It’s been a while since I’ve posted – work stuff has zapped my energy a bit – but I’m feeling quite positive about 2015.

After four and a half years, I’m still noticing new things happening – I took off like a Harrier jump jet when I was first activated, particularly by comparison with the previous complete and utter total silence. Progress now is more sedate and less spectacular, but my hearing ability continues to develop and I find myself pushing the boundaries of life in ways I never dreamt were possible.

Those things might seem very small beer to hearing people, but to me they represent significant milestones in my life. The first was going to a record office in a new building in the edge of town and getting a taxi from the station. In the past, if the driver’s mirror was angled away from me I would never have known if they were chatting away to me or not, and even if I could spot they were talking, quite often I struggled to make conversation at all, or kept my replies brief and tried to discourage the flow of small talk. It was like a tennis rally in which I kept fluffing the ball or hitting it into the net.

This time it was different. For the first time in my life, I kept up a seamless rally through the driver’s hatch, batting back each conversational ball and ready for the next one. I think it helped that the driver’s conversational gambits were fairly predictable and he didn’t attempt any spectacular shots from out of the sky. I was able to answer readily that it was not my first visit to the town, but it was to the venue, and he asked me about my research, and then we moved on to the miserable weather as the rain intensified, and to general chitchat about the predicted winter weather and the contrast with last winter’s storms in which the local region had suffered badly. We’re British, after all, and it’s an unwritten law we have to talk about the weather.

Not a conversation to set the world alight – you’re probably nodding off reading this – but one which gave me a spring in my step as the driver helped me out of the taxi (what a gentleman!) and a realisation that I can do more than I’ve ever done before.

The second event occurred just a week later. I was walking along a major London artery to HQ, traffic roaring, people walking and talking, the Tube rumbling underfoot, in pouring rain drumming on tall buildings. Then I thought I heard my name, but dismissed the thought immediately – I must be imagining things. Then I heard it again, more distinctly, and spun round to see if there was anyone at all calling me – and there was! A colleague, who has never quite fully understood exactly what my CI does or why it doesn’t make me ‘hearing’, was calling me over from the shelter of the neighbouring building. Maybe someone else wouldn’t have bothered, but inadvertently he led me to a moment that made me smile – though it’s not new to hear myself being called, the conditions were certainly more challenging than most.

To pick my own name out in the uproar that is London seemed to me quite an achievement, and I’ll let that stand as my defining moment of 2014.