Apologies. I just realised I’d already written about the Talking Newspaper stuff! Though I’ve written in a bit more detail and I can’t write another 700 words tonight! So, sorry.

Today was a Farnham and Alton Talking Newspaper day. For those that don’t know, about once a month I go and read newspapers for the blind, partially sighted and anyone who has difficulty holding a newspaper. And, no, I do not sit opposite them and read out loud! It’s recorded and delivered on CD or flash drive or downloaded from their website.

I came across them in the local paper (of course). They were mentioned in an article about local charities. I was intrigued so Googled them and filled out a volunteer form. It wasn’t just philanthropic, I feel like I want to be a part of Farnham (I do love it here) and figured this was a good way to get to know people. Naturally, most of them are a good deal older than I am…but not all! Today I was reading with Lindsay and she is clearly not yet 50.

It also reminds me of my grandmother and her talking book device from the Blind Society. It was HUGE and certainly not portable. But it made such a difference when she was no longer able to read.

The place I go to is the other side of Farnham, in an estate called The Chantrys and an awful estate it is! Typical of the sort of estate thing they have here in the UK. Also typical is how they thought it good to build such an awful place in such a lovely spot! For Bob & Claire; it’s opposite the cemetery, not far from the farm you stayed at many years ago.

FATN has one of the places (maybe it was given to them by the council…I don’t know) and it’s here that all the work goes on. Having once been a house, it’s handy because it has a kitchen and a toilet.

Each group of 4 readers (one of whom is a presenter) arrive at their designated time and are given a selection of pages out of the local paper. We have to cut them out, stick them to recycled paper and then edit them down to around 90 seconds each. This bit is fun. I was always very fond of the red pen when I was a director.

Another fun thing is that most of the other readers (I’ve been doing it since September and I’ve not read with the same people twice) sit and complain about the grammar, spelling and general illiteracy of the newspaper editor. When I do this at home, Mirinda gets annoyed and tells me to shut up. At last! My spiritual home. My favourite so far was a retired English teacher. Boy, did she pick up on errors. And she hated it. The errors, I mean. Like me, she’s particularly fond of the mis- or non- use of apostrophes.

Actually, this slackness really amazes me at uni…but I’ll get in trouble if I go on, so I won’t.

Anyway, once the editing has finished, we move into the studio where the engineer tests our sound levels and microphone placement. The presenter then starts it all off and we read one after the other. I really enjoy it. We are expected to have a bit of a laugh with some of the lighter stories which is where I lap up the glee I produce. According to Mirinda, this isn’t the point. What can I say? I’m an entertainer first, a philanthropist second…

Once we’ve finished we all say goodbye (today the presenter actually said “It’s goodbye from me.” but sadly the next reader didn’t reply “And it’s goodbye from him.“), pack up and go home. A few days later we receive a copy of the CD in the post. I drop it into iTunes and we listen to it on Sunday mornings in bed. Though it makes me cringe a bit.

If anyone would like to read about the FATN, their site is here.


I should also mention that this morning, at 9.27, I received the very first readings from my weather station. I went outside at 8 this morning and started work immediately. On returning from FATN, I set up the PC to receive the information and now I no longer have to go outside to find out what the weather’s like. This is my first collection of information:

My Very First Weather Data Set

My Very First Weather Data Set

It shows that the wind rather swirls around! It’s supposed to rain tonight. My fingers are crossed!

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2 Responses to Reading

  1. claire says:

    Gary ,what a worthwhile reading you do your voice is so easy and enjoyable to listen to.

  2. Mum Cook says:

    I love your weather station especially set up to your pc.
    love mum

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