Category Archives: Entertainment

Writing and Creativity with dementia…..

Over the years I’ve often visited Leeds playhouse. The “ever passionate about making it right for people with dementia”, Nicky Taylor, who now has the fancy title ‘Theatre and Dementia Research Associate’ has often invited me over to advise on shows which have a ‘Dementia appropriate performance’. Past shows have included Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, Still Alice and I’m sure I’ve been there for other things 🤔…..

Just before Covid hit us all for 6 I was involved with the making of Maggie May by the talented playwrite, Frances Poet. I met Frances, according to my blog 😂, and talked through her ideas along with the lovely DEEP group that has its home at the theatre. Then life came to a standstill and the show, like everything else was cancelled. Well now the show finally gets to be shown on stage…

So last Tuesday, Nicky had invited me and my lovely playmate, Rosa, to be on stage talking about the role that creativity had played in helping us cope with our dementia. To help promote the session, I think we were both asked:

how has continuing to be creative helped you in life after diagnosis?“

My response was:

Continuing to be creative helps me escape my dementia, shows others I’m still a person with talents despite my dementia and in the process helps others to understand this complex brain disease.”

Many of us have proved that creativity doesn’t stop just because we have a diagnosis of dementia. In fact many of us flourish as dementia gives us the space and time needed to enhance our creativity. The lovely Rosa wrote a fairytale during Covid and would be reading that out to the audience, then Nicky would interview me about my books.

Crikey, I’ve just realised I’ve typed a lot without any photos 🤣….so let’s start the day properly. The taxi wasn’t picking me up until 9am, so I had time for my 5am trundle. However, it was a very overcast morning. I knew I would see no hint of a sunrise sadly, but I needed to walk as I wouldn’t get another chance that day ….

Sadly the light was very poor. No dramatic skies this morning…just grey and dreary and my camera didn’t like it one bit 🙄

I saw deer galore typically. These first were passed the last farm as I was heading for the single track road. I took loads of photos but only this one came out enough to show and certainly not perfect 🙈

But never mind, I saw them and watched them and two other surprised me by jumping out from by the fence as I trundled along minding my own business 😂

My camera really doesn’t like low light, which was such a shame this morning as a white barn owl hovered above the grass ready to pounce on its breakfast….but sadly the photos didn’t come out. But I can prove it was real by the blurry scene below 🤣

Spot the owl 🤣

More deer, more hazy photos 🙈

So I stopped zooming in, switched off my camera and simply trundled. By the time I got back the light was better and I snapped a piccie of Wally and friends. They’ve just swapped fields and had a new grazing spot

By the time the taxi arrived, the sky was blue, the sun was shining 🙄…typical….😂

I changed trains at Hull and started my journey to Leeds….the train was calm and quiet as we passed by the Humber

But then all chaos broke out between the couple in front of me. The man couldn’t find his passport. 😳 Bags were unloaded, contents thrown over the seat, arguments ensued about whose fault it was, the air was blue with fouled language as one blamed the other. Wife was going to go without the husband; divorce proceedings were being planned; and I was getting more anxious by the minute 🙈…..

Wife eventually found it for the husband – in HIS bag – where HE’D put it 🤣……divorce proceedings ended and both settled down, on separate seats away across from one another, and turned their backs on each other, a bit like 2 hares I’d snapped the other day after a fight 😂…..

I played solitaire to calm me down 🙄 The recriminations started up again as we reached Selby 🙈……..I was thankful Leeds was the next stop and I was able to leave them to it….

As I got to the Playhouse, Maggie May was being advertised on the boards outside

It’s had a major revamp since I was last here

I didn’t recognise any of it but luckily someone called Maggie saw me through the door and let me in. It was verrrry different. Felt in a totally strange place😳……but I sat on a seat and typed this while I waited for Nicky to arrive with Rosa.
It wasn’t long before two big beaming faces came towards me and we went upstairs to the room…..and an instant time for a selfie

Rosa allowed me to read her fairy tale, Rosa and the Magic Quest….which she wrote with her writing, Barney….wow…

…it was so wonderfully written and included Rosa going out in the dark, which, in real life, she’s terrified of the dark…hence the fairy tale. It was beautiful….and yes, she did go out in the dark….Rosa said writing makes her happy and forget about dementia, just as it does for me 😍

Then the star of Maggie May, playing Maggie, Eithne arrived to say hello…time for another photo

The writer of Maggie May, Frances Poet came to say a quick hello. She couldn’t stay for the session but wished us luck and thanked us for our contribution to the play….

Rosa was extremely nervous, and we tried everything to calm her nerves. Rosa didn’t want to face the audience so she faced the wall to and just concentrated on Nicky as she read her fairy tale to the audience

She was brilliant as I knew she would be but soooo glad it was over bless her….it was then my turn and me and Nicky had planned our questions and I read two extracts from my book about the ‘gifts’ of dementia and technology. It was then the turn of the audience to ask their questions. There were some really interesting ones which I obviously can’t remember now, but I remember thinking they were interesting and different from the norm. One that stood out was from the writer Frances Poet – I’m sure she’d said she wasn’t staying for the whole session 😂,,,,as during my piece I sang her praises. Nicky had asked me why it was important to include us when writing a play about dementia. I said Frances had seen the importance of asking many of us for our views; getting to know us; getting to know the reality of dementia, otherwise how could she have written such a brilliant play. Turns out Frances didn’t leave and was there when I sung her praises 🤣

Someone on Twitter captured this lovely piccie of me and Nicky….

At the end people were generous and kind with their applause and some came up to chat and buy my book. I didn’t take enough so I should have taken more 🙈…felt terrible when one chap came running in at the end when everyone had left as he’d got his money but I’d sold out 🙄

One very special, very precious moment, was when a man living with dementia came to buy a book. He said his son had bought him my first book 4 years ago when he was diagnosed but he’d never read it; he was afraid to. Now he’s met me and heard me speak, he was going to give his son my second book and go straight home and start reading my first as he was no longer afraid of it🥰 – tiny moments like that make all this worthwhile…

One last piccie before we leave of the three of us….it had been such a wonderful session….

As we left, the sun was still shining. I didn’t have long to wait for a train. I used my app to see what time my connection would get into Beverley, then rang my taxi people. They’re the only people I ring because as soon as I say it’s Wendy, they recognise my voice and save me any hassle of having to explain anything. What I hadn’t realised was it was Beverley Races and Michelle on switch said they were chaotic, but to come to the desk when I arrive and she’d sort something out for me 🥰…..that’s why I always use my taxi firm as they always look after me no matter what……..

A beautiful song by lovely young people…..

Many moons ago before ‘Covid’ as a word we knew well, I met some talented young people writing a musical, ‘Once Lost”…. They came along to meet me, in what was then, ‘my office’ – the local café attached to the pub. Sadly the pub was also a victim of Covid and closed last year 😢…..they had very personal reasons for writing the musical as two of the team had grandparents living with dementia. They are such lovely kind people and stole my heart the moment I met them, especially since they brought me a box of Yorkshire tea 😂

On their web site it says:

“Our aim producing ‘Once Lost’ is to use our skills as songwriters and producers to raise awareness of dementia in a unique way. We want to spread the message that a diagnosis of dementia doesn’t mean it is the end. People can still live happy lives with the illness.”

You can find out more of their story here:

Well now you can listen to their song ‘Moments’. Which they played to me in the café all those months ago. They had this published in the Young Dementia Network Newsletter this month

I feel privileged to have met and worked with them and wish them every success in getting it on the road….once the ‘road’ is open again…

Showing of a wonderful video…..

Apologies for the blip yesterday if you received an email stating there was a blog and then couldn’t get into it 🙄….I’d forgotten to set the date and it’s actually for later in the week 🙈…..

For a few years now, I’ve been involved with the amazing creative artist, Suki Chan. We’ve done lots of filming in and around my home. On Sunday 28th March at 4pm -5pm, there is a showing of the video ‘Hallucinations’ featuring myself and Pegeen O’Sullivan. That’s me in the picture looking out over the paddock opposite my house

I was able to give you all a preview once, and here’s another single day only when the video will be able to be viewed before a big exhibition at Bluecoat (Liverpool) next Spring, which I hope to attend! .

Here’s what it’s all about:

HALLUCINATIONS is an immersive journey into the personal experiences of two people who are living with dementia, juxtaposed with the perspective of two carers.

The film reveals intimate details that convey how dementia changes perceptions – resulting in hallucinations, altered experiences of time and sense of identity.

The 2 channel video installation invites us to enter into the reality of Pegeen O’Sullivan, the daughter of Irish novelist, Liam O’Flaherty, who currently lives in a care village in North West of England and Wendy Mitchell, who wrote her first book, after being diagnosed with young-onset dementia at the age of 58.

The film transports us to their interior worlds, their personal journeys and perceptions of reality. We are offered an insight into Wendy’s daily coping mechanisms in her home – photos adhered to the door of cupboards so that they can be identified as cupboards rather than protrusions from the wall.

Old memories when recalled appear as present reality, dead relatives reappear in their homes; what would be unsettling for people without dementia, may in fact bring comfort and security for those with it. The intimate perspectives, dilemmas and hopes for the future, revealed in HALLUCINATIONS, offer a fresh and startlingly honest investigation of what it feels like to have dementia.

The Islington tunnel, a grand piece of Victorian architecture, becomes a visual metaphor for the dementia journey.

How do mind-altering diseases such as dementia de-stabilise our understanding of reality? And conversely what does this tell us about our own understanding and perception of reality?

HALLUCINATIONS was filmed in Belong care village in North West England, Wendy’s home and the canals in London.

The textured soundtrack is composed by Dominik Scherrer, winner of the 2014 Ivor Novello Award.

HALLUCINATIONS was commissioned by Science Gallery Rotterdam and Bluecoat, funded by Arts Council England. Research and development supported by Where the Arts Belong, a partnership between Bluecoat and care provider Belong, funded by Arts Council England and The Baring Foundation.

HALLUCINATIONS is the second film from CONSCIOUS, Suki Chan’s multi-platform project bringing together the diverse, subjective perspectives of scientists and ordinary people, whose stories unwrap layers of thinking and preconceptions about individual and collective consciousness.

You can book tickets free for the showing via Zoom, on Eventbrite following the link below. I’ll be there too speaking. The music is hauntingly beautiful…..I adore all of Suki’s work, but just love this…

A Trundle to Leeds Playhouse Theatre

On Friday I ended my week with a trundle to Leeds to the brand new renovated Leeds Playhouse. It’s been closed for a while while they create a shiny new theatre and, even though it reopened a while ago, Friday was my first viewing.

I’ve done loads of things with them in the past under the invitation of Nicky Taylor, Theatre and Dementia Research Associate, from reviewing a showing of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, to advising on and working with actress Sharon Small on her portrayal of the stage performance of Still Alice. But I was there Friday, to see the progress of a new play by writer Frances Poet, called ‘Maggie May’. Apparently I met with Frances a couple of years ago when the idea was a seed and after meeting me and many other playmates involved with the theatre, she wrote the play.

We were there to see a few scenes having a run through, especially around ‘the fog’ that Maggie was experiencing, to give our take on the storyline and performances.

Anyway, another train trundle to get me there, this time 2 trains, changing in Hull.

A bitterly cold wind hit my face as I went out of my front door to join the waiting taxi. A newbie driver to me. Before I’d left, the weatherman had told me it was due to be a rubbish day and more heavy rain was forecasted 🙈….must be dreadful for all those people in flooded homes, or with the water creeping ever closer, to hear the news of more rain on the way 😔

Changing at Hull, my next train was waiting….i climbed aboard and then as the departing time got nearer, I realised I was by myself, the only person in the carriage……very strange at 08.15 in the morning 😳……but then the reasurring dulcet tones of the guard confrimed I was on the right train, but for some reason today, I had it to myself 🤔……..weird…maybe it was the forecast that had put people off travelling 😳…..

Anyway we trundled our way … felt like we were trundling through a very sad grey world as we passed by the Humber, fed up of all the deluge of rain of late and desperate for sunshine and warmth….or was that just me…..?……… onwards to leeds….

As I said, me and a few other playmates had been invited to watch and comment on some of the darker scenes from the play including Maggie’s ‘fog’ and her fears. I trundled down through the city to the new vamped playhouse….and it looked very different

I suddenly saw Nicky coming out to meet me…..gone had the long steep steps up to the entrance and now it was on street level straight into the café

We got one piccie of me in front of the advert for the play and the message to the right, on the wall of the theatre says…..:

I Get Knocked Down But I Get Up Again”

Obviously referring to the theatre revamp, but very appropriate for me too…..😂🤣😂

……I was the last to arrive as 2 other playmates and 2 supporters were waiting all ready……..

We made our way up to the rehearsal rooms a short walk away and all the actors were there waiting……along with Frances the writer, Jemima the director,🙄😂

We got our cuppas, our name badges in situe and made our way to the Directors area where we would sit and watch the scenes….first task was a piccie of us, all present and correct…

The they set the scene for us…they’re trying out a little section today – 5 scenes and whether that group of scenes work and whether Maggie experience feels truthful – do we get enough of the difficulties but also the resolve and lightness that it will lead to …..

The blurb for the play states”

Maggie and Gordon first met in 1971 dancing to the sound of Rod Stewart. Now in their sixties, and still very much in love, they’ve been finishing each other’s songs all their marriage

At this point, Maggie lives at home with Gordon her hubby, she’s been hiding the diagnosis from her son and best friend ….

There’s a TV screen that adds prompts for where were are, who people are and Maggie’s thoughts………which I think will work well on stage with a screen each side.

The actors appeared and introduced themselves…..

From left to right….

Eithne –  Maggie May

Maxine – Jo, Maggies best friend

John – hubby Gordon

Mark – son Michael

Shireen – sons girlfriend Claire

The scene started with Maggie in bed…..and hubby coming to see her in bed when they were suppose to be going to her group….but today is a foggy day…..and we saw Maggie going through the trauma of a foggy day – not to give too much away, but this is a very intense scene but with such a purpose and message that it can’t be ignored.

We saw her next in the hospital bed……with her best friend visiting.

Do not compare your scattiness to my life…” and ‘If I was here with stomach cancer you wouldn’t say ‘oh yes, I often get tummy ache’

said Maggie as her friend started to compare her forgetfulness with her own – one of my favourite bits….

The play is part musical with a lovely bit between Maggie and her hubby singing…and one of these singing outbursts  will end the first section…..

which had us all jigging about in our seats…

We sat in a circle and discussed this scene in detail, the scaryness, the reality. We had some brilliant ideas between us and it was interesting to hear all our views, as there were differences…….as we all have different experiences…..we suggested ways to enhance some messages, applauded some bits and suggested changes that might be made in other areas..

Frances and Jemima were jotting down profuse amounts of notes….

The songs and singing, along with the darker times of the start of the scene depicted the real life roller coaster we live through…

It runs for 3 weeks in Hornchurch from 13th March…

….before coming to Leeds at the end of March….

Something magical to be involved in once more at the Playhouse and the actors breathed a sigh of relief as they took in our comments and praise at the end…..can’t wait to see it in April……..and time for one last piccie of everyone together


An unusual, but amazing location for a TV interview……

Yesterday I headed to London ….I’d been emailed a while ago by Sky 1 ‘What’s Up TV’ asking if I would be part of a programme for them……In their blurb it says~:

It’s  a broadcast magazine show which focuses on providing engaging and inspiring content for a 16 – 35 year-old audience. The programme, now in production of its 17th series, reaches over 100,000 households, making it one of Sky One’s most popular shows. We have covered topics such as; SUDEP (Sudden unexpected death in epilepsy),  Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME), Domestic Abuse and many more.”

So it sounded like a good content programme and the emails I got were also kind and reassuring.

The aim of the piece they wanted me to do was to raise awareness of dementia, highlight the lack of funding for dementia as well as lack of understanding……

For those of you that have been hibernating for the last week or so, there has been severe flooding all around the Doncaster area and there have been no Northern trains running from my area to Doncaster since last Friday, I think… I was getting a tad worried about my plans…..I needed to get to Doncaster to catch the London train so I needed a plan B……and a plan C for getting back home…..🙈

I spent Saturday trying to work out what to do but gave up as the situation seemed to change by the minute so left it until Sunday morning to decide…..and thought and thought…..took me forever…..the web sites were no help as some trains said they were running on one site and not on another…..

The reason I decided to put myself through this was the venue they chose to record it in……The Clock Tower room at St Pancras……

The number of times I’ve looked up there to get the time while being in London, not realising it had hidden secrets and now I would be inside it. So I couldn’t resist the inevitable stress I would go through just to get there……..

Next time if you come out of Kings Cross, look up towards the right and that’s the Clock Tower above St Pancras …

Anyway… plan b was to set off 2 hours before I needed just to try and get to Doncaster for my connection…..when I got to Hull the boards were full of ‘Cancelled’ heading towards Doncaster, but the only direct LNER train to London was sitting in the station. It was the 7am and I hadn’t even been due to arrive into Hull until 8.45 🤐………but the thought ran through my head that if you don’t ask you don’t get…….

I walked up to the guard, and he immediately clocked my lanyard….I’d also put a card in my lanyard. I don’t usually do this,

but thought today I would as  I knew I’d be doubly stressed about travelling and  it might just speed up being helped…..and it worked…..he immediately said:

Come and sit down so we can chat, we’re not due out for ages’

And so we did. I told him my predicament. How I did have a ticket booked from Doncaster but not until 10.18 but wasn’t sure how I would get to Doncaster…….

He immediately found me an unreserved seat, and then said, “just travel with us to London, then you won’t have to worry about Doncaster”

That small act of kindness that cost nothing, meant a stressful worrying start turned into a calm relaxed journey. Yes I did get there 2 hours before I was suppose to but so what…….

The start of the journey was in darkness but as soon as the world began to wake I could see the devastation of the floods in the fields on farm land…..goodness knows how households are coping…😔as we pulled into Doncaster the once clear landscape was heavily flooded……

As we trundled further south the landscape began to change to green and brown  again…and autumn colours highlighted the landscape instead of a watery deluge….

The train manager came and checked on me every now and then to make sure I was ok, and asked if I needed to phone anyone since I’d be so early. I said I was happy watching the world go by for the couple of hours but he insisted I wait for him to come and get me, he’d walk me to the LNER lounge where I could wait in the warm with tea on tap….again, such a simple act of kindness and compassion for a fellow human being….he didn’t have to do that but he did…….I tweeted LNER to tell them so……

Katie Moore, researcher for the programme, had agreed to meet me at Kings Cross and walk me over to the venue. We’d exchanged phone numbers for txting, so I txt her the change of plans…I’d also had to book a different ticket home so I wouldn’t have the same problem in reverse, but they’d said they were fine with that and just to go ahead…..they’d refund me both…

The train manager kept his word, unlike Assistance, which forgot me, so I’m reluctant to use them again …..and he took me upstairs to the lounge area where it was nice and snug and tea on tap as promised…..👍makes travelling alone possible and manageable if people along the trundle are kind…..

Katie txt to say she’d arrived a tad early for me and we walked over to the clock tower

and here was  the amazing view from our floor looking down to the ground floor…..

And here was the view of Kings Cross from the window of the room…..only a few minutes before, I’d been stood on the outside looking up…

Katie told me how they weren’t being charged for the venue but instead the company would donate to charity and the location manager, Peter, would also donate……how kind is that…❤️ as I imagine that venue could charge a huge fee……also on the way up in the lift she told me how some of  Harry Potter was filmed here 😳❤️❤️❤️ The location was truly magical and I could well see the appeal for film companies…

I met all the crew who were just setting up and sorting out all their stuff….

Nayha, the interviewer arrived……and we chatted happily about the questions and just got to know one another….the term ‘sufferer’ was used by both Katie and Nayha, so I told them why I prefer ‘Living with’……..we had lots of laughter about Katie’s  Liverpudlian accent, and how she must never lose it…….and then the  director sat quietly and asked me questions simply to help in his personal life……

Nayha asked me 5 questions that turned into 6 after speaking about the word ‘suffferer’  …..around the NHS, symptoms, positive outlook and advice to people living with dementia and those supporting,  what the government can do with regards to care costs, adapting my house, why I don’t like the word ‘sufferer’ in everyday life…..

We recorded the questions and answers twice and I did warn them that I might say something different 😂🤣

For the question that asked, ‘what should the government do ….’ I answered….

Treat those of us with dementia on equal terms as those with other conditions such as Cancer . If you’re diagnosed with cancer you have NHS support until death, whereas people with dementia have to fund their own care costs….”

Once finished and while I typed away, they recorded the ‘nodding’ shots, the background shots of Nayha…….soooo funny…..asking the questions without me there…

I climbed the stairs up towards the clock, with everyone but me freaking out at me climbing so high 🤣 and took this piccie of the crew, me thinks they were more worried about me than I was until I told how I’d done a skydive earlier in the year 😂🙄

Katie then climbed the stairs………

but hadn’t realise until then that she was afraid of heights and had to be rescued…..bless 😂🤣 …..and someone else took the piccie…..

They were such a lovely crew…….so friendly, so kind, so willing to listen and ask questions…and it all worked because Katie did such a wonderful job of getting to know me via email first and sorted out everything I needed so perfectly…….just how it should be……

It will aired in February sometime and the programme goes out at 11.30 am on a Saturday and this piece will also include a Labour and Conservative MP,   2 sisters who lost their dad, Dr Selina Wray from UCL, …….they will also put a link on YouTube so I’ll share it when I’ve seen it……..

Katie described it as a ‘Celebration of identity’…….even though you’re living with dementia you are still a person with a life to be lived……………wonderful…..fab day with fab people in a fab venue …….and because they allowed me to book another ticket home, which was a direct train, it was also a stress free journey home…….

Two events – one aim – to show what we CAN do……

Today I’m promoting two up and coming happenings. One in York and the other in Sheffield – sorry those further afield !

I’ll put them order of date……the first being Sheffield….

David Reid, senior teacher in the school of nursing and midwifery at Sheffield University, has for the last 11th years run the South Yorkshire Dementia Creative Arts Exhibition.

This year on Tuesday the 2nd July, me and many of my playmates will be showing what we CAN do as part of a Mentioning Dementia day……

I’ll be reading a piece from my book, some will be reading poetry and me and playmates Howard Gordon and Jacqui Bingham will be doing a Dementia Diaries Live session where we’ll read diary entries from other playmates.

It should be a wonderful day and is FREE to attend. I’d love to meet anyone in that area.

To register and get more detail click on the link below

The second exciting news, if that Minds and Voices will be running our second course –
A Good Life with Dementia – designed and delivered by me and my playmates with the support of Damián Murphy.

We had asked the local memory clinic to refer people but once again, they’ve let us down by simply giving out a telephone number and expecting people to ring Damian……😔…..if I’d just been diagnosed, I would want help and direction and not be expected to ring a total stranger. I’d want to have them telling me it might help and give it a go. Imagine how overwhelmed you feel anyway. You’re looking to the so called experts to show you what might be useful……Such a shame……

So here we are again having to try and recruit people ourselves….

Soooo if you live within the city of York we would welcome you and provide transport if needed. If you live further out and are interested, we would still welcome you but you would need to provide your own transport. Any age.

Supporters are welcome to come, in the knowledge that we do focus on people with a diagnosis.

The course is for 6 weeks…….with courses, my first question is always, so what happens on week 7 or the week after the course has finished…..and we have the advantage of offering people the opportunity to join Minds and Voices, should they wish, therefore providing some continuity of support after the course.

Week 1 starts on Tuesday 30th July. During the 6 weeks we include, hearing your story and answering any questions, the facts about dementia, Adapting and Accepting, pros and cons of living alone and in a couple, driving, speech, other people’s attitudes, where to get help including entitlements and welfare rights.

All the practical and emotional support that’s often missing plus any other questions you may have!

So if you are or know anyone who might benefit from meeting with us for 6 weeks please put them in touch. It’s not really a ‘just turn up on the day’ as Damian would like the chance to meet you and explain about our course first.

You can contact me through my blog, and I’ll send on your details to Damian, or you can contact Damian direct by email on

Or by phone on

07927 405854 (hope I’ve got that right, let me know and find there’s a problem….)

We’d really love to see people there……😊

An easy blog today….link to a podcast….

My blog last week spoke of the podcast I recorded in London last week. On line it’s described as:

“From the writers of the internationally successful Grumpy Old Women, award winning Comedian Jenny Éclair and Producer and Writer Judith Holder deliver Older & Wider, a podcast that offers insight, gossip and general news from the menopausal front and beyond.”

They ramble amiably and funnily for about 15 minutes before they interview me…….hopefully you can listen to it here if it’s of interest…..the Barbour mac Jenny talks about is the one in the picture as she wanted it to have its first photograph …..😂😊

Two Trundles in a row down to London…….

Yesterday was the second day in a row that I’d trundled down to London. Tuesday was a meeting but yesterday was podcast day. Producer Daily had emailed me and asked if I’d like to record a podcast with comedian, Jenny Éclair for her podcast series, Older and Wider…

I really wasn’t quite sure how this would work, but thought I’d give it a go as the rest of the week was lying empty.

Anyway, back to the first trundle and I must have been under the weather or coming down with something as I was off my cuppa tea……..yes you heard right…..I was off drinking tea. I drank nowhere near as much, only 4 cups the whole day and 2 of those were left partly undrunk…….😱😳 going off my cuppa tea is always my body’s way of telling me I’m not well or I’m coming down with something. It’s the only thing that stands out🙄

I opened my eyes yesterday and it was still dark. I suddenly had a horrible thought…..😳…..I looked at my alarms and had set it for 07.35………looked at my train ticket times…..and they were for 07.35………..😱…I rang the night shift man at the taxi office and must have frightened him to death as his phone probably doesn’t often ring at 4am……🙈……..He also knows me so just let me speak……..I just wanted to check what time I’d booked a taxi……07.10 was thankfully his reply. So my brain must have been working when I booked the taxi but last night was in a pickle when I set my alarm. Good job something told me to check everything 🙄

It was a horrible rainy day so not able to take piccies out of the dripping window, but instead have one from Tuesday of a gorgeous Orchid plant in the reception area

I’d emailed the day before about how the podcast would work to be told, Jenny Éclair and Judith Holder would join me and I think Judith Holder will be asking most of the questions around the book and your diagnosis and what mechanisms you use to help you. I used my dear friend Google to find out what Judith Holder looked like. Turns out she wrote the ‘Grumpy Old……’ series….I liked them!

So feeling more relaxed now, I settled down to a rain sodden journey, but there was still that awful feeling of not really fancying tea…😢….now this may not sound much of a problem, but it’s also my way of staying hydrated……😳🤐

The train was chocca with people having to stand all the way to London…….Wednesdays always a busy day….

I was heading for a studio near Ladbroke Grove. I’d printed my map etc and studied it on the train… between closing my eyes and ignoring the requests for ‘anymore tea’?☹️

It turned out to be raining cats and dogs when I got off the tube. The street was a torrent of water running in my direction……It’s impossible to have an umbrella, walking stick AND follow a map. 🙄 so drowned rat became more soggy as I ambled along the road, listening to the voice on google. But hey ho……it’s only water after all………

But I was drenched when I found Avalon studios

Because I knew what it said, I hadn’t realised it was backwards on the inside 🙄

And guess what……..I’d only been sat for 10 minutes when the sun came out…..😏

I was there early, as I always am, as I have to build in ‘getting lost time’……but this had proved to be quite straight forward.

Daisy came down and took me up to the studio where Jenny and Judith were horrified to find me so soaking – ha!. So after being mothered for a nano second, we sat down around the recording table and simply chatted. However, I was answering as though we were live, so they shut me up until it was being recorded. They were such nice people. I’m typing this in a café straight after as I didn’t want to forget the bit we’d recorded about technology. I told them how I use Alexa and how the wonder of technology now is all around me helping. The bit I didn’t want to forget is how useful Jenny’s mum may find it and I can imagine her ordering one online as I’m typing 🤣😂🤣

Can’t remember much else but think we must have chatted for about 40 minutes. Daisy will send me a link when it’s out but she’s hoping it’s the end of this week! So I’ll put it on my blog next week sometime.

It was such a pleasure to meet them all and I could have chatted for ages with them. They made it very easy, Judith feeding me the bits from my book which sparked the sentences to come alive and be spoken………

And of course, what better way to end than with a piccie, one for their podcast and one for me….

The rain had stopped as I trundled back to the tube station – map in reverse. I’d turned down the offer of tea at the studio….🤐….but really didn’t feel that good as I climbed the stairs out of the tube station. So I made myself have a cuppa tea, but it just didn’t taste yummy……..😔

I’d left myself plenty of time before my train, but that meant I could type away and finish this blog just so I could sit and stare on the train…….another rain soaked journey so this photo from yesterday is much better…….

An evening way out of my comfort zone……..

So on Friday I trundled down to London on the lunch time train ready to meet Nicola Leddy who made a video about me and my book many moons ago for the Alzheimer’s Society. The film had got to the final of the Charity Film Awards. Nicola had done a wonderful job though and many photographers who had visited my house in the last year had said how she got the setting in the house just right and some had even tried to emulate it.

However, in reality this was my worst nightmare event. Firstly it was in the evening – not a good time for me and secondly I imagined lots of noise and people and dark shadowy settings……….so I was there simply to support Nicola on her evening of glory, whether she won or not. There are some wonderful films and animations around at the mo.

The train to London appeared full of weekend travellers so was full but I had a seat to myself. The Humber shone on this bright but blustery day, the wind building for the storm due that evening….

I could sit in silence and watch the world flash by. As we got nearer to London the storm clouds were gathering and the wind becoming stronger. But the golden yellow fields still lit up the horizon..and made the land shine brighter than it really was……..😍

My hotel was close by Liverpool Street station and I was hoping the venue was close by as rain was forecast and no umbi in my bag…..🙄…..I’d also forgotten my ear plugs….😳….and the event would be very noisy. I put a comment to the organisers on Twitter and they replied saying they would whisper some of the time 😂

I arrived at Liverpool Street to find so much building work that it took me ages to find the hotel🙄……my trusty app kept being confused as I had to keep going round building work and got thoroughly lost for a while. It felt like it was in a backstreet which didn’t help either, but might be wrong.

Anyway, I arrived to find Maria McDonagh waiting for me in reception. I’d agreed to chat to her about the Ambassador role for the Alzheimer’s Society. Maria is the Head of VIP and Ambassador Relations and they’re in the process of recruiting some newbies so had a few questions to run by me. Havn’t a clue what they were as I’m typing this in my room an hour later 🙄……….

I declined the invitation originally as it was a black tie event and I don’t do posh, but luckily Nicola doesn’t either so we said we’d be the rebels amongst the glamorous 🤣

I’d put on Twitter about not having any earplugs with me and Nicola had txt to say we could get some on the way☺️. But even better, was she got me 3 pairs from the hotel reception!!

We set off from the hotel, Nicola in charge of Google maps……and we walked…….and turned round…….and walked…….🤐…….and arrived at the wrong venue 🤣😂🤣…….it turned out it was in the next street to my hotel, 1 minute away 😂🤣😂……it was soooo funny. Set the tone for the evening.

We arrived in the new venue and immediately had a piccie

It was chocca heaving with hundreds of people. Once we were called through to the main hall Nicola found us seats at a table that turned out to have the loveliest people who became our friends for the evening.

We were sat with another finalist, ‘Chicken Shed’ theatre group who were really nice chappies and 2 other woman who’d come because they want to make a film and were simply there for enjoyment.

I sat tapping some notes into my phone for some of the following detail…….

Simon Burton, the founder of Charity Films Awards opened the evening by saying, nothing raises money for charities better than films. He’s a lovely man who came up to me afterwards apologising, as he’d actually bought me some earplugs but had forgotten to give them to me in the chaos….☺️

Actress, Sally Phillips was the host for the evening, she was very funny. ‘Living Thames’ won the first award, which had Sir Richard Attenborough on the film😳 ‘Inside Childline ‘ won the second award.

It was then I decided I had to stop tapping and just sit and listen.

There were quite a few categories, all to do with the charity turnover, from small to super large. I remember learning many things that evening, some quite astounding but also some really heart warming. We saw many wonderful films, none of which I’d seen before, which I found sad as they were truly wonderful. I learnt that many charities pay a fortune for agencies to produce videos instead of investing in house teams which could do it for a fraction of the cost. Alzheimer’s Society use an in-house team and Nicola has been responsible for all theirs lately and has done a wonderful job with the East Enders Dementia Revolution London marathon team. Sadly she’s about to leave for another wonderful opportunity with a teenage cancer charity – they don’t realise how lucky they are….yet….

Our category came up

It had the most entries and very high standard. We didn’t win but we got ‘highly commended’.

At the end, we had our silly pic in the photo booth and had an interview………

exhausted, inevitable head banging, but saw some wonderful films and sat with some lovely people.

We might not have won, but Nicola should be so pleased with our Highly Commended glassware….

P.s……..didn’t sleep much and at 2 am hotel fire alarm went off……….😱🙈😳……trying to work out where I was, finally found a light switch……heard lots of chaos…….only for alarm to stop……..🤐🤯

The ‘Casualty’ Debate……

Now that the BBC TV programme ‘Casualty’ storyline is in full flow, it’s naturally raising many questions and much debate, which is good.

When I became involved, I realised and especially when it became known that I was involved, I knew there would be much scrutiny and comment. I would have been disappointed if there hadn’t been.

I knew that whatever I recommended would not suit all. If I’d have suggested they go for the ‘ideal’ and had a wonderful diagnosis process, and then a wonderful work scenario, then some people would have said it was pie in the sky and far from reality. If I’d have gone with the reality that the majority of people experience, I would have been accused of suggested the purely negative experience. So instead I suggested a balance.

I thought it should show the reality of people’s experience as well as some hope. With it being situated in a hospital, the storyline affecting 2 of it’s main clinical staff, husband and wife, Charlie and Duffy, it was going to be even harder to please everyone.

The point the storyline is making is how a husband and wife facing the challenge is totally separate from their clinical roles. They are still ordinary people facing dementia and their clinical knowledge is overtaken by their personal relationship and feelings.

The storyline, thankfully has many, many months to run yet and it’s success will shine or fade as the storyline unfolds and twists and turns are revealed.

People seem to think I was the only person consulted, simply because it’s my name that’s made the headlines but there were many others whose views were just as important. The lovely supporter, Suzy Webster and Hilda Hayo from Dementia UK to name just 2. Each would have given a view and our views together make the storyline evolve.

Why things happen in programs is so fascinating, and are rarely known to the audience so I’ve been in a very unique position which has given me extra knowledge and therefore extra insight and understanding.

So yes, you may think some things shouldn’t be happening, but ask why? Are they showing a different side of the characters. Hopefully as the story unfolds it will bring in more followers as all I ever wanted by being involved is to get people talking about the subject.

And after all, a good storyline is only as good as the actors playing the parts…..

We all know that newspapers don’t always get their facts right and the biggest bloomer that even I noticed was my age in this article….🙄