Eat your heart out Great British Bake Off

28 September 2018 17:00

Barry on the right proudly holding his Victoria sponge

Blind veteran Barry, 72 and ex-Royal Air Force, joined our charity in 2015.  Barry has diabetes and his sight began failing in 2007.  He now has very little sight, just seeing blurred images. Barry even admits he can't tell his twin sons apart unless they are talking!

He recently had a week’s Independent Living Skills training course at our Llandudno centre.

Barry explains: "I belong to a local blind club in Glenrothes, Fife and people are always bringing their home made cakes to the meetings for the group to eat. Although I cook for myself I had never baked a cake. My wife, who sadly died several years ago, used to make a beautiful Victoria sponge."  

"My goal attending the skills week was to learn how to make one so I could bake it at home and take it in for the group to enjoy. I was so successful that it was eaten before I could even take a photo of it!"

To make matters more complicated Barry, as well as being severely visually impaired, also has diabetes which means he has to pay special attention to the salt and sugar content of ingredients.

Fortunately, the tips and tricks we have taught him have really helped. Barry uses his Synapptic mobile phone to magnify and freeze the screen to read the content and the price of ingredients he buys. He has also been shown how to use the calculator on his phone to work out the amount of artificial sweetener he needs to use in place of sugar.

During his week in Llandudno Barry learned how to use the microwave, toaster, slow cooker and oven safely, using timers, peeling, spreading, weighing and measuring and sharp knife skills.  We've also provided him with a slow cooker so he can make one pot dishes and casseroles at home.

"Blind Veterans UK has been absolutely brilliant and has helped me so much. I was not getting out much before joining the charity but I now have the confidence to travel outside my local area on my own."

He continues:  "My sons say I am never at home these days!"

Barry’s real hobby has been his model railway, a huge layout taking up the whole of his garage. 

It is an impressive layout as you can see below.

Part of Barry's model train layout

Barry hopes that with the charity’s help he will be able to learn new ways of working on this models.  His target is to complete the layout.  With his determination we are sure he will succeed.