Before you think I joined some holy order or turned into an inspirational speaker, a little background is called for. Today I had to give a talk to a group of cadettes training to join Malta's police force. The Police Academy, as it is, is located at Fort St Elmo (Name not to be confused with that of the Sesame Street muppet Elmo!).
Now, as you can imagine, the fort was built by knights, of the Order of St John to be precise. There is much to be said about this period of Maltese history, and the knights did rule of Malta from 1530 to 1798. But this isn't really a history lesson. If you want more info about the Knights of Saint John, also known as the Knights of Malta, refer to the links at the end of this post.
Back to my account. As you know, the knights lived in a time where there were no access regulations for buildings, and people with severe mobility impairments were unlikely to be travelling around the island. Strangely enough, it seems horses had a better deal as they needed to be given access to the city with knights coming in and out with their stallions and stallionettes.
Fortunately, providence delivered yet again! The organisers identified an old chapel within the quarters of the police academy. This permitted me to deliver my 'sermon'... err, presentation on disability issues! OK, I confess, I realised it was a chapel only after my eyes adjusted to the new environment. I started seeing the light ...
What I first thought was an oddly decorated table was in fact an altar... and...
What I thought looked like church pews were, well, in fact... church pews!
Forgetting the darkness and rather spooky atmosphere, the acoustics were great... the architects of the time appear to have known one thing or two about that. In fact, I didn't even have to use a microphone! My voice could be heard so well, it could be heard miles and miles awayNo, not really. But it sounded great.
Given that I gave my talk in a chapel, in front of a group of police cadettes, ccan't I call the talk a 'sermon' and the cadettes my 'flock'. And given all the circumstances, can't I call this talk, 'holy'? Alright, you can't. But being disabled and having to face limited access can expose you to interesting experiences. And make you do things that non-disabled people would never dare consider, let alone do, for fear of breaking some social norms. But then isn't the spirit of thae law more important than the letter of the law?
Better stop there before this post really starts sounding like a sermon! Until next tine...
PS: My ZoneCast has been updated.
Visit Gordon's ZoneCast to download the most recent episode.
More info on the knights:
Knights of Malta site
Sovereign Military Order of Malta - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia