Category Archives: Communities

New village residents……..and a return to paradise……

On Thursday the last of the 6 ducks arrived, bought from some of the proceeds of last years calendar sales. We already had our 4 lovely Pochards who skim their way across the pond sucking up any food in track. 

Well, the ones I originally asked for have now arrived, 2 wonderful Tufted ducks. I asked for them to replace our amazing Tufted who died aged 24years young last year. She was a solitary soul but very happy, bit like me ☺️

I adored watching her duck and dive for food; so much smaller than the other ducks but always held her own. 

Thursday was World Alzheimers day. Steve messaged me to say he hoped to pick them up early and release them about 11, but sadly I was speaking to healthcare professionals at Surrey NHS Trust at that very time, then straight afterwards going for my hair cut. So my meeting of our new arrivals would have to wait 🙄

But once all that was out of the way, I trundled down to the pond with some food. Needless to say the ducks all swam towards me, some quacking to tell the others of my arrival, and there quietly at the back were the two Tufted.

Oh my goodness I was immediately taken back to our little Tufted as old as they immediately started diving down. Their golden yellow eyes so sparkly and bright. We managed to get a male and female and at the moment the only way you can tell which is which, is the male has the deeper yellows eyes. In a few weeks his plumage will turn black and white, making it easier then. But for now they looked so similar

I immediately fell in love with them as I am with all our ducks. Just stood there watching and clicking

Villagers came and stood alongside asking me to point out our new arrivals and one lady said:

Aww they look so comical diving”

It was then their names came to me. They’ll be Terry and June. People in the UK of a certain age will know exactly who I’m referring to. They had a wonderful comedy sitcom in the XXXX.

I couldn’t stop clicking

When all the frenzy of the feed had calmed down, the ducks now preening themselves, including the Tufted. They began to nap. It must have been a very tiring day for them; being transported from one area to the next and then to be put in a pond with lots of strangers. But our ducks had accepted them immediately. And thankfully Terry and June looked as if they’d been there forever

The following morning was an early rise to head to Paradise for a few days. I felt in need of just sitting in front of my window with my favourite view. 

The taxi picked me up at 6am and everything was going fine. It was a stunning sunrise sky as I headed to Hull on the first train

…and my favourite rock-a-by baby moon

But once in Hull everything went pear shaped 🙈….my next train was cancelled

I stood in front of the board, not quite knowing what to do 😳…then thought, I’d go outside to see the sunrise. But of course, as I got there I realised I wouldn’t see anything above the high building 😔…I went back in and stood once more, looking round for a smiley face. It was only just 06.30 so smiley faces were in short supply. I then saw a light in the ticket office. All the shutters were down on the side for bus information, but one solitary light was on at the train side. There was the smiley face I’d been looking for. He saw my sunflower lanyard and immediately gave me his biggest smile asking how he could help. I told him about my train, where I was going and he began searching for me. Even if I went via Doncaster, the Manchester trains had been cancelled from there too 🙈

Eventually he told me I’d have to wait for the next one an hour later to Manchester, but then there wasn’t a direct train to Penrith sadly. I’d have to go via Wigan 😳…never been to Wigan before, but he assured me it was a small station and there’d be someone around to help. He apologised profusely but as I said:

Well it wasn’t your fault”

No but it’s a blummin nuisance for you”

See, kindness exists even at 06.30 in a morning 😊

So what to do for the next 90 minutes 🙄……cuppa tea time.

Needless to say the train was chocca as it had two lots of passengers so squashed sardine sandwich for breakfast. I let Catherine know I’d be late as I’d miss my bus in Penrith as well and would have another hours wait….

However……that wasn’t the end of the story…..oh nooooo ….it got far worse ……when I got to Manchester, I found out through Anna, my partner in writing, that the trains had been cancelled from Wigan 😳……🤯 but at least Anna was there to find me another route as the queue for information was massive 🙈…..so instead if was to go via Preston, Anna even found out the platform number for me 😇……you think that’s the end? Ha!

A train arrived on the platform at the time mine was suppose to arrive and it was the right colour so I got on it 🥴…..but I did notice as we pulled away that all the other passengers were still on the platform 😳 and this one I sat on was very empty 😳🤯😳🤯

A tannoy voice came out of nowhere to say this was the delayed train to Edinburgh 😳, however……it would now only go as far as Carlisle. The tannoy then went dead 🤯 and the signs said only stopping at Preston and Carlisle 😳 nothing anywhere about Penrith 🙈

I went in search of mystery voice. I walked the entire length and back again through the train and even though she said `’come and find me if you have any questions’, she didn’t say where!!!

Anna was txting me all the time so I wasn’t alone, but I really didn’t have a clue what to do either. We decided I’d get off at Preston and get a train to Windemere, then the bus to Keswick….maybe.

We pulled into Preston and there were hoardes waiting to get on my nice empty train. I got off, but something made me head for the guard helping people on further down. I asked him if it went to Penrith.

Not sure love” as he glanced at the board then said, “yes hop on” 😳 so I got back on the same train and still the signs were saying it would only stopped at Carslile and it was the next stop 🙈 To top it all, the train was now so full it was standing room only 🙈

As I overheard conversations, it became apparent that no one else quite knew what was happening, which made me feel slightly better. Some were going to Edinburgh and told they’d have to cross to the other side of the country and go via Newcastle …….at least I was at the right side of the country for Penrith 🥴

I looked out at the window, everyone crushed together like economy sardines and the rain was heavily falling. The train stopped at Oxenholme, the stop before Keswick. So if it stopped there it would surely stop at Penrith 🤔 I was beginning to feel hopeful, squashed hopeful, but hopeful. As I looked at my watch I knew that I’d miss the bus to Keswick, so I’d have another hours wait, but I’d be able to claim my fare back so maybe I’d splash out on a taxi🤔……although, when I looked up the cost, £50, I changed my mind. I’d wait.

As the train began to slow down, an announcement was made that Penrith was the next stop – phew! I then had to clamber over bodies and suitcases to get to the door. People were sat on every inch of the train, poor things. At least I was getting off! I stumbled off the train, under the subway and out of the station and guess what ….the bus was there! It too was late 😳…..I wobbled my legs as fast as they could take me. I saw the doors closing 🙈…then someone saw me through the window and shouted to the bus driver who came to a screeching halt….I’ve never been so thankful for a bus being late before 🥵

It was raining but I didn’t care….I was on my way to paradise. I arrived 8 hours after I left the house, but I didn’t care….I was finally in my favourite room with my favourite view and after several hugs from Catherine and a retelling of the whole sorry story, I was sat with my cuppa just looking….and finally relaxed

I’d planned to do some writing for my new book on this ‘relaxing’ journey…..but not this sort of writing. 🙈

P.S…..the first thing I saw as I went for a little trundle…..

As if Sylvia had come to meet me and say. “Stop your moaning, you’re here now” 😍🤣

The Big day in the village dawned……

Last Sunday was a special day in the village. It had been in the planning for many many months. Our village cricket club is 150 years old this year and as part of the celebrations they are playing the mighty MCC. For those non cricket fans out there:

Marylebone Cricket Club is a cricket club founded in 1787 and based since 1814 at Lord’s Cricket Ground, which it owns, in St John’s Wood, London. The club was formerly the governing body of cricket and still holds considerable global influence”

The team had played a league match on the Saturday in the boiling heat, tempers had been frayed and the opposition batted freely 🙈 but Sunday was the start of a new day….

Kirsty was picking me up at 10.15 as she was presenting the club with a special birthday cake. I had to be there at 10.30 to take photos of them all receiving their ‘caps’ as well as the cake. It was forecast to be mega hot once more 🥵…so an early morning cool walk was in order first.

As I walked down the street the moon was shining bright at it was making its descent in the west

…and as I reached the field a hare was sat

….watching the sun rise in the east

It was such a beautiful walk to start this special day and ended with a deer and me staring at each other.

Once home, showered and ready for the exciting day ahead, I had a couple of hours to get my brain in gear and go through my morning routine….black 10 on red Jack…….

It was to be a timed match but I’d yet to find out what that meant 🤔 as me and Kirsty headed up through the village to the cricket field. You could almost feel the excitement in the air; the expectation of something special.

The sun was already hot and it was only 10.15 🥵. When we reached the pitch, music was playing and everyone was relaxed getting everything ready

The ladies had their tombola stall all set up

…and gazebos lined the side of the field.

Then to the presentation of the cake to the team captain, Phil, by Kirsty

….then each player in turn received their special official cap. What I wasn’t aware of was that I was also getting one as suddenly Phil, the captain, told me to give my camera to someone else 😳

I was overwhelmed, truly overwhelmed and felt so happy to be apart of this lovely village team. It even has my initials on the side like all the others 🥰 Kirsty had been asked to get me there for 10.30, not for the cake photos but for me to get my cap at the same time as the rest of the team 😂🥰

The MCC team started to arrive, driving across the pitch to the back of the field to park their cars. All came booted and suited and looked very young and fit 🤣…they’d driven from all parts of the country to our little village pitch…

Jane from the Ginery also arrived as she was opening up her stall in the afternoon – and her dog was getting some breeze through the open car window.😍

The official toss of the coin happened on the wicket itself with Phil having to don his blazer

MCC were batting first but before all that, the all important team photo

It was then the dreaded message came up on my camera – No More Memory 😳…I’d put a spare battery in my pocket, but totally forgot about the memory card 🙈 so I wobbled back home to upload the first set of photos in order to delete everything and start again 🥴🥵

As I got back Walky were in the field and the MCC batting

I found out that ‘timed’ meant 2 hour stints with lunch and tea added in. So the first was 11.30 -13.30

At the beginning of the day, the team were all thinking, “would anyone turn up?”….but I had no doubts in my head. I knew the village would come good and as the day went on people came and went but the crowd increased and by the end of the day the three sides of the pitch were lined with brollys, rugs laid out on the parched grass and picnic chairs. Everyone enjoying a lazy afternoon. Villagers coming together to chat, eat , drink and support this wonderful occasion, showing the MCC what a wonderful community we have.

I’d never seen the guys play with such conviction and pride. Lee, mine and many others in the village, window cleaner being wicket keeper from the start

Two of our local heroes from the past were invited to take to the field, Ben and Ray. Ray had arrived wearing his original pale blue hat that he’d always been famous for wearing in his role as wicket keeper extraordinaire.

It was as though time had stood still for them both as they played with todays team as though they’d never left.

As lunch time was called, I headed back home to put one battery on to charge and a new one in my camera. Had a quick cuppa then headed back again, only for them to tell me there had been a space laid at the table for me 😳 but I’d forgotten 🙄……

More of Walkington fielding, the tannoy announcing the state of play each time a milestone was reached. 

But at 256 the opposition declared leaving our team about 3 hours to bat. The heat was now intense and many drinks breaks were being taken on and off the field. Local businesses had come to lend their support, including the local real ale beer people – who had almost run out by the end.

Jane, who lives opposite the pond and owner of The Ginery, offering her delightful mixes.

The village bbq and tombola ladies raising money for cancer. And Abby, who owns Wally the sheep and all his friends who frequently appear in my photos, also owns Abbyo’s ice cream van and sells the most amazing ice cream

All were doing a roaring trade and how lovely that they were all local. A real Village affair…🥰

Our batsman did us proud

Alastair getting the highest score of 63…

Everyone just giving it their all

With the time running out and the last few overs being bowled, it became a real chance that we might win 😳….but in the end a draw was called. A fitting storyline for the most wonderful day posted later on the village Facebook page….you might spy me in my cap acting as first reserve 🤣

The team was buzzing, spectators clapping as the teams came off the pitch elated.

So just the final formalities left. The team were all asked to form a circle and I was invited to join them 🥰…Final thanks were made by an emotional Phil to all the spectators for coming to support them. How it turned out was beyond their wildest dreams and they all looked overjoyed, relieved and just overwhelmed at this dream of a day . The captain of the MCC said a few words of thanks and the match ball went to our very own James, given to him by one of the fabulous umpires, who’d also driven up for the day.

He then gave an MCC trophy to a beaming Phil to remember this special day

And all that remained was for the 2 teams to have their joint photo taken

As I finally left for home, totally exhausted but thoroughly on a high with a beaming smile, a man was walking ahead of me who just captured the essence of this lovely summers day spent watching cricket on the village green as everyone began to make their way back home…

As for me, well it was way past my time of brain switch off. I was like a Duracell bunny who needed plugging in to have her batteries recharged as they were now well and truly running on empty. But just one last task before switching off and staring aimlessly at the TV screen……my special team cap, given to me with so much love and kindness, now sat proudly on top of my Memory Box in my Memory room

Saturday in the village…

It was a grey dreary and rainy morning and didn’t bode well for the afternoon of cricket and bowls matches and as I walked into town to do have my Saturday morning mooch around the market it was drizzling but that wasn’t going to stop me or those walking their dogs

But as the day progressed, I was sat having my lunch and I could feel the sky brightening. I’d already messaged the cricket team to say “I know we need rain, but not on a Saturday ‘😂

The forecast was for drizzle and showers, but at 1pm, bat off time, it was dry as I trundled down towards the duck pond heading for the cricket field

They weren’t actually expecting me to be there today as I’d messaged them earlier in the week to say I was away and I thought they were away this weekend so it didn’t matter🤔. Turns out they WERE away, but to the other team, Hull Strikers, that shares our pitch as their home pitch 😂…..very confusing 🥴

I could see we were fielding when I got there, familiar faces on the boundary the give away. Shouts went up from the players : ‘I thought you weren’t coming?” 😂 “Got my days muddled, it’s Sunday I’m not here”. Amidst thumbs up, the game continued.

Because we were in theory the away team, I couldn’t fathom what I was allowed to do. Could I sit in my usual place? Could I ask for a cuppa? All important questions and it didn’t help that our team were fielding so no one to ask 😂 Anyway I positioned myself in one of the corners, at the opposite side to the club house, and decided I wouldn’t sit down today.

Within minutes of my arrival my good luck charm brought them a wicket – a run out by the wicket keeper 🙌

And a few balls later, the arms went aloft again as the batsman had clipped the ball and it fell straight into the wicket keepers hands

More stumps sent flying and we were on a roll

It’s so lovely to see their team camaraderie when a wicket falls, all gathering round and sharing the congratulations

They were doing really well as Hull Strikers were currently the top of the league but today just wasn’t their day

As the rain started to fall they decided to have tea early and quickly came on with the covers to protect the wicket from the damp. This was my queue to head home and hope the rain would stop to allow them to continue…..

An hour later I was out again, this time taking a detour to visit the bowls game

They were having a friendly match against the town team. A friendly match is a way of introducing their new members to competitive playing as it can be a daunting prospect that puts many people off. But everyone seemed to be enjoying meeting new people as that’s all part of the fun too. But you could see the competitive spirit never leaves some, especially my son in law, Stuart 😂

After watching for a while, I suddenly remembered my cricket duties 🤣 passing by the ducks en route who were having their afternoon siesta

I positioned myself back on the same corner and again, within minutes I got into my stride, as did the bowlers after their rain break and suddenly arms were raised aloft as another wicket fell

More stumps went flying until eventually they were all out

As they went off the pitch to change over I saw a young man walking towards me.

He was a young Indian man, apparently I met him the last time the two teams played, but of course I didn’t remember. He said since we last met, he’s watched some videos of me. He asked me to explain what dementia means as coming from India, he didn’t understand. So I told him it’s the umbrella word and underneath the umbrella of dementia lies all the different dementias, Alzheimer’s being the most frequently heard. He told me that his young bride to be is a scientist and is working to discover a drug for Alzheimers and I recorded a message for her on his phone. He took a selfie of us so that the next time we meet he can show it to me. He moved here from Milton Keyes, where I lived for 30 years – such a small but beautiful world we live in…his friend, one of their batsmen also came over asking if I’d taken any photos of him batting. I told him in all likelihood, yes, as I’d taken hundreds already 🤣 but don’t be surprised if it’s one of you being bowled out 🙈

They asked me if I wanted to go sit down and have a cuppa tea, which was so kind, but I was happy in my corner now and wouldn’t be there much longer as time was ticking by. So they left me in my peaceful corner and it was now Walkington’s turn to get batting and chase the target

I took a few photos of us batting and caught one of our own wickets falling 🙈

But I usually leave around 5.30 and head back home, which is exactly what I did. I posted all the photos on the village Facebook page as usual and asked how they did in the end. Well their post said it all, and they used one of my piccies to celebrate

Their next home match is a show stopper as it celebrates their 150th anniversary. They are playing the MCC, such a amazing opportunity for all the players to be involved. And they’ve decided to invite the whole village to celebrate too…..ooo and asked me to take the photos and invited me to the lunch and tea.! So for once, I’ll have to try and stay until the end 😂

A special Sunday trundle…..

After a busy Saturday Sunday just had one special occasion. It was a walk around the Westwood with a Mental Health Walk and Talk group. Each Sunday this important group meets up for a walk. This Sundays walk was a little bit special though as one of the group, Kevin was 70 years young. It was also special because during Covid, Kevin had been diagnosed with dementia. I’d met his daughter and wife when they joined one of my Recovery College sessions. We realised we lived near to one another so that’s how I came to be there at their invitation. So on Sunday, as well as celebrating Kevins birthday the walkers were also raising awareness of dementia.

It was a really breezy day, with lots of cloud and the odd glimpse of the sun. It was also very humid and sticky 🙄…I felt really tired when I woke and had to push myself to get out of bed and shower, not like me at all. I’ve been going for a walk after my shower but nit Sunday. I just felt wiped out. Kirsty from the village, was picking me up to give me a lift to the meeting point for the walk but not until 10.40 so I had time to relax.

An hour before the walk I was still feeling whacked so thought I’d better force myself out for a little trundle just to wake my limbs up. I’d just do a circle walk to the pond and back. It had been raining overnight. Not enough to soak into the ground, as we desperately need, but enough to have remnants of rain drops on the blades of grass as I headed through the back field. The silhouette of a sparrow was my first click of the day

I felt like I was wading through treacle as I headed down the path towards the pond. This didn’t bode well for the main event as I’d have to walk back from the Westwood 🙈…

Most of the ducks were having a morning siesta and that included mum and her ducklings

The ducklings far too big to snuggle underneath her now, so instead snuggled together close by

Mum has done such a wonderful job. It’s rare for so many ducklings from one brood to survive but survive they have

I hope we’ve got a few males amongst them as they seem to be outnumbered on the pond by females at the mo. The other surviving 3 siblings from an earlier brood were all female as well…

One female mallard was having a shower under the little waterfall,

….. or that’s what it looked like until I stopped and watched for a while. It was actually looking for food in the crevices of the wall underneath the waterfall.

Back home and I had a final cuppa before I headed outside to wait for Kirsty.Her young daughter was in the car too so we all headed down towards the Westwood to meet everyone.

I could see the large group of people waiting outside the pub as we pulled up in the car then walked down to join them. There must have been around 50! Some with children, some with a dog, all with a welcoming smile. Kirsty immediately introduced me to the birthday boy himself, Kevin. 

So much chatter and laughter. Someone had spent ages making lots of buns with ‘Let’s talk about dementia’ on them in rice paper

I won’t post photos of the people as I didn’t get a chance to ask them all if they minded! So instead I’ll post the lovely canine walkers instead

The dogs were just as happy as the humans to be out for a walk..

At 11am we all set off towards the Westwood, the group snaking through the trees and along the grass. We all stopped and Clare gave a speech thanking everyone for being there with a special mention for Kevin of course. She ended her speech with:

No one need walk alone”

I stayed with them until they turned off to head back towards town and I headed back to the village along the grass path through the meadow

These paths are cut through the meadow for walkers, the rest of the meadow left for wildlife, especially the Skylarks which nest here in abundance. I headed for the Mill, the wind even stronger up high on the open pasture

Lots of walkers were out today, some resting by the Mill

Perfect weather for kite flying and one was being expertly manoeuvred in the windswept sky

A group of cows lying on the parched grass, the colour showing just grow dry it was

The Minster in the background….town cows and the Minster, the two most popular reasons people love Beverley

If we were to believe the old saying that when cows lie down it means rain is imminent, the ground should at least get some water today and for once, I hope it’s true.

Leaving the cows behind it was hard work walking into the wind. The clouds scurrying across the sky

My treacle legs returned again as I battled with the wind and my wearyness. I tried to hum different tunes to make the time pass quicker. I eventually crawled back into the village and reached the pond once more. No sign of the ducklings this time. But instead, two Moorhens snuggled together , each one taking it in turns to preen the other 😍

I was sooo glad to get back home feeling very windswept and very weary, but at least I’d made it and thank goodness there was still a cuppa tea left in my flask……

My first weekend out since Covid…….

I’m still trying to get over the after effects of Covid. Still only doing little walks and no early morning rises as I’m sleeping so much, which I suppose is a bonus. But last weekend was a weekend full of activity in the village and further afield.

My day started off with an early morning walk into town. I needed a few bits from the thriving market we have in Beverley. Only wanting a few bits, I also took my camera with me for the walk into town. 

Each person I passed was asking how I was, or calling over from gardens…such a wonderful community I live in….Terence and Teresa had just surfaced their shells still wet and shiny

It’s thfirst time I’d walk into town since Covid slowed me down so I’d allowed plenty of time to get there and to stop every now and then for a click or two…the black mill in the distance along with the haze of the Wolds beyond always a favourite view

The town cows had decided in their wisdom to park themselves on the 18th hole, golfers used to sharing their ground with the cows, after all, the cows were there first 😂

Another of my favourite views is of the Minster in the distance, circled by lush green trees when in reality it’s circled by houses…

And a cyclist lazes on a bench admiring the Westwood around them

…and before I know it, I’m in town. I love a Saturday morning in the market town. Early rises already out and about searching the stalls for bargains; sat outside the cafes having breakfast or a coffee with friends. I’ve always loved Saturdays…..

My shopping done, I sit in the bus station with others villagers waiting for our little white  Aklams bus. The topic of conversation, the recent heatwave, the weather our fallback conversation starter so loved by the British including me….

Back to the village for lunch of porridge and fruit before heading back out for my photographic duties at the cricket club.

As I headed towards the duck pond I noticed the Bowls club gate was open – it always means there’s something going on. So I climb the slope to find a host of bowlers 

I try and zoom in, searching for familiar faces, trying to work out if a match is in progress or a social session is taking place. Then Pam, one of the many unsung heroes of the club, ambles along the edge of the green towards me. After asking how I am, she tells me it’s a friendly match against Beverley town club. It gives new members, not used to club matches, a chance to play against others in a relaxed atmosphere before venturing into club matches. A lovely idea to ease new members confidence….one last photo before I head off

…they have some funny little signals with their arms and legs to show who’s balls are closest to the white ball 😂

All quiet at the pond as the ducks have their afternoon siesta

But then something takes flight and I realise I’d missed seeing the Heron loitering in the middle of the pond

It comes to land at the far end

The ducklings swim by him and he takes no interest. Then I realise the weather is warmer again today, meaning the fish will be nearer the surface of the water….🙄 content in the knowledge the ducklings are safe I head through the houses to the back lane and the playing field where the cricket has already started. I zoom in to see if I can recognise who’s fielding, who’s batting. But I needn’t have bothered as the fielders started to wave and shout their friendly hellos. 

I always walk around the outside of the field first, taking photos as I go; staying in one place as the over is being bowled then moving as they change ends. I zoom in to the opponent’s wicket in the hope of a bowl out and YES! The wickets go flying, cheers go up amidst high fives and fist pumps amongst the team

They offer me food and drink at half time as one innings is over and another yet to begin. But a cuppa weak black tea is all I need, the team relaxing under their canopy with their drinks and half time food…

An enormous seagull then flies onto the pitch, the lads protecting their sandwiches ask me to zoom in to see what it’s found…..

Noooooooo cries out from them all when I tell them as it gulps the poor bird down in one 😳

I never make the end of the match as it goes on into the evening, but I leave the village team batting and the sun having decided to shine

I say it so often, but I’ll end with it again…..I’m soo lucky to live where I live in a community that looks out for everyone…..

A weekend in the village……

I’m sure I used to hate having no travels planned at the weekend, especially Saturday, I’m sure I used to always be out of the village on a Saturday 🤔….but now, if the weather’s nice, there’s no better place to be than my village….this was actually a couple of weekends ago…but I forgot to publish 🙄

I hadn’t woken at dawn as I usually did, so it was mid morning before I got out. The village cricket team were at home today so I was on photo duties there in the afternoon. But first a walk to the Westwood was on the cards. The day before had been scorchio, but today it was ten degrees cooler, so my fleece was back on – that’s an English summer for you! But a hint of blue sky was reflected in the water as the ducks had a snooze after breakfast

Just by the traffic lights, I peered into Rectory Farm and their newborn foal was now getting to know it’s new home

It’s young tail looks like a foxes and it’s fox red colour highlights this even more..

A Jenny Wren sang out loud perched on the telegraph wire

I love seeing the crops grow. Field after field of potatoes had been sown and all you can see all around these fields are the perfect lines of mounds of healthy potatoe plants

The morning park runners were heading to the finish line as I reached my favourite line of trees

I wondered round in a circle, eventually entering the village once more and noticing the bowls club gates were open. I walked up the steep slope to see two matches in progress. All looked very serious. Must be the early rounds for the club doubles championship. I refrained from sitting going round to sit on my bench in fear of disturbing their concentration…but at least the sun was shining for them

After lunch and a visit from Sarah, I headed to the cricket match. I detoured through the churchyard to see if the baby tree creepers were still there. I’d seen them the day before climbing the church walls in search of shade from the intense heat, but today was so much cooler. I could hear their tiny buzzing noise so knew they were somewhere. Scanning the branches for these tiny babies, I followed the buzz and there they were chasing each other around the branches

Happy to have seen them once more, I tried not to get distracted again as I headed up to the cricket field. A couple passed me by and said:

They’re waiting for their photographer Wendy” 🤣

I’d better get a wiggle on then”…….

I zoomed in to see if they were batting or fielding….we were batting. I headed around the field, clicking as I went, runs being taken, a four going over the boundary ….we were doing well. All the way around the edge of the pitch, moving every time an over finished…..finally reaching the club house.

Want a cuppa Wendy?” A nice greeting and offered a seat in the ‘royal box’ – the table where the woman keeps score on a very complicated looking score pad which is synced to her ipad 🤯…..but lovely to feel part of the team to be allowed to sit there.

We were all very cold sat there and cricket sweaters were much in evidence on the pitch – rather that than the heatwave of the day before. Ade, our batsman soon reached his 50 and all clapped loudly as he raised his bat in thanks. But I was beginning to stiffen with the cold and I knew my battery would need changing soon, so I left saying I’d be back later.

As I reached home, I snuggled in bed, my hands wrapped around a cuppa to warm up and looked out at the trees over the paddock.

Once warm I headed back to find Walkington had finished their innings and Ade had got a century!! – I was gutted to have missed that photo, a very rare photo it would have been as no one gets a century in village cricket 🙄

We had a decent score and were surely heading for a victory. Now bowling, so different photos but I managed to get this wicket tumbling, the stumps flying through the air

As our bowler indicated that was the first of many

The clouds were looming and becoming very heavy, the light was fading and I knew we needed to end this quickly. The cold defeated me in the end – who would have thought I’d be typing that sentence mid June 😳 I said my farewells to the rest of the team on the by line

…..promising I was definitely free for their 150th celebration day in August. Somehow they’d managed to arrange an MCC team especially for the occasion and they wanted me to record the day in pictures, saying I’d be fed and watered well 🤣…..it was going to be one very special day for the village.

As I sat later at home, the heavens opened, starting with the odd spot of rain and then a deluge. I posted their photos on the village Facebook page and asked if they’d won in the hope they’d finished before the rain arrived…..Imagine my surprise when the message came back……

A thrilling finish – in the rain and with wickets tumbling, Pelican needed 6 an over to win for the last 7 overs but a wet ball made things difficult for our bowlers. With heavier rain in the last 2 overs, and needing 6 from the last 6 balls (5 to tie), Pelican hit 1, 1, 0(out), 4 to complete the huge chase with 2 balls to spare.

What a last over that must have been – the team must have been gutted…..

The following morning, Sunday, couldn’t have been more different. I’d gone out at 4.15am and the moon had hung around for the start of the day

There was a gentle glow in the sky as the sun rose promising a sunny day

I headed around the back of Halfpenny cottage. In the field next door, there’s now sheep and they were spotlighted by the morning sun

Enjoying the morning peace and snapping along the way – what better way to start a day. A flash of white caught my eye and I followed its flight eventually snapping. What I hadn’t realised until I got home, was I captured a swallow in the same photo

I saw several barn owls in a short space of time wlthough they could have been the same one 🤣

I was almost at Folly Lake when the familiar snuffle in the long grass could be heard….I saw the target white rump first, then it lifted its head, turned and looked through the farm fence

Down into Folly lake, I thought I had it to myself until I followed a line of geese. They’d parked themselves next to the mans tent – probably in the hope of a share of his breakfast

Six of the ducklings, which I’d been watching since they were tiny, had all survived but were always recognisable by their keeping all together

I headed back up to the the road and instead of turning left to walk through the fields, I turned right to retrace my steps. There’d been a heavy storm overnight and I knew the long grass would have soaked my shoes and trouser bottoms. It meant I saw the Yellow Hammer singing it’s wonderful song:

“A little bit of bread and a piece of cheeeeeeese”, which always makes me smile.

The poppies on the edge of the wheat field glinted with pearls of water on their delicate foliage; their wafer thin petals moving gently in the breeze

As I reached home, I tried to think where else I could walk before lunch as I’d rather walk for hours than sit for hours. I decided on the Westwood. The young foal in the vicarage farm field was doing well, mum always close by

I took the footpath instead of walking along the road. There’s a lovely gap where I can zoom into the Black Mill.

I peaked through a gap in the hedge to spy the flourishing potato plants

Finally in the sunny Westwood, the heat now starting to intense as noon approached. Walkers of all types were out on the pasture.

One woman with her two lovely dogs overtook me and said in response to my greeting

It’s lovely whatever the weather up here”

I finally spotted the cows, lying in the long grass and headed towards them. I could hear skylarks either side of me in the long grass and occasionally one would flutter up in the sky before coming down to land again, but too quick for me to take photos so I simply watched and listened to their antics instead.

Once I’d said hello to the cows

….I got my bearings, searching for the Black Mill and headed home.

I decided that my afternoon walk would be my last as the heat was taking its toll on me today, but am sooooo glad I did. I’d decided just a nice Sunday walk around the village would end my weekend perfectly, so I headed for the pond. The picture that greeted me made me grin the hugest smile

A new set of ducklings had arrived and they’d snuggled next to Teresa Terrapin on her log..

We’ve been quite unlucky with our ducklings this year as only a handful had survived. So seeing this bonus of six had made my day. I snapped so many photos of them, I had to put a post just for them on the village Facebook page 😂

As I threw the seed, they all scuttled keeping close to mum. Mum decided to dive under for the food so kept disappearing out of their sight. It was so comical watching their sudden fright as mum disappeared one minute

then reappeared the next

I must have stayed for ages in the same spot and I felt my neck being burnt by the sun. So having this bonus entertainment by the ducklings I decided to call it a day. It had been a wonderful weekend in my village; so much going on, so much friendliness and a community to be grateful for…I’m so lucky. One last piccie before I leave these adorabubbles…..

A community event in Leeds…

I’d had a few bad days in a row and these days, I seem to cope with them by walking miles, just me and nature for company. It had been like that for the days prior to this and I’d walked miles, just to prove to myself, I could, and also to be outside where I always feel dementia is diluted . Inside it feels oppressive And all around me.

So last Tuesday I decided to give my legs a rest. As I woke the clock blinked 03.50 at me, but there would be no sunrise walk this morning. I’d had an incredible one the day before

I closed my eyes and simply relaxed until 6.

I’d been invited to a community dementia event in Leeds by Tim Sanders, Commisoning programme lead for Leeds Council. Pre Covid, I’d done several community events for him around the area according to my blogs and today was the first since Covid changed our lives

What I love about Tims events are the variety of people. There’s always someone with lived experience, a care partner, a Gp, someone from the memory clinic and local voluntary organisations.

The perfect mix and Tim always warns the professionals to use everyday language and bans technical lingo or abbreviations 👍⭐️

He’s also very good at meeting my needs and had sent me a detailed email of what, when and where everything was happening.

My head still wasn’t right, still hazy, but a different environment might help along with seeing different people.

The taxi arrived all chirpy and happy, saying the last time he’d picked me up he’d run out of petrol and just was glad we were going downhill …🤣 wish I remembered that as it must have been so funny 😂

The train to Hull was on time but once I reached Hull there seemed to be an awful lot of people milling around 😳….I checked the board and thankfully it wasn’t my train that had been cancelled but the Manchester train. However it did mean my train would be doubly full as all the Manchester folk would be going to Leeds to get a connection 🙄

As I boarded I felt so sorry for some people off on their hols via Manchester airport. There were many panicking, asking the time, the details, the fact they’d left in plenty of time and now they were pushed 🙈 One woman was on her own and she got chatting to another couple who apparently were going on the same flight – how random is that! So she was at least able to find playmates to help share the stress.

Everyone finally settled as we passed by the Humber

I got off at Garforth and Tim was on the platform to meet me. We had plenty of time as the event didn’t start for another hour, plenty of time for setting up……well…that’s how it should have been 🥴

As we arrived at the venue in Rothwell, there was no sign of life. All the doors were locked and the inside was in darkness 😳….maybe the caretaker was just running late….?
Tim calmly panicked, rang people and even rang the number on the wall outside, which actually took him to a betting shop 😳🤣 People started arriving, a woman who had spent all day apparently baking amazing cup cakes had arrived with a car load. Stall holders arrived with banners, laden with leaflets and still no one arrived 🙈

Eventually the audience started to arrive as well 🤯….suddenly an hour later and with two minutes before we were suppose to start, someone spotted movement inside the building….

“Ay up, is ‘ere…” shouted someone (well we are in Yorkshire!), amidst cheers and relief everyone piled in. It was suddenly like a military operation as the urn went on, chairs were laid out, tables for the stall holders and one for my books appeared.

I chatted to the audience to get out of the organised chaos behind me and 20 minutes later we started 🥵 and I was first up! 🤣

Before I stood, Tim apologised for keeping everyone, but it didn’t seem to worry them; they could have left but they all stayed waiting patiently. Pauline, the local ‘organiser of everything’ told people to pleeeease help themselves to the cuppa cakes in the interval and the woman had spent all day baking them and there’d be tea and coffee once the urn had heated up…..I couldn’t wait to see these amazing cup cakes 🤔

The chatter stopped, heart beats went back to normal and it was me up first. Because we’d started late I missed out a chunk in the hope that others would do the same. One bit I didn’t miss out was one of my explanations of dementia:

We have a complex brain disease, our experiences are individual. Image the brain as a string of fairy lights. Each fairy light representing a different function of the brain. Some lights flicker on and off – dementia affecting our ability to do something one day and then we’re able to the next. But when the light fail altogether that’s when dementia has won and has taken that ability away for good. But different fairy lights flicker and fail for each of us. That’s why I can type and other can’t; that’s why they still cook and I can’t; that’s why they still feel hunger and I don’t. That’s why I can speak and they can’t. I can type words far quicker than I can think and speak them because that part of my brain hasn’t been affected others can’t type but can speak better than me. If I didn’t have these words in front of me I’d be floundering. Typing is my escape from dementia.”

….and I’m so glad I didn’t as many came up to me afterwards saying they at last understood why people were all different….😍

Next up was the Gp who won and lost brownie points at various stages of his talk. But he explained what happened in his surgery if you go there with memory issues. He then added, quite rightly, as he was about to lose another brownie point, how sometimes it can be a case of “just feeling there’s something not quite right”. He stressed it’s not always dementia, it could be many other things so never be worried about coming to see us. He spoke of the need to attend the yearly annual reviews on offer
He ended by telling us some ‘breaking news’ as that very morning they’d just appointment their first Admiral Nurse – instant brownie point.
Sadly he lost many of his brownie points as the questions which followed showed how people didn’t know annual reviews existed and had never had one; complaints about not being able to get an appointment; even one chap who been diagnosed the week before lockdown who hasn’t been able to see his Gp since 😢…..none of that was surprising as our Gps are under as much pressure as the rest of the NHS…but still very sad…

The Gp had to dash off, but up next was Dr Alex from the Memory service.

What a refreshingly honest consultant. He said how you only know for sure if someone has had dementia through an autopsy when you die, so our work involves our expertise in making a good and as accurate ‘guess’ as we can with the details we see in front of us. He also stressed they were only commissioned to be a diagnosis service, so that’s why there were no follow ups with them. He was animated and smiley. No doom and gloom but didn’t hide the struggles either.

I chatted to him after and how I wish all Old age Consultant Psychiatrists were like him – loads of brownie points.

It must then have been time for a break as I started to flag and I realised I couldn’t have had a cuppa since I’d left home 😳….but also time to see these wonderful buns….

Well, we were spoilt for choice. The woman must adore baking and to do it all for free was so generous and wonderful of her. A small army of women were behind the counter serving teas and coffees and stressing:

And help yourself to those wonderful cupcakes” I actually think no one would have dared not to have one 🤣

I hunted out this culinary wonder of a woman, hiding in the back, just to say thank you….☺️ then went to sit down and sold many books and had many chats with people before we started up again.

After a much needed break, Carers Leeds took to the floor, telling carers to take care of themselves and about all the services in their area, which seem to be many.
Then it was Pauline ‘organiser extraordinaire’ Hope.

She spoke of the legacy of someone that she’d taken up the mantle to ensure those affected by dementia had many things in the area to take part in.
Last but not least, it was the carer who poignantly told the story of himself and his wife Audrey. From the time they first met, to her last days living with dementia. He ended by reading a beautiful poem he’d written about the lonely nights without her, but ended by saying, but she’s always there in his heart…….

Well what a wonderful event eventually! It had all the right mix of people so Tim had done a wonderful job as usual. AND the buns were amazing

I was exhausted as I sat in Leeds station waiting for my train. But my taxi was waiting for me as I arrived in Beverley and the town cows had just finished their round of golf and were lazing and grazing on the 18th hole as we passed by finally on my way back home

The Curiosity Partnership……

Yesterday I headed to York again, but this time for a conference. The Curiosity Partnership is a 4 year project to bring local authorities to work with researchers in developing social care evidence based services. I was quite surprised when asked to come here to find out that local authorities don’t work with researchers in developing social care evidence based services. Researchers are they to prove something doesn’t work as well as does.

I’d been asked by Mark Wilberforce, I’m part of his research team on the HOPE project at York Uni along with David, a former carer to his wife, and Laura Haviland, who is the Network co-ordinator for the Curiosity Partnership project from the Department of Social Policy and Social Work.

They’d asked me to talk about my experience of being involved in research, why it was important to include those with lived experience in any research and the benefits of doing just this.

I woke well before 4am and was toying with the idea of a quick early morning trundle but thought it best not to as I’d only get distracted and want to stay out 🥴 My taxi arrived early so I wasn’t whittling and worrying if it would turn up. The sky was glorious as we travelled through the village by the pond. I opened my mouth to ask the driver to stop as I saw Mr Heron on Teresa’s log, but I looked at my hands and realised I didn’t have my camera so closed it again 🤣….

I had twenty minutes before the bus was due so walked around to pass the time. St Marys looking lovely against the blue sky

As the bus pulled in, I sat downstairs for a change as I had my suitcase with a few books in case anyone wanted to buy one. Even though it was early, there was a queue of traffic as we reached the Westwood as all the cows had decided to cross from one side of the road to the other 🤣

I’d been typing all the way to York, so I was so surprised to see that we’d arrived as I looked up from my screen. I decided to get off in town and amble through to the hotel that was to be our venue for the day. I got distracted by a talented young busker playing a clarinet, I think! Then the rowers on the river..

Professor Yvonne Birts – the Curiosity Partnership Director and from York Uni greeted me inside the hotel, as did Laura and Mark. I was soon sat having a cuppa before settling myself at one of the tables.

Prof Yvonne welcome everyone and she started off the day by highlighting that for some, research is very new.

In 2019 the NHIR they released a call for ideas and the Curiosity Partnership was born. The slide of ‘what’s the story ‘ said it all

Yvonne then played a video saying the government had ploughed money in NHS health research but little into social care. It’s this that we now need to address.

Through research, creating a social care system the public can have confidence in…”

Work with us to create an evidence based system that works with our strengths…curious?…….is how it ended.

We had to introduce ourselves to our table neighbours while the techy bit of connecting to zoom for the first speaker was being faffed with 🤣 I was sat next to someone from Hull Uni from the business school who is part the Curiosity team.

Wendy Lowder joined us on zoom. I knew the name but couldn’t think where from….She was here to share her thoughts on the landscape of adult social care. She’s spent the last 19 years in local authority in adult social care. She was blown away by local ideas to bring about local change in deprived areas. Through Covid we had wonderful community support, people stepped forward, it was tough before, tough during and even harder to now recover in many communities but the ’community knowledge, the knowledge of ordinary people’ is still untapped.

She spoke of the long waits for social care assessments and the shortage of care workers. The upheaval this causes to family is unimaginable to many of us. Uncompetitive pay makes it difficult to recruit staff into these poorly recognised roles. There have also been many false starts and poor decisions made by successive governments to grasp the mantel and tackle social care head on.

Greater partnerships with the local community are the key to the success there is in Barnsley where Wendy works..

What matters to you in your neighbourhood?” they ask.

She asked everyone to reflect on the language the audience use in their everyday lives. “Challenging behaviour”, “Hard to reach people” are words that send her into despair. It’s simply about people for people, reducing beaurocracy, asking people.

She spoke of her mum, 94 years young, who they help live at home. But it’s not just family, it’s the neighbour who mows the lawn, another neighbour who cooks the odd meal and so many others who help her mum to live her life at home where she want to be. It’s not just about Adult social care, it’s about the neighbourhood, the community. People helping people.

I found it hard to keep up with all the words Wendy was saying and type at the same time, but her words were wonderful, her words were encouraging, her words work creative but most of all, for me, a future recipient of care, her words gave me hope.

Research is important to us as a community – finding out what works what doesn’t, can help us to make good decisions. If you as an authority are asking “how can we provide/improve/ etc……” then research is the answer.

She ended with a slide of her mum and the wonderful words of the social care future team…..that’s where I knew her from! and the words next to her mum are the words that made me want to work with the social care future team…

I asked her “what do you think is the number 1 priority?” A hard question obviously, but Wendy answered it perfectly. The priority is to get community of practice to bridge research and engage stakeholders and citizens in research – the lived experience is key to the outcomes of this 4 year partnership so we have to get that right first.

It was me next – I spoke of the research I’d been involved in that had been a good experience along with some that had been a bad experience.

I ended by saying:

The social care system is failing us at the moment and you’re pouring your money down a big gaping hole. How much better it would be to have the evidence first before opening your purse strings.”

Break time……for a cuppa and cookies. Many people up to ask questions, one young researcher about how to persuade people to work with her……I simply said:

Invite them to work with you as you need their lived experience expertise that you don’t have. There expertise is the missing link in their team. “

I must have drifted off as the final speaker started as I suddenly came round and didn’t know who he was or what he was talking about 🙈…..

Then he put a slide up

He said we people need to connect better – they need to know what each other does. What prevents them collaborating? Capacity – they’re not being given the time in their day job; there’s a massive time lag in funding, the lag is really long and there’s often a high staff turnover so once funding is there, different people are in the roles; after the funding ends the researchers have no capacity to work, no money.

Also if they did find the evidence, is there a thirst to implement – change is the hard bit. There’s a knowledge gap between theory and practice…..again, bring the academics in at the beginning not asked to evaluate something that exists. Loads of stuff is going on but how do you share the knowledge?
We have a skills gap – how do you separate the good research from the good quality and bad quality evidence. They need to present their finding in a more accessible way. Academic papers are required to be written in academic language that organisations won’t relate to.

Identifying skills across other disciplines that would help. At the moment different disciplines work in silos, when in fact they could be of use to each other.

The final man – from South America – very likeable as he wanted to walk about on the stage instead 🤣 he also made it fun…..what are the top 5 priorities

The priorities weren’t in any order …he kept putting his glasses on when talking academic language and taking them off for normal Language 🤣 His most important part of ‘place’ was

Especially the bit on the left that says, ’Do things with people rather than for people’

Soooo entertaining!

Just before lunch it was break out sessions and I stayed in the main hall for the “existing research” introduced by Mark Wilberforce. Emma was up first describing her experience of becoming a researcher. When she finishes her pre doctorate fellowship, she will go back to her normal job of managing a team in Direct payments. She thought research was just for academics. Her Pre-doctoral Fellowship has opened up her eyes and given her opportunity to go back and work in her own role in a much better, more informed way…the moment you realise your research is contributing to knowledge into new insights into direct payments practice it makes all the study worthwhile.

One of her participants thanked her for allowing her to share her voice and that made her realise

The next, Helen Weatherly from York Uni, spoke about the economic research into social care. ….trying to make economics people friendly in their language. Showing how ‘value for money’ ‘best way to spread the cost’ ‘ what do we achieve by spending the money’ . She stressed that economics is not about finding the cheaper option. It might be an expensive service, but the outcome far outstrips the cost and makes it worth the investment.

I was tending to drift off at this point. It was very hot in the room so I was now starting to wither a tad so not taking much in….🥴

The final speaker before lunch was an occupational therapist researcher, but I couldn’t follow his talk – I think because I was hot and tired as I love Occupational Therapists.

While everyone went to lunch, I sat in the quiet catching up with emails and typing and then quietly disappeared before everyone came back again……..a wonderful day of hope for the future of social care – lets hope all this talk will turn into action…..

A dog show with a difference……..

Apologies if you received an error blog in your inbox yesterday…I got in a muddle and had to start again 🙄

I’d seen this poster on the village notice board quite a while ago…

Jane from the village Ginery had brought it to my attention and asked if I fancied taking photos of the event. It wasn’t actually in the heart of the village but along the Mirage lane and beyond at a farm, but still within walking distance,

I’d planned on going for an early morning walk before it started at 10am but after a bust day the day before I woke but then closed my eyes again and must have fallen asleep, waking instead around 6. So instead I stayed snug with a cuppa and caught up on some writing. The weather had been so nice the last few days that I’d kept putting off imminent talks and other pieces of writing 🙄….but now they were sooo imminent they had to be done 🤣

It was a much cooler greyer day as I set off towards the Mirage Lane, but the sun would still shine every so often

Every now and then I’d get distracted, the first time by crows having a barney mid air

As I battled my way up the long hill, I came to a gap in the hedgerow, through which I could see a field full of oxeye daisies 🥰

…and the field next door made me stop and instantly be transported back to being a child again. A field of young garden peas shoots.

As a child I adored going out in the van with my dad when the crop was ready. We’d see hundreds of pickers in the field picking each pea pod by hand one by one. Rarely a sight you see now in this mechanised age. But I loved peas in a pod so much I too wanted to be a pea picker when I grew up 🤣 Hearing the pod’s dull pop as it revealed the magic inside. I’d sit for hour shelling peas and counting the contents of each pod. Many got transferred into my tummy instead of the waiting bowl 🤣

It was sooo windy again and this time the wind was against me going up hill 🥵 so instead of the 45 minutes it was suppose to take, I took well over an hour and was exhausted when I got there which wasn’t part of the plan 🙄

But as soon as I entered the field I was in dog heaven. Large ones, small ones, fluffy ones. smooth ones, barky ones, silent ones, nervous ones, in fact every kinda dog you can think of was there. I didn’t know where to look first 🥰.So instead I got a cuppa tea and relaxed for a few minutes

I gave up trying to follow which category was in the ring. There were so many! And I got there too late for the first, ‘Coolest Puppy”

I went round snapping every adorable dog in sight

…..and the sun came and went, the clouds rushing across the sky in the strong breeze…

My friends dog got a rosette in the Golden Oldie category

The ‘Childrens Handler” category was happening in the ring as children stood with their pets. In my eyes every one of them was a winner. But as is the case in a dog show, the judges decision is final and rosettes were handed out to the lucky few

…and the winners got a little cup

Jane had brought her colourful mobile Ginery, an old horsebox..

…and the farm was doing a brisk trade in teas, coffees and cakes, with a little side stall of sweets for the children.

For some the winning had become a very tiring exercise and were happy now to be carried

I came over totally exhausted and needed a sit down, my back aching form standing and the walk there. I headed over to the registration table where I’d seen them using a picnic bench. One of the villagers, Vivienne greeted me and said to use her chair. Her dog, who’d come second in the old dogs category, and now deaf and blind, sat quite happily behind her

With the weight taken off my feet I instantly felt refreshed again, watching the proceedings for the most ‘handsome boy’ category from there. Some of the dogs were having a quiet 5 minutes like me

People came over wanting their dogs photo taken

Others just wanted to watch the proceedings

Some were just overwhelmed and wanted to chill

I had such a lovely time watching this doggie heaven

But I was starting to really flag and I still had to walk back home. Even though I got lots of offers for a ride home, I just needed to be alone in my own little world again. In my eyes they were all winners, but the judges did an amazing job

and I only saw half the categories before I had to give in and go home. This time the journey was down hill and the wind was behind me thankfully

Good job Merlin was on holiday as he would have obviously won every category 🤣…but since he was away it did give the others a chance 😂

Photo

Graduation day for our new playmates……..

The final session of our latest Good Life with Dementia course coincided with our Minds and Voices monthly meeting yesterday , so what better way to celebrate than our newest playmates meeting everyone and deciding if they want to continue by joining our group.

It’s been a lovely group, as always, but it felt more open this time with more contribution being made by our learners and wonderful relationships being created. I can’t remember the last courses, but this one just felt better for some reason🤔

It was forecast to be in the twenties and a nice sunny day, but as I set off in the taxi to Beverley, when the taxi driver said the weather wasn’t playing ball. It was cool and cloudy and I hadn’t dressed for cool and cloudy 🙄……so instead of showing you a grey sky I’ll show you a piccie from yesterday of these latest cuties on the village pond

The bus whizzed to York in no time at all and I ambled my way through town at a leisurely place as we were so early. At last the sun decided to shine and heat my freezing bones up. I popped into the station to pass the time and saw this lovely post box topper – perfect for York

As I sauntered across the road, Damian suddenly drew up in his car with playmate Monica on board! Good timing or what!

I was chair monitor and food getter readier today as our other enabler, Anna, had Covid 🙈
So I busied myself and in no time we were ready and waiting

By the time people started to arrive I’d already eaten most of the plate 🤣….if food is there I’ll eat it, if it isn’t I don’t eat anything🥴

The lovely Eric arrived, our Elaines hubby. So Elaine is always with us through Eric. I showed him a photo of my wing walk along with their photo, which went with me in my pocket and told him that they both had a good time and neither of them were sick on me🤣

So new and old playmates joined together and got to know one another…some just meeting for the first time.

Helen and her hubby arrived and told me their son had seen my wing walk photos courtesy of a dementia specialist in Switzerland who’d posted it on Facebook 😳 how very small our world is ☺️

We made room on one long table to begin with I had to take a photo from the pulpit of our wonderful gathering…

Damian started off by welcoming everyone. All our learners were there finally as one of our big Minds and Voices family.
We had 2 visitors, Vicky, a trainee Clinical Pschologist, who next month hopes for us to take part in her research. Apparently she’s been coming for a while to get to know us 😳…
Jamie was also here – a social perscriber in York just like our Anna, based at a Gp surgery in the town. Each Gp surgery has a social prescriber here in York. She was nothing like our Anna who would have gone round chatting to everyone and helping them where needed with cuppas….and just sat in her place instead….mmmm
We all went round the table and introduced ourselves to each other – not that we’d remember 🤣

The care partners all moved to another table so we could huddle together and hear better…..

But in the end we had to send the care partners out to another room as the acoustics are so bad in their and chatter in the back ground just made it impossible to hear…

We went over the information of the course in the last 5 weeks with Damian reminding people what they said along the way..

We’re hear to show you there is still a life” I apparently said at the first session as a tutor to the learners, just like playmate Agnes showed me when I was first diagnosed.

When you hear of areas introducing ‘dementia pathways’ – how crazy, as we don’t all follow the same path, no one’s journey is the same, but Audrey added,

Yes but we’ve all ended up here at Minds and Voices” the only important pathway

We celebrated our differences….but there were lots of ‘me too’ moments along the course.

Our champagne moment of session 3 on relationships and apathy….came from one of our learners…

Sometime I just can’t be arsed” said Julia🤣

Sometimes dementia is really maddening” said Audrey.
“I don’t feel ill, it’s just a part of me” said Alice

Seek out the happy people”…..said Sue in one session. And that Minds and Voices is a good space to share happy and sad moments.

Damian handed out the IDEAL project Dementia Toolkit….the Ideal Study is the longest and largest study of people with dementia and have produced the Dementia Toolkit – A Guide to Living with dementia..

Damian Addressed just the learners, by saying this was the last session of our course however he would love to know “would you like to carry on meeting at Minds and Voices”

Alice said Yes! We’re all friends now” and the others all said YES! As well….

So the Good life with dementia course creates new friendships that turn into old, new support where the new learners become the next tutors and the old friends – succession planning at its finest…..

Fittingly, the final words came from our new playmates, when Damian asked them what they thought of the course.

Enlightening

Well we havn’t missed a session – if you don’t come you don’t learn anything – you need to know this stuff”

It was lovely, happy and jolly but serious”

Here is a different world of normality”

I’ve loved meeting everyone. I sat at home wondering where to go, and now I’m here and feel happy”

“I’m so grateful “

“I think you’re doing an excellent job”

So there was only one thing left to do……….as Monica handed out certificates to all our graduating learners

Then, once everyone was back in the same room, one last photo of all of us in front of our wonderful hands banner…

This course was funded by the local commissioning group….so thank you for seeing our strengths …….

P.S – I always see this van parked as I head to the bus stop afterwards……but this time I took a photo as it seemed very apt….there really are hidden stories everywhere…