Tag Archives: fun

on building a community

It’s coming up to election time (local councils and European Parliament). Politicians are doing their things- some doing the same old same old, some aiming to look radically different. There’s a whole lot to be said about how Northern Ireland and other jurisdictions uses ‘identity’ and ‘culture’ and ‘community';  our mate @domsball says it well- Future Learn course Identity, conflict and public space: contest and transformation. He can be quite sensible when he puts his mind to it.

It’s interesting to consider aspects of my own identity. When do I feel part of a ‘community’? ‘Community’ is a warm, fuzzy, inclusive word- does it always feel like that? ‘Community’ can be political, exclusive, sectarian. We all know about personality differences, contrasting ways of working, conflicting expectations that challenge even the most well meaning of associations.

So what do we do, on a small scale, to support others, to build a community of interest rather than disparate, competitive wee groups? Strategic thinking, hard work, determination, conviction, lack of interest in own status, cunning plans, relentless positivity, networking, experience, listening, finding solutions. Knowing each other’s interests, strengths and concerns. Valuing all the voices. Daring to work differently.

Three years ago, a group of people gathered together to consider whether there was any value in working together. Did we have any issues in common? Could we have a greater impact working together on those? We had; we thought we could. We did research; we made connections. We formed a company, we obtained charity status. We kept listening and talking and reaching out.

Watch our community in action- from the Rare Disease Day event in February (warning- includes the NI Health Minister). Watch Ditzy and Auntie Sadie and I’m only slightly and Chairperson and Michaela and PSP families and S- just some of the rare disease community I’m fortunate to have around me.


The whole event is available on youtube- you didn’t have to be there.


It was a sunny day, and despite all the hard work and angst, I was playing with my friends.

vocabulary and hard sums

Girl2, is working hard in her last year of primary school, preparing for the selection process that forms part of the transfer to secondary school. It’s a whole family event.

Spurs Fan helps her with practise tests at the weekend, and with maths homework problems. I can do some of the maths, but not much- another fun feature of ME is the inability to manage numbers beyond very simple calculations. A page of numbers is simply a page of meaningless squiggles that I am unable to process.

I get the words: spellings, vocabulary, maths language. We can spend hours on the difference between ‘severe’ and ‘denounce’, ‘reluctant’ and ‘deficient’. ‘Immortal’ is announced with a Fame style pose, in the hope that ridiculousness and laughter will aid learning. Simply looking at unfamiliar words doesn’t do it for any of us.

The other day, my afternoon nap turned into a maths session. “Can you help me with my triangular numbers?” Triangular numbers? What on god’s earth are triangular numbers? I’ve heard of square numbers and cubed numbers, but I’ve gone through many years at school without ever having heard of triangular numbers. Do I need to know about them? Will they make my life comprehensible?

So Girl2 demonstrated her understanding of  these things by explaining them to me, telling me how to work them out and rattling off sequences, forwards and backwards. Really, I did help…

from: http://www.imagekind.com/art/stunning/tessellation/artwork-on/fine-art-prints
from: http://www.imagekind.com/art/stunning/tessellation/artwork-on/fine-art-prints

Other new words she’s teaching me: vertices, factors and tessellation. Maths has a very different language than it had in the 1970s.

My credit card bill just arrived. Do you think it’ll make sense now that I know about vertices?


They tell me I’m not going to win at the water gun battle if I keep my eyes closed and my head down. (This is, presumably, true for any sort of battle.)

There were thoughts about how confrontational we became with guns in our hands.

There was team work, screaming and an awful lot of sogginess. Giggling.

I love the giggling.

A swingball tournament awaits

I’m not going to win that either…