Category Archives: travel

Day one of my mini adventure……… 

Well I made a right mess of my blogs yesterday and released 2 instead of one 🙄 the mini adventure was suppose to start today to give me time to write each day, but hey ho….best laid plans 🥴

I’d had a sleep wake sleep wake kinda night in the hotel, which I hadn’t had for ages, but not surprising in a strange unfamiliar room….

I checked the state of the flight and it was still showing as delayed but no more than yesterday🙄

I went through my normal routine of all my games and felt my head was clearer today. The fuzz and banging almost clear…

I’m so glad I caught the airport bus. It was a lovely blue sky day so I sat upstairs marvelling at Edinburgh.

It took 30 mins to get there so I was in plenty of time. I think I said yesterday that I hadn’t been able to book assisted travel as you had to use the phone. Because it was last minute neither of my daughters were around to help me. However, the woman at the check in desk was super helpful as the queues were large and I didn’t have a clue if I was in the right one 🙈….but I was. She asked me if I’d booked assistance and I explained the problem. 

Just point me in the right direction” I said

And she did. As I got to the top of the escalator, ‘Be prepared for security “ sign came into view……😳….Crikey, I’d forgotten all about that 🥴….so I stood reading the signs, emptying my medication into a bag and got everything to hand I thought I might have to have …..

I just followed a family in front of me as it began to look very confusing, with lots of lanes. I must have been looking totally lost as a woman came over and asked if I needed help – perfect….⭐️…I wasn’t rushed, they were calm and helpful even though the queue was building. As I walked through the scanner…..yup….the alarm sounded 🤣…..what had I forgotten? Turned out just to be the metal on my lanyard, but again people were smiley and friendly.

Once out of there, a Sign said:

Now you can relax”

Which made me chuckle..😂….as I did just that along with everyone else 🤣

Why is it we feel guilty when we’ve nothing to be guilty about 🤣

My main priority was a cuppa tea. So many shops, I saw the familiar blue sign of Neros, not that I’ve been there for years but there’s something about their sign that looks welcoming. Cuppa tea in hand I sat myself down in fron of a departure board. The sign might be friendly but the tea certainly wasn’t Yorkshire 🤮

I was like a child watching the planes come and go

I wanted to get my camera out but wasn’t sure of the rules….no one else seemed to be as a cited as me 🤣

As the minutes ticked down the gate was finally announced. We sat and we sat with no sign of movement and ended up leaving even later; it must have been after midday as we boarded.

Again, the people were lovely. The stewardess came down and got my case from me. Someone was in my seat but since the flight was only a quarter full, it made no difference and I just sat in a different seat. Within no time we were off

Our little plane ready and waiting….

Take off was very smooth and I was at the right side to see the bridges, whose names I can’t remember 🙄

I just love being up in the clouds. Speed almost becomes non existent as we fly. It’s as if we’re floating in the clouds.

The flight only took 30 odd minutes and the same stewardess helped me down with my case and there was the lovely smiley face of Philly waiting for me.

The air smelt so clean and fresh, I was just happy to be there. We went the scenic way home stopping first at the harbour wall. Philly showed me a monument to soldiers who’d been off fighting somewhere but when their ship was 2 miles from home it sank and all lives were lost. The wooden posts, one each for each victim of the tragedy were cut from trees in the castle grounds and form the shape of a ship which is lit up at night…😍

It was such a simple monument yet deeply moving when you read the story behind it…

Next stop was Calanais – the Isle of Lewis version of Stonehenge ….I’d purposely not looked at my photos from last time as I wanted to relive every moment again. This was one place like that, visited before but as though for the first time each time ❤️. The first time we got out of the car the heavens opened and we got a real soaking, it was soooo funny

We went back to the car, had a cuppa and a snack and went back out as it stopped. 

Just stunning scenery all round…

Back to the car again for homeward bound…but we kept doing a detour as something else caught our eye…

We came across a “Sheiling”….women used to take their cattle and children in the summer and stay in these tiny stone buildings with everything you needed in one room. 

It was also the women’s excuse to get away from their husbands 🤣…love it….it looked so cosy!

In the field next to it were some friendly Highland Cows….which had such thick coats

A few miles further and Philly pulled into a small car park which had the only coach we’d seen parked in it….a lovely Scottish driver hopped out and told us he was rounding up his tourists so we could have the place to ourselves 🤣…..

A 10 minute walk away and we came to the Shawbost Norse Mill and kiln. A renovated Viking mill and kiln that used to ground barley and oats and make the odd illegal bottle of whiskey,,,

The thatch roof was so simply laid and held down with stones and mesh, so clever….

I’ve probably got the order of all these detours wrong as my camera locked halfway on the journey home to Ness so my phone had to come out, but when they then load onto my ipad they come out in a random order 😳. I used my photos to tell me what I’ve done 🥴

Anyway….a last detour was to a lovely windswept bay. The weather had behaved with squally showers followed by blue skies….

We went down to the beach to feel the full effect of the strong winds 

It was amazing…

So wild, so untamed so rugged…..

This was all on the way home from the airport simply because it was a shame not to make the most of the weather …..

We got home, both tired but happy from the day we’d had. However, after supper , I noticed how lovely the sky looked and went outside to take a final shot

But then Philly suggested we have one last drive down to the headland, only a few minutes away, so we seized the moment with the weather behaving and I was able to take my last, very last …shot of the day…promise…

For day 2 I’m afraid you’ll have to wait until Monday……🙄

Another trip to paradise….

Before I start todays blog, I did have a blog yesterday but it didn’t or wouldn’t email out 🙄….it was the video of the take off and first couple of minutes of my paraglide. So if anyone wants to see it, I also shared it on my Facebook page and on Twitter. I just hope todays goes out properly 🙄…..but back to yesterday…..

I know I’m lucky, fortunate enough to go to paradise every month. But it’s the only place I’m going at the mo. To think, it must be nearly 2 years since I was trundling every day on a train all across the country. Not sure I could do that now, or maybe it’s a case of not sure I want to 🤔……although never say never.

So yesterday morning the sun was shining as I stood at my window waiting for the taxi. I’d had to check the day before that I’d booked it, even though it was on my calendar, and sure enough, I had; must have done it earlier in the week 🙄

I arrived at the station in plenty of time and spotted that they’d planted wild flowers instead of bedding plants this year and rows of sunflowers. How lovely and cheerful it looked 😍

I’d been feeling anxious since waking as I heard of read talk of strike action and cancellations🙈 not what I wanted to hear. That’s probably why I immediately started taking photos….

But my first train was on time to Hull, as was the second train to Manchester – so far so good. 

I was hoping the sun would be making the Humber glisten but sadly it was having a tea break as we chundled passed, but luckily it was out a little further down at Wressle

As we got to Leeds, lots of people got off but a bucketful also got on and it became standing room only…😳…..as we chundled over the Pennines we started to stop at places not on my list 🙈…..Slaithewaite which seemed to be pronounced Slarwit and Greenfield, both of which I’d never heard of 😳…..I looked nervously around, the train chocca and becoming more so at each station. I heard other people talking about Manchester Piccadilly, my destination, so I decided to close my eyes and ignore the unknown stops 🙄…..

We DID arrive at Manchester and the connecting time was quite tight, but I’d looked on my app for which platform I needed to head for and it had to be the one the furthest away 🙄…..crowds stood on the concourse as I weaved in and out and with a couple of minutes to spare I was on my train to the next stop, Lancaster. 

I had quite a wait here, but it was a pleasant day so I sat outside with a cuppa tea just watching the world go by…..

Another packed train arrived, but I found a seat….I’d been waiting for something to go wrong on this journey, but amazingly it didn’t 😳….don’t know what I’d done to deserve that 🤣……..

We arrived in Penrith on time and I stood on the platform looking at their wonderful welcome for weary travellers like me

It’s such a friendly station, bit like the rest of Cumbria.

My bus arrived to take me to paradise and I sat on the top deck at the front and suddenly felt my body relax.

The sun was shining, and all was right in the world as we trundled along from village to village….before finally arriving in Pardise 😍…after a short walk from the bus station, Catherine there to meet me as I entered Appletrees I was in my room. After hugs and a chat, I put the kettle on, settled in my chair and simply sat …..in my favourite place, in my favourite room, with my favourite view looking stunning…..

AND relax…..

At last I’m back in paradise ……..or has it been invaded….

It’s been a bad few weeks for me on many counts, but last week Sarah told me I could finally go in her car. They’d not have Covid patients for a while, so she felt it safer than before…my mind immediately went into overdrive. Where could we go, what could we do?

We’d talked about her coming on the local train with me to the seaside town of Bridlington, but I’d looked up the rules and safety notices and they didn’t seem to have any except the wearing of masks. No seats could be booked, so how would the train company know if it would be overcrowded? No I didn’t feel comfortable doing that. I’d looked at going to Keswick on the train, but although that routine was once second nature, the web site looked like gobbledygook, routes appeared to have changed, I couldn’t work out what to do after such a long absence of booking tickets 😔

Then she told me she had this week off….

How about Keswick, me said? Within a nano second I’d looked up my wonderful Appletrees B&B, read the new rules and felt immediately safe and sound. It was always super clean so I knew it would all be done even better….Sarah rang Catherine and she was equally as overjoyed as we were to be able to return…excited doesn’t describe how I felt, I was overjoyed at the thought.


Appletrees from Hope Park…

So yesterday we set off early doors, heading for paradise. Sarah loves it almost as much as me! Well no one can love it as much as me so a close second is pretty good.

I’d already thought that if I didn’t feel safe outside, if it was busy, I would be quite happy simply sat in my room looking at the view…

Of course, ‘packing’ a suitcase is one thing I hadn’t done for months 😳…what went in where? What did I take? As the week went by, each time I thought of something I would put it in a pile ready. This time would be the first time I’d have my trusty camera with me, so the charger for that was the most important thing I could think of 😂🤣

My suitcase had been by the front doors for hours when Sarah txt to say she was leaving hers 😂🤣……goodness knows if I had everything….but we settled down in companiable silence, after none stop talking from me for a while 🙄 to a nice journey.

There was a distinct reduction of lorries and Monday morning traffic in general, which was nice. Also no coaches taking travellers around the country. That was weird. To see different landscapes, different  scenery …even my windmills that I hadn’t seen for months…that was the biggest change. Hills in the distance, the rugged landscape of the Pennines a sheer delight…


The view at Mainsgill…

We stopped at our usual place for a cuppa and a bite to eat, Mainsgill….all very civilised and well organised and even had the camels to admire 😂

And then, refreshed, we continued on our way towards the descent into paradise….and what did it do….rain 🙄…..but as arrived in paradise we parked up the car, and the rain stopped😇…..

We decided to walk to the lake first as due to Catherine’s new routine we couldn’t get to our freshly steamed room until 4pm. As soon as we turned the corner we were shocked at the vast number of people around 😳….and soooooo many looked like they’d never been to Keswick before. I christened them the new staycation folk….nowhere was quiet. I soon realised I’d not only forgotten my glasses but my hearing guards too 🙈🙄. I havn’t worn either for months…

I was quite disappointed, I must say…but pleased for Keswick. It had never occurred to me that those who normally go abroad might come to Keswick, but from the conversations I heard, that was certainly the case…one said it all when I heard them say..

”just think, we should be in Spain…”…..

As we reached my favourite spot, Friars Cragg, I spotted the Robin that always makes an appearance there…

And then we stood at the end….and stared, just stared….

Eventually we ventured into town to buy our supper and again it was very busy everywhere…not for so long have we been surrounded by so many people. I was desparate just to get to the peace of my room.

4pm arrived and we were waiting on Catherines doorstep. Her smiley masked face appeared at the door and all was right in the world again. She took us through the new rules for breakfast, new rules for the rooms and lamented the lack of a hug…

As Sarah went to her room and Catherine bade me farewell, I sat in silence and stared at the view I’d missed so much…..and just sat, with my cuppa tea

More from paradise tomorrow…..❤️

Train Chaos and Quick Thinking……not on my part!

So after Mondays meeting in Durham we all trundled in a taxi to the station…..but when the cab arrived the driver pre warned us of chaos at the station 😳……we all quickly began to scan our phones, me included, to find the latest updates, only to see a stream of ‘Cancelled’ or ‘Delayed’🙈

They suddenly announced that coaches would take us from Durham to Darlington, but they weren’t sure when🤯 and then we’d have to get another coach from Darlington to York, after which trains would be running south…mmmmm…..so Mara decided we’d all get a taxi from Durham to Darlington as we’d get a head start on everyone else.

We had to get 2 taxis as a poor Norwegian girl had latched onto us and was in the middle of the chaos in a foreign country so we couldn’t abandon her…..so 3 in one taxi, 3 in another…..

It was dark by this time and I just had to sit quiet. Travelling in the dark conjures up scary shadows in unfamiliar places so I simply sat trying not to panic at the knowledge I didn’t have a scooby doo where I was. But thank goodness I wasn’t alone.

It took us about an hour to get to Darlington where more chaos was in situe…….they directed us to another queue for a coach and this turned out to be the queue of all queues….snaking round and round the station with not a coach in sight…..🤐……more darkness….more shadows….

We suddenly realised Nick and Chiara were a few people ahead of us and Chiara took a tea and food order and trundled off as it looked like we’d be there quite some time….

When she came back with a welcome cuppa she suddenly had a genius idea…..could she advocate for me and ask them if me and Barbara could jump to the front of the queue because of my lanyard? Well in for a penny, I said anything was worth a try. If I’d have been alone, I would probably have gone looking for someone to help me, but because I was with others I just stood, not knowing what to do for the best, but knowing I was with them…..

A beaming smiley face came back and they’d agreed we could get on the mini bus that was about to leave…….how amazing and relief flooded through me and Barbara cos at least we would be moving….my lanyard worked in my favour yet again……..We trundled past queues and queues of people and I did feel guilty…for a nano second…

……couldn’t  believe it was a mini bus and not a coach, due to the hoards of people but guess they had to take what they could get!

I knew neither of my daughters were free to pick me up from anywhere but also knew at some point that Sarah would look at the tracker to see I’d got home……so half way to York there was a ping on my phone and it was Sarah querying where I was 😂🥴……..at least she could keep me company but I also knew she wouldn’t be able to sleep before she saw I was home……tables turned …as I, as a mum, used to be laying awake until I heard the key turn in the lock when they were out as youngsters….🙃……

We finally arrived in York 4 hours later 🤯😳 only to find the chaos still present, just a different station……🙈….luckily I was going east and I managed to catch the last train to Hull as no trains were going south via Doncaster……but I’d had to leave Barbara.😔

Someone later told me that everyone going to London Kings Cross had to catch a train to Leeds and then a train from there to London……🙈🙈🙈🙈🙈 I so hope Barbara found someone to help her…

Prof Jan messaged me to check I was ok….nothing anyone could do, I just had to not panic…so I spent the journey from York playing solitaire to keep calm……

Once in Hull I knew I’d have to get another taxi home as no more trains to Beverley….but…..luck was on my side for a change and as I took one last luck on my app before we pulled into Hull, I notice the Beverley train had also been delayed…..as my train pulled in so did the delayed train for Beverley…..

I finally got home just over 2 hours later than planned totally running on empty

…..but at least I got home. Sooooo hope everyone else did too…..🤞

P.S. Turns out I was the lucky one as poor Barbara didn’t get home until 02.30am 🙈😳😔

 

 

A different type of conference for me…….But it involved a trundle to Paradise…

So an extra blog about my trundle yesterday ……

Yesterday saw me trundling to Penrith in Cumbria……which is verrrry close to my paradise of Keswick. I’d been asked ages ago if I’d speak at the Annual Cumbrian Churches Dementia Conference and I must confess that I’d said yes without really looking at why I was going as it would mean a quick visit to Keswick in the autumn 🙄🙈

The people contacting me, Yvonne and David had sounded really kind on email and were asking all the right questions re support etc…..so it seemed a shame not to just got for it, even though it’s quite a trundle. Due to the distance they’d offered to put me up for 2 nights, which would make it less stressful…..

Anyway, we’ve had torrential continual rain for days now and it continued all the previous day and the night before. So much so that the taxi driver surprised me by coming from the opposite direction. He said he hadn’t been able to get through the village the previous night because of flooding 😳😱…….as we made our way slowly along the high street it became clear that it had subsided but you could see the debris piled up at the side of the road….we’re a very leafy village the autumn leaves falling always cause a problem with the drains…..

As we picked up speed the dark another flood across the road took us by surprise….must be scary driving and not being able to see the water in the dark…..

Once we’d settled we began chatting and he asked where I was going on my trundles this time….he confessed to having just downloaded my book and had been hoping for long airport rides so he could listen to more ❤️…….

The first train took me to Hull, and the chaos soon became evident as Doncaster had been hit hard again by the overnight rain and no trains or buses were heading that way…all were being diverted via Leeds……luckily for me I was heading westwards today towards Manchester ….🥵…it was silly oclock, still dark so no early morning piccies…….all I could see were headlights and the glistening of water everywhere……

As night became day the Pennines came into view looking soggy and drab but still beautiful

As we crossed from one side of the country to the other, the sun began to shine, the sky was blue and the ground less waterlogged…..what a difference……and the bonus of the patchwork quilt of loveliness…..

My lanyard worked all the way yet again, with the guards helping me at every stage even though this time it was Transpennine Train company ……made such a difference especially since my suitcase was full of books 🙄

Anyway, once at Penrith I took the taxi the short ride to the hotel to drop off my bag, trundled outside back towards the station feeling a lot lighter and thought I would have to wait an hour for the bus ……when suddenly in the distance I spied the X5 heading towards me…..I was nowhere near the bus stop but stuck my hand out hopefully and Mr Kindness was driving the bus as he stopped with a smile …….I would get an extra hour in paradise….🥰…..#randomactsofkindness……….❤️

Being out of season, the bus was quiet and I had the front seat upstairs with views to die for….

As we neared Keswick,  calmness wrapped me up warm in a paradise hug and I settled down ready to be mesmerised by the autumn colours…….and even a dusting of snow on the peaks…..

I went down to the Lake and sat in my favourite spot………it’s a lovely warm glow inside when you find that special place to call paradise…….

More photos followed as the sun tried hard to shine through…but it didn’t really matter what the weather was like……the autumn was stunning wherever I walked…

I watched 2 dogs playing in the water chasing a very large branch and then each running to its owner with 1 jaw round each end, happily sharing the load…

It took me by surprise that the launch was running this time of year but It was a nice day so expect they were making the most of the opportunity…

So I ambled up to the boat cabin to see if anymore were going today…to find I was in luck ….along with a few other hardy souls I braved the outside, in order to get better piccies…….but ventured inside on the way back as my fingers had gone numb 🤣

I came across 2 people weaving willow branches looking out onto Derwentwater  . I went up to chat to them and it turned out they’d been  commissioned by the National Trust to make a “viewing spiral” out of willow, with holes woven into it through which you can get magic piccies…….they even left me help! So if you happen to see it and spy a dodgy bit, it’s probably the bit I did……🤣

I found somewhere to sit inside for my last while and the heavens must have been watching as it pulled the plug on the skies’ bath once more ………but what a wonderful few hours I’d had and at least the weather had waited until I’d finished…..

I’ve written so much for this journey that Me thinks I’ll  have to publish this as an extra Saturday blog and the actual conference will follow on Monday….

 

A Sunday trundle to Edinburgh……..

On Sunday I had a a beautiful trundle to Edinburgh in store for me……the train trundle along the East coast is stunning and I just am in awe every time I’m lucky enough to do this trip…..

I’ve almost found my ‘normal’ again, but the added stress of the clocks going back this weekend did worry me……I spent most of  Saturday morning confined to the house due to the atrocious weather with the thought whittling away at me. I had to get the clocks right as I was travelling Sunday morning 🥴….so….I decided to change the manual ones at 11am and just look at my phone for the rest of the day……I’m sure we must be the only country who still changes the clocks from summer to winter times…..🤔

Anyway, at least I was happy and settled in the knowledge it was done…..

I woke up to a glorious sunshiny day….very confusing as I had it in mind that by putting the clocks back, it would make it darker when the opposite was the case…🙄

I rang my familiar taxi company – the only people I will dial…..and a familiar friendly voice answered, recognising my number….I had remembered to booked my taxi and they checked the time of my train so they were all prepared…..must take some choccie biscuits soon…….

I’d been invited to speak in Edinburgh along with playmate Agnes Houston at a gathering of British and Swedish researchers …to focus on activism, anti racism and Post colonialism and how researchers could help with our activism……..

I could have stayed 2 nights, but thought it best to just do one night away this week as I have 2 nights away at Dementia Congress next week to contend with….

My taxi was due at 09.50, so at 8.30, I’m sat snug in bed having a cuppa, watching the squirrels enjoying their morning routine of flight through the branches of the trees outside my window………. when I thought I’d check the state of the trains…….🙈😱😳😱🤯🤯🤯😱😱😱🙈🙈🙈🙈🤯🤯🤯🤯 all I could see was”

Cancelled due to Flooding”…………..😱😱😱😱😱……..”Delayed due to Flooding”

I scanned various web sites, and just didn’t know what to do. I had to get to Doncaster for my train and I could see all trains out of Doncaster were cancelled eastwards too 😶

One daughter was at work and I knew the other would be enjoying the extra hour in bed…..but sadly I just needed help…..I txt Gemma and Team Mitchell Immediately responded saying she’d have a look for me and so it went backwards and forwards for a while but then she came up with the genius idea of picking up my Doncaster train in York…….my head just wasn’t capable of thinking up something so simple…..I quickly checked the Sunday buses and Stuart offered to take me to the bus station..so I rang and cancelled my taxi, but I didn’t have to say much as I think they’d checking themselves…

He would have to pick me up in 15 minutes time and here I was still snug in bed 😱….luckily I’d been orgnaised the night before, suitcase packed and ready, I’d already showered, and my clothes had been laid out in order the night before………by the time Stuart arrived I was waiting at the window for him….😇……. I know I’ve said this frequently but I will say it again…….

Why me ?”

Anyway I’m now sat on the bus trundling to York and typing this to ease my beating heart……and now I’m feeling exhausted rather than calm at the beginning of the journey…..so the Wolds are a welcome sight of calmness………

We’d worked out that by catching this bus, I’d get to York in plenty of time to catch the same train…..and that allowed me to amble from the bus to the station via the Museum gardens to see if autumn had arrived…

The river was very high due to the torrential rain we’d had lately……..

I arrived to find someone with a smiley face who could tell me I’d be fine catching the train here. They recognised the sunflower lanyard I was wearing and asked if I’d like any help to the platform…..and when the train came in, the train staff recognised it and asked if I’d like help finding my seat……..perfect and just how it should be……..

I was on the perfect side, in the perfect seat with a nice clean window, so the East coast line was simply mesmerising and helped to calm me down after the chaotic morning

And it continued all the way to Edinburgh

Once we arrived in Edinburgh I set Google Maps to show me how to get to the hotel….but couldn’t work out which direction to start in so went round in circles for a while 🙄 until it told me I was following the right track……but it was lovely just ambling round with the tourists, equally reliant on their phones for directions…🤣😂….once I got to the Hight Street, I ambled a little way up the hill (in the wrong direction🙄) and watched a man entertaining the childrens with bubbles…..my favourite piccie of the day..

Before spying an information centre…..again, they seem to recognise my lanyard, carried my suitcase back down the steps, before pointing to the way I needed to walk❤️…….and there was my hotel…….

You can find out where to get the lanyards at the link below….as well as Marks and Spencer Food counters, some Sainsbury supermarkets, some rail stations and airports….

https://www.hiddendisabilitiesstore.com/about-us

This blog was going to be about the whole event including journey, but me thinks this is long enough so I’ll type about the actual event on Monday to be published Wednesday!…….

 

 

 

 

Yesterday had a a beautiful trundle to Edinburgh in store for me……the train trundle along the East coast is stunning and I just am in awe every time I’m lucky enough to do this trip…..

 

I’ve almost found my ‘normal’ again, but the added stress of the clocks going back this weekend did worry me……I spent most of  Saturday morning confined to the house due to the atrocious weather with the thought whittling away at me. I had to get the clocks right as I was travelling Sunday morning 🥴….so….I decided to change the manual ones at 11am and just look at my phone for the rest of the day……I’m sure we must be the only country who still changes the clocks from summer to winter times…..🤔

 

Anyway, at least I was happy and settled in the knowledge it was done…..

I woke up to a glorious sunshiny day….very confusing as I had it in mind that by putting the clocks back, it would make it darker when the opposite was the case…🙄

 

I rang my familiar taxi company – the only people I will dial…..and a familiar friendly voice answered, recognising my number….I had remembered to booked my taxi and they checked the time of my train so they were all prepared…..must take some choccie biscuits this morning…….

 

I’d been invited to speak in Edinburgh along with playmate Agnes Houston at a gathering of British and Swedish researchers …to focus on activism, anti racism and Post colonialism and how researchers could help with our activism……..

 

My taxi was due at 09.50, so at 8.30, I’m sat snug in bed having a cuppa, watching the squirrels enjoying their morning routine of flight through the branches of the trees outside my window………. when I thought I’d check the state of the trains…….🙈😱😳😱🤯🤯🤯😱😱😱🙈🙈🙈🙈🤯🤯🤯🤯 all I could see was”

 

“Cancelled due to Flooding”…………..😱😱😱😱😱……..”Delayed due to Flooding”

 

I scanned various web sites, and just didn’t know what to do. I had to get to Doncaster for my train and I could see all trains out of Doncaster were cancelled eastwards too 😶

 

One daughter was at work and I knew the other would be enjoying the extra hour in bed…..but sadly I just needed help…..I txt Gemma and she said she’d have a look for me and so it went backwards and forwards for a while but then she came up with the genius idea of picking up my Doncaster train in York…….my head just wasn’t capable of thinking up something so simple…..I quickly checked the Sunday buses and Stuart offered to take me to the bus station..

 

He would have to pick me up in 15 minutes time and here I was still snug in bed 😱….luckily I’d been orgnaised the night before, suitcase packed and ready, I’d already showered, and my clothes had been laid out in order the night before………by the time Stuart arrived I was waiting at the window for him….😇……. I know I’ve said this frequently but I will say it again…….

“Why me ?”

 

Anyway I’m now sat on the bus trundling to York and typing this to ease my beating heart……and now I’m feeling exhausted rather than calm at the beginning of the journey…..so the Wolds are a welcome sight of calmness………

 

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We’d worked out that by catching this bus, I’d get to York in plenty of time to catch the same train…..and that allowed me to amble from the bus to the station via the Museum gardens to see if autumn had arrived…

 

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The river was very high due to the torrential rain we’d had lately……..

 

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I arrived to find someone who could tell me I’d be fine catching the train here. They recognised the sunflower lanyard I was wearing and asked if I’d like any help to the platform…..and when the train came in, the train staff recognised it and asked if I’d like help finding my seat……..perfect and just how it should be……..

 

I was on the perfect side, in the perfect seat with a nice clean window, so the East coast line was simply mesmerising and helped to calm me down after the chaotic morning

 

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And it continued all the way to Edinburgh

 

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Once we arrived in Edinburgh I set Google Maps to show me how to get to the hotel….but couldn’t work out which direction to start in so went round in circles for a while 🙄 until it told me I was following the right track……but it was lovely just ambling round with the tourists, equally reliant on their phones for directions…🤣😂….once I got to the Hight Street, I ambled a little way up the hill (in the wrong direction🙄) and watched a man entertaining the childrens with bubbles…..

 

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Before spying an information centre…..again, they seem to recognise my lanyard, carried my suitcase back down the steps, before pointing to the way I needed ❤️…….and there was my hotel…….

 

You can find out where to get the lanyards here….as well as Marks and Spencer Food counters, some rail stations and airports….

 

https://www.hiddendisabilitiesstore.com/about-usThis blog was going to be about the whole event including journey, but me thinks this is long enough and I’ll type about the actual event on Monday to be published Wednesday!…….

 

Travelling to Scotland………

Now how do I catch a train…..? Remind me again……

Last week saw my first trundle on a train for weeks due to the Christmas break. I knew it would be a strange one. I knew it would take concentration…….a difficult process at this time of year.

I was sooooo glad I’d set reminders and done some things before Christmas as the process had become a mystery to me along with many other things during the long quiet break.

A reminder to book a taxi appeared – crikey, I’d even forgotten that…..it even reminded me to see if my daughter was free to pick me up🙄

My tickets had been booked and collected before Christmas so they were also waiting for me, thank goodness. Sticking my hand out to stop the train still makes me chuckle, but it’s what I do for the bus. So it just seemed normal for me……..

It’s been difficult getting ‘back to normal’…..relearning normality. Just getting up early has been difficult. You might say, well yes, we all find it difficult to get up after a break from work….but it’s a different ‘difficult’. I’m not trying to say we’re a special case, I’m just trying to highlight the difference.

Dementia is very clever at giving us a new normality if we’re not careful. A relaxing, gentle doing nothing normal……and before we know it, dementia has taken hold, so I had to snap out of the haven of peace.

So yesterday was my second train journey of the year…..this time to Stirling University in Scotland. Once again, everything had been sorted before the Christmas break. Tickets were waiting for me as I turned the page to this week, along with the printed emails I needed to say who what when and where……

I had to rely on the fact that I had everything sorted…..had to trust myself, which is very difficult at times….

We can be deceptively confident in the responses we give and thoughts we think, but sadly they’re often false, even though to us they’re true. I remember being confident in saying something to my daughters recently, but they pointed out in their gentle way that I’d got it wrong. I have to trust that what they say is right but it can make you feel very confused and sad. But before Christmas, I was in the routine of ‘preparing’ so I had little choice but to trust I’d done everything…..🤞

The most difficult bit was medication…….medication for 4 days….😳 I normally just have them all set out in the weekly travel box, but this was when I took everything in a morning🤯 now I have evening and during the day ones too. I hunted around to see what I could find, and then I came across some different tablet boxes……me thinks I must have had this issue before and bought these……See! I was so organised I didn’t even know I was organised🤣😂

Anyway,  the journey started off with beautiful sunshine across the Humber….

I was so looking forward to this journey as the East Coast trundle to Edinburgh is a beautiful one taking in lots of the coast.

It was very weird going through York. I always use to stop or start there😳 but then I could sit back and enjoy the views…..

I’m sure I’ve been on this train journey many times but the views never cease to make me smile

Grant Gibson from the Uni had agreed to meet me at Stirling station, and I’d txt him at the start …..just to check he’d be there so I could relax even more. He appeared as promised and drove me to the hotel that would be my home for the next 2 mights. At reception one of the students was also just arriving and had spent her journey reading my book☺️

After a cuppa tea and a settle into my room. I just had to go for a wander and take in the amazing scenery around the campus…..


The loch in the middle of the campus with snow covered hills in the distance…

and finally, a lovely sunset outside ny room….

Soooo looking forward to meeting the students tomorrow….but now after taking well  over 7 hours to get here…..I just want to snooze………💤

Unfurling of the Great Yorkshire Banners…….

So yesterday I was due at the research network arm of the Alzheimers Society for the second day of their conference, however, I had a change of heart……..
The night before was the evening meal at The Oval. I usually decline the meal and sit happily unwinding in my room with a tuna sandwich…….but yesterday so many people had come up to me and asked if I’d be there that I felt I should give it a go…..

It wasn’t until I got there and one of the society staff asked if I’d be in York on Wednesday and I felt so guilty saying no, I’d be in London instead. Over night I decided that I should and want to be in York with my playmates so decision made, then panic stricken for letting the research network down🙈….I really need 2 of me………☹️

The wonderful A Team from Yorkshire were there to look after me for the evening meal so I was in safe hands as were my playmates from the 3 Nations. I’d known some sad news early in the day and it was announced at the meal last night. The news that Matt Murray was leaving the society.

Matt was the first person I ever met in person from the society when I saw the button on the web site to ‘Be Involved’. It was then that I joined the research network volunteers and our wonderful friendship began. I trusted Matt. He allowed me to break all rules and become a monitor ahead of the usual time simply because time is an unknown quantity for someone with dementia. He always said what he was going to do, when he was going to do it and always responded quickly to emails.

Everyone moves on, and Matt is a wonderful catch for any organisation but I will miss him dreadfully and I’ll always have special memories of Matt.

I only lasted the first course before the noise and buzzing bees of conversations around me became too much and I left them to it……

So the next morning I woke and started working out my new plan. I txt Sandra to say why I wouldn’t be there and then I went and checked out and saw people in the breakfast room so was able to apologise in person……

I also had to txt Gemma so she wouldn’t pick me up in the evening!!

I had to be there for midday…..I realised when I eventually got on the train that I’d rushed the planning and didn’t find the best train, but hey ho……too late ……..

I arrived at the station to find the Tony Husband, Ian Beesley and Yorkshire tea voice man Ian McMillan setting everything up along with Philly, Rachael and Damian from Innovations in Dementia – all of whom have made this event possible…………

Philly earned her first brownie point of the day by immediately going to get me a cuppa tea……….as Virgin train didn’t have enough staff for a trolley service on the train, so I was gasping!

The media arrived in the form of the local BBC and the radio was there I think too……marvellous …….my playmates were wonderful at speaking up.

A brass band of children arrived to play a fanfare

before the unfurling and then several playmates stepped forward to reveal the wonderful banners created by an amazing designer with wonderful images by famous cartoonist Tony Husband. Equally famous Ian Macmillan read out 2 amazing poem and then the reveal happened. What amazing banners which just say it all……..


The negative side of travelling ….

The equally famous (have to treat them all fairly🤣) Ian Beesley said:

‘“ unfurling the banner cos we’re unfurling the future” wonderful……❤


And the positive side…

Many photos were taken and so many members of the public came over to ask what we were up to and the children in the band were amazing. The local BBC and newspaper were also there .


Minds and Voices with photographer Ian Beesley…

Once everything was over we had one last photo en masse in front of the banners. The banners show one negative image and one positive image and what travel means to us folk from a Yorkshire viewpoint….transport and our Rights…………

We had a coach back to Priory Street, lunch and a debrief………we were all on a high as it had been such a success. Yellow ‘I want to speak’ cards were up all over the place in the room.

And what a wonderful booklet to come out of this amazing experience for us all – full of cartoons, photos, poems and stories – superstars⭐


With our wonderfully smiley Rita on the cover….❤

Travel is so important to me, yet is so stressful. Yet small changes can make it possible.I’m so glad I changed my plan today because all our words of the past 18 months, today became an ACTION of our own…

Our Right to get Out and About…..

Yesterday I was in York. I’d snuck this in last minute as I’d cancelled a meeting in London due to being there the following day as well, but couldn’t resist adding this extra one in……🙄

A while ago there had been a similar meeting in York of 3 DEEP groups from Bradford, Scarborough and my playmates from Minds and Voices – all people living with dementia. Last time I’d met Ian Macmillan, the voice behind Yorkshire tea, but this time it would be Ian Beesley, superstar photographer and Tony Hubbard, famous cartoonist.

The aim was to design a traditional banner for us in the style of Trades Union about our Right to get out and about.

It was a beautiful day as the taxi took me past the Westwood and yesterday the town cows were finally let out to roam for the duration of the summer. They must have been very excited to be out after being inside the whole winter………

And the view from the bus as we trundled through the Wolds looked equally lovely.

I arrived to find Philly setting up and the tea had just arrived👍 It was soooo nice just to be a playmate today and  share the pressure of the day.
Think I was probably on my 3rd cuppa when playmates from Minds and Voices started to arrive, followed by the Scarborough gang and the folk Bradford. Photographer Ian Beesely soon arrived followed by Tony Hubbard the cartoonist…..

Some of the funding for this project has come from the IDEAL project at Exeter University….and started last year when travelling was becoming a real issue

Ian and Tony then took over the session and mentioned that their third musketeer, Ian McMillan (the Voice behind Yorkshire tea)was at a pie eating competition😂🤣😂🤣………..

We were here today to discuss ideas about the banner and then about the unfurling of the banner at a prominent place in York during Dementia Action Week………

The banner will be ‘The RIGHT to a grand day out” – 2 meters wide and 3 meters high😳. It will hopefully be double sided. There will be smaller versions, postcards and a digital version…….

Ian, Ian and Tony have done the ground work and brought a rough outline today for us to comment on. One side will deal with the negative aspects of getting around and the other side will be the positives…..

At the top we’ll have YORKSHIRE DEEP with a shield with a flourishing rose on the one side and a withered rose on the other……4 cartoon images by Tony in each corner of traffic  jam, stuffed bus etc……….This is a mock up and starter for 10 but by no means the finished article..

We immediately said how ‘Yorkshire DEEP’ should be replaced by ‘Dementia Voices’

Front of the banner will be positive images and have Yorkshire images…… for example, Yorkshire pudding and ice cream, Yorkshire tea and a pint of beer……….🤣😂🤣……………but other ideas were flowing from the group.

The railway lines on the front are easy to navigate, whereas the lines on the back are confusing……

There was loads of ideas……..and disagreements……and discussion……

We then went round discussing the venue for the unfurling………York Station, York Minster or National Railway Museum….or all three……….and I said we need Radio York, York press and Yorkshire Post, BBC there…..Ian is on the case…..

Weds 23rd May is unfurling day……during Dementia Action week and will be in York…

We were then showed a photo of 2 miners…..and I asked if it was Tony and Ian’s Calendar pose🤣….they even posed to show the similarity….🤣

He then read out Ian Mcmillan’s lovely poem that he’s written for us …..

And then showed us a copy of the idea for the chat book in the format of the old type Yorkshire magazine…….and our Rita would be on the front.

It would contain lots of the photos we had taken during our day our last year and the cartoons that Tony created.

We need to include a piece about each individual project that each individual group did….Scarborough and the Blue Badge scheme. Bradford and bus timetables, and Minds and Voices and our train travel………

We were all beginning to flag so time for lunch……..or for me….a cuppa tea…..

After lunch there were 3 things on offer – talking to Tony the cartoonist about any issues we’d had travelling, talking to Ian about any more thoughts on the banner and talking to Philly about Dementia Diaries……I really can’t do decisions, I need direction, so joined Philly to promote the diaries and we ended up with 4 possible new members, including my friend Liz from Scarborough.

Because I don’t use the phone, I usually send Philly my words and she records for me. Today, Philly allowed people to have a go on her phone and because she set it all up on speaker and dialled the number I could record as that’s what me and my daughters do if they have to make a call on my mobile – they have it on speaker.

They’re trying to get the diaries global so that people across the world can record their message. Tomo, who I met from Japan is joining and there’s a university in America which is really keen to bring the diaries to the States! – brilliant.

It was a really good day once again, but very tiring……couldn’t resist this last piccie as I was waiting for my bus near the station though………

My Journey to the Publishers……..🙄

OK, so the title of this blog includes the dreaded word ‘journey’……so you know this won’t end good🙈. I did think of simply showing emojis instead of text….if I had it would have gone something like this……

😱 😳 🙄 🙈 😫 😨 😰 🤐

So we could just leave it at that but then I wouldn’t get my keyboard practise for the day.

So here comes the txt😊.

I’d been really looking forward to last Thursday as I was due to visit all the lovely people at Bloomsbury Publishers. They originally asked me down to take staff through a Dementia Friends session but then other stuff had cropped up and we were meeting Alexis and others a couple of hours before to catch up on all their plans. Their was restricted seating for the Dementia friends session but I’d been told it had sold out and to expect about 75 people🙃

A few weeks before the date I’d noticed signs going up at my local station:

“Strike Action, Northern Rail 5th October’ 😳

I must have been having a good day that particular day as I didn’t panic and just went into the taxi office and asked if they could drop me off further down the line instead. 👍

I’d prepared everything in advance as usual and had everything waiting for me on the kitchen worktop😇 I’m so glad I’ve always been highly organised as it must be difficult for those who aren’t to try and learn that skill when dementia enters their life…

A few days before the 5th we had a nice email from Alexis Kirschbaum saying how much she was looking forward to seeing us☺️ and highlighting the TUBE STRIKE that was taking place on the day😱
😳😱😳

I decided to quickly close my emails in the hope that it was a ‘dementiua hallucination’ but sadly, it was still there 30 minutes later. I made a cuppa tea…….

Alexis had offered to send a car to the station for me but the thought of the chaos that may greet me at Kings Cross and 5000 other booked cars looking for their people threw me into a panic. I’d coincidentally already printed out my walking map so decided it was going to be easier to walk. I’d pass familiar landmarks – UCL, Wellcome Trust, Russell Gardens, so would feel safe…….I hoped

It was a much longer taxi drive in the dark due to the Northern train strike and the night before had been very stormy but luckily there was only a few stray branches and puddles to navigate.
The nice thing about travelling from Brough is there’s a lovely little tea kiosk that serves Yorkshire tea……….every cloud😊
The train was on time and we trundled our way down to London. It was also turning into a lovely day.

I was meeting the lovely Anna Wharton, my partner in crime with the book, at a café nearby the publishers. She assured me we’d met there before🙄.

My walk from the station went amazingly smoothly thanks to my map and google talking in my ear😊 I couldn’t resist taking a piccie of the autumn colours as I passed by Tavistock Square Gardens…

Anna arrived just after me and after a hug we went for a cuppa and catch up.

The first thing she asked was did I realise the tube strike had been called off……🙄
But it had been a nice walk and I’d enjoy the walk back – much better than being on a crowded tube train. Good job I hadn’t noticed as to change my plans would have got me totally confused as my maps were for walking.

We made our way to the Bloomsbury office and were met by Alexis and lots of smiley friendly faces. It was so nice to meet them all and hear their plans, which simply don’t seem real at the moment………One surprise they had for us was a proof copy of the book and it was so nice to have something that resembled a book in my hands. The other was being given a copy of their 2018 New Titles catalogue with my book design on the back cover!

They are the nicest people and I could just wander round their offices all day long looking at all the amazing books. All too soon it was lunch time and time to go down and talk to all the staff and take them through Dementia Friends……..

More on meeting all the staff on Monday….