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Sophie Partridge's Blog - disability arts online
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Sophie Partridge goes in search of pirates in Leyton and ends up running away with the circus / 19 August 2010

profile of actress suspended in a sling

Sophie Partridge at Cirque Nova workshop.

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Ah, that difficult second blog; expectations to live up to, reputation to safe-guard, the angst, dead-lines.. Or not as the case may be!

Last week was quite momentous, not least because it was a good friends 50th Birthday celebrations. Lets face it, if nothing has managed to kill us Cripplys off by that age - it’s an achievement in itself!

I also weathered three days in a caravan in Hastings and got caught up in a Pirate Parade - 6000 of em!¬†All trying to break the World Book of Records for the number of¬†Pirates’ in one place! Qualification apparel as a pirate, consisted of both a hat and a gun (pirates don’t go in for political correctness!), although mostly there just seemed to be loads of inflatable parrots stuck to shoulders!

Was also the week I finally ran away to join Cirque Nova and was COCOONED! In reality I got driven to a resource centre in Essex but still with the pirates “Aa-aargh!” ringing in my ears... makes a change from tinnitus! I went with appropriate sense of adventure. I’m still very excited / traumatised by this... circus I mean, as opposed to pirates and / or parrots! They were really quite friendly!

For those of you who have not experienced the literally dizzying heights of Circus Skills, a cocoon is a lot like a hammock - or sling thing if you’re a hoist user! The idea is that you sit / stand / somehow stay in and manipulate cocoon whilst it’s suspended off the ground, spinning at your preference! Depending on how physically `strong’ you are, you can then do all sorts, hang from it, twirl etc. More Cripply-friendly than Silks, your body is supported and held as much as you may need a la cocoon!

At first I just lay in it, slightly hysterical having just been lifted off the ground via my arm and leg by a Frenchman (not a pirate!) and me, giggling nervously due to a lad with challenging behaviour who had taken a liking to my power-chair (once I was out of it, thank-frig) and was trying to board it - definitely a pirate at heart!

Next I tried sitting up but my legs got squished too tightly against the cocoon’s fabric, so I had to lay down again. Having spun a few times and not thrown up, I ventured to get my feet out the open side and then my legs below the knees.

Then, abley assisted by someone’s mum (mothers - where would we be without them?!) I finally managed to `sit’ in the cocoon, being supported from behind as I can’t lift my head, myself. I FELT LIKE A PARALYMPIAN! ;-) Actually, I’ve no idea what a Paralympian feels like - or particularly want to know! But I did feel pretty good, half sitting there in the air, some sort of little-winged butterfly emerging from her wrappings. So I'm going back this week for another metamorphosis!