Dear Mrs Danvers, My mother, who is over 100 years old and has very bad eyesight, very much enjoys listening to talking books which come to her on CDs. The problem is that when she listens to a CD on her machine and wants to pause the playback to deal with an unexpected interruption, she is unable to resume listening from the point at which she left off. Each time, the CD restarts from the very beginning most frustrating when the disc might have up to 20 hours listening on it and she had got to an exciting bit near the end of the story. Her machine has a little window with a display showing which track the recording has reached, and, if she was capable of reading the number in the window, she might be able to regain the point she was looking for more easily. But she cannot read the tiny numbers. Do you know of a machine that might solve her problems?
The RNIB knows about this problem and has produced a machine to deal with it the Plextalk PTN1 Daisy Playe which costs £250 plus VAT. There is a much cheaper solution available from Argos for about £30, but it seems this is really aimed at teenagers rather than centenarians. It also needs a special adaptor for mains electricity. If your mother is certified as partially sighted, VAT will not be levied.
The Plextalk is robust, compact and well designed, with inbuilt, rechargeable batteries which give a playing time of up to five hours. When it is plugged into the mains (with simply a single plug with no adaptors or complicated extra leads), the batteries are automatically recharged while it is being used. It is capable of a wide range of functions, but has an easy control layout ideally suited to someone who can’t see. When you press a button, a recorded voice tells you what it does. And the great thing is that it doesn’t lose its place (or its temper) when the CD is paused.