Friday, 1 April 2011

Sunnybank, Aberdeen

This was the first of 4 visits Keith and I made as part of the 2011 Aberdeen Arts Across Learning Festival. And, as if to celebrate that it was the first session, someone in the audience at Sunnybank Primary School – our first stop - made a momentous discovery as a result of our visit! What did they discover? Read on…

Sunnybank is a big primary school in Aberdeen. Keith said it reminded him a little of the primary school he attended: a big, solid building with high ceilings and corridors that echo like caves. We were in the GP (General Purpose) Room, which I suspect doubles up as the Music Room. With us were some lovely smiley teachers and some equally lovely smiley pupils.

So there Keith was, talking about how your appendix can explode (fear not, it doesn’t happen to most people, but it does happen to Lee in Lee and the Consul Mutants) and he mentioned situs inversus.

Now you may not be an expert on Latin medical terms, so let me explain what that means. In a way it’s obvious (once you know the answer). Situs = situation; inversus = the inversus. So what is situs inversus? Simple: it’s when all your internal organs are the opposite way around to everyone else’s.

At this point you may be thinking Yikes! I hope that’s an incredibly rare condition…that only one in a zillion trillion gazillion people have it. Indeed, that people don’t have it at all, only visitors from the Andromeda galaxy do…and they’re aliens, so probably everything about them is the wrong way around.


One in ten thousand people have it…which means that unless you live on the Moon you’re probably not too far from someone with situs inversus. Indeed you may have it yourself.
And someone in the GP Room did. They realised because their appendix wasn’t where they expected it to be. (Indeed this person’s appendix wasn’t there at all. It used to be, but not any more. (And can I make clear that it didn’t go missing during the session. Some things do change during our sessions – pupils and teachers become inspired and pupils realise their teachers enjoy the disgusting parts of books just as much as they do – but I’m not aware of any incidences of people’s body parts disappearing purely as a result of being in one of Keith’s sessions.)

Who was it? Can’t say. That’s between the person and their missing body part.

So that certainly made our day. As to whether it made that person’s day…you’ll need to ask them.

More on our Aberdeen adventures soon!