Liggy in the Workplace

Liggy is my assistance dog, provided by the charity, Canine Partners Opens in new window. When I first brought her home, I wrote a blog post called Assistance Dog Etiquette Opens in new window, to help explain to other people in my world, how they should behave around her. That post was great in the beginning but Liggy is older now and things change, so I thought I should update the information.

What I am going to write here applies mostly to when Liggy comes into a workplace with me, but it does transfer to other environments too, such as shops and restaurants.

Published: 19 February 2024

Read full post - Liggy in the Workplace

Inequality and Injustice

2023 has been yet another year, dominated by news stories of war. The war in Ukraine has continued. War in Israel and Gaza has erupted. It feels like a very unsettled time for our world.

Is it coincidence that in 2024, two of our planned holidays take us to places that have been the centre of war and conflict? Our next road trip will take us to Northern Ireland, which as a child, I only knew as where The Troubles were happening. Then, later in 2024, we are planning to visit the Western Front in Ypres, Belgium and the Somme area of France, to find out more about World War 1.

As I begin to plan these two trips and learn about the history of Northern Ireland and the Western Front, I find myself asking some bigger questions around equality and injustice. What role does inequality play in war and conflict? This is an important question for me, as my work now centres around this same issue.

This blog post will explore some of my thoughts, though I expect I will have many more questions than answers at this stage.

Published: 29 December 2023

Read full post - Inequality and Injustice

Out of Season Road Trip

I've become quite sensitive to various discussions that have emerged on social media about motorhomes and road trips. Two themes, in particular, have caught my attention because they generate very strong views, which are often expressed with a nastiness that I don't want to be on the receiving end of.

  1. Motorhomes as a method of travel and touring
  2. Tourist routes such as the North Coast 500.

I'll explore these a little in this post, and look at the pros and cons of doing a road trip outside the main tourist season, as we just have. For context, we have just returned from a 2 week road trip of Kintyre and Islay, which was timed to coincide with our 30th wedding anniversary, but also fit the profile of 'out of season'.

Published: 23 December 2023

Read full post - Out of Season Road Trip

SVG Bar Graph

A few days ago, I published a blog post about data accessibility. One of the things I wanted to do, following this, was to find out how data visualisations such as graphs and pie charts can be created so that they read well with a screen reader. This prompted a bit of a learning curve for me, which I'm going to share in this post.

Published: 8 August 2023

Read full post - SVG Bar Graph

Accessible Data

Data is something that I don't tend to consciously think much about but I don't think I have worked in any role where data wasn't really important.

As a teacher, I worked daily with data that focussed on children's progress and learning. We had numerous Excel spreadsheets that tracked progress each half term, what level each child had reached in each subject and whether they were making sufficient progress to be on track to achieve the expected levels in their Key Stage 2 SATs.

In adult learning, we had similar Excel spreadsheets for tracking courses, course numbers, finances and other performance targets. We also had dedicated database applications for storing customer information and personal data. It was while I was working there that the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) came in, and with it, a lot of conscious thought about how personal data is used and stored.

Now I'm thinking about data from an accessibility perspective. We have lots of data in Government and to help colleagues process it, we use several data visualisation tools. The more I think about data visualisation, the more concerned I become about accessibility.

Published: 4 August 2023

Read full post - Accessible Data

Tremor Recommendations

I have Essential Tremor. It is one of the most common neurological movement disorders, being eight times more common than Parkinson's Disease. Approximately one million people in the UK have Essential Tremor. It can begin at any age. I've had it since I was about six years old, but it wasn't diagnosed until much later in adult life.

As a child, people assumed I was just very nervous. As I got older, I've had people assume that I'm drunk and that I lack confidence. My tremor has become progressively worse as I've got older and it now affects my co-ordination and balance.

There are many ways that my tremor affects daily life. Here are some daily life tasks that I find more difficult because of my tremor:

Published: 9 July 2023

Read full post - Tremor Recommendations

Does language matter?

The use of language is something I've been thinking a lot about recently. Sometimes those thoughts have been triggered by a brash encounter with clumsy language. Other times, it's been a thread on Twitter. Often, news articles trigger discussion around the use of language.

Language is emotive. It is constantly evolving. It is cultural. There are so many variants of English, and then all the dialects. Is it even possible to use language without saying the wrong thing and offending someone? Maybe not.

Published: 29 May 2023

Read full post - Does Language Matter?

Business Trips

I've just read a thread on Twitter:

Reading it made me think back to my last business trip that involved an overnight stay. Completely by accident, I've now found a way that works better for me... a way that avoids all the stress-points... a way that should work. But even that isn't simple. I'll compare the two...

Published: 23 April 2023

Read full post - Business Trips

Creativity week

Sometimes, work can get so busy, it feels unmanageable! It can seem like everyone wants a piece of me, needs to talk to me, needs to run something by me. The tasks are mounting up but not getting done because every time I start something, I get interrupted. Can you relate?

Working for the Civil Service, one way I can manage this is by using flexible hours. I'm a morning person, so I start my day as soon as I wake up (which is pretty early) and I get a fair bit done before most people are even awake. That means that filling much of the rest of the day with meetings is less problematic.

The other thing I do, is I plan in regular creativity and inspiration weeks. I think we could all do this but my way probably wouldn't suit everyone. This post is about my creativity and inspiration week. I'm going away in my motorhome for the week. I'll base myself on a site that I know well, where the facilities are good, the wardens are helpful and there are many walks directly from the site. I will log into some meetings but mostly, I will focus my time on some pre-selected creative and inspirational projects.

Published: 18 March 2023

Read full post - Creativity Week


We've just returned from a week's holiday in Cambridge. It was a really great week, with some fabulous days out. However, as always, we came under the assumptions assault. Some are subtle, some are in your face, some are just downright weird. Anyway, I'd like to share some of the assumptions we met this week.

Published: 26 February 2023

Read full post - Assumptions

I am blind

I've been looking forward to writing this post. I really enjoy working with screen readers and using them to test documents and websites. I also get great satisfaction when demonstrating using a screen reader, as it is often the light switch moment, where somebody suddenly understands why accessibility work is so important.

The first section of this post will look at the main screen readers that are in everyday use. There are others, but these are the ones that most people use on a computer, so we'll stick to these for now.

The second section is about creating documents and other content so that screen reader users can access it fully. One of the most common misunderstandings I encounter at work, is the idea that providing the same content in a Word document will automatically make it accessible. No! It won't! To make a Word document accessible, you have to make it accessible. The same goes for Excel and PowerPoint, and even emails.

Published: 4 February 2023

Read full post - I am blind


Blog title and link Publication date
Read full post - I can't see very well 27 January 2023
Read full post - I find writing difficult 7 January 2023
Read full post - I find reading difficult 30 December 2022
Read full post - I can't use a mouse 26 December 2022
Read full post - Everyday Documents 17 November 2022
Read full post - Solo Motorhoming 20 October 2022
Read full post - Mountain trike hiking 6 November 2022
Read full post - Solo Motorhoming 20 October 2022
Read full post - Accessible Document Specialist 2 October 2022
Read full post - Forms 14 August 2022
Read full post - Road Trips 1 July 2022
Read full post - Summer Holidays 28 May 2022
Read full post - Toilets 7 May 2022
Read full post - What is accessibility? 19 April 2022
Read full post - Assumptions 2 April 2022
Read full post - Semantic structure and navigation 26 Feb 2022
Read full post - All Change 6 Feb 2022