My visitors today

Wednesday 28 April 2010

Planes and buses, but sadly not boats and trains

"Cutting asparagus", Norwich, April 2010

"Listening to asparagus growing"

"Flags flying", Gorleston, Norfolk, St. Georges Day

"Oh, we do like to walk along the prom!"

"Could that be a vapour trail?", Gorleston

Conductive posts, conductive upbringing and living

Last week I was asked by a friend when my blog-readers are going to see a conductive posting again. I dont remember now what I answered. I probably brushed the question aside as quickly as I could, knowing how little time I have these days to write.

I do however remember what I have been thinking about since the question was asked. Whatever it is that I write about, whether it is the weather, my life, my experiences or my work, it is all conductive. I have no such thing on my blog as a non-conductive posting! I think conductively, I see the world conductively, I live conductively, so surely my writing is conductive too. Not always about conductive upbringing but always conductive.

I have been on holiday, a longer holiday than I expected and one that has done me the world of good. I made especially good use of the extra five days that were handed to me on a plate by Eyjafjallajokullan, the Icelandic volcano that sprung into action. The very last day of the extended leave was spent with my family in glorious sunshine at the coast. For the very first time for forty years I ate a whole portion of greasy chips on the prom, how more conductive can I get than that!

When I include the time that I was away working before my holiday, I have been living out of a suitcase for six weeks. You can perhaps imagine how lovely it is to be back in my flat. Now after two days I can honestly say it is also nice to be back at work.

I dig, dig, dig, dig, dig, dig, dig, as I think the whole day through,

To think and dig and dig and think is what I like to do!

When I was at home with my Dad, doing lots of digging in his lovely garden I found the programme for a 1967 junior-school production of Snow White. My name was on the programme along with those of all my class-mates because we had all been given a role – If not as a dwarf or a wicked step-mother then in the chorus, singing the jolly songs.

I remember to this day the words to most of the songs that we sang, and the one that inspired the words in the sub-title often comes to mind as I work in the garden.

As I dig beside my Dad, I think. My thoughts are not only about work but they often are. I plan groups, get inspiration for art projects, write blogs and paint pictures with my minds eye. I save all of this in my own personal data-bank until I need it. At other times my observation skills are in action, both conductive and artistic, as they are impossible to separate. I watch the birds, the flowers, the skies, the trees, the ladybirds, the foxes skulls and bones, and last week I watched the asparagus grow, almost in front of my eyes. Three weeks after weeding it with Dad, there it was tall enough to pick and eat.

Discovering babies

Even more conductive were the observations that I made of my great niece. For many hours I sat on the floor beside her carry-cot, watching her every move as at only three weeks old she discovered her world. I was constantly asked by her parents, “Don’t you wish to hold her?”.

No not really, I didnt. I wanted to watch her and learn from her. I am so sorry that I wont be able to do this on a daily basis so that I can continue to learn from her. Photos and Skype will have to suffice.

I was totally engrossed in watching her movements and her reactions, amazed by her attempts to socialize and interact with different members of the family. I watched when she turned her head the moment that she heard her fathers deep, loud voice in the next room, and how she squiggled with delight as her Mum listed all the lovely things they were going to do with each other the next day. When my Dad, her great-grandfather was beside her, talking to her, she could not take her eyes off him, and when she was placed in his arms it wasnt long before the two of them were sleeping soundly.

Of course I was thinking and observing all this time conductively, but the artist in me was also present as I longed for enough time to paint her lovely wrinkle-free face and her lovely long fingers with perfect nails.

I wanted to capture those moments when she discovered the softness of her own cheek, and perhaps realized how different it was to the roughness of her Dads one-day old beard. I wanted to record the time a few days later when she discovered that she had two hands, and now, just a week later, a picture has arrived that shows me that her thumb has now discovered her mouth.

Yes, I am looking at my great niece and learning from her in my role as a conductor, I have never spent so much time with a very young baby before, but of course am loving my niece as the great auntie that I am. That makes a big difference to just being at work!

As I said, I dont know any babies, I never have done except for my sisters twins who I only saw once in a while and just happen to be twenty-seven years old today. I was in Budapest studying when all my contemporaries had their babies and the friends that I later made in Germany all had older children.

New-born babes have been for me, until the past few weeks, a completely unknown quantity. I find that a pity really, as I have found our new family member fascinating. It has been a privilege to have had those three or four afternoons with her. There were times when yes, I was the great grandfather's daughter, the grandmothers sister, the dads auntie,and of course when I was filling the grauntie role, but mostly I must admit that I was a conductor. I was constantly reminded of the importance of my work in the upbringing of children with motor disorders and I was reassured that, despite having so little experience of new-born babies, what I am doing and what I am teaching families to do is certainly on the right track.

We as conductors must encourage families to give their babies the experiences that my little niece Aimee was learning from, spontaneously, and at only a few weeks old at that. Moving her head to follow faces and moving her eyes to follow voices, moving her hands in front of her eyes, accidentally touching other parts of her body until after a few days she began to do the same movement on purpose, as she does when she now sucks her thumb.

Yes, I do believe that my postings are all conductive, from watching asparagus grow, to observing children playing in the waves on the beach and to being fascinated by lovely Aimee. My holidays are as conductive as my working days, my cycling and my adventures with trains.

That brings us back to the Planes and buses, not boats and trains of the title.

Home again, home again

I actually travelled back to Germany at the weekend by bus and plane, as I usually do. I was quite disappointed but it was the easiest, quickest and cheapest method in the end. I would have enjoyed that train journey across northern Europe so much and I still have plans to do it at some time in the future. Once, when I have less luggage!

I arrived home after my six-week absence from my flat, more than three of them in England. When I was last here there was snow still piled high at the side of the streets, now the dandelions are in full bloom and the apple-blossom buzzing with bees. Times have changed, so have the seasons.

I am back at work in full swing, with five different groups this week. Who knows, maybe my conductive blog postings will be about conductive upbringing in the coming days or weeks. To start me off, here are just a few words on something that I have just read on the Conductive Community Forum. There is something posted there from a third-year trainee conductor. The student wishes to know our thoughts on whether people who are not conductors should be leading a task series.

I wonder why the student isnt asking for discussion about whether people who are not qualified as conductors should accompany a child to the toilet. Surely, this is the more important question, surely the bathroom is one of the places where the actual conduction is taking place? Just like it is in the asparagus bed weeding, or on the beach with a bag of chips.

Notes on photographs

St George's day

The "flag-flying" in the picture above has nothing to do with patriotism. We were celebrating the extra holiday that I had been given and the glorious weather. I had just bought the flags as a present for the children at work who, I had been told, were following with great interest my slow return to Germany. I found the flags in the same seaside shop that my sister and I used to visit when we were six or seven years old and out and about in Gorleston on the annual Sunday School outing. Nothing has changed there. The beach is just as sandy, the sea just as cold, the toffee apples still as sticky and the fish restaurant where we always had our tea still there. The pier is just as windy and the fishermen still catching codling. Lugworms still cost the earth, now twenty pounds for one hundred! As children we used to go with Dad to dig for them at Wells-on-Sea.

I was so happy to have those extra days with my friends and family, with the sea and the sunshine, that I did something that I have not done for forty years. I ate a whole bag of greasy chips on the sea-front. And what do you know, they tasted quite nice. Not so nice that I will eat them again tomorrow but I may not leave it forty years until the next time. The nicer food of the extra holidays was asparagus. What a surprise I had when Dad took me to the garden to pick my tea! There in the bed that we had weeded three weeks previously on my first day in Norwich, when I had not seen a sign of life, was a jungle of prehistoric-looking shoots of asparagus. Enough for high-tea for two, sis and me, to be eaten with butter and brown bread.


Snow White -

Home again, home again

Conductive Community Forum -

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