Normalisation 21/04/13

Back in the day…no, not that one, THE day, when I trained as a social worker, we talked about normalisation – a theory that recognised that social work punters had a right to lead a ‘normal’ life.

Cool. What could be wrong with that? Well, unfortunately and fortunately we were quick to realise that ‘normal’ meant different things to different people.

What I find valuable, interesting, fulfilling and fun, you might find a complete pain in the arse.

‘Normal’ is in the eye of the beholder.

Enter ‘social role valorisation’. Er, what?

This was a theory that valued what your social work client valued – just so long as it didn’t wreak too much havoc/ death/ destruction.

Nice theory – unfortunately the phrase on its own is a players delight in wank word bingo.

Normalisation? Well, people can remember the word so…

Anyway, what am I doing? I’ve gone off on a tangent before I’d even started.

On a recent visit to Norfolk, my lovely niece Rachel told me never to normalise what I’m doing.

I think in this context it meant ‘make normal’.

I guess anything we do a lot becomes normal to us.

I nearly started writing down examples – good God!

Anyway – shit, I’ve already said ‘anyway’, let’s try furthermore…

As I re-embarked on the walk a mile adventure – after a significant time off which could be best described…

Mad…birthday…family gathering…phone debacle…mad…gig…phone sorted, mind dandy….

I got back on the road. Ella dropped me off in Workington – we’d stayed in a B&B – watching Last of the Mohicans as we dozed off.

I was Daniel Day Lewis…the acuity of my senses, my awareness of all things around me, my tracking skills were second to…

Well, second sums it up.

I have street maps, road maps, GPS…I have a great expanse of water to my right and yet phrases like,’ Is this the cycle path?’ ‘Im trying to get to Whitehaven’ and ‘Excuse me, I’m lost,’ where not uncommon.

With me at the helm the Wild West would still be wild, Australia would have remained undisturbed, along with the rest of the world…

Rachel, you needn’t worry, I’m just too stupid to normalise this.

Every day is a surprise.

I’m definitely just outside Whitehaven. A man told me. I’m near a sign that says ‘Danger, falling rocks’ so I can sleep soundly.

Walk a mile


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