Summertime is always the best of what might be.

Charles Bowden

The world is full of surprises and opportunities.

Last week started with day two of Pádraig’s friends’ wedding celebrations. It was another fabulous day of Ireland’s week-long summer. The couple had organised a section of a boat on the Liffey which presented itself in glorious sunshine. The pints looked like straight from a Guinness add. The famous two red & white chimneys of the pigeon house in the background matched those on Pádraig’s sweatshirt. Many of the dreamboaters were around. A perfect day.

One of our friends was leaving after her summer holidays last week, so I decided to go for it and order that “Iced Caramel Almond Latte”. It looked so tempting and I just wanted to really enjoy the last moments in the company of our friend. – I’ll show you in a minute what it looked like in reality. You’ll know what I am talking about if you remember the scene in “Falling Down” when William ‘D-Fens’ Foster complains to Rick and Sheila about the Whammyburger he had just been served.

Pádraig had some really outstanding sessions in An Saol. Not that this was in any way unusual, but these were special.

An Saol got a ‘Swedish ladder’ which was used by one of the therapists to do some upper body strengthening exercises with Pádraig. To our surprise, he managed to hold on to the rings (with just a little help) and pull himself up from a half lying position to sitting. When I looked a bit closer, I was amazed by the muscles in his upper arms. Maybe, I should just stop to be surprised. Maybe, Pádraig just needs to be given the opportunity to show what he is capable of every day, with new challenges, creativity and ambition. Hut ab!

Also ‘Hut ab’ to the therapists who go out of their way to make things work, who use their imagination and creativity, who even bring in additional pieces of equipment to make things work a bit better.

An Saol also have a new music therapist attending regularly. Last week, he and Pádraig demonstrated the importance and fun of music therapy. Having practiced a few foot tappings, and mouth movements focusing on shapes you’d use with vocals, the therapist played a song – and I was wondering why he had picked ‘Let it be’ – a beautiful song, but probably not exactly one of Pádraig’s favourites. When he encouraged Pádraig to do a really good ‘Let it bEEEE’, I realised where this was going. When he changed to ‘Let it bAAA’ and ‘Let it bOOO’, Pádraig really made a big effort to play, and sing, along. It was fun and motivating.

We tried out the Johnstone splint – it’s like a plastic tube rapped around a limb that can be inflated and supports a big stretch. We had never heard of this until this summer when it was used by a German OT. Something very simple and very effective.

One early evening, we were sitting in the garden. We heard a bit of a rumble and when the dust had settled, we realised that a section of our garden wall had collapsed. Out of the blue. Nobody was injured.

From time to time, walls collapse in a storm. We think our wall probably collapsed because of the exceptionally warm and dry weather. It’s a mud wall that needs some moisture. Over the last week, it slowly was reduced to dust to a point when it just couldn’t sustain itself anymore.

And here is my highlight of the week. The “Iced Caramel Almond Latte” Sheila and Rick could have produced in “Whammy”. When that Latte was served, I showed the server the picture and asked him whether he had made a mistake? He apologised and said that they weren’t really able to make this speciality coffee. In fairness, he did not charge for it and I still enjoyed it with my eyes closed.

At times, you have to imagine what it could be and hope and work and pray that one day it will.

In the meantime, I might sometimes feel like William ‘D-Fens’ Foster. But I’m not ‘Falling Down’. And won’t for some time to come:)

Summertime is the best of what might be.