Blind Man’s Bete Noire

I love a good rant and I’ve been chuckling away to this short series from Peter White where he explores some of the things which get up his nose about blindness. The four programmes include The Countryside, Holidays, Being Introduced to Other Blind People and Going Slowly and offer a great insight of what it’s like to be blind.

Episode1 – The Countrtyside

This episode features Janet Street-Porter, who is a keen rambler and quite a talker. She tries to help Peter find the best way for him to experience and enjoy the countryside. They bicker and disagree and it’s hilarious.

Episoide 2 – Holidays

In the second episode Peter is joined by broadcaster and travel expert Simon Calder. They spend the Isle of Wight ferry crossing discussing the best type of holiday for Peter to enjoy independence, flexibility and action. Happiness for Peter is knowing where everything is and this is one of the fundamental reasons he hates holidays.

Episode 3 – Being Introduced to Other Blind People

Peter White is joined by author Sue Townsend who is also blind, to discuss their pet hate of being introduced to other blind people. Peter says that often sighted people will suggest that he meets someone, not because they may have anything in common, but purely because they are both blind. But Peter then meets Irene, June and Kathleen who disagree with his sentiments and point out what they consider to be the benefits of meeting other people who are also visually-impaired.

Episode 4 – Going Slowly

In the final programme of the series, Peter White explores his bete noire of Going Slowly with record-breaking Steve Cunningham (“the fastest blind man on the planet”) about why sighted people try to slow him down.

What are your own pet hates? Share your thoughts comments below.

Born in Winchester in 1947, Peter White has been blind since birth. Since 1995 Peter has been the BBC’s Disability Affairs Correspondent. He was the first totally blind person to produce reports for television news. Over the last decade he has written four series of autobiographical talks for Radio 4, as well as the acclaimed series No Triumph, No Tragedy.

3 Replies to “Blind Man’s Bete Noire”

  1. As a fellow blind person, though not from birth, I’d give Peter about 1.5 out of 4 for this series of rants! I love the outdoors, spending most Saturdays, when it is reasonable weather, on the Scottish hills. I also enjoy cycling, sometimes over the whole British Isles! I also enjoy going on holidays, having new experiences, meeting different people (not normally blind people), eating different food (sometimes with difficulty) and soaking up the atmosphere. All more or less the same as someone with sight. I’ll give him a half mark for not meeting other blind people, however, we clearly do have something significant in common, and can learn a lot from how we deal with that. Blind people are also people first and blind second, so while we may share blindness, we may also share other things, or be able to disagree constructively eg on countryside and holidays! Having said that, most of my friends are sighted and I don’t go out of my way to meet with blind groups just because they are full of blind people. Finally, I agree absolutely that sighted people think we all want to walk around like snails! I like a good run, though not the fastest on the planet, and a good hurl on my tandem (built for two). I also walk fast, faster than most sighted people and have often wished my cane had a sharp point to get me through crowds faster!

  2. Hi Ken – thanks for sharing your thoughts – It’s great to hear opinions from someone else who is blind and it’s makes me realise that as I was listening to the programmes, I was relating to the discussions as a sighted person and so it’s great to hear your points of view on the issues raised. As you’re a keen runner, have you seen our blog post about Simon Wheatcroft? Blind from the age of 17 (I hate the term ‘he lost his sight’), he refused to let his blindness get in the way of his passion for running. Find it here:

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