Spot the Poster………

Well today I thought I’d be writing about my Skydive experience…..but sadly it wasn’t to be. The weather was totally against us this weekend. I was feeling very sorry for myself until I heard that Rachel from Dementia Diaries, had been all kitted out, walking to the plane and then had to turn around and was cancelled😳🙈😱 Put my sadness into perspective and instead went for a drive with Sarah to the daffodils

I will inevitably jump at some point, but we’re at the hands of the weather……..won’t be advertising it until I know it’s actually going to happen this time.

Anyway……so to the actual replacement blog today……..

The lovely people at my publishers Bloomsbury, have created a poster which will be displayed at many train stations around the country and underground stations in London😳😳😳😳😳😳😳. including this one spotted at Aldgate East tube station…..

They will be on display from now but only for a couple of weeks..

I would really love it if you see one to take a selfie or just a piccie and let me know where you’ve seen it.

When they first told me, I had the idea of touring the stations and taking selfies at them all..🤪…until they sent me the list and I saw how many they were 🤣……so I’d like your help instead.

If you’d like to know if there’s one at a station near you, feel free to ask me.☺️ but they’re at most of the big stations and lots of random little ones. There’s 4 at Birmingham New Street, 6 at various platforms in Leeds, Doncaster, Norwich, Rugby, Manchester and 5 at my beloved York but many many more and also in many tube stations in London.

I’d love to see your piccies or just to know you’ve seen one and where – Twitter is a good place to put them and include me @WendyPMitchell in the tweet, or I’m also on Facebook (but not very good at that🙄).

I’m hoping to see my first tomorrow on the way to London via Doncaster. I’m lucky enough to be on Woman’s Hour in the morning. For once I hope the train is going slow enough for me to take a piccie – ha!

Looking forward to hearing from everyone. Sorry to the kind people who read my blog overseas!

Visitors to my home………..

Yesterday saw the publication of my paperback and on World Books Day too……how amazing❤️

I had two interviews, and a FaceTime but this time all in the comfort of my home….and looking at the rainy windy cold weather outside, it was a good job…..also because I still had the banging head from yesterday……🙄

The first was from the local Radio station, BBC Radio Humberside. Phil White, the Saturday breakfast show host, had contacted me after reading about my Skydive and wondered if I would go into the studio on Saturday morning to talk on his programme……mmmmm well hopefully I’ll be flying like a bird that morning out of an aeroplane. So he agreed to come to my house yesterday morning and record the short interview instead.

Phil arrived right on time in the pouring rain🙄…..I don’t think I’ve ever been on Radio Humberside before so he didn’t know me and seemed a tad taken aback by the paperback lying on the table and the scrabble board that I’ll be playing with the Financial Times a few hours later….. But he was lovely and didn’t pretend. Our chat included me talking about my book in the few minutes we recorded as well as about the Skydive for Young Dementia UK.

I always like it when people see me for the first time. You can see the seeds being sown about dementia right before your eye…….I did forget to take a piccie though🙈

So the morning came and went and before I knew it 1 o’clock had arrived and the knock on the door lead to the arrival of Harriet and Tom the photographer. They were from the Financial Times. They Have a piece where they’re interviewing people while doing their favourite hobby. They’d asked me if I would have a game of scrabble while I did mine. Scrabble is part of my morning routine, although I play it on line so I did wonder how it would work playing on a board again.

The aim was for us to play a game of scrabble while talking about my book……Tom decided the conservatory had the most light due to the grey rainy day outside. He even had an amazing camera with actual film inside ….none of this digital lark…..😂

They were the nicest friendliest people and boy did we have a laugh. Bets were on at Bloomsbury as to who would win🤣 and the cheating probably started pretty quickly…..although I think we called it ‘House rules’ – my house my rules 🤣

Tom unobtrusively took photos as and when he saw a good shot……the word ‘competitive’ took on a whole new meaning as delaying tactics were used by asking me a question, Tom wanting a posed photo…..such such fun.Havn’t a clue what we talked about🙄 all I know is ……. Harriet added up the score several times just to make sure………

I’ll let you decide from the piccie who won……I was sad when it was over as we laughed so much!

And here’s the proof……..

Wonderful, such a happy interview……or at least I assume Harriet got the interview she wanted as well😳

The day ended with a FaceTime call with Sophie, producer of BBC’s Woman’s hour. It was a briefing call as I’m due to be on their programme on Monday morning which involves the earliest silly o’clock start but hey ho………

That was another lovely friendly interviewer. I wasn’t typing while taking the call so I havn’t a scooby doo what we talked about except right at the end she said she’d heard I was doing a Skydive on Saturday…….soooo excited ……so hopefully I will do it and be able to talk about it on the programme, who knows!

All have had such smiley faces today and all at home. Smiley, friendly faces make all the difference……….

and now I’ve finished typing this, head banging…. I’ll just close my eyes…..relax……and reflect on what has been a very surreal but wonderful day….❤️……and one of the amazing things that came my way today, was my very own Gif………which I can’t stop watching….❤️…I hope it works on my blog……

A Busy Day in London……..

Yesterday found me up at silly o’clock for a trundle to London. Well, I say I was up….my body was out of bed but my brain had decided it was having none of it…….I was convinced I was going for a particular train and the taxi was coming at a particular time………those were the times today’s brain told me anyway. Good my brain on the day I actually booked the taxi was in working order. There I was meandering aimlessly and getting ready when I saw the taxi lights outsides😳………..early………or so I thought……….Good job my bag was ready and tickets in my pocket as I rushed out of the house. Good job I didn’t make him wait too long for me as I just caught the train🙈🙄

The new tablets are playing havoc with me in a morning. Brain suppressed, ability to think missing. So good job I have automatic mode that trusts my packing the night before, but at least I was on the train. A strange very old train. One where the windows still open 😳 and the customer safety instructions involve a ladder😱. I’m sure the driver stalled the train as we were pulling out of the station. All the passengers looked round nervously laughing……..but it got us to Doncaster where I had enough time for a cuppa tea and time to play solitaire and scrabble to try and open up my head. It didn’t help when I heard the station announcement

“There will now be a series of fire alarm tests……..”😱🤯

Anyway, I digress……it had rained heavily overnight so it was a dull grey start to the day. Only faithful dog walkers were to be seen by the Humber

I was trundling to London to do nice bookie things with Bloomsbury. The first of which was at the Head Office of Waterstones in Piccadilly! I was there to talk to their staff about my book, book shop design and my change in reading habits. What I talk about is always as much as a surprise to me as to the audience as I often write them the week before so they’re new to me by the time I read them🙄

Amazingly the train was on time and I walked to Bloomsbury. I was met by Emma and Hannah who look after me and after hugs and a catch up me and Hannah went in the taxi to the amazingly large Waterstones in Piccadilly, within which is their headquarters.

We were met inside by Peter who looks after all the online stuff and twitter (😊). Apparently they never ask authors into here to speak to managers and members of staff so I was very happy to be there. One manager had come from Horsham I think and the others were local. Peter earned the first brownie point for bringing me a pot of tea and one of the women then earns hers by getting me a chair to put it on.

We chatted for about 20 minutes, during which I rambled about anything and everything to do with m book, including my change in reading habits! One bit I said,

I’ve rediscovered the joy of reading children’s books. The unbelievable detail of the illustrations. Why should children’s books be solely for children, adults of all ages can enjoy them all over again or sometimes for the very first time. ”

It was over in a flash but had lots of questions, none of which come to mind🙄 I signed some of their stock of books ready for tomorrow and then Hannah booked the cab to take us back to the office. I sat quietly in the conservatory for a while with a much needed cuppa as my head was still banging from the morning and we still had a podcast to record😳

I’d just finished my cuppa when it was time for the podcast. The RiffRaff, a podcast that champions debut authors wanted to chat about the process of writing Somebody I Used to Know, and other stuff. We went upstairs and the lovely smiley woman was there all set up. I forgot to write her name 🙈🙄…….but she was sooooo nice.

We talked about this that and everything for about an hour I think 🤔. She was so kind in her comments but obviously I couldn’t type so have no idea really as the detail vanished before I got on the train home where I’m typing this…..🙄. I do remember how smiley and nice she was though and I remember much laughing……😊

Apparently it should be broadcast on march 18th. Here’s their website for anyone interested.

https://www.the-riffraff.com/podcast-2

By the end my head was well and truly still banging. It had had enough. So luckily we’d left plenty of time for me to amble back to kings cross. I thought id just pop into WH Smith’s just in case they had my book early and what were they just putting on the shelves……

Amazing day, despite the head……..☺️

Visit to BBC Radio York……

On Monday morning I trundled into York on the bus to meet with the lovely Jonathan Cowap from Radio York. Jonathan has always been kind to me and invited me on his programme at regular intervals since I was diagnosed 4 or 5 years ago.

I couldn’t remember when I last saw him so searched my blog for the memory and found it was almost a year ago to the day! It must have been at the time of the release of the hardback version of my book, looking at the piccie.

Anyway, this time it was me contacting Jonathan as I wanted to publicise the Skydive I’m doing for Young Dementia UK on Saturday as well as my paperback and luckily he was free to see me.

Monday morning dawned and after Storm Freya battering the land overnight, I was pleased to see the sunshine. I’ve had terrible trouble with a batch of new medication lately, making my mood sink unusually low and feeling very tired so it was nice to see the sunshine to try and keep my head above the waterline.
No taxi needed this morning as we weren’t meeting until 1pm so I could take the village bus into town to catch the bus to York.

I had time to spare so I ambled through the lovely Museum Gardens….

And saw the lovely spring daffodils…..

I didn’t print a map or set my phone to show me the way once I was in York, as I assumed I would just know…….wrong…….. I must have taken a wrong turning and couldn’t work out where to go. However, I never worry in York, as all the shopkeepers are so kind and helpful and soon had me on the right route once more.

Jonathan was stood at the door waiting for me so after a hug and a catch up we went straight into the studio and recorded the piece. I wasn’t typing so listening to what I said will be as much a surprise to me as to you!

It may sound strange but people only see or hear the positive bits of me – they forget there are many struggles they may not capture in a brief interview, simply because I’m happy to be there. In those moments of happiness the struggles fade. Whenever I’m somewhere I want to be with people who are kind, I’m instantly happy, no matter what rubbish has passed my way before then. Once I leave the rubbish takes over again….So I imagine I must always seem the same cheery person when I meet Jonathan as he’s one of the few media people I trust to be kind. And here’s the man himself….

You should be able to hear the interview here – I’m about 1hr 33 mins into the programme…

https://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/play/p070jz00

The blog I couldn’t blog at the time……..

On Tuesday 26th Feb I trundled down to London. I’m typing this as usual as I’m on the train down. The difference this time is, I can’t publish it the next day….I’m banned…..sworn to secrecy. So many lovely things happening at the mo on the run up to my paperback coming out on THursday that I forget what I’m allowed to say and what I’m not!🤪

However, it was announced officially this morning so Hannah has given the go ahead to press play. I was trundling down to London to meet Richard and Judy to record a podcast for their book club. Most people in the UK will have heard of Richard Madeley and Judy Finnegan, husband and wife team from the telly. For those in far off lands who kindly read my blog, they have a high profile Book Club for paperback releases with the Book store, WH Smith’s . Inclusion in their top reads is highly sought after and very competitive. It’s Rae for a non fiction to make it there so for my book to reach those dizzy heights is wonderful

Anyway it meant I could actually meet them and record a podcast about my book with them for the WH Smith’s website.

I was meeting Hannah at the publishers, Bloomsbury, for us to walk together to the Charlotte Hotel where the recording was taking place.

The journey was a bit of a mare as trains in Doncaster were all delayed. Platforms changes happened every 2 minutes with people rushing from one platform to the other at a minutes notice. Luckily my change was to the one behind me so, not too stressful……but it meant I might have miss my relaxing cuppa tea at Bloomsbury😳🔫
The kind people at Bloomsbury always book me First Class tickets, so I was looking forward to a nice cosy trundle with tea on tap……only to be told the heating wasn’t working in First class and so sat with my gloves and coat still in situe🙄but at least there was tea☺️

It was the most glorious warm day when we arrived in London. Far too warm for my winter coat, but then it had been frosty when I left😳

I trundled to Bloomsbury offices and after hugs and hellos, me and Hannah made our way to the Charlotte hotel. We were shown to a lovely longe area and before long a WH Smith’s person came and showed us to the first room where we’d be recording the ‘extra bits’ and more importantly, having a potta tea. A lovely lady made us feel very welcome and before long I found myself reading the agreed paragraph from the book. I was then asked a few extra questions that would be weaved into the interview. I’m sure the woman would have told me her name but I couldn’t type while I was there so havn’t a scooby doo……….🙈 but here’s a lovely piccie of us…

Another cuppa tea and we were then shown down to another room. The lift was the most non dementia lift I’ve ever been in…..mirrors AND swirls all over the walls…..😱 I didn’t know where to look…..waiting for us were Richard and Judy and a mass of other people who I imagine were from WH Smith’s and the podcast people…….

They were so kind and very genuine. They said afterwards how they’d not known what to expect of me and were surprised I could ramble as I did. What they didn’t realise, was that they used words that sparked an often used sentence in my brain. It’s only when interviewers don’t do this that I stumble and fall silent. So you could clearly tell that they’d read the book in detail which made me very happy.

It was such a wonderful experience and I had a lovely time. I’m not sure who asked me how I would feel when I walked into WH Smith’s and saw my book, but my response was:

“ I’ll want to give it a big hug each time as, on the cover, are my two daughters this time.”
So staff beware of strange woman coming in and hugging my book😂

Who would have thought that a photo I took 30 odd years ago would now be on the cover of my book🤓

needless to say we found the stairs to come back up😂

Now obviously you can buy my book anywhere, but in the version sold in and online by WH Smith’s there are a few exclusive additions. You can read the 2 reviews by Richard and Judy; there’s a questions and answer piece of an interview with them; questions for discussion at book clubs. And finally an extra piece by me right at the end. You’ll also be able to hear the podcast interview I did for them on line.

Skydive Saturday…….!!!!!

Oh my goodness…..how can this have come round soooo quickly…..? I need you all to wish for a fine dry, unwindy, unfoggy, unrainy, preferably still sunny day……not too much to ask for at the beginning of March is it?😳🤪
I realise the weather peaked very early, with the unseasonably mild weather we’ve had of late, but I just need one more day of it on Saturday………🙏

Me and Gemma thought I might dye my hair a funny colour for the occasion so as long as it works, we’ll do that Friday evening.

Last year….well I think it was last year – ha!, I raised money for my local hospice, Dove House, where my daughter is a nurse. For them I walked on fire😳…..it was amazing…..

So what next I asked myself…..and then an advert popped up for Young Dementia UK!
It’s there 20th Anniversary this year and they decided to celebrate their epic journey supporting people with Young Onset, on the 9th March….so here’s hoping the weather behaves enough for me to do a SKYDIVE on Saturday….I can’t tell you how excited I am.

 

I’ll have my Gp approval form tightly in my hands and hope there’s no hitches. I saw her last week and she still can’t believe I’m going ahead with it…🤣

She gave me the same roll of the eyes, followed by much laughter as she had done when her signature was placed in situe …

We were hoping the media might be interested but sadly not. The venue, time of day and unreliable time of year probably putting them all off committing themselves!

I’ve been totally overwhelmed by all the support and messages I’ve received but if there’s anyone out there who would like to take the total closer to the amazing total of £3000, I’d be very grateful. I’ll be sure to be typing away on the day and report back, hopefully with video or photographic evidence!

I’m assured that Virgin accept donations from all over the world!! So people should be able to pay on my page through different currency’s if anyone is willing😊

I know we’re in strange financial times at the moment but any donation, no matter how small would help me raise the money I need, to make a difference to the work being done by Young Dementia UK for people affected by dementia.

You can donate on the link below.

https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/WendyMitchell7/1?utm_source=messenger&utm_medium=organic&utm_campaign=fundraiser&utm_term=socialshare&utm_content=fundriasingpage

THANKYOU☺️🙏

A Lovely Trundle to York………

Yesterday I was in York for a get together of Yorkshire DEEP groups. Now considering York is quite close to me – only 45 minutes by car…..it is one of the worst places to get to by public transport for an early morning arrival or to get home in time for the last village bus……..Northern rail, in their wisdom have stopped the direct train from Beverley and the bus companies have stopped the early morning direct…….🙈…..considering both are needed for workers, it makes no sense at all…..and makes my trundles very hard.

Moan over…

Anyway, so for a 10.30 start and 3pm finish I had to go by train. The taxi driver picked me up at 7.10 on a beautiful misty frosty day that would turn into summer by midday, such is the confusing weather we’re having at the mo. I was looking forward to seeing my playmates from Minds and Voices, as I missed the last session, but would also be meeting many new playmates from all over Yorkshire🥰

I was very disappointed with the state of the windows on the train so couldn’t get any nice piccies of the trundle🙄………but I passed by the river once I got to York, and that’s always a nice peaceful view.

I ambled to the Priory centre and en route picked up Damian on his bike and then Tommy and Paul from Liverpool! And we were joined inside by Scarborough, Bradford, Kirklees, and Halifax groups so our numbers had swelled beyond belief since the last get together.

Philly, Rachael and Rachel from Innovations started off by setting the scene for today and what we’ll be up to, including the launch of Dementia Enquirers to the rest of the network. ..I sat with favourite things of the day in front of me……..😊

The cartoon is by the lovely Tony Husband showing people with dementia in the driving seat of research….

After everyone said hello Rachael started talking about Our Right to a Grand Day Out project. She showed photos of the grand unfurling of our banners at York station.🥰 it was the culmination of 18 months work from people across Yorkshire living with dementia. Talking about our Rights with regards to transport and how a poor service confine us and how a good service enables us to get out and about as most of us rely on transport, so we have to feel safe.

Scarborough group talked about their Blue Badge campaign for people with Dementia and the outcome is that, once passed, it won’t depend totally on ability to walk but now includes ability to navigate. The proposal is due to come into being in April if Brexit doesn’t delay. It’s a post code lottery once again, as Tommy said they’ve had no problem in Liverpool getting blue badges……..the dreaded post code lottery again.

We watched the film from Bradford FIT group about travelling on buses. The update from them is that change is reeeeeaaally slow…..

Damian gave the update from our train issues and basically when we’re next going somewhere far afield we’re going to hire a coach……..says it all really. Nothing has happened, little has changed……

“You’ve got to get out and about and SHOUT” said Eddie……..😊


Here’s a few of my playmates from Minds and Voices – the rest were probably getting a cuppa😊

I think change sadly takes time, is very frustrating and the one thing we don’t have much of, but at least it’s showing others how people with dementia do have rights……..and do have a voice.

Just before lunch Paul and Tommy spoke about the work they’ve done on transport in Liverpool. Tommy often talks about, how in 2011, when he was diagnosed, you gain a diagnosis and with the other hand, a superpower – the ability to become invisible.
In Liverpool people with dementia train transport staff, buses, ferries, planes and trains. At the John Lennon airport, people with dementia and supporters are fast tracked through the system. It shouldn’t be a post code lottery though.

Rachel Niblock finished off before lunch by talking about the DEEP network and Dementia Diaries. We have groups all over the country from the Isle of Lewis in Scotland down to Plymouth ……the new DEEP Network now has a page for every group. Check it out here:

https://www.dementiavoices.org.uk/

And so to lunch ……..cuppa tea time……ahhhh…..and the banners went up

Photographer Ian, gave us the dates and places where the banners will be on display.

There are now some new banners, Budding Friends from Exeter and Hope, We all stand Together, from Kent and the Oldham group called the Ragartmuffins who have a motto of Art for one, Art for all. The exhibition will be an amazing sight when they’re all together.

Me and Howard then spoke about Dementia Enquirers with Philly giving us prompts. If people, like Philly, feed me the right words, I’m as happy as Larry and will probably say the right thing. I imagine I said how it will give us the chance to turn research on its head and decide the topic for ourselves. Researchers coming through our doors on our terms instead of us going through theirs on their terms….but we’re not naïve enough to think we can do it on our own. We will need a lot of help but it will be on our terms.

There was much discussion about the questions each group might like answered through their research.

I’m sure there was something else but I appear to have stopped typing at that stage 🙄

In a blink of an eye it was time to leave….but not before the trio of us doing a Skydive a weeke on Saturday had posed for a picture together

I wonder who’s looking forward to it and who’s worried…….🤣😂

It was a very weird today as I thought I would love being with so many people with dementia……so imagine my surprise when I began to feel anxious. I realised I was anxious for those others who were finding it overwhelming. I just wanted to make it right for them and I couldn’t…..😔 I could see one playmate struggling and just wanted to make the pain go away and, of course I couldn’t, until there was a break and we chatted about his time as a policeman, then he relaxed and chatted……..how sad is that……too much stimulation and noise often muddles the world around us. It WAS a wonderful day though.

Anyway, a walk back to the station along the famous walls was just what I needed to calm my banging head and get my final piccie of York with the Minster in the distance….

When I Type…….Poem

I apparently wrote this poem in 2017……..the sentiment is still the same today thank goodness…..

When I type
Words come freely
Fingers work quickly
No sign of dementia
When I type

When I type
I can pretend
I can be normal
You just wouldn’t know
I’m not like you

Until I stop
Until I speak
Until I walk
Until I stand before you
Reading my words………..

I wish I had a recording of the old me as  others would then understand how the alien hesitant childlike voice that has now taken up residence,  is a total stranger.

Never judge a book by the cover……………

What ‘Alone’ feels like……..

On Sunday it suddenly occurred to me that neither of my daughters were at home. Both were miles away.I don’t remember those thoughts crossing my mind before. The independent me suddenly feeling vulnerable……very strange….I suddenly felt very alone.

My immediate thoughts were to stay at home, stay safe in familiar surrounding, but then I thought, how ridiculous. If they didn’t live near me I would need to feel comfortable outside as well as inside so I went for a  trundle round the village, my phone stored in my pocket just in case and of course, to take lots of piccies on route….

I remember when I decided to move to the village that I had to make sure I felt at home there even if the girls moved and I did.

As I trundled round my usual route, to feed the ducks,

Along the lane

And through the field

Passed the horses

I passed by others out for a lovely Sunday walk and each said hello and smiled. I met my neighbour in the high street outside one of the village pubs and chatted about the football – or rather listened and nodded in the right places I hope…..and saw a couple who catch the village bus in the distance out for a stroll.

I needed to feel safe in the village when 1 or both daughters are not here…..and I did…..

I imagine I simply felt what it’s like for many people whose families have moved away and if dementia strikes, they care for them remotely. But I’m not really alone as I get the feeling the villagers will always look out for me and be there if I need them……..