Flying Fridays

17 04 2009

It’s Friday evening and everyone heads to the pub. One of the popular haunts of my work colleagues is the cafe at RADA (Royal Academy of Dramatic Art). Everyone wants to chill and let off steam after a busy week. So they head out for a nice relaxed evening. For me, it means more concentrating, more work as I have to lip read and try to understand what’s being said. It’s very tiring and no fun at all at 5pm on a Friday. I’d rather be in a hot air balloon and soar off into the sky with a bottle of plonk and a couple of people to talk to – hey it’s QUIET up there!

The problem at places like RADA is that there are too many hard surfaces – walls, tables, floors, ceiling – which bounce sounds off surfaces. There is too much background noise echoing off these surfaces – people talking, plates, cutlery, glasses, chairs scraping, coffee machine – and the resulting noise is very loud, it’s actually almost unbearable at times. When you’re tired, this is harder to cope with. Hearing people forget that by 5pm, a deaf person is going to be shattered from concentrating on communicating with hearing people all day (unless they work in finance, hiding behind a computer).

The solution?
1) Turn off hearing aids and rely totally on lip reading. Do-able if speaker is clear (not usually!) and I’m not too tired (meaning I can’t keep this up for very long).
2) Find somewhere outside to drink as it’s quieter.
3) Pick a clear speaker to talk to.
4) Make it a very short drink and concentrate very hard on lip reading, ask people to slow down, then vamoose.
5) As a last resort, do the deaf nod. I used to say yes to everything but that got me into a few scrapes! I think a lot of deaf people do this.
6) Meet up with a bunch of deaf people instead. They totally get good communication.
7) Go home. Have a bottle glass of wine. Chill. Properly.

Deaf pubs Yahoo Group

21 08 2008

Join this new Yahoo Group to find out information about and notifications of meets around the UK for Deaf people in pubs. Meeting other deaf people is a great way to practise your sign language and make new friends.

To all those who organise meetings, contact the group with your new fixture dates, time and full address of the pub, nightclub, pub crawl with your bebo, facebook, piczo & myspace website address.

Deaf Pubs Yahoo Group

Go on. Say something. You know you want to.

30 12 2007

I am tired of going to parties and not understanding half of what’s being said. So I’m going the other way this year. I’ve decided to get us all so inebriated that communication won’t matter, everyone will just have to use sign language and forget the lip reading. At least the craic will be in the nineties!

I’ve gone and bought a bottle of poitín (pronunciation). It’s Irish fire water, which used to be illegal to distill and sell. It’s illegal because it’s very easy to turn it into poison. It’s called poitín because it used to be distributed in little pots (pota = pot, ín = something small). I am absolutely tickled that I’ve managed to get a 90% ABV!! (180 US proof) bottle to celebrate the New Year. And no, it didn’t fall off the back of a lorry going round the M25. I went up town and actually bought it. Aye. You can get it by male mail order as well. Although the 90% ABV strength will no longer be produced as, under new EU regulations 15902/5, it will be illegal to produce any spirit drink above 80% ABV. Stocks of this are only available until they run out.

You COULD make your own – but I’m not advising this. To check drinkability, set a wee bit on fire, and if it burns purple, it’s ok. If it burns red, bin it.

* Boil 5 gallons of water and pour it over a mix of ten pounds of rolled oats (unflavored oatmeal) that has had a pound of 6 row barley (ground) and mixed in to it
* Allow this to sit until it is cool enough to add yeast, then add a dry ale yeast and 15 drops of liquid beano (or three of the pills). When you add the yeast/Beano enzyme to the cooled mash the stuff may be thick – like stiff oatmeal – don’t worry. The yeast breaks it down with the beano as it is fermenting. Within a day it will be a liquid with grain floating in it.
* Ferment until dry
* Double distill in a potstill
* Don’t age drink it white
(Tony Ackland)

I had to laugh when I read the information on the bottle…

Poteen or poitín, has been brewed as Irish strong moonshine for several centuries being a potato or malt and grain based spirit. Knockeen Hills Gold Extra-Strength Irish Poteen is a quadruple distilled grain spirit with a strong smooth delicate flavour and should always be drunk with mixers and the pleasant aftertaste will linger on.

Butler’s Irish book published in 1660 claimed that ‘It enlightened ye heart, casts off melancholy, keeps back old age and breaketh ye wind’. Irish folklore maintains those properties still exist today. In addition the versatility of poteen as a lightly sweet cocktail base, infuses a legendary flavour into contemporary drinks.

Well well. So it’s cocktails. We’re going to try the following (from

* Donegal Cooler
poitín 1 measure, cranberry juice 1 measure, orange juice 2 measures

* Irish blue shock
poitín 1 measure, Aftershock 1 measure, Red Bull 1 can

Followed by, of course, my well-loved Irish coffee.

Having noted the mail order site says **Only 2 x 5cl measures to be taken in any 24 hour period** I asked the spirit merchant for a spirit measurer. He said ‘Oh you only need a wee bit’. Oh yesh! I’ll not worry, then! I won’t be stumbling over my syllables after drinking this, I’ll be scribbling notes! We’ll be drinking this one VERY carefully – not like your run of the mill vodka shot. Oh no. It’s a sip, a pause, and let’s enjoy the aftertaste of both sides of the fine line between alcohol and perfume.

And guess what. You can now buy poitín at Heathrow Airport – Terminal 3 and The Irish Shop, and at Stanstead Airport – Terminal 1 and The Irish Shop. Oh happy holidays!

Dad – can ye get out your guitar and sing!

Let the grasses grow and the waters flow,
In a free and easy way,
But give me enough of that rare old stuff,
That’s made near Galway Bay.
Come policemen all from Donegal,
Sligo and Leitrim too,
And we’ll give you the slip as we take a sip,
Of the rare old mountain dew.

At the foot of the hill there’s a neat little still,
Where the smoke curls up to the sky;
By the whiff of the smell you can plainly tell
There’s poitin boys nearby.
For it fills the air, with a perfume rare,
That betwixt both me and you,
And as on we roll, we’ll drink a bowl,
Or a bucketfull of mountain dew.

Now learned men who use the pen
Have wrote the praises high;
Of the sweet poitin from Ireland green,
Distilled with wheat and rye.
Forget your pills,it will cure all ills
Of the Pagan, Christian or Jew,
Take off your coat and wet your throat
With the rare old mountain dew.

– Happy Hazmat New Year everyone. Dia Dhuit / God be with you

Thumbs up! Deaf aware pub – True Lovers Knot

4 12 2007

A pub in the Tarrant Valley, Dorset, get a round of applause from me and a virtual medal for being deaf aware.

True Lovers Knot offers a bar and food, accommodation and a child-friendly garden. They have a hearing loop system at the bar, so you can easily order food or drinks. If you are deaf and you book a table, they will set the table different to normal, so there is less ‘visual noise’. To cap it all, their staff are trained in deaf awareness.

They are currently working towards being the first pub in history to be awarded the RNID Louder than Words charter mark. Nationally recognised, the Louder than Words charter mark shows that the awarded organisation offers a fully deaf aware service to employees and customers, and that their needs are taken seriously.

Clap clap clap. More like this please!

Pionta Guinness, le do thoil (A pint of Guinness, please)

17 03 2007

Beannachtaí Lá Fhéile Pádraig Daoibh – tabhair dom an rud céanna atá ag an fhear ar an urlár!

(Blessings of St Patrick’s Day to you – give me the same as the man on the floor!)

If you’re short of decent drinks today (i.e. there’s no firewater in the house), here’s how to make Irish coffee and an Irish Car Bomb. In between stumbling through Beyond the Black Stump, of course. Some of those characters can really drink – hehehe

Amazingly, many people celebrating St Patrick’s Day don’t know the real meaning of the celebrations. 60% of people attending the Manchester Irish Festival did not know who St Patrick is. In Ireland, everyone attends a Gaelic church service on 17th March, then they go out drinking. It’s strange how things get translated across cultures and lose so much of their original meaning.