Along with my first Heard World column appearing this time last year, it was also the time I took up judo - at just turned 50!

Like many people, the turn of the year is my ritual time for having a bit of a look at how my life's going. But, in my case, it won't go anywhere if I just leave it at that.

Last year I managed to get off to a fairly positive start. I'd hoped by now to have included a column about my starting judo as a blind middle-ager among much younger participants. But, you see, and I'm not aware I actually did this at judo, I've hurt my arm and shoulder which means I haven't been since the summer and treatment is taking its time.

The big test will be whether or not I return when I get back to normal. The truth is I was using up almost as much nervous energy beforehand as I was physical on the judo mat. So, if I wasn't enjoying it, you might ask . . . ?

And then there's the column (again, which I'd hoped to have written by now) when I finally got hold of a computer set up for blind people. Making computers usable by blind people raises the price horrendously.

So far, I've just not been able to afford it (on the one hand) and not fitted the criteria of various schemes to provide such equipment (on the other). But my application last January to the Leonard Cheshire Foundation's Workability scheme, following the raising of its upper age qualification to include me, never arrived.

When I say "my" application, I mean the one my wife had to fill in partly at my dictation. So she wasn't very pleased having to do it all over again come June after I'd rung to check how matters were progressing.

This time, though, by early September, I had a conditional acceptance - conditional, that is, either on me or the foundation finding someone willing to support my handling of the equipment and to give any other appropriate support for me to take a distance learning course in information technology.

Neither of us has come up with anyone to date.

With unemployment rates of registered blind people of working age at 75 per cent, I imagine many other blind people will identify to some extent or other with my own approach to how my life's going.

But, of course, people's work and family circumstances all differ (my wife and I are one of those couples for whom children just didn't happen).

And then there's our personalities also having their say in what we want from life. And me, I still want to make something of mine.

What, then, of 2001 for me as a professional actor?

Well, just like too many other years in one way, it was a single day's work, a BT commercial and the best-paid job I've ever had. That was nice, as was finally finding an agent willing to act for me. I'm eager to see what difference that'll make.

And at last year's Equity conference, a motion was passed which makes elections to the union's specialist committee for disabled members fairer. It was my motion. But then I failed to get elected to that very committee!

Something I was touched by was an invitation last spring to an amateur production of Butterflies Are Free, by Leonard Gershe, on the Isle of Wight. Not a perfect play, it shows a young blind man striving for an independent and integrated life. It was directed by my former speech and drama teacher, now retired, who'd dedicated the production partly to me!

In reviewing 2001, I suddenly note a marked front-heaviness to the year. And then I realise I haven't anything new planned for this year.

Not planned - no. But a few years ago I went on a course for blind people to learn how to make short features for radio which I had wanted to do several times (my end-of-course piece was on gelatin!). I'm interested in doing work of that sort so how about making it a reality in 2002?