Happy Christmas Eve

I know things feel less Christmasy as people get older, but this has to be the quietest Christmas ever for me. I think the main reason for that is that I’m not working, didn’t have a staff night out, and haven’t been out much at all recently. I’m not complaining, it’s just strange. My brother is home, and there’s lots going on round here to distract me.

Nicky won’t be up for Christmas this year, and I wouldn’t miss Christmas at home with my nephews, so I suppose we celebrated it together last week. On Thursday I met him in Dublin, because I had won tickets for Colm MacConIomaire’s gig in Vicar Street. We stayed in Jurey’s in Christchurch, which was a nice hotel. Breakfast was nothing special, but the staff were lovely and friendly, and it was a good location for walking around Dublin city. Except neither of us had a dog so we didn’t walk far. I had to leave Sibyl with my sister, much to my nephews delight, and I really missed her for getting around. We don’t know our way around Dublin, but she really makes it much easier. It’s the first time I’ve really missed not having her with me, and was a nice reminder of how well we are bonding.

The gig itself was beautiful, as you would expect from Colm. He can do magic things with a violin, so adding an eleven piece band with that really was special. I can’t recommend his album ‘and now the weather’ enough if you just like lovely instrumental music, and if you buy a copy on CD, the cover, designed by his wife Sheila is lovely! As usual the Vicar Street staff were brilliant, and a little disappointed that we had no dogs.
While we were in Dublin, we had a chance to meet up with some friends for dinner, and more the next morning. It was great to finally meet Darragh and Emma’s new baby Rian, and see Meabh again. Then we went back to Carlow to relax for the weekend, and listened to lots of Christmas music.

I still wasn’t feeling completely Christmasy by Monday. I think spending time around children really helps, so was delighted when my mum asked me to come in to her class to see the students and accompany them to a carroll service in the church beside the school. It was my first time taking Sibyl to a chapel. Children were shocked to see a dog there as we came in. She didn’t really know where to lie at first, but when she settled down she was great. She lay still and looked around her, not moving until the child narrating asked everybody to stand for the final prayer. You’d swear she could understand! She got lots of attention from the students when we returned to their class. She really is very calm and gentle around children, and would have made a great assistant dog for a child with autism I think. I’m glad she became a guide dog though!

I’m sitting here at the computer on Christmas eve morning, in a quiet house, before all the madness begins. This year will be more quiet than usual I think, but we’ll have three dogs to entertain on Christmas
day which will be fun. Hopefully the weather will be dry and I can escape with someone before dinner and take them for a walk. I try and stay away from the Christmas dinner cooking as much as possible! The dogs got a present of doggy biscuits in the post yesterday. I haven’t got any presents in the post in my life I don’t think.

Anyway, the blogs been quiet this month, but I just want to wish everybody who still reads it a very happy Christmas, and a healthy and peaceful 2016.

The Simple Things

Having a guide dog makes the simplist things even easier.

 

This afternoon I offered to watch my two nephews, who are eight and five years old, because their school had to finish early for staff meetings. When they came I knew they’d be hungry, but instead of making the lunch I had planned, I asked them if they wanted to go to a nearby café for sandwiches and hot chocolate. Of course they were delighted! We walked to town and had a nice lunch. They talked the whole time, making sure Sibyl was doing a good job, while also keeping back and letting her lead the way. We walked to my friend’s sweet shop, and did a couple of things in town before going home to play with lego.

 

It was a short walk, with two great boys who are always willing to help with anything.  They forget that I’m blind, but are also very aware of it when they need to be. Having a guide dog makes simple things like this, that most people probably take for granted much easier. If I didn’t have a dog, I wouldn’t cross the very busy road that I live beside using a cane. I definitely wouldn’t bring two children with me. I wouldn’t feel safe, and other family members would be reluctant to let me bring them. But a guide dog makes this possible. It enables me to be an aunt who enjoys spending time with my nephews, taking them places, just like everyone else in our family.