14. British Sign Language

When we were kids mum worked with adults with a learning disability and would sign in  Makaton to communicate with some of them. We asked her to teach us and I remember being fascinated.

With Julia Selby

Julia is a Project Manager at Parkinson's UK and recently we've been working together on redesigning the Membership offering. Julia has been deaf from birth and i'll be completely honest it took me 4 months to notice that she was. When Julia's hearing aid broke last month and my neck was having a particularly droopy time we realised just how vital lip reading was to our communication.

I asked Julia to teach me some basic BSL. So she told me all the letters and it really appealed to me graphically that with most of them your hands made a quirky version of the letterform. She taught me how to spell my name which I think I sort of managed to do without my tremor trying to spell something else. Imagine it's a shambles if you are deaf AND have Parkinson’s or Essential Tremor!

What made me giggle was when Julia taught me how to sign 'bulls**t.' It’s essentially one arm folded on top of the other with the underneath hand tremoring. Pretty much exactly how I sit in every meeting.

'It is definitely important to try new things, you can find yourself in a rut thinking that you don’t have enough time to do things you always wanted to do or thought about trying. There is always half an hour to try something else to test yourself.' Julia.