Category Archives: Experiences

Maybe my paraglide video…..

I really don’t know whether this will work as I’ve never known how to include a video before 🙄 but here goes at a try. Because as you read this I’ll be on a train somewhere hopefully calmly heading for my paradise of Keswick once more.

I know I’m sooo lucky to be able to go every month but it does so much good for my spirit and, as you know, I adore it.

Anyway, fingers crossed this works for you all – it did when I previewed it. You may have to log into Onedrive to view it, but it’s free.

The little video I’ve included is showing the start of my paraglide with Josh and the take off. Soooooo, just click on the words below after it says – Read on ……..🤞

GH010211.MP4 – OneDrive
— Read on

7 years ago today, my life changed……

I usually automatically remember this anniversary but this year it was going to pass me by unnoticed until I got a txt from my daughter…..

It’s also my other best friends birthday – happy birthday Julie! And thankfully I didn’t forget that thanks to reminders.

You see, today July 31st 7 years ago I received that devastating diagnosis of dementia. If I’d have believed the medics, my life was over. But unbeknown to me then, that devastating diagnosis opened up a new world, obviously not one I would have chosen, but still a wonderful world with lots of new wonderful friends I call my playmates; with people like Innovations in Dementia who enable and encourage us. To all of them I say, thank you 🙏

But what fun I’ve had in 7years…..yes, every day is a struggle, every day dementia reminds me of its presence, yes it’s a bummer of a diagnosis BUT if all you see are the negatives what a waste of the life there is still waiting to be lived!

Here’s just some of my highlights I found as I flicked through my photographs this morning….the detail has long vanished from my mind, but the emotions the images stir are still there…

Meeting Hollywood star Julianne Moore at the premier of Still Alice in 2015

In 2016 I moved to my wonderful village with all its beauty, all its characters and all its love – I couldn’t believe the date when I saw that as I thought I’d only been here a couple of years 😂

In 2017 I went up in a glider – a birthday present from my lovely daughters and Stuart

AND later that year walked on fire for charity

2018 was another special year as that was the year my book was published in hardback, meaning I’d already had a year of the lovely friendship of my partner in writing, Anna Wharton….

2019 the paperback version of my book was released

AND I became Dr Dr thanks to Hull and Bradford Universities

AND I did my tandem parachute jump for charity..

2020 will become known as the year we all hibernated due to Covid, BUT that enforced hibernation allowed me to write my second book with Anna and is due out next January….more on that in the autumn…..

Which bring us to this year, 2021…..when my latest adventure was my tandem paraglide

So you see, good can come out of bad, but it won’t happen automatically, you have to go out and search for adventures, search for life. There are so many things I can’t do now that I can no longer list them, but I never dwell on them. I have no control over what I can’t do. Instead I focus on having adventures today and if today is a bad day…..tomorrow may be better….

Moral of the tale – never give up on yourself, no matter what people say to you, let them do that if they so wish. Believe in yourself and you can do anything you want……..

A chaotic trip to the seaside…

Last week, the day after yesterdays blog trundle, the weather was predicted to be scorchio inland again, but cooler on the coast. So I set to thinking I’d go to the seaside town of Scarborough for a few hours. It wouldn’t be mega busy as the school holidays havn’t started yet….or so I thought 🙈

Anyway the day dawned hot as promised and after the school rush, I trundled into town to catch the train. The ducks were content as they’d just been fed

….out of the village, eventually reaching the black mill, no cows in sight, which was unusual

….but then I realised why….loads suddenly came into view, some sauntering across the dry grass

But they were grazing in the shade under any tree they could find near their watering trough

I’d given myself plenty of time as I didn’t want to be rushing in the heat. Just a few travellers were waiting on the station platform as I entered the station – so far so good…

The train pulled up dead on time and I never thought to look through the windows, so it wasn’t until the doors opened that I saw the train was chocca 😳. Luckily one single seat, on its own was empty and waiting for me as others behind stood leaning wherever they could find a post 🙈…

For some reason I just hadn’t expected families to be on the train, but pushchairs jostled for space and fractious youngsters began to protest. I closed my eyes

It felt like nearly all the train got off at Bridlington so a quiet Scarborough might still be in the offing 🤪 until lots more families and adults got on and the train was crowded and nosiy once more. 🥵

As we pulled into Scarborough my mind was still convinced it wouldn’t be mega busy, but as I made my way out of the station the people and noise hit me. Luckily it was cooler so at least the heat didn’t hit me as well 🙄

As I made my way down to the sea front, it got busier and busier. I slipped down a quiet very steep cobbled road but luckily I was going down it. I came out at a big wheel – don’t remember a big wheel here before

I could see the beach was heaving, the sea full of bodies cooling down, a speed boat zipping through the waves scattering the floating seagulls in its wake…

In the distance the lighthouse, where I usually walk….

…but not today. I began to feel the panic rise. As I tried to cross the road to the prom, it felt like the crowds of people were jostling me, but it was me trying to avoid contact with waving ice creams, sticks of rock and containers of fish and chips. The traffic was at a standstill, bumper to bumper, red faced drivers opening their windows for air. I found a space to stand and look at my phone for the time of the next train home. I’d already saved a photo of the times as a ‘just in case’ plan and I was so glad I had. 

I had nearly an hour before the next train home. So to ease the panic I started to walk and take photos. Taking photos always calms me as I’m distracted away from the chaos and see calm instead. The lobster pots, empty and waiting for the next trip out to see

The boats in the harbour, idle and moored

I end up at the sea wall and look out at the calmness of the sea

My photos empty of the chaos around me and I feel able to walk back through the crowds knowing my destination will take me home….still snapping as I go…

I used to love donkey rides on Blackpool beach as a child…

And finally, before I leave the sight of the sea, I zoom in and see two fishermen out at sea in their boat

Must have felt very calm and quiet out there…

I was hoping this venture would persuade me to visit my childhood favourite of Blackpool again, but if Scarborough was this busy before the schools finish, Blackpool would be doubly busy….so sadly it won’t happen …..just yet….even the guard on the train home asked if I was ok, so I must have still looked frazzled. 🙄

A HUGE big thank you ….

My fundraising page for my paraglide was set up by my able enabler Damian. However, he gave me his login so I could do all the individual thank yous but it turns out you havn’t been getting them 😳🙈

I suppose the system didn’t like the fact that I was logged in as him and sending emails from a different account🤯….but please be assured that I thanked everyone individually and am mortified at them not having got to you 😔

It was only when a friend said he hadn’t received one that I asked a couple more and they hadn’t either. So I assume no one did 😢

I hope this gets to some of you as I’d hate you to think we weren’t grateful for every penny, because we really are.

When I last looked we’d raised a staggering ❤️❤️❤️ £4537 ❤️❤️❤️

Which is almost half of what we need to run for the year and will certainly pay for the grand day out I intended from the start….so a HUGE THANK YOU from all of us 

This was their very first face to face – even though they had it without me ……

….as I was in my paradise having just leapt off Cat Bells the day before 🤣

So the page will stay open until we decide whether it’s worth closing and opening up when I do my next adventure…..🤔

Listening is an art not everyone possesses …

As this is published I’ll be on another journey to paradise – more tomorrow. Last weekend’s visit was snuck in as an extra so I could be there for David and Sylvia, so this week was already planned and seemed a shame to cancel it 🤣…..and I’d be able simply to relax….

Anyway several months ago I was asked if I’d like to donate a couple of written pieces for a forthcoming book aimed at raising funds for Hull Samaritans ….Samaritans are there for people when they desperately need someone to simply listen and hear their voices, the turmoil in their life – such a worthwhile charity which is nationwide but this is to raise much needed funds for my local service.

Every 7 seconds, the Samaritans receive a call for help”

As their flyer states about the book…

Well I received my copy on my way to town yesterday and I was overwhelmed by the high quality of the publication.

I instantly thought of ‘The White Album’ by the Beatles when I saw the white book…

People from all walks of life, from photographers to artists, writers to psychologists. People of every age with some lovely pieces by schoolchildren.

Lots of beautiful images depicting ‘listening’ as well as all the written contributions….

Open the book and you will find poems, stories, paintings, photographs, articles and songs – all about listening and the importance of silence”

I wrote 2 pieces, a poem and a prose.

A poem called ‘Listen’

And the prose going by the title “When people stop listening”

A truly inspiring book simply to have in your collection and the fact that it’s raising money for such a good cause is a bonus….

There’s an early bird price of £7.99 incl post and packaging if you order before July 22nd (you might have to check if this applies to outside of the UK) and you can order it by clicking the link below.

I’d call it a mini ‘coffee table’ book…..

So finally I take to the skies……

Following on from yesterdays blog of laying Sylvia to rest after a 10 mile walk around the Lake, I headed to my room for a brief rest and a much needed cuppa……we’d been walking for over 5 hours – and I actually did the walk in a record time since dementia.😇

But 20 minutes later after a cuppa, I was up and out again as Josh had told me to meet him at Cat Bells. I was going to catch the little 77 bus to the foot of the fell, but luckily as I went outside, Catherine my lovely Appletrees landlady, was outside with her family visiting. I met her gorgeous little granddaughter Lily, and at that time she asked me if I wanted a lift as they were just leaving. I didn’t want to be a nuisance but she thankfully insisted, considering what I had ahead of me 😳…

What I hadn’t realised was, I’d have to climb Cat Bells 😳😳…..I hadn’t climbed anywhere in years…..Josh’s dad, Jocky, had had to go to London as his father was in hospital. This meant Josh was on his own so no land rover lift or help up the fell 😳… was a case of find strength and a way to get up there or I can’t fly…..and no way was I not going to fly….💪🏻

Catherine dropped me off at the bottom and I decided to take it slowly, small chunks at a time, then sit on a rock and look at the view

Josh had 5 other people before me during the day, so this would be his 6th time of climbing the fell😳. He sent me a ‘pin’ of where we would meet on the fell, but I didn’t understand it and asked him to translate that into words 🤣….the ever patient Josh, did just that.

Chunk by chunk I got higher and higher, foxgloves peppered around the fell side…

The scrabbling bit on all fours was my biggest challenge – as soon as I got there I remembered having no trouble in my previous life but today, it felt and looked like a mammoth challenge; my stick clanking on the rugged rocks as I tried to find secure foot holes; each person that passed me by asked if I was alright, but there was no way they could help me, so I just had to keep plodding on. 

Another rest, another piccie on my phone

…..until I got to the bit where Josh told me to wait. I simply sat, breathing heavily but so pleased I’d managed it. Josh was climbing a different path up and I could see his blond hair marching along the narrow path with all the paraphernalia for the paraglide on his back AND he’d done that 6 times. 😳

And here’s our take off point from the ground 😳

The arrow marks the take off spot…..

He shouted me from below to make sure I’d seen him as I’d actually gone a tad too far. He collapsed on the grass as I’d done

I watched as he deftly unpacked the paraglider gubbins and suddenly. The back pack magically turned into 2 seats, the silk canopy’s, helmets and so much more…….I was in charge of the filming and Go pro and he gave me a quick demonstration and play with it while he was getting everything ready. There was one problem he doesn’t usually have with flyers…….where to put my stick 🤣…..he tucked it in a side pocket and it looked just like he had an antennae coming out of his back 😂

You can just see the end of my stick poking up behind me

Now my turn – helmet first then a fleece as it would be cooler up high, followed by the harnesses and bucket seat. Instructions were given and quickly forgotten but so as not to alarm him, I asked which was the most important – it was to shuffle back in my seat once we were airborne otherwise I’d be dangling 😳….fair enough, so I’ll remember that one 🤣…

Still on the ground with the sail behind me

The take off must have looked quite scary for onlookers as I can’t run and you really have to run off the edge🙈……’what happens. If that bit doesn’t quite work?’ I asked nonchalantly🤷‍♀️

“Hopefully my momentum will lift you off the ground and we’ll just stagger for a while until I get control”……well I least I knew what would happen even if Josh didn’t but at least he knew how to put it right 😜

So the time came. Safety checks complete and with onlookers watching my prediction came true as I stumbled my way off the edge. I’m not particularly heavy so Josh was easily able to get control. 

Shuffle back into your seat” he shouted in my ear

Oooooo yes, I thought….and was soon on what I can only describe, as a comfy armchair. Operating the camera stick, in short. 2 minutes bursts (see I remembered that bit😂), I sat back and simply enjoyed the stunning flight. Floating, then turning and swishing into the wind wherever it took us, gradually climbing higher and higher. 

Onlookers below, waving up at me and me happily waving back.. Felt like we could  touch the tree tops with our feet at times as we soared and swooped. Then hanging in mid air over the water before swooping back in land again. I was in a flying armchair and loved it ❤️….

The sheep on the high fells were used to Josh and didn’t bat an eyelid as we headed towards them

On the other side of Cat Bells Bassentwiate was bathed in the early evening sunlight

A distinct line of cloud in the sky heralded a change in the wind direction as Josh suggested, after, what turned out to be an hour in the sky, that we should think about landing. He asked where my car was parked 😳🤣… which I replied,  my legs were my wheels. 🤣

He said he’d land somewhere I knew — on the Lake path where I’d walked that morning with David. 

The landing was going to be as tricky as the take off😳, mainly because I wouldn’t be able to keep my balance as we headed swiftly for the ground. As the sheep quickly scattered I  landed splat on the grass. Unhooked, Josh gave me a hand and pulled me no way could I get up on my own 🤣

As I hugged him my thanks and goodbye I. tried to get my bearings and  realised……amazingly……and poignantly ……that we’d landed near where we laid Sylvia to rest that morning. Josh wasn’t to know how perfect that ending was to the day.

It was now 7pm and I had another 2/3 mile walk home…the evening sun was starting to lower and I had my walk home all to myself, the hordes from this morning now nowhere to be seen thankfully…..I needed peace and quiet and my sole companion was simply nature – perfect.

…..exhausted, thoroughly exhausted, I made my way home trying desperately to hold onto the memories of a truly wonderful day…….finally I DID IT 🙌

Still time for anyone to donate, and for those that have, a HUGE thank you 🙏 last time I looked it had reached over £3,500 – amazingly generous of people….

So did Saturday bring good fortune…?

I woke, opened my curtains in expectation and the skies were heavy with cloud

Jocky had been in touch the day before to say he was in London as his father was in hospital; my heart sank to my boots; but then said his son, Josh, who I’d also met, would take me if the weather allowed – my heart rose back into position again…..

I’d had several txt conversations with Josh but he said it was 50/50 the night before….🙈

Anyway this morning, there seemed to be little wind even though it was cloudy, so I was a tad confused. A sudden doubt came over me – was he worried about taking me up there 🤔

I txt him a message saying I wanted him to be honest with me and if the weather was ok but he didn’t feel comfortable, simply to tell me instead of ‘we can’t fly’…..

His response was reassuringly comforting:

“If it were possible to fly I’d be up the hill immediately with you”

But sadly calmness on the ground doesn’t always mean calmness in the sky and he explained that there were gusts of 42Km an hour, faster than the paraglide, so we’d end up going backwards, making it dangerous. So it was a no show again, but at least I knew why. We said we’d look the early hours of Sunday morning before I leave with David and at tea time to see if that was a possibility, after I’d got back from setting Sylvia free in paradise. So everything crossed again.

What to do today though? I decided yo take a jaunt on the bus, first to Windermere for me then to walk down to Bowness and buy my supper…..yes, all the way to Windermere for a baguette from my favourite deli shop…🤣

The bus rides from Keswick and so relaxing, so stunning and the journey to Windermere takes you through Grasmere and Ambleside and everywhere in between. 

Lake after lake appears…

One by one, each different, some small, some large…

It’s never easy taking photos through the window of a bus and today not many turned out. But the bus ride there and back is well worth it, simply for the ride….

Once I got back, I went to my room for a cuppa or two before catching my favourite bus, the 77. It’s a circular route starting and ending in Keswick and last just under 2 hours. The bus is small because of the tiny roads it has to navigate, often turning into single track. Car drivers drive at their peril, the roads so narrow and often having to reverse to allow the bus to get through. Many fail miserably and someone else takes the wheel for them. The bus drivers are like the formula one of the countryside, so expert in these narrow situations, knowing exactly how close to get to the edge…

Through Buttermere and up the Honiston Pass before sinking down into Borrodale Valley and home again. Once more most of my photos didn’t come out apart from this one of Buttermere..

And this of the sheep having a narrow escape from the vehicles

Once back home I decided I needed to stretch my legs after all the sitting and trundled to Friars Cragg….the first close up of lambs I’d seen since arriving

The sun had been a rarity all day, but as I reached my favourite spot, the sun peaked through the grey clouds

My bench was occupied so I couldn’t sit and ponder and I saw David had txted me to say he’d arrived, so we met for a quick hello before he was meeting Gill and Roland for supper – a hug and tears shed, stories told before I left for home….

The huge Monkey Tree outside Appletrees looking awesome in the evening light

Typically, as I’m typing this in the evening….I looked up and blue sky and the late evening sun decided to make an appearance out of my window …🙄

Tomorrow will be a difficult day, sad happy and every other emotion possible as we set my lovely friend Sylvia free……AND will I or won’t I do my blooming paraglide….? 🤞

A bitter sweet return to paradise…..

Tomorrow, Friday, I’ll be heading back to my paradise of Keswick for a bitter sweet occasion……sweet because I’ll be trying for my paraglide again and sad because I’ll be meeting up with David to scatter my best friend, Sylvia’s, ashes….

Sylvia wanted to her ashes to be spread somewhere around Derwentwater, a place we had so many laughs and adventures. Her special place as well as mine.

I’ll carry a photo of Sylvia with me in my back pocket so I can hold it up and include her in some of the piccies. It will mean she’ll feel close to us as well. 

My skydive will either be on Friday after I’ve arrived or Saturday and we’ll spread Sylvias ashes on the Sunday and relive with David all the memories we share.

So once again I’ll share our Just Giving page. Huge thanks to those who have already donated. So far I’ve raised £2972, which is a wonderful amount, but still a long way to go…

Keep your fingers crossed for me that the wind is light and the sky is blue…..🤞

Taking to the skies may happen this week….

Today I’m heading off for my practice run to Keswick with my daughter Sarah. This means we’re driving on this occasion so I can just get used to being in Keswick again without the hassle of the journey to think about – that will happen in a couple of weeks time…..

Anyway, the start of the fine weather got me thinking…🤔…why waste the opportunity if the weather is nice, why don’t I see if I can do my fundraising paraglide early 😳….so I emailed the wonderful guy who’ll be looking after me and he replied saying, he might be able to, but to txt him a couple of days before…..

So you never know, I could be flying in the skies earlier than planned…I’ve got everything crossed for the weather and his availability…….

So I’ve still a long way to go in my fundraising, so if you can spare the odd pound it would be much appreciated…every pound counts…here’s the link to our just giving page…

and a BIG thank you to all those who have donated so far….🙏

Another try at venturing out……

After the disaster of the train journey to the coast the other week, I decided to try again, but this time on the bus to Hornsea, a seaside town just a 30 minute bus ride from town. I have to get the hang of the outside world as my trip to my paradise of Keswick is now only a few weeks away..

I’ve been very good with my hearing aids and have taken her advice of taking a deep breathe when anything noisy approaches and  having a relaxed posture and muscle tone as that also convinces the brain that the loud noises aren’t such a big threat.

So camera round my neck, which also serves to relax me, I decided to trundle into town instead of taking the early morning bus, as then I might see the town cows who were having their first day of freedom on the Westwood and would be there for the summer.

Checking on the ducklings first and the Moorhen was having her morning shower..

The ducklings were awake, bright eyed and bushy feathers

All was well as I went passed the traffic lights and out of the village onto the main road. The spring blossom is now coming into full bloom and looking glorious against the blue sky of the morning

As I neared the Westwood I could see the town cows around the Black Mill

Everyone is warned when the cows are first set free as they’re frisky and new to their surroundings. They have no concept of cars and horns but they have right of way. It is their land and it happens to have a road running through it so drivers have to be patient

The meadow comes alive when they appear and I adore their sight

Especially against the horizon on a lovely sunny day as this was

I love to see Wisteria hanging against a wall, cascades of perfumed mauve flowers now visible as I head through the houses

Now at the bus station, the bus soon arrived. Always a quiet bus and a lovely ride is it’s a double decker; the views from upstairs revealing gems hidden over the hedges

We soon reached the coast. I was uncertain what to expect here; would there be the crowds of the previous week the overwhelming noise? Thankfully not.

There was calm and the expanse of the tide reaching for the shore. I climbed downthe steps and walked along the beach and stood on the sea edge listening to the sound of the waves crashing against the breakers

I had an hour before the bus would take me back again, so I ambled along the sand and pebbles, so many different shapes and colours.. A seagull perched high up on a beacon out at sea, having a morning nap

And a child in the distance feeling the sea wash over her toes maybe for the first time watching in fascination – wonder what’s she thinking…?

Almost time to retrace my steps so I climbed onto the prom this time. I hadn’t noticed the people from below, but it wasn’t overwhelming, people were ambling like me or sat on a bench with a cuppa tea watching the sea.

Thankfully this was a different experience to the week before, a better one, one I could cope with. One last look at the sea before heading home and a ghost ship on the horizon catches my eye going who knows where…

The outside world is becoming easier to manage, easier to re-enter, slowly but surely…..