Challenge the way things are

I recently watched the film about the life of​ Aaron Swartz (The Internet’s Own Boy). He lived his life by not accepting things as they are, and by challenging everything. It seems to me that many people who do this are seen as outcasts or indeed prosecuted. He lived his whole life this way, a great example to all of us. I cannot begin to tell you the number of comments I have had about sending our children to a Steiner school. It’s just one example. Looking back, typically a pointless exercise, I wish I had challenged more; I’ll do it now. It’s really important that our children don’t see the government, experts and officials as always right. 

We visited the Ashridge estate this week; a place we have been to almost continuously since 2007. Strollers, bikes, running, hiking, climbing on the trees, releasing a mouse into the snow; so many memories. Perhaps not surprisingly that Jane and I both cried as we went along a familiar trail.

Tears flow at home as we grieve the situation; everyone is busy doing their thing, quite right, but times come of reflection.

We’ve crossed this bridge so many times; I liked this view as it showed a way forward. How will that be? How will I make it be?


Paul has been in a wheelchair all 27 years of his life; it doesn’t really make me feel any better or of course make anyone at home feel better. We had a good chat!

I met Charlie in November; we had a great chat. He goes to Portsmouth grammar school. He organised a netball match between the girls netball team and the boys rugby team; they kindly donated the proceeds of the match to us. Apparently, the girls won 7-6, and everything was done totally fairly….. We made a movie of our life which was shown to the school; that’s great. Thank you to Charlie and everyone.

I guess you know it already, but we need to rely on ourselves and the people we know; I sleep better at night because of a clever elasticated system to keep my duvet on; I can be helped easier of my chair due to a custom-made platform. Don’t get the platform said the OT; the chair could fall. Yes, let’s be really careful about always listening to the experts. A Vodafone colleague who always told me “don’t take no for an answer “. The Spanish say “ya tienes el no”. I guess it’s all about not accepting things as they are in fighting your corner. Aaron, respect.

Andrew Knowlman

I am a 50-year old father of two children, married to Jane. I live in Hertfordshire, UK. I was diagnosed with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis in April 2015.

One thought to “Challenge the way things are”

  1. Lovely photographs …..can get my brother outside now with portable oxygen and pumps ….watching his daughter plough the 12 acre ready for planting the organic beetroot …he cried….not because she was very wobbly (she was but will get better with practice) but that was his life …..farming is 24/7 ….Alan was never in the house and now ….. So many strange people helping him ….he was never a people person ….a gruff farmer at peace with himself on the land and with animals..I see him struggle daily to be polite and some days he doesn’t try …..who can blame him . I hold his hand and he can still crunch my fingers!

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