My family and friends know that I have a passion for lifelong learning, having studied pretty much every year since leaving school. When I was 19, I attended adult education classes for a year to learn British Sign Language, achieving my level 1 qualification. It was really fascinating. Our fabulous teacher was hearing impaired and therefore we had to focus from the very first lesson to learn to interpret her signs and the year finished with sitting an exam. Working in a job centre at the time, I even had the chance to use this skill in interviews. Since then, I’ve forgotten the vast majority of it as I haven’t had to use although I know how to sign the alphabet. I’ve seen ‘learn sign language’ on various people’s bucket lists but I haven’t come across anyone wanting to learn Braille.
Braille is often around us, even if we don’t notice it. It’s on the buttons in lifts, on bottles of wine, on medicines, etc. and you can even ask for menus in some of the country’s main restaurant chains. Across Europe, it’s all thanks to an EU directive passed in 2005. But the trend is not restricted to Europe. However, with the introduction of technology such as screen readers, fewer people actually use Braille which was developed by Louis Braille in 1821. He drew inspiration from a failed military night-writing code when he was a child.
So, I’ve set myself a challenge: learn each cell of raised dots which can represent a letter, punctuation mark or even a word. I’ll then obtain a short story book from the local library and then translate this into written English.
Here’s my list of challenges if you’d like to see what’s on my current bucket list