The morning light shining on the tree outside my bedroom appears much brighter. The first blossom, the first daffodils, the snowdrops. Spring is coming to Kings Langley. Nothing too exciting about that is there? Happens every year, doesn’t it? Well yes it does, but it is still a joy to witness.

People come to spend time with me. Eight hours, four hours, a quick hello. So many subjects for discussion: belief, footballer salaries, amazing breakthroughs with a mentally ill young man, news from the school. I help a friend with an employment contract, he helps me with my clothes after a trip to the toilet. A lads night in with a home-made shepherds pie and a bottle of wine. Jane and the children get a few days away with one of the dads from school and his daughter (what a very nice invitation). A great youth hostel experience! So many friendly and kind people in this area where we live. 

Sitting with the Occupational Therapist, trying to work out the best equipment for a changing condition. Yes, it is important to attend to the practical side of things.

We have a visitor staying with us for a couple of weeks. She fits in so well. One of those people who just gets on and does stuff, one of those people with whom you can have a thought provoking conversation. Walking with Valentina, bike riding to Cassiobury Park with Sebastian. It all just happens.

Patchwork, cooking and woodwork with Valentina, mathematical challenges for us all, fixing things at our house, sewing  endless patches to Sebastian’s trousers and above all super-interesting conversation; we have met a marvellous couple. Valentina loves their dog. It’s just incredible how giving people are.

I enjoy being with people where I am not sure what we will talk about. It always results in the most interesting conversations. I continually find myself with people who I would not have met before I became ill. 

The title of this blog is stopforamomentpeople. I am convinced that our villages, towns and cities would be much better places if we slowed down and spent more time talking with the people in our community. Maybe it was just me, but I certainly did not do it enough.


I am still attending the Alpha course. We have interesting discussions about who Jesus was, prayer, the Bible. We start each evening with a meal. Thank you to all at the Baptist church for making this effort. Thank you to the people attending the course who take my winter clothes on and off, and thank you to the people that bring my food and drink. I have already met several interesting people through the course.


I am filled with joy when I see what hands can make. Over the last few weeks Valentina has made this patchwork dog, this wooden bowl and a rather nice birthday cake. Great to see what young people can do. Maybe this is a boast post; well just forgive me. I am allowed to be proud.   


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.

5 thoughts on “Spring ”

  1. My brothers cannot speak or eat ….I struggle to keep them positive ….my younger brother would so love to speak to his grandson who is nearly seven months now ….he has never heard his grandpa say a word …he touches his mouth seeking sounds ……like you Andrew we welcome the signs of Spring …..the birds are noisy and my brother watches them from his window …some early lambs ….life continues . So good to hear about giving, kind people but some just do not know what to do in the face of such an unforgiving disease . Why do people raise their voices to speak to Alan and Geoffrey …..they are not deaf or stupid …Alan gets angry….tapping hard !! Good to read your blog.

  2. Andrew,

    These posts you send are great. They are interesting and make you think and as you say; makes me Stop For A Moment! It is so easy to get wrapped up in getting things done and not taking the time to step back, take it all in and appreciate what we have.

    That is why for me; Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. There are no presents to buy, no fancy outfits to dress up in; it is only having a great meal with family and friends and to give thanks.

    Thank you again for all the insight.

    Sincerely, Bruce


    Bruce Borek
    Global Service Manager
    Customer Solutions and Service Operations
    Vodafone Americas
    Mobile: +1 845 905 2178
    Email: bruce.borek@vodafone.com

    560 Lexington Ave; 9th Floor; New York, NY 10022

  3. Yesterday I saw your blog for the first time.
    Quite by chance.
    Rowena left a comment and that comment came up in my Facebook Newsfeed.
    Who’s writing a blog I wondered.
    Then I smiled when I realised it was you , Andy.
    Then I gasped when I realised you were poorly.
    Your writing is so powerful.
    I spent all day thinking of you.
    Ollie and I read your blog into the small hours last night…marvelling at your adventurous life and the way you have kept up with your languages amongst other amazing feats.
    I’m on Facebook if you feel like getting in touch or i can add you if you want?
    Bamberg seems a long time ago now doesn’t it??
    Anyway …would love to chat if you can fit us in?
    Susan and Ollie xx

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