Category Archives: A day in the life

Everyday experience of living with dementia.

Our final day……

Well yesterday was our final full day in paradise. As you’re reading this we’ll be heading back home, my first venture to paradise over.

But before then we had all day Wednesday to enjoy the calmness….

Sarah had planned to climb Skiddaw, which would take several hours so I decided if I could retrace my steps of last year, or whenever, when I walked the 10 miles round Derwentwater for charity.

The forecast had been for dull and mizzle so it was a nice surprise to open my curtain

The dark looming clouds and the beautiful blue sunshiney sky displaying the unpredictability of the Cumbrian weather…

Over breakfast it became apparent that Sarah’s body was suffering from the swim and walk yesterday so she decided to come with me on my flat walk. She reminded me how I’d struggled round the 10 miles last year so we decided to take a bus down to the Grange and walk round from there, so taking off a third – compromise….

Such is the changeable weather here, that I can blink and the skies change. As Sarah txt, ‘see you in 5’, I looked up and saw the chinks of blue had been replaced by the rain clouds approaching from Borrowdale valley. That’s what I love about my view, how its forever changing 😍….just hope the next time I blink the blue sky has returned 🙄😂

Anyway, we trundled off to the bus station and as if by magic, the 77A was waiting for us to take us to The Grange. It’s the little bus that I usually stay on for an hour and a half full circle trip, but this time we alighted at the Grange bridge making the walk about 5.5 miles instead of the 10.

I love this little village, simply because its on the edge of Derwentwater and sits with Cats Bell in the distance. We followed the road round, the bell circled in its slate tower catching my eye

It’s the rhododendron and azalea season, so colour is everywhere. Finally leaving the field, we crossed the boggy fields, thankfully with wooden slipways, through the woods. Every now and then a small cove would appear

Just beauty round every corner. We even heard the beautiful calling of a cuckoo somewhere high in the trees along with the woodpecker, but just couldn’t catch sight of them 🙄

Even though it was mizzling lots of the time, it didn’t matter, as the sun also tried to shine

As we trundled round and through the well worn paths, we eventually came to the wooden carved hand, a place everyone stops for a piccie and we were no different

The ground was covered in ferns all around the lake to compliment the rhododendrons..

The tree lined paths were occasional dappled with sunshine which was certainly in short supply today, but when it did appear it suddenly became twice as warm until its disappearance only moments later..

The llama center, or are they alpacas 🤔…always get them muddled….came into view

Pheasants joining them on their field

These woolly animals came in a variety of colours

Their wool a precious commodity

Eventually we reached Nicol End, where we stopped for a cuppa and Sarah had the biggest scone I’ve ever seen and I couldn’t resist snapping her lovely face with a tiny spot of cream on the end of her nose before I mentioned it to her 😂

Refreshed and ready for out final mile, through Portiscale and passed another field of sheep with their lambs, which made us chuckle as I said they looked like monkey faces….

It must have taken us 4-5 hours as my body was feeling weary. Back through town and Sarah made her way back to Appletrees to get ready for her final swim with Catherine and this time, with her friend Sue, while I went and got my supper before joining them.

We trundled to a quiet bay just a short walk away. I was chief stick thrower for Polly

And the girls had fun and much laughter in the lake

Polly kept barking at me as I kept getting distracted by the view instead of throwing her stick 😂🙄

My camera suddenly announced ‘Battery Exhausted’….a bit like I felt and so it was Sarah who took the final selfie before heading back home.

It was nearly tea time and had been a long trundling day. The mizzle was still falling, but as I looked out of my window I felt the urge for one last look at Friars Cragg. We were leaving early in the morning, so I donned my coat and shoes once more and headed out for a last trundle of my stay.

Through Hope Park and down to the lake, the beautiful poppies coated in mizzle

The lake itself looking calm and serene despite the weather ..

Friars Cragg was deserted, unusual, but the damp weather had sent everyone home maybe. I sat on my bench, hoping to see a Robin but sadly even the weather kept them away, so I sat, just for a few minutes, alone and totally content, before sighing a farewell to my favourite spot and leaving the bench for the next person to come along and enjoy this wonderful view…….until next time…..

Did I, didn’t I……?

I opened my curtains with hesitancy yesterday morning. To paraglide or not to paraglide. It was still early but the clouds looked ominous and unfriendly and I could see the wind blowing the trees

There was a tiny chink of blue sky hope lighting up Cats Bell so I still had my fingers crossed….

The last time I had breakfast, was when I was here last. Catherine doesn’t have to ask me as I always have the same – delicious poached eggs, mushrooms baked beans and mixed toast. It’s like I settle into that routine immediately. Never eat until the afternoon at home but here, its natural and Catherine is just an amazing cook. The lovely Nicola who helps also greeted us with a lovely smile and chatter as she brought our food.

Now just needed to wait for the txt…..

Dead on 9am as promised a txt came through ….”it might be too windy but we’ll take you to the take off site and see then”……..OMG…more waiting. After numerous txts backwards and forwards they kindly offered to pick me up from Appletrees at 10am – we’d planned for them to pick me up from the bus station but they insisted, which was lovely.

I told Sarah and we agreed she’d go off for her Latrigg walk and I’d txt her as I knew more. I was trying to contain my excitement but it was starting to bubble over…..10 am seemed like months away…..

I sat looking out of my window tapping this away on my ipad to pass the time. I zoomed in with my camera and could see the sheep and lambs on the banks of the lake

10am arrived as I sat waiting outside and Jocky arrived. Such a lovely chap who too me to his base to meet his son and wife. His son would be filming me if we did it. He wasn’t very optimistic due to the windy weather, but he said we’d go to the take off point just to see.

Josh, his son joined us and told me how his first flight had been at the age of 1 😳….which he can’t remember and then again at 6, which he can. No photos as proof, but then, photos weren’t taken as they are now. Jocky and his wife paddle from their house along the river towards Basenthwaite; Jocky in a canoe and his wife paddle boarding. They’ve lived here in paradise for 35 years and still love it – who wouldn’t?

Anyway….Jocky  had planned to fly me off Latrigg, just where Sarah was heading for but he could see the weather there was too bad for flying so we headed to ‘Wainrights most northerly point’, whose name escapes me now. But passing by Bassenthwaite Lake and then turning into a farm to ask their permission for the land rover to drive through. He knows them well, but they must have been out on the farm so we opened the farmers gate and headed up the track – at least I got a 4×4 experience!. Stunning views all around and to fly off would have been unbelievable. But as I opened the Jeep door I could tell myself that the flight wouldn’t happen, it was blowing a gale. My bubble burst, I tried not to put a dampener on the day, as they did too, telling me I’d be back in a fortnight and would try then. But I couldn’t help feeling deflated. It just wasn’t meant to be as they drove me back down the spectacular hillside

And back home……

My sadness was short lived as Catherine asked if Sarah  wanted to go lake swimming late afternoon and I’d go to take piccies but also, more importantly, to keep Polly the dog occupied or probably more accurate to say, Polly keep me occupied with throwing her ball into the water

So it was then, we met Catherine and Polly downstairs and ambled to the lake. Needless to say, it was a gloriously sunny evening, but I could still feel the breeze which would be much windier higher up and not subsequent txt from Jocky, who said he would contact me if the weather changed. We ambled alongside the lake with Polly leading the way..

As we arrived at the bay, Catherine made her usual daily video, with us as her guests for the day

Sadly her swimming partner, Sue, couldn’t make it but Sarah’s squeals at the coldness of the water said it all, but she persevered and was soon swimming alongside Catherine. 

She said it was so relaxing, made you feel so good even though it was freezing. Catherine has always said it’s the most relaxing thing to do after the stresses of the day.

Polly soon realised one person had been left behind ,so it was ‘ball duty’ for me 😂

Me and Polly had a wonderful time. She’s so well behaved and never once strayed beyond her boundaries and often checked to see the whereabouts of her mum.

But time after time, I’d throw and Polly would fetch

After about 30 minutes they began to make their way out

Polly wasn’t finished with me and as the girls got dressed Polly kept reminding me of my duties if I got distracted taking photos

And as we ambled home Polly knew exactly what games she wanted to play and posed beautifully for me

Chasing the ball down the steps and retracing her own steps time after time added to my amusement

Finally time to go on her lead and one last look back at the lake

May have been a disappointing start to the day, but it ended on a high…….

My first trip to paradise….

It seems like a life time since I was in my paradise of Keswick, so yesterday felt like a tad closer to the new normal. Sarah came with me this time, so that all I had to get used to was being there; no trauma of trains, just the delight of a car drive.

I’d contacted my paraglide man at the weekend and by the time we left on Monday morning, was still waiting to hear back from him as to whether my paraglide was possible to go ahead a few weeks early. The forecast had changed dramatically from when I first contacted him a week ago. The blue skies replaced by uncertainty 🙄As I looked at the weather app, it became apparent that my paraglide might perhaps not meant be this week after all AND I hadn’t had a response from Jocky who would be taking me 🤐

Anyway, the morning dawned with a misty damp greyness outside my window, but I didn’t care, I was heading for my favourite place. 

Sarah picked me up at 9am as planned and had picked up a weak black tea for me and a cuppa coffee for herself to start off our journey…

I never feel as though we’re properly going on holiday until we turn left at Scotch corner – then we’re on the road to Keswick and, soon after turning, we reach our favourite stopping place of Mainsgill. It was very busy, very noisy, but the views made up for it

And on the way out their moulting camels had appeared…looking as if they really needed a haircut

It also means that when we set off again, there’s just over an hour more driving before I can finally feel relaxed. Suddenly a message appeared from Jocky, the man who will take me on my paraglide. ‘Txt me in the morning, 9am, to see if the weather will allow’ – was how he finished. Suddenly the excitement returned. I was convinced he was away, but now it’s just the weather between me and the skies….

As we drove down the hill into paradise, I could feel my body start to relax. Familiar surroundings came into view. The town looked busy but not heaving as we drove to park the car. Usually there’s no spaces around Appletrees until the day visitors have left, but we always check first. To our total amazement there was just one space left…..right outside my lovely Appletrees….soooo lucky and it will stay there for the duration.

Too early to for the 4pm check in, Sarah wanted an ice cream first and I wanted a trundle to Friars Cragg. So picking up ice creams on the way, we headed for my bench…I knew it would be busy at this time of day, but just to be there, just to look and stare, felt right..

We found another bench nearby just after and Sarah took a selfie of the two of us together

We were both pretty shattered from the long journey, shattered but happy, and then I saw the motor boats and decided to hire one with Sarah at the helm

We’d never done that before, always gone on the launch with someone else doing the driving 🤣….but after 30 minutes of laughter it was time to crash into the jetty 😂….

Just time enough left to go and get our supper for the evening to take back to our rooms and then to check in. But not before we’d said hello to the lambs on the way…

It never ceases to amaze me, how I step into Appletrees and immediately feel at home. Catherine saw us unpacking the car and came out to meet us. It was sooo lovely seeing her in person instead of on her daily swimming videos that she posts of her and Sue swimming in the Lake. A catch up and a cuddle later and I sat in my chair by the window

My room with my favourite view and I felt myself sigh with happiness… just need to wait until tomorrow to see if the skies are beckoning 🤞

A Magical Mystery Tour……

My walking friend, Pip, had txt me the day before to ask if I wanted to go on a mystery tour…..of course I thought for a nano second and said yes as the company of Pip and Scooby the dog and always fun and the thought of a mystery tour sounded exciting……

The weathermen had promised wall to wall sunshine so obviously it was dull and grey when I woke 😂, but I could sense it was going to brighten up by the afternoon of our adventure. 

I had my normal trundle in the morning, just to check on the ducklings and whether the Heron had taken notice of my warning and he had. It was duckling heaven

I’d promised Pip I wouldn’t do a long long walk to save myself for the afternoon and because it was dull I did as I was told 😂

This always makes me chuckle….

Pip came to pick me up as agreed and me and Scooby sat snug in the front seat

His close proximity would have spread fear through my body pre dementia, but now, it simply creates utter calmness….strange how dementia has taken away previous fears…..but delightfully nice….

We drove off heading across the Wolds, surrounded by the fields of gold I could see in the distance from my trundles. Pip told me we were heading for Londesborough; somewhere close by yet again but undiscovered to me.

We parked in this quiet picturesque village and began walking through a wooded area

Scooby was off exploring immediately, familiar ground for him. As we came out of the trees, a beautifully expanse of the estate opened out before us and the clouds lifted and we were in full sunshine..relics of the old mansion house still remained

As we walked along the path, Scooby leading the way, we came across a young girl and her 2 dogs. Pip had met her on her last visit so they sat on the grass chatting. I remained standing, because if I’d tried to sit, I would have fallen down and then I simply wouldn’t have been able to get up 🙄….scooby is more of a people person than dog person and wasn’t too sure of all the attention he was getting

And the little puppy collie took a fancy to Scooby’s stick

It turned out she was the girlfriend of the owner of all this estate… have all this beauty around her daily must be heaven I imagine… the other half live but what a responsibility too…

After lots of cuddles with the dogs and farewells we went off further along the valley.

We came across the end of the lake where Scooby immediately knew he would get a paddle and he got straight in..

A lone swan landed and looked so elegant, so serene, hiding the furious paddling going on beneath the surface

The sound of the small waterfall was so relaxing, a rush of sound yet water has such a relaxing effect

A splash of yellow in the undergrowth at the side caught my eye

Through the small gate at the other end of the bridge, we climbed the mound and I could see sheep with their lambs in the distance but too far away to get a clear shot. Instead I turned and saw the view from whence we came – how magical it looked

Heading back down, we were going towards the cows in the distance.

A young calf asleep next to its mum was the first to appear

Then 2 squaring up to one another 😳…in the photo they look like they were giving each other a gentle cuddle, but in reality they were having a barny 😂

As more cows came into view, so did lots more calves

We’d seen a few Red Kites soaring the skies above us but I only managed to get a shot of one; the action of looking up and trying to follow them making me wobble out of control 🙄

So back to the calves, which we stood watching for ages. The morning of duckling heaven replaced by calf heaven this afternoon

We sensed it must be feeding time, as they all started to head in one direction with a purpose and we stood and watched as they crossed our path ahead, one calf was getting the idea of posing for a piccie

As the cows disappeared, so did we as we made our way out of the estate and back up towards the car, our faithful Scooby leading the way. We paused by a wall, one final look before leaving and at our feet was a host of bright blue forget me nots 

Hopefully my piccies will mean I won’t forget this beautiful place……thank you Pip and Scooby for a lovely afternoon…..

A visit from Suki Chan…..

Some of you may have logged into see the video, ‘Hallucinations’ by my talented friend Suki Chan the other week. We have been working together for a few years now and when lockdown eased, Suki was able to pay me her annual visit.

I’ve had both my vaccines and Suki tested herself the day before the visit which came back negative, so all was well for more filming with this lovely lady….

She’d sent me her latest offering of a 45 minute video around ‘my fog’ which we’d created over the last couple of years. Now usually, 45 minutes is too long for me to focus but I was mesmerised. I sat watching listening to my voice and watching her interpretation in images absolutely captivated. She was here today to capture more footage…….

Suki is one of those people that I felt an instant connection when we first met. We look at things in a similar way and have an understanding similar to that I have with my partner in writing Anna Wharton. Maybe that’s why it works, just as me and Anna work so well together..

Anyway Suki arrived at last Tuesday at 9am as planned with all her gubbins that comes with filming. Her hubby went off with the children…. It was so lovely to see her. I instantly feel relaxed and at ease in her company.

We recorded me chatting as usual about anything and everything. She mentioned how I seemed no different to last year and there followed the conversation about seeing the outside of the person and not them living on a day to day basis. The reason our conversations work is because we have time, instead of being rushed on the radio or time limited, we take as long as it takes, so there’s a calmness surrounding our meetings.

We talked about the future of our filming and what I would like to happen if suddenly I couldn’t contribute as I do. I said to film me as I am, maybe with the support of my daughter. It’s no good just showing the positives, or just me as I am now, the whole aim of us doing this was to show the reality of my dementia. I ran this idea passed my daughter later and she was in full agreement…

It felt like we chatted for ages before moving onto the 360 filming in the garden. Suki’s aim is to allow others to experience my shed disappearing by using 360 degree filming and then magically making my shed disappear from the film and the audience looking through a phone to see it actually does exist and it was my brain playing tricks….so clever….I love the camera itself

Looks like a smiley robotic face……

Unbeknown to Suki, my little Robin was keeping an eye on the proceedings……

And the blackbird came to say hello

Before Suki then taking some stills 

…..then finishing in the conservatory . She txted her hubby asking if they wanted to come for a walk to the village pond as we had one more shot of me to do. I won’t be seen in the film until the very end and it was that shot we needed. It would be just my voice for the rest of it and Suki’s marvellous wizardry of images and music……..

Suki’s children Zi and Q arrived excited to be going to the village pond. They live in London, so green space isn’t something they’re accustomed to. They appeared to love the space, the ducks and everything around, it was so nice to be with children, as excited as me to see the ducks.

We did our piece to film and during it I took a piccie of Suki filming me 

Before we left her hubby took a lovely piccie of us together

I hope to be with her in Liverpool next year showcasing some of  her work if it still happens….think it was suppose to happen this year but we all know what a right off that was…

A different day, a day from the past and pre lockdown. I hadn’t realised how exhausted I was until they left and I tried to take a walk, much later than usual….I was in silence again but it was well worth the exhaustion…..

An early morning trundle that made my day…….

So the snow is forecast to disappear before you even read this blog, so when a super frosty morning was forecast I thought I’d make the most of the remaining snow. I decided to venture a totally different early morning route as today I was after capturing something very special which had evaded me up until now…..

But first, I decided to go through the cow field behind the pond. Hadn’t been through there for ages as it’s been mega muddy but I knew the sever evernight frost would have made it solid and crunchy underfoot. As I passed the house, I looked up and was mesmerised by the cloud formation…, soft streaks in the sky…

As I reached the gate, I could sense the sun rising in the distance

I stood in the field, alone and was mesmerised by the clouds in the sky once more but this time with the sun starting to rise…

And as I reached halfway, the sunrise appeared deeper through the trees

I’d usually be up by the playing fields to see the spectacle, but today it was nice to have a different view, and what a view it was

Heading down the track which later in the day would turn to mud, but early morning was nice and solid underfoot…..I was hoping the ducks wouldn’t see me as I hadn’t brought any food and just wanted to capture them in the early light. But the sound of me crunching along the mud, must have been heard and within seconds they were waddling hopefully across the ice 🙈

‘Sorry I’ll be back later with food’ I said as they soon realised I’d come empty handed and made me feel very guilty as they turned their back on me 😂

I turned round and followed the same path back through the field, the sunrise in full flow now and back out the gate. I was heading for the never ending lane. ‘The mirage lane’ I call it as you think you’re almost at the top, but it never seems to end….the houses first and a snowman and snow dog sat proudly in someone’s front garden

The frost had coated everything this morning 

I zoomed into the lane and could see I had it all to myself. By lunchtime there could be 20 or 30 people taking this walk, but early doors, it was me. Silent white all around

I love mornings like this as if I have nature to myself…

The farmers sheep were all huddle in their warm woolly coats, just beginning to stir

The frost clung to the branches creating tiny shards of white hair along the wood…

Everything seems to look so much more special coated in frost…

Another villagers who loves nature photography told me where to spot these beauties, and because I was alone in the lane, there wouldn’t be any other noise around to disturb them. Many a time I’d walked along this lane and just been told by others that they’d just spotted them, but they’d always been shy of my camera but not this morning.

As I reached the opening I could sense the movement in the distance. Too small for my eyes to make out any detail. I zoomed in with my camera at full stretch and there they were….just two of them in sight

I felt blessed to have the lane all to myself to simply watch, frozen to the spot, literally, not daring to move. They were exactly where the man said they would be, in the dip of the field by the hedge but just in the open enough for me to capture their stunning beauty. One young one a few yards from the rest

Then two boldly stepped into the open, the other two a tad wary

But then in moment they followed and then the four of them looked up and posed for me

My eyes were leaking from the emotion of finally seeing them on this silent white morning. My wish accomplished, I didn’t want to leave them but I could see early morning walkers now starting to approach me and I wanted to leave this spot in grateful silence as I knew they’d scatter with any noise.  For a few minutes it had been just them and me, what a start to the day… for a cuppa to warm my freezing body….and I headed back down the lane, the risen sun now lighting my way….

Waiting for the promised snow……

Before todays blog, I’d just like to say a HUGE thank you for all the kindness shown after yesterdays sad blog. The kindness shown was overwhelming and all received gratefully. I’d like to assure you all that I am ok, the sadness is still there but nature helps me enormously.

The next few blogs are all about the snow we had last week…

The other weekend, the weather forecast had got me so excited, forecasting bucket loads of snow. I havn’t seen snow for years – I don’t think 🤪…..and certainly not since I got my camera. We’d had such a run of grey damp miserable days that snow would at least change the scenery and give us a different colour to look at 🙄

The Saturday night, it had started to snow heavily, real big flakes of the lovely stuff. I went to bed as excited as a child waiting for Christmas morning. I got up the next morning, still dark and hoping to see the glow of white as I opened the curtains. Imagine my disappointment then when all I could see was more grey, more damp. The anti snow fairies had been at work overnight and hoovered it all up 🙈

As it became light I went outside to fill the bird feeders, not that they were empty but thought I’d fill them to the brim. I’d sensed over the last few days, that the birds were starting to prepare for spring; find a mate; find a new place to build a nest, hopefully in my garden hedge and bird house which was ready and waiting on the side of my shed. It was perishingly cold and blowing an easterly wind. Remnants of pretend snow lay on top of the hedgehog house, my old walking shoes laying in the beads of snow –  tiny beads of pathetic snow🙄

Going back inside I decided, instead of going out in the grey, that I’d sit and watch the birds in my garden. It was as though the birds sensed the urgency to stock up on food. The blast of the east wind, making them panic hunt.

My faithful Robin was the first to appear, flying from my hedge and landing on the top of my red watering can 

Then a rush followed, so much activity my camera was flying from one place to the next, the wood pigeon all the while perched on the fence, waiting for the crumbs to fall

So many of the Tit family flying from the hedge and back

A blackbird desparately trying to emulate its small friends, but struggling to stay stable for long enough

But always going back, having a think and trying again..

But my Robins were my favourite, always are. So calm, so relaxed and never rush about

I sat there for ages watching them coming and going, so relaxing, so gentle…my birdbook beside me to identify the unknowns,,,

But then the same Robin would catch my eye, the flash of red, ever present

My daughter then sent me a txt saying to be hopeful for the morning as the weather chart had changed to double flake snow 🤞. 

My spirits lifted, I could but hope….but you’ll have to wait until next Tuesday to see if it arrived……

Sometimes nothing can lift the sadness I feel……

On Sunday, no matter what I did, nothing could lift the sadness I felt. I tried hard, I always do, but sometimes you just have to admit that the day will be a sad day. I’m sure I’ve said before, how dementia has stripped me of many emotions and now I’m left with just three, happy, sad and content and today sadness fills my head.

Usually I can go for a trundle; immerse myself in nature; but the weather was so matching my mood. It was cold, windy, damp and grey. I did go out for a while, hoping the fresh air would blow away the blues and nature would give me a big hug, but even the birds and squirrels were hiding away that day. No bird song, no scurrying of animals into the trees. When the ponies looked forlorn, waiting for the wind to stop so they could venture out into the open.

I even poppped into my daughters in the village for a cuppa tea. Even though that hour spent with Gemma, Stuart and Billy was lovely, the sadness hung around me, willing me not to be happy.

It was due to be the last of the cold, which the arrival of, funnily enough, are the next few days blogs. But sometimes I have to type immediately and my blogs are often a few days out. But I felt this one should be published immediately to make sense to me and reflect my mood

The snow had stopped falling days ago, the beauty of soft white flakes falling were a distant memory and all we were left with were treacherous sheets of ice coating the lanes – another reason forcing my hibernation. How can something so beautiful moon turn so lethal?

I sat in my conservatory, hoping the birds were lift my spirits and they did for a while, especially the Robin making an appearance

But even their visit seemed cut short, instead hiding in the hedge out of the icy wind

I cant ‘do’ as much as i did. My head not able to stay capable for as long as it did. I know have to pace myself, giving myself more breathing space to recover.

My head feels heavy with sadness, I know then I have to stop or risk overload. As though the storage boxes in my head are full to bursting, unable to use the safety boxes of pre dementia, where a hundred and one things could enter my head and be neatly stored, ready to take off the shelf at a later date….

I can usually deal with friends ill health and death, but now my best friend is dying. Sylvia, from the very start, wanted to understand everything about dementia. She understood my lack of emotions and even now, when she knows she doesn’t have long, she didn’t want to make me sad by telling me. She didn’t want to tell me that she’d been in hospital since well before Christmas so as not to spoil my child like excitement. She told me afterwards, because she new how sad I would be. Even in her darkest days her thoughtfulness was touching. What she didn’t realise, as I told her afterwards, was that we’re so close, like sisters, is that I could read through her words. I too, was concerned for her, told her I was always here for her, and simply waited until she was ready to tell me. That’s true friendship.

We’ve said our farewells poignantly and with true affection like no other so she can concentrate on her loving family.. But such is this strange time it all has to be via txt. It breaks my heart to think I’ll never see her again. No holding her hand and reliving our good times, our bad, our laughter and simply breathing the same air for a time. Covid has stripped goodbyes for many people and now for me. I was hoping dementia may take the memory away, but such is its cruelty right now at the stage I’m at, that I remember strong emotions of sadness and happiness, this being one of them…

I can’t take any more ‘doing’ and ‘thinking’for today, this flimsy bookshelf of a brain overloaded  threatening to topple over, so instead I’ll just admit defeat and simply sit in my upstairs room, my daytime abode, and simply ‘be’. Hopefully tomorrow the sadness will have disappeared just like the snow……

In Search of Hope…….

Last weekend I woke to torrential rain and dark skies. It was a disappointing start to the day and initially thought there was no way I’d get a trundle with my camera, but then, after lunch, the clouds started to break, blowing the wind away and the sun shone…..I decided to go out in search of hope…

We all need something to look forward to, to raise our spirits in this often dark time we’re in. For me, I find it in nature and my village as I walk around on my trundles. The sun was desperately trying to fight through the thick clouds

Camera round my neck, I set off, first to the duck pond in case no one had been out with food in the rain; although none of them would starve. But I like to think of them being looked after as they give so much joy to everyone here.

Then up behind the houses and along the back lane. The rain having giving us added mud and many puddles to navigate.

But the shrubs are full of berries, ready made meals for any passing bird who fancies a snack

The first sign of hope was in the middle of the lane, snowdrops just coming into flower. That first sign that spring is round the corner and gives us a reason to look forward……

As I reached Abbys field the sheep the paddock was empty of sheep, but Abby had warned me they had to reside in another field for a while as it was just too muddy in theirs. Another sight to look forward to once the ground recovers……the trees behind sculptured by the weather

My second sign of hope was again along the verge….daffodils piercing the winter soil, their bulbs feeding off the goodness in the ground ready to burst into flower in a month or so time….

Down along the verge I trundled beside the main road, the sun behind me lighting up the road. 

So many villagers had ventured out since the rain ceased, doing just as I was, enjoying the fresh air and all that was around us. All saying hello, some stopping for a chat, others waving from afar, all with warm smiles and warm hearts.

Another sign of hope and the primroses coming into bud

And the winter. Viburnums in full flower

Never forget to look up, look down, look all around as you simply don’t know what missable sights you might miss; gone in a second, captured for ever.

Clouds forming natures own mountains in the sky, now lighter and more friendly than the morning sky.

As I near home, I notice the farmers wife in her front garden with her two ageing dogs, one deaf, one almost blind, but her loving companions. I’d never seen her out before so I stop and we chat away. She’d had a stroke and had not been able to go for walks, so told me my photos kept her in touch with the village 😍……giving her hope that one day she will see it again and be able to go for her own walk……..

But for now she’ll make do with my photos and her two adorable companions….sat happily, waiting for us to finish our conversation….

We all need hope…….sometimes you just have to look at the world more closely……

Right now something as simple as the moon makes my day…….

Before todays blog. Thank you to those who have worried about me not publishing a blog on Mondays and Fridays at the mo. There’s no other reason other than I have little to say. I’d just bore you all with the same trundles as that seems to be all there is at the mo. I’m still talking to other organisations – even had the lovely experience of speaking to a group of people from a Medical Trust in India yesterday – but it’s difficult for me to write a blog about them as the detail has left me as soon as it’s over. I’ve tried recording them and listening to them again, but it lacks the emotion the second time around, so making it difficult to write about.

Hope you all understand ……anyway, now to todays blog…..

Woke up the other morning feeling agitated instead of calm…..only a few days into lockdown and the first thing on my mind is when I should go out for my one allowed trundle of the day. It niggles away at me until I decide. How stupid to let something so irrelevant nag away at me like that. But my trundles are so important to my everyday life. Now we can only have one per day, it’s the biggest decision I have to make each day – when?

Anyway, the other morning I decided to venture out at 10am. I’d decided to leave the duck food on my doormat and pick it up at the end and walk round the village the other way for a change – no going inside needed so no breaking the rules…..🙄

So up the hill and along the Manor House walls and I noticed the moon was having a very long stop up…..

I hadn’t expected to see it this late and probably would have missed it but someone stopped to have a chat and after we’d finished I’d looked around to get my bearings again and saw it gently fading away in the morning blue sky….that one sight suddenly made me smile and feel suddenly happy…..

A roar of an aircraft high in the sky suddenly brought me back to the moment and I followed its trail with my camera……

A couple stopped me along the lane warning me it was icy ahead. The man asked if I was Wendy and I smiled again. “We love your photographs”……a simple random act of kindness kept my spirits high….and as they walked ahead, they turned round again and pointed to more icy paths…….I was a bit like Bambi on ice but I managed to stay upright and moved onto the road….

The village had been much quieter since the lockdown started, fewer cars to worry about. The long lane looked deserted this morning….not even the usual cyclists

The horses in the field a thankful constant….I need consistency…..

As I reached the main road I could see the couple from before were taking the same route as me up the hill

The sun hid behind a cloud allowing a moment to take another piccie….

As I reached the top, I stood and looked over the fields. I always stop here, always love the view, always take the same piccie

Never get tired of it. It’s where I see the sun setting if I’m out so it’s a different view according to the time of day…

I turned my back on the view and ambled along the back lane. More ice underfoot as I shuffle along towards Abbys sheep. I spy a Thrush in the field..don’t see as many thrushes as before, not sure why…

The sheep coming into view and one stood beautifully posed watching me watching her…..

The others were lying beneath the trees or grazing on the grass….

A squirrel hopped about the field and came to rest next to Teddy, but neither battered an eyelid at the others presence. 

I trundle up the long lane a short way, but see the clouds are starting to roll in….and decide to head the other way towards the church..

Another squirrel hopped into view…

Another canine friend to stop and chat to for a few moments….and then I’m alone again on the back lane

No one in the playing fields today and no noise from the village school as I walk past….children all at home, parents back to homeschooling once more….

The skies are really becoming overcast now…will it rain before I’ve finished…..

As I reach the pond I take one photo of the white duck in the reeds

Before crossing over so as not to be seen as I still have to pick up the duck food….but I could hear the frenzied quacking as my stick must have been heard….I didn’t look their way or I’d feel guilty …but I’d be back in a few minutes…..

Nearly home and more smiles, more greetings from those out doing the same as me….so friendly so kind….so needed…..

But as I reach my door step, my trundle isn’t quite finished. My way of fooling myself into thinking I’ve done two walks instead of one…..I pick up the duck food from my doorstep and head to the duck pond the long way round via the ponies, Ginger Biscuit and his friends looking so calm and content..

And then to the duck pond…..the quacking strikes up again and the ducks are happy

And finally I really do head home for a warming cuppa tea…… ventures out finished until a new day dawns….and no, it didn’t rain until later..

P.S…a few days later my friend Sandra sent me this from the Government website guidance after someone had put it on Twitter…so now I feel that if I become anxious or feel locked in, I can go out a second time without feeling guilty…..