Merry Bionic Christmas

23 12 2012

carol service

I’ve been getting into the festive spirit by attending christmas carol services. I was very intrigued as this was a first time for me, hearing hymns clearly – and in stereo to boot!

My first experience was in a large marble hall at Senate House London where a choir took the lead.  I was able to pick out the lead singer’s voice quite quickly as she was louder and richer than the rest. Her voice was just beautiful to listen to, and I could have listened to her sing all day. My friend, who had one cochlear implat, was having trouble following along with the words being sung, and I found it immensely helpful to look at the conductor and lipread him.


Another carol service I attended was at the Swiss Church in London. This small church had just been remodelled Apple-style, and was very white and very beautiful. But OH!! The acoustics! There were no carpets or curtains to absorb the sound, and the hymns were echoey and far less pleasing than they had sounded in Senate House. Even my hearing colleages who attended with me, found it difficult to hear well inside this church. I was really very surprised at the difference in acoustics. Next time, I’ll bring carpet and curtains!

Mumford & SonsThen for a different kind of christmas spirit! I attended a concert headed by Mumford & Sons at the O2. I had attended a George Michael concert at the Royal Albert Hall recently – plush seating for 5,000 and lots of  curtains, with superb sound. O2 is a huge concert venue seating 20,000. I was worried the experience at the O2 would be like my experience at a U2 concert in Dublin – unable to see over the people in front of me (being petite in a sea of people standing up) and unable to hear over the noise of everyone screaming. At the O2, I was surprised to discover I could hear the music and singers very well indeed. Interestingly, my (hearing) friend said it was too loud, but I found it just right – thanks to Clearvoice and AGC (Automatic  Gain Control).

I’ve been blessed with a year of bilateral bionic hearing and look forward to the next one. Merry Christmas everyone.

mince pie

The worst christmas present ever?

12 01 2008

Sometimes you get a great christmas present that shows the giver has really thought about you.

Sometimes you get a christmas present that’s nice. It’s average. You can live with it.

Sometimes you get a christmas present that you don’t really want. You sell it on Ebay or give it to someone else.

But sometimes …. you get a christmas present that takes your breath away with it’s sheer stupidity.

One year I got a present from my sister. I was 30. She was a nurse and 36 (allegedly), and therefore old enough to know better, or so I would have thought.

I unwrapped the bright christmas paper from the gift. It was a phone. A freakin’ phone. Now hang on a minute. I’ve been profoundly deaf all my life and my sister has never seen me use a phone. She knows I can’t use the phone at all.

So what was the point in that?

Not only that, but it was clearly a phone for small kids – check out the photo.

I wrapped it up and gave it back to her for christmas the following year. I never got such a shite present again.


Cooking lessons

27 12 2007


I didn’t just eat christmas dinner this year, I actually cooked it as well, with Lisa. And I realised a funny thing.

There were a number of pots and pans of vegetables on the stove which needed boiling. Now normally this is how I boil something. I put hot water into the pan, put the heat setting on maximum, and watch for it to boil, i.e. get a glass of wine, chat a bit, and lift the lid every few minutes to see if the water is boiling. But this time, I could hear something. The hob is one of those ceramic hobs with a sheet of glass, I thought there might be some water trapped under the pot and was making this bubbling noise. Then it hit me. I could hear the water boiling! Wow. I lifted the lid and the water’s surface was still. How strange. I could hear it boiling but couldn’t see it boil. Obviously, it does start boiling at the bottom of the pot, but even so. It took another five minutes for the surface to boil.

So now I’m wondering, when cooking instructions say to simmer for six minutes from the point of boiling, is this point when the water’s surface is popping bubbles or when you can hear the water boil at the bottom of the pot?

I don’t know why this is the first time I’ve heard water boil. Perhaps it’s because Lisa’s house is in the quiet countryside, and we didn’t have a bunch of noisy people around. I knew the pork was ready from the smell of burning *grin*

I still didn’t hear the hot oil spitting in the oven for the roast potatoes, Lisa had to alert me to that, but maybe that one will surprise me one day.