I was passing through a parade of shops in town the other day when I was drawn to the sound of a general hubbub emanating from one establishment. You know me - I can never resist investigating Unusual Circumstances.
Approaching the door of the shop, I remembered reading that the local MP had organised something enticingly called a Pensioners’ Fair. Not exactly a snappy title but
then you could say it did what it said on the tin - which, as regular readers know, is something of which I approve. I also remembered that the Worthing branch of the U3A (University of the Third Age) of which I am a member, would be taking a stall at the
Fair. It seemed the least I could do to visit the U3A stall as a gesture of Solidarity and Support.
Inside the shop, the noise levels were so high that it was
virtually impossible to hear yourself think. I could spot the Citizens Advice Centre, Guild Care, Worthing Coaches among others in attendance. There was even a stand staffed by an organisation called Action for Deafness. Presumably as a result of this particular
event they would have had any number of enquiries for their services. At the U3A stand our esteemed Chair and Group Coordinator were valiantly attempting to attract new members but fighting against the swelling tide of loud conversations all around. We shouted
at each other for a few minutes, enabling me to gather that (I) it hadn’t been too easy to explain the intricacies of membership to anyone approaching their table and (ii) that they were quite pleased they only had to stay at their posts until 1 p.m.
It was the second occasion on the same morning when I found myself aurally challenged. Earlier I had been at the opticians where a sweet but quietly voiced assistant took
but was down to the fact that two other members of staff were standing in close proximity loudly comparing notes on the list of appointments. Were I the kind of person to indulge in conspiracy theories, I might have suspected this was a deliberate ploy to
persuade me that I needed to avail myself of the opportunity to book a test at the firm’s Hearing Centre.
At home, Mr B insists on having the television
volume turned up to maximum. It is a very good thing, I often think, that we live in a detached house or there would be much Banging on Walls going on as neighbours sought to get us to “turn it down.” In the early days of our marriage we lived
in a terraced house and I felt guilty every time one of the babies cried in the night and I couldn’t get to the cot in time to pick him or her up before the sound of rustling movement from the other side of the party wall informed me that, once again,
we had disturbed our poor neighbours’ sleep.
A long time ago when I was a Working Gal, we introduced a staff initiative which encouraged colleagues to ring
a free number and test their hearing over the phone. Obviously I tried it out myself and remember feeling increasingly alarmed as the test progressed as I gained the distinct impression that my hearing was nowhere near as sharp as I thought it was. It was
a tremendous relief, at the end of the test, to be told that my hearing was as good as would be expected from one of my age. It’s only now, having reached (as you know) a Great Age that I start to wonder whether that verdict was as reassuring as I first
Also in my Working Gal Days, I organised a fair of my own bringing together people with disabilities and organisations which could help them. We called
the event Together We Can Which is a bit snazzier than a Pensioners Fair, you must admit. I had tee-shirts printed with the sign language for Together We Can on the front for all the staff involved and was extremely pleased with myself. Until, that is,
I went out into the town centre with fliers to try to encourage more people to visit our fair and a dear little lass in a push-chair, seeing my tee-shirt, started up a conversation with me - in sign language. So shamed was I that I straightaway signed up (if
you will excuse the pun) for a course in sign language.
Mr B is good at his very own form of sign language - it is fair to say that he never fails to get his message
across wherever he may be. Me? I am working on it.
Sorry - what did you say?