Wednesday, January 26, 2011

I Can Sing a Rainbow...

My favourite part of club tonight....

...was sitting in a circle on the floor...

... learning how to Sing a Rainbow in Sign Language :-)

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Monday, January 24, 2011

Happy Un-Birthday

Tonight's club's reflection is based on being just about halfway between the birthdays of the Winnie the Pooh writer - AA Milne (18th) and the author of Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll (27th) and celebrates the wonderful philosophy that can be experienced in children's writing - we played a game of Guess the Author before club and at club had an Un-Birthday Cake with a candle for each person there - blown out accompanied by the singing of Happy Un-Birthday. ( I was disappointed to find that the Un-Birthdays I had celebrated previously were not my invention - I must have read about them and forgotten - or great minds...)


I can't go back to yesterday - because I was a different person then.

Oh, 'tis love, 'tis love that makes the world go round.

There are three hundred and sixty-four days when you might get un-birthday presents, and only one for birthday presents, you know.

One of the secrets of life is that all that is really worth the doing is what we do for others

Twinkle, twinkle little bat How I wonder what you're at! Up above the world you fly, Like a tea-tray in the sky


You're braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.

My spelling is Wobbly. It's good spelling but it Wobbles, and the letters get in the wrong places

Time is swift, it races by; Opportunities are born and die... Still you wait and will not try - A bird with wings who dares not rise and fly

The third-rate mind is only happy when it is thinking with the majority. The second-rate mind is only happy when it is thinking with the minority. The first-rate mind is only happy when it is thinking

Weeds are flowers too, once you get to know them

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Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Super Kids

Just a few of the Joys of being a Youth Worker I experienced today:

Young People singing & dancing to Bollywood SingStar One girl saying she didn't mind the injection she got at school so much when her TA's talked to her about going to club after Being taught Sign Language by Young People Making personalised calendars with all kinds of drawings from Mermaids and Dragons to Love Heart Flowers Watching a boy arrive at club & act as if it was completely normal to be wearing a Superman cape When asked 'What do you want to do this year at club ?' discovering that Ben wrote 'whatever Josh is doing' and Josh wrote 'whatever Ben is doing' - Oh the Mario Brothers of Club!

Friday, January 14, 2011


I was glad that I waited to read Shantaram (2003) until after I had been to India (where Gregory David Roberts based his story) so that I knew more about the context, whether in terms of Indian culture of just the familiarity of the place names of Bombay. Although I had the book at home and I saw it being sold in Leopolds (where Roberts spent much of his time meeting friends or writing) I didn't read it until months after my second visit to India.

If I had read it before I went to India I'm not sure I would have understood it so well and may even have been put off going and feared a world I was not familiar with. Instead I went without the story of the book to colour my views and loved the experience however wonderfully alien it was at first and when I read the book after, I was able to enter quickly into the world described and learn much from Roberts' story.

Roberts considered his main character, much like himself, to be 'a revolutionary who lost his ideals in heroin, a philosopher who lost his integrity in crime, and a poet who lost his soul in a maximum security prison.' 

As Roberts describes so vividly the experience of heroin I can see clearly why so many people lose their lives to this drug.

 'Heroin is a sensory deprivation tank for the soul. Floating on the dead sea of the drug stone, there's no sense of pain, no regret or shame, no feelings of guilt or grief, no depression and no desire. The sleeping universe enters and envelops every atom of existence. Insensible stillness and peace disperse fear and suffering. Thoughts drift like ocean weeds and vanish into distant, grey somnolency, unpercieved and indeterminable. The body succumbs to cryogenic slumber: the listless heart beats faintly, and breathing slowly fades to random whispers. Thick nirvanic numbness clogs the limbs, and downward, deeper, the sleeper slides and glides towards oblivion, the perfect and eternal stone.'

His experience of torture and tolerance and his take on forgiveness are all to be learned from:
 'It took me a long time and most of the world to learn what I know about love and fate and the choices we make, but the heart of it came to me in an instant, while I was chained to a wall and being tortured. I realized, somehow, through the screaming in my mind, that even in that shackled, bloody helplessness, I was still free: free to hate the men who were torturing me, or to forgive them. It doesn't sound like much, I know. But in the flinch and bite of the chain, when its all you have got, that freedom is a universe of possibility. And the choice you make, between hating and forgiving,can become the story of your life.'
And especially how forgiveness is linked to love...

It's forgiveness that makes us what we are. Without forgiveness, our species would've annihilated itself in endless retributions. Without forgiveness, there would be no history. Without that hope, there would be no art, for every work of art is in some way an act of forgiveness. Without that dream, there would be no love, for every act of love is in some way a promise to forgive. We live on because we can love, and we love because we can forgive.

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Wednesday, January 12, 2011


I often forget that I have badges on my bag - until I catch someone reading them - usually followed by a smile of agreement from them and sometimes a conversation.

Today on the bus a woman admired the badges on my bag and said:

"They speak even when you don't"

I am thinking of doing a line of T-shirts...

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Tuesday, January 11, 2011

X ray

The times I have thought about x rays...

Reading Alphabet books as a child
Looking for a word beginning with X other than xylophone (which I could spell)
Reading comics like Beezer that had the story of Ed Case and the Numskulls
Reading ads for practical jokes like invisible ink, whoopee cushions and X ray specs
Watching Superman show off his X ray powers
When I tore a ligament in my ankle weeks before going to live in Italy when I was 17
Every decade after when I twisted the same ankle
Reading Alphabet books to my daughter Jane
When Jane played with her xylophone
Every time I hear someone has broken a bone
When I think of ice skating
Playing Scrabble
Today when I sat in a cubicle wondering if I would work out how to put my
hospital gown
on in time for the knock on the door...

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