It had been raining heavily overnight – the perfect time for rain 😊…it was 04.35 when my alarm went off. I showered and dressed and sat on my bed with a cuppa looking out longingly at the morning sky, but knew I mustn’t go out this morning as the taxi was due at 6am for my trip to Liverpool. Peaking between the trees I could just see the moon. I looked at my moon web site, which is a permanent feature on my screen and it wasn’t due to set until 07.11. I’m fascinated by the moon, with it’s own rise and fall calendar, its unpredictable nature taking you by surprise some mornings and around some days. Yesterday morning, it was glorious as I started my early morning walk. The moon crystal clear between the houses as it was laying it’s head down after a night shining bright
I was heading to Liverpool to the Bluecoat exhibition centre.
“Bluecoat is Liverpool’s contemporary arts centre, a working home for artists, and a place where audiences can experience art in new ways.”
I was there for mine and Suki’s final event together of her work Conscious.
I’d been hoping to travel the day before and have a look around this, one of my favourite cities, but my busy calendar had thought otherwise hence the silly o’clock start.
Suki was also launching her video – FOG, a 360° immersive video exploring life with dementia. If attending the centre you could view it using a VCR headset – the sort I associate with video games. You can never achieve perfection when trying to replicate our world but Suki has achieved something that comes close when trying to replicate my world. You can view it here on You tube
I only had time for one hug in a mug before my taxi was due 😳 so I’d have to hope there was more en route….
I’d never been to Liverpool on the train before. The last time I went, it was with Sarah
I remember having such a wonderful time. So I had to be doubly prepared, have everything written down. Sophie from Bluecoat was meeting me at the station, so no need to plan a walking route from there.
I had to change at Leeds – a very rare occurrence. I looked up from my screen as I was typing this and saw the familiar white flash of wings of a barn owl, flying alongside the train at eye level in the field by the track. I’d wished I’d hade my camera, wished I could stop the train, wished I could get my phone out quick enough to take a snap….but knew I couldn’t do any, so simply watch its elegant grace as it flew to who knows where…….❤️….
Arriving at Hull, I got a cuppa, sat for a while checking and double checking things, then boarded the train to Leeds. I’d forgotten to put a coat on as it had been warm the last few days and I’d sort of got into the habit of not wearing one. The air was fresh and chilled after the overnight rain, but hopefully the promised sun would warm me up. It didn’t actually look that promising as we crossed the Humber, but I double checked my weather app and yes, it SAID it would be sunny 🙄 I wasn’t convinced 😂
Arriving at Leeds, I’d checked my train app and my next train was from the same platform. Glancing at my return journey I noticed it was bringing me home on a totally different route via Sheffield 😳…I’d worry about that later…..
So now to the final train to Liverpool …it was mega busy and trust me to get on at the wrong end of the carriage for my seat 🙈….I seemed to be going against the traffic 🙄 and then when I got to my seat, horror of horrors….no window 😳😳😳…all I had was a grey wall to stare at 🙈…..red 5 on black 6….as I quickly started a game of solitaire to allow me to calm down and think….I stood up and looked further down the carriage but it was just packed…I was stuck….maybe someone around me will get off at a stop soon 🤞but they didn’t…..and I couldn’t even get a Wi-Fi signal so also couldn’t do the writing I needed to do 🙄…..moral of the tale…never book seat C3/4 on a Transpennine train. If only I thought I’d remember 🤣…..
At last, Manchester Victoria appeared and most of the train departed leaving me seats to choose from 🥵….I’d become totally discombobulated sat, in what was basically, a cubicle with no window 🥵
Another hour for the journey and that would hopefully give me time to regain my head. The sky line of Manchester looked very grey….
As we reached the last station before Liverpool, the lovely scouse accent appeared……
And reaching my destination, Sophie was there waiting for me with a smiley face…..we ambled along the streets of Liverpool for just 10 minutes before reaching the wonderful Bluecoat building. The first brick was laid in 1717 as a Orphan Boys school and not changed until 1927 when it became an Arts Centre. Many of the original trustees and subscribers were engaged in the transatlantic slave trade, which is why many people have questioned the buildings existence at all.
A stunning building to work in and the oldest in the city centre that has a sad history of being built from the slave trade…but they have an exhibition of that on at the moment to try and be open and honest about their history and origins. But as I said out of bad beginnings came a good future………
The one thing I instantly liked about the gallery, is the fact that it has no airs and graces. It’s a gallery for the people to enjoy with all sorts of exhibitions
One exhibition actually welcomes you to the gallery in the form of giant inflatables outside in the courtyard
After a cuppa and a selfie with Sophie, who’s worked in this wonderful place for 4 years
….we headed into the galleries to see the first film…..there were comfy armchairs and settees…..the ideal way to view…
The Fog in my Head first…..in which I say….
“I have to believe in me…..you’re in familiar surroundings but you can’t make sense of them. You can’t work out the reality. …..so many people feel this fog yet don’t understand what’s happening to them…..
…..and there’s that stunning image of the bees……
It was amazing to see the film on a cinema sized screen. It gave it so much more power and atmosphere. The sheer size of the screen did what any cinema screen does and totally immerses you in the images appearing and the voice speaking, in this case mine.
The next was on smaller screens, the film with me and Pegeen. The first and immediate thing I noticed was how different my voice was on this one; more confident, more how it used to be. I said this to Suki afterwards and she confirmed that one was made first, 4 years ago.
I can’t share the films as they’re on tour at the mo. They’re also due to be seen down in Portsmouth, Somerset and Isle of Portland – we used to regularly visit Portland when the children were small and we always thought of it as a mystical, magical, ghostly place….
Finally, it was time to go into the room where we were having our talk. It was set out like a lovely café with tea and cake for all the guests …we wanted an intimate friendly feel to the session and people seemed to appreciate it and all tickets had been sold. The sound people getting ready to record the session….
It seemed to go really well, with lots of laughter and a few tears but people were very receptive to mine and Suki’s conversation. Obviously I wasn’t typing during this so not sure what was said..
But you can listen t it on the link below
Many people came up afterwards to chat. Most of the books I’d brought to sell were sold and Louis had laid a few out at the beginning with the pack of cards illustrations
Luckily for me, Louis from Bluecoat took care of that so people could pay by card. Susan, who reads my blog came to say hello and have a hug, as did a wonderful professional. Her department works with people with dementia but not until they’re in crisis. She has this amazing vision of being a department that works with people from the start, preventing the crisis from occurring. To help people start to live after a diagnosis. I told her about our Good Life course and now she’s going to message me for an introduction to Damian.
When the audience had left, some lingering longer than others, Louis and Sophie took us outside for lunch in their wonderful garden. I had toast 🤣 which I just love because of the smell.
In the blink of an eye, my time was up and my train time was fast approaching. I couldn’t believe the 4.5hours had gone so quick! I still had so much to see, so much chatting to do with Suki but time ran out and Suki took me back to the station where I’m typing these final words….
Now it’s also the end of Dementia Awareness week…..all week Bradford University has been publishing quotes from their Experts by Experience and this is the one I gave them. It doesn’t just apply to those with dementia, but to anyone……if you zoom in you’ll hopefully be able to read it …..