Category Archives: A day in the life

Everyday experience of living with dementia.

A verrrry long day, but filled with lovely things…..

Sometimes the type of programme I’m invited on might not be my cup of tea or one I watch but sometimes you have to go out of your comfort zone to reach a different type of audience and last Thursday was one such time.

On Wednesday, me and my daughter Sarah trundled down to London in preparation for being on ITV’s ‘Lorraine’ programme on Thursday morning. With it being the Easter Holidays, Lorraine wasn’t presenting and instead it was the lovely Christine Lampard who use to front the One Show some time ago. I was also scooting back north to do a talk and book signing at Waterstones in York in the evening😳…….but an empty Easter weekend followed, so I can hibernate after……..🤪

My publishers had organised everything, so it was very simple for me, as Kate had booked all the tickets and sent me timings for everything. Me and Sarah sat happily on the train soaking up the Yorkshire Tea as we were travelling with Hull Trains….

The car was picking us up at 06.55 the following morning hence why we had to stay overnight!……..

We had a wander down Tottenham Court Road as it was a warm and sunny evening, but being London it was also rammed with people, so got something for supper before heading back to the hotel.

I had a sleepless night as the air con noise or something making a continuous noise kept me awake and I couldn’t work out where it was coming from or to switch it off🙈😱 and the radiator was on which I didn’t realise before it was too late to txt Sarah……….so not that good start to a long day 🙄

Anyway……Sarah came to my room ready for the car picking us up at 06.55. It was a grey misty London that greeted us……..

We arrived at the studio to find lovely friendly people…..

We were shown straight into make up first, which for me takes a nano second 🤣…..but Sarah enjoyed being pampered

We then went through to the green room where they earned several brownie points as they’d got Yorkshire Tea in…..❤️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️and immediately got me a cuppa. Several people came and said hello to us before Kate from Bloomsbury also joined us. She was chief photo taker, so had a very responsible job😂 but had also remembered to bring a book for me to take on set😇…….

The lovely Rosa, who had FaceTimed me came along and went through what we might talked about. Another cuppa tea arrived and before we knew it me and Sarah were being taken into the studio to be met by a lovely hug from presenter Christine Lampard. The people on the floor were so friendly and smiley. We were shown to the settee while another item was being shown.


Now this programme is very ‘celebrity’ dominated so it means they said things a tad extreme like I count Emma T and Julianne Moore as friends🙄 and they clung onto my involvement on ‘Casualty’ bit as well – but it’s that sort of show. I did have influence over language though so no mention of ‘suffering’ and through that I was able to reach a different audience which was my aim.

Christine seemed so genuine in her comments. Her grandfather had dementia and after reading my book could now understand why he couldn’t remember her name etc. Havn’t a clue what we talked about but I remember how kind people were and how smiley. Christine fed me the words that produced the sentences from my mouth. Any random question would have left me stumbling. That’s always the sign of a good interviewer for me – the person doing the briefing has to be good at their job.

I had a lovely time and of course we were able to get a piccie before we left…and they gave me a goodie bag, the best of the contents was the emergency power charger for my phone!

The car took us back to the publishers, Bloomsbury, where all my lovely people, came to say hello and Emma had stopped off to get me some amazing flowers to take home 😍

You can see it here:

On the train back, a woman opposite saw us and said to Sarah, “I saw you on telly this morning’ and many kind things…..

I sat there, once again in this surreal world, feeling very lucky in this bitter sweet situation.
Now just have to get home and into York ready for the evening at Waterstones but I’ll do a separate blog on that……

A few days in Paradise…….

I needed a break. Some silence away from everyday activity and what better place to find this solitude than in my idea of paradise, Keswick, in the Lake District.

It takes me hours to get there, my usual B&B has many steps to climb to the front door, but when I enter that door, the welcome I get is like having a permanent hug around you. I needed that hug last week as it wasn’t the best of times.

I’m sure I must have said before how my sleep is rubbish. Well it had improved lately due to a change in medication, nothing to write home about, an hour extra rising from 2-3 hours to 3-4 hrs. However lately it’s plummeted again with the last few nights only being 1-2🤯 That I can cope with, but it’s the strange night time dreams that are harder to accept.

They are not weird dreams, not nightmares, but those which when you wake, are hard to decipher fact from fiction…on a couple of mornings I’ve almost txt people to see what was true but decided they might be asleep 🙄

When most people sleep, their eyelids are closed but their eyeballs are asleep. For me, I never open my eyelids as they are exhausted but my eyeballs are wide awake. Most people may think it’s impossible to survive on so little sleep, and normally I’d agree. But it seems to be related to my dementia. I’m allowed to survive due to the dementia – weird I know, but that’s how I see it.

On a few occasions it’s felt like I’m progressing in my sleep before it strikes in reality, almost given me a warning. It filled a bucket with all the facts then flipped it over as though making a sandcastle, but when the bucket was lifted everything jumbled, fact and fiction getting jumbled. My head feeling strange when I finally surfaced and opened my eyelids. Having to remain still trying to separate the confusion. It felt as though my brain changed down a gear on that morning……like I’d turned a corner and one I didn’t want to go down but one which is inevitable…..maybe this is my norm until the next step down…..

Anyway, that’s why I felt a few days in, Keswick, might be just the tonic, after all it’s been quite a chaotic few months and will be even more so in the next few months.

I arrived to find Keswick bathed in sunshine ❤️

I trundled to my usual B&B and Catherine immediately made me feel at home as she is from Burnley and has defected to the West, so a true northern character. I had my usual room. She’d even remembered the red pillowcase over the TV, the jug of fresh milk and oodles of tea bags. I sat in my usual spot with a cuppa tea and stared out at the beauty outside my window….

Once I was refreshed I trundled down to the lake. It was such a beautiful evening.

I ambled along to Friars Cragg to sit on my usual bench and take in the peace. Now this may sound weird to some, but each time I visit this spot a Robin always comes and says hello. It lands in front of me chirping away, How do I remember? Well it happened this time and brought that emotional connection back from previous visits. It may not be the same Robin, who knows, but one always appears and welcomes me back.

I strolled through town and out the other side to see if the lambs had been born yet…..sadly only one tiny black one was hiding behind the hedge so couldn’t get a piccie but all these mums were ready to pop.

Time to rest my weary legs as it had been a long day travelling. So picking up a tuna sarnie for supper I headed back to my B&B…

Day 2 involved a trundle on the bus through amazing scenery and stopped of at Grasmere in the hope of seeing the lambs, and I wasn’t disappointed ….

Followed by a boat trip back in Keswick and one last piccie of the day…

And finally a weary trundle back for my tuna sarnie

The final morning arrived and the sun shone bright urging me to stay longer but I’m at my max nights away and anxious to get home tomorrow. If I stay too long, the suitcase becomes my home and I get totally confused as to the whereabouts of everything when I get home.So I made the most of the last day in this glorious place.

I took a detour via the local shops and spent far more than I should on gifts for the girls and reminders for me. This meant I had to stop by my room again to drop off parcels🙄 before heading to Fitz park to take some piccies. The spring colours were amazing….

I then took the bus to Seatoller and back again along narrow windy roads and more beautiful scenery from the top of the bus. Ambled to Portiscale crossing the River Greta

and finally, back to Keswick for a last look at my favourite view from Friars Cragg where I watched a happy dog chasing the choppy waves. I met a lovely couple who had never been there before, stunned by it’s beauty and we chatted happily for a while before they left, but not before I took piccies of them and they took a piccie for me and the Robin came along once more to say goodbye…..

Me thinks this will be the next piccie I print and hang in my Memory Room – my favourite spot in my favourite place…..

The trouble with this cruel disease is if you stop ‘doing’, dementia takes hold, which is probably why I’ve had a rubbish week – because I havn’t been ‘doing’, I’ve been doing everyday things which isn’t enough to keep dementia at bay……but after a wonderful few days in heaven, and a busy week ahead, hopefully I’ll now be able to find my mojo and pick myself up again…..maybe…hopefully……..

I made a short 2 minute recording yesterday for Dementia Diaries  if fancy listening to me ramble…..

https://dementiadiaries.org/entry/11208/we-all-need-that-special-place-to-go-when-you-need-to-make-sense-of-whats-happening

Me and Anna in Conversation……

A simple blog for me to end the week as it’s 2 links – firstly:

It’s the last 2 weeks of voting in the Charity Film Awards. If you’d like to click on the link to see the film of me that has made the final and then vote if you havn’t already, that would be wonderful….

https://www.charityfilmawards.com/videos/somebody-i-used-to-know-wendy-mitchell

Secondly, to an article me and my partner in writing, Anna Wharton, wrote about the process we used and challenges faced when writing my book together.

The day Anna emailed me was a very lucky day for both if us. Because it was going to be such a personal book for me, there had to be immediate trust. It may sound strange, but the minute I met her I knew it would work…..

But for me, the best part of the whole process was that it was the most wonderful experience and through our writing together gained a friend for life….

Here’s the link to the article….

https://granta.com/how-do-you-write-a-memoir-when-you-cant-remember/

An Open Thank You letter to Bloomsbury………

Dear Bloomsbury

This may sound sentimental, it may sound gushy, but I’m sat here, looking out at the birds in the trees and feeling grateful.

When the girls were little I used to methodically make a list of who had sent them presents and then the task after Christmas was for them to write thank you letters. Not sure how much they endeared themselves to the task in hand, but it was always done. Well this is one thank you letter which I’ve had no trouble writing. And so it is to you Bloomsbury, that I’m sending my thanks.

I realise my book has been mutually beneficial, but for me…..well….I can’t tell you the joy it’s brought.

To have the lovely Anna Warton believe in my story from the start was the first bonus and our friendship has remained ever since. I remember continually saying, ‘but who would want to read about me’?

Then once written, for you to believe in what we’d written, was the next surprise.

All I’d wanted, from the start, was to hold a book in my hand, my book. Like so many others, we dream of writing a book, but how many actually happen? So when Bloomsbury were our chosen publishers ahead of other, how delighted was I?

I chose you above others due to how sensitive and genuine Alexis, the Editor, appeared. I almost turned you down due to the difficulty I had in saying the name ‘Bloomsbury’….but then someone told me I’d been diagnosed on Harry Potters birthday….so the same publishers seemed like it was meant to be.

I’ve learnt so much about this alien world you all inhabit..The people I’ve met there have all been amazingly friendly and always made sure I felt comfortable with everything and respected the wishes of my daughters for privacy where it was needed.

The wonderful keepsakes you’ve given me have been so original. The first being the animation for the hardback version which I adore.

https://m.youtube.com/watch?feature=youtu.be&v=GjAS-07rTA4%5B/embed%5D

The kindness of the animators, allowing me to have the originals used to create it and then frame for my daughters, was a wonderful gesture.

You gave me the opportunity to make all the staff Dementia Friends one afternoon in the Conservatory. I still havn’t forgotten…….after all, it’s all written for me here

https://whichmeamitoday.wordpress.com/2017/10/09/talking-to-staff-at-bloomsbury/

The beautiful cover your talented designer created with the sunny yellow post its floating on the cover, was a joy.

but then to have a photograph I took of my girls many moons ago, be chosen for the cover of my paperback….well…..each time I enter a book shop and spy it proudly sat on the shelf, I want to go up and hug it tight….and often do!

To have posters appear in many tube and rail stations was surreal. Once again, your thoughtfulness at framing one each for Sarah and Gemma being overwhelming. Although Billy soon showed us that he thought he should be on the cover of the book.

I’m sure there’s many more wonderful moments that have left me now, which is why I wanted these all in one place.

 

Finally I think my favourite was seeing my very own Gif….memories uncovered before me – beautiful..❤️

The joy you bring to people’s lives through the written word is truly magical, the joy you’ve brought to me is unimaginable …..
I know all this will be over, but what memories you’ve made for me, and while the interest still rolls on……? ….well, I’ll enjoy every moment …..who would have thought any of this remotely possible back on July 31st 2014 when I was diagnosed with Young Onset dementia….?

Thank you

Loads of hugs and love

Wendy

Was this my last long walk……..?

Last Sunday or maybe the Sunday before, I woke to a gloriously sunny day and fancied walking and taking photos. I could have walked round the village, as I often do, as I’m very lucky to live in such a nice place.

Last year, or maybe the year before, I used to regularly walk into Beverley through the Westwood. In fact, I used to walk miles, just walking, taking photos and very happy. But of late, that venture has become a tad more difficult. I remember once having to give up half way and simply wait for ages for the village bus to pick me up. But today was Sunday. No village buses as a back up. Then I spoke to Sarah and asked if she was around and luckily it was her day off. So it was decided that I would set off, Sarah would track me, and if it became too much I could txt Sarah to pick me up – perfect😊

And so it was that I set off with a spring in my wobble. Passing by the village pond

and set off along the road leading out of the village. Passing one of the beautiful Magnolias in full bloom.

The footpath out of the village that also runs alongside the Westwood is also a cycle track. Many others out for a stroll, happy dogs by their side, bid me hello with a friendly smile. Cyclists passed, bells ringing behind me to alert me of their presence, shouting hello as they sped passed.
One chappie cyclist did just this, but then suddenly stopped a few yards ahead of me and wheeled his bike back in my direction…….

“Are you Wendy Mitchell?”

😳 ‘Errr, yes”

“I’ve read your book, it was wonderful. I recognised your orange coat and haversack from a photo I saw somewhere and just had to stop and say hello”

How random and kind was that! He then cycled off with a wave and goodbye..☺️

More Sunday morning strollers out in the sunshine exchanged a smile as I headed for the Westwood, my steps becoming less sprightly, the rhythm of my stick becoming slower. I hadn’t realised how cold the wind was and my hands were turning to blocks of ice, the deceptive sun giving out false signals of warmth.

I finally turned the corner and the Westwood came into view. I was able to stop for a breather and snap my favourite view to the left

And then the Minster in the distance to the right

It’s the road I trundle along in the taxi heading for the station and an early morning sunrise always looks wonderful over to the right of  the Westwood and an even more spectacular sunset behind the folly which I rarely see. It’s such a peaceful place, where walkers stroll and happy dogs are let off leads to roam and play.

This was the part of the walk I really wanted to do, my favourite views. I’d stopped to take the photos and now my legs really weren’t that keen on continuing. But I was determined to complete the trundle into town. If this was to be my last full walk here, I was going to finish it.

My sprightly step from the start had now turned into the familiar shuffle of tiredness. The town cows were still in their winter shelter otherwise they would have distracted me on my shuffle through to the end of the Westwood. But they were still to make an appearance so I had to concentrate on my destination, admiring the gardens on the outskirts of town.

I was heading for the station, picking up booked tickets for a future trundle and then to Sarahs for a cuppa tea and collapse on her sofa.

I finally made it and the smiling faces of pansys in the flower troughs in the station walk were a welcome sight.

Who knows if that was the last walk into town…..at least I had a plan B…….uncharacteristicly exhausted after such a short walk, but I did it, and if it isn’t ‘the last’….well that will be a bonus…..

I know I’m very lucky………..

Today is a simple blog as it’s a link to an article I wrote for the ‘Unforgettable’ web site. James Ashwell, founder of Unforgettable, explains how his mum’s dementia journey changed his life forever. He says on the web site:

“I passionately believe there is plenty of life to be lived with dementia and that products and services can really help”

So I was happy to write an article for their blog page about my relationship with my daughter. It must have been a few weeks ago though as I have no recollection of it yet reading the words, know they’re my words, and you can find it below:

https://www.unforgettable.org/blog/i-still-want-to-help-my-daughters/

Remember though, that with any article I write, they are my words, my thoughts and my daughters may think something totally different……😊

My daughter telling her side of our story….plus…

Yesterday was the turn of my daughter Sarah to be in the spotlight for a change. As I said on my blog yesterday (Ithink!), both sides of the story are equally importation very different needs yet both needing support; no one side is more important than the other. So yesterday Sarah was giving her side of our story on Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour with the lovely Jane Garvey.

Sarah was soo nervous she arrived at my house 10 minutes early so I’d only just come downstairs from getting ready 🤣…..we arrived at the station in plenty of time to have several cups of tea but were very good and just had one😇 well I had one and Sarah had coffee (😱🙈🤐) ……….once we were on the train all was right in the world as we both had tea……😇

No trip across the Humber bridge today as we’d driven further down the line to pick up the train but there was the most amazing sunrise followed by torrential rain a few minutes later. Which just kept on coming……..!!

So no piccie of the sunrise but a selfie instead😊

Kate from Bloomsbury was meeting us at Kings Cross and we all piled into the taxi for the short but always long ride through the London traffic to the BBC. I wasn’t there just st for the ride today as I had a podcast to record with Delicious, the food magazine. So at least I felt I was earning my keep as Bloomsbury were paying for us both to travel.

Anyway we got to the station and Kate and then the taxi were waiting for us. Once we got through security Sophie and Paula met us in reception, and took us up to the green room and the waiting cuppa from Sophie😇. Jane Garvey soon joined us and after hugs and a catch up time for piccies☺️

They surprised me asking if we had to rush off as they’d like to record something with Sarah for the podcast☺️ magic😊

Sarah was whisked away and me and Kate were able to listen to the programme …..

Sarah was sooooo nervous……bless……but I knew Jane would look after her.

Sarah was second on……after a child poverty piece – it seems wrong that in this day and age, in this rich yet messed up country, that we have children and families going hungry. 😞

Jane played a clip from my interview first and asked Sarah how she felt after hearing me. They spoke of the changes in my personality. Sarah spoke of the grief at the loss of my old character but also the joy at all I’m doing now.

The subject of her nursing skills being a help or a hinderance to supporting me. Sarah spoke of how she often thinks she is doing right, especially when we wrote my lasting power of attorney. Sarah assumed I would want the opposite because of her nurse training.

At the end of the day, I have capacity, and Sarah let’s me get on with things, but is always there when I need her.

Sarah might have been nervous but she was amazing sooooooo amazing. You can hear it here:

https://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/play/m0003qx8

Sarah is about 10 minutes in and both of us are at the end……..😊

Once the programme had finished we recorded an extra piece with us both in conversation with Jane…….she is such a wonderful person…..😊

Kate then surprised us as Emma had sorted a joint interview for BBC Radio London 😊 straight after our time here…….. Sarah just nodded 🤣

So after a cuppa tea we went across to BBC Radio London and quickly shown upstairs where we waited a few minutes..

We were taken to the studio pre record an interview with Jo Good. I apparently was on her programme last year for my hardback version😳🙄 funny, I remembered the waiting area ……must have a piccie or something……..

This time me and Sarah were doing a double act😊. Jo was so nice, so smiley. Havn’t a clue what we talked about except Sarah said Jo mentioned how I hadn’t changed at all in a year. Sarah made the point that I’ve changed in many ways and how it underplays the daily struggles by saying I’m the same – glad she highlighted that, huge brownie point😊

So for another piccie……

We went back to Bloomsbury. We had a little while before the final recording of the day so me and Sarah went to hibernate in a café for a while and had lunch, well me another top up of tea🙄

We headed back to the office where Gillie from ‘Delicious’ magazine podcast was waiting for me.Another nice interview followed by my last cuppa tea in the conservatory where Sarah was waiting for me but not before a last piccie with Gillie from Delcious…

The whole gang who look after me at Bloomsbury popped down for a hug and catch up. Emma, Hannah, Jasmin and Alexis, all coming to say hello..wonderful

Totally wiped out, exhausted and running on automatic, we ambled our way in the fresh air back to Kings Cross.

I might have been running on empty but I felt very lucky to have the opportunity of such a wonderful day………..☺️…….and because today was snuck in as an extra, I’m back down in London again tomorrow……..😳🤐😴….

Two Cups of Tea……

Yesterday I had a visit from Chris Heath, TV Producer, Author and Podcaster. He was there to record an interview for his Podcast, ‘Two Cups of tea’…..sounded right up my street……🤣

I was a tad concerned about who he thought he might find opening the door to my house as the blurb I read said….”sharing older people’s extraordinary life stories’……😳🧐 but then saw ‘a celebration of extraordinary characters’……..mmmmm getting closer…….never quite got the ‘remininisce theory, as not all memories are good and there’s lots of my past I’d rather forget. I often wonder how the interviewer knows what to ask, but I can only trust he’s read my book and will ask appropriately. So in for a penny, in for a pound, I thought, why not – drinking tea and being interviewed……perfect.

Anyway, the morning arrived, not quite as sunny as yesterday but at least it was dry and still. Chris arrived at the due time……

He started off his podcast, Two for tea, by interviewing his Nan, then people from the village. It showed how everyone has a story to tell, everyone has history. He then approached the people from the campaign to end loneliness. Simply by chatting to people you can make their day. Even a smile and ‘hello’ can make people feel good.

Anyway….we sat and he used his phone to record the conversation…

He asked me about my life from the start and my earliest memories which took me by surprise. Although I was happy to talk about some things, the private me that was, came back with a vengeance and I felt very uncomfortable talking about certain periods of time. Hopefully I laughed them off or something as I can’t imagine what I said about some years.
I’ll have to listen to the recording to find out!

Strange how me talking about the past brought back my old very private self…..🤔 it was as though she was sat right beside me giving me daggers looks and daring me to reveal some bits of the past. I’m sure she would have confiscated my cuppa tea if I had revealed too much……🙄 Can only hope I didn’t offend the private me with my current openness bu crossing her boundary of acceptance……..🙄 as you can probably tell, I’m feeling a tad uneasy……

We rambled on about this that and everything for about an hour.

As I’m typing this I remember he asked me at the end for my one piece of advice for life and I imagine I said……

People forget that every day we make decisions about the ways we live our lives, and that decision – be it small, or large like mine – can be the difference between what makes you and what breaks you.
When I was given my dementia diagnosis in July 2014, I was determined to choose a better path, and a positive one”

I’ll have to listen to the recording to see if I did….🙄🤣

I’ll put a link when it’s out for anyone interested, but he thinks it might be next Sunday.

There was one disappointing observation…….I imagined he would drink tea with me…..what did he ask for?………..water…….. 😳😱🙈……..

Letter from Emma Thompson……….

On Saturday someone on Twitter sent me an article I’d written for the Northern Big Issue. It’s a strange world lately because I’ve kindly been asked to write many articles for different newspapers and publications but when they appear it’s as if I’m seeing them for the first time…..🙄

The Big Issue had asked me to write about learning to live in the moment and about a wonderful letter I received from the actress Emma Thompson (did I just say that 😳)

It was on beautiful paper with a lovely character

And handwritten…..how amazing….

On it she quoted Oscar Wilde by saying:

Every little action of the common day is what makes or unmakes character”

You can read the article here:

https://www.bigissue.com/culture/my-dementia-is-a-gift-i-allow-myself-to-enjoy-the-here-and-now/

Finally…….Skydive Saturday happened…

Well……I woke up and listened for the wind rattling my window but all I could hear were the birds…….the dreaded cancellation email hadn’t pinged into my inbox the night before so it was looking hopeful, but I’ve learnt never to trust this British weather….

It had been cancelled the last 2 weekends and I’d decided to just keep putting my name down each weekend until I did it, as long as someone could take me there! Sadly only Gemma was free on Saturday so she had drawn the short straw and was my taxi to the airfield…I actually just wanted it done now simply so I didn’t have to ask anyone again……the sadness of not being able to drive had never entered my head before but it did today. It struck me how reliant I am on my daughters sometimes. I know they don’t mind but I mind; I mind asking them to give up their time for me.

We’d been given a later arrival time of 12.30 so I was sat all morning in my bedroom (where I live during the day) staring out at the trees and willing them not to move. I eventually ran out of things to do so I ambled through the village to Gemmas

We set off in lovely sunshine….As we got closer to Bridlington the traffic started to pile up😱😳…..long queue in front of us……🥵……….the Sat Nav told us we would get there at 12.10…..20 mins to spare but it didn’t take into accounts hold ups……🤯 Gemma said…….

“ you’re getting stressed about a queue of traffic but not worried about jumping out of a plane”

😂🤣😂🤣

Anyway, we finally got to the airfield….to be met by loads of other people all there for the same reason. The shear kindness of everyone started with a lovely chappie who booked me in. More forms for Gemma to fill in and me to sign….but he was patient, he was kind, no matter how long the queue was.

We went into the waiting room filled with lots of families, chaos and noise but all was right in the world as Gemma got me a cuppa tea …. There was a viewing area outside equally filled with the current jumper’s families…..

I started to get agitated from all the waiting when suddenly I heard the engine of the plane fire up and the group before us nervously hugging goodbyes to families and making their way to the plane. 20 minutes later, the sky was filled with 3 brightly coloured parachutes making their way down and they landed in a field the other side of the trees……

Then……finally……my name was called along with 4 others to have our training……any agitation now disappeared as I was ‘doing’. A hug to Gemma patiently waiting and I was off. The training was hilarious. He kept using words like, ‘must’ and ‘must not’….well…I remembered the last ‘must’ he said. ‘Must’ lift your feet when landing……well one remembered out of however many was more than I was expecting 🤣. I kept joking with the other 4 as they were very nervous, especially one woman who was 50 that day. Her family had ‘surprised’ her the night before 🤣😂🤣 she wasn’t impressed.

Me and the young girl next to me were doing it for charity and we exchanged many looks of 😳🤪😱🙈🤣😂🤣

As soon as I said I was doing it for Young Dementia UK and that I had young dementia, everything changed. The kindness I was shown was overwhelming.

We stepped back outside to wait for our names to be called to be kitted out ready to go. It was just me and the young girl in our plane along with 2 guys who were filming us. They had to help me get kitted up as I couldn’t work out where legs arm or anything went 😂. I had Mr Pink Man who would be with me on the flight and he was just adorably kind. The cameraman was lovely too and it was he who had taken us through the training. All the photos are his doing.😍

I clambered into the plane with the 2 men hoisting me in. The others joined us and before long we were up in the air. The noise of the engine was head banging for me but the views of the coast were just stunning. Mr Pink Man gave me a running commentary of what we could see. North through Filey, Flamborough Head, Scarborough and beyond to Robins Hood Bay and the as the plane turned south to gain height the Humber came into view and the Humber Bridge!!

It took us a good 20 minutes to get to 10,000 feet, but we were entertained with laughter, jokes and the beautiful scenery. The man filming all the time for me, thank goodness.

Then……the beeping noise came telling us  we’d reached 10,000 feet and it was time to leap…..well belly flop in my case….we shuffled to the edge, one last photo

And then

Falling out of the sky with Mr Pink Man ……..

It wasn’t anything like I thought. We were speeding the rough the air at 130 miles per hour for the free fall 30 seconds before the parachute went up

And then the peace, the stillness, the silence was truly amazing. We floated down suspended in mid air……simply looking at the clouds around us and the wonderful views below. The ground looking like a finished jigsaw.

My peaceful reverie was suddenly ended by My Pink Man saying, ‘Do you fancy doing some acrobats and twirls?’……..this alien voice answered…

‘Yes!’ 😳😂🤣

And we wooshed through the air spinning this way and that at an alarming speed. I had to close my eyes at first as my eyeballs seem to want to leave their sockets, but once they’d adjusted I peeped out and it was simply wonderful and I’m sure squeals of delight must have been heard in the world down below.


It seemed like we were heading earthwards in slow motion until we got nearer and then it seem to be coming towards us at an alarming rate…. Instead of landing behind the trees we were landing right in front of the viewing area. I could see Gemma waving.
Mr Pinkman shouted ‘legs up’, but I was totally exhausted. I grabbed the leg straps as shown but I had no energy left to lift my feet up. Everyone on the ground was shouting ‘legs up Wendy’ but I had nothing left.

Mr Pinkman obviously realised this and landed us both like ducks on water and I collapsed in a heap.

All I could say was , ‘Wow, thank you’. I had a permanent smile on my face from start to finish. He hugged me then undid all the clips and fasteners and 2 men helped me back to the hanger with lots of smiling faces clapping me and the young girl. They also helped me get everything off as I couldn’t work out anything🙄

As I was helped back to Gemma, we got our certificates and made out way through to waiting families and friends. I was hugging Gemma, when

a man came over and took £20 out of his wallet, and simply said, ‘Amazing, well done’.

The kindness of friends and total strangers, have helped me raise well over £3000 for Young Dementia UK, and the experience was worth every penny.

Thank you.

p.s wonder what I’ll do next…..🤔🤣