Hyacinth is 60, from Acton and is a blind knitter.
Hyacinth is living proof that a rich and fulfilling cultural life can be had for those with sight loss. She is a keen visitor of art galleries She finds knitting “relaxing and therapeutic”, even though her own prejudice told her initially that it would be boring!
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Questions & Answers
- What's your first memory of London? My first christmas 1959. It was cold, I had just moved from a hot country, I was confused by the architecture, but I got used to it.
- What do you miss when you're away from London? I go on day trips now and then, but I'm not keen on the countryside. I don’t often leave London. My sight is not good enough to go out wandering too much.
- What's your favourite neighbourhood? I haven't got one. Richmond has a mix of different nationalities.
- What's your favourite building? St Paul’s Cathedral. There's something about it. It stands there like a beacon. History is one of my favourite subjects.
- What's your ideal day out in London? Kew gardens and Hampton Court. I like the quietness of those place.
- What's your ideal night out in London? I’m not really a night time kind of person. I went to a concert at St Martins in the fields last week. I love jazz, blues and soul music - Stevie Wonder is my favourite.
- What's your most hated building? The Shard. I don't want to go in it. It has no character whatsoever. History will judge it better than we can.
- What's the best view in London? Along the river Thames, or the Royal Observatory in Greenwich.
- What's your favourite open space? I like Richmond Park, as it’s local, but also Hyde park. I’ve lived in Roehampton for 5 years, in accommodation for the blind and visually impaired.
- What's your favourite bar, pub or restaurant? I don’t really have one, unless its nearby and accessible. I can't navigate my way there.
- What's the most interesting shop? Bookshops, when my daughter was little we went to bookshops all the time. I've never been to Harrods, but I’d like to go someday.
- What's your favourite place to hang out? I’d go to a music venue and a gallery, Tate Britain and Modern. when we go to an art gallery, they describe the pictures for us. We're also given special gloves to touch certain objects. I don't understand abstract art, I find Matisse a bit bizarre for my liking! Blindness is not a world of darkness like people think. I was born severely myopic and my sight deteriorated, but I don’t let it get me down.
- What's the worst journey you've had to make in London? When I travel on the tube, for example to travel to the Royal National Institute for Blind People, I always get assistance on the train. They escort me so it’s never that bad.
- What's your personal London landmark? Big Ben probably, everybody knows it. It's iconic.
- Who's your favourite fictional Londoner? I enjoyed reading Oliver Twist, so either Oliver, or Dick Whittington.
- What's your favourite London film, book or documentary? I can't remember any.
- If you could travel to any time period in London, past or future, where would you go? Victorian times, to see how they lived. Things were a bit grotty then. I read a lot of history books. I wonder how people survived then, without things we take for granted, like running water. How did people cope?
- For you, who is the ultimate Londoner? Not Boris Johnson! The Yeomen of the guard, since you don't see pearly Kings and Queens much any more. Beefeaters, they're historic.