About 20 months ago I was invited to a small music session being run for disable people. The idea in the words of Soundabout, the charity running these events, is that, "...people with learning disabilities should have a musical life that is interactive, that enhances their lives and learning". But what does this mean? On this particular day, I was granted access to a session being run for young children. Some of those boys and girls are severely disabled.
I'm not a cruel person, but I did wonder what value music could bring to the lives of these, a number of whom needed almost constant care and were unable to perform even the basics functions many of us take for granted. Scepticism is a useful addition to our mental bag of tools. On that day the sceptic in me was pummelled into submission (and not by the staff of Soundabout, who are a delightful group of professionals).
Today is not the right time for telling you the story of my first visit to Soundabout. The meeting did have a dramatic impact on how I view the world and I like to think I came away a better person.
Fast forward a few months and I was preparing to fly out to Norway in preparation for my Last Two Degrees ski to the North Pole. Charities had already been chosen for this journey, but my mind kept searching for ways to raise funds for Soundabout. And then it hit me: number two on my ten year plan is to ski solo to the South Pole. What better way to raise awareness and funds for those amazing people; the staff and the children and adults who take part in the music sessions.
It was at that point I realised I'd found a reason. It really was that simple.
Step one in my journey to the South Pole has been ticked off - I have a reason.
A short intro, back tomorrow.