Jenny's Well resident writes thank you note in Braille for the 'wonderful food.'

Posted: 04/06/2019 | Care for Older People,

It is not every day you receive a thank you note specially written in braille. But Jenny’s Well resident James Mowatt has done just that. James wrote to  Jenny’s Well chef Margaret McFlynn to say thank you for the wonderful food she cooks at the Royal Blind care home for vision impaired older people in Paisley.

Jim composed the note on a ‘Perkins brailler,’ a braille typewriter with a key corresponding to each of the six dots of the braille code.

“I just wanted to say ‘thank you for the excellent food,’” Said James, 86.

“I only moved to Jenny’s Well in January and it’s been a big adjustment for me after living on my own, but one of the things that has made it easier is the quality of the food.”

James went blind when he was 19 after a suffering an injury playing in a rugby match. He was kicked in the head in the scrum and suffered two detached retinas. The shock of sudden blindness meant he wasn’t’ able to pursue a career as a lawyer despite having studied law at university.

James, who grew up in Govan, Glasgow went on to become a social worker and then a Sheriff. He married and had two children.

“I’ve been blind for 66 years now, and my overwhelming sadness is that I never got to see the face of my wife while she was alive, and I will die without ever having seen the faces of my two children who are now grown up.

“My one wish would be to be able to see their faces.”

Many blind or partially sighted people don’t learn braille if they lose their sight later in life but James learnt it straight after his accident at the age of 19.

“I knew I had to learn it, I could have gone into a depression after the accident, but I just had to keep going. I never told the man who caused the accident what had happened. I didn’t’ want him to go through his life knowing that he had caused me to lose my eyesight.”

The braille system of reading was invented by Louis Braille, a blind student studying at a school for the blind in France. He adapted it from a much longer and more complicated system that had been developed by Napoleon’s army for sending messages down the army line.

Braille consists of six raised dots arranged in two parallel rows, each set of rows representing a letter. Before this, people who were blind had had to trace out a whole raised letter with their fingertips. The new braille system made reading for the blind significantly faster and easier.


James said:

“Since I lost my sight I have always taken great pleasure in food. My wife was a good cook and she would make the most delicious soups.

“The chef here, Margaret makes an amazing Banoffee pie. We can have three courses for lunch and dinner and a continental breakfast with filled rolls.”

James has yet to ask Margaret to make his favourite food, steak or venison, but he is hoping she will take the hint after reading this!

“I used to love eating out,” James said, “One of my favourite restaurants is the Ubiquitous Chip on Byers Road in Glasgow. I used to eat there with my wife. I would love to eat there again.”

And if Jenny’s Well chef Margaret McFlynn’s cooking is on a par with the Ubiquitous Chip which is a Glasgow institution, that is praise indeed!

Margaret said:

“It’s so lovely to receive this note from James. It is particularly special that it is written in braille. I’m going to put it on the wall in the kitchen. It is good to know that I and the team in the kitchen are getting it right.”