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I’ll guess that most of you who are reading this have a CI or are considering one, or are following my journey anyway, but the concept of a recumbent trike may not be familiar! Let me begin by saying that a recumbent trike is not MY idea – I’m quite happy tootling around on my upright trike thank you (hugely recommended for deaf folks anyway because of balance and the fact that other road users give you a wider berth because – you do take up more space!!) The Bear, however, is passionate about unusual bikes – or trikes. So off we tootled to Little Thetford in Cambridgeshire for the Bear to sit himself low down on some second-hand trikes and pedal off with his feet sticking up in the air. Some were very low-slung deckchair-style so that his feet were more up in the air, others he sat more upright with his feet in front of him.

It was a safe environment with little passing traffic and the nice man who owned the workshop told me the church opposite was open – as obviously there was only a certain amount of entertainment value to be had in watching the Bear whizz up and down on various trikes, and by the third trike it had begun to pall somewhat. I entered the church – leaving the door open as I always do – I don’t care if it lets bats, birds or other creatures in, it stops keyholders from just locking me in without checking (I’m sure most would but . . . even with my new CI I’m not taking any chances!!) and after having a look round at its heavily Victorianised interior I emerged into the churchyard with a pretty willow, daffs in full bloom and a rather convenient small seat with a good view of the road. Settling myself down with a flask of coffee and something to read (yes, the Bear did go on a bit, and occasionally flashed past in something that was a different colour each time – like the Cheshire cat,  his big grin remained even after he had passed in a blur) I entertained myself by listening for his approach, or listening out for passing conversation as folks walked past, and, best of all, I became aware of a continuous chirruping noise, and realised I was listening to birds! They were really quite loud and noisy, and varied – I wasn’t quite sure what they were, my ornithology is pretty rubbish – some were common or garden blackbirds, but others might have been swallows or house martins from the way they were swooping.

I’ve found a good resource – the RSPB has an identification website which plays typical calls – which is rather fun, and I can tell the difference between the few calls I’ve tried. http://www.rspb.org.uk/wildlife/birdguide/name/a/  Something tells me I will now become a twitcher . . .

After the Bear had finished – we had a good chat with the owner. Normally I find it very tiring to listen to someone I’ve just met for the first time: pre-implant it would have been based entirely on lipreading. Now I’m not getting a full impression of speech just yet, but it is already making a huge difference to conversation and I was able to follow him readily and join in a three-way dialogue (or should that be trialogue?). We really enjoyed having a chat about all sorts of things and, best of all, this chap has a family member waiting to be activated too!! These days everyone knows someone who is having or has had a CI!!