Category Archives: Communities

A trip back to my childhood town…..

I can’t remember how or where I first met Laura from Yorkshire Ambulance 🤔….but I’d made a couple of training videos for their staff and public alike, the link to one is below…

Some time later Laura invited me to speak at their Dementia Campaign Celebration. It had been cancelled a couple of times I think, due to Covid and pressures on the service, so quite rightly so. But eventually a date was set of Thursday 5th May – last week.

I couldn’t believe my eyes when I read where they were having it…….Pontefract! My childhood home town 😳. I havn’t been back for years, probably since my parents died. I was so excited at the prospect.

I had to put out a post on the village Facebook page the night before, telling my neighbours not to panic if they see me being helped into an ambulance along with a suitcase 🤣….Craig was picking me up in an ambulance needed for the event and the suitcase was full of my books should anyone wish to purchase one.

I went to secondary school in Pontefract, the girls high school as it used to be then as we hadn’t been transported into the comprehensive system back then. I loved it there and my brother went to the boys equivalent, the boys grammar school – Kings School – and the event was being held at The Kings Croft Hotel, very near to his old school.

School days of my years were free from social media, mobile phones etc and I took pleasure instead in all the sports available. Playground bullying, yes, cyber bullying, thankfully no. But any misdemeanours were punished by a visit to the Headmistresses office – Mrs Molly Jackson. I always thought ‘Molly’ was too cute a name for her as she went everywhere with long strides and a flowing batman cape billowing behind her 🤣 We had to wait against the wall outside her office – a red light above her door meant ‘don’t you dare enter’ and a green light invited you to knock and wait for the command to ‘come in’.

Soo many traditions at my old school and I loved traditions; you knew where you stood with traditions…for example the last hymn of every term was always Jerusalem. Assembly was always at 9am and each year had their place sat on the floor. It wasn’t until you reached the mighty realms of the 6th form that you could actually sit in a chair – first year 6th, down the middle of the hall in twos and final year 6 were promoted to the stage……

I had some wonderful times at school…..I wonder if you can pick me out…..the first when I was in the first year

…and this one in my final year…

I’d totally forgotten that school uniform rules were relaxed in our final year 🤔…very ahead of its time…🤔

Anyway, enough of my wistful reminiscences….back to present time…

Originally I was due to meet playmate Gail for the very first time at this event, but sadly she’d had to cancel. But we promised each other that we really WOULD meet one day…

Craig was due to pick me up at 8am. It was 04.30 when I woke. I lay there, toying with the idea of going for a walk but resisted in the end, instead, having my shower and purposely not looking out of my window first. When I did, I could see that for once in several days, it was going to be a lovely clear sunny morning 🙄 with wisps of clouds instead of a wall to wall grey…

Oh well….tomorrow may be even nicer…I put my washing on so I could hang it out before I went and snuggled back in bed with a cuppa, going through my morning routine…

When Craig arrived I was met by a lovely smiley eyed masked ambulance man. I immediately took a selfie 😂 just to set Craig straight for the day ahead.

Off we set….we chatted happily for about an hour about this that and everything – such a lovely friendly caring chap – until suddenly, I started to recognise the surroundings – my childhood home…..Box Lane appeared and I remembered Hilda Pickersgill from the wool shop used to live in the post office on the corner. I used to go and ‘help out’ in the wool shop every Saturday morning, probably while my mum was at work or shopping but I soo loved it ‘playing shops’…….

Then we arrived at the hotel, and I’m sure, my brother will correct me if I’m wrong, but it looked like the place we met after my mums funeral 🤔

….after a piccie in front of our ambulance with Craig

And then with Laura who had been doing all this work

I went for a wander around the grounds…..the views were lovely

And also a twisted marvellous ancient looking tree…

I could have sat out here all day snapping away…..but I made my way went back into the room. I said to Laura how sad it was Gail wasn’t there and bless me, she led me to a board…and there was Gail’s face staring back at me – wonderful… I did manage to get a sort of hug from her after all…

The event began and I opened the day ending with my Billy the cat reading from my first book as I hadn’t read it in ages…….their applause was much appreciated.

It was then the turn of Cherry Tatlow from the Alzheimers society…….Who sadly made me sad……when she kept saying, ‘Alzheimer’s or dementia’ – Alzheimer’s IS a dementia…..such a basic mistake which will continue to confuse people if those who are suppose to know, don’t get it right……dementia is the umbrella term for all the different types of dementia including Alzheimers…

Then Karen Owen from Yorkshire ambulance spoke oodles of praise for the lovely Laura and the wonderful work she’d done along with the team. And she mentioned a phrase Laura had said to her:

Getting it right for people with dementia means you get it right for everyone” – perfect..

Then it was the turn of the Blue Light theatre company…..all ambulance people but in a charity amateur dramatic group….they performed a wonderful little play about dementia with lots of laughs and said and did all the right things 🥰…….2 different stories intertwined of a young couple with the dad diagnosed and a mans mum having dementia…..very well done 🙌. that could have been sooo naff but instead was one of the best I’ve seen ⭐️ And I went and told them so afterwards before they left…

It was then time to do some work on scenarios but me and Prof Clare Surr from Leeds Beckett and another researcher whose name escapes me 🙈 went to look round the ambulances….the first was the Patient transport ambulance but I had to stop in my tracks as the slope up into the vehicle was black – apparently I hesitated and looked fearful, which Clare knew wasn’t me……

So that was really interesting….and fascinating to learn all they do……

Back to the workshop, we had to look at images and say which represented dementia best……some we didn’t think any did but it was an really interesting activity.

After an amazing lunch, which went down very well with everyone, people chatting and just enjoying the face to face experience with their colleagues again……. it was time for the final speech….the Trust has supported this event to the full and want to make a difference

So Kathy the chairman of the board for Yorkshire ambulance – said the final words, how the joy of today was seeing people not on a screen and reconnecting in person. The pandemic affected us all and not always in a good day….they put up with the demand in a way not thought possible. She made us laugh and she made us want to cry. In the middle of Covid they took on getting the Yorkshire ambulance to be dementia appropriate. At the time they wondered why when so much else is happening and it was Laura who convinced her why….

People with dementia need the ambulance staff as much as anyone else – we need to be compassionate to all our patients”
And so the day was over friendships reunited, people giving hugs, and simply chatting, just as it all used to be before Covid changed the world…..and as they all scattered back to their individual roles once more, the over riding message came…..

We must do it again!” And hopefully they will….

P.S. well did you spot me? In the first photo, I’m in the middle row, 3rd from the left and in the second, I’m in the top row 3rd from the left….☺️

A Conversation with an Overseas playmate comparing our experiences… 

I made this recording for the BBC World service some time ago. I was especially keen to do this as I would be meeting playmate Emily Ong, from East Malayasia, now living in Singapore. 

We were interviewed by Kim Chakanetsa about our experiences and it was not a surprise really to hear they were very similar even though we’re in different parts of the world….but also good to hear the cultural differences…

Have a listen……

Our annual village Christmas Scarecrow trail…….

What better reason for me to go out for the first time after my op……I’d actually slept the night before as Sarah had put together a pain relief plan for me that meant I was always topped up. This annual tradition in our village is always very popular and raises much needed funds for the village pre school.

It was held over the entire weekend. Maps were available from the village shop for just £1

And showed all the whereabouts of the participating households..

First though , Sarah was popping round with her friend Ruth from Milton Keynes, a place we lived and loved for about 30 years. Sarah was supposed to have gone down there for a few days to see all her friends but had decided against it when my op date was given 🙄…so Ruth had come up her to stay with Sarah instead 😍…..

We decided Ruth needed to meet our village ducks 🤣 so on their way to their lake swim, they called in at mine and we ambled to the duck pond. It was a miserable misty drizzly day made all the brighter by their lovely smiles at my door

 The ducks behaved impeccably and flew over to the shelter as soon as they saw me 😂

And immediately did a quick about turn when Ruth suddenly stood up to take piccie 😂

But once they got used to her presence, they all came back again and tucked into their seed, some from my hand but most from the floor…..It took a while, but Madge and Mabel Muscovy eventually plucked up the courage to fly from the fence to our feet and allowed Ruth to hand feed them

….while I fed those who would come to me….

We had a lovely 20 minutes or so just watching our feathered friends enjoy themselves before heading back home.

As I looked across the road, I saw the first of my scarecrow figures – a Santa asleep on the wall complete with duvet and pillow…with a notice saying ”Shhh, I’m recharging my batteries”

Then as we passed by the village hall, an angel, who must have fallen from the top of the Christmas tree was propped against the hall door

Once we reached their car they went off for their swim and I went in to have a look at the map to see which one of my shorter walks would take in the most scarecrows…..I knew I wouldn’t see them all this year, but wanted to see as many as possible 

As I trundle up Kirk lane, 2 horse riders were coming towards me

… following slowly behind so as not to spook the horses…

I veered off up the small slip road that led to Taylors rise where a robber was making off with the Christmas presents

And a cook had made ginger bread

How people think up these ideas, goodness only knows, soo clever..

I was now heading for Abbys house. They’d created a scarecrow sheep to sit beside 2 of their real ones. They’d also left a tin of goodies for children to feed to the sheep. The sheep must have got used to this and ventured to the end of their pen as soon as they saw me stop

The next was just wonderful – an old 3 wheeler car with Santa inside pulling a sleigh – magical…

Through the houses and down towards the main road. As I crossed I spied Harry Potter against the house wall

Next were the stick men complete with soggy parcels…

As I weaved through the houses, I saw this scarecrow having gone headfirst into the presents

Almost home and such a wonderful walk but one last one awaited me. A family neighbour of mine and erected a tangled up Santa falling off the roof

The trail had been such a success that the village shop had sold out of maps. Even though the weather was miserable I saw families and adults alike roaming the streets – what better way to spend a soggy misty Sunday before Christmas…….such imaginative villagers ❤️

Last blog of 2021 tomorrow……

The Shadows have returned….

It’s that time of year again when we pay tribute to those villagers who lost their lives in the wars. I love seeing these shadows appear – they’re so moving, say so much…..

This year, the villager who places them. Steve, decided on a different venue, as he does each year. They’ve been solely in the churchyard, around the pond, on the high street but this year he put a few in the church yard. Then the majority in the childrens meadow lining the little alley up towards the church

One by one as you walk up the narrow snicket, they appear, the first one alone shaded by the trees.

More moving as more appear. Not realising how many people died from just our tiny village as it was then. 

I love the two each side of the bench where in certain light, the shadows actually disappear…..

Such a wonderful location

And finally ending with another solitary shadow shaded by more trees….

In the churchyard, 6 placed by the war memorial where all their names are carved along with the lone white shadow

Steve, a former military man himself, told me the story of the white soldier as we chatted alongside the meadow admiring his work…..he’d been thought to have been killed, but then as Steve did some research, found he hadn’t died until 1960’s. He’d survived the war with horrific injuries but never came back to the village……however, when the shadows first appeared, he was black like the rest until Steve did his research, so they decided to just make him slightly different and the reverse side was white.….

I can’t express how moving is their simple presence

The final surprise came as I trundled to feed the ducks one day and the pond committee men were busy erecting the final two shadows along with a giant poppy ❤️

As I posted my photos on the village facebook page, one villager included a poem in his comments……

In the ebbing light a shadow stands all that’s left of the life he lost

On the muddy fields of foreign lands 

His sacrifice the awful cost 

In the ebbing light he stands there yet

In the safe embrace of a much loved home 

Back on the soil he used to roam 

His shadow left, less we forget

If history is your bag, one of our villagers Christine, who grew up alongside many of the descendants, compiled a book which lies in the village church called Walkington Remembers, along with such wonderful colourful detail regarding the local shops, the post office, the Taylor’s, other tradesmen and we even had 3 pubs back in those days….with all their names,  bringing them all to life. It also has a map of what the village looked like in 1910 where my street appears, but a gap where my row of 4 houses now exist..….. along with the history of how the shadows came about…….then you can read more about our village here:

Village Fireworks day……. 

Since the announcement was made on our village Facebook page, I just knew it would be a sell out. We were having it on Sunday 7th – the day my mum would have been 102 years old if she’d still been alive!

Fireworks are a very contentious issue. I actually think they should only be allowed at organised events. then people with animals know exactly when to shield those who fear them and it’s only for one night…..🤔

Matt and his backstage army of volunteers had been inundated with requests for tickets, so much so, that the day before they’d had to post a notice asking people not to travel by car from outside the village to the event unless they had a ticket – after all they didn’t want to turn villagers away. It always amazes me how much online abuse they get from people who were too late to get a ticket 😔

The morning of the firework evening dawned cold and clear….it was forecast to be such a lovely day that the sunrise was just the start of my trundles….we had wall to wall pink sky all around the village starting on the corner of my road…

…..and along the snicket towards the church

As I reached my usual vantage point, the sun was just starting to rise..

A flock of birds, startled by something took to the sky….

Heading back along the lane, I hadn’t seen a soul yet, not even early morning dog walkers…everyone must be having a Sunday lie in apart from me 🙄 the autumn colours lighting up the lane

Sooo many flocks of geese fly overhead as I make my way to the second vantage point through the gallops…I just wish I could snap a clear shot of them flying passed, they’re never really clear but this one was close as the morning sun caught them in flight …🙈

But as I turned the corner of the field, there was the sun, just peaking over the hill in the distance

A single strand of grass stood out silhouetted against the sunrise sky

Time I was home for my cuppa and as I reached the village, it was waking up as people and their canine companions went for their early morning walk…….

An hour or so later, Sarah txt me asking if I fancied going to Hornsea while she had a sunset sea swim….obviously I said yes, and she agreed to get me back for the fireworks.

But before then I had a few hours to spare, so decided to walk to Folly Lake for my long walk of the day. It was a very breezy day. Abbys sheep were lazing in the field until they heard the children in the yard and all stood up hoping for little visitors with snacks.

Along the lane, many other walkers had had the same idea as me on this lovely autumn day

I decided to walk anti clockwise today as I thought it might make it easier with the northerly wind blowing sharply….

Three simple trees always catch my eye across the field

As I reached the lake the fishermen were hunched and wrapped up warm, showing just how cold it was simply to sit there

Some had abandoned their rods and were sheltering in tents, watching and waiting for the line to twitch

Back towards home, through the Christmas sprout field, I was joined by several groups of walkers, all passing me by as I stopped to snap

A group of three were going the same way as me

As we headed towards the church I realised they must have parked in the village and done the same walk as me…..making me realise, as I headed home once more, how lucky I was to live here and have no need for a car……..

At 3.15, Sarah picked me up as planned and we drove to Hornsea. The sea was a tad choppier than she’d have liked, but the tide was coming in so not far for her to walk. There were lots of fishermen on the beach which I wasn’t expecting.

As people saw her getting ready, they all remarked how crazy she was as everyone huddled in their coats 🤣. Sarah doesn’t wear a wet suit so I can see what they mean 😂….but she loves it so much and says it’s so invigorating and your body gets used to the cold water….

As she swam……

I snapped away

Probably 15 -20 minutes later and she made her way back out. she has such a clever routine; everything laid out ready to dress and her dry robe and fleecy hat immediately making her warm. we sat on the bench on the prom and watched the sky change colour from the sunset behind us in the west, even the sea took on the pink tinge from the sky above….

Flamborough lighthouse in the distance rhythmically flashing it’s warning light to passing ships.

After Sarah had finished her flask of hot chocolate and banana, we set off home, afterall I still had the fireworks before my day was over 😳….and I was blummin cold even if Sarah wasn’t 🤣

After a quick cuppa at home to warm me up, I headed out to the village playing fields; everyone making their way along the back lane with torches. me with my light on my stick. As I reached the field I was astounded by the numbers of people…..😳

The army of volunteers had done an amazing job. Fair rides for the kiddies….tea cups …

And a train ride…..both full with happy children…

….and sparklers before the main event

Children all safely supervised yet still having fun

Food and drink stalls; the village barbecue doing a roaring trade and everyone having such a lovely safe time. Candy floss hanging from the stalls….

Six oclock arrived and the first fireworks went up into the sky amidst ooo’s and ahhh’s

I never usually go out at night in the dark, so wasn’t sure how my camera would perform….but I wasn’t disappointed.

stream after stream of magical colours in the sky

I could go on forever showing you the photos I snapped but this blog has to finally stop somewhere as did the display with its big finale…….and here it is

What a wonderful day…..a wondrous sunrise, a nice long walk, a trip to the beach ending with the village coming together for a spectacular display……hopefully I’ll sleep well after all the excitement………how lucky am I?

P.s… I took my early morning walk it was as if it had never happened. the only litter being two paper cups that had blown out of the bin which I put back. I asked the early morning horse riders how the horses had faired and they said they’d been fine, they’d stayed with them and just one had been a tad spooked…..hopefully all the other village pets will be ok now……

Last chance to buy my calendar……

I’ve been astonished and humbled by how well my calendar has done, both in the village and further afield. They’ve been sent all over the world to children and friends who previously lived in the village, put up in gyms and offices and simply waiting in peoples houses for the new year to begin….

I even had to order an extra 100 as I’d sold the original 250. Well now I’ve decided not to order any more. Sales are slowing down and I’ve only got a handful left at home plus the village shop has probably about 20 left. 

Soooo, if anyone out there would still like one, I would get it now before they’ve all gone. 

Same as before – if you’d like one, just email me including your name and address and whether you’d like to pay by bank transfer or cheque. 

The cost is £10 each or 2 for £15 plus £3.20 postage for up to 3 calendars.

I enjoyed the experience, even though I got in a pickle some times. But now it’s time to stop and decide which village groups will get some money along with Minds and Voices. It obviously won’t be much as I had to make £1250 to break even as that’s what they cost to be printed. But I’ve just gone over £1000 so I’m well pleased with that.

A BIG thank you to those who’ve supported me so far and a 🙏 to those who may request one now…..after all, what will I do with any calendars I have left 🤣….someone even asked me if I would do one next year 😳… response was ”Let me finish this year before I decide”……🤣

Asked to speak in church…….

I don’t think I’ve ever typed those words before 😳….

I’ve often visited our village church but only to take photos of the lovely rainbows the sun casts through the stained glass window. I hadn’t realised when choosing the photos that the church actually features three times in my calendar, with January snow, May blossom

And the other for November

Maybe this was why our local vicar, David, messaged me to ask if I’d give a talk at the Harvest Festival service on how I came to create the calendar…..🤔 as I’ve never been a church goer. In fact, I think I’ve only ever been in a church for a service once and that was either a funeral or a wedding. But I do love all the old hymns and especially carols that we used to sing at school each morning……

Anyway….it wasn’t until 4 o’clock and the morning had been very mizzly, but people were still out for their Sunday morning walk……I spied this lady on an electric trycicle which looked great fun and perfect for me 🤔…although I just know I’d miss my walking…..

On this grey and miserable day…I even had the light on at one point 🥴…I needed some colour and company, so off I trundle to see the ducks, always pleased to see me carrying food 😂

The Mandarin provided me with the colour

…..but I needed more…Thankfully the weather brightened up in the afternoon, so I went up to the village allotment to see if anyone was around…a woman was just leaving and about to lock up. She must have seen the look of disappointment on my face as she suddenly said she’d leave it open as now the sun has come out, others will arrive. As she was saying those words another car came along the track so I was able to have a wander round. Lots of beautiful bright colourful flowers

And more round the corner

Even the veg were colourful

After my fix of colour, I looked at my watch and decided I needed to get a wiggle on as it was almost time for the harvest festival…..

I didn’t know what to expect, the only comparison I had was to my school days when we took in a potato or can of something 🙄…..

As I trundled up Church Walk, Ginger biscuit and pals who live next to the church was busy waiting in the hope that someone would be bringing him some carrots

The church door was open, as it always is from dawn to dusk..

Inside people were already there and in their seats. David came to meet me. He’d asked me to bring some calendars and took my bag from me. I think some of the faces were familiar, but it felt like all eyes were on me so I hastily sat in an empty pew. Thankfully I knew all the hymns from school, so that made me feel more relaxed. 

The service began and I tried my best to follow what was happening. Part way through, David asked me to join him and we sat on seats at the front. He simply asked:

Why do you do what you do?”

I then rambled. I think or imagine I said how I’d been diagnosed with dementia in 2014 and how this village had become very special. I have no control over what I’ve lost and no control over the future, so instead, live in the moment. The calendar I put together was my way of saying thank you to everyone for making me feel safe trundling around the paths and lanes of the village. During lockdown, my camera and the village gave me a purpose and my way of saying thank you was to share the proceeds of the sales between village groups and my dementia support group, Minds and Voices.

Then David said that if people had brought money with them today, not to give it to the church, but to buy a calendar. They were so kind in their comments as they came up to buy one and it was all rather overwhelming. So to calm me down, I took a simple piccie…

And amid thanks from people, I made my way home……

Tea and Toast……

On a Monday in our village there is “Tea and Toast” from 9-11am….anyone can pop in but it usually clashes with my zooms or visits to Minds and Voices, but by pure luck, we’ve now stopped the weekly zooms and replaced with the monthly face to face meetings just like pre covid…..this meant I was free to go yesterday and sell my calendars at this weekly chatty get together. I could easily live on toast, but sadly I’m banned from having it now as me and toasters don’t get on and I havn’t a clue how to use the grill, but that would probably result in the same outcome…a fire 🙄. Usually I only get to eat it when I’m in paradise and I have with my breakfast…

It was a very unpromising morning as I opened my curtains and forecasted to get worse with a storm coming over us for a couple of hours…..yup, you guessed it, due between 9 and 11..🙄

I decided to take the partly full box of calendars in a bin bag as I thought I’d be carrying some back. So raincoat on, hood up, I headed out into the blustery day. 

Tea and Toast is held in the other church in the village, the Methodist. It doesn’t have much going for it from the outside which is why I rarely take piccies of it

I’d never been before and it’s only down the road from me. Lovely to see a big sign outside and then signs telling you how to make your way in – perfect 😍…just as I’d got to the top of the steps, Kathryn, who’d asked me to attend, apppeared round the corner and kindly took the heavy box from me.

As I walked in, it felt like walking into a welcoming tea shop

A table cloth adorned each table along with a posy of flowers. I’d arrived as they were setting up and insisted the volunteers be in a photo 🤣 .They have a rota of volunteers who give up their time and serve everyone.

It might not be anything to look at from the outside but the inside is so welcoming and bright. I thought where we were doubled up as the church but then Kathryn took me down some steps and showed me their pride and joy

Once again, it looked welcoming and calm.

People started to arrive and activity began in the kitchen as the tea and toast was made to order. It had been their Harvest Festival the day before and an enormous pile of food donations was waiting to be taken to the local Food Bank. Also heading some lucky persons way was a divine display of flowers

There were funny conversations about the hymns that had been chosen. One person really didn’t like “We plough the Fields and Scatter”. It was one of my favourites at school. But when she told us why it was understandable…..She’d heard it so many times at farmers funerals that it had lost its joyousness. Then someone announced how they’d been born in the village and all the generations before her. She likened herself to a stick of roach with ‘Walkington’ all the way through🤣. The conversation then led to where people had originated. It was so interesting listening to all their tales.

Peter the duck man arrived, the first familiar face. We exchanged comments about the ducks and how the Mandarin were stunning this year wearing their autumn feathers.

Peter used to take photos years ago and has a display in the village hall, which I still havn’t been able to see. He’s the font of all duck knowledge and was very disappointed not to see the colourful mandarins in the calendar 😂..but loved it anyway and bought one. He asked if I was going to come every week, but sadly it clashes with Minds and Voices….he left soon after his tea and toast to avoid the worst of the rain.

Other villagers arrived in the heavy rain. It was torrential, yet they’d still come out for their Monday get together. The rain was bouncing off the wall outside and created a haze over the village..

One person arrived that I knew but couldn’t remember where from. That was until she was thrilled to see her dad was on the calendar as he was playing bowls in the August photo on the calendar. He’d now be known as Mr August 😂 that’s of course when I realised where I know her from. 

People came and went, different conversations started. Peter the duck man suddenly reappeared at the door, very wet. He made his way over to me and handed me an old local newspaper which he thought I’d like

It cost half a penny back in its day. The facts and figures were fascinating from a local era long ago.

Everyone bought my calendar, some bought multiple copies so at one point I ran out, the box was empty 😳….Someone came in and was disappointed that I’d sold out, so I went back out in the rain and got the two she wanted, bringing them back in a bin bag 🤣…luckily I’d brought some bin liners that each could take theirs home in. Having just come back in, another lady turned up wanting a calendar and a book….so out I went again, and brought them back. Arriving back, another lady had just arrived soaked and she wanted 3……🥴…yup, out one last time and came back with her three…..😇😂

I’m now on my last box and will have to think whether I need to order any more 🤔

By this time I was aware how many different conversations were going on. They were all merging together and it was getting a tad confusing and overwhelming, so that was the queue to make my way home.

I’d known a few of the people but amazingly met many new villagers and was made to feel so welcome….a lovely morning…

By the time this blog is published I’ll have started my mini adventure, but more of that tomorrow…….

The Village get together …

The idea of a village get together had been banded about the village for some time, some in favour saying “Just what we need”, other more hesitant due to Covid, but last Saturday saw it come to life.

I’d trundled into town early as I had my flu jab at 09.15. Not option but to trundle as no buses at that time. But it was a pleasant mild morning. Coming home from the shop, paper under her arm I chatted to a neighbour. She keep hens in her garden and I often find the egg fairy has been and left me 6 freshly laid eggs.

Simon had obviously just been to feed the ducks as they were all scrabbling about on the grass

Some had had their fill and were snuggled down for a snooze

On towards the Westwood; early morning golfers starting their rounds in the shadow of the black mill

I was then stopped in my tracks by two of the town cows having stopped to lick someone car 🤣…maybe the cold metal was a pleasant taste on their tongues 😂

I could hear the geese before I could see them, high in the sky on their long migration flight maybe

One final sight before reaching town….or maybe it was the song I heard first….my favourite bird, the Robin, singing his morning song…😍

The queue for the flu jab was long but moving fast. I was actually disappointed when I was allocated a doctor for my turn…doctore always hurt giving jabs, whereas nurses are more experienced, doing it everyday. Needless to say, the doctor hurt me; never had a flu jab hurt so much before 🙄

Back home on the first bus, villagers getting off to do their shopping, but I was heading home. A committee had been formed to organise the village party. It was to be on the playing field, the field where I take photos of the village cricket team.

One of them had popped by my house to buy some calendars and promised me a table. Pip was helping me and was going to bring hers but thankfully it wasn’t needed.

It was a good job Pip had offered to help me as I slowly, over the week, got two more ideas. As well as my calendars, I decided to take some books to sell as well, just in case. Then I thought of a raffle 🤔. I could raffle 3 of the American hardback versions. Pip was making the signs and each day I’d add an extra one for her to write 🤣

Pip picked me up as planned at 2.40 as the afternoon was starting at 3…I was only going to take one box full but Pip suggested we put another in the boot just in case……it was overcast but warm so no chance of sunstroke 🤣…Scooby was of course patiently in the car waiting for us

Everything was being set up when we got there and they’d already put a table out ready for me and even put a cloth on it 😍..

I soon decided the raffle wasn’t going to work and my books were selling well so I just added the 3 American versions to the pile. 

Pip knows EVERYONE and people came and went and chatted

I was overwhelmed by the lovely comments people gave me about my calendar. Some were being sent all over the world to children who had grown up in the village and who now lived in far off lands ❤️, how amazing is that 😳…

Jane who owns the village Ginery was doing a roaring trade from her converted horse box

The Prosecco girls had brought a huge bucket filled with ice and bottles

And Matt who had organised it all along with the amazing background army was manning the barbecue

The pre school ladies had a fabulous sweet, cake and tombola stall

And inside, teas and homemade cakes were being snapped up as well as the village ice cream van doing a roaring trade with children and adults alike.. Two bouncy castles had been hired for the children to bounce away their excess energy

The cricket field is so big that no one was crowded – everyone had brought camping chairs and were just sitting chatting enjoying the wonderful live music by three different artists…

At one point is started to drizzle and umbrellas appeared, but thankfully it only lasted a few minutes and nothing was going to dampen peoples spirits…

After 2 or 3 hours, I suddenly felt exhausted by the wonder of it all. Scooby had sat content and happy between me and Pip the whole time. As long as one of us was giving him a cuddle he had all he needed…

Thankfully Pip offered to take me and my few left overs back home as it was just coming to the time of day I’m not comfortable walking on my own. The half light creating allowing dementia to create unsavoury illusions. 

But what a wonderful day….what a wonderful village I live in…. And what wonderful villagers reside there….heaven..

My Village Calendar now for sale…..

Last week our village was named by The Times as one of the best villages to live in the country, not because it’s twee, but because of the amenities and village welcome it has….2 pubs, shop, bowls club, cricket club, village pond and lots of weekly clubs in the village hall to name a few – well we already knew it was special, we didn’t need the Times to tell us and actually it’s probably a bit of a curse. House prices and rents will rise, meaning those locals looking for somewhere will not have a chance. We’re by no means a ‘dear’ area to live in, as that’s why I was able to live here, but cost is all relative isn’t it and youngsters find it hard enough already.

So what may seem a blessing is actually doing us no good at all.

Anyway…I digress…..I put my calendar on the village Facebook page last week and it’s selling really well. 

I’ve been so happy with peoples comments. I tried hard to include photos for everyone, which is really difficult!

But one of my favourite is this little cutie

And the Robin on the front actually represents December….I took each of them in the month they represent.  So many of my favourite photos failed to make the final twelve. I had sooooo many reserves for each month, it was making my head explode choosing 🤣. In the end I went with gut instinct. The peeking squirrel, the beautiful early morning sunrises, all failed to make it in, such was the difficulty choosing. But choose I did and I even found a printer in the village to print them for me….

Sooo, if you’d like to buy one in the UK, I’m happy to post them out. Please tell your family and friends. The postage is £3.20 extra. The calendar are £10 for 1 and £15 for 2 plus £3.20

To order, would you mind emailing me instead of asking me on my blog as I’ll get confused and probably end up missing someone. My email is:

Please include your address with postcode and in return I can send you my bank details for you to transfer monies or you can pay by cheque, whichever suits you.

As for sending abroad…..well….I went to the post office to get them checked and was astonished at the price. I asked for a price for Australia and America and they were more or less the same. To post it would cost an extra £16-£19 😳 plus the cost of transferring money which seems extreme to say the least. So I’m sorry to disappoint my overseas followers.

All the profit after printing costs will go to various amenities in my village plus a share will go to my dementia support group, Minds and Voices, that’s assuming I sell them all 🙈. I won’t be making any profit for me. 

My camera helped me through the lockdown and continues to be my best companion still, so I hope you enjoy the photos as much as I enjoyed taking them….every one was taken in my lovely village..

Remember, please email me if you’re interested.

One final one