When I visit my autistic music students I am always struck by how many different ways it is possible to be human. They are officially described as low functioning. None of our gang can memorise telephone directories. Most of them are unable to speak. I find my time with them invariably refreshing because it is such a stripped down version of communication between human beings. We always start with an improvised story directed at each student, sung over an open strung guitar, which is the only kind I can play!
There is nothing that beats that moment when they start to grin as they have understood my dreadful French accent, since they are usually funny stories. I was inspired this week, and the circus came to our school. They woke up and found a big top in the courtyard full of clowns. The boy who only says oui saved the world by luring an escaped lion back into his cage with hamburgers from the kitchen. The girl who leaks music was a tight rope walker and pirouetted on the high wire in a tutu. The boy who dribbles a lot (erstwhile the boy who likes microphones) was the ringmaster with a big whip cracking at a line of beautiful white Arabian ponies. We laughed, and we laughed. And then they disappeared back into their own strange worlds again. And I went back to mine.
I am an ex-Londoner living in rural Brittany, France, for the last 18 years, with my family and far too many animals and wood stoves: these ramblings, some of which are cross, are about life in the countryside, and how to cope when your high heels are replaced by clogs.