Blind Boater - Tracey Clarke

The Blind Boater

Tracey Clarke
inspirational speaker & writer

Life was normal and hectic. I was a qualified pharmaceutical professional, held an Advanced Drivers Licence, was independent and very active. Then, in July 2011 I started to realise that my eyesight was failing. Following a barrage of medical tests, in September I was registered Blind. Over the following few months my vision continued to reduce to a pinhole (approx 2% of a normal field of vision). That remaining tiny window seems to have stabilized, at least for now, but the quality of the view through it varies significantly. Cause unknown. Vague diagnosis: Optic Nerve Atrophy. Prognosis unknown. The specialist’s words? “As it has gone so far without apparent reason, expect it to continue to totality”.

Career over. Driving licence surrendered. Life shattered.

Sinking into depression and withdrawal, I found it safer and easier to stay indoors and manage without than go out to even so much as buy a pint of milk. Thankfully, this withdrawal was reversed by the amazing gift of a Guide Dog. He restored independence and confidence.

I got a part-time job that didn’t work out and ended in February 2013. Life became increasingly difficult; debts mounting, morale sinking. In December 2013, my husband was made redundant. Bankruptcy loomed large. Then we discovered that we could sell our house with enough equity to clear the mortgage and most of the debts, and buy a narrowboat. Life afloat is cheaper than in a house and, with tight budgeting, is just manageable.

Since moving afloat, all sorts of things have contributed to our deeply blessed transformed life.  This is where the story really begins. This is what I share with others through speaking and writing.