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Monday 11 October 2010

Books and magazines

"Taking a break on the way home" October 4th 2010

Fitting in bits-in-between

By the end of last week I was beginning to wonder where I was! I had been working in so many different places with so many different interesting jobs to do. I had ridden many kilometres on my bike and I had tried to conserve energy, and also to save time, by riding several more on trams, buses and trains. With and without bike. It was a really lovely, very interesting but incredibly full week.

It has taken a weekend with an extra day (all of my clients cancelled today), to get my feet back underneath my body!

In the in-between-times last week, of which there were surprisingly quite a few, I made myself sit down for a breather. The week was too beautiful to miss, especially from Wednesday on when it got colder at night which meant the leaves starting changing their colours dramatically. Wherever I found myself, if I had enough time, I sat down in the sun. I either sat down for coffee and cake in a café or on a bench beside the cycle path to watch the horses grazing and the leaves changing colour.

Nature watching has always been a passion of mine, since as long as I remember. Street-café-sitting has become one of my passions only recently.

Despite the busy week I did quite a lot of café sitting, in the last of the autumn sun. I am not sure if it is the fluffy bowls of coffee and the raisin buns that feed my soul most or the sitting and watching, and the taking of notes and photographs. Yes, I know really that it is the combination of it all that made it possible for me to hop onto the bike with renewed energy and carry on to the next appointment.

I always have my notebook and my camera to hand which means that today as I am sorting the papers from last week I have discovered notes for several blogs.

The cafés and notes, the photos and the bike, the sun, the leaves and the red berries that I picked for arty purposes, and the variety-being-the-spice-of-life life, are all a part of the branding!

Today the part of the branding in action is a day at home, finishing the tax returns, writing up notes, drinking coffee, stepping out on the balcony where runner beans are still growing and in the in-between-times I am writing this, posting number 602.

Making it to the evening visit on time on Wednesday called for a hop on the tram and then onto the train. That was all after a ride on the bike to the station.

I use the tram or train in this way because it saves me time and I could travel the twenty kilometres to the house visit directly after the school group and still get there at a reasonable time. I cycled the ten kilometres home after the two hour meeting in the dark. I had a map but I still got lost. Maps are actually sometimes useless if you do not know where you are! There was no sun to follow, the moon was not up, so my sense of direction in this strange part of the city had deserted me.

I was fortunately rescued by some really friendly people in Gostenhof, one of the most interesting parts or Nürnberg, but not necessarily the place to be out-and-about in after dark alone. I met the right kind of people however and soon pedalled off smiling as they pointed me in the direction of Johannis and home.

Back to my notes and the reason for the posting


As I left my place of work in the late afternoon I realised that I was going to be on a tram and a train but I had no reading material. I had left my “new” copy of Bronfenbrenner in my bed where I had been reading about Makarenko, a “hero” of mine, the night before. It was supposed to be in my bag.

As I walked out of the door after an afternoon of painting, ball throwing and baking with the children I grabbed a copy of the new edition of “Rollstuhl-Kurier” .

A train journey with no reading material is, despite having the excitement of being on a train, with windows to look out of and sounds to hear, not really a train journey at all!

The Rollstuhl-Kurier is a glossy magazine that is full of tips and advertisements for wheelchair users, carers and anyone else with an interest.

You can find tips on hotels to use in Majorca and hotels all over the world with therapy centres and a twenty-four hour call service. There are hotels with all the machines and accessories one may ever need if disabled available for hire. There are hotels on offer with pools with hoists and lifts, offering golf and scuba diving and shuttle service to the beach. You can buy converted cars and vans and read all about the latest four wheeler motorbikes! There are holidays advertised in Namibia, Moscow, and many more exotic destinations with: .

In the Rollstuhl Kurier there are also tips to read on many subjects. You can read about sport for the disabled, learn about the different artificial limbs that are available, there are listings of lectures and information on social and legal matters, and much, much more.

Amongst the useful-information-pages I discovered a children’s book review. The name of the book is: „Mein Schneller Papa, es gibt viele Möglichkeiten schnell zu sein“, My fast Dad, there are many different ways to be fast.

The book is written by Bianca Jahnke-Oppold, the wife of the Dad and mother of the child. It was written initially for her son to give him strength, and the energy to face the comments such as those he heard from his Kindergarten friends: “You cannot come to my party, your father is not nice to look at”. She asks the question “Can a child be proud of a father who sits in a wheelchair?”

I have come across such situations during the thirty years that I have worked with children and with people with disability. Yes, children can be hurtful to their peers, but it is more than this when remarks such as this one are made. The children are surely learning this behaviour from society.

I have heard many similar comments, but the one that sticks in my mind was something that happened fifteen years ago. This time it was something directed at the person with the disability and not indirectly as in the story in this book. A child from a Kindergarten desperately wanted to share her sit-on-tractor with her disabled classmate, a four-year old who was integrated into the group. From a few yards away came the voice of a mother shouting, “No, you cannot play with M., she is disabled”.

Not only did her own daughter learn from this remark about how the society that she lived in reacted to disability, but also the whole group from the Kindergarten, all the four-year olds in the village learnt it too. M. was never invited to the homes of these children in her village to play with them after school, although she went all through Kindergarten and junior school with the same children.

The Papa mentioned in the book competes in marathons all over the world, a very fast papa indeed and one to be proud of. The book, although directed to children of parents with disabilities, will I am sure also be a motivating read for children with a disability themselves.


Rollstuhl-kurier –

Mein Schneller Papa, es gibt vielle Möglichkeiten schnell zu sein by Bianca Jahnke-Oppold

ISBN 978-3-00-031 273-1

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