George Elliot’s stones

I promised in my first post that if you keep in touch with the blog I will explain the reason for Two Big Ears. What I will say now is that its not going to be possible to explain it all on one post as there are going to be so many different perspectives to take on this. But ultimately, it is about educating and making people aware of the Deaflympics, UK Deaf Sport and related issues.
In my daily work, I am always telling people what I do.  I can explain it all to one person only to find a few minutes later I am saying something completely different to the next person. This is because we are all human and when we interact with each other we say things that will enable us to make the quickest connection and get our messages across.
But we do need to have consistency in messages, especially if there are important points to get across to people.

This is what I use at work

So, with that in mind, I have created a fact sheet – well, that’s what I have been calling it. But in reality it is an “Introduction” so thats what I am calling it from now on – you can read a copy of the introduction that we have been handing out to people here.

So, enough of the background static… I know you are dying to know what happened today..

You don’t know how pleased I am to tell you that my gorgeous wife Joanne has now got Two Big Ears! We have been out together today and she has been wearing her TBEs with me.

Our first port of call was George Eliot Hospital – I have been going there on and off for almost two years now trying to get rid of a troublesome kidney stone. Its a really painful bugger when it moves! The treatment is really interesting, instead of cutting people open, they now apply ultrasound-waves to shock the stone and break it up into small pieces (lithotripsy). Sometimes is a quick solution but for others it can take several treatments before anything starts to shift – In my case I have needed three visits to the coal-face. Today, was finding out how things have progressed.
Joanne was in a fit of giggles as she noticed the many different reactions Two Big Ears provokes from people. In the car park, a bloke walking towards me did not notice anything at first because he was not looking, talking to his mate. As we got closer he started to look where he was going – he almost jumped out of his skin! – poor bloke! I gave him an introduction

Main out-patients reception, all the locals of George Eliot NHST can see this place in their minds eye – but for you outsiders- it a really busy place to be, we could feel all the eyes homed in on Two Big Ears! A nurse came up to us in the queue “Right then, I suppose there is a reason for all this is there?” I handed her the introduction “Have a look at this, please give us your support” – Response, “Ah, great, wonderful, I have a hearing aid too” and she pushed back her hair to show me.
Now, those of you dear and close to me will know that I have been in and out of hospitals all my life – we will keep all that for another time. Anyway, I am trying to say that NHS staff do their level best to help you especially if you are a regular, but when you are deaf its the same old problems each time….
But Two Big Ears has a really interesting affect on people. I asked the receptionist if they had booked my interpreter for the appointment. Unfortunately, nothing was in the book. But this time the lady went out of her way to the ‘transport’ office to double check for me! She came and found me in the waiting area and apologised that nothing had been organised. Its really frustrating when this happens, hospitals should have this type of information on file so that when BSL users have appointments, the interpreters are automatically booked. Maybe one day…
“I will just have to hope for the best” I told Joanne as we waited. I was thinking of the rigamarole of asking the Doc to repeat himself, or slow down or whatever. Yeah whatever…
We got called down to the consulting rooms – Dr Raaj was in the waiting area. “So whats it all about?” – I gave him an introduction…
We were quickly ushered into a consulting room and asked to wait… it felt like ages. Joanne suggested that they had moved us on quickly because they wanted Two Big Ears out of the way – quite possibly, or are we just being paranoid about the affect of Two Big Ears ?
The consultation was one of the very best I have had for years! I usually find Dr Raaj quite difficult to understand. But today he was a brilliant communicator! It was almost as if he had just done a crash course on Deaf Awareness, it was a great communication experience. He took great care to make sure we understood what was happening and gave me time to relay to Joanne.
In the end it was all brilliant news. You can see it in the photo – I will leave you to “spot the difference” in the images. The clue is “good news” 
On the way out of the hospital we got called over by the two ladies manning the Macmillan Information desk “What’s it all about?” – I handed them an introduction “Please have a look at this, we would like your support.” This time, instead of walking on, we decided to wait for their responses. “That’s a lovely idea, where can we get those ears ?” I am going back next week with two pairs of Two Big Ears for the Macmillan ladies and a stack of Introductions… thank you ladies!

This afternoon we were with some Deaf friends who were having their home valued by an estate agent, we talked about Two Big Ears, the agent read the Introduction, she explained that her father was deaf…

The young lady at the Macdonalds drive through… rabbit, headlights…. say no more…

To the car on the motorway, sorry if we made you take the wrong turning and swerve all over the road, you should have been looking at the road not Two Big Ears

Joanne: “These Two Big Ears are itchy”
Stuart: “Must be like that for amputees and their legs”

Finally, We had another brilliant piece of good news today for UK Deaf Sport and the 2013 Deaflympics, but I am not allowed to tell you yet… you have to keep watching this blog.

Please tell everyone to follow us – we need to convert people to understand deaf sport and the Deaflympics, tell them about Two Big Ears

Batty at the Belfry

First job of the day today – strategic planning meeting at The Belfry with Simon Kirkland of Sport Structures.

Public impressions? On the drive into The Belfry, I did wonder how the staff would react to Two Big Ears – would I be asked to remove them or leave quietly?  No problem. whatsoever. A group of ladies in the lobby saw Two Big Ears a mile away – must have been at least ten smiles in that group – I hope I made their day – I passed them a fact sheet….
Lovely couple walking past me, thanks for your smiles… fact sheet…

I found Simon in the Belfry Bar, all the business suits looking at me as i walked through. The looks on their faces….

I apologised to Simon for being 30 minutes late – explained that  had to find a pair of ears… “I cannot take you seriously with those things on”. But we did take it seriously the Two Big Ears provoked a deep conversation on the impact of last nights Opening ceremony etc.

Pass on the word Simon – you have a fact sheet….

GET YOUR BSL VERSION HERE

Opening Ceremonies

Watching Olympic/Paralympic opening ceremonies on TV, remind me how privileged I have been to walk out with the GB team at the 2005 Deaflympics in Melbourne, Australia. I know the feeling… even now, 7 years later I get emotional about it.

I have woken up this morning and prepared a fact sheet to hand out to people so that they might understand Two Big Ears.

I am waiting for the shops to open so I can go and buy my new ears. I am feeling utterly terrified of what I am about to do. Will people notice anything? Will it work? Its a bit like getting ready for a “Two Big ears Opening Ceremony”.

GET YOUR BSL VERSION HERE

Big Ears is born

Two Big Ears is my way of raising awareness about the Deaflympics.

Whilst we are all enjoying the London 2012 Paralympics, I am going to see how the public react to me wearing a pair of big ears everyday right up until the Paralympic flame goes out at the Closing Ceremony.

If you don’t quite understand what I am trying to do, please keep checking this blog as I will update my experiences daily and in the process, you will hopefully give the Deaflympics your support.

GET YOUR BSL VERSION HERE