Category Archives: A day in the life

Everyday experience of living with dementia.

My last day in paradise…….

Today is Monday and I arrived back home from Keswick on Saturday….another trying journey home, with delays and missed connections……but here’s my last full day in Keswick on a rainy Friday……..

The promised overnight rain had arrived in bucketfuls and promised to hang around for all of my last day. But you expect rain in Keswick, so it wasn’t going to dampen my spirits.

Heavy skies who over Borrowdale in the distance hiding their existence

I got chatting to the man on the next table at breakfast who told me the amazing climbs he’d done the day before above Ullswater and today he was going to rest and amble round town feeding the local economy 😊

I decided I was going going to play ‘pot luck’ with the buses. I headed down to the bus station and was going to catch the first bus that arrived and see where it took me. It happened to be the Penrith bus, a nice trundle, and made all the more interesting by two elderly Americans. They’d started touring the world in January and were due back home in December.  Cumbria had been a true highlight for them and Keswick in particular. When asked what had made them take such a long trip, they simply said, ‘Because there’s so many beautiful places outside America and we wanted to do it now before it’s too late’……wonderful…..

Once at Penrith I then take the next  bus that arrived…..it was for Windermere! So, knowing I could get a bus back from Windermere to Keswick, I decided to take the 2 hour journey through different views – I was not disappointed……..

It’s often the case that if it’s a small bus, then the roads are going to be narrow and steep in places. So we set off expecting a rollercoaster ride into the unknown……

The first village sign I saw was for Eamont bridge….

The narrow roads soon appeared and startled looks on the faces of the drivers of oncoming cars made me chuckle as the space to pass was less than my little finger.

Even though the rain was torrential, the first surprise was seeing the sign for Pooley Bridge pier and expanse of lake Ullswater ahead……always wanted to go there!

I hadn’t realised the size of it as we splashed our way Water Millock

And then onto Glenridding

At Patterdale on the end of the lake it was still murky, still beautiful

Even though we were climbing high we appeated to be in a valley flanked by the mountains either side with a steep gradient for our little bus to climb. Water was gushing down the mountains dramatically filling the streams below. It really wasnt the views i expected in august, as the rain continued to pour.

There was only 3 of us on this trundle and one of them was the driver!

If only id had windscreen wipers in my side of the bus as im afraid youll have to imagine the breathtaking biews

I dont know where we were after this as we diappeared into the depths of isolation with only the odd sheep for company

So steep was it that the bus crawled and we could have walked beside it but thankfully we was nice and snug inside

Thick heavy mist engulfed our surroundings and the driver seem to trundle along on automatic until a soaked climber appeared out of nowhere, hunched up and bedrangled. The driver stopped and asked if he wanted to climb on board. He thankfully accepted and dripped on board with a cheery thankful smile.

I couldnt see a bus stop so think the driver was just being kind as we really were in the middle of a rain soaked nowhere so now we were 4…..

Random villages appeared and disappeared with no clue of their name

But then the roads became wider, houses increased in number and we came out of the wilderness onto the main road to Bowness before heading up to windermere itself to catch the bus back to keswick through Ambleside and Grasmere . I may not be able to walk and climb as i once did but i can still enjoy the beautiful scenery trundling along on a bus even in the rain….

Although everyone likes it fine and sunny the rain troubles few and so it was that after a cuppa and recharge in my room, I went out and joined fellow drowned rats to wander round the town and ‘soak’ up a tad more than it’s tranquility. My last amble was to get my supper and look round the shops. The shopkeepers quite like a rainy day here, as they know it’ll be the time people will coming in for a brief respite from the rain.

In was at this point that the end of my day threw me a curve ball……..last couple of shops and I headed into one only to make a dramatic entrance and SPLAT! I decided to enter head first…….frightening shopkeepers and shoppers alike……….🙈 so embarrassing and convinced that if I didn’t get up quick, they’d call an ambulance….so with the help of 2 shopkeepers I stood up and made a hasty exit amidst cries of concern. I was convinced that if I was taken into hospital they might not let me out once they knew I had dementia – all these thoughts going through my head in seconds…….

I arrived stressed and would be leaving as a calm, if not aching and scary looking panda 🐼 🐼 , having frightened Cathryn to death when I went down for breakfast…….but the view out of my window was all set to welcome the next lucky person staying at Appletrees…..

My Continuing time in Paradise…….

Continuing on from yesterdays blog…….once Nicky had left me I sat on the bench at the end of Friars Cragg, alone, soaking up the peace, when my thoughts were disturbed by a Chinese family. The father came and sat with me and we chatted amiably about the view. It was his first time here. He told me he was from Milton Keynes, a place I lived for 30 years….small world syndrome appearing once more.

We continued our chat as his young daughter and wife took photos of each other….he was quite an old dad for the age of the children and was saying how his youngest son wouldn’t walk to the Cragg as it was boring. He was too old not to enjoy this beauty and made a decision there and then to work less and enjoy the peace more……..

A lovely chat with a random stranger……..with the beautiful view to enhance our words

I trundled back to Appletrees, taking piccies on the way. It was still cloudy, but even a grey day creates its own beauty here in Keswick

The following day I opened the curtain to low cloud hugging the hills but the promise was for a brighter day

I don’t think I’ve ever been in August before so the crowds took me by surprised when I arrived, but I simply enter my own little world and am alone. It was market day on Thursday, which I love in this little town and ambled round before catching a bus that starts and ends in Keswick. I stood at the bus stop with 2 men, one young one old. The youngest was telling us how he tries to get here every week to walk. It’s a 5 hour journey each way and he gets back at midnight 😳 – this is how much he loves Keswick….The older man was doing as I was. He’d climbed all the mountains in his time but now, hunched and frail, he takes the bus to see the views…..lovely strangers…

The bus takes nearly 2 hours, but takes in places I could never get to any other way. Along the bottom of Cats Bell, taking in Seatoller before crossing the wonderful Honister Pass

Then it was down alongside Buttermere, Lorton and Whinlatter before heading back to Keswick. Streams were clearly visible cascading down the mountains….simply wonderful…
The bus driver navigated the narrow steep roads as if they were motorways and the views were simply stunning, One elderly woman on board, as we trundled along shouted, “let’s burn some rubber”…which had us all chuckling as we rumbled along…

As we pulled back into Keswick, another bus was waiting to leave and after checking they came back to Keswick again, I hopped on that one for a shorter journey through the Borrowdale valley alongside Derwentwater. I don’t think I’ve ever seen the lake so high in summer and the famous Lakeside walk was impassable in some places unless you were prepared to paddle, which some were happily doing! Their shoes and socks in hands and echoes of laughter heard as feet met the cold water….

After a cuppa and rest I trundled down to the Lake and caught the launch to see the high lake close up. Some landing stages were closed and the rest had to be negotiated differently and the ends were under water….

Heavy rain is forecast for Friday so I decided to walk……..and walk……and walk

 

Until my legs told me to stop….but not before a last piccie of the evening

A fight with dementia and national rail day…….

August is always a quiet month for travelling far and wide and yesterday was the first time I’d had to sort myself out as it was a ‘me’ journey…….

Luckily I’d booked the tickets ahead of time as I siuddenly had to think, ‘How do I book tickets’….but thankfully they were all waiting for me in my calendar……..phew!

I got up excited at the prospect of going to my paradise of Keswick, but also a bit discombobulated as the routine of travel had left me and, what is usually a clear process of a journey ahead was a misty haze………

The day didn’t get better……a strange taxi arrived….not the usual company logo on the side and pointing the opposite way to usual….🤔😳……..but it was outside my house…….🤯

I went outside but it didn’t feel right……different cab, different driver….was I being abducted by aliens 🧐🤨😶😐

But a smiley face got out and said he was my taxi, he was working for them today as it was race day…….🥵🥵 all was revealed……..

I then thought the day would improve………but British Rail had other ideas……I got to Hull only to find my train to Manchester had been cancelled….🙈🙈🙈🙈🤯🤯🤯🤯🤯 luckily there was a woman at the board who must have seen my lost look and asked where I was going……..she took my suitcase and said, ‘follow me’……😳 ‘If you get on the London train about to leave, that will take you to Doncaster……..😶😳🤯…..as it was about to leave I was on it before I could remind her I was going to Manchester……🥵

No sooner was I on that it pulled out so nothing I could do…I sat and do what I do best….got a cuppa and looked at my phone……I was pleased to see a message from my partner in writing, Anna, so I told her my predicament and she calmed me down showing me piccies of her cats Derek and Clive………❤️🤗…just what I needed……….we then decided we should stop chatting and I should find a smiley face to help me…….and I did…..obviously I would have txt Sarah or Gemma if I’d not been able to sort, but Anna just happen to be there at the right time……

The nice smiley woman, who brought me a tea, also sorted me out and told me there was a train from Doncaster to Manchester……totally different route but at least I would get back on track again…….hopefully……..

Well, got to Doncaster and all I saw at first was ‘Trains Delayed’…🙈…….luckily my new train was only running a few minutes late. But the worst part of the joureny was not knowing where I was as it was a totally different route via Sheffield……..so once we left there I was lost and just had to calm me down by telling myself that it was going to Manchester and I’d eventually get there…….now I just had to sort out if I’d get there for my connection……😶

Different scenery but still nice and matched my head …..grey and murky

Once I arrived at Manchester and found the Penrith train I felt much better knowing I was on the last leg and arrived in Penrith in no time at all. This sign on the platform always makes me chuckle….

The 15 mile bus journey is an even bigger delight and it trundles it’s way down the valley to Keswick, calling at a couple of little villages en route……the clouds were low over the fells and it was drizzling…..but it was still a joy to stare out of the window

I was meeting Nicky Taylor from Leeds Playhouse at 4. She was coming to my B&B, Appletrees, to film a short piece for an event I’m unable to attend in September. I’d asked Cathryn if she minded us filming in my room as the town was heaving and would be noisy. She was more than happy to help. So Nicky set everything up in my room and asked me all the questions she sent ahead of time. I’d typed the answers to make sure I said everything I wanted as my head wasn’t in the best of places after the nightmare journey.

The audience would be made up of clinicians, health and social care professionals and others affected by dementia, so she asked me questions about what could be done differently, what have I found challenging and how I react to criticism amongst other things.

She ended by asking me what it means to me to be in Keswick…..and I described it as my paradise of calm…..and with a view like this from my window, I hope you can see why…..

We finished off by going for a walk to the Lake and filming me at Friars Cragg staring out at the tranquility……..before Nicky took this piccie of me with Cats Bell in the background…

A Visit from artist, Suki Chan……..

Got in a right pickle with yesterday’s blog but hopefully it finally arrived to you all….

Suki last visited me in April 2018….I know that as I looked her up on my blog! She asked to visit after seeing my book on the desk of a vision scientist she was working with…..(how the eyes and brain work together). Well recently she emailed to see if she could visit again as she wanted to record me talking about the fog I experience on bad days amongst other things.

Our dear friend ‘Google’ describes Suki as:

“……… an artist whose work uses light, moving image and sound to explore our physical and psychological experience of time and space…..”

You can read about her previous visit here if it’s of interest:

https://whichmeamitoday.wordpress.com/2018/04/10/visit-by-artist-suki-chan/

Anyway, enough of the rambling and back to yesterday……Suki arrived just before the heavens opened……and we’d just decided to record in the conservatory when the downpour beat down loudly on the roof 🙄😂

So we decided to venture back into the living room where the noise would be quieter……


Suki setting up….

Suki  has been doing some wonderful work in Care Homes. She’s an amazing artist and you can read more about her in an article from the Guardian Newspaper

https://www.theguardian.com/society/2019/jun/26/arts-care-homes-healthy

We spoke and recorded about the fog, my glass half full personality, living alone, the future, death, and all manner of things…it was easy speaking to her…we then moved back into the conservatory as the sun decided to appear….

While Suki was setting up to film I listened to a recording she’d made of various people talking, mostly carers. There’s often this sadness in their voice ….you rarely hear carers talk positively….they rarely spoke of good moments and dwelt on the sadness…….yes it is rubbish but if you dwell on the rubbish, it’s pure sadness……..or maybe it’s just me…

We then just filmed me talking about that. How if you had 2 rooms, one with people with dementia, one with carers, how you would see two very different conversations and the sadness would be in the room of carers and from the people with dementia, you would hear laughter as well as reality. Maybe if carers found a way to balance the loss they felt with the moments of simple joy, then it would make their lives a little less sad. Just my thoughts and yes, I can imagine how difficult it is, really I can.
I often find in mixed groups, that the feelings of guilt can engulf the person with dementia more whereas in a group solely made up of people with dementia, there’s more laughter and openness……

We also spoke of the the terror of dementia. Finding ways to ease the terror of hallucinations, of making them bearable, of playing a game with dementia to ease the terror. Because it is terrifying, it is scary and any way that makes it less scary is a good way. My friend hallucinated. She saw a man in her room with a leg hanging out of a drawer and I asked if she’d given him a name? That immediately relaxed her as she thought up the name for him. It reduced the fear. It wasn’t a pleasant name – ha!😂

Suki then filmed me typing and speaking about why typing is so important to me, before taking a few photos and in the blink of an eye she was gone…….but I remember her lovely smile….

A bad day in the world of dementia…..

I open my eyes, tap my watch for it to blink at me….it was 03.07…….storms are rumbling outside and welcome rain falling on my garden. It should have been a sound that made me happy….so why was I feeling sad and confused….I tapped my watch again….03.09……

I decide to type this blog as I can feel the fog in my head descending and maybe just maybe this use of my brain in the early hours will keep it at bay…..

I wrack my brain trying to force it to work out the day of the week but, as I look at my iPad for confirmation, realise I’ve got it wrong – it’s Thursday apparently.. I can feel my brain short circuiting, buzzing, trying to stay in the present and I feel sad……

My fingers typing the words and my eyes reading in wonder at their capability, almost detached from this brain of mine and working independently – thankfully. If they ever fail me that will be my sign to say goodbye to this world, as it’s their ability, their strength that keep me going. I’m so lucky to have their ability on my side.

I stop and listen to the chaotic skies outside, thankful the world isn’t silent tonight, giving me some company apart from this dementia fog in my head.

I feel like I’m sinking into the mist, more of me disappearing- keep typing…keep the brain working….but it’s becoming harder…..I lie, my eyes closed, clutching my faithful iPad for comfort……

I tap my watch …04.57…..the fog’s still there…..not sure of the day, but storms are rumbling outside…a comforting sound.

I tap my watch, it blinks to life. It’s light outside and silent. It’s 06.37. I’m lying still, the only sound, the muffled soft tapping of my fingers on my keyboard. I should get up, knowing the dementia fog will make staying here in it’s own comforting nest, throwing it’s scheming cloak around me, to suffocate and lull me into believing it will help, when the total opposite is true.

I look for a photo for this blog that says how I feel and find this one….

Hopefully the fog will clear soon. The heat always seems to create brain fog in me…😔

Too early to ask Alexa to play me some calming music as I’d wake the girls next door and they’re always kind to me at night, switching their music off by 10…..

Adrian Goldberg, from Radio 5 Live, was due to come and record a podcast in a few hours time……So I open Solitaire and try and go through my morning routine…9 of hearts placed on 10 of clubs……I must get up, it mustn’t win today…..

Dementia has brought me another WOW! moment….

Yesterday was another surreal day…..a day that would never have happened if I hadn’t been diagnosed with dementia……a second Doctorate 😳 but this time from Bradford University.

Last week Hull University kindly made me a ‘Doctor of the University’ and Bradford, a ‘Honorary Degree of Doctor of Health’…….amazing that I’m typing those words……..

I’m sure Bradford was one of the first universities I ever became involved with when I was diagnosed. I was so thrilled to meet the sadly missed Trevor Jarvis and his lovely wife Anne. They taught me so much in the beginning. Trevor was also given a Doctorate by Bradford so I’m simply stepping into his shoes – very big ones to fill.

I’ve loved being involved from the very start with the Doctoral Training centre there and actually interviewed some of the students. Two of them would be receiving their doctorates today, Courtney Shaw and Denise De Waal, which is a great thrill and the rest next year I believe.

Gemma and Stuart were taking me as unfortunately Sarah’s shifts didn’t behave this time. But we promised to send her piccies

It was an early start 06.45 as I was due there at 9. They had offered a hotel the night before but that would have been awkward for work for Gemma and Stuart.

I’ve typed all of the above before I left so the rest will be afterthought emotions and captured from images in my head……

The day dawned and the sun shone…. We’d left ourselves plenty of time to get there. It was strange going to Bradford in a car!

We arrived to a bit of confusion of car parking, but I went inside and immediately someone came out to help, followed by Vic, (my looker afterer for the day) and Professor Jan, who would be reading the Oration before I was presented with my Doctorate.

We were shown upstairs to a lovely seating area to relax and have a cuppa and Vic walked me through the proceedings. I could have worried about having to remember so much but I just knew they’d look after me. Many many photos were taken including this one of me and Jan and Vic.

And me, Gemma and Stuart

We passed the Atrium where excited graduates were all gowned up and proud family and friends stood by snapping away on their cameras.

The ceremony began with the procession into the Great Hall where everyone was seated and waiting. Gemma and Stuart had been shown to their seats right at the front. Instead of going immediately on the stage I sat next to Gemma, but not for long as I received my award first and gave my speech, after which I took my place on stage. I could then relax and smile in wonder at all the stars coming up on stage amidst cheers from family and friends.

I thought I’d missed Denise and Courtney receive their doctorate but then I spied the last 2 in the queue and it was them. To have them at the same ceremony as me was very special, especially since I’d worked with Courtney throughout her 3 years.

At the end the chancellor said exactly how it feels at Bradford calling it:

“The Bradford Family”

That’s how it felt.

The procession was led out and we degowned and were then led in for a lovely lunch. I was surrounded by lovely people and I had to pinch myself once more to make sure it was real.

After lunch we went up to the department celebration and their there was a roomful of people waiting including all the Doctoral students.

A special moment with people I’ve been involved with for years…more photos to create wonderful memories and an atmosphere of celebration…..

To all the staff there – I love your welcome, your willingness to learn, willingness to change and willingness to listen, willingness to share and willingness to care. I’ve become good friends with many of them and the students….I adore all of them.

So many times have I trundled to Bradford – 3 trains, but never minded. All because of the feeling I get when I’m involved there, all enhanced by such smiley faces and warm hugs – makes all the difference…..thank you Bradford………feeling overwhelmed by their kindness and thrilled to be part of the ‘Bradford Family’……..

A Gentle Book Club visit……..

Last week was a crazily busy week…..but just how I like it. I’m forever saying that I’d rather die of exhaustion than dementia which is why I put myself through so much.

So last Saturday I trundled to York for a lovely gentle visit to a Book Club in York that had been reading my book.

How I got invited here was very random. My good friend Jonathan Cowan from BBC Radio York had spied a woman on a bus reading my book and tweeted the picture. A friend of the woman then answered the tweet asking if it was her friend from the book club and I chipped in somewhere along the line. Turned out the book club also includes Anna Harrison, our supporter from Minds and Voices! And so the invite came and I happily accepted. At the time my week was quite empty 🙄 but as time drew closer, it ended up being the 6th event in a row of a very busy week. But I’d said yes and hate letting people down so off I trundled.

With it being a Saturday I was able to catch the early village bus with bus pass in hand and catch the York bus from Beverley. Much nicer than a costly train trundle and I just love sitting upstairs on a bus and watching the world go by……the town cows were my first entertainment as we trundled up alongside the Westwood

It was a gloomy day but as we went over the wolds you could see the chinks of sunshine in the distance over the Vale of York. There used to be an abundance of Poppy fields on this trundle in years gone by but now they are so rare. Housing developments sitting where they once bloomed but occasionally you come across a field where they surely were before but now only a few seeds refusing to disappear shine their gorgeous colour once more

I arrived at the station to find it was York Races so the place was heaving with smart clad race goers. All smartly dressed now, women with hats in situe, heals making them 6 foot tall, men all booted and suited and ties neatly tied……wonder what they’ll look like at the end of the day…🤔 hats skewif and shoes in hands, jackets and ties discarded maybe….?

Anna came up and found me and we walked to her friends, who is also called Anna, partners restaurant In town….we knew there’d only be 5 of us as their book group usually meets in the middle of the week, so it would be small but perfectly formed. The number of people never matters. This gregarious alien will now talk to anyone!

Her friends all arrived and were soooo smiley and friendly. The waiter took a piccie of us….

It was such a lovely conversation over a lovely lunch in lovely surroundings….mixed with personal stuff and funny stuff. I learnt lots about a side of York I never knew existed! Including the ‘naked cleaners’ company….😳🤣😂…………as one of the group said….why? …..and I’m sure the subject of lap dancing was mentioned at some point – not sure how my book brought us onto such a conversation…. 🤣😳

Anna 2 had totally changed the way she thought about dementia since reading my
book and it was she who Jonathan Cowap saw on the bus that I spoke of at the beginning…….such a small world we live in…….

Thank you Anna 1 for asking me in the first place……….

An Overwhelming and Humbling Day………

Many, many wonderful opportunities have come my way since being diagnosed with dementia. None of which I would have ever thought possible when I sat in the Consulting room, bring told there was nothing they can do. I believed them, I thought it was the end….because they never told me any different……

However, as the days and months passed by, I woke up. I woke up to the fact that there was still so much I CAN do and still a life to be lived, no matter what others told me. I saw the effect on my daughters of this attitude of ‘the end’. The ignorance we shared, as we knew nothing then. But through their love and support and working together as ‘Team Mitchell’ we began to rise to the challenge.

It’s not be easy, but then nothing worth fighting for is ever easy. Some days I felt like giving in and ending it all. But then, a smile, a comment, a thank you has stirred that need to continue once more.

So why am I telling you all this? Well yesterday, I was overwhelmed and humbled. Once again I’ve been fortunate. This month 2 Universities have given me the honour of presenting me with a Doctorate – Bradford Uni is next week and yesterday my local Hull University started off a wonderful week.

I wasn’t allowed to take my iPad with me so no real time recording of the event. The best thing of all was that Sarah, Gemma and Stuart were all there with me.

I woke feeling overwhelmed with a banging head before it had even started. Usually I never get nervous, but this was a truly alien experience, after all I’d never been deemed clever enough to go to University in my youth, so this was totally unexpected in my life.

The ceremony took place at the new Bonus Arena in the centre of Hull.

I’d been given detailed instructions for the day and we were ending with a get together in my village pub. I though it was just Prof Liz coming for a cuppa, until I got emails…😳😂

All the previous words were written before the event, now I’m snug at home after a very wonderful day.

Needless to say, the detail has long gone but I was allowed into the realms of academia for a VIP lunch with the Chancellor and other people before we went into the robing area. We then trooped in line into the arena…..

Lots of piccies were taken before the start but I only managed one of me and Liz, who spoke kindly about me before I received the Doctorate

And during the event as I was receiving my Doctorate, thanks to Sarah…

After the event I was met downstairs by Sarah Gemma and Stuart so time for a family piccie – 3 most very special people in my life…..

Many people came up and said kind words to me before we headed off to the village pub, where very special people joined us. All people I’d worked with at Hull….

Catherine Hart, from the Research Team gave me the most amazing momento of all the things I’d done with her team, in pictures and words…..so that, along with the certificate and brochure, made for very special keepsakes…

My batteries were dead, my head was banging  and this Duracell bunny needed some silence, but what a lovely day…..

Next week Bradford for an equally overwhelming day…….

Our family joke is that now we have 2 Doctors and one nurse amongst us and only the nurse can save a life……..😂

A Peaceful Walk Around my Village……

Last Sunday, after the high temperatures of Saturday, I decided to take a walk round my village. It was cooler, as I don’t like the heat anymore, breezy, with dappled sunshine, so I couldn’t resist……

I’d started off the day early, pottering in the garden, planting next springs seeds. By the by, aren’t seeds amazing. A tiny pocket of life, just waiting for the right conditions. There’s nothing more satisfying than watching seedlings come to life…..i love planting seeds. Sometimes I get it all wrong, but others times I must just get it right…..

Anyway, after they were all planted all watered, I slipped on my walking shoes and headed off out.

The first thing I caught sight of was right outside my front door, as the sun of the day before had brought my rose into flower – I wish I had a smelly blog as the scent is simply divine….

I turned right, made my way up the hill and left at the farm house on the corner, heading alongside the new builds, before crossing the road to head behind the village.

The only noise pollution to be heard were the chugging of lawn mowers and the trundling of local farmers in their tractors…..as well, of course as the birds calling out to each other and the sounds of the wind rustling the heavy laden trees……..

I turned right and headed down the long and winding road……q one of my favourite Beatles songs😍


Although not very windy at this point!

I thought I’d be all alone as I’d gone out quite early. How wrong could I be…..a local runner passed me for the first of 3 times, wmiling each time; walkers out for a Sunday amble smiling their good mornings and cyclists all shouting hello as they sped by…….

Then one man was trundling gentle towards me and stopped his bike to say hello and asked if I was Wendy 😳. He and many of his family had read my book 😳……after a friendly he chat, he headed back off, only this time pushing his bike up the hill…


If you look carefully you can see him in the distance…

I took a left to head back round and the sun came out once more over the fields

Through the field gate and into the meadow, the runner passed me for the third time 😳,,,still smiling but decidely hot……and I came across another field where the farmer had been making hay while the sun shone

The horses were in a too distant field to take piccies today, but dog walkers were out in force, all greeting me with a cheery hello.

Along the back lane and passed the cricket pitch, laying silent today, so must have an away game….by the children’s park where squeals of delight could be heard echoing across the playing field; continuing on until I reached the left hand turn which would take me back to the village pond and home

I’m so very lucky to live here. I never worry about getting lost on my trundles as I know there’ll always be someone about who will help me.

A truly Dementia Friendly community, without even knowing it. Or as I prefer to call it, “People Friendly”……..

The Light and Dark of this Technilogical Era ….

I’m back!

Thanks to a super quick response from Apple Support – even the shop said they’d never got a replacement iPad delivered in such speedy time. It might have been due to all my lovely Twitter friends hassling Apple across the Twitter Network or they might just have been kind, I’ll never know. But all I thought when I got the email from them yesterday saying it was ready for collection was utter relief.

I lost a wonderful day yesterday, before picking it up. A day in Sheffield where we gave a live performance of Dementia Diaries. Any event would be well worth considering asking us to do a live performance as we speak the words of many people living with dementia, not just our own. All I know is, we had a fabulous time. Small audience but the quality was wonderful. I only have images left, images of smiles and laughter. Care home residents reading their poetry amongst some of the highlights. Shame I lost the detail but here’s a pic I’d of me Jacqui, Philly and Howard….

As many of you know, my ipad goes everywhere with me. Not only is it my memory, but it allows me to connect with the outside world……….

Some may see it as a luxury. I know I’m lucky to be able to have access and the ability to use the ipad, but when it’s stops working I’m devastated…….my world just seems empty. I type all my blogs at events in real time. Once I arrive home they’re complete and I only have the piccies to add. The reason I do this is to remember all the detail from these wonderful event. As soon as I leave them, the detail has already vanished from my memory, apart the the images that remain in my mind, of smiley faces, a situation, a hug…..all filled with emotion but lacking in the detail.

But my iPad is so much more. It’s my means of waking up my brain, or seeing what sort of day I’m going to have, with my morning routine of solitaire and scrabble.

The sadness and loneliness that has come over me recently when I’ve opened up my ipad and been met with a blank screen has been overwhelming as it means to me that more memories will be lost.

It’s probably the only time I panic. With a happy screen, I’m happy as I tap away recording all in front of me. The same happens when there’s a poor internet signal….the talk of 5G makes me sad as I wish everywhere had 4G first……..I always have a back up of a printed map as I got caught out with poor internet connection once and couldn’t find my way to a venue…….luckily it was the kindness of strangers that helped me.

Luckily I was with Damian when my ipad died the first time and he looked up how to fix it, otherwise I would have been lost. So much technology is being introduced, specifically for people with dementia in mind, but those clever inventing minds, have to work out ways to make it easy for us to understand how to fix these inventions when they break down, as they invariably will. Not sure what the answer is but sure their great inventive minds could come up with something.
And as I said, I’m lucky. I have people around me who can help. I have my wonderful world of Twitter who will always be there to help when things go wrong. So what of those, encouraged to use technology and have no one when it goes wrong? What if I’d been alone in the world on this occasion when my iPad died. It would have been the end of my independence which may sound extreme to some. But that’s how vital my iPad is to me. Are we encouraging people to rely too much on technology without safety nets in place?

Technology is truly wonderful and has helped me enormously through my life with dementia. It helps me on journeys, with apps of various kinds to help me find my way, the train app which tells me which platform I’ll be coming in on and which platform my connection will be leaving from; whether the train is late etc. Google maps which talk to me and tell me the way to venues.My new found friend, Alexa, which helps me get through a bad day; can put on the lights upstairs before I head to bed, reminds me of my medication. The tracker on my iPhone and iPad, which helps my daughters feel safe about my travelling and in turn helps me feel safe that they know where I am if I forget. My phone for the constant reminders of what to do when…..

My phone is wonderful, but is teeny weeny and is fine for basics, my iPad allows me to see more clearly and most of all, type.

I’m sure I’ve missed out many that I rely on daily

Technology is a wonderful thing, but when it lets you down…….well……….very sad……..

But no longer am I sad, my mood instantly lifted and I hugged my new iPad when I picked it up. On setting it up last night, I knew all would be right in the world again, once I saw Billy appear on screen…..and I gave it another hug……