On Tuesday I spent a little while playing with plastic building blocks with a delightful young lady in Tangiers. There were about eight of us sitting around a little table building all manner of temporary structures from colourful blocks, or, in our case dismantling them. As it happens we soon discovered that our own particular aptitude was for demolition. The young lady in question would pull apart the two block structure I had assembled and then make a spectacular facial expression to indicate wonder or awe or surprise. I would mirror the expression in turn and we both spent quite a while fully immersed in this little game: assembling, dismantling and then expressing complete astonishment.

The young lady in question has Down syndrome just like all the other children in her school and I was part of a visiting group from the school where I teach. There were 25 of us in all, two teachers and 23 of our sixth form students including my daughter, Pippa.

We visit this school each year and it is one of three places we come to and all three are centres we support through fund raising. We saw lots of other children that day including, at another specialised institution, many with hearing difficulties. It can be tough for us to come to terms with the challenges that others have to face and it is fair to say that it is a very sobering visit for students and teachers alike.

But it was not sobering at that particular moment. Not during our game. When we were playing with those plastic building blocks we were all having a blast. One of the students, Claudia Mack, was sitting opposite me at the table and she managed to capture a moment which was about as happy as any that I can remember.

Having a blast.

Having a blast.