After Wednesdays event at the Humber Conference, with a blip in my brain at 11am rather than the usual 2….I knew I might wake on Thursday morning with the banging head dementia throws at you……and sadly it didn’t prove me wrong….
It couldn’t have happened at a worse time as Thursday night, I was trying out my first ever evening event….🤦♀️😶🙈
But then dementia is like a cruel game and I’m sure it did this on purpose. I could hear its ghostly laugh……..Anyway, there was no point in taking 2 tablets as they send me away with the fairies and I fall asleep, so I just took one in the hope it would take the edge off the banging fuzzy head…..so that at least I’d only have dementia to cope with….
I was heading for Lancaster for a wonderful event at The Dukes Theatre in Lancaster. It’s a 2 day event entitled:
“Creative Adventures in Dementia – A Life more Ordinary Festival”
but I was just there on Thursday and leaving Friday morning. I’d been asked a while ago if I would take part in a conversation with the wonderful journalist Nicci Gerrard who also writes under the name of Nicci French with her husband Sean. She interviewed me at the time of my book release for the Observer and did a lovely piece and was soo kind. She is also the founder of John’s Campaign.
Also involved in the conversation would be John Middleton, whose character Ashley had dementia in the British soap Emmerdale, and Professor Sebastian Crutch, a neuropsychologist at the Dementia Institute who is conducting fascinating research called ‘Created out of Mind’…..
The fact that it was at 7pm was a tad worrying as I’d never done an evening event before but, even though I was travelling feeling groggy and with dementia in tow, it meant I might be able to get some shut eye in the afternoon.
The fact that I was on stage with others was also comforting but I knew Nicci was the perfect person to be interviewing as well.
Anyway it was a beautiful sunny morning when the taxi arrived and the town cows lifted my spirits as we trundled passed the Westwood…..
I didn’t want to mess up on the night as I’ve got the Hays Book Festival in a weeks time and that’s also in the evening so I was using this one as a trial run, but there’s no accounting for dementia putting a spanner in the works……..anyway……..to last Thursday……
I’d given myself plenty of time to change at Manchester so was able to amble quietly instead of rush about and arrived at Lancaster at lunchtime. I’d printed off all my maps etc so was discombobulated but calm when I got to Lancaster at lunchtime.
Good job I was calm as I got my left and right properly muddled and turned the wrong way out of the station🙄……but when I got to the bottom of the hill I realised I was probably going the wrong way and retraced my steps……..and eventually found the hotel…..going through intensive refurbishment😳🙈 but the staff were very friendly.
I left my suitcase as I was too early to book in so had no choice but to go wander round Lancaster…..and straight opposite was the Castle…..also going through major renovation😶
I then tried to find the theatre but my left and right were totally at loggerheads with one another – never had that before……I obviously took a wrong turning and found the river, but at least I could see where I was on the map -ha! I was stood on the only bridge on the map
Anyway, I trundled along and eventually found the shops again and then the theatre by pure chance🙄 but I seemed to go round in circles, continually getting lost🙈
The time came when I could finally check in to my hotel…….I found it a strange place….certainly not dementia friendly……with a very old fashioned lift, that was beyond me – which was having bits painted so I couldn’t use it even if I’d wanted to and I was on the 4th floor🤯…..very strange layout altogether unless I just wasn’t in the mood today…….but once I found the equally strange room, with sloping floor😳 and strange smell of curry on the linen – I was going to ask to move rooms and wrote it down on my blog …but not until I had a lie down and closed my eyes………
THEN I woke up with a start at 5.10😳😳😳😳😳 – we had decided to all meet beforehand at 6pm🤯 I’d fallen asleep without setting any alarms😱 I staggered about the room – very small room, so must have looked like a Pinball bouncing off the walls and furniture ……..cuppa tea thought brought me to my senses……..and instead of a curry smell, there was the smell of fresh linen – strange the tricks dementia plays on you, but that’s a new one…….🙈…….
After gaining consciousness and a semblance of normality I made my way to the theatre….but again got completely lost….🤦♀️……but I asked a smiley face and she gave me instructions. She must have stood and watched me as a few minutes later a breathless woman came up behind me saying I was going the wrong way🤐 and turned me in the right direction again. A 2 minute walk turned into a 45 minute round the houses walk…..
I finally got there to be met by the lovely Nicky Taylor from the West Yorkshire Playhouse, who promptly sorted me out and took me to the lovely Gil Graystone who had done much of the organising.. I met John, who was already there, followed by a lovely hug from Nicci and then Sebastian joined us.
I have nothing typed as there was no point in taking my ipad, and the chaos of the walk was written in Notes on my phone to deep me calm, so the rest is all about feelings.
Well I can truly say, I felt I was with 3 wonderful, warm and kind people. We clicked as a group instantly. I could have sat and talked to them all evening. The event must have gone well as everyone said kind things – someone even highlighted the jokes I cracked😳 so goodness knows what I came out with😂
We finished at 9, which was crazily late for me, and everyone had a drink in the bar – obviously mine was of the tea variety – before heading back to the hotel, with a banging head as it was very noisy – note to self, I MUST GET MY EAR PLUGS SORTED!. I felt I was walking back with 3 people I’d known for ages. I felt safe in the dark shadowy world outside with them all at my side and John walked beside me, taking my arm when I wandered off piste. 🙄
Such a lovely experience, with wonderfully lovely people…….even if dementia tried to ruin it……but didn’t succeed……..😊