Spotting the signs

hatterMost people enjoy a cuppa and tea parties hold a special appeal for many, the ritual of making it, the paraphernalia that some insist upon, a damask tablecloth, cake stand, teapot and knitted ‘cosy’ ‘real’ china , a favourite mug….I remember a valued friend who wherever  possible preferred using loose leaf tea and a strainer for his brews,  it did seem to add some extra magic to a ceremony which universally serves as both refreshment and therapy, but imagine how it would be if we were unable, because of sight impairment to appreciate it’s  visual charm, or indeed to easily make that cuppa , I was surprised to learn, that yearly in UK approximately 23,000 people lose their vision and current cuts to services and benefits,will see many of these people lose as much as 5 hours support a week, this may have the biggest impact on their ability to engage in the simple social events most sighted people take for granted, going to a cafe or a friends home for a cuppa, the implications  to their emotional wellbeing  are obvious.

The eyes are  the only transparent part of our body, a window on our general health, having regular eye tests enables the optician to detect early signs of not only  eye problems which might lead to  significant sight loss but early indications of other potential health risks.

The Yorkshire Action for Blind People will be holding a Readathon on the 11th October, as part of  the Read for RNIB’s  national campaign, themed on the ‘mad’ tea party, from Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland,  the aim, to raise funds to provide vital services, it will take place on the concourse of Leeds Rail station between 8am and 6pm, volunteers will be reading aloud  excerpts from Lewis Carrol’s ‘Alices Adventures in Wonderland’ to commuters, there will be an information stand, texts will be available in different size formats and for kindles, I plan to be there on the look out for the white rabbit!

The Leeds Vision Consortium is a collaboration between  Action for Blind People, The Wilberforce Trust and Leeds City Council.

Local contacts for the campaign and wellbeing promotion workers are, respectively Rachel Moore 0113 3862888 and Sherieda Joseph, 07720 946342


In researching more about what’s commonly  referred to as the mad Hatters party, I discovered  that the author of  Alice’s Adventures, Lewis Carrol, did not use that  term with sole reference to the Hatter’s character, more with reference to the  bizarre  repetition of the eternal 6pm teatime proceedings,  although the whole story and characters might be considered somewhat …zany? the party  story poses some impossible riddles, as a child I found Alice’s Adventures  too foreboding, but now as a grown up ‘kid’ I appreciate it’s nonsensical dark tale and it’s back on my to read pile.