Tag Archives: Alzheimer’s

HAIGHTON.

Friday 29th January.     7.5 miles.           Preston.

I drive a couple of miles to Grimsargh and park close to my last walk to save repeating the same roads. Walking through Cow Hill and down to the cattery, then along by Savick Brook to the private drive of Haighton House is a walk I’m very familiar with. I climb up the bridleway to Ladyewell House and follow Fernyhalgh Lane past St.Mary’s Church and school to Haighton Top.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/St_Mary%27s_Church,_Fernyhalgh

I was starting to think this was a mistake as It brought back too many memories of bringing my friend with Alzheimer’s  this way to keep her as active as possible. She loved this area and always brightened up on recognising familiar places.

A soggy Cow Hill.

Savick Brook.

Haighton House hidden in the trees.

Memory lane.

Today’s hill – bridleway to Ladyewell.

Ornate grave at St. Mary’s Church.

Simpler memorial.

The old Fernyhalgh School. My children started their education here, it is now a nursery.

I moved on across the motorway and was soon using the route of Preston Guild Wheel as it passes through the industrial estate behind the warehouses. I’m normally on my bike along here, so I had a different perspective today. A lot of the people using it are walking between areas of Preston as part of their daily routine rather than rushing round the whole circuit. 

The lone glove phenomenon.

Coming off the Wheel at the service station next to motorway Junction 31A I was surprised to walk past a farm in the close vicinity. My efforts to come out by a housing estate were thwarted by a deep flood across the path. So I continued along the old railway line, Preston to Longridge, even though it wasn’t a public footpath. It became more and more overgrown and, I only managed to escape by crawling under barbed wire fences at Grimsargh Church.

Little Rough Hay Farm.

 

The back of Spar’s distribution centre.

No way.

The old railway line.

No problem…

…disappearing.

 

Escape.

From the bridge I rejoined the railway, now a made up track through Grimsargh to where the station had been. What a shame the ‘powers that be’ couldn’t connect it to the stretch from the motorway.

‘Grimsargh station’

 

Originally a farm, then a coaching inn. It served rail tickets before the station was completed.

Another successful local walk although not quite from my front door.

*****

Watch out for the wolf moon.

*****

 

THE LOWER RIVER BROCK.

Friday 27th November.  7 miles.  Inglewhite.

I have done quite a bit of walking on the River Brock recently, in fact most of it from the source to Brock Bottom. Today we walk onwards towards the Wyre a less frequented destination,  I was expecting a lot of boggy fields with awkward stiles and yes that’s what we found.

Leaving the village green of Inglewhite with its market cross we were amazed at the development spreading out into the surrounding fields. It all looked rather fine country living but where will it end. Anyhow, we splodged on to escape on to a minor road just ahead of a herd of inquisitive, threatening  bullocks.

We could relax and chat for the next mile or so until we dropped on an old way to the River Brock. There was a footbridge crossing into the Brock Bottom Mill site, I’ve written about this before. Today we walked on past the mill sites and through fields to Walmsley Bridge.

Then more fields with the River Brock cascading down hidden falls until we seemed to be in someone’s vast garden alongside the river with the no doubt grand house hidden to our left, Brock Side. It is great walking with Mike, an architect, because he seems to have been involved one way or another in the past with many of these rural redevelopments. His, no doubt up to the best standards.

After a bridge and weir the Brock has been tamed along the next stretch by concrete walls. A private road runs alongside to a dead end and a footbridge. On the left, half in someone’s garden, is the remains of a water powered mill, Matshead paper mill. Over the footbridge a lane follows the river downstream under the motorway, railway and canal to disappear without rights of way into the Wyre. No longer the bubbly Brock from Bleasdale.  There is another weir by the road and the site of the old Brock Station, closed in 1939 to passengers and 1954 to freight, now utilised as a nature reserve.

 

Off to join the Wyre.

Back to the footbridge we were supposed to turn into a yard and follow a path between houses and barns. All I could see was a gate into a ‘private’ garden but Mike spotted someone and asked where the footpath went and was somewhat begrudgingly told – through the gate and past the garage. I doubt few will brave this way. We emerged from a series of gates and gardens back into the fields where all was rural again with open views to the Bleasdale Fells and Beacon Fell.

These fields lead us to Bilsborrow Hall Farm, the hall itself is well hidden in woods across the way. We trusted to our directional sense to find a way through what was more of an industrial site than a farm.

The next short stretch of road was scattered with expensive looking residences, some more pleasing to the eye than others.

More awkward stiles and soggy fields led us back to Inglewhite and the Green Man, closed of course.

 

I have wonderful memories of Doreen playing the piano, despite her worsening Alzheimer’s, at lunchtime in August 2019.

 

*****

BLEASDALE BIMBLE.

Bleasdale.

Today I do a short walk on the Bleasdale Estate lanes with Mike who has all too recently lost his wife to dementia.

I’m not the best of companions as I become as upset as him.

We have done this walk many times in the past before returning home to his wife’s excellent lunches.

Today I provide the soup and support, I hope.

The butterfly below brightened the day.

A Red Admiral making the most of the October sunshine.

*****

NATIONAL ALZHEIMER’S DAY. September 21st. Finding a new path.

 

Over the last year I’ve been trying to find the right path to communicate with my lovely friend suffering from Alzheimers. While I could, I took her out to hopefully familiar places and friends. When her watch showed noon it was time to find somewhere to eat. Lager and lime, fish no batter, chips and mushy peas, was the order of the day.

Then we would play patience, she rarely missed a trick.

Then we would sit and do jigsaws, she had a quick eye for the right piece.

Then I would play music; The Beatles, Hot Chocolate and Niel Diamond. Was that the best choice?  A wave of the hands or a nod of the head meant a lot.

Then I would just talk about anything. A thumbs up was all I needed.

Then she stared, did she know me? Was that a tear?

Then she went.

***

After the funeral I went for a walk up Longridge Fell. It was a beautiful late Summer’s evening. I thought I had found a new path through the trees, maybe a gift to remember her by,  but it went nowhere.

It is National Alzheimer’s Day today, September 21st.

https://www.alzheimers.org.uk/get-involved/world-alzheimers-month

Have you thought of giving to their charity?

 

 

LITTLEDALE. A bittersweet day.

                                                                   Bowland at its best.

I walked here a week ago, August Bank Holiday Monday. We had planned it to avoid the crowds. Sir Hugh’s write-up is already published.

On my drive home I had a phone call to say my friend with dementia and motor-neurone disease had suffered a turn for the worse. Was I glad I had not taken the motorway, it was jam packed. My little car sped through the by lanes and I arrived along with the paramedics. There was little they could do except offer sincere empathy, likewise the on call doctor who came shortly afterwards. Thankfully she could be nursed, unconscious, at home. Two days later she passed away peacefully. I’ve lost two of my best friends this year.

A week later I have loaded my photos but am unable to give a  commentary.

Baines Crag carpark.

Artle Beck.

Crossgill Farm, 1681, typical of the area.

The former St. Anne;s Chapel. 1752.

Littledale Free Church, 1849, now a store.

Littledale Hall and buildings, C19 gothic style. Now a ‘therapy centre’.

Sir Hugh entering upper Littledale.

Leafy Littledale.

Over to Roeburndale – another day.

Littledale – there and back.

I want one of these when the time comes.

Littledale Hall again.

Caton Moor wind turbines.

Slopes of Clougha with the infant River Condor.

Looking back towards distant Ward’s Stone Fell.

Baines Crag.

A steep end to the day.

*****

ALZHEIMER’S DISEASE – a personal view.

Covid Lockdown. I’ve not been for three months. She must wonder where her friends have gone. What’s app video conversations have been intermittent and unsatisfactory. But I’m looking at it from my perspective, maybe she loved to see my face on the small screen, I certainly had the thumbs up even when there was no speech left.

At last, I can visit in the garden. As I walk in front of the windows up goes the thumb, only one now. How wonderful.

The combination of her deterioration and the Covid lockdown has not been good so I’m overjoyed with whatever recognition there is. There are stories everywhere of family’s unable to be close to their loved ones in life and death. All heartbreaking.

Dementia is cruel and insidious. Maybe two years ago there were early signs, slightly odd comments but we laughed them off. Then it was all too obvious but we kept on with life as much as possible. Even last September a holiday at their house in France. Old haunts were reassuring, maybe for her but helpful for us.

The trips out in the autumn to pubs for lunch. A finger pointing at her watch when the hour was twelve – they were serving food.  Signs language told me, if not the waitress, fish, no batter, chips and mushypeas. Maybe room for apple pie and custard. Some establishments were more understanding and accomodating than others. I’ll patronise those again when the pain is over.

But now a bare six months later there is only a glimer of recognition, a stare and possibly an attempt at a thumbs up. And now a stare

I talk and gesture almost a dementia in myself, thats all I have. A stare

I dread tomorrow, if she is not in the familiar chair.

 

 

 

 

 

AIN’T NO SUNSHINE.

Ain’t no sunshine today but I still manage a short walk in the rain.

I suppose I’ve become a fair weather walker. I choose my days when I know [hope] the weather is good, like last week. I can afford to be selective. That wasn’t always the case. Many wet weekend climbing trips were spent in a steamy café [Llanberis, Ambleside, Hathersage]  with tea and toast to while away the hours before driving home. Long-distance walks would always throw up a few wet days although I was considered lucky in my choice of a holiday week.

There will be people out walking trails this week, the holiday season is upon us, who have enjoyed the dry hot conditions and now have to continue on the wet days. Variety is the spice of life, or so they say. My thoughts are with them – it is all character building, that’s what I tell my Grandchildren. We’ve all endured a day of soaking weather and yet remember the experience, if not fondly, but with some pride in having survived and enjoyed a pint in the pub that night.

Back to today. The skies are grey and it is raining but I tell myself that I must get some exercise and avoid a depressing day as Bill Withers’ song suggests. A poignant song as always but particularly so at present as one of my best friends is suffering a form of dementia.

I choose my usual ‘fall back on’ stroll around lanes and through the village. The cricket pitch looks dismal and the encroaching housing estate doesn’t help. No match today. Lord’s Lane leads up into the mist and there is no sign of any fell tops. Along the old railway track into John Smith’s Park is dank and dark –  unlike a painting by talented local artist, Emma Lord, I bought last week at Create Longridge Day,  This painting was on a day of light shining through the branches onto the same path I’m walking today.

I’m home, not unduly wet and semi-satisfied I’d made the effort.

*****

As an aside, though it may be connected, one night last week in the hot sweltering weather I was awakened by a bat flying around my bedroom!  It must have entered through my open skylight and now was lost. Concerned for its welfare I opened all my other windows but it persisted in its circular orbits. When it eventually landed I was able to scoop it up in a carton and free it outside. I presume it was a Pipistrel but I’m not sure, it’s not easy to photograph a flying bat with your phone in the middle of the night.  An unusual encounter that lifts one’s spirits.

It’s been a wet Sunday.

*****