart with my partner and with his encouragement and the trustee’s approval for a month off I booked my adventure.  What a fantastic way to end 2019 and next week I fly out to Las Palmas to begin my voyage. Keep an “eye” out for any updates and future blogs regaling suitable stories from my time on board as I sail across the sea to Antigua. Beats work!

I would like to wish you all a very happy and healthy Christmas and New Year.

See you later from ‘not quite’ Captain Kate


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