Strange sounds in the air
perhaps it’s a wisp of snipe
demons raise their guns
Strange sounds in the air
perhaps it’s a wisp of snipe
demons raise their guns
I’m sure you don’t have to be told
the pleasure gained from listening
enraptured as the songbird sings
though whether it be wet or cold
his notes will shine like liquid gold
from his high perch up in the trees
his joyful tunes ride on the breeze
we can be sure he does not need
a written score from which to read
his repertoire is sure to please.
This public health crisis has taught us to be more agile and creative in finding ways to celebrate trees and connect with nature. After all, there …6 Ways to Celebrate Arbor Day
The announcement that we all expected
came cutting through the usual noise
of children occupied with toys,
from household chores thoughts deflected,
eyes and ears to screens directed,
sombre is the next announcement
as they hear the dark pronouncement
today life has come to an end
for well loved husband, father, friend
reflecting on a life well spent
Moment of marriage, lifetime of misery.
I scan the shelves and my eyes alight upon a magazine I haven’t read for a couple of months. To encourage my desire to maintain a reasonable level of fitness in my advancing years and on the advice of my GP. I remove it from the shelf. As is customary nowadays it is encased in a clear polythene wrapper. Oblivious to the current concern about single use plastic the publishers appear to share my own irritation at the number of people I see reading all the magazines without a thought of purchase, thus leaving the merchandise in second-hand condition, creased pages and dog-eared corners and all. After purchase I get the magazine to the car and head home. Eagerly I tear my way in and as I turn the first page an avalanche of paper leaflets fall onto the table thence onto the floor. Upon retrieval I glance at the inane sheaf of brightly coloured sheets. Amidst the promises of untold riches if I am willing to make a telephone call for a mere two pounds a minute I notice one extolling the virtues of a home stairlift, a winch to raise me from the bathtub and a host of ingenious ideas to make life easier in the home. Very helpful to an expected clientele of people considering conquering all the long distance footpaths in Britain or walking holidays in the country of their choice. At least they haven’t been clogging up the hard-pressed postal system.
From the highest peak
down to the deepest valley,
see Nature’s wonders
My thanks to Chris Graham (AKA The Story Reading Ape) https://thestoryreadingapeblog.com, for drawing this article on why much of the internet is inaccessible to blind people to my attention, https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-49694453.
As many of you who follow my blog will know, I lost the majority of my eyesight at 18-months-old. I am unable to read print and use software called Job Access with Speech (JAWS), which converts text into speech and braille enabling me to use a Windows computer or laptop. For anyone interested in finding out about JAWS, please follow this link, https://www.freedomscientific.com/products/software/jaws/.
The article linked to above, details a number of problems faced by blind users of the internet, many of which I have experienced whilst navigating the World Wide Web. For example, the piece explains how blind computer users can be faced with unlabelled links on a webpage meaning that what is heard is next to useless. I have myself been faced with a page where JAWS reads “link, link, link”, meaning that the only way in which I can ascertain what the content of a particular link may be is by clicking on said link. This is, obviously a very tedious undertaking and, in many instances I have given up on the site in question and visited a more accessible alternative.
Turning specifically to sites hosted directly on WordPress (such as my own blog), these are, on the whole accessible. For example all the social media sharing buttons onare labelled so anyone using a screen reader such as JAWS will hear “Twitter, Facebook” etc voiced by JAWS. Likewise the comments form is clearly labelled as such meaning that anyone logged into a WordPress account can easily post a comment.
In contrast I have found that many of the self-hosted WordPress sites are not as accessible as those hosted directly on WordPress. For example I often come across unlabelled sharing buttons on self-hosted sites so the only way in which I can determine what the button in question may be, is by actually clicking on it.
Whilst some comments forms on self-hosted sites are labelled with fields such as “comment”, “your name”, “email address”, others are not. In the latter instance the JAWS (or other screen reader user) is forced to guess what each field is or, more often simply to give up on their intention of posting a comment and navigate away from the site/blog in question.
In my experience the vast majority of bloggers care about their readers and wish to ensure that everyone is able to access their sites equally and enjoy the same ability to participate in discussions. However, unless a blogger is themselves blind (or knows a blind screen reader user), its perfectly possible that they have little (if any idea) as to how blind web users access their site/blog.
The Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) has links to useful guidance explaining how webmasters can ensure that their sites are accessible to those with site loss. For anyone who is unsure whether their blog and/or website is accessible, you may find it helpful to visit here, https://www.sightadvicefaq.org.uk/independent-living/accessible-website.
Mournful, I stood observing the once ornate merchant’s houses that looked out over the empty, deserted wharves, My sense of nostalgia rising as I remembered the times before, when with each rising tide the hustle and bustle would begin. The rasping breath of steam-powered cranes as they swung the heavy bales from ship to shore. The grunts of heaving stevedores manhandling the trucks, each piled high with sacks and bale, to the gaping wooden, warehouse doors. The squeal of the pulleys calling the unwary to the hooks plummeting to the ground, hungrily anticipating the next profit-making mouthful to be hoisted.
With penons flying proudly
see how tall they stand,
not quite in the water
nor yet on the land
standing proud as if on parade
behind a marching band
we salute these natural, flaxen maids
brightening our land
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