Written long before the strange world invaded our lives…well, 4 or 5 weeks ago to be precise….but seems an age ago….our village Newsletter in hard copy has bitten the dust this month so those who don’t have the internet will find that a loss….I’m so lucky to live where I do, surrounded by countryside and fields, where social distancing has never been an issue….
This letter could have been written for these strange times, but the fact that it was written long before the world was transformed is a testament to it’s friendliness….
They’re always asking for contributions and for piccies to put on the cover so I emailed the editor to see if a piccie I’d taken in the village was acceptable, as they have to look right in black, and white and also wrote an article…
As well as having my piccie on the front cover
It also printed the article I wrote and here it is….
I moved to the village, I’m not sure how many years ago now, probably 2 or 3….but the reason I moved here may give some indication as to why I can’t remember.
You see, I was diagnosed with Young Onset dementia nearly 6 years ago. I used to live in the beautiful city of York and described it like ‘being on holiday and never going home’. But dementia isn’t just about memory as so many of our senses are affected as well. One of my first was my hearing. I wasn’t going deaf, but certain tones of noise physically hurt my ears, and just like children with autism, I was diagnosed with hyperacusis. So the sirens, the traffic, the continual every day noises of York began to affect me and it was vital I moved somewhere quieter.
I’d visited my daughter in there many times and was struck by the friendliness of people in the street. The automatic smiles and greetings that came my way. So it was here that I decided to move. It was a traumatic move as I hadn’t appreciated how hard it would be to get used to a new village, a new house lay out. But the friendliness of the village helped me through this without even realising it.
My neighbours are all truly wonderful at helping me when I need it, often unobtrusively, for example, taking in my weekly bins, but all this is much appreciated.
I’m quite well known in the ‘dementia world’ and often sing the praises of my little friendly village. I’ve met people on my travels around the country speaking whose eyes light up with recognistion when I say it’s name. One person even lived in the vicarage many moons ago as a child, yet I met her in the West Country.
Amazingly I’ve written a Sunday Times best seller, Somebody I Used to Know’ detailing my life before and living with dementia. I was lucky enough to be invited to the village Book Club in the Dog and Duck to talk about it and was met by such kindness and interest.
I went to the village school at the request of Chris the headmaster, and made all the pupils dementia friends one year and they’d done the most amazing forget me not display.
The village shop assistants have always been kind and helpful, especially at the post office counter where I can get in a pickle with money. But no one bats an eyelid, they just help me.
As for the village bus stop….well I call the village bus, ‘The NHS on Wheels’ as it serves to help people socialise, to catch up on the news and should never be lost. I love catching our village bus and seeing all the smiles, the cheery hellos and conversations that take place on that short ride into town.
You may not realise but the village has been filmed many times as TV companies come to interview me and the National newspapers write articles about me which leads to many enquiries from strangers asking where I live as they think it’s so beautiful.
We often don’t realise that the place we live has so much beauty but trust me it has.
All these things go to making my village Dementia Friendly without even realising it. But I like to think of it as ‘People Friendly’ and moving here was one of the best moves I made. Thank you for making me fell so welcome and part of this wonderful community….