Wednesday, 21 March 2018

Another DAY! A cure for polio. And back in the UK!

Today is World Down Syndrome Day. Lots of people have been wearing odd socks to show their support for people born with Down Syndrome. A day to celebrate difference! Very good! But it’s another one of those DAYS! They came around very quickly in my opinion.

I fully support the idea of World Syndrome Day though. I think it’s great that people have been drawing attention to how “normal” Down Syndrome people can be. However, I didn’t wear odd socks, mostly before I wasn’t aware of it until after I got dressed. And besides, nobody would see my socks under my trousers.

Some time this afternoon/evening the flight crew on my plane from Gibraltar asked passengers to give money for their charity, which this time is one that is investigating how to stop polio. This request got my big sister reminiscing. When she was about 11 or 12 and I was 9 or 10 there was a polio epidemic. One day my sister fell in the ditch who h ran behind our estate. Later she developed symptoms of polio, especially the inability to move her legs. Our family doctor at the time was homeopathic. We sent for him. He administered some kind of mysterious powder, something which he claimed to have used in missions to Africa, curing children there. My sister was lucky: she made a full recovery and did not have to spend time in the dreaded “iron lung” like so many polio sufferers of the time. Neither did she end up with her legs in callipers. The rest of us children were also dosed with some concoction intended to prevent us from contracting the disease. It appears to have worked!

My sister and I had this conversation during our flight from Gibraltar to Manchester. We had been somewhat on pins about this flight. Our flight into Gibraltar a week ago had been diverted to Manchester for various weather related reasons and we were rather afraid that we might have to repeat the bus ride, this time from Gibraltar to Malaga! But in the end all was well.

We woke up early, nobly planning to walk our great-nephew to school. This worked well. He even made us goodbye cards and kissed us goodbye. He has not yet agreed to visit us in England, something he has talked to his mother about before now, apparnetly because he speaks no English and does not understand what his great aunts say. We hope our visit has gone some way towards changing his mind.

After seeing the little fellow off to further his education, we went for breakfast “en la calle”, which translates as “in the street” but really means in a cafe. On our way there we witnessed the local madwoman, all bedraggled, matted hair and wild eyes, dragging her duvet down the street and shouting insults at all and sundry. Spain never fails to surprise!

The drive from El Puerto de Santa MarĂ­a to Gibraltar is quite picturesque and today was fine and sunny. It’s the first time I have been to Gibraltar and I have to say that airport is small and the runway frighteningly short. I suspect landing there is more scared than taking off.

We were seated a few rows from the backof the plane. Some minutes after we took off we noticed one of the cabin crew rummaging in the overhead lockets in the rows behind ours and muttering something about a smell. Then he and the other crew started asking those in our rows to identify our suitcases and say whether there were electrical gadgets in them. Apparently they could smell something electrical overheating.

This was not the most reassuring thing to hear, especially when you are sitting next to an anxious sister who turned out to be a nervous flier. Eventually the crew calmed down and our flight proceeded without incident.

We got home safely but, between diversions on our way out and possible fire hazard scares on the way back, I think it may be a while before I fly to and from Gibraltar again.

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