While I was in my paradise of Keswick, you may have read, that during the final day I had two falls as I walked around the lake. I know exactly why they occurred…..I was trying to do two things at once….🙄…I find it so difficult to walk and do something else at the same time. I usually stop to take a photo, so that’s ok, but on this particular day my mind wandered and I paid the price…My gait has also change, I can often shuffle my feet along instead of picking them up 🙄
The first fall was just as I came to the wood and for some reason, decided to take my hanky out of my left hand pocket with my right hand. That as well as walking was never going to end well and down I went. Didn’t really hurt myself that time as it was on the dusty ground. My camera was the first thing I checked and it was ok 😂…
But the second time, I was nearing the end of 18 out of 20 miles that day, so maybe my legs were doubly tired. But again, I decided to concentrate on the llamas and keep walking instead of stopping, as I usually do. This time I fell badly. I didn’t realise the damage I’d done until the following day in the shower. Both knees were just a big bruise, my right hand side was bruised, my forehead had an egg on it 😳 but the worse was my right arm. It was bruised from the elbow up to my shoulder and not a pretty site. Thankfully I could move everything so no bones broken just my whole body ached from the jarring…
Luckily I was travelling home the next day, so had a day of sitting on the train, but even the following day at home, I actually stayed in all day as I felt shaken and definitely stirred. By chance it was raining all day so the temptation to go out was zero anyway. The following day I had some calendars to post and 2 to deliver and it was a lovely September morning. However, going out I didn’t feel as steady, I was hesitant in my steps, it had really knocked my confidence…again, luckily, my faithful camera took my mind off it as I reached the pond. The Mandarin ducks colourful plumage becoming more distinct and bright as autumn approaches..
We also seemed to have acquired a racing pigeon that’s gone off course or maybe had enough of flying.
I’ve called him Peter….he’s so handsome..
Each morning he queues with the Muscovy ducks on the fence for its breakfast 😍 Simon the duck man, who feeds them each morning, was telling me how now it believes it’s a duck and the other ducks aren’t giving it any trouble 🤣 so he’s settling in nicely. He must sense we’ll look after him 😂
I only did half of my usual walk, not like me at all, but my body felt very battered and sore. The site of a robin amongst the sheep made me smile
And then squirrel after squirrel appeared in the church yard.
All looking for breakfast or their secret stash of nuts
The church standing proud in the sunshine
Time for a cuppa, but I’d certainly lost a bit of my trundling sparkle, but hopefully it will be short lived. Just remember, as I must do, that many people with dementia find it difficult to concentrate on more than one thing at a time, me in particular 🙈…..
By the time you read this, it will be Thursday. in reality it was Sunday, so I will have been able to relive my visit with you as I arrived back home on Monday….
So I think I slept better last night. The concert was on again, but I decided not to try and sleep until the music had finished to avoid the confusion if I woke. I just lay on my bed, my window wide open and let the music drift in. You could hear everyone was having a good time and it sounded and looked a family affair as I could see children running about playing, maybe excited to be up late.
Still very strange dreams though, but all faded memories as I type this. I woke to the sun desperately trying to shine
Over breakfast two of the guests were telling us about their triumph in their respective races yesterday. I’d have loved to be part of it. Nothing beats a race and a crowd cheering you on…always used to bring out that little extra something….
I decided to walk around the lake first thing, while it was quiet. I didn’t feel the need for venturing further this visit. Don’t think I’ve ever had a visit where I’ve not gone on a bus before, but this was one.
So after a lovely breakfast, where I could hear Lily in the kitchen ‘helping’ nana – I said hello to her yesterday as she was helping clean the rooms- adorable
……I set off on my morning walk…
There were birds singing everywhere as I went through Hope Park. I decided to take a different path through and suddenly saw a sign for a “bird hide’ 😳….why hadn’t I noticed this before? All these years and it’s the first time I’ve seen it 🙈….usually you go into a hide, but they’d cleverly put up a wooden fence and drilled eye holes at every level possible. So no matter what you’re height, they’d be a hole for you to peak through – genius! Through the hole was an small area filled with feeding stations and the birds were everywhere 😍
Making my way towards the lake I could see all the runners gathering to get the launch to the starting point of todays races. There was a 10K and amazingly a 50K – that’s over 30 miles 😳
I was early so hopeful of an empty Friars Crag……and it was…
Birds everywhere again. I had my coat wrapped round my waist and in one of the pockets, a tiny container of bird food. I sat at one end of the bench, and put the pot at the other and just waited to see if they’d come close
Minutes went by and they swooped and came closer. I was convinced they’d join me on the bench. Then suddenly the silence was broken and a group of men came round the corner and the moment was gone. They did apologise for breaking my peace, but I knew the birds wouldn’t come back now. In fact the birdsong vanished, as did the birds. Sadly I put the lid back on the pot and continued on my way.
Round the corner into the bay
I zoomed in to the path zigzagging its way up Cats Bell
A lone boat stood anchored in the next bay; the water so still and mirror like today
I was pleased I headed out early. Few others around; some out on the water; a young boy on a paddle board with maybe his sister and the family dog
Suddenly a whole flock of goldfinches flew from a bush into the air before landing and bit further down. Then as I reached them again, once more they flew into the air and headed further on as if leading the way for me….🥰
I began to think of the 50K runners and all the other events people had joined in this weekend. My legs and brain no longer in harmony meaning running is out of the question, no longer able to ride a bike, as I can’t turn right…and I’ve never done open lake swimming before…but I can walk and an idea for my own challenge of the day started to form in my head. Would I be able to walk twice around the lake? Once this morning and again this afternoon? after all I’d be stook on a train all day tomorrow….🤔
Once round is 10 miles and takes me about 3-4 hours depending how distracted I get with taking photos….mmmm I’ll wait and see what time I get back……
With an added spring in my step at the thought, my pace quickened. Since lockdown, I’ve become much fitter; every day walking 5 miles or more.where once I thought dementia wouldn’t allow me to do certain walks, it was only recently I realised it was because I’d become unfit for the first time in my life – nothing to do with my dementia.
Anyway, that idea hopefully stored in my head, I continued….the millpond lake just looking so peaceful today
As I reached the deserted jetty at Ashness Bridge, the sun came out and caught my shadow on the wooden slats as I stopped to take a piccie
Continuing, a couple in a canoe came into view. Their voices drifted over towards me, one of them commenting how peaceful it was…..I wonder if the person at the front knew the person at the back had stopped paddling…🤣
A motorised paraglider flew overhead
I wonder if you can do that tandem….🤔
Soon I reached Christopher Robin bridge
Not a soul in site. I had it all to myself…..
Through the boggy marsh, finally reaching the other side of the lake. It was at the moment, just as I’d gone through the gate into the wood, that my legs got all tangled. I should know better than to try and do 2 things at the same time. I was trying to watch where I was going and get my tissue out of my pocket. I should have stopped really. But before I knew it the ground was coming towards me. Luckily my camera was in my left hand and I fell on my right hand side – phew! There was no one around to see me flailing downwards and after a couple of sighs, I picked myself up and carried on 🙄
At a crossroads in the paths, I met the 10K runners coming towards me
I stopped this time and clapped them along. Must be hard running a race when there’s no spectators, so I made sure I clapped each one, especially those running alone behind the rest….
There was a drinks station at the bottom of Cats bell with piles of jelly babies waiting for the runners to grab. I was really hoping they didn’t have to climb as well 😳….
Back to being on my own again, through fields, gates and woods, a man passed me by with a huge teddy strapped to his back. He was raising money for youth cancer – wonderful…sadly I didn’t carry any cash on me 🙈
Almost 3 hours later and I was on the homeward straight. The sheep looking chilled in their field, resting in the shade of the tree…
Finally arriving into Keswick. I went and got my supper and headed back to my room for a cuppa before heading out to do it all again……
So after a cuppa tea or maybe two, I decided that if they could run over 30 miles, I could walk 20 mile. Once again I headed out but this time I went to all the tents and finish line to see some runners coming back as it would all be over by the time I’d get back.
I was just in time to see some of the early finishers of the 50K. One man was greeted by his dogs, who proceeded to lick him to death 🤣
And then a woman had her children greet her on the final stretch and how she had the energy to lift and carry one to the finish line, I just don’t know
Even more determined to complete my own challenge, I headed to repeat the morning trundle. This time there was more people about, so less birds, but one Robin sang for me
And the sun shone even more, making the water sparkle..
Halfway round and the Heron was back on his territory….
People were having picnics on the grass as I plodded on. A few sheep had managed to get down by the lake. You could hear their brothers and sisters calling them from high up, but they were quite happy by the water
The fells were starting to change in their autumn attire as the launch passed by with sightseers
As I reached the llamas, my rubber legs decided to tangle again. This time it was my arm and face that took the full force of the fall 🙄….I’d been watching the llamas instead of where I was going this time. A couple came rushing up to see if I was ok. Apparently I had an egg appearing on my forehead and I could feel the dampness of blood on my shirt sleeve 🙈….once again, I tried to do two things at once instead of stopping. I looked down and the tree root bulging up on the path was the culprit. After reassuring the couple I was ok, and telling them a white lie, that I was nearly home, I continued. This time a tad more gingerly….
Again, just over 3 hours and I was almost home. No crowds to greet me with cheers, just me silently punching the air and smiling to myself – I did it……and my fit bit confirmed the challenge
Minutes later I was gratefully back in my room without further incidents. After a cuppa and surveying my war wounds, It was time for my supper. I looked out of my window and the tents from the festival were being dismantled as if nothing had taken place. So many had taken part in this wonderful weekend. Challenges complete, medals for the winners, but all were stars in my eyes and deserve to feel proud of themselves, just as I did at completing my not so little challenge…….
The evening concert went on way past my sleep time, so that turned out to be a bit confusing around time and noise, especially when I was drifting in and out of sleep. but it sounded like many enjoyed themselves.
It was the start of the Mountain Festival event proper this morning and some events started at 7am, however I had my yummy breakfast before venturing out. Appletrees is the only place I have toast…..I decided I had to get rid of my toaster as I was a bit of a liability with it, so it’s a real treat when come here as I adore toast. Actually it’s probably good that I don’t have one at home as I’d probably live on toast 🤣
It looked a bit of a mixed bag day out of my window
It was mizzling first thing but that didn’t worry the swimmers in the 3.5 lake race
I think it looked harder to get out of the lake than swim it, but lovely to see them helping one another…
It was so well organised with canoes following the swimmers and on hand if they were struggling
The triathlon had also started at silly o’clock and having already swum and cycled, I saw them finishing the run
The atmosphere was magic. You could tell some were serious athletes but racing alongside were first timers and those doing it purely for fun; so nice to see.
Next up was the BMX tricksters. They were very good; their balance and control of a bike was stunning
The tricks they did so clever
I had a wander round all the trade stalls. There was a “Visit Keswick” stand. One of the women came up to me trying to convince me to visit Grasmere, then suddenly the other woman came and joined us and said:
“This is Wendy and Wendy is ours in Keswick. She stays at Appletrees with Catherine”
I must have had a puzzled look on my face until she confided that she follows me on Twitter and saw me speak in Keswick some years back 😳🤣…how lovely and random.
I then went into the shopping tent 🙈….I really shouldn’t be allowed to go in such places…as I can never resist buying things I never knew I needed 🙄 but I did get some Christmas presents 🤪….I must bring a bigger suitcase next time 😂
Next stop was to look at the llamas. They were rescued llamas 😍….I couldn’t resist getting in with them and saying hello
Tim was continually humming and I asked the girl what it meant and apparently it means he’s very happy and content ❤️
The drizzle started to dampen the air so it felt like the right time to head back and have a cuppa and also drop off ‘my shopping’ 🥴
I’d normally go on a bus ride at some point, but I’d not really walked so far as I’d just been tootling at the festival….so I decided to trundle round the lake again. I know I did it the day before but no two trundles are the same – meeting different people, different skies, so I headed off after my cuppa down towards the lake.
Blue sky was starting to appear
I could turn off before Friars Crag, but I can never resist a visit, I’m just drawn there
I did this walk yesterday, so I thought to myself that I mustn’t take the same photographs before reminding myself that I wouldn’t have a scooby doo which piccies I took yesterday without looking 🤣 so apologies if they’re the same
You can just start to see the colours changing on the trees behind the red sailing boat…
Because many people were at the festival, it felt like I had lots of the walk to myself
Photo of tree with canoeists in the distance
You can sense the changing of the seasons as summer turns to autumn. The grasses are dying off but look golden in the sunlight against Cat Bells.
The straight lane to Christopher Robin bridge always looks so inviting
I could continue along the road to the Grange, but I never do, I’m always drawn along the track……I love the view from the bridge as the water, always so still reflects the surroundings
As soon as I saw the heron, I remembered the image from the day before as he was in the exact same spot
I don’t seem to have taken any more photos of the trundle, whether I forgot, or had to concentrate, I’m not sure. I do know my legs were tired when I got back….and since I’d set off much later I decided that was it for the day and headed back. The evening concert was just starting and music wafted over from the park. I opened my window wide and stood listening for a while before noticing the sun about to set over the fells…
Had a night of very weird dreams, kept waking and living them awake then drifting off and continuing; very weird, very strange. Needless to say, when the alarm went off I was in a deep slumber 🙄
Showered and the kettle on, I drew back my curtains to find a veil of mist covering all but the park with it’s coloured tents ready for the start of the mountain festival today..
The forecast said for rain most of the day, but it didn’t dampen my spirits as it would have done at home. Just being here is enough.
After Catherine’s lovely breakfast, I wrapped the arms of my raincoat around my waist and, first off, went into town for my supper. Going round Keswick shops is lethal for me and since I ended up with a carrier full of ‘stuff I never knew I needed’ so took it back to my room before heading off to walk around the lake. I guessed that if it was going to rain, I’d be sheltered in the woods at various points along the way…..as it turned out it didn’t rain one drop….I love it when the weather man is wrong in the right direction 🤣
With it being the Mountain Festival, I wasn’t sure how crowded it would be, but I needn’t have worried. The crowds of summer had long gone. The first thing I noticed was the birds were back. They’d disappeared when the staycation crowds had descended but now, the quiet of autumn had seen them return. At one point I stood and listened and it was as though I had a surround sound system of birds calling out all around me. It was so beautiful and so comforting to hear them back again. So many of the Robins, which I thought had gone, all returned
Just in the first half an hour I saw blue tits, Jenny wren, swallows and even house martin’s flying into their nest in the next guest house to Appletrees…❤️….and one bird silhouetted in the fir tree
Down through Hope Park admiring the formal flower beds, which you rarely see any more due to cut backs
And soon I was by the lake. A random pheasant had join the ducks and seagulls by the shore of the lake – either lost or knowing where lots of food would be forthcoming 🤣
Couldn’t resist a slight detour to Friars Crag. The sky looking overcast, but the air still and calm
Continuing on and following the lake path round, a lovely reflection of Cat Bells in the water
People already at the top of my favourite climb
You need never feel lonely in Keswick, as each passerby, this time of year, automatically smiles and says hello, some exchanging a few words as they contemplate the view….no, you need never feel lonely here.
Milenium bench and stone came and went and then the tree trunk where coins had been hammered in for luck by generations of walkers…
It was so peaceful, no noise polluting my ears, just the calmness of the water and the chattering of the birds. Even the jetty at Ashness bridge lay empty; a common jumping off platform for adventurous children and adults alike in the summer
Crossing the road and heading through the moss and fern filled wood to avoid walking on the path less road to Lodore
Up and over the Christopher Robin bridge and along the wooden walkways across the bogs before reaching the far side of the lake. This lovely fellow caught my eye. He was stood stock still in the water obviously on the lookout for some tasty morsel beneath
Alternating between the secluded bays
Then through the cooler shadier woods
I came to the wooden hands, now looking aged and weathered like mine. Many a photo has been taken of one of us sat in there…
I came to the point of two paths and I never know which one to take. A couple had just taken the left hand path so I took the right. A man called out to me halfway along.
“It’s a dead end, just goes to the bay”
I knew it wasn’t, that a little path hidden round the corner would take me back to join the main path. But I didn’t tell him that. I actually couldn’t think quick enough to tell him any diffferent, so I just smiled and replied that I was heading for the bay anyway.
Soon the sign for Hawks End
Time to have my chat with Sylvia. I miss her company so much, her laughter, her frowning face whenever she disagreed 🤣. I always feel better after one of our chats……
A seagul squawked after another one as though giving it a good telling off
I could have sat with the others and waited for the launch to take me back but decided I’d carry on walking; only another 90 minutes or so to go.
I remember my friend, Pip, saying only last week, or was it the week before, how the fungi was back. Pip would know exactly which type it was, but to me, it’s just beautiful
Through the woods once more, …..coming out at the Alpacas field
And then the café at Nicole end, where most people stop for tea and one of their ginormous scones, but they hold no appeal for someone who doesn’t feel hunger or thirsty, so I walked on by after snapping at the boats in the marina
Portiscale and just 1 mile to go according to the sign post. The sheep in the field as they always are – Herdwicks I think..with their lovely monkey like faces
Legs weary, my Fitbit telling me why
I head home for a cuppa…..still none of the forecasted rain thank goodness…..
Finally, instead of snuggling down for the evening, I decided to go and watch the opening of the Mountain Festival. It’s a sports and music festival over the entire weekend. It starts with time trials around the town centre, open to anyone to try their hand just for fun and was such a laugh to watch. First the men…….
Then the women…
And finally a bike trial as well…all just for the fun of it…
It finished off with drummers taking to the course where even their dog was dressed for the part
….but, without my hearing aids, to block out the loud tone, it would have been a tad too close for comfort, so I headed back just before they started
I didn’t need to go to the music concert in the evening as I could see and hear it from my room, very clearly😂🤣
It’s felt a long time coming even though it was only 5 weeks since I was there, but at last it’s time to go back to Keswick to banish the blues that appeared in August. I’d not had a good night for some reason, couldn’t stop my mind working overtime, which hasn’t happened for a long time. I’d done a Covid test the day before as I’d seen on the news how Cumbria Health bosses were asking visitors to test themselves before they arrive as numbers had shot up there. Thankfully it was negative. Maybe I was thinking about what I would have done if it had proved positive after all 😳
So I was awake before the alarm went off, had my shower and as I drew the curtains a damp rainy day greeted me. Such a change after the mini heatwave we’ve had over the last few days, but that’s the British weather for you 😂
It had been a beautiful misty morning the day before and felt like autumn had arrived…
I pottered around until the time of the taxi, but could feel the anxiety of the journey rising inside. I’d been going monthly to Keswick, simply to keep travelling, so I didn’t forget the routine, the process, but the uncertainty began to swell inside my stomach.
The taxi didn’t arrive on time. The taxi people are the only people I phone as my number appears in front of them and they immediately know it’s me before I answer. I rang their number and they answered “he’s just coming round your corner Wendy”…..no need for explanations from me. They know I ring if they’re late to check I’ve remembered to order it in the first place! As soon as I heard her words, I relaxed, looked out of my window and sure enough, he was just pulling up.
I got a cuppa tea at Hull before the second train and so far all was running to time. I always book a seat, but on the Transpennine, they have ‘Priority Seats’ that are never reserved. They’re wider and with more room which means I can have my suitcase next to me without the need for more stress to remember to find it and get off with it. Luckily I found one free today….
As we trundled by the Humber, the sun was trying to burn off the morning mist. The bridge hardly visible. Sadly the photo didn’t come out, so you’ll have to take my word for it 🙄 but further down the line I decided to try using my phone instead as the sun had replaced the rain
I used to only have my ipad for taking photos and remember taking some lovely ones of the Humber, but going by todays efforts I seem to have lost that art….😔
School holidays over meant the train was packed like sardines and a gentle chatter filled the carriage as we made our way to my next destination of Manchester. I felt the need to be in my own little world today so hoped no one would come and sit next to me….
I began to feel dementia making itself known. The gentle chattering was turning to a confused buzzing. I started to feel lost…This wasn’t the time or place for dementia to take over so I took my ipad out and played solitaire. Red Jack on black queen…..concentrate…….black five on red six…..
Leeds arrived and the buzz became a crescendo as people departed and new passengers took there place. Suitcases banging against my seat, impatient people pushing to get a seat. I closed my eyes and pretended I was in my room in paradise…….
The next time I opened my eyes, it was to hear the guard saying we were approaching Manchester ……..😳…managed to get my supper here as my sandwich shop would be closed by the time I get there…
The next train was a short trip to Lancaster and I ended up waiting an hour there for the final train as it was running 30 mins late. A young couple had been there for several hours as apparently trains from London had been badly delayed all day, especially in the morning when they were travelling.
It eventually arrived and I sat opposite a mum with her lovely cute toddler. Mum gave her a jammy dodger and she promptly stuck her finger in the jam in the middle, then broke it open and licked all the contents from the inside, then discarded the biscuit…🤣…her mums eyes rolled in my direction and I told her my daughters used to do exactly the same but they scoffed the biscuit as well 😂
The little girl kept me entertained for the short journey to Penrith. As soon as we reached this dramatic bridge, I knew I was close…
My body began to relax, the anxiety that had plagued the journey starting to disappear. As I stood on the welcoming platform of Penrith I smiled to myself
Paradise was a bus ride away…..the familiar roads lighting the way to Keswick. Within minutes of arriving, I was in my room with a cuppa looking out over my favourite view
Tea drunk, I just had to go for a trundle to Friars Crag…as I walked through Hope park, I could hear 2 Robins singing to each other. Then the flash of orangey red caught my eye
I followed the sound and found its friend
Now I really was relaxed as I wandered around the flower beds
Event tents were being erected on the field by the water, ready for the start of the Mountain festival, which is an added bonus.
Reaching Friars Crag I could see my bench was taken, so I just stood….and looked….and breathed in the clean air
As I made my way back to my room for the night, the evening sun decided to shine. I couldn’t help but feel content. Inside my room once more, one final photo
The haze in my head that had plagued me the whole day, finally cleared and that was all down to being in paradise.
During August, it was announced that the football legend Denuis Law had been diagnosed with Mixed Dementia. The press announced is sounding like an obituary …..but he wasn’t dead! However, Law himself then wrote an article for the Guardian… a positive article…he said:
“I do understand what is happening and that is why I want to address my situation now whilst I am able, because I know there will be days when I don’t understand and I hate the thought of that right now. In the height of the pandemic I said I hoped that if one positive was to come out of it, it would be that it would make people kinder to each other, so that’s what I am hoping for now.”
If the media continue this negative onslaught towards dementia, we have no chance of reducing the stigma associated to a diagnosis. But thankfully Law was honest. Yes we know it’s a bummer of a diagnosis, BUT there is life still to be lived…..by chance I’d written a poem the week before….
At the start of the lockdown, I, like so many others, was at a loss. My everyday routine of travelling all over the country speaking at events and Book Festivals came to a grinding halt.
I desperately needed a new routine, as routine is so important for someone with dementia. It took me a while, but then one day I ordered a camera online and it’s been out with me every single day since on my trundles around the village.
Before lockdown I simply hadn’t had the time to explore new paths, to stop and look at the beauty around us and what a pleasant surprise I had. I always knew I was lucky to live in such a wonderful village, but suddenly I had the time to really look, really appreciate what was around us.
It was during lockdown that I discovered the village had a Facebook page and so I started posting my photos each day, initially for those who were isolating or couldn’t get out and about. Then it became part of my routine.
I believe the lockdown brought our village closer together. We chatted more – at a distance. We all had the time to get out and about walking, after all it was all we were allowed to do.
During last year, I’ve seen some amazing sights in the countryside around and in the centre of the village itself. The village helped me survive the lockdown and so now I want to do something in return. I’ve produced my own calendar for 2022:
“Walkington Life 2022”
A few villagers had asked me to do this during lockdown and back then I never thought I’d do it! But it gave me something to focus on. So for the last year I’ve been merrily clicking away and over the last couple of months have narrowed it down to 12 – each taken during the month they represent. This one has become the cover and is Decembers photo too.
I put this one originally
🤣😂 then showed them all to my daughter Gemma and a gentle reply came back…
“I’d stick with the Robin for December”
So the Robin gazumped me out 😂
They’re with the printers at the moment – who also happens to live in the village – and they’re due to be with me next week. It’s then I can start working out costs for posting etc, so watch this space!! They’ll be £10 each or £15 for 2 (they’d make great Christmas presents!) and ALL proceeds will be ploughed back into the village and my support group Minds and Voices. I’ll write another blog next week detailing how to get one.
P.s…..as if by magic I had a knock on the door last night and Chris arrived with the boxes of my calendar, just in time….I’m so happy with it:) now I’ve just got the small detail of selling them all 🤣🤞they’ll be on sale from next Tuesday !
Before todays blog…..you might not have seen yesterdays first blog of September. WordPress are looking into why email notifications didn’t go out – it was probably something I did 🙈….But here’s the link in the hope you get todays…it includes the first showing of the cover of my new book, out in January 😊
I’ve never been a fan of August. Even as a child, I longed for September to arrive when we’d be back at school….Those long hot days of summer used to drag along for me. I’m still the same now.
Since dementia invaded my space, August takes on an even more confusing role. The routine gone of seeing children walking passed my house in a morning to school replaced by an emptiness. For many it’s January that’s the ‘blues’ month….I like January, it’s my birthday 🤪 and the chaos of Christmas is over and normal routine resumes again….so August is my ‘blues’ month…
I’d woken one Sunday to grey murky clouds. We’d had rain overnight and the day before. August had obviously forgotten it fell in summer…..
I decided I wouldn’t let the murk keep me inside, but it took until lunchtime to convince my legs. I headed for Folley lake, a nice long circular walk. Heading to the pond first, mainly to see if anyone was about, but it was as quiet as the weather – everyone in for lunch maybe…. Even the pond was still, the water calm
Up through the houses. A sunflower trying hard to be bright and cheerful after having been lashed by the rain
The playing fields deserted as was the back lane…
Through the gallops and onto the lane heading for the lake, Halfpenny cottage now in the distance
As I turned right and looked back, tiny pockets of blue had pushed their way through the grey clouds
Unlucky farmers had cut the hay but would now have leave it to sit for a while to dry before the baler would be any use on the field
One field after another of the large Risby estate came and went. The Christmas sprout fields were one field grateful for the overnight rain
It wasn’t that August was a wet month, it was just a dull grey month so some crops would have been happy with the overnight rain… This tiny, much maligned vegetable starting to fill out. A marmite vegetable – you either love ‘em or hate ‘em and I love ‘em….
And I find the plant itself so beautiful, so perfect, like a giant sprout itself opening out…
Almost at Folley Lake now. There’s usually lots of cars parked up at the side of the road on a Sunday, but the weather had obviously put people off. A solitary car instead, looking like it belonged to the two metal detector men who were in the field – hunting for treasure or a lost ring? Who knows…
I knew the fishermen wouldn’t let me down. Sat by the lake in all weathers, waiting for that whopper of a catch
Some with tents to sneak in if the weather turns wet, others with large umbrellas to shelter under…it would usually be to hide from the sun and sit in the shade, but not this August…
One last photo of the Folley itself, mirrored in the still water, before I head back to the road
The sheep had moved fields from last time but I could see them ahead. But before them a flurry of birds caught my eye, chasing each other across the sky before landing on the tree top ahead of me.
I thought they were sparrows at the time, but they didn’t fly like sparrows and their tails were swallow like, but certainly not swallows either
Whatever they were it was nice to see them…
As I turned off the road and into the field the sheep came into view snoozing on the grass
The long lane ahead of me would lead back to the village; the clouds still grey, the sun very absent
The odd poppy at the edge of the field bringing some colourful cheer and making me smile as they’re my favourite wild flower
The walk had levelled my spirits. Nature and the great outdoors always lifting me even on a grey day like today. But then… for some reason, for which I was thankful for, I looked behind me, into the corner of the field, just alongside Halfpenny cottage……and there they were. The sunshine I’d been waiting for. To the sunshine in the sky, but they filled my heart with sunshine…two beautiful deer……
I think mum and child….suddenly both look up and stare straight at me
Aware I was watching them but comfortable I would do them not harm, they carried on nibbling on the crops and just chilling…..
I stood stock still, mesmerised by their beauty. Grateful they’d come into the open to allow me to share their day. A couple approached, wondering what I was staring at.
“What’s so interesting? Is it a hare?
…..asked the man.
“Two beautiful deer” I replied, still looking through my camera lens…
They didn’t seem impressed and walked on…..and I wanted to shout at them, to stop and look….but then realised they weren’t as lucky as me….they didn’t have the power of the lens to look up close upon them….see their eyes, their watchful calmness….
The deer sensed the presence of other humans and I watched them disappear into the safety of the crops…….it was as if they’d never been there, but I knew different. I had the evidence
And the last mile of my walk was filled with sunshine…..not in the sky, but in my heart at what I’d just seen. Nature can bring sunshine into our lives on even the dullest August day…..if we take the time to look….
I’ve not been away for long, but it seems like months since I released a blog 😳…..sorry if you received an email a week or so back, saying I was back. I’d actually forgotten how to set my blogs for publishing 🙈 So while I hadn’t stopped typing I had stopped the process so that’s another lesson learnt 🙄. You wouldn’t believe the pickle I got myself in 🤐 and then it wouldn’t let me reply to your comments telling me you couldn’t access – I had to give in 🙄
I hope you’ve all had a nice few weeks quiet without me 😂…..at the end of the week I’ll be heading to paradise for my September visit to my favourite place so expect to hear all about that next week….
Soooo…with the changing of the seasons, what does Autumn and winter hold in store? Well, weather wise, it feels like autumn has been with me during August! It was so cold here at times that my heating automatically switched itself on 😳….
During my time at home I also discovered some very precious memories. I rarely go in, what I call my office. The only time I’m in there is if I’m filing things or using the printer, which is rare these days. But one day, out of the corner of my eye, I spied some old videos sat on my bookshelf. I havn’t had a video player for years and the only clue as to their contents were hand written titles. Hand written by my then sister in law, Lesley, who is still my sister at heart as is Anna, my other sister in law.
We used to get sooo embarrassed and annoyed at Lesley, lurking around every corner with her video camera running at family gatherings. But how grateful I was to her, when a week or so ago, I got them converted to DVD so I could see what secrets they held.
The first title I watched was “Christmas 88”.
Oh my….I was transported back in time, yet it felt like the day before yesterday. Family long gone appeared on screen and came alive again. Our hair, darker and fuller, no grey in evidence. My two tiny daughters running about the garden, nephews and nieces in their youth.
Oh my how we’ve changed yet how we looked just the same. I’ve 4 more to watch and keep me company in the cold autumn and winter nights and, going by the first one, will be played over and over.
The start of the new year – January 20th to be exact, sees the release of my new book:
“What I wish people knew about Dementia”
I can now show you the cover. It’s being released in hard back first just as my first book was (did I just say that 😂)….and the same designer, David Mann, designed the cover for this one.
It’s actually already on sale on Amazon to pre order. January is often a hard time for finances after the expense of Christmas so why not pre-order now and you’ll have that surprise heading your way in January
More about that when my publishers, Bloomsbury, decide its time…but if you’d like to pre-order here’s a link:
Before then I’ll be taking my monthly trips to Keswick and I’ve also got a village project underway to raise more funds…….
I’m taking a short break from blogging. I was looking back at previous years and I always took August off. I just forgot until I was looking back 😂🙄……
It’s not that I’m stopping typing, heaven forbid. I learnt a hard lesson one Christmas which still sends shivers up my spine, the stories in my book. I’ll still be typing just not publishing. I’ll be back in September when hopefully normality will resume and children will be back at school again…and maybe even back in my paradise by the time I start up again…..
But I thought today I’d let you see a short video I made for Yorkshire Ambulance, in fact I made two….but I can’t find the first 🙄….anyway here’s my chat with the lovely Laura Williams…