I’d listened to the rain falling heavily overnight, the gurgle from the drainpipe indicating the heavy flow……I tapped my watch to see the time…05.40….my alarm would be going off in 5 minutes……
It was definitely a stay snug at home sort of day with heavy rain turning to snow forecasted, but it was my monthly fix of playmates day at Minds and Voices…..couldn’t miss that…
The taxi driver waved at me, a familiar face but not usually at this time in a morning….one of my usual drivers had left suddenly, retired and the state said he couldn’t work a day longer or he wouldn’t get his tax credit…..how sad. He’d not wanted to leave but once more, this crazy system we have makes it more beneficial to be on benefit than working in a job he loved……
Anyway, my driver, who normally starts at 7 had taken the job because she knows me and started early to cover my pick up……
The rain was lashing down and threatening to turn to snow…..but as the driver said..”it’s too cold for snow, wait ‘til it gets to 4 degrees and then we’ll get it’….
She dropped me off in the market place, the only lights alive being that of the paper shop sorting the morning papers and I trundled, head down through the downpour to the bus station, stopping every now, taking a detour to take a piccie at this lonely time of day..
As the bus trundled it’s way to York though flooded roads sending torrents of wheel splash onto the already awash road sides, we started to climb the Wolds, and sure enough, the rain turned to heavy snow. Brakes lights in the distance moving slower than normal, everyone taking it steady. We were sudddenly dropped into a white world with thick snow flakes landing silently on the windscreen…..
As we left the Wolds and went down into the vale, the heavy snow continued but falling now as wet snow on already heavily flooded land….the bus silent, the normally singing bus driver silent in concentration with the occasional nervous humming as the odd car started to pass by with rooftops laden with snow …..a sign of where we were heading….? 😳😳
As we got to York the rain was still falling but at least it was rain now…..it had taken us nearly 2 hours to get there due to the weather and Monday morning traffic. I got off in town as I knew the bus would have trouble getting to the station in time for Damian to meet me. Snapping away at the flooded river as I did……
Even the daffodils in the Museum Gardens had their heads down sheltering from the weather………
I was late but Damian was also caught up in heavy traffic so we arrived almost at the same time and trundled to Lidgett Grove…..where I as chair monitor, went to work…….and Damian got me a cuppa……..
As the minutes passed, the room started to fill up with more people than ever!…..so much chatter and catch up…..another new person coming to ‘try us out’…..old faces revisiting….wonderful…..❤️
We had a chocca agenda and sociology students, Chrissy and Sarah, from York were our visitors today. Their project is looking at the role gardening plays in our lives.
Alan, an artist from York, who’d worked with us before and held an exhibition in the library, had just come to say hello again as he’d love to do something else with us…
Because there were so many of us we all went round just saying who we were……much laughter again, especially when Paul said his usual one liner of:
“I’ve been happily married for 10 years, not bad out of 40 years of marriage….” 🙄😂
So Chrissy and Sarah began……it’s a pilot atudy to try and understand peoples everyday experiences and how people make gardens fit in with dementia. It doesn’t mean ‘doing ‘ gardening necessarily as some might just watch the birds, have a window box etc. They’ve a sketch artist working with them, and can supply iPads, camera etc if we want to do a pictorial dairy, a written diary, or dictaphones for a recording diary……..
Monica said of gardening:
“It Gives you Choices” it doesn’t matter if things don’t work, it’s not important…..”It gives you so much pleasure, you can be stuck in the house but you see the snowdrops out in the garden, out in all weathers and it gives you pleasure”
There was lots of enthusiasm and the girls got lots of volunteers………they’d also done a great information sheet – very clear, very straight forward….
Damian told us how a couple of weeks ago…..he went to an Alzheimers Society Research Summit conference…..but no people with dementia were invited…😔…..he told them about the Dementia Enquirers project we’re doing. The Professors were told to make research accessible. He put Brians quote up on screen saying how their work wasn’t accessible because of the language they used….
Anna then spoke of the Dementia Action Alliance Steering Group, attended by Commisioners, professionals, and, up until now, no people with dementia, but Anna put that right by inviting me, Eddy, Elaine…..The powers that be in October are organising a GP gathering and they want people with dementia to be involved…..we all can’t wait……
Damian gave us feedback from Joseph Rowntree on our course as they were our funders.They said:
“The work was clearly person centred…..it was innovative ….it offered participants a voice”
Before lunch we talked about our Dementia Enquires project – “The pros and Cons of living alone or Iiving with a care partner”
As Brian said….”It’s a luxury to live alone”…..😂🤣
Damian spoke of our plan, how we agreed we’d interview 10-15 individuals and carry out a focus group at the end of March….. when a few groups we’ve asked will bring people to be part of our research…..we could do some interviews via Zoom…..and actually we realised we wouldn’t be short of interviewees…….
He finished off by talking about the gathering in May…an overnight stay in London for the gathering of all the projects of Dementia Enquirers……he asked for volunteers as we could only take 2 people plus Damian….. so names might have to go in a hat. Luckily I’ll already be there as a pioneer so no need to count me in our numbers…..
In looking for volunteers we agreed we’d have to look for people who were willing to travel without their care partners, and travelling to London on their own with Damian……however, he said it all wrong…..”
“Monica, would you be willing to travel with me overnight to London”
Monica pumped the air and Damian turned a shade of scarlet …….
It was soooooo funny…….it was one of those moments that is only funny at the time but it had everyone chuckling….
Lunch time, but before I left…there was one last thing, as it was Brians birthday…..and Brian is partial to a pork pie…….so Damian had brought a candle to put in his pork pie instead of a cake…..😂🤣😂….except……Damian had left the candle somewhere……🙈 we did think of getting the one from the altar but decided against it……😂🤣
But here’s one of birthday boy Brian with his pork pie anyway….sadly I missed his smile by a nano second 🙄
A nice happy note for me to leave everyone on, having their lunch and recharging ready for the afternoon session….……