Category Archives: Special Occasions

A Bitter sweet beautiful day……

Today (Sunday)I opened my curtains to a glorious morning

Some low cloud, clinging to the Borrowdale valley in the distance as I zoomed in…

Fitting for the day when we’ll be scattering Syvia’s ashes, ashes which I held close to me last night at Davids. May seem macabre to some for me to want to do that, but I was giving Sylvia one last hug and felt her close.

Whether or not I’d also be paragliding, I had to put out of my mind, as this was Sylvias day initially.

I showered, had breakfast, where I had the company of a young lad who was on his first visit to Keswick. He was looking forward to climbing the fells, something he hadn’t done before and today his challenge was Cat Bells. I felt so envious and thrilled for him – just at the beginning of his love affair with Keswick, as he was clearly besotted with its beauty.

I waited for David at 10am by the boats all sat waiting the the expected hordes of tourists who descend on my paradise today. Both seasoned hikers would mingle with staycation first timers.

David arrived for our 10 mile walk around towards Hawks End, where we’d meet Roland and Gill – 2 of Sylvias life long friends who would join us for the scattering. I lighted the mood by chuckling at David carrying Sylvia in his rucksack – she’d have loved the idea of having a piggy back 😍🤣

We couldn’t have asked for better weather as we went from one landmark to another, the lake always on our right and looking beautiful…could I possibly be walking off the edge of Cat Bells straight ahead of me and flying in the sky later 😳

The launches passed us several times trundling round with their boatful of happy tourists

We’d both stop every now and then, chatting continuously as we trundled, to take in a scene or just pause and soak up the beauty. This one making me chuckle as it looked like the fisherman had caught a wild water swimmer 🤣

One side of the lake done, we stopped and stood on the Pooh Bear bridge which would take us towards the other side of the Lake

The long snaking wooden paths, a route across the boggy land

Still 90 minutes to go before our destination, each cove bringing about a surprise around every corner

Through the woods, a welcome cooling from the brilliant sunshine

I spied Josh in the air testing the winds for the possibility of flights today

Then by pure chance came upon him having just landed, where he told me the wonderful news that we’d be trying around 5 if it was still the same….😳

We then turned towards Hawks End Jetty where we’d find a special resting place for Sylvia

Gill and Roland had been waiting for us and after cuddles and conversations, I could see David was struggling to no where to start, so I suggested a place with a landmark – so used am I to finding landmarks to make me feel safe. An unusual tree layed out along the shore and the perfect stepping stones by the water. David gave me Sylvia to hold once more and I said :

“Let’s do this”

A somber beautiful moment where we laid Sylvia in a place she loved and silence fell over the four of us as we took in the bitter sweet occasion; David saying a beautiful few words of love as he scattered her over the shoreline to mingle with the rocks and water.

Then we just stood and watched in silence, words unnecessary ….

Farewells said to Gill and Roland as they headed back to their car, me and David still had 2-3 miles left to do. As we reached another wooded area, I suddenly felt something in my back pocket. I’d meant to take it out by the lake and forgotten, so I took it out here instead….

After all, couldn’t not have Sylvia in at least one of the photos

We finally reached town around 3 o’clock – 5 hours being a record time for me; my daily 5-10 mile trundles around the village having done the trick.

Hugs to David and I went back to my room to collapse for 30 mins as then I needed my feet and tired body to last out a few more hours for my paraglide jaunt….but you’ll have to wait for that until tomorrow …..if I get the evidence in time…..

My First Long Journey alone…..

So last Friday I ventured on my own to my paradise of Keswick – my first long journey alone for …..well I don’t know how long, but a long long time. To think I used to travel 3 or 4 times a week on a train travelling the country seems totally alien now 😳

The booking process hadn’t gone well, so not a good start 🙄….the route had changed from before AND it said I couldn’t reserve my seats on each train 😳🙈….I thought the idea of a ‘safe’ journey was to have only window seats taken…..

Well I emailed the company and several emails later, they finally agreed to book me specific  seats on each part of my journey….🥵…what a palava…..

I’d continued to book my taxi people during Covid, just to give me lifts home from town when I had a lot of shopping – it’s amazing how, when you start putting things in a trolley in the supermarket, it never looks heavy…..until you transfer it into bags 🙈…..

So the process of booking a taxi was still in my head….

My first long journey in over a year started with my taxi picking me up on time. It was a damp grey day and the rain was falling, but village life was still continuing as I left; Ed picking up her morning paper, Peter the duck man standing by the pond giving the ducks thei breakfast….the comforting routine of village life….

First train, again on time, took me to Hull where I waited for the next to Manchester. The route had changed since I last travelled. It used to be relatively easy, or at least I was used to it, but now there was an extra change at Lancaster!….so testing me even more…

Familiar landmarks came and went. The Humber Bridge seen for the first time from a train for ages….such a shame it was grey and damp, the windows dirty making the water looking as grey as the day

The train was much busier than I expected. Constant chatter, laughter, music playing somewhere. All merged into one creating an annoying buzz for the whole journey…my silent bubble well and truly popped……

Selby, Leeds, Huddersfield and Stalybridge came and went before arriving finally at Manchester Piccadilly ….amazing how many people didn’t wear masks on the train, the confined space, and as soon as they got off into the fresh air put them on 😳…..

Manchester station was busy as I expected. I tried to shut the crowds out and just concentrate on me and each step, counting each one as a distraction. But I didn’t have long to wait for my train to Lancaster where I’d make my last change…..on this train, the first message from the guard said:

Please observe social distancing at all times and wear a face mask”…..

Obviously people not wearing a mask again…and as we became more and more like sardines, with people standing in the aisles and crowding round the doors 😳…the next message said:

Social distancing is not possible on this service” 🙈……me thinks trains might be a culprit for transferring Covid from county to county 🙄

Finally I arrived at Penrith, the old castle ruins comfortingly still looming in the grey….

…and now the bus would take me to paradise, although a wet paradise it would be today, but I didn’t care…we headed on the bus down into the valley where Keswick nestles, the fells shrouded in cloud cover, 

…..headlights of motorists coming towards us on the other side such was the grey dim day.

Then paradise appeared before me and although the rain was still falling I smiled and relaxed, knowing I’d be in my room within a view in minutes…..

Took me over 7hours to get here…..but I was in my room with the best view in Keswick….so who cares….😍

p.s you’ll have to wait until tomorrow to see if my paraglide happened on Saturday……but at the time of typing this the chances were 50/50…..

My first trip to paradise….

It seems like a life time since I was in my paradise of Keswick, so yesterday felt like a tad closer to the new normal. Sarah came with me this time, so that all I had to get used to was being there; no trauma of trains, just the delight of a car drive.

I’d contacted my paraglide man at the weekend and by the time we left on Monday morning, was still waiting to hear back from him as to whether my paraglide was possible to go ahead a few weeks early. The forecast had changed dramatically from when I first contacted him a week ago. The blue skies replaced by uncertainty 🙄As I looked at the weather app, it became apparent that my paraglide might perhaps not meant be this week after all AND I hadn’t had a response from Jocky who would be taking me 🤐

Anyway, the morning dawned with a misty damp greyness outside my window, but I didn’t care, I was heading for my favourite place. 

Sarah picked me up at 9am as planned and had picked up a weak black tea for me and a cuppa coffee for herself to start off our journey…

I never feel as though we’re properly going on holiday until we turn left at Scotch corner – then we’re on the road to Keswick and, soon after turning, we reach our favourite stopping place of Mainsgill. It was very busy, very noisy, but the views made up for it

And on the way out their moulting camels had appeared…looking as if they really needed a haircut

It also means that when we set off again, there’s just over an hour more driving before I can finally feel relaxed. Suddenly a message appeared from Jocky, the man who will take me on my paraglide. ‘Txt me in the morning, 9am, to see if the weather will allow’ – was how he finished. Suddenly the excitement returned. I was convinced he was away, but now it’s just the weather between me and the skies….

As we drove down the hill into paradise, I could feel my body start to relax. Familiar surroundings came into view. The town looked busy but not heaving as we drove to park the car. Usually there’s no spaces around Appletrees until the day visitors have left, but we always check first. To our total amazement there was just one space left…..right outside my lovely Appletrees….soooo lucky and it will stay there for the duration.

Too early to for the 4pm check in, Sarah wanted an ice cream first and I wanted a trundle to Friars Cragg. So picking up ice creams on the way, we headed for my bench…I knew it would be busy at this time of day, but just to be there, just to look and stare, felt right..

We found another bench nearby just after and Sarah took a selfie of the two of us together

We were both pretty shattered from the long journey, shattered but happy, and then I saw the motor boats and decided to hire one with Sarah at the helm

We’d never done that before, always gone on the launch with someone else doing the driving 🤣….but after 30 minutes of laughter it was time to crash into the jetty 😂….

Just time enough left to go and get our supper for the evening to take back to our rooms and then to check in. But not before we’d said hello to the lambs on the way…

It never ceases to amaze me, how I step into Appletrees and immediately feel at home. Catherine saw us unpacking the car and came out to meet us. It was sooo lovely seeing her in person instead of on her daily swimming videos that she posts of her and Sue swimming in the Lake. A catch up and a cuddle later and I sat in my chair by the window

My room with my favourite view and I felt myself sigh with happiness… just need to wait until tomorrow to see if the skies are beckoning 🤞

My next fundraising adventure revealed…..

Ok, so we’re almost at the stage where we can meet face to face again after a very long year. We can’t tell you how excited we all are at Minds and Voices to actually have a hug from each other, so important for people with dementia. However, each year it takes a massive £10,000 to keep Minds and Voices up and running. We provide taxis for those that need them, a lunch and room hire to name just 3 things. I can’t stress enough the importance of peer support and I consider all my playmates my second family, such is the instant connection that dementia has created…I realise it’s an ambitious target, so may have to do something else later in the year 😳

All my playmates holding up their “Iwant to speak cards” – I’m always the one taking the photos so never on them 😂

But I’d also like to use the money to take everyone on a day trip to remember and this all takes dosh!

Sooooo for my next fundraising adventure I’ll be doing a Tandem Paraglide over my beloved paradise of Keswick.

It’s all booked for the end of June initially but obviously we’re in the hands of the weather for it to go ahead, but if not June, it’ll be July…..or August or whenever, but it WILL happen. The man I’ve been emailing has been so helpful and will even pick me up and drive me there as I would have trouble climbing to the top of the fells to throw myself off 🤣

I just love this poster from Thier web site is worth a look for people with hidden disabilities..

I’m hoping that the weather will be kind of the end of June when I’m there with David, Sylvia’s husband as that’s when we also plan to scatter my best friends ashes. So it will be a melancholy but happy weekend. Sylvia would have approved of me flying like a bird over Derwentwater so I’m also doing it in her memory….

We’ve sadly also lost 5 playmates from Minds and Voices in the last year too, so it will be in memory of them too – Alison, Maria Helena, Norma, Peter and Rita❤️, all deeply loved and dearly missed..

So this is afraid where I need your help and support to raise the much needed funds. I don’t expect to raise anywhere near the full amount and will probably have to do something else later in the year 🤪….shame but someone’s got to do it 😂

I realise it’s not a good time to be asking for money, but every single pound counts. I havn’t created my own page, but am using the one we’ve already set up for Minds and Voices as when I do talks etc, people often ask me where would I like a donation to go, hence the reason for setting up our Just Giving Page… you’ll see donations are already there from kind people already… here it is….

I just can’t wait and to think I’ll see this adorable view from the skies……❤️

A 40th Birthday trip with my daughter……

It was Sarah’s 40th birthday at the weekend….40 😳….how can a daughter of mine be 40 years old, but she is. Her friend was coming to stay, so rather than intrude on their weekend of fun, we decided we’d have her birthday on the Thursday before. It’s not the first time we’ve rescheduled a birthday. It happened lots when they were younger, often unbeknown to them when very small. An inconvenient day being swapped for one when there was time to indulge, but today she was in on the trick we were playing on time….

She was taking me to Flamborough Head on the East coats of Yorkshire. I’d heard from many how beautiful it was so was really looking forward to it. 

A lovely sunny day dawned and I skipped my early morning walk as she was arriving just before 9. 

On arrival we piled her presents into the boot of the car, so she would have them on her birthday morning.

 She was born at 10.35pm at Ipswich hospital, delivered by a very good friends daughter bu pure coincidence as she happened to be the midwife on duty…as they wrapped her in the hospital blanket ready for a photo she looked adorable, her eyes opening and practising a smile for the camera .…but then I would say that

I digress….we set off I digress….we set off and soon spied a gorgeous rainbow disappearing into the clouds

We set off, full of hope of a lovely sunny day, passing all the imposing wind turbines that are scattered in East Yorkshires fields.I adore them. Many hate the humming noise they make as they swish round, but I find it relaxing, having a sort of elegance all of their own. We stopped by some, in awe at their majestic size 

It must have taken about an hour before we took the turning. A country lane with leaves falling like confetti in the breeze. Autumn is such a beautiful time of year. Did I say that about spring and summer too? Probably, but the autumn colours are spectacular, the finale of nature before winter sets in.

Can’t wait to see it”….I said to Sarah

But we have been there before mum, probably a couple of years ago now”, Sarah said, surprised I didn’t remember the imposing lighthouse and beautiful scenery. 

I thought for a moment or two, trying to unlock an image, but none would come. I had no recollection. “Maybe I’ll remember when we get there” I said cheerfully 

I marvelled at the houses along the lane, their perfectly trimmed hedges, winter ready. Then the lane opened out into countryside. I could sense the sea was nearby. Just as a child looks for the first glimpse of the sparkling water in the sunshine, so did I. 

I saw it, there, I saw the sea” before it disappeared behind the trees again.

As we turned the corner there in front was the imposing lighthouse soaring up into the autumn blue sky. The sun sparkling on the glass high above that at night would alert passing ships to the close proximity of land and rocks hiding beneath the sea. 

We parked the car and stood looking for a moment before trundling towards the cliff edge, marvelling at the perfect archway in the rock below, allowing the sea to pass through it with ease.

 The sun casting a golden shimmering light on the water; the huge cargo ship in the distance and the wind turbines turning even further out at sea. 

Bird watches, with their binoculars staring out to into the distance, had obviously spotted something, each focused on the same spot from different angles, too small to see with the naked eye…

We stayed for a while marvelling at the scenery and breathing in the sea air…

Do you remember it now mum?.…asked Sarah, curious to know if the soaring column of white stone or the beauty of our surroundings conjured up a memory …..

Nope, but isn’t it wonderful. Maybe we can come here in the spring?”…and I could relive the moment all over again as if for the first time…..

Happy birthday to one of the 2 most precious people in my life…

What I hope will be a mini adventure………

So I ended yesterdays blog telling you about my possible mini adventure to the Isle of Lewis …..the lovely Philly Hare has taken up residence there for 3 months and invited me to stay…..well I’ve always wanted to go to the Scottish Isles, so I couldn’t miss an opportunity like this…..

It meant a later than normal arrival in Edinburgh but I’d booked a hotel where I stayed at last time I went there near the centre so hopefully the people of Edinburgh will be smiley and help me find my way…….

I had a change in Doncaster and then an hours wait 🙄….must have missed that point when I was booking it, so I went for a trundle round the indoor  shops, warmer in there than the cold platform, finding a lovely message on a pillar as I entered …

I knew if I got lost that someone would point me back in the right direction. I rely so much on the kindness of strangers, but only ever ask a smiley face….My train wasn’t until 17.10 and once I got back to the station, it was dark so no lovely piccies of the views of the Northumbrian coast….hopefully I’ll get them on the way back…

Instead, all I could see as we trundled along were street lights, car lights and inside the hopefully snug houses of all we passed….I often pass the time wandering about the stories behind the houses; are they happy, are they sad, is life treating them well or is there trauma involved. No one knows…..

I’d been exhausted after finishing the Induction talk in the afternoon so this didn’t bode well for the 5 hour journey.   It’s also difficult trundling in the dark as strange shadows appear at the window, making it difficult to differentiate from what’s inside and what’s outside. The cities are lovely as everything is lit up and sparkly showing the evening activity, but the rest is a tad difficult. So I spend my time playing solitaire, typing and averting my eyes away from the window….

As we neared Edinburgh I began looking at my paperwork, getting my instructions out and shock horror , realised I was booked into a different hotel than I had in mind😳🙈 I quickly began to check and recheck, but no, I would have headed to a different hotel if I hadn’t checked 🤦‍♀️…..I began finding another map and trying to work out the way…..goodness knows what had put the other one in my head….good job I always go through things as we near the destination…..but it just scrambled my brain especially at that time in an evening…🙄

It was gone 8.15 pm when we pulled into Edinburgh. My sunflower lanyard had got me the help I needed as a guard came to help me off and point me in the right direction. They’d kept coming by and asking if I was ok, so it was well worth wearing it..

I found my new hotel quite easily following instructions with Google Maps…it was wet and windy with very few people venturing out onto the streets. I walked in, gave my name, only to be met with…..”

”are you sure it’s this one….?”🙈

well no, I wasn’t but “This is the central one isn’t it?

“Mmmm but there’s 2 central ones”………🤐🤯🤯🤯🤯🤯🤯🤯🤯🤯🤯🤯🤯

Turns out I was in the one I thought originally all along…🙈🤯

My poor brain just wanted to explode but I put that off for the moment as I ventured back outside into the cold, wind and raina and trundled the short 5 minute walk to the ‘other’ Central….I was quite pleased really as the staff there were much smilier than the Mr Grumpy I’d just left..she booked me a taxi to the airport for the following morning and I collapsed into my room, not even having a cuppa tea before snuggling down…

I sooo hope the plane isn’t cancelled tomorrow after all this! As the noise of the wind played hide and seek in the vents of the hotel and howled around the nighttime streets outside my window, it prevented the sleep I so desperately needed to sink into my body…..

you may be saying ….why would I put myself though all this stress? Well adventures  don’t come easy, and after all, what’s the alternative? No adventures? Sat at home alone with dementia? I don’t think so…I don’t much care for his company…

Find out tomorrow if I got to fly…….