The 4 Amigos chat again…….

Great news for the 4 of us….we’re now officially a DEEP group just like Minds and Voices are……you can see our page along with all the other groups on the website 😍 and you can find all our videos here too ☺️

The 4 Amigos

It’s been a while but we finally managed to find a Monday we could all do and this week the 4 Amigos talked about ‘what we want people to know when they’re diagnosed’…..

The process of diagnosis can be the most distressing, especially when the process itself is so clinical and fails to see the person and is so negative. If only that part of the process could change people would not feel so down and as distressed. We all know it’s a bummer of a diagnosis but if handled differently it can lead to a different life starting…..

Hope you find it useful……

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A Sunday morning trundle…..

We’d been promised a scorchio Sunday, so I decided to go for my long walk early doors before the heat of the day became too much. I use to sit or be out for hours in the heat but now I find it draining, preferring to watch it from the shade…..

Anyway, Sunday dawned quite cloudy so it was perfect for a long walk. There’s been many walks locally that I havn’t been able to do because they’ve been so muddy, but now the summer sun has hopefully dried them off.

I started off trundling through the village to the pond. Peter the duck man shouted his good mornings from across the road – he actually called me Mary, so I didn’t hear him the first time, but then he shouted louder and I looked across realising it was for me – hey ho, I’ll go by any name 😂

The Moorhen chicks were with mum and dad in exactly the same spot as yesterday

I guess Peter had just thrown them some food as mum and dad were busy feeding each chick these tasty morsels. We seem to have had several batches of moorhen chicks this year. The mum are more feisty at protecting their young than the mallards so seem to have a better chance of survival.

Their googly eyes always make me smile…

Teresa Terrapin was on one log and Terence on the other

The colourful mandarin duck, that had appeared while I was away, was still hanging around

Out of the village and you could see a distinct line of cloud and the blue heralding the heat

Along past Broadgate Farm and the lambs were out of sight today. Now my left hand turn down the track towards the back of the Westwood…this lane had been too muddy for months and even now there were still odd pockets

Through the little gate and alongside the farmers field

The crop appeared to be doing well, wheat I think 🤔

Out of the field the other end, and I was in the Westwood. The blue sky behind me.

The golf club, for some bizarre reason, decided to chop down my favourite few trees as they were causing problems for the golfers 🤐…..I actually thought, hazards were what golf courses needed 🙄…so sad when trees are cut down ‘because they’re in the way’. They were, after all, there first. So these are now my favourite 

Not many people about just yet, just one in the distance

Out of the Westwood and back on the main road and the noise of the traffic going over the cattle grid. I’d forgot to put my hearing aids in 🙈….so stared at the shadows on the pavements and breathed deeply to calm the noise

And the lambs had appeared as I approached the farm

My legs still felt fine, so I turned left into East Wood, which leads to the lovely bluebells in the spring. The dappled shade of the track and the gate at the end, always a favourite piccie to take

Up through the fields, the sun now out, the blue sky having reached us….and finally into the shade of the wood

It took a while for my eyes to adjust to the shade under the canopy of trees but the coolness was very much welcomed. Mud still having to be traversed here, the shade of the trees preventing the drying out process.

Out into the sun again, and winding my way round the dusty paths, coming out onto the main road once more, and the village in sight. Although I heard it before seeing it as the shouts from a football match could be heard first. 

A lone pheasant meandered through the farmers field

A cycling villager passed me by, shouting “hello Mary’ 😳….what is it with ‘Mary’ today 😂 before turning round and apologising and calling me Wendy 🤣

Turning left off the road and through the field towards the village. I decided to go home via the copse behind the playing field and again, the cool shade of the trees was very welcome

As I came out the football match was in full flow, parents shouting encouragement to their children, but I’m not a football fan anymore, used to be years ago, so what caught my eye was the pied wagtail on the grass

Finally along the lane towards the church where one of my favourite flowers are now starting to put on a show….the humble foxgloves – I adore them…

My legs weary, my body now telling me it needs a cuppa and the sun now starting to beat down….time to go home….

Always lovely to be home……

I adore Keswick, my paradise, but I love arriving back home and feel the same sense of relief and comfort as I do when I arrive at Keswick.

After all the activity while we were away, I could sense on the journey home that my head was starting to shut down. I knew the next 24 hours would be tough, just like yesterdays blog. Busy days are often followed by bad days 🙄

Before I go away, I always clean, change my linen, so I come back to a nice fresh, inviting house; always have done. Unlocking the door to a welcome and sleeping in clean linen, can’t beat it….

I awoke in my own bed, my head feeling full and heavy.  It took me a few minutes to come round and work out where I was, but once I saw I was home I was relieved. I felt with it enough to go for an early morning walk, hoping that would help clear my head. I’d missed my village trundles. Stepping out of my door, I immediately spied my summer bulbs were in flower

I’m amazed I allowed these in my garden as they’re Sicilian Honey Garlic – I hate garlic with a passion……but they don’t have the pungent odour I hate so much, so they’re allowed. Or maybe I just didn’t take notice of their name when I bought them 🤣

Bizarrely it felt strange walking down my familiar street, as though I’d been away for months instead of days, but my foggy head might have had something to do with that as well 🤐…

The pond was my first destination. The instant calm it brings; checking all is right. The amigos flew straight towards me and landed on the fence 😂

After apologising for my absence I notice some new arrivals, another batch of Moorhens….Peter the duck man, called me over. He through the food to entice them all out in the open, giving me the perfect view for a piccie.

And another mum sat on a nest so maybe more to arrive

We also had a new Mandarin which must have flown in while I was away. So brightly coloured

Crossing the road towards Simon, the pond mans house…or is it Steve….🤔…always get them muddled 🙄..I noticed he had some beautiful salmon pink poppies

Seems to have been a good year for oriental poppies. I love seeing their pods, perfectly shaped, hiding away the folded loveliness of the flower and then gently opening revealing the colour beneath and perfectly packaged…

Though the houses and along the back lane. I never get fed up of taking this view and today it seemed particularly welcome

Left into the gallops, the peace and stillness of the field just what my head needed. I was walking on automatic; my legs leading the way, my body following and my brain some way behind, or maybe not there at all.

Reaching Halfpenny cottage, a lady on a bike approached and started to slow down.

Thank you for all your photos, especially during lockdown as they brightened my day”

Such kindness to think those thoughts and even more kindness to stop and speak them. Little did she know how much I needed kind words today….

As if on queue, a Goldfinch flew down in front of me

Then I noticed red roses in the garden of the empty cottage

My head getting heavier, I needed to be home….I seemed to have been lost in my determination to get home as I didn’t have any more photos until Ginger biscuit in the field of buttercups

And the final one, a squirrel simply looking, watching and waiting

Bit like me, waiting for the fog to clear…..but at least I’d managed a trundle….

A Busy happy day is always followed by a bad day….

After the excitement of last weeks visit to paradise, this blog goes back a fornight and was written the day after Bank holiday Monday, June 1st. The day before had been mega busy, with the lovely Suki Chan visiting me in the morning to continue out filming of Consciousness. She’d brought me a lovely Chinese tea ball for us to have in the break

Which unfurled magically as hot water was poured over it

The resulting tea was deliciously fresh and clean tasting. 

Suki’s visit was instantly followed by a trip to the bowls club again, this time with my son in law Stuart having a go and then straight out for a walk after that where I met my friend Pip and her dog Scooby and we decided to continue walking and chatting..

I didn’t arrive back in the house until 6pm where I felt happily drained and exhausted but I knew I’d pay for it the next day…a happy busy day is always followed by a hazy foggy day…

I woke up the following morning feeling the grogginess instilled in my head, but decided an early walk might help. The sea fret had come inland overnight – me and Pip had sensed it’s imminent arrival on our late walk the day before. The still calmness it created was just what I needed and the haze over the pond matched the haze in my head

The silhouette of the bird matched my unclear vision of the day ahead- an outline of something I know, but unclear as to the detail

One of the ducklings, now growing into a young duck, floated sleepily on the surface 

Round the back of the house along the lane, cutting through to the gallops, the dandelion heads were coated in a mist, making them look fuller, rounder, as though you could touch them without disintegrating

A black Labrador came up alongside snuffling alone the ground, it’s owner soon following and commented how she loves how I see the small things in my photos, the detail. We chatted for a while about the calmness and peace then she hurried off after the dog and I continued quietly and calmly simply looking….

Birds are so hard to spot as they sing in the lush green of the trees and hedgerows, but every now and then one will catch my eye in flight and land on top in view, just like this yellowhammer

The mist was still present as I turned into the lane home…this view I know so well on a clear day, yet today my hazey foggy head couldn’t remember what lay shrouded in the mist hidden from view

Almost home and ready for my morning cuppa, a single red poppy made me smile, it’s delicate beauty so exquisite 

I could tell the sun would be out later, but this dementia fog in my head would last all day….….

Our final day……

Well yesterday was our final full day in paradise. As you’re reading this we’ll be heading back home, my first venture to paradise over.

But before then we had all day Wednesday to enjoy the calmness….

Sarah had planned to climb Skiddaw, which would take several hours so I decided if I could retrace my steps of last year, or whenever, when I walked the 10 miles round Derwentwater for charity.

The forecast had been for dull and mizzle so it was a nice surprise to open my curtain

The dark looming clouds and the beautiful blue sunshiney sky displaying the unpredictability of the Cumbrian weather…

Over breakfast it became apparent that Sarah’s body was suffering from the swim and walk yesterday so she decided to come with me on my flat walk. She reminded me how I’d struggled round the 10 miles last year so we decided to take a bus down to the Grange and walk round from there, so taking off a third – compromise….

Such is the changeable weather here, that I can blink and the skies change. As Sarah txt, ‘see you in 5’, I looked up and saw the chinks of blue had been replaced by the rain clouds approaching from Borrowdale valley. That’s what I love about my view, how its forever changing 😍….just hope the next time I blink the blue sky has returned 🙄😂

Anyway, we trundled off to the bus station and as if by magic, the 77A was waiting for us to take us to The Grange. It’s the little bus that I usually stay on for an hour and a half full circle trip, but this time we alighted at the Grange bridge making the walk about 5.5 miles instead of the 10.

I love this little village, simply because its on the edge of Derwentwater and sits with Cats Bell in the distance. We followed the road round, the bell circled in its slate tower catching my eye

It’s the rhododendron and azalea season, so colour is everywhere. Finally leaving the field, we crossed the boggy fields, thankfully with wooden slipways, through the woods. Every now and then a small cove would appear

Just beauty round every corner. We even heard the beautiful calling of a cuckoo somewhere high in the trees along with the woodpecker, but just couldn’t catch sight of them 🙄

Even though it was mizzling lots of the time, it didn’t matter, as the sun also tried to shine

As we trundled round and through the well worn paths, we eventually came to the wooden carved hand, a place everyone stops for a piccie and we were no different

The ground was covered in ferns all around the lake to compliment the rhododendrons..

The tree lined paths were occasional dappled with sunshine which was certainly in short supply today, but when it did appear it suddenly became twice as warm until its disappearance only moments later..

The llama center, or are they alpacas 🤔…always get them muddled….came into view

Pheasants joining them on their field

These woolly animals came in a variety of colours

Their wool a precious commodity

Eventually we reached Nicol End, where we stopped for a cuppa and Sarah had the biggest scone I’ve ever seen and I couldn’t resist snapping her lovely face with a tiny spot of cream on the end of her nose before I mentioned it to her 😂

Refreshed and ready for out final mile, through Portiscale and passed another field of sheep with their lambs, which made us chuckle as I said they looked like monkey faces….

It must have taken us 4-5 hours as my body was feeling weary. Back through town and Sarah made her way back to Appletrees to get ready for her final swim with Catherine and this time, with her friend Sue, while I went and got my supper before joining them.

We trundled to a quiet bay just a short walk away. I was chief stick thrower for Polly

And the girls had fun and much laughter in the lake

Polly kept barking at me as I kept getting distracted by the view instead of throwing her stick 😂🙄

My camera suddenly announced ‘Battery Exhausted’….a bit like I felt and so it was Sarah who took the final selfie before heading back home.

It was nearly tea time and had been a long trundling day. The mizzle was still falling, but as I looked out of my window I felt the urge for one last look at Friars Cragg. We were leaving early in the morning, so I donned my coat and shoes once more and headed out for a last trundle of my stay.

Through Hope Park and down to the lake, the beautiful poppies coated in mizzle

The lake itself looking calm and serene despite the weather ..

Friars Cragg was deserted, unusual, but the damp weather had sent everyone home maybe. I sat on my bench, hoping to see a Robin but sadly even the weather kept them away, so I sat, just for a few minutes, alone and totally content, before sighing a farewell to my favourite spot and leaving the bench for the next person to come along and enjoy this wonderful view…….until next time…..

Did I, didn’t I……?

I opened my curtains with hesitancy yesterday morning. To paraglide or not to paraglide. It was still early but the clouds looked ominous and unfriendly and I could see the wind blowing the trees

There was a tiny chink of blue sky hope lighting up Cats Bell so I still had my fingers crossed….

The last time I had breakfast, was when I was here last. Catherine doesn’t have to ask me as I always have the same – delicious poached eggs, mushrooms baked beans and mixed toast. It’s like I settle into that routine immediately. Never eat until the afternoon at home but here, its natural and Catherine is just an amazing cook. The lovely Nicola who helps also greeted us with a lovely smile and chatter as she brought our food.

Now just needed to wait for the txt…..

Dead on 9am as promised a txt came through ….”it might be too windy but we’ll take you to the take off site and see then”……..OMG…more waiting. After numerous txts backwards and forwards they kindly offered to pick me up from Appletrees at 10am – we’d planned for them to pick me up from the bus station but they insisted, which was lovely.

I told Sarah and we agreed she’d go off for her Latrigg walk and I’d txt her as I knew more. I was trying to contain my excitement but it was starting to bubble over…..10 am seemed like months away…..

I sat looking out of my window tapping this away on my ipad to pass the time. I zoomed in with my camera and could see the sheep and lambs on the banks of the lake

10am arrived as I sat waiting outside and Jocky arrived. Such a lovely chap who too me to his base to meet his son and wife. His son would be filming me if we did it. He wasn’t very optimistic due to the windy weather, but he said we’d go to the take off point just to see.

Josh, his son joined us and told me how his first flight had been at the age of 1 😳….which he can’t remember and then again at 6, which he can. No photos as proof, but then, photos weren’t taken as they are now. Jocky and his wife paddle from their house along the river towards Basenthwaite; Jocky in a canoe and his wife paddle boarding. They’ve lived here in paradise for 35 years and still love it – who wouldn’t?

Anyway….Jocky  had planned to fly me off Latrigg, just where Sarah was heading for but he could see the weather there was too bad for flying so we headed to ‘Wainrights most northerly point’, whose name escapes me now. But passing by Bassenthwaite Lake and then turning into a farm to ask their permission for the land rover to drive through. He knows them well, but they must have been out on the farm so we opened the farmers gate and headed up the track – at least I got a 4×4 experience!. Stunning views all around and to fly off would have been unbelievable. But as I opened the Jeep door I could tell myself that the flight wouldn’t happen, it was blowing a gale. My bubble burst, I tried not to put a dampener on the day, as they did too, telling me I’d be back in a fortnight and would try then. But I couldn’t help feeling deflated. It just wasn’t meant to be as they drove me back down the spectacular hillside

And back home……

My sadness was short lived as Catherine asked if Sarah  wanted to go lake swimming late afternoon and I’d go to take piccies but also, more importantly, to keep Polly the dog occupied or probably more accurate to say, Polly keep me occupied with throwing her ball into the water

So it was then, we met Catherine and Polly downstairs and ambled to the lake. Needless to say, it was a gloriously sunny evening, but I could still feel the breeze which would be much windier higher up and not subsequent txt from Jocky, who said he would contact me if the weather changed. We ambled alongside the lake with Polly leading the way..

As we arrived at the bay, Catherine made her usual daily video, with us as her guests for the day

Sadly her swimming partner, Sue, couldn’t make it but Sarah’s squeals at the coldness of the water said it all, but she persevered and was soon swimming alongside Catherine. 

She said it was so relaxing, made you feel so good even though it was freezing. Catherine has always said it’s the most relaxing thing to do after the stresses of the day.

Polly soon realised one person had been left behind ,so it was ‘ball duty’ for me 😂

Me and Polly had a wonderful time. She’s so well behaved and never once strayed beyond her boundaries and often checked to see the whereabouts of her mum.

But time after time, I’d throw and Polly would fetch

After about 30 minutes they began to make their way out

Polly wasn’t finished with me and as the girls got dressed Polly kept reminding me of my duties if I got distracted taking photos

And as we ambled home Polly knew exactly what games she wanted to play and posed beautifully for me

Chasing the ball down the steps and retracing her own steps time after time added to my amusement

Finally time to go on her lead and one last look back at the lake

May have been a disappointing start to the day, but it ended on a high…….

My first trip to paradise….

It seems like a life time since I was in my paradise of Keswick, so yesterday felt like a tad closer to the new normal. Sarah came with me this time, so that all I had to get used to was being there; no trauma of trains, just the delight of a car drive.

I’d contacted my paraglide man at the weekend and by the time we left on Monday morning, was still waiting to hear back from him as to whether my paraglide was possible to go ahead a few weeks early. The forecast had changed dramatically from when I first contacted him a week ago. The blue skies replaced by uncertainty 🙄As I looked at the weather app, it became apparent that my paraglide might perhaps not meant be this week after all AND I hadn’t had a response from Jocky who would be taking me 🤐

Anyway, the morning dawned with a misty damp greyness outside my window, but I didn’t care, I was heading for my favourite place. 

Sarah picked me up at 9am as planned and had picked up a weak black tea for me and a cuppa coffee for herself to start off our journey…

I never feel as though we’re properly going on holiday until we turn left at Scotch corner – then we’re on the road to Keswick and, soon after turning, we reach our favourite stopping place of Mainsgill. It was very busy, very noisy, but the views made up for it

And on the way out their moulting camels had appeared…looking as if they really needed a haircut

It also means that when we set off again, there’s just over an hour more driving before I can finally feel relaxed. Suddenly a message appeared from Jocky, the man who will take me on my paraglide. ‘Txt me in the morning, 9am, to see if the weather will allow’ – was how he finished. Suddenly the excitement returned. I was convinced he was away, but now it’s just the weather between me and the skies….

As we drove down the hill into paradise, I could feel my body start to relax. Familiar surroundings came into view. The town looked busy but not heaving as we drove to park the car. Usually there’s no spaces around Appletrees until the day visitors have left, but we always check first. To our total amazement there was just one space left…..right outside my lovely Appletrees….soooo lucky and it will stay there for the duration.

Too early to for the 4pm check in, Sarah wanted an ice cream first and I wanted a trundle to Friars Cragg. So picking up ice creams on the way, we headed for my bench…I knew it would be busy at this time of day, but just to be there, just to look and stare, felt right..

We found another bench nearby just after and Sarah took a selfie of the two of us together

We were both pretty shattered from the long journey, shattered but happy, and then I saw the motor boats and decided to hire one with Sarah at the helm

We’d never done that before, always gone on the launch with someone else doing the driving 🤣….but after 30 minutes of laughter it was time to crash into the jetty 😂….

Just time enough left to go and get our supper for the evening to take back to our rooms and then to check in. But not before we’d said hello to the lambs on the way…

It never ceases to amaze me, how I step into Appletrees and immediately feel at home. Catherine saw us unpacking the car and came out to meet us. It was sooo lovely seeing her in person instead of on her daily swimming videos that she posts of her and Sue swimming in the Lake. A catch up and a cuddle later and I sat in my chair by the window

My room with my favourite view and I felt myself sigh with happiness…..now just need to wait until tomorrow to see if the skies are beckoning 🤞

Taking to the skies may happen this week….

Today I’m heading off for my practice run to Keswick with my daughter Sarah. This means we’re driving on this occasion so I can just get used to being in Keswick again without the hassle of the journey to think about – that will happen in a couple of weeks time…..

Anyway, the start of the fine weather got me thinking…🤔…why waste the opportunity if the weather is nice, why don’t I see if I can do my fundraising paraglide early 😳….so I emailed the wonderful guy who’ll be looking after me and he replied saying, he might be able to, but to txt him a couple of days before…..

So you never know, I could be flying in the skies earlier than planned…I’ve got everything crossed for the weather and his availability…….

So I’ve still a long way to go in my fundraising, so if you can spare the odd pound it would be much appreciated…every pound counts…here’s the link to our just giving page…

https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/mindsandvoices-york?utm_term=7PBGYWxQm

and a BIG thank you to all those who have donated so far….🙏

Panel of authors session….

My American Twitter friends, Alzauthors have invited me and 4 other authors to a virtual Q&A session on Zoom. It takes place on Tuesday 15th at 14.30 our time and 10.30am EST timeI often get the translation of time muddled but it’s definitely 10.30am EST – so hopefully I’ll be there at the right time, last time I looked Mr Google said it was 15.30 our time 🙈 – so please check beforehand as I need to do🙄)

The session is called

 “Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Dementia… But Were Afraid to Ask,” a virtual Q&A on Zoom.

The 5 authors will be present to answer your questions:

In this 60-minute session, participants will be able to submit questions for our authors to answer, providing much needed information to help dementia caregivers and professionals better understand the condition and their loved ones and clients.

I know Peter and Jennifer well and have met them on numerous occasions.

There is no fee to attend this event but participants must register ahead of time. Attendance is limited so sign up early. Click here to enter.

Reserve your spot in the program now!

Any Questions? Please contact alzauthors@gmail.com.

One advantage of Zoom…..

Lockdown has in the main, been a bit of a bummer, but it’s also had many positives too. It’s given us time to just be, time to appreciate what’s around us and to question what’s important in our lives.

It’s also opened up the world to us in a very different way – via Zoom. I’ve spoken to Canadian students and a group of people from India connected to their health service – neither of which would have been in my grasp if it hadn’t have been for Zoom technology. I think the lockdown has taught us to use technology more often to allow different worlds to meet and hopefully will continue with this as lockdown eases.

The other week I was asked to speak to another group in India – Silver Talkies, an online community for the over 55’s in India. During lockdown, online communities have come into their own, especially where the population is spread, like India.

It’s fascinating talking to other cultures. Hearing their questions, comparing their life and life here….” Silver Talkies is a multi-dimensional platform for people who are 55 plus. Our team brings you features that highlight people, passions, trends, issues, opinions and solutions for the senior generation.”

Anyway here’s their article and the recording of my talk…