Sunday, 30 March 2014

Dementia Diaries Mothers Day

Dementia diaries II Mothers Day
Obviously some days highlight the problems of dementia more than others and today is one of them. I bought my mum an early present of a pair of trousers (much needed) she is now a size 24 where she has for years been a size 14, mainly due to the fact that she will only eat biscuits and only moves from her chair to go to the toilet or bed when at home. When I called yesterday she was wearing the trousers but obviously had no recollection that I'd bought them. I took her a bouquet of flowers and despite the fact that there was an arrangement from my brother too she had no idea why. Choosing a card is hard as this isn't my mum and and she does nothing at all never mind being kind, helpful and thoughtful as all the cards suggest. She is however of a generation where cards for special people must have verses and so one the just says 'have a lovely day' won't cut it. You could argue she won't know but occasionally she does so you spend hours finding a card that will work!

'Have you been somewhere?'
'Ive been to the hairdressers mum'

There are no links in her brain to the polite social responses - despite having had my hair cropped a lot shorter, despite the socially accepted norms there is not a flicker of response.
Dad did catch her dancing at the respite centre on Friday so maybe they know how to elicit a response - we certainly don't. To all of you who still have their mothers - cherish the moments. To my friends who have lost theirs or who have lost children - cherish the memories. X

Friday, 28 March 2014


Yes the flowers are dead but you expected that didn't you?

Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Learning Through a Lens - New Front Cover

My book is at the stage where it is ready for printing - I also have a wonderful new cover!
Many thanks to Tom for sorting this out. You can view it on Amazon here.

Monday, 24 March 2014

Dementia Diaries

My mum has been diagnosed with dementia and life is difficult at times - I will occasionally blog as it helps!

I actually picked up the phone to ring my mum yesterday and then realised I couldn't. She isn't dead but she isn't there either. Mum has dementia and it's slowly destroying everyone around her. I know it's the illness and everyone says to be patient and understanding but  do you know what - she's manipulative, controlling and can be very hurtful when she lashes out verbally.
For a long time her dementia was 'the elephant in the room' and we all tried to pretend it wasn't happening. Then she fell and fractured  her hip necessitating a stay at a rehab centre for dementia patients ( funny how short term memory loss becomes dementia over night) without Dad to cover up for her she didn't know if she took sugar in her tea, what her date of birth was.....although she had amazing strategies for covering up:
Social worker: what's your date of birth?
Mum: you're nosy aren't you?
Sw: were you born in the winter or the Summer
Mum: it's not something I think about
Not once did she say 'I don't know'

She was controlling everyone from her bed, dad went for 6 hours or so everyday but woe betide if he was a few minutes late! We respected the illness 'she can't help it' we tried to be understanding but boy could she push everyone's buttons! After nearly 2 months of daily visits, bathing her, taking her to the toilet, creaming her legs and feet whilst she complained loudly about everyone in here being a 'bit loopy' she had an almighty temper tantrum. Banging her fists on the bed and screaming that we were selfish and didn't care about her was a 'pushed button too far' and everything I'd bottled up came out. Not my finest hour but unavoidable. When I apologised to Dad his response was 'I'm only surprised you lasted as long as you did!'

She's now at home with my dad who is eighty in May as her chief carer. Yes, help is available but she fights every step of the way. Her first visit to a respite day centre for two hours last week resulted in the surreal experience of being in a room full of dementia patients all looking at me expectantly whilst dad cried and mum shouted at me for being cruel - thank god for antidepressants. The lady in charge kindly led us away, told us to leave as this was normal. On the way home I could talk to dad for the first time in months, paranoia means mum won't let him out of her sight as everyone is talking about her - again the world revolves around her. 'Its like leaving a child at nursery school isn't it?' Dad knows this isn't his wife and he knows that everything we are doing is to support him but it's hard.

His only 'escape' is to watch Barnsley FC playing once a fortnight, when myself or my brother sit with mum. Yesterday I turned up to do this and had the saddest 'non conversation' with Dad ever. He checks the calendar and buys all the birthday cards he needs for that month and I sign then for him.   We did this as normal and he then gave me a card in a paper bag. I just raised an eyebrow and he nodded. The card said 'to my husband on our anniversary' - he bought it, I wrote it and put it in mum's hand to give to him. I did ask her what to write when dad was out but she said 'something nice, whatever you think love' 57 years of marriage celebrated.
Mum now likes the day care unit apparently they are 'lovely' to her there. She comes home with her nails painted a different colour each time and Dad gets 3 hours to breathe. She is deteriorating and we are valiantly repeating the mantra 'it's the illness it's not mum'

Sunday, 23 March 2014

Sheffield Street Art and Abandoned Places visit II

I visited Sheffield again this morning. Wandered around taking more images of Street Art and even plucked up courage to chat to people. This man was lovely and allowed me to take his photo - they are painting in a legal spot! I actually really like this one!

More images from Phlegm in the next couple of images - behind the bookshop 'Rare and Racey'

 This is another 'through the hole on the wall' shot but is different to that from last week as the chairs etc have been moved around.

Found this great quote on a wall 

Friday, 21 March 2014

Decaying flowers

Flowers that are decaying have the most amazing lines and textures.

Thursday, 20 March 2014

Beauty in the back garden

We are fortunate to get a whole variety of birds in our back garden (due mainly to living very near to an RSPB site). At the moment 4 of our regular visitors are 3 female pheasants and one male. They are very confident and wander quite close to the patio doors. I have only just realised how beautiful their plumage is!

Sunday, 16 March 2014

Sheffield Street Art

I've wandered around Sheffield City with my camera several times and taken a lot of street art images but with thanks to several walks and maps that I found here 
I ventured out again this afternoon. There is some amazing art as well as abandoned places. We also met three lovely guys who were busy painting and allowed me to take photos. I have loads more - these are just a sample. Many would make excellent literacy stimulus images.

Sunday, 9 March 2014

Feeding the ducks

Although there are actually no ducks in these photos - we went to 'feed the ducks' at Cusworth Hall and have a picnic by the lake - what a lovely spring day!

Monday, 3 March 2014

Signs of Spring

A day spent editing today with a 20 minute walk at lunch - there are real signs of Spring!

Saturday, 1 March 2014


I love textures, especially in nature. These images are all tree trunks at Cusworth Hall in Doncaster

Cusworth Hall

Just been for a wander this afternoon, Cusworth Hall Doncaster,  a few images here but I'm working on a tree texture collage x