Wendy's blog: The blind hotel

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Haven’t blogged for a while, disappeared into the summer hols with kids but we’ve all come out breathing!

It was a lovely summer and the kids actually spent some time being nice to each other. This is a treat in this house hold and gives you that lightbulb moment ‘ahhhh, that’s why we had 2’!

We went off to the Cliffden Hotel in Teignmouth which is in partnership by Action For The Blind. A wonderful if slightly unconventional hotel where you can be exactly who you are. No airs and graces. Thundering around with canes is expected and dogs are accepted. Most of the visually impaired people there have been going for years and years and it was lovely to see visually impaired people doing normal things and being marvellously independent. They were there with friends or families or partners or they were on there own but whatever their situation they seemed happy and accepted and included.

Since being told that Josh was blind the totally bonkers side of me went into over drive and since that day I have striven to obtain evidence that blind people are happy, make friends, have relationships, families, jobs etc Of course I do know that this is totally irrational and quite frankly idiotic as I know loads of people who are not visually impaired who struggle with the above. Including myself! Shortly after Josh’s diagnosis, my obsession with whether blind people were happy or not got so out of control that it was pointed out to me that changing course and following a blind person on their journey to see how they coped at the traffic lights or how they made their choice in the corner shop was verging on stalker behaviour and really did need to stop. So I stopped. But it didn’t stop me wondering.

So Cliffden was my tonic and it was a great relief to be outnumbered by blind or visually impaired people who really seemed to be having quite a ball. And their independence was fab – they would take off down to the beach via the dog poo area and can I say at this point, deal with dog mess as is socially expected but not always done by sighted dog owners! (Don’t get me started).

I met the blind musician who frequently ditched his teenage kids because they used to slow him down. I met a wonderful blind lady who was her disabled husband’s primary carer. There was the blind couple who were heavily involved in improving disability services for their local authority whilst looking after their 3 children one of whom was visually impaired. They also gave a cracking performance at the Karaoke.

There was also the couple who spent chunks of time travelling around the atrium at the top of the stairs trying to find their way down the stairs despite lots of offers of help. Banging on all the bedroom doors around the atrium at 6am in the morning shouting ‘have you got the dog?’ ‘No’ ‘I thought you had’ ‘oh we’re lost again’ ‘where’s the top of the stair’s?’ ‘It must be that way’ ‘No that’s where we came from’ – was also an eye opener and a reminder to myself the importance of habilitation services and orientation points. And the children, whether they were visually impaired or their parents were visually impaired or both there was just so much love and caring going on in the Cliffden Hotel it was a truly lovely experience.

My kids ask to go back to the ‘blind’ hotel everyday. They want live to there. And do you know I wouldn’t mind either. It was our bubble in a not bubble world if that makes sense. Our bubble burst back at home and the sibling love seems to have taken a bit of a bashing again. This morning’s breakfast conversation went along the lines of..

Chloe; “Mum can I have a sister now please and make sure this one’s not blind”.
Josh: “Mum can you get me a brother now please and one that’s blind.”

Sure kids, and would you like jam on your toast?


  1. Profile photo of Edith


    October 27, 2014

    Lovely to hear about the fab time you had in hotel. Really enjoyed the bit about the people stuck in a loop in the atrium-is that where they spent most o0f their holiday?

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