Category Archives: media representation

My two days in London..

The journey to London had been a lovely one. I’d forgotten what a nice journey it was and had glanced deer in the fields and the sun had shone all the way there…..there’d been a lovely gentle mist to accompany the morning sun making the countryside look even more magical than it usually is…

When I arrived I sat a while and got used to my surrounding; consulted my app and found the steps to the tube. I’d decided to head to Green Park as it was the closest and I knew I’d be able to get to St James Park from there. I used to go there so often in my student days for some reason 🤔….but everything looked different as I came out of the underground and was faced by the chaos of traffic 😳….it was then I realised I’d forgotten my hearing aids which would have softened the noise 🙈….

I stood for a moment, looking round for landmarks and signs. I then saw the Ritz hotel and knew I must be near the entrance to Green Park….I meandered through the avenue of trees…trees everywhere…

You wouldn’t think a few seconds ago I’d been in the chaos of London. I started to relax, nature turning down the dial of sound…I then saw a squirrel with an enormous nut in its mouth…😂

I could feel my whole body relax….just like when I’m in my village…..🥰

I came out at Buckingham Palace and there were people lining the streets 🤔….I headed towards the traffic lights, assuming I could cross, but then suddenly, even though I was minding my own business 😂….I appeared to cause a security alert 😳….policemen were walking towards me and I didn’t have a clue why, but when he reached me I simply asked if I could cross the road 😊…it was then the mounted guards appeared

I began to look around me….one policeman said:

“You can’t cross at the moment as there’s a palace parade  taking place and you’re not allowed to cross this close to the Palace with a suitcase”

I must have looked nonplussed and confused…

“You’re a security risk and may have something dangerous in your luggage. You need to keep walking along away from the palace please”


Needless to say, I did as I was told but then got distracted when the marching Pipers began

Their mascot dog and handler led the way

I then saw the Police helicopter hovering overhead and decided to move on…🤣

Into St James Park….and what a revelation. I hadn’t realised just how teeming with wild life it was. 

The park Pelican was the first thing that was unexpected. It was putting on a show for the visitors

And was so beautiful 

And Egyptian geese wandering along the walk ways

Tufted and Mallards, just like at home lived alongside species I’d not seen before

When I reached the first bridge, you could see the London Eye in the distance

I don’t think I could have ever walked around the whole lake before, but today, on a gloriously sunny day, I didn’t want to leave!…part of the lake was still frozen 😳

The next surprise were Cormorants on the rocks

Zebra like geese….

….shared the park with other exotic looking birds

….and the daffodils were in full bloom here

But my biggest surprise was how many parakeets were flying everywhere, their squawks heard at every tree😳�….what was that all about

All I could think of, was pet parakeets having been set free after owners had become bored 🤷‍♀️

Although I hadn’t walked as far as I normally do each day, my legs were beginning to feel heavy and I was becoming tired with all the excitement.

The hotel was near Shepherds Bush so I decided it was time to check in and wait for Anna’s arrival….as soon as I arrived – and the reception staff were wonderfully smiley and friendly – I entered my room, which felt enormous and sorted my photos and wrote my blog, before, the ping on my phone went to herald my lovely friends arrival. We decided to meet in reception…..but turns out we were in adjacent rooms 🤣�….

We hugged, chatted and laughed. Anna had brought me the most amazing belated birthday present…..😍

Before long, it was time for me to leave to be in my room for my room service meal and Anna was going to make the most of the spa……what a wonderful end to a wonderful day 😍

The following morning, Anna knocked for me as we had a car picking us up at 07.45 to take us to the studio. Lorraine came in to the dressing room to meet me.

Jonny then joined us before being taken to the set, miked up and shown to the settee. The rest is a total blank. It went so quick, as these things always do and I had to rely on others to take piccies

But once it was over and while the programme was having a commercial break, Jonny too joined us on the settee for one last photo

It was then time to head back to our publishers, Bloomsbury, as we had a meeting there with the team about my final book. Again my mind is totally blank, it might never had happened if Anna hadn’t told me everything as I didn’t have the energy to type or take photos 🙈

However, once that was over, it was finally time for me to head home. I was utterly exhausted and was happy just to watch the world go by through the window…..and I had a beautiful sunset sky to keep me company…..

Ages since I’ve travelled……

I felt at a loss as I stared at my suitcase…where once, it was automatic, it suddenly felt alien. It had been so long since I’d travelled anywhere…..I think…

The day before I’d spent the day in the village trundling around and around…..starting with sunrise

For some reason I kept putting off packing. I was only going overnight to London, but it seemed like a mammoth task. I’d done it hundreds of times before so what made this different? Well, I hadn’t done it for ages and I’d forgotten what to do 😔……

So I walked instead. I knew how to walk and take photos….it was such a lovely day and the sky was scattered with interesting cloudage

It was also my best buddies’ birthday…or would have been if she’d still been alive, so I was feeling a tad melancholy. But the Robins soon put a smile on my face

A tiny Jenny Wren was picking through the grass unaware of my presence

And signs of spring were shooting up everywhere in the morning sunshine

A local cat was perched on the fence 

….and after clicking I told him to lay off the birds…”they’re for watching, not catching’ 🤣

At lunchtime me and my partner in writing had a love chat on zoom with the producers of the programme we were both due to be on – hence my need to travel down to London. It would be Anna’s birthday on the day of the programme, so we’d be together and we were having a meeting at the publishers for my next book after the morning show. 

But all that seemed a tad surreal……I really must pack my suitcase…..but another walk first.

I went round the back of the pond. I hadn’t been that way for ages as it had been so muddy, but today it was dry underfoot as I leant against the back fence watching the mandarin and his mate chilling on the grass bank…my turn to feed was a long way off and they seemed to know…staying put where they were….

One of the female mallards was simply floating in her shadow..all was serene on the pond

Along the back lane towards the church….the churchyard itself was so colourful. Full of snowdrops and crocus…a white and mauve delight

…and the vicarage Robin keeping watch for me leaving food on the headstones

Home for some lunch…..and I really must pack……as I sat drinking my cuppa an email appeared in my inbox, a very welcome email. It was from Jonny at Bloomsbury. He’s the one that organises me for trips like this and had sent a detailed itinerary with every single detail I needed. Suddenly I felt less overwhelmed…..time to pack…

I went through his list and at every stage placed a ticket or a map by my suitcase. And so it went on until I felt a huge relief …..Jonny had worked his magic….the zoom went well and it was sooo lovely to see my partner in writing – we’d chatted on WhatsApp frequently but I hadn’t seen her lovely smiley face for ages. Feeling much surer of myself…..time for a last walk.

The late afternoon cloudage was just as spectacular as the morning..

I’d seen an inordinate number of Robins throughout the day

Then I realised why……it was Sylvia’s birthday and they’d all come out to show me she was still around

Even a Blue Tit stood still long enough for me to snap

But then a special sighting…..I was almost at the end of my walk, along Manor House Lane, when a bird flew onto the grass just ahead of me, foraging in the roots of the tree. It was a Redwing

I’d never seen one of these in the heart of the village before and it stayed for ages as I stood perfectly still not wanting to disturb it. It belongs to the Thrush family but has this warm red glow on its wing 🥰

That ended my day perfectly as I headed home for tea, feeling more relaxed about the two days ahead of me.

The following morning, the taxi was nice and early. I had to trust in myself that I’d got everything I needed sorted the night before as I suddenly felt at a loss again. I was putting on different shoes, not my normal walking shoes which slide on with ease, but new shoes that felt different, unfamiliar. I faffed about for what seemed like ages before finally stepping out into the morning air and heading to the taxi. I sat in the back and looked longingly at the sunrise sky, wishing I was in the back field snapping….I’d snapped the early colourful sky from my back window when I got up

I clutched my purse, but then realised I’d forgotten how much it cost, so long had it been since I’d used my lovely taxi firm. I fumbled for pound coins and a £5 note in the hope I’d be somewhere near. I remembered always needing £5 pound notes, a rarity at the mo as everyone pays contactless but my taxi people always need the cash, which is fine, apart from the fact that counting money is difficult now 🙄. I always have to round things up to pounds to make it easier so I imagine people often get more as I handed over what was in my hand as we reached the station.

Jonny had booked me on one of the few  direct trains to London from Beverly – my favourite company, Hull Trains. Favourite because their trains only go to London and back, they look very different to other trains, so easy to find and the staff are WONDERFULLY helpful. I couldn’t read the seat number on my ticket, but the guard showed me to my seat and settled my suitcase opposite where I could see it.

As we crossed the Humber, there was a faint mist adding to the morning glow before me….

The TV company had organised a car to pick me up from Kings Cross and take me to the hotel near the studio, but I’d booked an early train to give me time to go to ne of the London parks and chill. Also I wouldn’t feel comfortable having to find a specific black car in the chaos of Kings Cross and wouldn’t have been able to ring the driver to find out where he’d parked. So even though it was a nice thought, it just wouldn’t have worked for me….so I had my trusty tube app and was looking forward to seeing the green space of London in the form of St James Park or Hyde Park….or maybe both……as I sat on the train watching the world speed by before me…..

More tomorrow….

Podcast with Pandora Sykes..

A while ago now, I think 🥴, I recorded a podcast with the lovely Pandora Sykes. I must confess to not having heard of her before, but when I mentioned her name others clearly have as she’s a very popular journalist as well. You can read more about her on her web page…..

but she produces an interview series, Doing It Right, about the trends, myths and anxieties of modern life, which is where I come in…

So if you fancy a listen, make yourself a cuppa, pull up a chair and click play……

Interview for Australia and New Zealand …

I hope I havn’t shared these 🤔….just delete if I have…

The media down under have always supported me and my books and I know many of you who are reading this now are followers from that beautiful side of the world. It’s always a delight to talk to presenters from other parts of the world, and of course, technology means we can talk to anyone anywhere nowadays. The only downside is usually the time we have to choose to suit both 🤣

The first link will take you to a Saturday morning show with Kim Hill.

The second was on a programme called Life Matters ….

Not sure where the photo was taken that they showed on their website, but must have been some years ago 🤔

Anyway, enjoy…

Interview for Australian radio …..

A while ago I was interviewed by Erica Vowles for Australian ABC radio. I wrote this part when I’d done the interview and then let it lurk around my blog box until the link arrived🤣

Erica interviewed me via zoom and we talked for over an hour, but she did warn me that it would be cut to fit the programme, ‘Life Matters’ which would be around 15 minutes long. 

Well now I have the link and what I really enjoyed about it, was her mixing in of playmates from Australia. I love listening to other people talking about their experience….anyway, click the web link below and enjoy……

Publications that helped share my book….. 

No book can be a success without some publicity and Jonny from Bloomsbury who looks after me has been exceptional at getting publications to see the need to share my book, in some way, to its own individual niche of an audience….I always ask them to be mindful of the language they use and so far they’ve all been spot on and obliged.

This last week or so, it was Age UK who shared an interview I did on line which I thought was wonderfully written and well pleased with the content…. You can click the link to read it…

Then Saga magazine also asked us to write a piece, which made me feel so old until I saw my favourite actress on the cover…

And it was a lovely piece.

The Big Issue supported me with the last book and again this time. A wonderful illustrator whose name now escapes me 🙈 did a great image to go with the article

Finally I might have already shared the Countryfile article 🤔, but they promised to send me the hard copy magazine, and they kept their word as it popped through my letter box last week ☺️. You can see the heading is “A wandering mind”. 

They asked me if I was happy with the title as many people use the phrase ‘wandering’ when in fact the person with dementia is walking with a purpose! I loved it as it puts the word in a different context and my mind wanders perfectly when I’m outside with nature

They even put the story on the cover…

And the Observer had a great review written by Nikki Gerrard, author and the person who helped bring in Johns Campaign (John was her father)

Even The Week published an article…..

More publications are due out soon…..☺️….and yes, I know I’m very lucky….😊

Publication Day…… 

Crikey, January 20th seemed an age away when Bloomsbury first told me the publication date, yet here it is………although many people seemed to have received their copies from book sellers early 😳…not sure what that was all about…

I was hoping to send free copies to all those who helped me, but there were so many that in the end I could only give them to people living with dementia, which felt right to me. But everyone who helped is in the acknowledgements….can’t help but mention my lovely partner in writing here though, Anna Wharton. We met up in London last time and celebrated publication day together but Covid has put paid to that this time 😔….but none of this could possibly have happened without her. I’m sure this is the actual photo from that day 🤔

It’s a book you can delve into. You can start at the beginning if you want or you can start at a chapter that interests you. Here’s a sneaky peak of one of the contents page.

My first book was all about me and my life, but it led to some people with dementia feeling inadequate, “Yes but that’s you, I can’t do what you do” and the odd few professionals even criticising me for my positive slant……so this time I was determined to allow some of my  playmates to have their voice heard, to hear their views, their experiences. Some areas have been backed up by research…….you’ll see there are many similarities but many differences as well.

We’ve weaved in my stories and hopefully humour….and what I said for a banner Bloomsbury created still stands

There are two more important bits to the book…..firstly, the introduction where I thank everyone from Minds and Voices who helped me:

Secondly, the acknowledgements at the back of the book, where lovely professionals who put up with my constant emails are also thanked along with some very special people and furry friends….…..

And the third is the special dedication I had included……

I do thank him in the acknowledgements, but a special mention here must go to Jonny from Bloomsbury, who looks after me so well and each day sends me reminders of what I’ve got on each day with all the links – all just perfect and I’d have got in a right pickle without him. he’s literally worked his socks off for me…😍

Now all that’s left is to see what everyone else thinks of it………🤞

What a busy week……….

And that’s an understatement……..

Last week felt crazily busy with interviews for my book of one sort or another……which is lovely but on Friday it all caught up with me and for the next few days I felt as though my head would burst if I had to think anymore……..of course I love doing it and Jonny at Bloomsbury has been working his socks off for me, but …….and next week is looking just the same 😳

However tomorrow is the official publication day. Soooo exciting. For those who get UK telly, I’ll be live at lunchtime on “Steph’s Packed Lunch” – a lunchtime talk show with the lovely Steph McGovern on Channel 4. I say ‘live’ but the cameraman will be in my house filming me instead of me being in the studio. 

So much has changed since my last book release when Covid was unheard of as a word, and I was able to be in front of the cameras in studios. Sadly we live in a different world now but where’s there’s a way………

 Last week I had a lovely interview with Mishal Hussain on Radio 4’s Today program. Hopefully the link below will work if you’d like a listen to our chat

The press have written some amazing reviews of my book. The Financial Times has always supported me, not sure why, but they did a brilliant review in the Saturday paper

(I had to look up what ‘sentience’ meant 😂

On Sunday the Sunday Times also wrote a piece. The reporter and photographer came to my house some time ago….they actually gave me 6 whole pages in the Sunday Times magazine which was just amazing. AND the village ducks got a double page photo

I just loved how she introduced the article; it’s just so clever at showing the public and private side of me, the side people don’t see…

There’s been other reviews in publications I’ve not heard of but Jonny always send them to me if he sees them….including Countryfile magazine. A villager stopped me to say she’d received her copy so I asked Jonny to see if he could get sight of it. Countryfile have even said they’ll post me a copy when they’re back in the office 🥰 but the ducks have got in on the act again AND my paradise of Keswick gets a mention….😍

On Sunday I was also live on Radio 2 Michael Balls programme. I used to listen to his programme a few years ago before the radio became a distraction ….I was actually continuing a really bad spell and we had technical problems which did’nt help my head 🙈. However, everything was sorted in the end and Michael was so kind 

You can listen to it here – I was on around 90 minutes into the programme. He gave me the most wonderful build up right at the beginning too after the first song…..☺️

Once it was over I just sat there….empty and finished – the energy it took to deliver those few minutes just finished me off. But I was able to relax for the rest of the day. I went out for a short trundle and fed the ducks telling them all about their fame……funny they only seemed interested in the food 🙄😂

I’m also on Radio 5 Live today between 11-1pm with the lovely Naga Munchetty – she interviewed me on BBC Breakfast for my last book, so I’ve been catching up on my blog in case she asks if I remember 🤣

And finally, tomorrow, 20th, publication day 🤩….I’m live on Channel 4 around 12.30……

Still more interviews coming up this week, next and beyond. But the best email I had yesterday was an invitation to speak in my vary own paradise at their Words on the Water Festival…😍 so I’ll have to force myself to go to Keswick and appear there on Friday March 18th……it’s only for a day but it would be rude not to stop longer, so I’ve booked myself a long weekend……🥰

Am I blowing my own trumpet? You bet I am…..after all….who would have thought I’d publish one book, never mind 2, on the 31st July 2014 as I walked out of the consulting room believing my life to be over…….what my books prove is that you should never give up on yourself, no matter what life throws at you. Other people will do that for you, but NEVER give up on yourself……..

A busy few days…….

The day after coming home from paradise I had the inevitable banging head. It was as though I’d forced it to stay away while I was there, but as soon as we left I could feel it was dementia pay back time. I woke feeling as though it had a vice round my head and was slowly turning the screw 🙄….I went outside as much as I could simply for fresh air and to get back to my home routine. As least the ducks were pleased to see me….or maybe it had more to do with the food I’d brought 🤣

On Saturday afternoon it was the dress rehearsal of the village pantomime and one of the cast had said I could come and watch while it was quieter 😍….my head still wasn’t back to normal, but I had to get out. We’d had storm Storm Arwen passing through, so trundles were out of the question today, so the panto at least gave me a bit of fresh air….

However, when I got there, I was told it was going to be quite full as not everyone had been able to get tickets for the main performance. I decided to sit at the back so I could sneak out if it got too much. 

It was soooo good. With songs where the audience joined in, like YMCA, The Twist, the ugly sisters singing “I’m too sexy” and it was all set in Walkington with local references. They did brilliant and the costumes were so funny too. But I left at the interval as it was all a tad too much “Oh no it wasn’t”……sadly oh yes it was…..I also found it a tad disorientating, which surprised me. The curtains were closed so we were in the dark so time became really confusing…..oh well, at least I saw some and the whole weeks shows are a sell out, always are apparently…

In the evening I was due to go to the village lights switch on by the pond, but the pantomnine had finished my head off good and proper and I never made it.😔

The following morning, I was still not quite right, but decided to go straight out for the sun rise to see if that would help. We’d had a stormy night but it had passed over now and had left a sprinkling of magic white dust…

I soon realised I was actually a tad late for the sunrise, but it was still a beautiful sight, but bitterly cold. I’d even had the sense to put my snow boots on as it was an ice rink underfoot.

Even the squirrel seemed to be hugging himself as I trundled along, not quite knowing where to go…

I let my legs decide as my head wasn’t capable… didn’t go through the fields today, just a walk along mirage lane 

And then home……

And so to Monday, another busy day….but as I got up I could tell my head was in a better place. Three days of a banging head if a hefty price to pay, but at least now it felt lighter.

The media stuff for my new book has started and today I had the Sunday Times coming. They had got the rights to the first interview, so the photographer was coming in the morning and the interview was the afternoon. I hate photographers coming into my house after an incident last time where they rail roaded me into letting them have free run of the house. but since then there’s been strict rules in place – downstairs only; they’ll have to imagine what my memory room looks like!

But first things first, an early morning walk to start the day off on a good note. Even the moon had hung around..

It was bitterly cold again, but such a lovely gentle morning

Frosty and calm…just beautiful….

Time to just chill as the photographer was due at 11…and at 11 he and all his paraphernalia arrived. he was a lovely smiley man and instantly won me over 🙄….the minute he arrived the sun was in the perfect place in the conservatory and he snapped away with his hand held camera. After that he unpack all the gubbins and took more. we then went down to the duck pond where the ducks performed beautifully and flew straight over to me, allowing him to take ducks all around me. we then went to the far end of the pond and the ducks, bless ’em, followed us once more and did the same thing at the other end…🤣…what they weren’t too impressed with was my lack of food…I’d forgotten 🙈….I promised them all I’d be back later….we had a wonderful time talking all things photography….

It was almost 2 when he left and the interviewer was also due at 2 😳… just time for me to have my porridge otherwise it would have been too late when she left…Audrey arrived within a few minutes of me finishing and we chatted happily for an hour or so. she’d read both books so had double the amount of questions. Not sure whether I rambled or whether I said everything I wanted to as I can’t remember any of it as I’m typing this….🙄 As I thought might happen, she did ask to see my memory room. I hesitated, then said, ”but no photos”….she agreed. as we stood there, I remember thinking how each photo is jam packed with emotion, happy emotional memories ❤️

As soon as she’d left, I kept my promise and went to feed the ducks…they seem to forgive me 🤣

We were due to meet as the 4 Amigos at 4 but unfortunately Dory’s bus broke down so the 3 Doritos just chatted amongst ourselves on zoom for a few minutes to catch up before I slumped onto my bed with a cuppa tea…😴….

Just one more media to complete but that wasn’t until 7pm. it was the earliest time they could do as it was with New Zealand presenter Jack Tame for his Saturday morning show. We were recording it so it won’t be aired until around the book release…7pm is usually my shut down time so goodness knows how that will go…

A massively busy day, and yes, it is truly exhausting, but a nice exhausting when the people are nice and all in a good cause. As I said to the interviewer, ’Things like this also keep my brain ticking over”. I’ll pay the price tomorrow but then I’ll be on a train to Manchester as I start recording my audio book on Wednesday… least I’ve got all tomorrow to recover and recharge 😬

A podcast chat with Pippa Kelly…….

Social media has been a wonderful platform for meeting people since I was diagnosed with dementia. Amazingly I’d never used Twitter or Facebook pre my diagnosis and now I’m a Twitterholic! That’s how I met journalist and broadcaster Pippa Kelly

I’m not sure that I’ve actually met Pippa in person before, but may well have done at conferences or events,  but I feel as though I’ve known her for years. We regularly follow each other on social media and comment on each other’s posts. She now has a successful podcast series “Well I know now….” And recently she was kind enough to interview me…..

Make yourself a cuppa, along with a biscuit or 3 and have a listen to our chat….