guitar

Speaking at The Adventure Kids Club

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It’s no secret that I’m nervous when speaking to groups of young children. For one thing, I know I’m going to have to work hard to get them to focus on what I’m saying when all they really want to do is meet my guide dog, Fiji. But it’s also hard to know how well the youngsters grasp the concept of blindness and what it means in my life.

This nervousness probably explains why I actively seek the opportunity to talk to learners. After all, don’t they say the best way to work through your fears is to confront them? In reality, getting to spend some time explaining what life is like for me as a blind person always gives rise to a fascinating conversation between myself and the youngsters concerned. And a recent visit to the Adventure Kids Club in Cape Town was no exception.

My audience was a group of fifty youngsters and a few adult coordinators, who sat patiently as I spoke about my life and then asked a flood of questions, ranging from how I eat, right the way through to what techniques I use to ensure I’m not excluded when it comes to social activities with sighted friends. The Adventure Kids Club is a community organisation set up by Maria Strachan in Ysterplaat in Cape Town. Maria started the group as a way of inspiring and encouraging youngsters from the community, many of them coming from disadvantaged backgrounds. And, in case you’re wondering about the coincidence that Maria and I have the same surname, yes, our respective husbands are cousins.

As often happens when Fiji comes with me to speak at a children’s event, the youngsters had most fun when they got to come and say hello to her, and she loved the attention. It’s always so cute to see Fiji surrounded by a group of youngsters who want nothing more than to give her love and play with her. Only, maybe this time I gave my dog a run for her money on how to hold the kid’s attention – Maria asked me to bring my guitar and play a few songs for the group. Which I did – to an enthusiastic reception. Here’s a short clip of one of the songs I played:

https://www.facebook.com/cdstrachan/videos/10158090119251468/

Ultimately, I think both Fiji and I were lucky that we’d finished talking to the youngsters before the ice-cream arrived – I’m not sure that even a guide dog can capture a child’s attention when facing competition like that!

Digging in the Musical Archives – Cabin Fever State of Mind

This month’s song is another early one. And, this time, I can play you a version of the song – though I had to dive quite deep into the musical archives to find it! It’s a song called Cabin Fever State of Mind and, as far as I remember, has been played twice live on stage, once on my own and once with a full band, with Craig’s sister, Sally on backing vocals.

Here are the lyrics, and the link to the song is at the end of the post – it’s a very early recording and isn’t great but hey, you asked me to share a recording this time round and I listened…

Cabin Fever State of Mind – by Lois Strachan

I’ve been staring at these four walls all day.
But the hardest wish won’t wish them away.
And I feel I’m trapped here all alone,
In this cabin beneath these drifts of snow.

Pacing in circles round the room.
But there’s no way out and no way in
And I feel like I’ve been here all my life,
In this cabin fever state of mind.

There must be a corner or a place to hide
From the thoughts that are starting to drive me wild.
But there’s nowhere to run, and there’s nowhere to hide
From this cabin fever state of mind.

And here in a corner of my snowbound mind
Insanity smiles and marks her time
Waiting for a signal, searching for a sign
Through this cabin fever state of mind

There must be a corner or a place to hide
From the thoughts that are starting to drive me wild
But there’s nowhere to run and there’s nowhere to hide
From this cabin fever state of mind.

And here I sit and wait to fall
A victim to my own four walls.
A prisoner in space and time
In this cabin fever state of mind.

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