My visitors today

Saturday 19 June 2010

What a difference a day makes!

With Dad on top of the world, Sheringham, Norfolk, June 2010

A wide horizon

Dad, in the pink

The azalias and rhododendrons in Sheringham Park,
Norfolk, June 2nd 2010

Looking for the action

A day certainly makes a difference when it is a day when a child discovers that it is possible to go just about anywhere. A day of discovering that it is possible to go independently to wherever the action is without having to ask to be taken there or be passively taken where no interesting action is.

Widening horizons

This is what one of my littlies discovered last Sunday, the day of the Sommerfest. On this day this littlie’s horizons opened up and made a huge impression on her life and on the lives of many others.

Littlie cycled the half a mile or so from home to the summer fete and then just as we had discussed the day before she abandoned the bike for a new big-girl size rolator (she is seven years old). And whoosh….. not only were her horizons wider, offering a lot of new experiences, but her eyes were so wide with the feast of newness that they almost popped out of her head. She was experiencing a very different kind of freedom to that which her bike gives her. On the bike she can be fast, very fast indeed and sometimes even reckless. With the rolator she can only be slow and careful. On the bike contact with others people is hardly possible, with the rolator how different this was. Littlie was going places by foot and actually meeting people face to face on the way.

It does not matter if it is a fete or a party, a holiday, a concert, a trip in the country or to the seaside. Wherever it is it will make all the difference if the going there and the being there is an independent-as-possible experience.

It is the going places because you want to and because you can that is so important. And of course also the deciding to go on to somewhere else that is important too.


We all know how good we feel when we achieve something for the first time alone. Something we have worked hard for or something we had previously been afraid to do. It can be a parachute jump or drinking coffee in a café in the city. It can be a bus ride alone or a walk around a summer fest with a rolator. They all give us that same wonderful feeling of achievement and independence. They give us that joy of a first-time experience.

Mingling with the crowds

I was at the summer fete for the first time as a guest. For the past fifteen years I have always had something to organise, a paper-mache art action, a summer bonnet making extravaganza, a recycled clothes fashion show and painting activities galore. This year I was able to mingle and socialise and also to be a conductor!

I moved from coffee with one family to lunch with the next and then on to tea and cakes with another and an evening, after-its-all-over, beer with my colleagues! During the in-between times I could watch the professional golf team teaching children golf, the adult motor cycle group taking the little ones for a spin, children riding go carts and adults chatting with friends and parents. I met the blind man and his dog who was a visitor in my adults group in the spring, and who wants to come again next week and I met a Lebanese university professor who had just arrived from Texas.

A highlight was meeting some of our very first “Petö” children, now adults and teenagers, and watched their joy as they met up with each other.

I met colleagues from different departments and I made new contacts and renewed old ones. During all this coming and going there were quite a few jokes coming my way about Germany’s good, and England’s bad, beginning in the World Cup.

A multi-cultural day out

While I was mingling amongst the crowds now and then I came across Littlie with her rolator. Sometimes I accompanied her on a difficult stretch of ground giving her a few instructions on how to negotiate small steps and verges, at others I just watched. She was having a great time. I could see the interest on her face, the concentration and the sense of achievement. So many people stopped in their tracks as they saw her for the first time on her own two feet, she just beamed and nodded as they asked her questions. It was too strenuous and too loud to attempt to use her new found voice at the same time as walking and standing. That did not matter we could all see the difference this day way making, she was doing what she wanted and doing it alone. She was stopping here and there for a chat, watching this game and that. She played golf with a Scotsman and ate cake with an English lady. She even hopped into a motorcycle’s side-car and rode off into the distance for forty minutes with a German. She was meeting strangers with confidence and doing it all alone.

That day really did make a difference

That day gave that littlie so much confidence that she is walking all over the place this week. Grandma brings the rolator and walks home with her after Petö sessions and mum walks with her holding her hand.

I think the difference began the week before while on holiday, everyone in the family had had time to go walking with her. She discovered that yes, it is possible and on Sunday at the fest with crowds of familiar and some not so familiar faces she could mingle and meet people , she could walk and even attempt some talk.

Other lives, other differences

That day not only made a difference to Littlie’s life. Her mother saw what she could do and told the story at home to Dad and Grandma. The riding teacher saw Littlie for the first time on two legs and not four, and showed her joyous surprise. One of the “old girls” saw littlie and was reminded of her first attempts at walking with exactly the same type of rolator and rejoiced in the results of her own hard work. Mums of these “old” conductive families also saw this and reflected on how worthwhile their own hard work had been and could convey this to the “new” mums.

The bosses saw conductive lifestyles in action and were even more convinced that money is being spent in the right places and I, as always learnt an awful lot. I also wished I had more colleagues so could give more clients the opportunity of discovering what a difference a day makes.


What a difference a day makes
Dinah Washington-
Dinah Washington and Ronald R.-
A trip down memory lane,
What a difference a day makes, Benkó Dixie Band, Budapest -

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