“A £2m appeal has been launched to re-house the UK’s leading Braille printing press and protect its long-term future.
“The Royal Blind’s printing press was built in the 1960s and needs to be rebuilt and fitted with state-of-the-art printing equipment.
“The Scottish Braille Press is a leading provider of the UK’s Braille books, magazines and other printed materials.
“Bestselling author Ian Rankin, whose son goes to the Royal Blind School, is giving his backing to the campaign.”
Losing one’s sight must be one of the most frightening experiences imaginable. It’s something that I have thought about on occasion — how it would affect me, the sights I would no longer be able to enjoy except in memory. The vulnerability of it, I’m sure, I would find especially difficult to contend with.
But also being unable to escape to the pages of a book would have a huge impact on me and my ability to deal with such a situation. My favourite refuge would be — without the possibility of learning Braille — out of bounds. Granted, audio books would be a possibility but… the times I’ve listened to them as a sighted person this medium has always struck me as far removed from the act of reading itself. Braille, it seems to me, would be the only replacement I’d find authentic enough.
So — a worthwhile cause, I would say.
“Donations to the campaign can be made via the National Braille Week website or by calling 0300 321 0000.”
© 2009 Gary William Murning except for quotations.
The novel I’m currently trying to place, Children of the Resolution, has a scene of which I’m fairly fond. My protagonist, Carl, is still only about six years old and one of his classmates had just died (it’s a “special” school for kids with physical disabilities, set in the early 1970s.) One line in particular — because it was just the kind of thing I would have thought or said the time — I especially like.
Given that it’s Elvis Week, and that the man himself (or his music, at least) has been a part of my life for many, many years, now seems a good time to share the extract with you.
“If it made her feel bad to tell us about how Emiline had died and everything, she shouldn’t have to do it. Someone else should have done it for her. Mr. Dixon in assembly should have said, instead of making us sing Give Me Oil in My Lamp (although, I had to admit it was a good song — not exactly up there with Burning Love, but good nonetheless.) It wasn’t fair and I wanted to make it better for her but didn’t know how.”