Changing seasons. By Billy Mitchell Watts😻….

Hello everyone, Billy here……

Sorry I’ve not stolen borrowed Wendy’s iPad lately and pawed a blog but summer is a very busy exciting time for us cats. There’s been so much going on. Me and my friends, Toby and Neil have been foraging for mice playing in the fields, basking resting in a warm sunshiney spot, popping in and out uninvited into neighbours houses investigating our local neighbourhood and generally having a lovely time.

But now everything seems to be changing. We even had that crunchy white stuff under paw at the weekend which you humans call frost. The early light mornings seem to start later and the dark evenings start earlier. It’s all very confusing and discombobulating even for a cat. So I’ve been restless unsettled and in need of lots of cuddles from Wendy. I even found my nice warm spot on the radiator the other day. It’s been unusually cold lately but Stuart was out so Gemma snook the heating on kindly made a nice cosy warm spot for me.

It got me thinking ……..if this is confusing and unsettling for me, it’s probably the same for Wendy. Sometimes I just sits and thinks and I often have Wendy sat next to me doing the same..

I know she doesn’t like travelling in the dark. Uncertainty and not being able to see familiar landmarks are the worse thing. Seeing shadows moving in the window and strange shapes in the dark as you walk can be very unsettling.  Personally it be a nightmare for me if I couldn’t see the scurrying mouse in the dark but Wendy doesn’t seem to find that a problem…….very strange.

Also the mornings are light later so what is the real time? Usually I sense with my tummy, although every hour can be feeding time as far as I’m concerned.
I’ve also got my nice black fur coat to keep me cosy but Wendy went out in winter clothes the other day thinking it was cold and it was sunny and warm and another day in summer clothes and was freezing  cold….. very funny confusing.

So if you happen to know a human with dementia, like Wendy, help them adapt to the changing seasons. Take a leaf out of my book and allow extra cuddling time…..

And in no time at all it’ll be mine and Wendy’s favourite time of year……..Christmas!



Staff and Volunteers event…Leeds

So the final event of a busy week was at Leeds United football club for the Alzheimers society West Yorkshire Staff and Volunteers annual event.

Michael White, Operations manager in the region, had visited me at home some time ago to discuss the day and how I might be involved. Kath Chappell, administrator extraordinaire, had sorted out all my transport, including someone meeting me at the station, so partial brownie point immediately earned, although obviously the full one would be allocated as soon as my cuppa tea was in situe at the venue………….😊

I was meeting Ellen Hingley, Legacy giving officer for the north, at Leeds, and she’d kindly supplied the photo I needed so I didn’t go off with anyone and everyone! And given me her mobile to txt in case of trains not behaving……

It was a lovely start to the day, nice and sunny, but it was a tad foggy in my head as I’d not recovered from the long day in London on Wednesday. But if I keep typing, it may wake me up…….🙄

The Humber was amazing as always as we trundled over but I won’t bore you with another photo of the same scene 2 days running……and anyway, the windows were dirty and blotchy so I just deleted the ones I took to pass the time and help me to feel calm.

Ellen met me as planned and we were both on time along with another person and we got a taxi to the venue

Kath met me inside and completed her brownie point for the day by getting me a cuppa tea and I sat down and watched the room fill up. There were about 80 + people altogether and we settled down for a good day.

Michael is now the new National Change Manager for the Society so Wendy Porter was the MC for the day as she is now interim Operations manager

We were here to celebrate all staff and volunteers in the area and recognise ‘we’re all cogs in a bigger machine’

We started off with an icebreaker where we had to complete a bingo card by talking to everyone and finding out who fitted into 1 of 9 categories….one of which was ‘unusual middle name’ and I found someone called McAlpine!

We went through the agenda for the day before Wendy P started off.

Volunteers are core to the organisation – Wendy showed an amazing slide which showed:
number of paid staff hours were 35, 702
and volunteer hours were 35,919 – amazing, and shows the reliance and importance of volunteers.

In West Yorkshire there are over 25,00 people living with dementia.
Wendy P spoke of work being done in south Asian communities, travelling community and the LGBT community and all the barriers faced. The experience of discrimination by them in the past means that approach may have to be done totally differently. Just goes to show that people need support in different ways and doesn’t always mean people going to support.

Judith King, Head of Region Yorkshire, North East and Lincolnshire, was up next and gave a strategy update.

Next up was me for 45 minutes. I spoke about anything and everything, as I do. I started by saying my talk would be just as much of a surprise to me as it would be for them as I didn’t have a clue what I’d written🙄

At lunch many people came up and said some very kind things, which is always lovely.
Before we started again, there was just time to take a piccie of the amazing  lawn pitch

Dr Claire Walton was up after lunch talking about research in the Alzheimers society. Her slide on research implementation was really interesting.

The process for clinical research implantation is a clear pathway but the process for implementation of social or community care or support is less defined. Routine process of implementation is what’s needed. Claire quoted the GRACE study looking at cognitive rehabilitation by Linda Clare from Exeter. The aim was to work out sets of goals of things people with dementia were having trouble with and want to do better and the service works with them to meet the goals they set themselves, developing strategies to being able to live better.
The outcomes were very positive and the society are now funding Linda Clare to implement over 15 NHS areas, which is good to hear.

Anyway, sadly I had to leave at 2pm. My brain had already disengaged and it needed to be at home just sitting. It was a really good day and West Yorkshire is very good at showing and doing the best.

Special mention needs to go to Kath, who not only sorted my travel tickets, txt me, got me a cuppa on arrival but also paid the taxi driver when he picked me up so I wouldn’t have to claim back……simple things that makes involvement sooooo much easier – thank you Kath😊


Talking to Senior Hospital and Care Home Staff…

So yesterday I was back down in London talking to senior hospital and care home staff as part of Buz Loveday’s 5 day course.
It was day 1 for a new set of managers and I was there to replicate the 90 minute session I gave to the previous group last week.

Luckily the storm overnight had passed and it was a nice sunny morning. The taxi was late as the town cows had decided to play on the road just for a laugh🙄
However I got to the station on time and we trundled happily to Doncaster for my change of train.
The day before I’d had a sit and stare day as Monday was busy, today I was in London and tomorrow was also a busy day. So sit and stare day seemed in order for Tuesday.

The sky was very mixed as we trundled past the Humber so sunshine and showers was probably going to be the order of today. I also had my winter coat on😳

And the windmills looked almost ghostly surrounded by rain clouds and a chink of light.

When I got to London it was warm and sunny 😳 so a nice amble to the Wellcome Trust building via St Pancras and the lovely statue of Sir John Benjamin……

Notice how I found a deserted part of St Pancras! A nice place to escape the hustle and bustle…

Once I got to the Wellcome Trust I settled myself down in the cafe at the entrance and watched the world go by while waiting for Buz. I hadn’t notice the first time round last week how they have an upside down statue in the entrance!

It really is stuck to the ceiling upside down!

Buz came and got me when they broke for a cuppa tea and Buz earned her brownie point by immediately getting me one😊

Today there were 22 senior managers, matrons, paramedics, care home managers, OT’s, so a nice diverse group. I spoke for an hour about dementia not being all about memory and how so many of our senses are affected, misconceptions, technology, language, research and the #handouthope campaign, but the one that was the biggest light bulb moment came in the question about design and me saying  not to forget the ‘Way Out’ sign in toilets!

Many other topics came up in my talk but after an hour it was their turn to ask questions and luckily they had lots of them. I havn’t a clue what was asked as I wasn’t typing but I remember we eventually had to stop as it was time for my train.
Actually I do remember one……..well I remembered it as I got on the train……as I immediately plugged my phone in… person asked, ‘Have you ever run out of battery on your phone’? And my response was ….
‘Well I panic when it’s on 99%…………….’

A lovely session with lovely people and they’re very lucky to have Buz training them…..

One last picture…..found this nice new bus pass holder in the Wellcome shop…

More can be found out about Buz’s brilliant training courses at:

Importance of paying expenses……

It never ceases to amaze me how some organisers find it acceptable not to pay all our expenses………

Some are totally wonderful. Not only do they support us in every way possible, by asking what help we need, but they detail what will be paid for and ask if anything else is needed. Some offer to collect and drop back home if local. Some even pay expenses on the day!

However, there are those with little understanding of what attending an event can entail. That makes me feel like a tick box and used…….😔

Many people with dementia and supporters are more than happy to speak at events, to staff, to organisations, etc, etc……but if our expenses are not in the budget please don’t ask us.

Many people with dementia and supporters are not in work and even if they are, surely it’s only courteous and expected that if you ask someone to take the trouble to attend and speak, then you ensure they’re not out of pocket?

Travel tickets are one expense but so also are taxis if needed and we still have to eat if it’s an overnight or if it takes a whole day with travelling. Many offer to meet us at the station, or suggest we get a taxi or provide a good walking map.

It’s embarrasing enough having to ask someone to book train tickets, so please don’t embarrass me further by making me feel bad about asking for my taxi fare to be refunded or anything else I reasonably claim. And after the event please don’t tell me taxi fares aren’t’ covered as how else am I suppose to get from my house to the station when public transport doesn’t exist?

I put lots of planning and preparation into any event I’m asked to speak at so please return the favour.

I rely on the integrity of others to repay any expenses claimed and havn’t a clue whether they are or not they are as once I’ve submitted I simply forget so if you’ve been my contact person it would be really useful to track whether I have actually been repaid, and some do this as a matter of course, which is wonderful.

I’m more than happy to attend and speak, but please don’t let me be out of pocket.

There’s a guide on the DEEP web site for including people with dementia in the second list “Involving people with dementia at conferences and events”…..the last paragraph is equally as important as the first and everything in between.

Sorry couldn’t make it appear as a link to the guide itself……end of rant….


Mental Health and Dementia Research Meeting…

Yesterday I was asked to speak at the NIHR ( National Institute for Health Research) Clinical Research Network in Yorkshire and Humber, Mental Health and Dementia Research Delivery Team Meeting – (crikey! Thank goodness for copy and paste!)

The meeting was in Leeds. Chris Rhymes, Lead Research Nurse in the area, had asked me to talk about the importance of having Patient Research Ambassadors. Some delivery teams and Ambassadors themselves, are unsure about the ambassador role and with all research teams from all the dementia and mental health organisations present, it was a good opportunity to stress the importance of including us in all they do and the value we’d bring.

I woke up to find it dark and throwing it down with rain. It was one of my silly o’clock starts……The taxi man was nice and early and we both chuckled as the radio DJ mentioned sunshine and showers, as we splashed our way to the station with the wipers on double speed……..💦💦💦💦💦

No photos of the sun beating down on the Humber today or any other view from the window as all you could see was the rain. Dark and dreary. I’d only had 2 hours sleep so I could easily have opted out of this one and let the day pass by, but my spirits were lifted as I was meeting up with my previous manager from Leeds Hospital – the lovely smiley Helen Gilbert and she can make any day feel like a sunny day.

I must confess though to seeing a few chinks of blue sky on the trundle to Leeds, so things were looking up. I didn’t know the venue, but I knew the road it was on very well as it was my walking route to and from work for many years. I used my walking app to help me get there and just as I arrived at the venue……the sun shone🙄
I was met by a nice man who was showing people the way from outside👍 and was met inside by an even lovelier site inside the room….

There were familiar faces and people who said they’d met me before 🙄 which was nice…….
Chris opened the morning by asking each table to come up with a couple of things they wanted to get out today. We were a real mixed room of expertise, which was nice to see.
The first speaker hadn’t arrived😳 so we went straight into listening to feedback on 3 studies in the area and first up was the lovely Sahdia Parveen from Bradford Uni talking about her research ‘Caregiving HOPE’ – Are people willing and able to support a family member. Willingness to care and ‘Preparedness’ are 2 different concepts.

Someone might be willing but simply doesn’t have the knowledge of how. Someone may have the knowledge but not be willing.Different transitions periods, (early, middle, end of life care) require different skills and very little is understood about people’s preparedness.
They recruited 187 south asian carers which was amazing and recruited 724 white british carers. That’s the most south asian carers recruited for any study – brilliant Sahdia!
I wish I could have recorded and played Sahdia’s talk as she said some really interesting statements, facts and figures, but I just couldn’t type fast enough…..

Next up was ‘Journeying through Dementia’ – Alisha Patel and Ben Thomas

It’s based on Lifestyle Matters programme – it’s been redeveloped to apply people with dementia, trying to show they how to have a ‘better journey through dementia’ We need to create an evidence base for effective interventions. It’s trying to enhance the quality of life from early diagnosis.
It’s a 12 week programme – the people living with dementia decide what the programme covers after getting to know them.
Again, interesting facts about barriers to recruitment and things that worked.
Quick break and the lovely Penny Kirk (Twitter friend) from NHS England came over and said hello and grabbed me another cuppa tea☺️

The third and final update came from Emma Wolverson talking about ‘Caregiver Pro’.

Emma is a clinical psychologist from my region in Humber. Caregivers pro is a multi disciplinary project with engineers, IT people as well as the usual team. Emma spoke about the GAP that exists in services, which the project is hoping to plug.
They’re looking at whether there is a need to fill a diagnosis with dementia through technology. It was highlighted that people with dementia were the biggest group of people who could benefit from technology and this is where Caregivers Pro comes in. Participants are given a tablet device each and supported lots in how to use it.
It has many sections on the web site but the social networking section specifically for people with dementia to ‘meet’ other people with dementia, has been really popular.
It has local information but it’s good that people can add a comment e.g. ‘Good group but mainly men” or ‘Don’t park here” etc etc.
Hull is the only site for UK Pilot (Yeh!) and it’s also in Italy, Spain, Greece and maybe other countries, I can’t remember.
They’ve had a problem recruiting……..and Emma mentioned East Riding not having a memory service………mmmm, yes, I know as that’s my region…..they’ve also met the proverbial gatekeepers in the NHS……..saying that people with dementia don’t like technology…….even though they’ll sit and help them…….🙄 If you live in the Hull area, this would be a brilliant project to be involved in.

Up before me was Penny Kirk and Charlotte Whale form NHS England Clinical Network
There are 12 clinical networks across England. They spoke about all the work of their Network programmes.
Lots of change in the NHS as usual at the mo, none more so than the new STP’s (Sustainable Transformation Programmes) and Penny showed us a lovely sentence which went something like this…….

Life is like underwear – change is good………🤣

I’ve been involved and still am involved in some way in all 3……….😊

Finally it was me before lunch………
I spoke about the value of every project having a patient ambassador as we bring the reality to participating. I said many things but ended with this:

Researchers and clinicians can talk all day long about why we should be involved in research. But to the patient listening, it’s simply a job that you’re doing. For a patient to hear another patient talking about why they should be involved in research, it’s real, no motives to meet recruitment figures, just a real description of what it did for them.
So that’s why you should all seek patient research ambassadors and make them your best friends.”

I left after lunch and had a cuppa tea with Helen in the venue cafe. The staff at this venue were wonderful – smiley, helpful and friendly – perfect and double brownie point for them👍

For my next adventure………A FIREWALK……..!🙄

Well everyone needs something to focus on to take their mind off the approaching winter and to stop getting excited about Christmas……so on October 27th I’m heading for Dove House Hospice to take part in a Firewalk!

I saw it first advertised on Twitter ages ago and asked if they thought I’d be able to do it – having a wobble and a stick in tow….They contacted the organisers who said they’d be my stick and support me through the fire🤓 No going back then…….

My dear friend, Alex Preston gave me some valuable advice………..Keep Walking! Don’t stop!🔥 note to self……….😳

We need to use hospices more for people with dementia. A hospice is associated with being a place to die for those with cancer, but they have so much more to offer, especially those living with a life limiting condition, such as dementia. They have the ‘talking’ skills we need, they have the understanding and kindness. Dove House hospice is an amazing place with an amazing attitude. Obviously it’s all down, once more, to funding.

So on Saturday, Sarah helped me set up the fundraising page and I said  I was looking for 100 people to sponsor me just £1 each so I meet the minimum target. Sarah and Gemma both did as they were told and sponsored me £1 to show others how to do it (😇😇) but within a few hours, I’d surpassed that target due to people’s generosity and breaking my £1 rule! 🙈The reason I chose to ask for £1 is so no-one will feel bad if they can’t sponsor me and those that do will simply be giving less than a cuppa tea😊 £1 really is ok👍

I’m useless at fundraising. I always want to say, “No,no, let me give you it back”🙄

Obviously any amount is very kind, but £1 is brilliant too as every pound count to Dove House Hospice.

Please could you share my blog or the link to my sponsorship page? It’s very simple apparently to donate.

Obviously I’ll try and publish proof that I’ve actually done it through another blog……..🔥🔥🔥

Since writing this people have been so generous that my target is now £400! Thank you to everyone who has sponsored me🤗

Talking to Senior Hospital & Care Home Staff….

So Wednesday’s blog was all about talking to student nurses on their first day, well on Thursday I was down in London talking to senior hospital and Care Home staff.

Buz Loveday (marvelous name!) from had asked me ages ago if I’d speak on day 1 of a 5 day course she runs. The course is funded by NHS England and is part of a project managed  by UCL partners.

The course was being held at The Wellcome Trust opposite Euston station, so within walking distance of Kings Cross. It’s aimed at “senior hospital and care home staff focusing on developing leadership for person centred care of people with dementia.” It’s a 5 day course and Buz wanted someone living with dementia to:
“help participants understand the experience of dementia and the views, strengths and needs of someone living with dementia in order to keep them focussed on this perspective”
Buz had given me 90 minutes on the programme ……so I’d prepared about an hour leaving 30 minutes for questions and discussion.

The day started off a tad shaken as my taxi was late 😳 and then the first train was held in Hull as one had broken down just outside the staion😱. But they must have managed to drag it out of the way as we were off after only a little delay.👍 I’m convinced they just watch for which train I’m booked on…………

Anyway…….It was a gorgeous day, after several days of rain, which was a welcome relief. So the sun shining on the Humber was a lovely sight

I changed at Doncaster and suddenly realised that I must have gone on the train before the one I was due to catch………🙄 as none of the timings matched what I had on my notes😶
Very weird – not quite sure how all that happened……..but at least it was the earlier train and not the later one!

I then got to Kings Cross, reached in my pocket for my ear plugs only to find I seem to have lost one……..🙈

But one ear plug is better than none…..I was early so had a wander round. I went into the British Library for a sit and to watch the world go round.

Buz had arranged to meet me in the café of the Wellcome Trust, but their signage isn’t good and there were a few Wellcome buildings and of course, I chose the wrong one, but the man was very nice and pointed me in the right direction.

I sat in the café until Buz appeared and took me down to the waiting group who were having a tea break – nice way to start! There were 18 managers either from Acute Trusts, Care Homes, Physio’s, Occupational Therapy, so a real mixed bunch which was nice.
I immediately got a photo sorted out of me and Buz……….

I didn’t want to frighten the managers off by asking for a group photo ..………..

I spoke for an hour about this that and everything else, including the part healthcare professionals can play in supporting us through positive language, promoting research, understanding what happens to our senses, design, importance of talking and ended with my usual advantages of dementia……….

There were many questions in the final half hour and we shared much laughter. Hopefully they learnt the odd nugget or 2 to take back to their organisations, as none of this is worthwhile without it bringing about change.

I’ll be doing the same again next week where there will be 22 to influence and change perceptions……….

I appeared to come alive for that 90 mins but on my walk back to the station I felt suddenly exhausted again but it had been a very good afternoon with many smiley interested faces.

I know this isn’t the ‘Thinker’ but it just reminded me of him……..and me…..

Sometimes I sits and thinks and sometimes I just sits”……

Student Nurses first day at York University…..

So following on from yesterdays blog about the morning induction involvement, todays is all about the afternoon.

I just had time for a cuppa before Sarah picked me up and off we trundled to York. They’d arranged a car park space for us so no need to panic about parking.

If you’ve read my blog before you’ll know that I love talking to students. They have little baggage, an open mind, enthusiasm and willingness to learn. Perfect combination.

Each year for the last 3 me and Sarah have spoken to students on their first day and then again in November for a longer session.

The aim of today is to meet them, all fresh and enthusiastic and tell them how important to me their next 3 years are. Ron Allison, Programme Lead for BSc Pre-registration Nursing, met us in reception and then took us into the lecture theatre where the students began piling in after lunch.

Sarah, my daughter, spoke to them first as she was in their shoes a year or so ago. She trained as a nurse at York so knows exactly what they’re going through. She told them to enjoy their time as it will be gone before they know it!

It was then my turn to tell them what amazing nurses they’ll become and part of my ramblings goes something like this:

“I have a vested interest in playing a small part in you becoming amazing nurses – because one day I might come across you in a clinical setting and I’ll need a smiley kind face to look after me.”

There were about 180 fresh, lively faces and all very smiley and full of questions, so many that we didn’t have time for them all, which was lovely to see.. They even all waved and shouted bye bye as we left. Obviously we had to have a photo at the end……..
All waving and smiley – I hope the stresses of nursing doesn’t take their smiles away…..

Really looking forward to seeing them again in November.


Taking to staff on their first day…..

Yesterday was a double whammy of local events. In the morning I was giving a brief talk to Humber NHS staff on their first day at work and in the afternoon was talking to student nurses on their first day at York University with my daughter Sarah.

So today I’ll tell you about the morning event.

Catherine Hart, Assistant Director Research & Development at Humber NHS Foundation Trust (thank goodness for ‘copy and paste’!), has done a brilliant job at getting ‘Research’ onto the induction programme for all NHS staff in Humber NHS Trust, no matter what their role.
Me and Cathryn do a double act in telling people how research is important for every employee and why.

It was a very dull day but Cathryn picked me up on her way to work. We had a catch up of all things summer but it was nice to see school children going to school… normality is gradually resuming after the confusing August.

We arrived in plenty of time in heavy drizzle☔️

Alison did her good deed for today and received another brownie point to go with her already growing mountain of brownie points for my cuppa tea.

It was soon time to go down to meet the new starters as we were second after the Chief exec.

They were from all departments and a very receptive bunch this time and a room full of them which was a bonus. They even had questions to ask at the end which made us overrun………perfect.

Because they are from all departments part of my talk included:

“You may well be sat there thinking ‘what has research got to do with me?
“You never know what’s round the corner.You never know when you may be grateful for the outcomes of research, especially if you or someone close to you is given a diagnosis of dementia and then you’ll be grateful for all those willing volunteers”

All Trusts should promote research at their Induction for new staff……

A very receptive bunch and obviously they were all given a Join Dementia Research Leaflet….

Tomorrow I’ll tell you about meeting student nurses on their first day at uni.

Minds and Voices head to the seaside……

Well I survived August and here we now are in World Alzheimers month.

Some time ago Minds & Voices had a visit from Charlie of TransPennine Express following a rubbish train journey by some of the group.He promised us an assisted travel day to the seaside and last Wednesday was the day we put the train service to the test on a day out to Scarborough.
We were going with the DEEP group from Bradford and meeting the group from Scarborough there, so it promised to be an eventful day.

Obviously the weather decided to change from the warm sunshine of the previous weekend and started off cool and grey but at least it was dry. It was a silly o’clock start for me as I needed to get to York to meet up with the motley crew.

We all arrived with time to spare Charlie from Transpennine and his colleague joined us. The cartoonist, Tony Husband and photoman, Ian Beesley, also joined us and were very nice. They were there to recreate the day in photos and cartoons in the style of a day out at the seaside from the 50’s and 60’s.

We were fine and dandy….until the train arrived……..the very full train……and chaos ensued. People were standing and there was nothing calm about this part of the journey. We had half a coach booked but I didn’t think much of the journey or organisation. Rita had to get on in her wheelchair in First Class, as that’s the only door that takes the ramp……….. and then crush through the crowds to find us and Eddie offered to stand to allow her to sit………chaos, didn’t like it. If I’d have been alone I would have turned away from the crush and taken photos out of the window, but I was with 30 others so was concerned for them too.

Eddie suggested how they should have put a notice on the doors saying how this part of the carriage was for a party of people ……….Charlie lost all his brownie points…

I’ve had worse train journeys but it was probably the fact that I was expecting the chaos to go smoothly as Transpennine were ‘supporting ‘us. To expect organised calm and get total chaos didn’t do it for me.

Ian tried everything to lighten the mood and make us chuckle.

“Unfortunately the Fat Controller isn’t with us today”

We had about 4 or 5 standing. But we all wanted to be together so Charlie’s offer of 3 to sit in first class went untaken……

Philly Hare got on further down the line so was another one standing…..It wasn’t what Charlie envisaged …..and certainly not what we were expecting. I needed to put it behind me as all I wanted to do was turn back and go home once we got to Scarborough. The stress and chaos was too much but others were meeting us there so I stood it out.

Conversations continued and Charlie gradually clawed back bits of brownie points – not amounting to a whole one though. If the powers that be don’t see the problem, we’ll continue to have 3 overcrowded carriages for busy journeys and stressful journeys. He wanted us to feed back as not to feed back wouldn’t highlight the issue. Charlie would be writing his own report hopefully.

We got off, all very thankful and an open top bus was waiting for us, courtesy of Eddie who use to work on them.

Our own personal tourist guide in Eddie..

The cafe was wonderful. All organised, very friendly staff and bright and colourful.

Elaine and Eric heading for the cafe

During the meal Tony husband went amongst us listening to stories about travelling while Ian took many photos. They are part of the Ideal project – and today is about travel – they thought they might call it A Grand Day out. Ian will produce black and white photos of the day and Tony will produce a set of postcards about our travel stories in cartoon style in the old seaside postcard style…….. Magic – can’t wait to see them and we’ll all get copies!

We had time to stretch our legs along the sea front. If I’m alone I can almost cope with hustle and bustle as I can disappear into my own little world, but add into the pot of being in a group and I found it very stressful. But I was lucky and Philly kept me company and took me to the quieter area by the sea and fed back all about the trip to Geneva with Keith Oliver.

Photo courtesy of Philly…

But soon enough it was time for the bus to pick us back up and take us back to the station.

The journey back was much better organised – the train was opened so we could all get on and it was less full so far less stressful. It was just nice and relaxed. Ian took more photos!

Charlie sat on our table and told us enough about future plans to earn him back enough bit to have half a brownie point – the other half will only be allocated when changes actually materialise on the trains……he asked what one thing would make it easier now…. I said:
‘Smiley friendly staff, a smiley guard that walks frequently up and down the train, and room to have my suitcase next to me”
Ok so I know he only asked for one, but I was on a roll……there are many many things but those popped into my head.

An interesting day with lots learnt by the train company……but we’ll only know if they listened if changes happen………

Group photo by Philly at the end of the day…