Leah Francis : Finding the Way contents

Living alone.
Near-catastrophic Afternoon Tea


a friend who was blind awoke one night to the odour of cigarette smoke, unfamiliar in her upstairs flat. Cautiously and quietly she followed her nose to where the smoke was strongest – in the bathroom. With her entire body she checked every surface of the room. I tiny sound drew her tow the window. She stretched up to the open window where she grasped a large male foot. She climbed on to the bath and leant her weight hard on that foot. With her other hand she slammed the sash window, pinning the intruding foot.

"Put the light on," a hoarse voice panted.


When I was a small child people would give me money. Aunt and the others would accept it graciously and give it to me to put in my money-box "for father christmas". As I grew older, I was offended by this kindness, feeling like a beggar. In those times, especially after the depression beggars were rare in Sydney. In recent years many people beg for money.

people to ask for directions. Most ignored: were hurrying. One said "I'm not giving you five dollars." Protest: I'm asking for directions, not money. Altercation.

Woman approaches someone with guide dog: five dollars. Woman says no thanks: don't need money: I work full-time. Other: Please take this money and buy that lovely doggy some food.

The dog is well-fed. I just want to do something for him: he's so kind to you.


Fearful of missing the connecting train I ran down the steps to the platform and carefully but clumsily found the door into the train. Someone clutched my arm.

"Where are you going?" she asked in her German accent.

"I'm catching this train," I said. I had heard the announcement that this train was going all stations to Central.

"Yes, but where are you going," she persisted, preventing me from moving in to the seats.

Sometimes, as on this occasion, my manners are lost in impatience. I answered, "I'm catching this train. Where are you going?"

"I'm going ... This train is going north."

"No it's not," I corrected. "It's going South, to Sydney." "Oh yes," she conceded. We laughed together, weakly. I thanked her casually and found a seat.

Such incidents happen to people who are blind all the time when they are travelling on their own.

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