Category Archives: A day in the life

Everyday experience of living with dementia.

My magic moments of my trip to the island ……….

Going to see Philly was a last minute decision. I’d had to decline when she first sent me her free dates but an appointment suddenly being changed, made it possible so it was simply meant to be. 

I’m purposely not going to read through my blogs to create my magic moments. Instead, I’m going to write what’s still in my heart and mind.

I’d been to the island once before, apparently just before lock down, but this time it felt familiar, it felt as though the island was wrapping itself around me in one giant welcoming hug, given on its behalf by Philly.

Immediately I landed I felt the same as I do when I arrive in my own paradise of Keswick – that instant calmness and relief of being somewhere special. Just being there felt magical and so special

The fact that I can count Philly as a friend is special, but to have her instantly know how to support me is a bonus. The simple post its on the doors of each room to help navigate, and the easiness in which she lives makes for a truly relaxing start middle and end of my adventure.

Then there’s the weather 🤣😂….I don’t know anywhere else where the weather can change in minutes, where you can see it happening and predict its coming, so quickly. On the mainland, their squally showers would be cause for headlines on the news and front page newspaper stories of:

Storms sweep across Britain”

Here it’s just a squally shower, with torrential rain and gale force winds, but it’s seen as just a shower. I was in many and within minutes the sun would be drying you out

Next that comes to mind are the glorious beaches..the green blue sea, the air so clean. The beach within walking distance of Phillys house where I ventured out on my own for the first time. The solitariness, the space, yet feeling safe. 

A smile comes to my face as I remember the scarf…..under Phillys expert tuition I experience the oldest craft of felting. From small yarn threads that can be separated with ease

….to a strong colourful fabric in only a few hours, the process itself creating magic all on its own

Saying hello to Hock the horse each day. He used to follow us as we walked up the path and wait by the gate or come to the fence for a cuddle

As for the most magical moments…..well immediately the first things that come to mind are the seals. The first would have been enough, meeting Sammy the seal all on his own

But it was as though he was sussing us out, deciding whether we were worthy enough to meet more of his family….and we did……the second time I have 5 in my head for some reason, not sure if that’s correct, but five of his family responded to the high pitched singing 

Then the final meeting on the last morning, like the final day of the proms, when 33 came to the bay and sang their beautiful song in response to ours – that moment when I truly felt at one with nature

And they basked on the rocks not fearing our human presence

There were so many other truly wonderful moments, but these have faded and fallen out of my mind, but that’s after all, why I write my blogs, in order to relive them all again when dementia is giving me a bad day; to remind me of what’s possible; of what’s out there waiting for me to relive once more……..

The company of someone who feels just as I do about the surroundings, about seizing the moment while we can makes Philly a very special person. Not often do I find people who love nature as much as I do now, and who will go out in a ‘squally shower’ at the drop of a hat, just because we can…..🤣

Will I do it again, I sincerely hope so. There was one thing that we didn’t see that’s still on my bucket list……the eagle…..and we’ve already planned that moment for the next visit….farewell ’til then, the island with so little yet so much, if only you look…..

The end of my mini adventure and my journey home…..

Apologies…..long blog again!!! 🙄

It’s been such a strange week. Here we are on Saturday, my flying back to the mainland day, yet it feels like I’ve been here for weeks. We’ve crammed so much in that it’s hard for us both to remember what we did when…..we keep saying:

Was it only yesterday we did that?” 😳

But all good things must come to an end.

I’ve had the most amazing time on this ruggedly beautiful island. Probably exploring all the same places I went to before, but for me, it was like seeing them for the first time again. 

So on Saturday, I woke to find the overnight rain and wind had ceased. Overnight the rain had been lashing onto my window. I’d slept each night with the curtains opened and woke to a flock of geese flying over – natures morning alarm call…..

I’d had a banging head the whole time I’d been here and had woken once more to its familiar grip on my head . But it was simply due to the amount of fun we’d had and I wouldn’t have missed one second. It was a price worth paying.

My morning tea fairy knocked on my door and brought my morning cuppa – I’d been thoroughly spoilt the whole time I was here. 

As the day began to dawn and the day get lighter, it was time to rise

After morning toast and tea, Philly asked where I would like to go, to the beach or to see if we could see the seals again…….well the seals got my vote…..and wow….did they put on a show for us.

We left in bright sunshine, up through the back of Philly’s Croft and heading towards the cliff edge and sea for once last trundle….the neighbours sheep glanced curiously at these two colourfully dressed women, with the lighthouse in the background

As we reached the cliffs the morning sun made it all the more beautiful …If you zoom in you can see a little island with a bridge running towards it…..the suns rays glowing above Dun Eisdean, a archeological site built on a sea stack. It was the strong hold of Clan Morrison. It had its own artificial pond for fresh water and lots of buildings from storage to sleeping. The little bridge came after to allow visitors, whereas the original inhabitants would have had to scrabble up the cliffs to reach there shelter.

Philly started singing to the seals to attract their attention and the first at bay we came to, where they don’t usually appear, 5 surprised us by coming to the surface to say hello

We thought that might be it, but then the second bay…….and wow……oh my goodness……Philly saw them first basking on the rock first and as I zoomed in, they all turned round to smile

I was overwhelmed with love for these beautiful creatures and couldn’t stop clicking as Philly showed below…

One after another appeared as we sang to show them we’d come to see them…..

and then even more magical…..they began to sing back to us……❤️❤️❤️…..I’d never heard the sound before. At one with nature and nature at one with us exchanging song ……

They just kept appearing and the final figure we counted was 33 grey seals – their Latin name is ‘halichoerus grypus’ and it means hooked nose sea pig 🤣…….even Philly hadn’t seen that many in one group.We could have stayed for hours, but time was ticking and we could also see the rain approaching. Such is the Lewis weather, that we left an hour ago in perfect sunshine but were heading back through a ‘squally shower’. Now anywhere else, this type of shower would be called a storm, but here, it’s just a shower 🤪

You can’t see the rain, but I’m drenched as it blew horizontal into our faces 🤣

It took my breathe away and was made even more difficult as the wind was straight into our faces.Philly kept having to wait for me as I fought to stay upright 🤣….but we made it in the end and yes, as soon as we went in, the sun shone once more and it was as if it had never happened……..

We arrived back home like the proverbial drowned rats and I had to hope my clothes would dry in the short time before we left for the airport – but they did…

Philly left me at the airport once I’d checked in – to make sure I was leaving the island 🤣 – there was only an hour before take off which passed very quickly and within no time at all boarding was announced. Our little plane stood outside the only door, waiting patiently

The cabin crew helped me on with my case and said she’s keep it with her and promised she wouldn’t forget to give it back 😂…a kind passenger put my stick in the overhead and we were off. it was a bumpy flight but no more so than driving along a bumpy road. The pilot announced at one point that we were doing 325 mph and it was -25 degrees outside…..Took us 45 minutes to reached the mainland; once more back in the land of trees and greeness.

The woman passenger must have overheard I had dementia and got my stick out and reminded me about the stewardess having my case. then helped me along the way back to the terminal before she had to wait for the carousel to churn out the suitcases.

I wanted to try and find the tram, but again paying was complicated, so I just found the bus instead. within 30 minutes we were in Princes street. Supper sandwich bought, I made my way to the Premier Inn Hub – a new venture for them. it’s half the price of normal Premier Inns but has everything you need and brand new. Normal premier Inn bed but in a compact room…looks on the photo that you have to make your own bed 😳 but actually its already made, you just have to throw the duvet over…it’s really not dementia friendly as it took me ages to work out the control panel, but I managed it knowing there were youngsters all around who would help me if need be- some had already helped me with the lift…

Really nice new bathroom..

The only downside is, no tea making stuff in your room 😳 but I was only staying one night and there is free tea and coffee downstairs and you can bring it back to your room….I wouldn’t have been able to manage the check in if the assistant hadn’t come along, but apart from that I was well impressed as the light panel and lighting made it feel very open and bright. However, if your prone to claustrophobia it’s really not for you.

I heard the pings and reminders of my phone going off the next morning, went down for my morning cuppa . I surprisingly didn’t hear the hoardes come back in the early hours.

Soon out into the fresh air after the confines of the hub, the streets of Edinburgh were basking in glorious sunshine

I picked up a cuppa in Greggs, forgetting I’d booked first class, due to it being £1 cheaper than standard 🤣🙄….but it came in handy as the train was there waiting and we could board straight away. I’d had a txt to say the seat reservations weren’t working but I found my seat empty and waiting so all was well in the world….I played my games on my ipad to settle me in and soon the guard announced our departure…

I had to think for a minute or ten when the guard announced which stations we’d be stopping at…….Carlisle😳😳😳….but that’s at the other side of the country 😳. I then checked my ticket and it was going to take 5 hours to get to York instead of the 2-3 🙄….hey ho, at least it will be a change of scenery…..

And it certainly was…….but at last. We got to the right side of  the country and reached Newcastle, meaning just 1 hour to York where I had to change 😴 so just over 5 hours since leaving Edinburgh, York arrived….  and I missed a train Hull by 2 mins 🤐 meaning another hour to wait for the next one. I could have gone into York but my head was weary and my back aching from having sat for so long. York station has been revamped and now has a first class lounge so at least I could go and sit,  stare aimlessly at the TV and have a cuppa tea.

My last train and it couldn’t come soon enough. Thankfully Stuart was picking me up at Brough which saves me another hour on the train. 

As I settled into my little house,, suitcase unpacked, staring out at the paddock, it felt like the whole thing was just a wonderful dream…….but then the camera never lies

Me and Sammy seal by Philly….


As for the felt scarf I made which will hang next to Cat Bells in my house, the colours of the sea on one side and the sunrise on the other ❤️ I was quite pleased with my first effort of felt making 😇

Finally home and looking back makes me sigh with total satisfaction. I’d had the most magical time…..thank you Philly for allowing me to share your piece of paradise….

Last full day on the island……..

After an actioned pack day the day before, surely we couldn’t top it on my final full day….or could we…?

Well actually the day before didn’t stop where I thought we’d ended……..

We’d both gone to our rooms exhausted but happy after the wonderful day we’d had. Sleep was almost upon me when a heard my name being called…..😳…..Little did I know but Philly has an app which alerts her to the presence of the Northern lights over the island 😳….

She’d had messages from islanders to say they’d seen them, so I jumped out of bed, wondering what on earth to put on. In the end getting dressed was far too complicated so put my fleece on over my jamas, then my coat, forgot my stick, went back for stick, forgot my shoes, put on shoes…..both of us like stumbling mad people, we eventually made it, Philly leading the way to the car by torchlight. 

We got to the headland near the sea. It was such a clear starry night yet raining 🤔….looking up the stars were so stunningly clea Venus the brightest one so obvious….we thought we could see the edge of the Northern lights, a shimmering every now and then on the horizon, but we must have missed the main display as no real colour appeared.

We headed home just happy that we’d tried, now cold and wide awake 🤣 – is their no end to the spectacles on this island?

Anyway, sleep must gave overtaken us and within no time it was morning….tea and toast watching the pouring rain outside…….

It was then Philly said.

Maybe we’ll stay in for a couple of hours, do you want to help me make a hat or a scarf”?

🤣 no-one’s ever said that to me before 😂….Philly is a talented crafter and felting is one of her many crafts, she is now venturing into hat making….the heads on her window took me by surprise when I first came here but she made all the hats 

We then decided on making a felt scarf……felt is the oldest person made textile. It first developed around Mongolia where they say people put sheep’s wool in their shoes for warmth and to waterproof them. They also made their huge tents out of felt……😳wow…

Under Philly’s instructions I created the layers. I’d decided on sea colours for one side 

and sunset colours for the other…

Once the layering was complete we folded the net around it for the next stage..

But then the sun came out 🤣 and we decided we couldn’t waste it indoors so trundle over to the bird hide….The field around it is called a Machiar- a fertile low lying grassy plains. It’s one of the rarest habitats in Europe and made mostly of crushed sea shells which are blown ashore by the storms. It has an amazing amount of wild flowers – roughly 40 species per square metre – as Philly described it:

“An orchestrel succession of beauty’

Her friend was already in the hide and luckily an expert and could tell us what we were looking at. I kept missing things 🙄 but I did catch the Heron looking so fragile on it’s thin legs carrying such a weighty body

A lone signet who has been left by its parents and siblings and still learning to fly. It keeps being found on the beach or away from the reservoir as it practices its flying and then can’t get back and the RSPB keep having to return it 🤣😍

Lots of tufted and grebe were swimming around and occasionally pink footed geese would take off and land in a nearby field – whereas our geese back home might migrate south, these actually migrate to the Isle of Lewis from Iceland!

We walked back home across the Machiar as it was time for lunch – home made soup and toast with veggies from the garden that we picked last night 😍

After lunch, we looked at the scarf, looked at the sunshine and decided the scarf could wait a while for the next stage. We went out the back door, up through the Croft behind Philly’s house and through the common land to the cliffs and sea

It was such spectacular views

Philly had said there might be more seals in one of the bays and as we approached we could see their heads bobbing in the water ❤️

Altogether I think we counted 9 of these gorgeous creatures. The sea was so clear I could see their flippers and bodies beneath the ocean

I was overwhelmed with joy that Sammy seal, who’d we’d seen alone the other day had rallied his family and friends and they’d all come to see us. I did ask them to line up for a family photo but they didn’t oblige…..

I could just have stayed their all day watching these inquisitive creatures, but it was blowing a cold gale so we had to move on. There were so many sea birds clinging to the rocks

And oyster catchers flying onto the cliff top ahead of us

And Cormorants

Wherever you looked it was just full of life and with the sun shining the scenery around looked just stunning.

We were heading for Philly’s swimming beach where we’d met Sammy seal, but this time on foot not in the car. We reached the edge and looked down into the greens blue sea below

Such a lovely bay…..

As we made our way inland again, we could see the afternoon rain approaching. Almost home and we decided to go inside the tiny 12th Century church. it was here they used to take ’mad’ people, tie them up, lay them on the cold concrete floor and then leave them overnight. If they’d survived the night they were suppose to be cured of their ’madness’. Thankfully we’ve come a long way in our treatment of people with dementia since then…

We needed 25 more minutes to get home dry and we just managed it with a minute to spare as the heavens opened. Fire lit, cuppa tea in the pot and a slice of lemon cake, we watched the downpour from the cosyness of inside.

Now it was time to finish the process of turning wool into a felt scarf………

The layers I’d created before going out were now soaked with hot water and soap flakes. You had to press and rub the creation to make the fibres stick together. Turn it over and repeat…then a little round contraption was used to rub the fibres even closer together, again repeating on the other side, before neatening the edges and pressing again. 

Now it time to roll it round a rolling pin and beat it even more by rolling hard before unravelling and the felt was created.

Washing in hot, then cold water, shocks the piece and rinses the soap out. After squeezing all the excess water out, it was ready to hang on the radiator and dry.

I’m going to hang it in my house turning it occasionally to have the sea and sunrise whenever the fancy takes me. But what a transformation from strands of wool to a complete solid piece of felt….this ancient art lives on…….

Day 2 of my mini adventure…….the island I remember

Apologies in advance for a verrry long blog….but we did soooo much yesterday…..and you won’t have to wait until Monday to read about it…

The banging head was inevitable this morning. We did so many wonderful things, called at so many wonderful places. I wouldn’t have missed any of it as we had to make the most of the sunshine in Lewis as yesterday  I woke to the Lewis I remember….grey and blustery…

My room has a wonderful view of space. But today the clouds were heavy with rain and the wind had strengthened – that’s the view I remember from last time I was here.  As we toured the island yesterday, I remarked how they aren’t any semi detached houses, each house has its own bit of land so space around is normal…so to look out and have space around you is so openly wonderful.

We’d planned to stay local today. I’d been awake some time, tapping on this when Philly knocked on my door and brought me a cuppa. Can’t remember the last time someone brought me a cuppa in bed, probably Philly when I was here last 🤣

A little while later after a shower, Philly tempted me to eat by offering toast ….works every time as it’s the one food I love and can’t make myself as I’m lethal with a toaster 🤣……we poured over our photos and shared news of each of our calendars as Philly won a competition for one of her photos to be in the local calendar and it’s stunning of her local beach 😍

The weather was still windy and rainy but we decided to venture out anyway as it’s a shame to waste precious time just because of the weather. We drove to the lighthouse. 

I remembered seeing loads of birds there last time but the wind was so strong I couldn’t hardly keep my hand still enough to click 😂….there were lots of shags on the rock edges

The sea pounding the rocks as gannets flew teasingly close but not still enough for me to get a close up shot……and more shags just blending into the rocks

and others watching the waves crash against the rocks

Back to the car, out of the rain and just down the road was our next stop, Philly’s favourite swimming bay

Just heaven to watch and listen to the raging sea……and then something magical happened…..a small black blob bobbed towards us…..Philly saw him first and I zoomed in, rain or no rain

An adorable seal all by itself so inquisitive to know about these 2 characters standing on the beach calling to him. Apparaently if you sing in a high pitched voice they will come towards you, and he did!…..he kept dipping down and bobbing back up again….

This adorable creature stayed with us for as long as we were prepared to be battered by the wind and rain and as we turned our backs to make our way back up the cliffs so did he bob up once more to say goodbye……❤️

Nothing else could have topped that, it had made my day, but as we looked at our watches we realised it was only 10am 🤣…..we went next to the bird hide but sadly it was locked, which was very strange as its never been locked before – they must have known I was coming 😂…..

Outside and back to the car we suddenly saw a buzzard sitting on the fence……shame about the fence but the buzzard was wonderful

Philly has even seen eagles here so I’ve asked her to invite one over to land in her garden 🤪…but you never know….

We decided we were wet and cold enough for now so toddled off home for a hot chocolate and a cuppa tea.

Such is the weather on the island that high winds and rain one minute can soon be replaced by calm…🤞

The weather cleared once more and off we set, this time on foot to another of Philly’s favourite nearby beaches – Eoropia – ……but as we left the house, Hock, the horse came over to say hello as it lives in the field next door

It’s a beautiful spotted horse called Appaloosa… friendly and gentle but liked Philly more than me 🤣….

Hock followed us as we walked all the down to the end of his field before stopping and allowing us to go on our way. It was a short 15 minute walk to the most wonderful beach

Again the simplicity and softness of the dunes contrasted by the rugged rocks that surround it.😍

Two turnstones (I think), ran across the edge of the shoreline looking for any tasty morsel

We walked along to one side then back again

As we began to head up the beach towards home, we looked behind and saw the rain heading our way again so quickened our step. We were almost home as the rain band caught us up and thankfully were inside having homemade soup and toast as the rain hammered down outside …..

I decided to go for a lie down as Philly had some work to do and my head needed a rest, but an hour later I poked my head up from under the duvet to find brilliant sunshine outside 😳

I jumped up and told Philly I’d try and find Eoropia beach again, only this time on my own.

I couldn’t believe the grey skies had turned to blue so quickly again, but that’s what happens here with the weather. You have to be prepared for anything.

I said hello to Hock again and again he followed me down as far as his fence would allow. I’d made a mental note on the previous walk of landmarks so was able to find the beach with only one hiccup but that was because I was concentrating on the scenery instead of where I was going 🙄

This time I remembered to take a piccie of the stone bench someone had built

The beach was bathed in sunshine, the grey skies replaced by blue..

The waves looked more powerful as I made my way to the sea edge…

I could see a walker on top of the headland in the distance…..

I then bent down to try and get closer to the sand……

Then turned and saw my shadow on the sand…..and was so mesmerised by this and taking a piccie that I didn’t realise how close the tide had come… it washed over my shoes, taking me by surprise 🤣

Chuckling to myself, I turned again and saw the squalls of rain heading towards us again, but the sun came out again so I was snapping away at the sea crashing against the rocks and the spray sending mist above

So busy clicking that I’d forgotten the approaching squall….. the rain was suddenly upon me so I was drenched once again by the time I’d reached home and only one wrong turning, but this time was due to my hood being held up over my eyes to protect me against the horizontal rain 🤣

Philly was on a zoom when I got back so time enough to type away at this….once she’d finished, as if by magic, the rain had stopped and the sun was shining so we took the opportunity to set off for out fourth and final trundle of the day, this time a short drive to the Port of Ness.

…where another beautiful bay lays waiting for you

The sun was just going down over the rocks behind us

We wondered along the beach trying to work out if the tide was coming in or going out and we had to keep watch in case it was coming in, otherwise we would have been cut off and had to climb the rocks 😳🤣

We saw what we thought was a grebe ducking and diving in the waves. Each time I clicked it dived just before so I had lots of piccies of the sea 🤣….but eventually I managed one, not clear but at least we could see it and when we got home and did more research and asked on a bird forum, we decided that it was a red throated diver – a rare breeding bird in north west scotland 😇

After walking up and down, I was beginning to flag….we’d filled the day with wonderful things again. At the top of the path the café, with huge windows overlooking the sea was still open, so it would have been rude not to have a cuppa.

Sat inside, watching the tide, the greenness of the sea was more noticeable. A feather we’d found on the beach lay on the table ready to take home. A lovely way to end another fun packed day

Now several times today as I’ve been writing my blog each time we arrived home, I’ve been thinking it’s the end, no more outings and each time the sun shone and we went out again 🤣…..but we had supper and REEEALy thought we were in for the night…..until the sun set,,,,and this was out of the window… one last step outside….

What a way to finish another amazing day……

Day one of my mini adventure……… 

Well I made a right mess of my blogs yesterday and released 2 instead of one 🙄 the mini adventure was suppose to start today to give me time to write each day, but hey ho….best laid plans 🥴

I’d had a sleep wake sleep wake kinda night in the hotel, which I hadn’t had for ages, but not surprising in a strange unfamiliar room….

I checked the state of the flight and it was still showing as delayed but no more than yesterday🙄

I went through my normal routine of all my games and felt my head was clearer today. The fuzz and banging almost clear…

I’m so glad I caught the airport bus. It was a lovely blue sky day so I sat upstairs marvelling at Edinburgh.

It took 30 mins to get there so I was in plenty of time. I think I said yesterday that I hadn’t been able to book assisted travel as you had to use the phone. Because it was last minute neither of my daughters were around to help me. However, the woman at the check in desk was super helpful as the queues were large and I didn’t have a clue if I was in the right one 🙈….but I was. She asked me if I’d booked assistance and I explained the problem. 

Just point me in the right direction” I said

And she did. As I got to the top of the escalator, ‘Be prepared for security “ sign came into view……😳….Crikey, I’d forgotten all about that 🥴….so I stood reading the signs, emptying my medication into a bag and got everything to hand I thought I might have to have …..

I just followed a family in front of me as it began to look very confusing, with lots of lanes. I must have been looking totally lost as a woman came over and asked if I needed help – perfect….⭐️…I wasn’t rushed, they were calm and helpful even though the queue was building. As I walked through the scanner…..yup….the alarm sounded 🤣…..what had I forgotten? Turned out just to be the metal on my lanyard, but again people were smiley and friendly.

Once out of there, a Sign said:

Now you can relax”

Which made me chuckle..😂….as I did just that along with everyone else 🤣

Why is it we feel guilty when we’ve nothing to be guilty about 🤣

My main priority was a cuppa tea. So many shops, I saw the familiar blue sign of Neros, not that I’ve been there for years but there’s something about their sign that looks welcoming. Cuppa tea in hand I sat myself down in fron of a departure board. The sign might be friendly but the tea certainly wasn’t Yorkshire 🤮

I was like a child watching the planes come and go

I wanted to get my camera out but wasn’t sure of the rules….no one else seemed to be as a cited as me 🤣

As the minutes ticked down the gate was finally announced. We sat and we sat with no sign of movement and ended up leaving even later; it must have been after midday as we boarded.

Again, the people were lovely. The stewardess came down and got my case from me. Someone was in my seat but since the flight was only a quarter full, it made no difference and I just sat in a different seat. Within no time we were off

Our little plane ready and waiting….

Take off was very smooth and I was at the right side to see the bridges, whose names I can’t remember 🙄

I just love being up in the clouds. Speed almost becomes non existent as we fly. It’s as if we’re floating in the clouds.

The flight only took 30 odd minutes and the same stewardess helped me down with my case and there was the lovely smiley face of Philly waiting for me.

The air smelt so clean and fresh, I was just happy to be there. We went the scenic way home stopping first at the harbour wall. Philly showed me a monument to soldiers who’d been off fighting somewhere but when their ship was 2 miles from home it sank and all lives were lost. The wooden posts, one each for each victim of the tragedy were cut from trees in the castle grounds and form the shape of a ship which is lit up at night…😍

It was such a simple monument yet deeply moving when you read the story behind it…

Next stop was Calanais – the Isle of Lewis version of Stonehenge ….I’d purposely not looked at my photos from last time as I wanted to relive every moment again. This was one place like that, visited before but as though for the first time each time ❤️. The first time we got out of the car the heavens opened and we got a real soaking, it was soooo funny

We went back to the car, had a cuppa and a snack and went back out as it stopped. 

Just stunning scenery all round…

Back to the car again for homeward bound…but we kept doing a detour as something else caught our eye…

We came across a “Sheiling”….women used to take their cattle and children in the summer and stay in these tiny stone buildings with everything you needed in one room. 

It was also the women’s excuse to get away from their husbands 🤣…love it….it looked so cosy!

In the field next to it were some friendly Highland Cows….which had such thick coats

A few miles further and Philly pulled into a small car park which had the only coach we’d seen parked in it….a lovely Scottish driver hopped out and told us he was rounding up his tourists so we could have the place to ourselves 🤣…..

A 10 minute walk away and we came to the Shawbost Norse Mill and kiln. A renovated Viking mill and kiln that used to ground barley and oats and make the odd illegal bottle of whiskey,,,

The thatch roof was so simply laid and held down with stones and mesh, so clever….

I’ve probably got the order of all these detours wrong as my camera locked halfway on the journey home to Ness so my phone had to come out, but when they then load onto my ipad they come out in a random order 😳. I used my photos to tell me what I’ve done 🥴

Anyway….a last detour was to a lovely windswept bay. The weather had behaved with squally showers followed by blue skies….

We went down to the beach to feel the full effect of the strong winds 

It was amazing…

So wild, so untamed so rugged…..

This was all on the way home from the airport simply because it was a shame not to make the most of the weather …..

We got home, both tired but happy from the day we’d had. However, after supper , I noticed how lovely the sky looked and went outside to take a final shot

But then Philly suggested we have one last drive down to the headland, only a few minutes away, so we seized the moment with the weather behaving and I was able to take my last, very last …shot of the day…promise…

For day 2 I’m afraid you’ll have to wait until Monday……🙄

How a fall can easily happen with dementia …..

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 🙈…..

I’m back…..

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 😂… 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…….

So let the autumn begin…….

A rare evening trundle in paradise……

Once I’ve had my supper I usually snuggle down and watch a bit of telly, but on my first night, the sun in the sky was shouting at me to go and see Keswick at a time I rarely see. I imagine I hadn’t eaten all day so went to get fish and chips for my tea, imagining I’d be staying in afterwards. But when I’d finished I had all the rubbish to throw in a bin. I’d only eaten half the chips as it seemed a ginormous portion, so they were left over too.

So I headed out into the evening light with my camera, rubbish soon disposed of, and headed towards Friars Crag via the lake. The light, of course was totally different and magically lit up an Acer in Hope park

It’s usually the morning light I love best, but this light was also very special. The boats all tied together until morning bathed in the evening sun

The sun getting lower as I trundled along the path

I could sense the business of day time had faded and people seemed more relaxed, quieter, no day time crowd at the Cragg, just people enjoying the evening peace

The silence was suddenly disturbed by a buzzing drone soaring into the sky

Luckily they didn’t stay long. The sound of buzzing bees is fine, the continuous monotone noise of a drone, breaks the peace and feels out of place 🙄, fun as it is for some…

The bench became vacant and I sat for a while watching someone silently paddle boarding by….

….and three random sheep in the distance on the banks of the lake, Surely the rest of the flock must be somewhere 🤔

As I started to think of heading back, I became aware of a smile on my face. 

A smile of contentment……and I headed back to my room wondering what I might do tomorrow……🤔

7 years ago today, my life changed……

I usually automatically remember this anniversary but this year it was going to pass me by unnoticed until I got a txt from my daughter…..

It’s also my other best friends birthday – happy birthday Julie! And thankfully I didn’t forget that thanks to reminders.

You see, today July 31st 7 years ago I received that devastating diagnosis of dementia. If I’d have believed the medics, my life was over. But unbeknown to me then, that devastating diagnosis opened up a new world, obviously not one I would have chosen, but still a wonderful world with lots of new wonderful friends I call my playmates; with people like Innovations in Dementia who enable and encourage us. To all of them I say, thank you 🙏

But what fun I’ve had in 7years…..yes, every day is a struggle, every day dementia reminds me of its presence, yes it’s a bummer of a diagnosis BUT if all you see are the negatives what a waste of the life there is still waiting to be lived!

Here’s just some of my highlights I found as I flicked through my photographs this morning….the detail has long vanished from my mind, but the emotions the images stir are still there…

Meeting Hollywood star Julianne Moore at the premier of Still Alice in 2015

In 2016 I moved to my wonderful village with all its beauty, all its characters and all its love – I couldn’t believe the date when I saw that as I thought I’d only been here a couple of years 😂

In 2017 I went up in a glider – a birthday present from my lovely daughters and Stuart

AND later that year walked on fire for charity

2018 was another special year as that was the year my book was published in hardback, meaning I’d already had a year of the lovely friendship of my partner in writing, Anna Wharton….

2019 the paperback version of my book was released

AND I became Dr Dr thanks to Hull and Bradford Universities

AND I did my tandem parachute jump for charity..

2020 will become known as the year we all hibernated due to Covid, BUT that enforced hibernation allowed me to write my second book with Anna and is due out next January….more on that in the autumn…..

Which bring us to this year, 2021…..when my latest adventure was my tandem paraglide

So you see, good can come out of bad, but it won’t happen automatically, you have to go out and search for adventures, search for life. There are so many things I can’t do now that I can no longer list them, but I never dwell on them. I have no control over what I can’t do. Instead I focus on having adventures today and if today is a bad day…..tomorrow may be better….

Moral of the tale – never give up on yourself, no matter what people say to you, let them do that if they so wish. Believe in yourself and you can do anything you want……..

The price you pay for going away……

When you have dementia there’s always a price to pay when days are filled with excitement and adventure – something that’s not the routine of daily life, busy days. Normally you’d just be tired, filled with satisfaction and exhilaration of what’s been achieved. But sadly dementia kicks you in the teeth and scrambles your brain up even more…..

That’s the price I paid after all the excitement and adventure of the paraglide in Keswick. It took me 4 days to get my head around what I do and where I go once I was home. For 3 days, I got up, showered and then didn’t quite know what was next, not the normal fog or haze, but my head a total jumble like a heavy tangle of wool. The thought of my early morning trundle never entered my head at that point. I’d sit with my cuppa, open my ipad and do the only thing I knew how….played solitaire, red nine on black ten….then scrabble and word search just to kick start my day.

I knew I needed to walk, but I could only manage and feel safe to the pond and back – so strange how my world had shrunk so much. It was like this for 3 whole days….Totally out of routine and discombobulated ……not knowing quite what was next….

Then day 4 ….and somehow a switch had been flicked in my brain as the idea of my early morning trundle was there as soon as I rose and opened the curtains…

As I stepped outside my door, I could feel I was slower; my legs not quite as willing as my brain, but they decided to oblige as I shuffled down my road. The schoolchildren waiting for their bus, all heads down on their phones; villagers out for their morning paper. 

The duck pond first. I was surprised at how many ducklings had survived during my absence or maybe more had been hatched….the moorhens chicks were first to come into view

Teresa terrapin lazing on her log

All seemed calm as if the ducks were just waking

Up through the houses, parents taking children to school. One little child stopping by me on his bike….

I’m ok, my mum and dad are behind with our dog”

And sure enough his parents appeared and chatted for a while asking how I was…my mind a blur, recognition of who they were was somewhere, just not willing to reveal itself….

Turning into the gallops, now by myself. The field had been cut, the hay now resting in bales ready for the horses, but a single wild rose catching my eye…

Why did this walk feel so long? My legs were protesting, my breathing heavy. I stopped by Halfpenny cottage and admired the beautiful red rose planted by the owner long gone

And a yellow hammer on the wire above my head…things were starting to feel ‘normal’ again…

A man coming towards me with his dog was pointing for me to turn round and look in the field. But I couldn’t see anything….as he got nearer he simply said:

 ‘There’s dear in the field’

I couldn’t see them with the naked eye – the man had been sensible and worn his glasses 🙄 – but I zoomed in….and there they were. Two beautiful dear right on the edge of a distant field

As the man left, I thanked him; if it hadn’t been for him I would have missed this wonderful sight….

I stood for ages, just watching, the dear totally unaware of my presence. 

Preening one another before silently and gracefully sloping off 

Before disappearing into the undergrowth out of sight of human eyes….

I waited until they’d disappeared and heard myself breathe deeply and sigh…..what a magnificent gift of a morning to witness……and if it hadn’t been for the villager, I would have missed it all……

I looked around me, and felt so happy that once more I’d come on an early morning trundle, in my beautiful village and seen nature at its finest. I may be slower than I was, the trundle harder than I remember,  but my head felt as though it was returning to its routine of being home,  and for that I must be thankful…..