The DEEP Network…….

Before the start of todays blog….my partner in writing, Anna Wharton has reminded me that she can send a copy of my book anywhere in the world 😳….there’s a possibility that Margaret Steiner may distribute for me in the US again, if any of you folk would like one? As with the calendars, just email me please. For anywhere else in the world you can order direct from Anna. Obviously they’ll be extra for postage, but you can always enquire on the link below

Or if any problems just contact me ☺️ Anyone that would like a signed copy from me, feel free to email me 😊

And so to todays blog…….

I’ve said many times how wonderful this Network is. For many of us, it’s been a life saver, that one word connecting people all around the country – Dementia. Our wonderful group at Minds and Voices is a member of the DEEP Network. All we ask, from ANY group, anywhere, is that you share our values. Those values of allowing people living with dementia a voice.

This year we’re celebrating our 10th birthday and my Amigo playmate, Dory talks on this film about the value of DEEP. I’ll be showing more of our films over the next few Fridays….so sit down with a cuppa and enjoy….

An extra blog from my partner in writing…..

Yesterdays publication day so lots of lovely comments being posted everywhere and for that I’m eternally grateful, but none more so than from my partner in writing Anna Wharton who wrote a lovely sub stack (still don’t know what one of those is 🤣🙄) Goodness knows when I wrote my part of it 😳🤷‍♀️

I’m sure this photo was taken on our very first publication day of Somebody I used to know 🤔

It’s amazing how friendships are made sometimes and this one is one in a million…..🥰

A glimmer of hope……for now..

After I’d written yesterdays blog, I tried to work out how long dementia had grasped me tight. The longest in the past, looking at my blogs is a week…but this time it was several weeks and so long that I actually couldn’t work it out 😔 It got me thinking, was this another proverbial, step down, and this state was now my life until the next step? A sad thought to go to sleep with that night.

However, the following morning, I woke, opened my eyes and for a moment just lay there. Something was different. My head was clearer, brighter almost. The handcuffs had been loosened, the grip not so tight. What had changed? Who knows 🤷‍♀️….had dementia tired of its games for now? Hopefully. Or maybe my acceptance of it being another step down, maybe worked psychologically 🤷‍♀️. When I refer to the ‘step down’ I’m referring to the Vascular part of my dementia, as that type creates sudden steps down in progression, whereas the Alzheimer’s half has always provided me with a steady slope down.

 Whatever it was I was grateful for its release. How long will it last? Who knows, but today I was determined to see the sunrise and had no problem getting up and dressed 🙌

I opened the curtains and could see a heavy frost covering the cars. I knew the moon was on my favourite cycle, so while the kettle was boiling I pulled on my coat and headed out, in the hope of clear skies. It was amazingly clear and there was the, almost, rock-a-by baby moon

I stood and stared for a few moments, then realised I’d forgottten gloves and hat and was starting to freeze to the spot 😂 It was certainly a cold morning…It was a tad too soon to head out for the sunrise, so I snuggled back inside to warm up with a cuppa.

Worried I might get distracted and eager to be outside, one cuppa sufficed, this time remembering my gloves, which live on the radiator so are always toasty warm in a morning, along with my hat which sits beside.

The sky was totally clear and bright as I reached the corner

Up the snicket, the air icy cold, my fingers already numb. Good job I’d remembered my hotties inside my gloves, but it was so cold even they were only luke warm as I rubbed them between my fingers hoping for a thaw. The leaves on the ground, wet and muddy the day before suddenly looked crisp and bright. Each individual leaf frozen in time

Dog walkers passed me by, wishing me good morning. Geezer, Albert and Leah, far too busy playing to take any notice …as they’d just come out of the playing field, so I stopped and snapped the waiting sky

All the mud along the lane was now frozen solid so I decided to walk through to my sunrise spot, which would have been a quagmire the day before, but was now troughs of frozen mud and much easier to walk through. I reached the open field

I couldn’t remember where the sun would rise 🤔 I couldn’t remember the last time I was here and sure enough, I spotted the edge of the golden ball through the trees

I’d have to move. I walked up alongside the farmers field, the ruts deeper and rougher, but eventually came to the only view I’d get this morning, still through the trees but a tad clearer

And stood…..and watched…..and snapped

I could feel my breathing become much calmer, nature was working its magic. I might not have had a clear view, but, today, it didn’t seem to matter.

I walked back along the field edge and decided that a walk through the wood would be possible today. No longer the muddy inaccessible walk, but now a path frozen overnight. As I headed towards the wood, every now and then a clearing would allow me sight of the sun

The entrance to the wood was quiet. The bramble leaves coated tiny crystals of ice, suddenly taking on a different beauty

The sun light was just beginning to filter through the the trees, like a dimmer switch, starting off low

Then the higher the sun reached, the switch was turned to a gentle glow, my shadow standing beside them

At the back of the wood is an opening and suddenly I caught sight of moving figures in the field. I stayed very still, until I was sure

It feels like months since I’ve seen deer. A huge smile covered my icy cold face.The morning sun had just reached the copse behind them and was casting an soft misty glow behind them as they grazed, unaware of my presence..

They were quite a way away, but I knew they’d hear the slightest sound from the crunchy ground beneath my feet. 

As I slowly moved, one looked up and I froze again

They were heading for the shelter of the trees, the male lagging behind

As they disappeared out of sight, I sighed a contented sigh and turned to see the wood flooded with light

I had a peek through the trees to see if the deer had come through to the next field, but no sign of them, just natures beauty everywhere I looked

As I walked back to the original opening, there they were again, they hadn’t gone into the copse after all.

All I could see was their three white bums as they were feasting on something tasty in the ground

I noticed behind them were another group of birds…pheasant? Grouse? I wasn’t sure, they were too far away to identify, but there were lots of them feeding off something

A gunshot suddenly spooked the deer 

…and they all raced across the field to safety

My feet and hands were now frozen solid too

I shook my hands and feet as I wobbled through the back of the wood. I could see where villagers had put planks of wood to traverse the mud, but these were frozen solid in the wood today and made for an easier passage through. 

I came out at the back of the horses fields

Not far to home now …another beautiful collection of frozen leaves caught my eye and made me stop once more to snap

Out into the open playing fields, the white frost starting to glisten in the morning sunshine

I made my way home, back along the lane..

…and finally my last photo, of the church looking resplendent as the morning sun began to cast the shadows of trees across its brickwork….

What a difference one day makes….From thick fog to a clearer head, overnight, as if by magic. Today I’m back to having the upper hand after weeks of dementia’s steel grip and it felt good to be back….how long will it last before the tide turns?…only time will tell….but while the odds are on my side I’ll carry on…after all, what is life without hope…

My paperback is published today….!

The paperback version is always published a year after the hardback, but I can’t believe a year has passed by! Bloomsbury, my publishers, have been working hard at juggling the release of this one, What I wish people knew about dementia with the forthcoming release of my third and final book, One Last Thing… in June. 

Jonny…my diary keeper and organiser extraordinaire of everything, has been busying himself in the office arranging publicity for me. It’s been a difficult juggling game. I hadn’t realised how complicated publicity organising was until it was agreed my final book would be published in June. Then the juggling began 😂

Anyway, here’s what we have so far, just in case they’re programmes anyone watches:

  1. Thursday 9 February – 9am ) – ITV Lorraine TV interview, with my partner in writing Anna Wharton – whose birthday it is that day! . In the studio in London. 
  2. Sunday 19 February – 10:30am  – BBC One Sunday Morning Live TV interview in the studio
  3. Sunday 26 February  – BBC Radio 2 Good Morning Sunday radio interview, via Zoom. 

The Telegraph have also written a piece, for those of you who get that broadsheet, but not sure when they’re publishing at the mo…maybe Feb 13th 🤔

And The Lady magazine are running a piece in their March issue…

It’s so lovely to be having different programmes as I don’t think I’ve been on these ones before, so big thumbs up to Jonny…☺️

If you want a copy you might consider supporting my partner in writing, Anna Wharton and buy it through her book shop ☺️

Or if you’d like a signed copy from me, feel free to email me

Are moments of joy enough to make a life?

None of us have a life 100% happy all the time. We all have our ups and downs. But what happens when you know the downs will only increase?

Once again, I’m not looking for sympathy, anything but. It’s just that writing a blog about my feelings helps me to put things into perspective; helps me to sort the muddle in my brain into some sort of order and meaning; my fingers helping me sort out my thought.

My continuing low mood since Christmas has taken me by surprise. Looking back through my blogs of previous years, and I’m usually full of sparkle at the start of a new year. As I said in my first blog of 2023, I’ve lots to look forward to….pockets of joy. But my dementia is making it increasingly harder ….the moments of joy becoming less than the moments of confusion……it’s always been the other way round. That’s how I’ve always stayed so positive – joyous moments outnumbering dementia. But I can feel the tide turning….

I don’t remember, ever in my life, being one for self pity, for staying down too long. I’ve always found a way to pick myself up and look forward….but what happens when looking forward means ever increasing confusion? A conundrum I appear to be facing at the moment.

Take this particular morning. I really didn’t want to get our of bed 😳�….not a natural feeling for me, mornings being my favourite time. But more often lately I’ve had to force myself to get up, that lull of comfort dementia gives you from doing nothing, almost weighing me down to stay in bed. It’s not like that normal feeling of being so cosy and warm you don’t want to leave your bed. It’s that false of of security dementia gives you when doing nothing; just lying there with an empty head….and it really is wonderful. At the moment I’ve still got the energy to fight against it and force myself to get up and start the day. But think of that if your loved one doesn’t want to leave his or her bed. That may be their reason why.

Once I’d got out of bed, it was as though I was on automatic and before I knew it I was out of the door heading for the duck pond, without having consciously thought, ‘that’’s what I’ll do”. Suddenly my head seemed to clear. The cold morning air diluting my dementia into the wide open space before me.

I stood for ages by the island, just clicking, as all the ducks were preening themselves, probably just having been fed by Steve

Seeing the detail, their immaculate feathers, just calmed me, made me feel content

They knew I hadn’t brought food…it wasn’t my they allowed me these special moments just to be there with them

Bringing me so much comfort, so much calmness…

I suddenly realised my legs were becoming stiff and cold from icy start to the day, so moved on. The morning traffic was streaming through the village and instead of my usual crossing and heading up through the houses, I found myself by, what will become in a few days time, a drift of snowdrops

Eventually these delicate white drops of flowers will fill the kerbside, welcoming people into the village or welcoming them out…but for now we have just the first few in flower

I stood for ages at the roadside waiting to cross, uncertain of myself whenever a gap appeared, until one kind driver slowed the traffic down for me and I was able to cross to the other side safely. 

Looking at my photos now, as I relate this story, I must have been in a haze as I rarely turn right at the traffic lights, but today I did. Maybe it was the sun, having just risen, that attracted my attention

I must definitely have been on automatic

As I cut through the hedge into the field that would lead me back to the village, it would have been mega muddy underfoot, as it always is here and the landowner has suddenly erected a fence preventing us from going on his land to avoid the soggy parts 🙄�….but the sun kept distracting me, another moment of contentment

I eventually reached my morning viewing point for the sunrise, but from the other way

I can see from this photo how waterlogged the ground is….my boots will be caked 🙄

… strange that I wasn’t aware? I must have just been enjoying the moment in the fresh cold air.

No more photos until I reached Abbys field, Debbie looking as cute as ever

Who knows where I went next….as my final photo could be any tree anywhere in the village but thankfully, the unmistakably silhouette makes me smile….

So as I lay here tapping away, the only thought on my mind, now I’m once more, inside handcuffed very firmly to dementia is…….how long before moments of contentment are not enough….? How long before dementia wins….and I stay in bed under its controlling influence?

Another visit, another magic moment…….

********Before todays blog…..I can see by the numbers that not everyone got my blog yesterday 😔….so sorry if you were one of them and I hope you receive it today? Not sure what happened. I do know there was an update to WordPress yesterday which always seems to cause some problems so it may have been that 🤞********

The day after I’d been to The Wetlands with Pip, my daughter Sarah messaged me to ask if I wanted to go watch her wild swimming with her friend from work. It was a Sunday morning and the forecast was for the wind to have dropped and the sun to shine – what more could we ask for?

So at 09.30 Sarah picked me up and we drove along to 8 Acre Lake where we met Sarah’s friend from work. There were lots of divers there already getting ready to explore beneath the water.

The watery sunshine was creating lovely silhouettes on the surface of the water

After the last few days of strong winds I couldn’t believe how still and calm the water was

The weather had turned cold again and I was glad someone had to stay onshore to take the photos as they gingerly entered the water 🤪😂

There were certainly screams and sounds of pain coming from them both, first Sarah

…then Debbie

Eventually they both went under….I think if either of them had been alone they would have given up before they started, but having each other there encouraged them both to venture in and eventually swim

Apparently it’s a minute in the water for each degree of cold and they probably stayed in about 5 minutes. While they were getting dressed, I went over to the divers and asked them how cold the water was (as they had all the gear that told them everything)….they’d just come out too and were complaining about the cold and they’d had wet suits on 😂 Once all their dials had stopped steaming up, they revealed it was 4 degrees.

Sarah and her friend were well happy, which probably sounds a tad strange 😳😂�…but the colder it is, the better they feel. You wouldn’t think that swimming in water so cold would make you feel so good, but it’s once your out of the water that the benefits circulate around the body. That 5 minutes of pain gave them a whole day of feeling good so definitely worth it for those who dare take the plunge. Catherine at Appletrees in Keswick swears by it, and it was she who got Sarah into it in the first place ☺️

I snapped away and left them to their chatting and hot drinks before it was time for goodbyes and to leave. As we sat in the car, Sarah suddenly said she had an hour or so before her next meet up and would I like to go to the Wetlands 😳�…..

The huge smile that appeared on my face told her the answer. It’s close by her swimming lake so only took a few minutes. It was a sunny Sunday morning so the car park was busy, but as soon as we got out of the car I could feel contentment seep through my body to the tips of my fingers.

We always go into the picnic shelter first and immediately my eyes spied a Robin on the fence. He had his back to me….

Then as I gently sat down on the nearby bench, he turned his head to see what was happening

Sarah had joined me at this point and suggested I put some food on my hand. It didn’t move as I rifled through my pocket. Just watched patiently as if knowing what was to come. I laid my hand on the table, a moments pause and silence before it hopped onto the table

Then swiftly but so delicately it flew to my hand, took a piece of pink suet and flew to the branch. I was convinced it would return until it turned its back on me and started preening. Then I knew it wouldn’t. It had had enough but it gave me one moment of pure joy just by taking that one piece. It turned round once more, fluffed itself up and simply stared, as if to say: “See you next time”

We could see my favourite lapwings were on the lake but nowhere near the numbers me and Pip had seen further up..

We decided to walk to the hides I’d missed with Pip the previous day. It’s only a short walk anti-clockwise at the start of the square. Along the way 2 more Robins appeared. This time Sarah held the suet in her hand

But neither ventured further than the branch…😔

As we settled down onto the benches and opened the narrow window, we could see the Cormorants were happy for some sunshine too. They were able to spread their wings out to dry and bask instead of being in the water

One flew overhead to join its mates

The lake to the right was empty….maybe they all now prefer the other lakes where me and Pip saw so many 🤔�…..

We made our way to the final hide, my favourite, high up on stilts. Just at the turning point to the hide, they’ve placed rows of bird feeders that appears to attract only Goldfinches and Greenfinches…

I so wish I could have such a contraption in my garden – although I’d probably never go out if I did 🤣 – we said how squirrels don’t seem to be a problem here 🤔�…maybe it’s the type of trees they’ve planted that aren’t a favourite of the squirrel as I’ve never seen any here 🤔

I could quite easily just stay and watch the birds coming and going here. They’ve even placed a camera so they must be on the look out for something special., but I was more than happy with these..

Time was getting on, so I dragged myself away and we went up the steps into the final hide. When we’ve been before, this hide has been full of people. As soon as we entered and saw it was empty, we knew the lake was probably empty too. It was…..almost….

At the far side we could see two big birds and one smaller. As I zoomed in I saw the bigger birds wer Shelducks

Such beautiful markings and so distinctive

The smaller one in the middle of the two was another of my favourite birds…..a solitary curlew

It’s long curved beak meant it could only be a Curlew

So yes, I suppose some would say it was empty but actually seeing these three together was a real treat. The Curlew, I love, and I’d never seen a Shelduck before…..wonderful…..

As we headed out to drive back home, the sun was still shining….and I was still smiling….I could never tire of coming here….

Late Afternoon at the Wetlands…….

Pip had messaged me the day before to see if I fancied a trundle. We hadn’t seen each other since Christmas what with one thing and another. Me and Pip live at opposite ends of the day 😂 Pip is definitely not a morning person and the later it gets the harder it is for me, so 2pm was our meeting time. We’d argued over messages about where to go 🤣�….and the fact that, if we were going in the car, I needed to pay for some petrol, so I knew another ‘discussion’ would be had when I knocked on her door 😂

It had been a mega windy day and I’d been blown into town in record time, the clouds giving a welcome break to the morning sun 

My legs couldn’t keep up with the speed of the wind! 🤣

The afternoon arrived and the wind was still blowing at considerable speed. I headed to the duck pond, food in my bag, wondering if it would all fly back in my face as I threw it over the water 🙈 As soon as I arrived they all started heading towards me. The ducks weren’t daft and kept low as they were flying across

The Mandarin, swayed in the wind….

…but kept it’s balance to land on the outside fence making me want to grab hold of it to stop it falling into the road 😳 but he soon jumped down onto the path and started hoovering up the seed.

Feeding frenzy ensued in the water

….until eventually all the seed was gone and calmness prevailed as they all started preening themselves..

Up through the houses now and along the back lane to Pip’s house. A blue Tit clinging onto the branch for dear life as the wind ruffled its feathers

Snowdrops have suddenly started to appear everywhere…the first sign of spring..

Through the church yard and down the steps (I’d always wondered where Pip appeared from, and had never found the steps in the corner until I saw someone climbing through 🤣) 

Pips had a lot going on in her life recently, so I knew she’d be fractious and hypo, but I also knew that a visit to the Wetlands would calm her soul. So I persisted with my argument for going there as she hasn’t been for years as dogs aren’t allowed, so would never had gone with Cosby when he was alive. 

I won 🤪�…I also won with the petal money, which I stuffed through the letterbox when she’d locked up 🤣and off we went to my favourite place. We decided to do the walk around clockwise, leaving the hide on stilts until last. She was as fractious as I imagined she would be but soon nature began to work its magic. First the Highland Cows, in the long flowing grasses of the marshland

They appeared to graze constantly as rarely did they lift their heads 😂 Into the first picnic hide and all we could see were lots of cormorants in the water

The photo didn’t do it justice as there were loads. I guess it was too rough to be basking on the islands as they usually do 🤔

We chatted, strolled then stopped at every viewing point, Pip finally calming and letting nature do its work

Bird feeders were scattered about the reserve and so many different varieties were out today

Into the next hide and I suddenly realised that these areas are usually sparcely populated when I come in a morning, but each lake so far had been teeming with life

Lots of my favourite ducks came into view here, their marking so exquisite, so unique

We carried on walking and chatting and looking back at my photos now, I realise I take much fewer when I’m with people. I can’t chat and snap but luckily, with Pip, she’s also taking photos, so I guess I snap when she does 🤔

The way they’ve created the reserve and are constantly making changes is so wonderful. Every now and then viewing gaps appear, giving the most wonderful view

It was seeing the sun starting to set that suddenly confused me. I’m not used to being here at this time. We’d been meandering but now realised we needed to get more of a wiggle on, otherwise we’d be locked in for the night 🤣

But every so often magic happened. There were so many Robins around here and often in pairs and they felt very friendly

I decided to see if they’d come on my hand to be fed…felt in my pocket for my small container of bird suet and rested a few pieces on my hand. It took a moment or two, the Robins, hesitating….should they be brave? Then I felt the soft flutter of their wings against my skin, their tiny body landing on my hand for a second before flying off with their reward. What a special moment 🥰

Again, another opening showed how we mustn’t linger for long as the reserve would be closed at dusk and we still had some way to go…

The next opening showed another lake, usually sparcely populated but this time alive with hundreds of Lapwings

I’d only ever seen a handful of birds in this lake before, I’m sure of it 🤔�…but today they were all here…again the photo doesn’t do the volume justice. You’d have to see them to believe how many…

Every now and then a group would take flight and land in another feeding place

I don’t know what it is about these birds but I adore their silhouette and with the sun setting in front of us, that’s all I could get 🥰

We crossed over to go through the gate and as we stood looking at the opposite lake I was aware of some commotion overhead. I looked up and there were the hundreds of lapwings putting on a show in the sky, swooping in groups, like an evening murmuration all of their own

I kept losing my balance and stumbling here and there and I tried to follow their flight with my camera. An moment of sheer joy that was over in minutes as they slowly landed back into the water….just amazing 🥰

We carried on along the muddy path chatting away to anyone coming the opposite way and passing us. Then Pip saw them first….two more Robins….they were never close enough for me to snap them together but both definitely sharing the same territory

I held out my hand once more, a few pieces of pink suet to temp them to land…after a few failed attempts, one suddenly plucked up the courage and again, that gentle light fluttering of their wings on my skin, their tiny feet fleetingly landing and taking off at the same time. That magic moment had happened again….I was bursting with contentment

We reached the third of the four paths of the square and the sky provided the breathtaking view this time

Each snap I took, so did Pip….we must have the same photographs from this visit 😂

The lakes that were usually teeming were almost empty…..we’d seen them all on the others today

Finally, as we reached the last path of the square, the sun was setting and heading to lighten lands far away

The final set of bird feeders appeared, but the light was going and the birds were settling but one long tailed tit obliged for the camera

We started to hurry along to the end. We wouldn’t have time for the biggest hide or the last one……but now Pip knew just how magical it was here….well, they could wait until our next visit….

What will you do today? – Poem…….and music

This was a poem I wrote for social media  for Dementia Action Week some years ago, which but thought I’d share it here as well as it applies to any day and anybody……and a good way to end the week…..…

What Action will you take today?
To make someone feel safe
To make someone feel calm

What Action will you take today?
For someone with dementia
For a stranger in the street

If you can’t think of an ACTION today
A smile can relieve a thousand thoughts
A smile can relieve a thousand worries

If you can’t think of an ACTION to take today
You may make someone else’s day………….

A day of heavy showers and surprising sights….

I didn’t hold out much hope for this particular day….when I woke, it was grey with heavy rain clouds in the sky. It wasn’t long before the clouds started to relieve themselves of the rain 🙄

I had two meetings on line but both had been cancelled, so I was at a bit of a loss. I pottered on my iPad for a while, but around 9.30 I looked it and it appeared to have stopped raining….time for a quick trundle between the showers. My legs felt stiff and heavy after my jaunt to York the day before 🙄…so it was obvious that a gentle walk was in order today. 

A crowd of people had just parked and were congregating at the playing fields. They soon set off along the back lane

Seems like we’re not the only ones who think our village is a good place to trundle 😂

At the squirrel tree, one young squirrel was on door duty

…and another one kept trying to enter the dray, but kept being pushed out 🙄…he sat on the branch waiting for his moment

My Robin wasn’t in its usual place near the church yard. It was silent of song and I felt quite disappointed…until a little while further on and the distinctive sound and perfect silhouette brought a smile to my face

Ahead of me was our local village Womble….

I’d spoke to her as we were walking through the houses picking up litter. Apparently each week she gives up her time just to go round the street picking up litter 🥰…how amazingly kind is that?

Suddenly overhead, there was a roar of military jets. I instinctively pointed my camera upwards and clicked 

We’d had a lot of military activity of late…😔

I knew I’d only make one lap of the village as more rain clouds were being blown across the sky. So passed Gemma and Stuarts house, across the main road and up through the houses on the opposite side of the village. To my surprise there was my first clump of snowdrops I’d seen…

The village is a beautiful drift of snowdrops but not this early usually 🤔…maybe just an early variety. Will have to keep my eyes peeled for more. Aconites are starting to flower as well

Another roar of low flying aircraft. This time a solitary plane

Almost home and I could feel spots of rain on my face. I quickened my wobble, hid my camera inside my coat and within a few minutes I was home again, looking out at the rain.🙄

The next time it stopped was just before lunch. So I decided to head out to feed the ducks. 

I thought this might be my last one as my weather app didn’t show any promise of further dry spells 🙄

As soon as I arrived at the pond and placed my stick against the fence, the ducks knew I’d brought food and set upon their noisy quacking to let them all know

Madge and Mable followed soon after to land right by me 🤣

The males are beginning to find their mates, so a lot more squabbling going on as one male gets too close to another males mate 🤣 The Mandarin flies up to hoover up the seed dropped by Madge and Mabel, has his fill, then paddles out of the chaos and stands quietly on the log

Once all the seed is gone, I amble round to the back lane again and soon come to Abby’s field. Wally and Valley are sheltering out of the wind

No room for the others, who were huddled together instead 🤣

Once more the rain stops me in my tracks and I have to abandon my walk and make my way home again.

I’d already resigned myself to no more outings, but at sunset, sudddenly the sky came alive. Even from my window it looked amazing

….but I couldn’t resist getting dressed again and dashing out. I stopped for a moment as I stepped outside the door and sure enough the heavy rain that had been pouring down the hill had stopped once more. I knew it wouldn’t last long and kept snapping

I trundled along the Main Street towards West End and the clouds were alight

The grey of rain laden clouds tinged with a golden edge

The jets soared overhead once more heading back to wherever this time

It only lasted 5 minutes

….the time it took me to reach the end of the village

……and then it was gone as if it had never happened….I walked back through the houses one more time as darkness fell …..a strange day….but what a finish….

Early morning trip to York……

I felt like a change of scenery this particular day. We’d had day of grim, dark, wet weather and I was going stir crazy confined to home. This day though, had been forecast to have a nice sunny morning and I decided to take advantage of the £2 cap on all bus journeys. In case you havn’t heard, in the UK (or maybe just England 🤔),until the end of March, there’s a £2 cap on all single fares on buses. I can’t use my bus pass until 09.30 in our area, so before that time it’s normally £8 so well worth a trip.

I was awake early and pottered on my iPad with a cuppa tea beside me, until leaving around 07.35… bus was at 08.47, so a calm walk AND I’d hopefully see the sunrise.

I decided to walk light, so didn’t take my bag. Instead I popped £2 in my pocket along with my pass for coming back and my bank card, just in case. As I stepped outside, the moon was still up and about, shining bright in the sky through the trees opposite

I could feel the cold wind blowing me off balance as I zoomed in for a close up. I waited for a break in the gust as the wind was winning 😂 before snapping

The sky was as clear as a bell as I turned into the Hight Street

Passing by my favourite silhouette house…

…then on through the traffic lights, heading for the Westwood. The sky was just beginning to colour as I reached the golf club, still quiet, golfers yet to arrive and start their rounds out on the breezy course

As I reached my viewing point, I glanced at my watch and realised I had time to walk up to the Mill, but as I turned my eyes towards the sky again, the show had begun

I abandoned the idea of going across the grass to the Mill as the trees would mask my view. Instead I carried on walking, every now and then, snapping the view once more

I kept stopping …and looking…..and watching… cars sped by, taking children to school or going to work. If only they could stop and watch …..

It never fails to make my spirits soar, the corners of my mouth turning upwards into a smile

I suddenly realised time was ticking by and I needed to get a wiggle on or I’d be late….but I couldn’t resist stopping every few yards, each time there was a gap in the trees, and checking on its progress…Then as if by magic, the next time I looked, it was fully risen and clear in the sky

……and I headed into town content…I checked the notice board and it told me I had 10 minutes as the bus was probably caught in the morning rush.

I ambled round and round the bus station as it was too cold to sit and wait and before long the distinctive x46 pulled into its stand. I sat upstairs and watched the world go by and just after 10 I was alighting at Stonebow, the sun still shining, the church tower and hanging sheep (don’t know the story behind that one 😂) raised high against the blue sky in front of me.

I was planning on walking alongside the river, following my old running route, but as I reached the steps, that became out of the question….the river had overflowed. After all the rain we’d had, I should have thought of that 🙄 Flood gates were up on the door, protecting the famous pub below, where drinkers would normally be sat outside along the railings, but not today…

My whirlpool, always present, no matter what, was clearly visible. I’m sure I mentioned it in my first book 🤔. Plan B the……I’d walk to the 3 bridges and snap what I see….so this was number one….Onto the next one, where the rowing club sits and strangely, their side, that’s nearly always flooded if the opposite side is, was clear

Maybe the level had dropped here and it would be flooded once more as the rain was washed down from the river higher up…🤷‍♀️

The next bridge was the furthest one away so I ambled through the shopping streets decked out for Chinese New year, with lanterns strewn across the street

Then alongside Cliffords Tower……

….before reaching the final one. The sun was blazing down right through the middle creating a path of sunlight

I forget which is which bridge, but they’re Lendal, Skeldergate and Ouse Bridge….all beautiful for different reasons and a joy to walk alongside when the river isn’t high 😂

The final one finished and I walked back into town, the central avenue also decked with lanterns in the swaying in the trees

I had 40 minutes before my bus, so just time to head to the Minster. I didn’t have time to go inside this visit. It is quite expense but it’s a lovely Minster. I remember, as a resident all those years ago, we used to have free access with our York Card. Not sure if they still do that, but it’s well worth a visit if you’re in the area, but very difficult to get a full photo as it really is surrounded by ancient buildings

I sat on the bench, trying to get the Minster and the nearby church in the same photo😂

I finally snuck up the little side street and took one of my favourite views of it peaking out at the end.

My final stop was Betty’s tea room. I treated myself to one of their afternoon tea cake selections before heading back for the bus. As the bus made its journey homeward I could feel myself wanting to close my eyes. I’d have to get off at Bishop Burton and walk the 2 miles home, as I’d miss the village bus if I stayed on until town. 

Luckily I only had the one bag, but the wind was strong and the land around very open, so it was a hard slog of a walk. I’d have been out of the house for 6 hours by the time I got home, so it wasn’t any surprise I was tired. My back ached, my neck was starting to get wore from the weight of my camera and each step got harder. I resorted to counting my steps. Every hundred I stopped and had a breather. I could see the rain clouds approaching and desperately wanted to get home before it started….

The final count of a hundred….now I was at the village allotments so on the home straight. As I put the key in my door, I was relieved to have made it and sat on my stairs for a while. As I headed upstairs for a well deserved cuppa, I felt my flask and it was heavier than I imagined it would be….🤔�… wonder I struggled to walk home 🙄 I’d been out 6 hours and only had one cuppa tea and nothing to eat 😳�… I went into the kitchen and opened my Betty’s box and headed upstairs for an afternoon inside as the weatherman had been right and the rain had now started to fall but luckily I’d made it home in time…