My Hearing Loss Story – ish!

Yesterday, a fella I follow on Mastodon, John, posted this:

It’s a really interesting article where Mary Louise Kelly talks about her hearing loss and some of what she says resonates with me. It’s worth a read. Anyway, I thought I’d share my hearing loss journey*.

Unlike hers, my hearing loss is not genetic and I’m not going in to how I lost it here, that’s another story.

I was 17 when my hearing started going and initially it was like I was constantly underwater. I was felt like I was always trying to clean my ears, no matter how painful it was, because I thought it would fix it. After many medical appointments I was told the loss was permanent and would get progressively worse. I was advise to learn sign language while I could still hear. Future appointments were made for hearing tests so they could estimate how soon I’d lose my hearing fully and after two years I was informed that by the time I turned 40 I’d have lost all the hearing in my left ear and over 50% of the hearing in my right. I’ll be 50 in a few months and it isn’t as bad as they predicted by it’s bad enough.

An appointment was made for a hearing aid and I refused it. Having a hearing aid would make it real and I wasn’t ready for that.

As the years went on the swimming pool effect disappeared and now, instead of sounding like I was underwater, it sounded like everyone was whispering or mumbling.

I started to rely on seeing faces, particularly lips. If I could see lips I could get by. Mostly.

I learned to laugh and smile at the right time, all based on the tone or the sounds I could actually hear. If I was having a particularly bad day I would say thing like “sorry. I’m just getting over an ear infection” or I’d accuse people of mumbling.

More often than not all these things worked and I didn’t need to tell anyone about my hearing loss. Which was good because I didn’t want to tell anyone. I was in my early twenties and losing my hearing. To me it was embarrassing and shameful! I know now it wasn’t but back then it was – to me.

I learned British Sign Language (BSL) and I forgot most it because I didn’t use it and I did all I could to totally ignore the fact I couldn’t hear people.

Image shows a "behind the ear" hearing aid and an purposely moulded ear piece.

A “behind the ear” (BTE) hearing aid and moulded ear piece.

As the years went on my hearing got progressively worse, as predicted, to the point where the audiologist pretty much insisted I got hearing aids.
“Take the hearing aid now because if you refuse again you’ll go to the bottom of a two year waiting list and you’ll need it well before then!” he said.
“Take it so you’ve got it, and just don’t use it if that’s how you feel!” suggested the nurse.

It was explained to me that once I had the hearing aid I could get further appointments within four weeks. Without it I’d be waiting as long as two years.

So, reluctantly, I agreed. The loss in my right ear wasn’t as bad as my left so I only needed the one hearing aid and a few weeks after a mould of my ear was taken I went back and collected my new hearing aid.

It was horrible. It felt like I was holding a giant pink hook. As for being “flesh toned” in colour, well it was as flesh toned as Clearsil flesh toned acne cream – pale orange!

The audiologist put it in and turned it on an instantly my head was filled with sound. It almost felt like he was shouting. I loved and hated it both at the same time. In the car on the way home Brad rang his sister. I could hear her on the other end of the call! Something I’d never been able to do. It felt amazing but it also felt a little weird. Did I now have super hearing? No I didn’t. I had normal hearing, his sister was just loud!

I used this one hearing aid for years until it fell out of my pocket on the drive way and I drove over it. It still worked. Sometimes. Thankfully I was able to get a replacement on the NHS for a fee of £50. We then moved to Ireland and I lost my access to the health service and any more upgrades or replacements.

For as long as it would work I stuck with this new one but eventually it too failed. Only, it wasn’t a failure due to the hearing aid itself but my hearing. My hearing had gotten so bad that the hearing aid was now just jewellery.

Image shows a massive audio amplifier, sold as a heating aid.I spoke to my doctor about getting replacements over here in Ireland and was told I wasn’t entitled yet as we hadn’t lived in the country long enough, so I looked into buying new ones. To replace like for like I was looking at €1500. I wasn’t prepared to pay it so went on to Amazon. I ended up buying hearing aids that were just amplifiers. They weren’t attuned to my hearing, they were just mics with speakers attached in the form of an ear piece. And they were huge.

I got two and I wore them from time to time but they were so big they made me feel very self conscious. I decided I’d rather spend the time saying “Pardon?” or “Can you repeat that please?” than wear this massive chunk of plastic.

I purchased some ‘in the ear’ hearing aids. Again, they were just amplifiers and not the best for hearing loss but if they worked I’d be happy.

Image shows in the ear type amplifiers.

Tiny shit in-the-ear (ITE) amplifiers.

I hated them. They felt horrible in my ears and I had this illogical fear about them getting stuck and me having to go to A&E to have them removed.

I wore them once and never touched them again. Thankfully they were cheap. I still have both of those aids as a ‘just in case’ but thankfully I don’t need them now.

Two years ago, while getting my eyes tested at Specsavers, the clerk said “Do you want a hearing test? You’re eligible for a free one and might be able to get money off hearing aids.” I said yes even though I knew I had hearing loss. She knew this too as I’d spent most of the time saying “Sorry?” or “What was that?” This is probably why she offered me the hearing test.

A few weeks later I had the test and sure enough she confirmed, again, my hearing loss. She then said “I’ve good new and bad news.” I was hoping the bad news was I was going deaf as I was already prepared for the that.

The good news was I was now entitled to free hearing aids off the state so I took them. My hearing in both ears was bad so I was entitled to two aids and they are attuned to my hearing level. I don’t need to adjust them at all, just pop the batteries and go. I love them. They’re tiny, they’re behind the ear, and the work a treat. I can connect them to my phone to make small adjustments if I need to but so far I’ve never had to.

The bad news was she thought I had an auditory processing issue so she wanted to do further tests. I agreed to them and after another thirty minutes of sitting in the booth and pressing buttons, reacting to sounds and repeating her words, she confirmed, as much as she could, that there was an auditory processing delay.

In other words when someone starts talking to me my brain doesn’t pick it up and I only start hearing after a few seconds. As such I miss when people are talking to me. It also means that if there is more than one voice at the same time I struggle to differentiate or work out what is being said. It all just becomes noise.

She said I could have further tests to confirm it officially but they’re only available privately and would cost around €750. She was quite honest and said it wouldn’t give me anything other than a confirmation as there’s no cure, just exercises which, as far as she was concerned, don’t do a lot for most people. I was happy with her diagnosis and still thrilled that I was getting two new hearing aids so I didn’t bother with the further tests.

I wear my hearing aids whenever I leave the house and I love them. I wear them with pride. I still have problems in noisy places but thankfully I have a very supportive husband. We often sign in bars and if it’s noisy he’ll always go to the bar for me. My friends have been supportive too and every little bit helps.

I’ve learned to adjust my life style to suit my hearing. I sit in the place best suited for me in lectures or meetings. I can also use my iPhone and AirPods has amplifiers if needed. I can put my phone in the middle of the table at a meeting and hear everything that’s going on through he AirPods.

image shows all BTE hearing aids

My lovely hearing aids! My robot ears!

I learned Irish and British Sign Language and bits of American Sign Language and use it as much as I can so I don’t forget it. I use it at work anyway so it’s not likely that I will.

Without my hearing aids people, to me, are mumbling so these robot ears are essential. Sometimes I still struggle but I’m used to it and it doesn’t bother me any more. Being deaf has opened up a whole new world of communication. Brad and I can talk in public places and most people wouldn’t have clue what we were saying!

It’s liberating.

To be honest, sometime it’s useful to be able to turn my hearing off.

*I hate that word.

Surgery and Sick

It’s been a very difficult few weeks.

On February 21st I went in for gallbladder surgery. Everything went well and my gallbladder was fully removed. I don’t feel any different not having one. People warned me about the side effects of not having a gallbladder but so far I’ve had none of them. Annoyingly I didn’t lose any weight from it. I was hoping my gallstones (all three) were at least two stone each but sadly not.

The Galway Clinic, where I had the op, were absolutely brilliant. If you need surgery I can highly recommend them. Hopefully you don’t need surgery.

After two weeks I was all set to call work and report back fit for duty. Noticing I had a few cold symptoms and knowing management would have a conniption if I went in with covid symptoms I thought it best to do a covid test to find out. Bloody thing tested positive didn’t?! Saturday was a little rough but fine then Sunday it hit me hard. I’d say it was Wednesday before I felt capable of doing things yet not much as the brain fog was in full swing. Sitting in front of the computer to do some work and I just couldn’t think!

Anyway, I’m feeling better today yet sadly still have symptoms so I’m not sure if I can go back to work next week. I think you have to be 48hrs clear of symptoms and I’m not. It sucks but there’s nothing I can do about. I genuinely love my job and am desperate to get back! Ugh!

Anyway, Happy St. Patricks Day.

M3gan (2022) – A review – CONTAINS SPOILERS

Director: Gerard Johnstone
Writer: Akela Cooper (story & screenplay) and James Wan (story)
Cast: Allison Williams, Violet McGraw, Ronny Chieng, Amie Donald, Jenna Davis, Brian Jordan Alvarez

As someone who used to write film reviews for a living I genuinely don’t know where to begin with this review.

When it comes to modern horrors my expectations are never high. I’ve yet to find one that actually does what its genre expects. Something that makes me jump is not a horror. For me a horror should make me feel nervous, build tension, any maybe even make me uncomfortable. Most fail to do this. M3gan failed on all levels.

Allison Williams was good in ‘Get Out’ but in this, as Gemma, it’s just a lot of poor acting. Fortunately for her I think the acting was poor because the writing was so bad. Nothing she did made me want to like her, in fact, at one point I was hoping M3gan would just take her out, grab Cody and disappear. Violet McGraw did a nice job as Cody and I look froward to further performances where she gets a better written character. Someone who did do a great job was Amie Donald as M3gan. She portrayed the movements of a robot incredible well. It made the character believable as a robot trying to appear human. In fact, as robot she had more personality than Gemma. So much so I wondered if there would be a twist where Gemma turned out to be a robot too. Sadly not.

The poor writing really does destroy the film in so many ways. The company just doesn’t seem to care about any liability, no one said to Gemma “hey, you’ve got a child coming to live with you, maybe get some toys?” and not one person thought “you know what, she’s just lost her parents and is struggling, maybe we shouldn’t make her an experiment?” Also, theres a child psychologist in this movie. At no point did she say “Gemma, Cody tells me …” and start listing the absolute shit the child is expressing.

It is impossible to believe someone could be so ignorant to a child’s needs but also uninformed by any of the children’s services that would have been involved.

The reason none of this is mentioned? Well, the poor writing is the only thing I can think of.

The only redeeming feature of this film is the corridor dance scene. Although it makes zero sense to the movie it was still enjoyable to watch. It’s just a shame it lasted all of 20 seconds.

I rated this movie a 3 out 10 and it only gets those three points for Violet McGraw, Amie Donald and the corridor dancing. Other than those three points it was atrocious.

As ever though, go see it, make your own mind up.

Placement Starting

Tomorrow I start placement for uni. My last one before I qualify.

It’s working with the elderly services and I’m excited and also nervous. I haven’t worked with the elderly in over 23 years. It’s not an area I think I’m interested but we’ll see.

A short entry but so be it. Haven’t they all recently?!

Night Shifts

In seven hours I finish my last night shift. I want to add “in forever” but let’s be honest, that’s not gonna happen. We all know at some point I’ll be back on nights.

But, when I finish this one I’ll be heading home, loading the car and Brad will be driving us to Birmingham for Christmas. This will be the first Christmas Day with my family in what feels like forever. It will probably be hell and enjoyable.

As for the night shifts.  I don’t mind them. I like the the peace and quiet and being able to just get on with stuff. I find them peaceful.

Bladder & Birthday!

Today I met with Dr. Mark Regan at the Galway Clinic.

He is the surgeon who, on February 21st next year, will remove my Gallbladder. He’s doubtful he’ll be able to do it through keyhole surgery but will try. If he has to do full surgery it’ll mean three days in the hospital. At least he’ll try keyhole first.

My gallbladder has been killing me for months now. In fact, in August Brad had to rush me to A&E as I was crippled. Literally crippled!

I’m very much looking forward to it being gone!

Oh and we celebrated JQ’s 40th with his “Glitter & Gold” party.

Image shows Brad (left) and Rob (right).

International Coming Out Day

Today is International Coming Out Day and I’m not gonna lie it’s a day I hate. Although groups promote it and add “but hey, do it when you’re ready!” I just feel the day itself puts so much pressure on people to come out when they’re not ready.

I’m not saying the day is a bad day, I just don’t like it.

Coming out is a process and my work with the helpline, and other organisation, has shown me that not everyone is ready to come out. That doesn’t mean they shouldn’t, just that, as I said, they’re not ready.

I wasn’t. Is anyone ever?

I wasn’t forced out, I came out of my own accord, on my terms, when I thought the time was right, but I definitely wasn’t ready. Again, are we ever?

Coming out means sharing our secret. It can be a challenging time and it’s not always positive. My own experience was both positive and negative. I had good reactions from some and awful reactions from others.

Discovery, acceptance, integration – The three stages of coming out and each and every one of us that goes through the stages does so differently. Most people tell a friend first. I didn’t. I told my parents. But as soon as they knew, everyone knew!

I did it on my day, not an international day. And yes, I could tell you the date because it’s burned into the album of my memory, but it’s my date and it stays with me and always will. Because that’s how I want it and that’s how I did it and how I wanted to do it.

As the saying goes, you do you.



Back to uni!

Today is the first day of the last year of my degree!

I’ve honestly no idea what to do with this qualification but it’s time to start thinking about it.

I’m toying with the idea of doing a masters and have some choices to make.

– Deaf Studies
– Gender Studies
– Health Promotion

Decisions decision!

The story changes but things stay the same

Twenty years ago, in the evening, I arrived back from my home country of Switzerland, tired and aching, after taking part in an MMA bout against the then world champion. I didn’t win and wasn’t in the mood to deal with people so off I went to the pub.

The place was busy but it was a bar where no one knew me, and I liked it that way.
I had just taken a few sips of my pint, when a guy dressed in silver hot pants and a tight white tee-shirt approached and ordered a Babycham with a cherry and demanded an umbrella.
“I know you!” he said.
Great. Just what I needed. Another deluded fan either looking for a fight so they could go home and tell their friends they’d fought an MMA competitor, or someone looking for an autograph.
“You’re that guy from the telly!” he said.
“I think you have me mixed up with someone else,” I replied.
“No, I know who you are!”
He wasn’t gonna give up and I just wanted a quiet night.
“Can I get your autograph?” he asked.
“Sure,” I said, hoping it’d make him go away.
“I can’t wait to tell my friends I met the guy who plays Phil Mitchell!” he said.
Furious, yet also amused, I scribbled something on a piece of paper and walked away, looking for a table.

Making myself comfy I opened the MMA magazine I’d bought at the airport and started to read. Then he appeared again.
“Are you on your own?” he asked.
“Yes. Can I keep it that way?”
“Of course. I’ll stay here and make sure no one joins you!”
I sighed and carried on reading. Or rather I tried to.

He started talking. And didn’t stop. Like, literally didn’t stop.

Some pints later the bar staff called last orders and I got up to leave. He drunkenly followed, stumbling in to me as we went down the steps away from the bar. It almost felt like he was purposely falling into me.
“Do you have a lift home?” I asked, now concerned about the state he was in.
“Yes!” he said, “with you!”
“Excuse me?!”
“Oh come on! You know you want to!”

We shared a taxi back to his place and he invited me in. By now it had become like a game and I had to know more about him. Given his outfit I was desperate to see what the inside of his palatial apartment looked like, so I accepted his offer.

It was 5.30am when I left knowing that, for once in my life, I’d made the right decision.
Twenty years later he still has the hot pants and I still have the hots for him.

Happy anniversary of our first meeting Brad. The night we met will always be pasted into the album of my memory even if the story changes every year. You’re my absolute hero, my love and my heart and I’m the luckiest ex-Swiss MMA fighter in the world.

Last night

Last night, on our way to an island on Lough Ree, the engine stopped working on the boat behind me in the picture.

Nothing anyone did got it started.

As we floated out in the Loogh Ree, wondering what we were going to do, Marian suddenly got the engine started!

We didn’t move.

The propeller had fallen off.

After using an old door as an oar we’re currently stranded on the coast. We set up camp last night and lit a fire. Now, this morning, we have to work out how to get home.

Anxiety at the gym

Anxiety at the gym

So I’m fat. No amount of pulling my stomach in is going to hide it. There are days I don’t mind it. I never like it but there are days I think “I’m happy, I have a great life, Brad loves me, who cares what size I am!”

These days are few and far between.

At work I can ignore it.
At home I can ignore it.
Out with friends I can mostly ignore.
Performing I can always ignore it.

At the gym, well that’s a whole different matter.

At the gym, where I’m going to try and get fitter, I often get body image anxiety. And by often I mean every singe time. I’m not exaggerating there, I get it every single time.

Sometimes I can ignore it. I switch it off by saying “hey, you’re doing something about it!” but other days I can’t. Yesterday was one of those days where I couldn’t turn it off.

In I walk, ashamed of being so big and wondering which member of staff is judging me.
[None of them are!]

I get changed, trying to find a spot where no one can see me because, well, who would want to?
[No one! Not because I’m fat but because straight men rarely want to see other men naked, and yes, most of them are straight — we can smell our own!]

I walk to the exercise room, noting how busy the pool is because if it’s too busy I’m not going in because people will judge me.
[No, they won’t! They don’t care, they’re there to swim, not look at me!]

I spend thirty minutes to an hour on the treadmill, panicking that my fat feet make too much noise pounding the treadmill.
[My feet aren’t fat, they’re feet! And no one can hear me as they have their music playing!]

I then move to the weights. I pick up two dumbbells and do some bicep curls but I’m constantly seeing the other guys looking at me.
[They’re not. They’re looking in the mirror watching themselves work out. I don’t even appear on their radar!]

I move to a machine to get away from the guys watching me.
[Again, they’re not watching me, they’re watching themselves, I’m not important!]

I don’t spend long on the machine before anxiety gets there better of me and with everyone watching I get embarrassed and leave.
[No one watches me!]

I go back to the changing room and the staff stare as they know I’ve not been there long.
[The staff are actually more concerned that physically and mentally I’m okay and not worried about how long I’ve been there – I know this to true, they’ve proved it!]

Again I find a corner of the changing room where no one will see me.
[Again, they’re not interested in seeing me!]

I shower and dry off in the shower cubicle and panic that the towel is too small and won’t go around me.
[Our towels are huge, they swamp me even now.]

Back at the bench I sit and wait until people have left. They don’t want to see me dry my fat belly.
[No, they don’t want to see it because they don’t care!]

I leave and keep my head down so I don’t have to interact with the staff because I’ll make up a lie about why I’m leaving.
[They won’t care about that, they just want me to get a good experience from the gym.]

I sit in the car and do all I can to not get upset about everything that I think that just happened.

It won’t matter how many times people tell me the pieces in [brackets] as I already know the truth. I know no one cares what I look like. I know the other gym users are interested in themselves not me. I know the staff care. But right there are then it doesn’t matter. It never matters.

I’m fat.
On bad days I detest myself.
On good days I’m just fat.
I don’t mind being fat.
I just don’t like how I feel about it.

The Invisible Man (2020) – A Review

The Invisible Man (2020) – A Review

This review will contain spoilers!

When Cecilia’s abusive ex takes his own life and leaves her his fortune, she suspects his death was a hoax. As a series of coincidences turn lethal, Cecilia works to prove that she is being hunted by someone nobody can see.

One of the things I like about this film is the concept that what you can’t see is far scarier that what you can. The first Cloverfield, even with all its faults, did well in that respect.

Cecilia is played by Elisabeth Moss and she does a stellar job of portraying the fear of the unseen. She does ‘is she crazy or is there actually someone there’ well. Especially given that we know there is someone there. There is a couple of tension building scenes very early on – will he wake up as she leaves the house and is he sat on the chair for example – that really work well. The fact that we also don’t know where he is helps with the tension.

Sadly this is also part of where the film falls down. With the action centred entirely around Cecilia we miss out on the actual character building of the villain – Adrian – played well by Oliver Jackson-Cohen. Of course, I say played well but we barely see him, if you’ll pardon the pun. Aside from the mind games he plays, essentially it’s not until towards the end of the film that we’re properly introduced to him.

There’s a couple of times I was annoyed with Cecilia, like why she never requests a death certificate to prove Adrian was dead. If the shit is hitting the fan and you know there’s an invisible man around wouldn’t you ask your police friend, who clearly trusts you (or did until you apparently hit his daughter) to look it up for you? And on the subject of the cop… not one smoke alarm? A frying pan goes up in flames, smoke is everywhere, yet no is alarm sounding. A good cop who seems like a sensible father would have smoke alarms!

At one point Cecilia calls Adrians mobile phone and it’s still active. As a lawyer and executor of his will surely his brother would have had that disconnected? Of course we know why he hasn’t but that wouldn’t make sense to Cecilia.

Adrian allegedly drugs her with diazepam and Cecilia passes out at a job interview. It’s a short while later we hear from the doctor that it was a large amount of the drug in her system that made her pass out. Trust me when I say I speak from experience that if she had enough to make her pass out she wouldn’t have been walking into that interview without seeming drunk and she’d know well before passing out that something was wrong.

All that stuff aside it’s a good tension building movie – the paint scene made me jump – and one definitely worth a watch. And at least it’s a suit and not a drug! I gave it a seven out of ten.

If you want to see more of my ratings click here and head over to the page 1183 Movie Ratings. I’d be interested to know if you agree with my score or not.

My work bag!

My work bag!

People often comment about the contents of a woman’s handbag so let me tell you wants in the bag I take to work almost daily.  The items in bold are what I use daily.

– Laptop
– iPad
– Contact lens case
– Beard comb
– Make-up
– Tissues
– Solpadeine
– Rennie
– Diclofenac
– Injections
– Vape
– Vape refill
– Empty vapes
– Random letters I should deal with
– Notepad and pen
– Various pens
– Nail kit
– Aftershave
– Deodorant
– A bottle of water or Coke Zero
– Mints
– A specs case with earrings
– Specs
– Sunnies
– Cap
– Phone lead
– Laptop lead
– iPad lead
– Powerpack for laptop
– Powerbank

Yes, it’s a big bag.

27 out of 29

Before I met the man of my dreams, the man I now call my husband, I was dating a Scottish lad called Stuart. He was handsome, good body, pleasant attitude but man, very high maintenance, and spoilt. Yet, something kept me with him for five and half years.

We split up because he was an asshole who, when I asked about us moving in together, his response was “I don’t think I’m ready for that kind of commitment!” Yes, after five and a half years of being together he wasn’t ready for the commitment of living together. How much more time did he need?

So I ended it. And I have to say the second it was over I never felt so much relief. I’m assuming he did to because he didn’t once try to reconcile anything. He did call me six weeks later but it was to ask for money. Funnily enough he was decided to total up how much I’d cost him in one year. Wasn’t that a lovely thing to do? I never did the reverse but I kinda wish I had.

Anyway, following the split I decided to do whatever I wanted without having the burden of him hanging over me, so I went out.

It was 29 days later when I met Brad and that was one of only two days I’d been sober. Twenty-seven of twenty-nine nights between splitting with Stuart and meeting Brad, I’d been drunk.

I don’t think it was because I was consoling myself but genuinely because I no longer had to think about anyone else other than me. I didn’t have to think about where I was going to live in the next few months, how much I needed to save so I could drive to Edinburgh, which I’d been doing every two weeks. I didn’t have to plan anything! It was so freeing.

Now, twenty years after the split, I’ve never been happier!

They say that your school years are the happiest days of your life but for me they weren’t. They were horrible. I hated every minute of school.

No, the happiest days of my life have been the last twenty years with Brad.


At the weekend we had a lovely trip away. Not too far, just to Roscommon to visit and stay with our friends Pat & Marian.

Their house is a beautiful little contact on the main road but, with us able to close their front gates, we were able to take the dogs and give them the run of the large garden.

We spent the water afternoon/early evening chatting and then having a totally vegan meal. I was very touched that they’d gone to the effort of making everything vegan. Most people go to the effort of doing vegan food but it’s just for me, while they sit there munching away on something that had to suffer and be killed so they could eat.

On the evening we headed to a local pub and listened to a very talented young lady play the guitar and sing, occasionally joined by another lady on the harmonica. Everyone was so friendly.

On Sunday we drove to disused bog that had been turned into nature reserve and fairy garden. It was beautiful. Then we took the dogs to the lake and finally headed home.

Sadly my bronchitis is back so I’m sat relaxing and feeling sorry for myself but he weekend has been fantastic.

My favourite group/song

My favourite group/song

A question often asked when people are getting to know each other is “What’s your favourite song?” or “What’s your favourite group?”

Often people will reply “oh there’s too many to name!” and that’s understandable as music can be emotive and people can have lots of favourites.

For me though, it’s easy.

My favourite group is Erasure. I’ve loved them for longer than I care to remember and have seen them in concert around seventeen times.

Growing up Andy Bell was an out gay man who looked like he enjoyed life even though we, as community, were constantly being attacked. I wanted that. I wanted to enjoy my life even though we lived under Section 28 and the constant fear of being beaten on the streets for just being our true selves. My life was good but it wasn’t Andy Bell good!

Oh L’Amour, released in April 1986 was their third single and sadly didn’t too well in the UK charts, only getting to 85. In South Africa it got to number 2 in their charts! Annoyingly, Dollar, who I can’t stand, got their cover to number 7 in the UK. They covered in ’87, a year after Erasures original release! Who does that?! Talentless wannabes that’s who!

Anyway, below is a live version of Oh L’amour. It’s my favourite version of this song and although I was at this concert I have seen it performed like this.


Loughrea Toastmasters

Yesterday I took over as Club President for Loughrea Toastmasters, a positions I’m looking forward to serving in. I thought I’d share with you my presidents message for the year.

Presidents Message

I owe Toastmasters a debt.

My husband likes to tell people that I’m a “ringer!” What he means by that is that I already had the confidence to speak in front of an audience before I joined Toastmasters and, to be honest, he’s not wrong. The problem was my confidence was only in the form of giving training courses or acting, both of which essentially rely on scripts and direction. To really deliver a speech in front of an audience I was missing three essential elements.

How to structure that speech.
How to deliver a speech.
How to speak in an impromptu manner – answering questions.
Toastmaster taught me those skills, and much more. The tagline for Toastmasters International is “Where leaders are made” and how to lead is one of the biggest skills Toastmasters has taught me.

I followed the programme and achieved my Distinguished Toastmaster award and learned so much more than just how to give a speech. I went on to be a club president and then followed it up with being an Area Director and then a Division Director, roles which I adored even with the various challenges they brought.

The skills I gained gave me the confidence and strength to go on and lead various community organisations, handling conflict and recruitment, while remaining calm and professional. Encouraging the members of those groups to be the best they can.

I assure you, I owe Toastmasters a debt!

At Loughrea Toastmaster we foster a meeting of diversity and inclusion which makes meetings educational and fun. Our innovative “Creative Corner” has been the talk of the district while our members have gone on to be leaders within our organisation on a national level as well as being contest winners representing our Division.

As a charter member I’m very proud of our club and the success it has become, made possible by our eclectic range of members who make it work.

This year, like every year, we have a dedicated committee who are going to bring that same diversity, inclusion and fun to the meetings and welcome our members and guests, as we have done since the day we had our very first test meeting back in November 2017. We, as committee, will uphold the four pillars of Toastmasters – Integrity, Respect, Service and Excellence – and continue to make our club a welcoming place for anyone who comes through our door.

So come and see what we do and how we do it, you won’t be disappointed.

Rob Partridge

President 2022 – 2023

Loughrea Toastmasters

Day 1

Day 1

Today marks the day I said I’d write something every day.

So how about I start with a bit about me. Maybe it’ll serve as an about me page.

I’m Rob. I’m a number of years old and I live in Galway, Ireland. I’m married to an amazing man who I love dearly.

I work full-time in healthcare but I’m currently at uni retraining and loving it. I’m also training to be a See Change ambassador.

I’m hard of hearing and use Irish Sign Language in work and personally.

This year I’m the chairperson of Galway Community Pride and even with it’s stresses it’s something I adore doing. We’ve a lot of great plans for the 2022 celebrations.

I’m overweight but doing something about it. Slowly but oh well.

I’ve a fantastic circle of friends, most of which I care about dearly even if I don’t keep in touch with them as often as I should. I’d do anything for my friends because I know they’ll be there when I need them.

My family live in the UK and I don’t get to see them as often as I’d like.

In my spare time I work on a couple of different projects. I’m a Toastmaster, a vegan and an LGBTI+ activist.

I’m sure there’s more but for now that’ll do.


Just a picture dump.

Just a picture dump

I thought I’d share a few pics taken over the last couple of months.

Starting in July

In July I’m going to try posting an entry every day.

I’m not going to make any promises but I’ll see what I can do.  They might be short entries, they might be stories, they could be pre-written. I don’t know yet. I may not be successful but I think it’s worth a try.

I’m currently in the process of writing three book. One fictional, one semi-true and then my autobiography. I might post some chapters from those.

One is the story of a man who, after a next accident, discovers he’s been followed about my the ghost of Thora Hird. The other is a semi-true story about a man I once knew who overcame some awful events in his life. Then there’s my autobiography. I’m arrogant enough to think people might be interested in this. We’ll see.

I have so many other projects I want to work on too. We’ll see how things go.

Also, I think this site needs a redesign in some way!