My visitors today

Wednesday 25 September 2013

In Germany Oktober begins in September

September in our garden, Norwich 2013

Making headlines

When I asked my English family and friends about coverage of the German elections in the media back home they said – ‘She even made the headlines here’. The she that they were referring to is Angela Merkel.

That statement says more than at first is realised – stories about German politics do hit the English headlines now and again, especially more recently with the various bailouts and differences of opinion, but it is still rare for the Brits to read much about German life in the daily news. 

Even at the local supermarket they know that it is Oktoberfest time of year!

In the autumn all changes

When I am asked by Germans what it is that most English people know about Germany I often remark that it is the sausages and the beer that are important and almost everyone will say that they know about the Oktoberfest and Lederhosen. Barely a thought is given to how Made in Germany accounts for many cars on the streets, tools in workboxes, food in stores, and machines used in medical practice.

This selection of photographs that was in the online version of the Independent on Monday is a great example of what the British think they know about the Germans –

Tuesday 24 September 2013


Big Sis and Great Niece marching through a maize maze in Norfolk, Summer 2013

…especially Big Sis

My sister is often my last port of call before I send books or posters of for printing, or before I pass back articles that I have translated into English. She always spots those little mistakes that I have missed and she is still better than I am at English grammar despite all my recent practice. She is also a dab-hand at getting the sentence structure correct which is something that I sometimes struggle with when translating from German as I also live in German most of the time. Even my own English sentences sometimes get higgledy-piggledy.

My sister helped, during my stay in Norwich this summer, by reading my presentations for the World Congress and by proofreading my translations for my colleague Évi’s cookery book (hopefully to be published this week). Sis has already in the past helped with a final read through my books, (the most recent one came back from the printer last Monday), and last night she was the last person to check my poster presentation for Munich.

And yes, she found that one last mistake – blancmange was hyphenated blancman-ge and not blanc-mange. What a strange word blancmange is and now rarely one writes it and, what’s more, these days it is probably even more rarely eaten, especially in the form that my Grandma used to make it – decorated with glace cherries and real angelica!

Last night, as we were talking together on Skype, my sister still had half an eye on the TV as when I called she had been watching a programme about brain-injury that she had also recorded for me to watch on my next trip home.

Ever since I left home I have had no television of my own. Even if I had had one twenty-five of the nearly forty years that I have not lived in Norfolk have been spent in foreign lands.

During all of these years Big Sis, who always checks the weekly TV programme for items that interest her, has recorded anything that she thought would be of interest to me too. It was in this way that I first saw Standing-Up for Joe and also many snippets about Conductive Education that featured on local or national television. Anything to do with brain injury, autism, disability, personal stories of rehabilitation, and even films such as Rain Man, Patch Adams and My Left Foot, have all been waiting for me to watch on my return home to the nest.

So, in the same vein, last night she was recording this for me –

If you have the time, go back to the beginning and read some of the other postings. There are many parts of his story telling that grabbed my attention; this is one of them –

Later I wondered if hearing about my experience might help others, other sufferers, medical staff and students, or the many people who will know someone with a head injury. The Wellcome Trust was able to support my proposal and I began work in September 2011 to develop a new longer and more detailed version of my talk for presentation in 2013.

The development was supported by consultants, medics, friends and family. I discovered that head injury is a major cause of death in the 21st century and that although we know a lot about monitoring and treatment there is little known about the exact causes of some of the most common symptoms. Brains are complicated things and the same injury can manifest in different ways in different people.

They say:

“You’ve seen one brain injury….you’ve seen one brain injury” ’

Look at the brilliant picture on the flyer at the bottom of that posting!

Here, in James Piercy’s blog, is yet another example of how story-telling plays such an important role in research and knowledge of neuro-rehabilitation.

Story-telling has been important to neuro-psychologists such as A.R Luria and Dr Oliver Sacks for so many years and my personal library has a whole shelf of books with personal accounts of recovery from brain injury and neuro-rehabilitation. Story telling is very important in my work as a conductor and now also to a growing number of my clients.

There will be more about telling stories and narrating case studies in the second of my presentations in just a couple of weeks in Munich –


James Piercy’s blog

Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital News

Susie Mallett’s blog, abstract for WCCE8


Thanks to Big Sis for all the years of looking out for me, for all her help, and for the steady supply of interesting material that I would otherwise have missed.

Sunday 22 September 2013

Autumn festivities

Autumn in Norwich September 2013

Spiders hanging about in last year's leeks

Early morning sunshine


It is less than two weeks until the conductive festivities begin in Munich, but the more famous Oktoberfest has already begun.  The peg was hammered into the first barrel of beer by the Lord Major of Munich this weekend and for the next two weeks the city will be swarming with people dressed in Trachten and Lederhosen as well as many tourists.

The number of tourists will probably be swollen by the braver amongst those taking part in the 8th World Conductive for Conductive Education.

The organisers of the Congress told us today, in a round-robin mail, that the number of people registered to attend is close to a record 600, so this posting is my bit of advertising towards the cause, perhaps the Oktoberfest will be just the thing to attract just a few more congress-goers.