So here’s the continuation of my day in Tunbridge Wells. After meeting the 200 children and taking them through my dementia friends session, Anna took me back to her house to meet Derek and Clive…..her beloved ‘boys’.
Of course they were adorable and Derek came running up when he heard the car just like Billy!!
Clive then came downstairs to say hello once we were inside and was a real cutie who enjoyed lots of cuddles while Derek had had enough and replaced Clive on the bed and went to sleep. 🤣😂😻 But not before I took loads of piccies including this one ❤️
We sat and chatted over a cuppa, before heading into town to meet Amanda, who had organised the evening event. We went to the Pantiles District of Tunbridge which is a wonderful area of cafes and restaurants all with outside seating. It was such a glorious day we sat outside too. We all had such a wonderful conversation – shame I can’t remember the detail, but I know I came away feeling good.
As well as the local paper and radio not wanting to advertise the event, neither did the local Women’s Institute…….such a shame they didn’t allow their members the opportunity to know the event was happening. Such is the stigma around dementia that some feel it will be depressing and a taboo subject when in reality, it will be anything but……Yes of course they’ll be sad bits. But they’ll also be much laughter, many strategies to adapt and a story of how the decisions we make in life on how to deal with something bad, determines the experience…….
Anyway, after a cuppa tea, I decided I needed to hibernate for a couple of hours. So Anna dropped me off at my hotel and picked me up again after her parents meeting at school to have tea with her.
Anna had picked up all the cards the children had written after the Dementia Friends session in the morning so we spent a while reading them all – they were wonderful.
But the time soon came for us to make our way to the venue. We were met by Amanda and immediately had to have a piccie
The audience began to arrive, many delayed by train problems. Some people were travelling from London but there were major problem.
Once Amanda had introduced us, me and Anna chatted for what seemed like ages and way past my bedtime. The audience asked some really interesting questions at the end. One person questioned how could I be so articulate and so inciteful? Well I was intelligent and very inciteful before dementia, I don’t suddenly become stupid and less inciteful ……I also don’t have the type of dementia that removes the ability to understand what’s going on around you. I think and hope I answered more politely…..
Certain types leave the person totally unaware that anything is wrong. There’s a difference between those in denial and those whose dementia has stripped away that incitefulness……..certain types create speech difficulty. I’m lucky.
The evening is very sketchy even though I’m typing this in my room on my return. I felt, as the evening went on, that I was fast disappearing. My head was banging from having talked and concentrated so long. I remember talking about how exhausting dementia is and was really feeling it. I’m not really with it as I’m typing now but worry that nothing will be there if I left it until the morning…..
What’s the alternative to not putting myself through all this exhaustion? To sit at home and let dementia win? I don’t think so……..
I don’t often do evening events and this evening reminded me why. But I had a wonderful time with wonderful people who said such kind comments afterwards, which makes it all worthwhile. I remember lots of hugs, lots of laughter, Twitter friends saying hello and even Julia Wheeler, who interviewed me at Cheltenham took the trouble to be in the audience.
But best of all…. I got to spend the day with my buddy in writing, Anna Wharton – wonderful ❤️ I know I keep saying it but I really do feel very lucky…….