Advent Fair

There are two types of candles, beeswax candles and everything else. The pot of beeswax is kept hot at one end of the room. Round the room we go in a circle, taking our turn to dip our wick. A good candle can take an hour to make. Time to chat, and to see the results of our dipping. The aroma of the beeswax, the low lighting, the heat from the wax and the quiet chatter are unforgettable. I couldn’t get to the candle dipping this year, though really I didn’t try to go along the gravel path and up the steps (Valentina brought back two marvellous candles). Next year.

The school Advent Fair is the biggest fundraiser of the year. Different this time. Not trying to go everywhere, instead spent a few hours on the powered chair in the dining room. More watching. Discussing life and death, future projects, day to day life, listening to the lads play (they’re called Whinlatter – see my amateur video, but listen to them on YouTube).

 [wpvideo TJ2hoZ3q] 
Out on the basketball court, watching Sebastian and the boys play basketball with tennis balls; one lad gets a ride on the powered chair. The field turns to mud, the volunteers work so hard to create The Cookie House, The Continental Cafe and everything else the RSSKL Fair is known for. 

I learn to drive the powered chair in confined spaces, with people chatting or browsing. How to get past? The horn? An assertive ‘excuse me?’ Being four foot odd is different to being six foot plus.

How will I be next year? Ditch that thought, it doesn’t help. We live in the world of ‘Now’ and mindfulness. Stephen Hawking has said he hasn’t planned ahead for fifty years, and lives week to week.

The brass ensemble strikes up, familiar carols, only now do I wish I had opted for thermals, so time to retreat.

Thanks to everyone who works so hard to make the Advent Fair such a rich community event. In the week of Thanksgiving, we give thanks.

Author: 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.

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