Well, what can I say. Life before going to Government House seems forgotten! 2 magical hours of marvellous magnificence that can only be described as a dream come true!

I was asked to speak at Government House on Monday night as part of the Blind Foundation’s 125 celebrations. As I said in my speech, “at no time did the Blind Foundation say to me no Julie you can’t do that!” They have taught me so many skills from buttering a piece of bread to reading with my fingers! The list is endless and the gratitude immense!

I thought my life had ended the day I sat in that hospital waiting room in 1997, about to be declared legally blind. Little did I know, thanks to the Foundation, my life was about to begin.

Let me have a go at seeing that wonderful evening through the senses!

1 the sound of Samantha Hayes from TV 3 who interviewed Liz and I in our room before we went to Government House!

2 the feeling of the microphone going down my petticoat and out the bottom of my dress! The battery pack was then attached and clipped on to the back of my tights!

3 the smell of perfume and make up, all filmed of course, as we got ready for the big night!

4 the sound of first the taxi driver from Iraq, then the second driver from Somalia! Abraham, from Somalia, asked, with a smile in his voice, if I had heard of it! “You’re not a pirate are you?” He laughed and didn’t convince me that he wasn’t!

5 the sound of 150 excited blind people and guests in the ballroom of Government House drinking and chatting before the formal part of the celebrations! Talk about nervous!

6 the sound of Sir Jerry and Lady Janine, both saying “Hello Julie” as they shook my hand!

7 the sound of John Key and me being silly! He was so much fun! And I met Bronagh too! We had an official photo taken with all of us! I can’t wait to give that one to Mum!

8 hearing the history of the Foundation from Rick (board chair) who shared with us that once upon a time blind people had to get permission from the Blind Foundation CEO if they wanted to get married! Crikey! Hasten the thought!

9 the feel of the lecturn at Government House, and hearing the sound of people listening and laughing! Thank God! I relaxed into it pretty quickly and had fun!

10 the sound of TV 3 saying “John Key wants to meet you again” and this time on camera. I was standing talking to John Key when I got a tap on the shoulder and a whisper in my ear “move back Julie, I’m taking your photo”

Wow! What a night. So many cool and awesome blind people in one room! I got to hug and shake the hands of so many beautiful people! If this is where going blind has lead then it’s an unconventional route to happiness but I’ll take it!