Curlew, care homes……

85612769 - curlew, on the grass, during the winter, close upCurlews first.  A couple of weeks ago the guys from Med-El were back with us for another filming session, the last for several months; they are returning later this year for a “one year later” session and then we’re done.  Nigel and I were sitting on the settee, talking about how things were going, three months after switch-on, when the subject of curlews came up.  I don’t think that particular clip will get into the final version because Nigel said “have you heard curlews yet?” and I said “no, not yet”, which is not very thrilling for a film.  But now I have.

This morning at 8.30 it was ferociously misty when Izzy and I set off for the moorland above our house.  The higher we got the denser it became.  So dense, in fact, that I missed one turning on the moor and we blundered off in quite the wrong direction for a while.  And then I heard curlew, loud and clear. 

Do you know what a curlew is?  They are a wading bird (shore bird to American readers), quite big, with a long curved bill.  They live the winter months by water (coasts and estuaries mainly) and then return to moorland and upland pastures in the Spring to breed.  We get lots round here and their strange, beautiful, haunting call is one of the indicators that Spring has truly come.

I used to be able to hear this sound, maybe until about a decade ago, but then it went.  How extraordinarily wonderful to hear it again.  Later, back down in the valley, a lapwing (another summer visitor here) was cavorting around over the fields and the little birds (chaffinch, robin, blue tit) were singing their hearts out. You might remember from an earlier post that the very high pitched tweeting of those little birds had been lost to me for about forty years.  Now they are so loud and clear that I’m starting to wonder if maybe I could tell one from another.  You know – oh, that’s a wren.  That’s a chaffinch.  I’m going to try.

Care homes….. a change of subject!  Do you worry about how care staff will cope with your hearing loss, if you end up in a care home?  I do.  I’ve seen too much (and talked to too many people whose experience of their relatives’ care replicates my own) not to worry.  Care staff who don’t understand hearing aids.  Care staff who don’t understand hearing loss.  Care staff who think it’s all a minor irritation not a significant disability.  (Goodness knows what they will make of a cochlear implant when it’s my turn).  So I’m proud to report that a piece of my writing on the subject has been published by the Housing Learning and Improvement Network (Housing LIN for short), which is a professional body sharing information and good practice in the field of supported housing, especially Extra Care.  (Too much jargon?  I know.  I used to work in that field and it’s easy to slip back into it.  Essentially, Extra Care Housing is the modern equivalent of a care home.  Carers on site 24/7.  Meals.  Activities.  But residents have small apartments instead of bedrooms and a lot more independence).

Here’s a link if you’d like to see it.  I’m writing two other pieces for them, on how building design makes a difference to hearing loss and on the difference between the support needed by the hearing loss community (like us) and the (sign language using) Deaf community.  If you can think of any other good ways to highlight this important issue, let me know.

Facebook.  You could contact me on Facebook!  This is a reminder that there is a More Than A Bit Deaf Facebook page, open to all followers of this blog.  It started last summer and is pretty quiet, not a lot of posting, but if you like the idea of exchanging news, getting/giving support on hearing issues, or just sharing funny stories, you might like it.  I need to work out how to put a link to it on this blog’s home page but in the meantime, if you’re a Facebook member, just search for more.than.a.bit.deaf and you should find it.

And lastly, the dreaded spammers.  Believe it or not, I’ve had a bit of an outbreak of being targeted by Russian spammers (what? why?……..don’t ask me).  Blogs get spam comments all the time, caught very efficiently in my case by WordPress, the company that hosts this blog.  But this new thing was a bit nastier because they were “liking” comments you might have left on my posts, which means that you might have received an email telling you that liked your comment – but it was spam.  Sorry if this happened to you.  WordPress have worked very hard to block this new spamming tactic, which has happened to dozens of blogs.  However, in the meantime, as a precaution, I’ve removed the “like” facility to both posts and comments, so you can still like things but you can’t “like” them.  Apologies.  I’ll reinstate the option when this all blows over.  Meanwhile, do please keep commenting.  Nothing bad will happen now that the “like” facility has gone.

Image copyright: abiwarner / 123RF Stock Photo


7 thoughts on “Curlew, care homes……

  1. I have never signed up to Facebook although I have often thought about it especially as a lot of organisations only post their news on Facebook, so at present can’t access your Facebook comments, but in light of the current security controversy I have now been put off this idea.
    Care homes…… when my father in law was in a care home I had to go in daily on my way to work to make sure his hearing aids were correctly inserted in his ears. There were times when I could not find the aids only to then realise that they had been left on a high shelf in the shower room! The article you have written Vera is brilliant and I have saved the link for future use. I am hoping and praying I am never admitted to a care home.

    1. Hello Patricia. Yes, an ironic time to be promoting Facebook! Your care home example is an excellent one, or rather a terrible one, about the way in which hearing aids can be so ignored. The staff would never expect a family member to go in every day to adjust someone’s spectacles or to retrieve someone’s walking frame from where it had been left, forgotten. But I hear so many stories of just that sort of thing happening with regard to hearing aids. There’s room for a lot of improvement.

  2. I really enjoy your blog! Keep it coming 🙂 I can’t find your Facebook page though. Could you post a link? Thank you.

    1. Hello Keith. I’d never seen a curlew until we moved to Yorkshire from London. To me, their wonderful call spells “home”. We don’t get flocks of them here (or flicks…….) because they are nesting, so more solitary. I love oystercatchers too. I’m glad you can hear them, and they are great to watch even when you can’t. Thanks for commenting and sending me off into a riff of bird watching talk. Vera.

  3. I’d never seen a curlew until I moved to Southern Scotland from England. We live alongside the River Dee in Kirkcudbright and have large flicks of wonderfully noisy curlews here.
    The other bird that I can now recognise with my super, new Scottish NHS HAs are oystercatchers. Now they DO make a racket, but rather lovely.
    As always, your writing is entertaining and interesting.

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