On Friday I headed off to Norwich for a lovely event and chance to read from my book and talk about living with dementia.
Norwich is not the easiest place to get to…….a bus and 4 trains😱 and Saturdays are usually ‘me’ time. However, I’d been asked eons ago by Bryony Porter – one of my favourite species of humans, a PhD student from Norwich University. I spoke at the University last year some time and now Bryony had asked me to Norwich to celebrate my book at a different venue. So how could I refused? I knew she’d sort everything for me, so I was in safe hands.
She’d had a conversation with a group of volunteers who run a Cognitive Stimulation Therapy (CST) groups in the community in Norwich. The group is called The Forget Me Nots and Bryony has been volunteering for them for the last 2 years now. They also run another group at HMP Norwich Prison. Their aim is to improve lives of people with memory difficulties and their partners in care through group Cognitive Stimulation Therapy. They’ve also won an award for their work at Norwich Prison.
Anyway, everything was agreed and Friday saw me wending my way, testing the rail transport once more……🙄 Brony had kindly agreed to meet me at Norwich station along with Judith Farmer, a retired mental health nurse and Lead Volunteer for the group, and had sent me the required photos so I don’t go off with anyone! Ha!
And the first thing we did when we met at the station was take a piccie of me and Bryony and the welcome Norwich immediately presents….
We then had a scenic drive to the hotel via the Octogan where I’d be speaking on Saturday. It was beautiful and so peaceful even though we were in the middle of Norwich. It had an amazing ceiling
And was very tranquil…..
Before they left Judith showed me the garden and made my day. In tomorrows blog, by pure coincidence and written last Friday, long before my arrival in Norwich, I mention the rose variety, Peace, from my childhood….. and……. as we turned the corner, there it was. An old Peace Rose bush in full bloom…..
Read tomorrow blog for the significance…….
We then drove to the hotel on the outskirts of the city and agreed a time for them to come and have breakfast with me the next morning. It was then a very strange thing happened….😳…..I looked at my weather app to see the weather for tomorrow only for it to tell me I was in ‘Keswick’ 😳🤯……….I thought the map had gone wrong until I spied the title…….Keswick, Norfolk………well I never…….
The following morning, over breakfast, a woman came up to the table just to say hello. She was staying there and noticed me sat at the table and had to come over and tell me she was in the middle of my book😳……..how random……..but a good start to the day……
After a lovely breakfast, we drove to the venue to be met by some lovely members of the group who already had the kettle on⭐
They’d set up a lovely display of my books, as the local bookshop had provided 20 books to sell, just in case anyone wanted one and cut one of the Peace roses from the garden❤
People then began to arrive – far more than we expected……one couple had come because their daughter from Brighton had seen it on Twitter! They were all welcomed with homemade cakes and a cuppa by the Forget Me Not people.
Once everyone had taken their seats, we closed the main doors to allow the wonderful acoustics to shine so I didn’t have to use a microphone.
Danuta Lipinska, introduced me with such beautiful words and I began my 2 hours of talking, reading and answering so many questions, I couldn’t believe how quick the time went!
It felt like I was in a roomful of kindness and in the most beautiful peaceful setting. People made such nice comments. I obviously didn’t type but I spoke about anything and everything.
To finish off the day, and once everyone had left, the Forget me Not volunteers all stayed and we had a picnic in the peace of the wonderful Octagon.
I think the embroidered banner hanging high from the balcony in the Octagan said it all
What’s more, they paid my expenses there and then…..in cash……what more could I have asked for. Oooo and we sold all the books!
Wonderful company, in a wonderful venue with people from all walks of life….I was convinced I had piccies of everyone else but they seem to have disappeared as I would have loved to show you their smiley faces…….🙄