Diary – Obsession with the Moon

Thursday 13th January 2021

My obsession with the moon since owning a camera.

How the moon changes

I love to zoom in with my camera to look at the craters, the undulations, imagining if there could be any life on this wondrous natural satellite . The moon’s orbit and phases are very mysterious.

The moon always shows us the same face, yet changes to how much of it we see, depending on the moon’s position in relation to earth and the sun.

The Moon’s phase for the 12th January was theWaxing Gibbous phase. This phase is when the moon is more than 50% illuminated but not yet a Full Moon.

Tonight (12th Jan) there was also what they call a jewelled handle visible that’s if you have a telescope or a pair of binoculars.

In my case a camera with a zoom lens.

I have taken many photos over a 7 hour period looking to see if I would be lucky enough to capture this jewelled handle

As you can see in the last photo the jewelled handle is definitely visible. Positioned at the top of the moon in the photo below, it really does look like a little handle. I can also makes out a heart shape.

The jewelled handle is definitely visible

Bellow is a short film of what changes there will be and what to watch out for in the next few weeks / months

Click the link to watch…Enjoy.

https://emea01.safelinks.protection.outlook.com/?url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.bbc.co.uk%2Fprogrammes%2Fp0bbrv0k&data=04%7C01%7C%7C3b7a5920f0074c76b4e608d9d3be25e4%7C84df9e7fe9f640afb435aaaaaaaaaaaa%7C1%7C0%7C637773635938505543%7CUnknown%7CTWFpbGZsb3d8eyJWIjoiMC4wLjAwMDAiLCJQIjoiV2luMzIiLCJBTiI6Ik1haWwiLCJXVCI6Mn0%3D%7C3000&sdata=aMfoD6ewTeIUG6BsliSTGmYPadCaiUZ6D10elmcvZgc%3D&reserved=0

Diary – Woodland Walk

Wednesday 12th January 2022

I was asked after yesterday’s blog which 2021 dance track I was vacuuming too… Nothing like a bit of Calvin Harris to get you moving and jigging around! Glad no one can see me!

No early morning walk for me this morning, I am off to do the food shop.

Early start means a quiet, calm shop.

My shopping experience started at 7.30am.

10.30am I’m finished, that’s including putting all the shopping away.

I think I have mentioned previously that the food shop takes me so much longer these days…not that it matters, at least I am still able to shop.

I complete a few chores, have lunch, then off I go for a later than normal walk.

A woodland walk for me and Toby today, feels great to have a change of scenery.

We enter the woods listening and looking around, sounds of the little birds all singing away, such a beautiful calming sound. Not that I can spot any of the feathered choir!

It’s quite muddy underfoot even parts of the gravelled paths are deep in mud, good job I have my wellies on…Think Toby could do with wellies!

We walk deeper into the woods, I hear the tapping of the woodpecker. The tapping gets louder and louder. High up in the branches right at the very top of the tree is Woody.

He is not for turning round! I stand waiting for the moment, arms aching from standing holding the camera in the same position. My eye is now twitching from looking through the lens of the camera. Determined not to miss the moment. Click, Click…Gottcha!

Not the best photo …I don’t really care, I got a photo of Woody!

Pleased that I spotted the woodpecker, we head off, me with a spring in my step…I have captured something new for a change. Toby was just glad to be on the move again.

Woodland walks always have something of interest from plant life, mossy tree trunks, fungi, nature in abundance if you take the time to look all around you.

Mr blackbird hiding in the undergrowth, then high up in the tree is a little blue tit.

Foliage is getting greener, new life, shoots, buds, colour starting to bloom. The sun casting a beautiful glow…everything looks and feels so much brighter.

We head off back towards the car, we have a quick stop at the small pond to see the ducks, before heading off home.

A lovely walk even if it was a little muddy underfoot. Just lovely to have a change of scenery

Diary Do I fit in?

Tuesday 11th January 2022

Do I fit in?

This is a question I ask myself regularly.

I have joined all sorts of groups over the last 3 years and met some very inspirational people .

I am hoping that this blog does not upset any of my friends.

I have rewritten this particular blog quite a few times in hope I do Not upset anyone.

This blog is about MY difficulties and fitting in.

Groups can be a life line and the Deep have been so supportive. I try to understand how difficult it must be to accommodate everyones needs. The different age groups, the different stages in dementia and of course our different personalities.

My needs for instance may not be the same as someone else’s needs. But yet we all have needs that are important to us.

Woo zoom meetings! The ones where I enter the square blank screen of nothing. Seconds later lots of little boxes open with faces flashing across the screen. My eyes do not know where to focus. A voice! which square? Who is speaking. Now confused, as I once again try to focus.

I have found I definitely fit better into a small group rather than a large group. I feel more comfortable, I can navigate the zoom boxes on the computer screen easier. It’s not as confusing for my brain to work out who is speaking…I recognise the voice…I just feel at ease.

As for age I am only I’m my 50’s…still believe I am 54 most of the time. Why? Possibly because that was the age when I was diagnosed with Early Onset Alzheimer’s disease…Now the number 54 sticks in my head.

I am told by hubby I am 57…a young 57 Mmm I think he is just being kind!

I know age is just a number and shouldn’t make any difference. Having said that, there is a difference when it comes to our interests.

We do all have one interest in common…Dementia.

So now I find myself just talking about dementia, which is good to talk, it helps to builds a better understanding, but do I want to talk about dementia every day?

Have we really got anything in common other than dementia?

Do we like the same music? …As I push the vacuum round with my headphones blasting out dance music from 2021. Then if I need to relax it maybe something a little calmer like Adele or Eva Cassidy.

Do we read the same newspapers?

I do sometimes feel like the odd one out. We do have some interest in common like walking with nature and photography also some of us have art, but again the struggle with larger zoom meetings.

The multi tasking of painting / drawing whilst on the zoom, blows my mind…confusion, also distractions.

The confusion begins, leaving me feeling uneasy at the end of the zoom meeting. Leading my brain into overdrive, which is very unsettling.

Most people I meet through zooms have accepted me kindly into their groups, most are living with dementia and have been for quite some time, much longer that I have. They have much more lived experience.

All very Informative, helpful and very supportive.

With my diagnosis received in my early 50’s it was a blow. I should have still been working…running my business. Instead I find my self at home alone.

Hubby is the same age as me and is in full time employment. This also has an impact on me, as we cannot spend the quality time together as we would like…Scary that we are missing precious time together . By the time Hubby retires who knows what stage my dementia will be at…Will we still be able to enjoy holidays together? I am certainly hoping so…but who knows!

Most of my dementia friends whom are married or live with their partner, have retired together.

Then there are those who live alone, they can please themselves when they do things.

All relationships wether you are married, retired or living alone brings different challenges.

We all have very different lives and different family values. Trying to get the right balance can be a struggle.

I don’t want my life to be all about dementia. Even though I do choose to write about my experiences, I write not only for my own benefit, but hopefully to bring a better understanding of what it is like to live with dementia at a younger age…pre retirement!

Diary – Feeling Lost

Monday 10th January 2022

A very grey muggy morning, which was a little disappointing as I was expecting the weather to be clearer, wishful thinking on my part I think.

Off to the beach as there is light in the sky, not a good light for photos though! We wander for a while, Charlie doing his digging, Toby by my side.

Funny how our brains go into automatic, I don’t really remember my walk from the beach back home such a weird feeling of nothing

I’m feeling a little lost this morning, I don’t know which way to go. I stand watching the sea looking up and down the beach, I see the ramp that exits the beach. Making my way to the ramp I know I’m going in the right direction, I know that this is the way home.

I arrive home safely, but as I’m taking my coat off I realise the birthday card I should have posted in the postbox is still in my pocket. With a sigh, coat back on. It’s not far to walk to the postbox, only a street away thank goodness.

Looks like my sidekick is having fun playing a few tricks this morning, I wasn’t prepared for games today!

I am feeling fine in my self, just a little strange like my head is empty.

Later in the morning, I join a zoom meeting which wasn’t a great success for me, far too many boxes of people flitting from conversations and explanations. Explanations that my brain can’t work out…Why can I not understand things! Why does it all sound like gobble de gook! I keep putting myself into situations that makes me feel bad.

Why do I do it, you might ask?

Because I want to be involved in changing how dementia is perceived, I want to bringing much more awareness that you can achieve and live a life with a dementia diagnosis.

I this morning I feel stupid for not understanding the conversations, I just feel really really stupid and thick! Everything is just moving to fast for my brain to comprehend.

All I seem to do is bring my dementia to the forefront. Making me realise there are things I can’t do anymore. When I should be concentrating on the things I am comfortable with…The things I can do,

I leave the meeting feeling deflated and defeated yet again by dementia!

Think i definitely need to give up on large Zoom meeting…I now just have to remember that!

Time to concentrate on what I can do

Diary – Weekend – Card Making

Saturday 8th January 2022

I wake with that …oh I can’t be bothered feeling. I can hear the rain as it hits the windowpane…I sigh, turn over, wonder if it is worth getting out of bed today!

A little later I hear Toby tip taping, on the wooden floor outside my door. He might only be a little Scottie but he has big black furry bear paws that I can hear coming closer, then of course the whinging will start, it’s like he talks to me “come on mum”!

Yes come on Gail! This is not like you!

I’m up…my routine begins…same old…same old!

I sit drinking my cup of tea, writing up my blog, when I realise sitting here is just making me feel worse. Time to get up and go and find something to occupy me!

Off into the craft room as I start designing a couple of birthday cards, can’t use all images of the finished cards as the recipient will know what card they are getting for their birthday!

This one below I have blanked the name out on the personalised card

The hours pass, before I know it Hubby is home from work. Can’t believe I have only made 2 cards! On the positive side, it is 2 more cards than I had when I started!

Late afternoon the rain stopped. Time for me, hubby, Toby and Charlie to take a walk. It’s high tide, so we head off towards the prom. Nikon at the ready, time to wait for the big waves!

I do get carried away sometimes, doesn’t matter as I can easily delete the ones that I don’t like or are blurry…There are always a few blurry ones!

It’s the excitement of finding the ones you do like. Even more exciting when you can’t even remember taking the photo.

It was a little chilly out, but by golly it felt so good to be outdoors.

***Sunday 9th January 2022***

I sit reading a new book, not read anything at length for a while now, I find myself falling deeper and deeper into the book, I’m totally captivated by the words, in parts of the book almost feels like my reality.

Im reading more and more pages…Wow I can totally relate. I am finding this book very interesting…So interesting it’s hard for me to put it down. I’m now on page 63, totally hooked!

My eyes can’t read anymore or is it my brain that can’t! The words are jumping around the page. I have had this before when reading for a length of time…time to take a break.

Off for my walk on the nature reserve, it’s a cold walk this morning but at least it’s dry

Even though the sun isn’t visible at sunrise time, there are some wonderful fluffy clouds around.

Just as I am getting out of the car the swans fly over, I am fumbling with my camera…Not quick enough for a clear shot, at least I managed to captured them.

It’s very quiet out and about, the little birds hidden away in the hedgerows, just a brief sighting of them before they dart back into the undergrowth. I’m struggling with my camera this morning! Just haven’t got the speed.

We walk around for a while, the cold nipping at my face. The ends of my fingers that are peeping out of my fingerless gloves, now feeling numb. Time to go and feed my feathered friends, then head off back to the car.

What did I tell you …Definitely not quick enough! I miss another opportunity for a great photo!

Not all my photos are headless! I do manage to come away with some successful photos!

I don’t care, just good to be out with nature.

Lunchtime / Brunch time, hubby is treating me to a full English brunch, I have always loved my full English breakfast on a Sunday, unfortunately my sidekick interferes with my cooking when there are lots of different components, I get so muddled, something always gets burnt …including myself. So I decided to give up making full English breakfast a few months ago. I still make breakfast on a Sunday just opted for an easier option…The good old bacon butty!

I do miss a good Full English though!

Breakfast was yummy, now time to retreat to my craft room for some craft therapy.

After a couple of hours of crafting, all birthday cards made for all family and friends birthdays in January and February.

No sunset tonight but there was another beautiful clear moon to end the day

Diary – Feeling of unease

Friday 7th January 2022

Terrible night of tossing and turning, brain not shutting down. A feeling of unease. I have all sorts of thoughts going around in my head. I try writing things down to see if that helps.

Eventually I must have dropped off to sleep, when I wake i feel cold, so I get out of bed to check the heating out.

I can see it’s raining, then the hail stones, luckily no snow for us. We very rarely get snow, when we do it’s only a light dusting which always disappears very quickly. Today we just have short, sharp, showers of hail!

I think It will be a quick walk for me and Toby this morning, nothing exciting far to cold and wet at the moment to be out with my camera. When we have finished our walk I was certainly glad to be back indoors. Tell you what, I’m so glad I took plenty of photos during the week…Looking like we are in for a few days of the wet stuff!

I have a few errands to complete this morning, then the day is my own. I’m looking for things to occupy my day, to keep my mind occupied, I do sometimes get tired of my routine I am living with at the moment. I do wonder what has happened to my busy life, from a workaholic to now finding things to fill my day. This definitely has an impact on how I feel some days.

On the days when I am able to get out with my camera it’s a welcome distraction which passes the time and fills my day. Plus I have wonderful memories of nature to look back on …which always makes me smile.

Photo taken September 2021

I haven’t been doing any crafting or sketching for a while. Most probably the Christmas break which has disrupted my routine.

It sometimes feels like I actually forget what I actually like to do, what my hobbies and interests are. I think it might be a good idea to add it to my things to do list, just as a gentle reminder.

I bake a Victoria sandwich cake after lunch and finish off a couple of hand made Birthday cards, then it’s time to make a start on some ironing…not one of my favourite jobs!

Been a funny day, things just haven’t felt right today!

I haven’t felt comfortable…The feeling of unease in my own home!

Diary – Memories in photographs

Thursday 6th January 2022

Yesterday I absolutely walked my socks off! I am just loving the sunshine even if it is freezing.

The photos I can take…the memories I can make…all to look back on any time I wish…there forever

I was on the nature reserve for the sunrise, a beautiful one it was too. Fetching the warm orange glow to brighten our day

Everything seems brighter and happier when the sun shines. I know my photos are much brighter, with reflections gleaming onto the pond making photography more interesting.

And of course mr Robin brought another smile to my face

I’m sure this clever little bird knows who I am!

After my morning walk a few jobs to attend to, but as it is such a lovely day I just feel the need to be out and about, so off I go to visit the zoo.

It’s a few weeks since my last visit, so I was glad to be there seeing if anything had changed. Looks like there are some changes taking place as there was a JCB excavating, if that’s the right word!

I was surprised to find 3 Red Pandas out of their dens. On previous visits there has only been one panda.

I would have loved to have captured a family photo of them all together, think I might have been waiting along time for that shot!

Somebody else was enjoying the sun…Alyona the female tiger. Not looking that impressed with all the visitors staring at her!

Such a gorgeous big cat,

I wander around for a couple of hours, snapping away with my camera. I then realise I’m tiring so time to head home.

For some reason once home I can’t relax as the sky is turning orange. Now I’m wondering if ther is going to be a sunset.

Off I go again with camera in hand, Toby by my side heading for the beach

No sunset tonight, which was a little disappointing. I have had a brilliant day out and about with my camera though.

My feet are killing me, my hip hurts…It was definitely worth it!

More memories in photographs ❤️

Diary – Nature Gives me a boost

Wednesday 5th January 2022

Brrrr the temperature has certainly dropped over the last few days, my walk around the Nature reserve Yesterday after afternoon was certainly a bitter one!

I did actually really enjoy my walk, even if the ends of my fingers, nose and chin where numb. It was just wonderful, nature at its best with the bright blue sky, my feathered friends which where very vocal and active…It was just a beautiful walk.

I have never seen the river so high, normally there is a grass area at each side of the river. Not today there wasn’t!

Even the cormorant had a new perch today as the old shipwreck was in water. In the Summer months when it’s much dryer weather, you can walk to the old shipwrecks.

The swans are back today…I just love the swans. The lighting just right for a beautiful photo.

I messed about with the video mode on my camera for a while, zooming in and out trying to get used to this button which I had completely forgotten about until hubby reminded me.

When I watch it back the ending is like a scene from Alfred Hitchcock “The Birds”

As me and Toby head off back to the car, mr Robin makes his appearance…I always have some food handy in my pocket for the little birds. Oh and dog treats, poo bags, tissues and gloves!

I took the time to just stop by the last pond and have a good look around. Glad I did as there at the other side of the pond just coming through the reeds was a heron, a very big beautiful heron, preening himself.

I do find herons a little intimidating, I think it’s the way they stare with those bright piercing eyes…still a very beautiful bird.

So my walk is done, that’s definitely given me a bit of a boost today!

Photos, sun and nature ❤️

Diary – Structure and Routine – Amigos at Christmas

Tuesday 4th January 2021

I normally try to be as positive as I can where me and my sidekick are concerned…sometimes we are allowed to have down days or struggle a little.

I am only human, living with dementia or not we all struggle sometimes.

Christmas, New Year. Wow the change in my routine really affected my mood. The disruption irritates my sidekick.

Just a little change can be so disrupting, causing confusion, agitation. A longing for normality to resume.

I had no idea just how much the Christmas holidays would unsettle me. You may probably think that being in your own home with your familiar surroundings everything would be fine.

How wrong!

The excitement of Christmas soon faded as all the days merge into one.

Different foods, meal times changed, even the tv programs influence my daily routine! A simple thing like the News being broadcast at a different time…The Chase which I love to watch daily at 5pm was broadcast at a later time!

I had no idea that the times of the tv programs influenced my routine and my body clock so much! Something so simple, but yet when changed can be so disruptive.

For instance…I know it’s 5pm when The Chase comes on the tv. If the program time changes, I don’t!…It is still 5pm in my head!

Might be so petty to someone without dementia, but to me it’s part of coping, it’s my routine, it is also giving me structure to my day.

Not only am I confused by the changes in routine, programs etc. Then comes family / loved ones questioning my behaviour. Now I’m even more confused because sometimes I just can’t explain why!

Agitation sets in, then the feeling of guilt kicks in…am spoiling their Christmas holidays?

Guilt is a major hurdle for me, I really struggle with the feeling of guilt.

Oh the guilt consumes me regularly, I have to tell myself it is what it is and it can’t be changed.

The thought of holding love one’s back, interfering with a perfectly planned day…that suddenly has to changes due to my sidekick misbehaving. Will later bring on the guilt!

It can be the slightest change to your daily routine that can completely throw you off balance.

I always have my morning walk at 8am at the moment. Over the Christmas holidays I have been waiting for hubby, so some mornings it’s been 9am or later.

Waiting to go for my walk makes me uneasy, I don’t know what time I’m going! Plus going later makes me confused as to what task I do next.

Eating my meals at a different time, upsets me, it just doesn’t feel right.

Having hubby at home means I have extra things to do which are just not in my routine. That may sound awful, like I don’t enjoy having hubby around…It’s just my routine is all topsy turvey.

The truth is I had no idea what I was supposed to be doing, which just left me empty and confused.

Maybe next holidays we should set out a daily routine, a plan of things to do. That way it might not feel as disruptive.

You have no idea how this feels, unless of course you are living with dementia.

I am not being awkward or disruptive or wanting my own way.

I just need structure …Routine!

Below is another Amigos film …We talk about Christmas.

It’s good to talk!

Diary – Clearing out

Monday 3rd January 2022

Oh how I wish the dogs would learn that is not a work day so we can stay in bed a little longer!

Over the past couple of weeks my early morning waking has become much later, probably caused by the cold dark mornings, then again my energy levels seem to have dropped.

I don’t think I have ever been my best during the winter months, I hate the cold, the dark nights and the dark early mornings. Spring and summer are my best months…Definitely heading in the right direction now!

I was in the garden yesterday weeding, when I realised some of the green shoots where not weeds, my spring bulbs where starting to make an appearance.

Spring… Cant wait, just so much to look forward too. The spring flowers, brighter days, hoping Mr & Mrs Grebe will be back at the nature reserve nesting, ducklings and more!

I suppose nature keeps me going, I can’t wait to get out to see which of my feathered friends are around and what they are up too. Today I’m not seeing my feathered friends though, it’s the beach walk for me and the weather is wild. We reach the beach to the sand blowing down the beach… It is one of those sandblasting types of walks today!

We walk behind the sea wall for shelter, certainly glad to be back behind closed doors when our walk was finished.

I have spent the rest of the day at home tidying and clearing out my wardrobe and also a cupboard that houses all the leaflets I was given when I was diagnosed with dementia.

2 bin bags later one with old clothes, one full of dementia related leaflets from 3 years ago which I no longer need…did I ever need them !

I also have a stack of files all with my typed out blogs and diaries from pre diagnosis to date, they are all now boxed up and put in the loft for safe keeping.

Wow! I have have had a real good clearing out day today.

One tidy cupboard

4pm it’s time to meet with the Amigos, we are recording today, at last a little bit more normality resumes.

Todays recording is Wendy’s hospital experience