Thursday, 22 June 2017

Stepping back

Over the last year months I have had problems trying to plan things out, and concentrate on what I am doing.

So I have decided after a lot of careful thought, that its time to step back from a lot of things and take it easy.

I have noticed that I can't keep up with fast moving topics in meetings these days, and that is hard to accept, but  I  want to stop before I make a terrible mistake

It's difficult I know, but I do believe it's all for the best, although I will still write the occasional blog if i can, and try to carry on with my photography. However I think it's getting close to the time where I have to say that  enough is enough.

I have arranged to complete some talks to graduate nurses this year, and after that I will have to consider what happens in the future.

It's been hard to accept just what is going on in my brain, but I feel that I have to slow down. This has had a knock on effect with walking, as I have also had problems with tripping while walking over the last few months, and this appears to be getting much worse these days.

Early next month I have another assessment with the Clinical Phychologist and  I confess that I am not looking forward to that.

I next expected this blog to get the coverage it has got over the last few years,
"218-300" page views in "114 countries",  but I find it very hard to think of topics these days, so I guess I will soon be stopping altogether.

However I know in my own mind that I have achieved many things since my diagnosis, and have been amazed and honoured to have been so involved with so many new friends.

This is all down to my family and so many wonderful friends

Thank you one and all

Wednesday, 21 June 2017

Blogs around the world

Blogs are used by many people these days, some as a daily journal, while others are about personal medical problems or interests

Although my own started off as a way of describing my graphic nightmares and other problems linked to Lewy Body Dementia, I often look at things like photography and wildlife, something I love to follow while I can.

I have often been in the lucky position of photographing wildlife, which has given me so much pleasure, because to me on a good day, it's a real bonus.

While the professionals see things on a daily basis, I am not always thinking clearly enough, or don't have a camera with me, so when things really click together it gives me so much joy.

The other day my wife and I were out for a walk and I saw something move, but as normal, I have to look at it carefully to see if it's real or my brain playing trucks.

It was only when my wife yelped that I realised, that yes it was real, and it was some form of mouse.
I don't know if it was a door mouse or a field mouse, but it was happily munching away on something ignoring us.

So I managed to get my phone out of my pockets and photographed the small animal.

Some days at our caravan I see other wildlife,  if I am lucky to get close enough, like the young rabbits around the site.

There is something relaxing about watching wildlife, and I really enjoy it,  when my eyes and brain are working

However many people these days write about one topic or another and never  cover anything else.

These days I don't always have the ability to remember as much as I used to do, so I use voice activated software to remember things, or the recorder on my phone,  and this helps me to remember the topics I want to write about, and any useful information

Writing blogs is a way of exercising explaining things like an illness, in the hope it can help others, or it may be a way of removing stigma etc.

If I ever get stuck on a topic, I sometimes look it up on the internet and then use any relevant information, but also state where utility come from.

I do this so that it may help others understand medical problems I have, but also highlight the useful websites or charities who produced the information.

The reason for this is because I feel that many consultants don't have three times to explain things as you need them, so you are left to find your own way


Thursday, 15 June 2017

Excessive Daytime Sleep

I feel very tired these days and it's unnerving to simply drop off to sleep without any warning, but this is happening on more and more occasions these days, which is embarrassing, if someone else is in the room.

Some days I sit down after a slight walk and before I know what is happening, I have gone off to sleep and this does not make any sense at all

I know that I don't sleep well at night for one reason or another, but when this hits it is a shock to all around, as I have even drifted off when people have been in the room, and that can be upsetting

I have never experienced anything like this until the last year, and it's frightening and embarrassing when it happens

Some days I can feel my eyes feeling as if they are being forcibly closed, and I cannot fight it or stop it
 
We had put it down to other problems but nothing seemed to fit until I read a report from the Parkinson's UK website.

I am not sure if anyone else has the same problems, but its well worth reading

I am being assessed again next month, so its something that we need to bring up   




I know that Lewy Body Dementia and Parkinson's are similar but after reading the clip below it all started to make sense to me



Taken from the Parkinson's Web Site

New research into fatigue and excessive daytime sleepiness in Parkinson's

New research published in the European Journal of Neurology this week suggests that 72% of people with Parkinson's suffer from fatigue or excessive daytime sleepiness, with just under half of them suffering from both.
This study highlights just how common sleep problems are in people with Parkinson's.
The researchers at the University Hospital of Zurich in Switzerland studied 88 people with Parkinson's.
They looked at how common fatigue and excessive daytime sleepiness are, if they overlap, and whether they are linked to other Parkinson's symptoms or medications.

What the researchers found

  • 72% of people with Parkinson’s experience fatigue, excessive daytime sleepiness or both.
  • Fatigue was found in 52 (59%), excessive daytime sleepiness in 42 (48%), and both complaints in 31 (35%) patients.
  • Fatigued people with Parkinson's had more severe movement problems and were more likely to suffer from insomnia and depression.
  • Insomnia was also more common in people with excessive daytime sleepiness.
  • Medication seemed to play a greater part in excessive daytime sleepiness than fatigue - taking dopamine agonists plus levodopa appears to make excessive daytime sleepiness problems worse.

Tackling sleep problems for people with Parkinson's

Our Director of Research and Development, Dr Kieran Breen, comments:
It's hard to explain just how overwhelming the tiredness is, it's as though every ounce of strength just pours out of my body.
"This study highlights just how common sleep problems such as fatigue and excessive daytime sleepiness are in people with Parkinson's.
"It's vital that healthcare professionals assess these symptoms because they often have a major impact on people's quality of life.
"We still don't fully understand what causes sleep problems in Parkinson's.
"But studies like Dr Roger Barker’s project 'Combating the sleep problems facing people with Parkinson's' funded by Parkinson's UK will hopefully lead to an improved understanding and better treatments."





Wednesday, 14 June 2017

Signed off from Chest Clinic

To day "Tuesday" I returned to the chest clinic to see how things were progressing

I have Bilateral Bronchiectasis, Emphysema, and a problem with a Chronic  Heamophilis Influenza bug,  which is embedded deep inside my lungs.

While there is no way to remove the Heamopholis Influenza bug, the new tablets and inhaler seem to be keeping my lungs free from further infections which is good.

So today I have been signed off from the chest clinic, and any future problems will be dealt with by the family doctor.

While this is a good thing, I am left wondering if I will get a doctors appointment  of I ever need one.

Last time we tried my wife was told that there would be a three week wait, so if things went wrong I would end up in hospital.

I do have an emergency pack of antibiotics at home  just in case things go wrong, and I need to take them on holiday so that I am covered if I get another chest infection.

I guess its all down to us keeping an eye on my chest problems, and hope that I remain free of chest infections for a bit longer, possibly until the winter time, when we know that they are bound to return again.

I am now feeling positive about this now, so I am hopeful.

Tuesday, 13 June 2017

Shopping centres

I confess that I struggle in modern town centres these days, but that is for many reasons.

One of my main concerns are these very large statues or manikins which seem to get sprouting up all over the place

I have been shocked at times when I have turned a corner and have come up to one of these enormous figures, which seem to come on all shapes sizes and colours.

I confess that I don't understand why shops etc,  need these enormous figures because they are far too big to use as displays for clothing etc.

They are more like things from outer space these days and thus dies not make any real sense at all.

But I guess that I am not alone with this.

There have been many occasions, when I have stopped somewhere in a clothing shop, and when I have turned,  I have been right next to one of these things, and then end up getting a shock.

No one seems to have any idea as to why these things are unused at all because of the shear size.

These statues can also be seen on the streets around town centres, and many people are spooked by these, but I guess thus happens when your brain is not working as it should do.

I often have to look at things a few times to work out if they are real or imaginary which does not help, but that's all down to my illness, but I wonder how many others are troubled by these things these days

Sunday, 11 June 2017

New Guidlines for Lewy Body Dementia

New international guidelines to identify dementia with Lewy bodies

Published on: 8 June 2017

From Newcastle University


New guidelines have been published on the clinical and physical indicators to help ensure patients with dementia with Lewy bodies get an accurate diagnosis and the best care possible.



Professor Ian McKeith
Professor Ian McKeith
The death of Hollywood actor Robin Williams in 2014 threw the condition into the spotlight as it was identified he struggled with the illness.

Now scientists at Newcastle University have led an international team of experts to produce new recommendations to help diagnose the disease more accurately and improve management of the complex disorder.

According to research published online today and in the July 4, 2017, issue of Neurology®, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology, the world leaders in their field highlight important clinical and diagnostic biomarkers, but call for more clinical trials into the illness.

Pressing need to understand condition

Ian McKeith, Professor of Old Age Psychiatry at Newcastle University’s Institute for Ageing, led the international dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB) consortium, which last reported on diagnosis and management of the illness in December 2005.

Professor McKeith has been instrumental in leading this research over the past decade, which has been supported by the NIHR Newcastle Biomedical Research Centre, a partnership between Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and Newcastle University.

The new recommendations were established by experts, including patients and care organisations and highlight the importance of detecting the disease early.

Professor McKeith said: “There remains a pressing need to understand DLB, to develop and deliver clinical trials, and to help patients and carers worldwide inform themselves about their disease.
“It is important that people are aware of the condition’s prognosis, best available treatments, ongoing research, and how to get adequate support.

“Our guidelines now distinguish clearly between clinical features and diagnostic biomarkers, and give guidance about the best methods to establish and interpret these.
“Without accurate diagnosis we can’t do the clinical trials that are needed to demonstrate a treatment that works.”

Dementia with Lewy bodies

DLB is a disorder that shares symptoms with both Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease. It may account for 10% to 15% of all cases of dementia yet it is not sufficiently recognised.

The new guidelines focus on clinical features, such as visual hallucinations, motor features of Parkinson’s disease, and rapid eye movement sleep behaviour disorder.

Detailed information is also provided about the best biomarkers to use to help confirm a diagnosis when a patient presents with one or more clinical features.

It is estimated that more than 100,000 people in the UK are affected by the illness, and over 5 million people worldwide.
Professor McKeith said: “Newcastle has been at the forefront of DLB research since the late 1980s and we continue to be so as more and more is understood about the condition.”

Future research will focus on family studies to find genes relating to DLB, on collecting biological samples from large population-based cohorts, and on developing a publicly available DLB genetic database.

Jacqui Cannon, CEO of the Lewy Body Society, said: “It is so important that people receive a diagnosis of the correct subtype of dementia, only then will they receive the correct support, care and medication. This is particularly important for people living with DLB.”

Devastating disease


Marjorie, Harry and Debbie Ainscow
Marjorie, Harry and Debbie Ainscow
Debbie Ainscow knows first-hand the devastation that dementia with Lewy bodies can cause as her father lived with the condition for more than seven years before his death, aged just 79.

Harry lived an active lifestyle, yet his illness turned him into a man who was unrecognisable as he suffered upsetting visual hallucinations, became incoherent at times, and was rigid in his movements.
Mother-of-one Debbie, 48, of Boldon, South Tyneside, said: “I didn’t know anything about the condition until my dad received his diagnosis – it came as a shock and was devastating.

“It was heartbreaking to see how the condition changed him. He would shuffle along and became very rigid in the way that he would walk and move.

“It was very upsetting and challenging to see my dad’s dramatic change in personality and his aggressive behaviour, this was probably the hardest part.

“At the time we didn’t know anything about DLB and it was difficult, especially for my mum, Marjorie, who was with him 24/7.

“Had we had the ability to access guidelines like the ones published today it would have made a big difference and we would have felt less stressed because we’d have understood the condition better.

“It is very important that patients and families know how the illness presents itself as this can help people develop coping strategies to get the best quality of life possible.

“It is fantastic that Newcastle is leading the research into DLB and I am delighted to see that new recommendations of how to diagnose and manage the condition have been published.”

Reference

Diagnosis and management of dementia with Lewy bodies
Ian McKeith et al
Neurology: doi 10.1212/WNL.0000000000004058 

Friday, 9 June 2017

Election fears

Since today's election I confess that I feel very nervous for all who have terminal illness or dementia

This government has a very bad reputation where the health service is concerned, and now fear that they may well go ahead with their dreaded dementia Tax.

This is not just a tax on dementia, but a tax on all who have any terminal illness, and I think many people will now be nervous of what's coming.

I can only hope that charities stand up and campaign against this, in the hope of stopping it getting off the ground.

This may only be the  first step, and health care may well be cut back even further in the future, as the country seems to be in a financial mess which can only get worse,

Sadly this government has told so many lies about the state of the NHS and the numbers of Police officers etc, I think we may all be in for a rough ride over the next 5 years.

This country is reportedly wealthy but all of the money is going to those who are well off, not to the normal working class people who are paying more tax than ever before.

Most people in this country are worse off these days due to all of the cuts, and I fear it could all get much worse, the longer we are controlled by this right wing Government

I can understand them wanting to cut benefits, but they should have hit those who have never worked in their lives, and not the disabled or terminally ill.

I have come across many in my life who have never worked, and had no intention of working, because they are well off with all of their benefits, and that to me is very wrong.



Thursday, 1 June 2017

New Dementia Strategy needed

A few years ago we saw the launch of the National Dementia Strategy in the UK, and many like myself thought that the Government was really going to improve the lives of those living with Dementia or caring for people with the illness.

It had pledged to spent millions on dementia in the future.

But as my wife and I found at the Launch of the Strategy, there was no new money going into the project, it was money already in the NHS.

This answer can from the Government Health minister at the time, and I confess that we were staggered

What is more, this money was not ring fenced, therefore hospitals could use the money for any project they wanted

Many people worked on this project over the years, and all had high hopes that it would succeed, but obviously the Government at the time had other ideas.

Over the years many groups have had meetings about improving services, but I am left wondering where the money went.

While some services had improved, I do feel that we should have seen more improvements around the country by now.

Like everything else in Dementia, it's down to the post code lottery, where, if you live I the right area, you get better services

This Strategy period has now finished and no one in the Government seems to be interested in a new National Dementia Strategy.

All they talk about now, is what we are calling the Dementia Tax,  something that I and many others find to be a total insult in this day and age.

This is not just a tax on dementia, but also on all those with a terminal illness, people who may well need home care

So I do wonder if a new Dementia Strategy will ever happen now, because this Government pledged to spent millions on mental health last year, but this money never appeared anywhere.

I know that the cross party committee on Dementia is focused on improving the lives of those with the illness, and as someone who spoke at the launch of this I feel very proud, that they are still doing so well.

But I do feel now that the country is in such a financial mess these days, that things may well get worse before they improve.

However to put a tax on dementia or terminally ill these days is discrimination, towards those who have been inflicted with an illness they have done nothing to attract

Dementia like other terminal illnesses are devastating enough without Governments making life worse

Dementia is not self inflicted, and I have to ask why people like myself are being hit

Hospitals are full these days of people who get drunk every weekend, and  then need hospital care.

These people are not taxed, and they will possibly go on to have major health problems in the future.

The Health Service Problems were caused by this and previous Governments, who failed to make sure that there was enough money in the system.

To me it seems that if the NHS is in such a mess, the next Dementia Strategy will never get off the ground, and the previous one is doomed to end before much longer.

I do feel that we must start asking our Members of Parliament or those asking for our vote, what they intend to do about the Dementia Strategy and the Dementia Tax? 

Your vote counts, so please ask your MPs about this illness and the NHS









Tuesday, 30 May 2017

Dementia and Comorbidities

I knew that there were similarities between Lewy Body Dementia and Parkinsons, but I have only just realised how close they are linked

People with Dementia and memory problems struggle with other problems,  but it's not always taken on board

Over the years I have struggled to get my words out when I am in a group of people, or in a meeting, and thinking of the answers to topics fast enough, is something  I was good at in the past, but these days I struggle.

This can occasionally  lead to me getting frustrated and agitated at times,  because i cannot get the words out, or think or the correct words, when i need to,  and sometimes the conversation changes so fast that it's a waste of time.

This means that fast moving conversations and topics can be very hard to keep up at times, because you think of questions but are not allowed to interrupt until it's too late, by which time it's all forgotten

I understand that this is all because it takes my brain longer to process things and  to get my thoughts together these days, and consider my answers.

This usually means that by the time I am ready to speak the topic has moved on,  and this in turn can lead to agitation which can be embarrassing and upsetting.

Yet when I am giving a talk or presentation in a large room with lots of people, it does not seem to bother me.

I guess that's because there is only one person talking at the time

I noticed this a few years ago, but thought it was just my memory playing up at the time

This was discussed on friday at a balance clinic which deals with Lewy Body Dementia and Parkinsons

It seems that my planning is not as good as it used to be, and this also means it takes me longer to work out normal things these days

After being shown a Parkinsons Disease fact sheet it all started to make sense to me, because it seems that it's part of the illness.

There are times when the tone of my voice changes and that can be frustrating especially when you use technology to assist you in doing tasks like computer work.

I had also realised over the last few years that my voice changes from day, and sometimes every hour, and this in turn causes problems when using voice activated software on my computer.

One day it recognises my voice and works, while the next time it does not recognise my voice and does not work

Parkinsons

If you have Parkinson's, you may find you have some problems with your speech.

People with Parkinson's may find that they have problems with different kinds of speech and communication, including facial expressions, writing and finding the right words to express their views

For example, your speech may be slurred, your voice hoarse, unsteady, or quieter than it used to be.

You may find it hard to control how quickly you speak or you may find it difficult to start talking.

People with Parkinson's may find their voice sounds monotonous.

These problems can make everyday activities difficult, such as talking to friends difficult

This is something I found a few years ago after listening to a recording of my voice. It had changed a lot since I was working and I could not believe that it was my voice I was listening too, and felt like deleting it all

Taking the lead in conversations may e challenging at times

Taking the lead in a conversation or presentation can be very challenging at times, but I have learnt to write things down in advance, so that I dont get confused or Lose the plot, 

Sunday, 28 May 2017

Dementia and the Church of England

Over the years I have been amazed at the lack of interest, the church of England has in people with dementia, memory problems or parkinsons etc,

Many people grew up as members of the Church of England etc, and now feel like outsiders, because they are largely neglected by the church these days

I had started going to church from a very early age,  then joined the Church Choir at the age of 8, and carried on going, until my memory went haywire

However as a person who grew up in a Church of England family,   I find it staggering these days,  that the church has so little time, or respect for people with memory problems etc.

Yet these people,  are usually the ones who try to attend church regularly, and pay into the church plate every week.

Yes many Churches have had dementia friends events,  but as a person who is religious, I know that is as far as it goes

We are tolerated, but not accepted in most churches.

I have spoken at many events about this subject,  but in all honestly I don't feel that the church thinks enough about people with these nuerological illnesses.

Many of the  clergy I  have seen at events, dislike comments against the  Church of England, but if they cannot take on board constructive criticism, then to me they are in the wrong Job.

We all grew up with the fact, that no matter what our religious views or beliefs were, we were all equals in this life

There are thousands of us around the UK and the world, living with an illness that we have no control over

We are  just as religious as those who attend church every Sunday, but these days many like myself have simply given up the will to go, because of the constant changes in services and lack of respect

I once wrote the Bishop of Durham,  explaining my problems with the changes of service, coupled with the fact that I sometimes struggle with very graphic nightmares during the night.

I then explained the fact that I don't really go into a deep sleep until around 4-5 am. After this sort of night,  I am not what could be called a morning person, because it takes me time to get my brain into gear.

He promptly wrote back telling me to get up and go to an 8am service on a Sunday mornings,  where they run the old forms of service.

So had he read the letter correctly?, or simply ignored the problems I and others face with this illness.

After that I decided that it was a waste of time trying to write to anyone within this establishment, because they were not interested in dementia or people with memory problems.

But I do think that when churches etc,  hold dementia friendly days etc, they should make sure that they have people with the illness there,  if not running it

People with this illness do not gloss over the illness, they say it as is, from their point of view. I know that we are all so very different, but that's life.

This is a vast difference to hearing about dementia from staff or volunteers, because they are not usually living with the illness, where we are

There are hundreds of variations of dementia,  and all are so very different, with different symptoms and problems.

I once heard of a Church of England curate telling people that he thought it was a total waste of time and money,  going into care homes to do services

In his view they all sat there and never took part.

But I do wonder if he realised that many with this illness live in the past, and remember the old forms of service, with old hymns and prayers.

They don't go in for changes to services, with modern songs which are sung over and over.

They need to be assured that services will be a simple and realistic as possible, with no long winded sermons. 

It's just no good expecting people who grew up with old services to learn new services.

It's very upsetting when you grew up "saying" the Lords Prayer, then find that you have to sing it.

When I lost my job because of memory problems,  I also lost the ability to remember the Lords Prayer, and I was devastated, as I had known it off by heart since an early age

I worked at this for months  and then decided to return to church, only to find that the words were totally different, and not only that, but they changed every week, and sometimes sang it.

My wife spoke to the clergyman in charge  but he just said, sorry that's life.

From then on I lost the will to go back.

We are supposed to be living in a Christian Country,  but these days I am having serious doubts about this.

After this we found a book of short church services, in a charity shop. 

This was written for people with dementia etc, and it's ideal, because everything you need is there.


Dementia Tax

After 5 hours I have managed to write this article, about something I find to be disgusting

Over the last few days we have heard all about the Tory Governments "Dementia Tax"

But in all honesty,  I do  think that it's more than a Dementia Tax, it's a tax on all of those who have terminal illness in what ever form it is,  and need care at home

Many people want to die at home these days, and why not.

But if it was not for the savage cuts to Council Budgets, we would not be in this mess in the first place

Social care is now mainly run by Private companies rather than our own council services, so it's going to cost a lot more
They also forget that most of the care at home is done by family members,  with a little support from outside, and that includes the "Government"

There are better ways of cutting costs these days, but for some reason this Government does not want to look carefully at where cuts should be made. 

They are hitting the vulnerable in this country and that is awful, considering we are supposed to be a "Christian Country". 

Dementia like other Nurological illnesses is not self inflicted, therefore we have done nothing to get this illness, yet we are being victimised by the Government 

While social care costs a lot of money, I think the terminally ill  are being held to ransom

My main concern is that some people who are living with Dementia etc, may wish to end their lives, so that their families are not left with huge debt or living with the fear of losing their homes 

While this  tax appears to have been stalled at present,  the Prime Minister says that she is going to look at it again once her Government are back in control after the election, so this must mean that she intends to push it though at any cost at a later date.

I do wonder if this so called Christian Prime Minister has any idea about the terrifying pressure she is adding to those living with Dementia or any other terminal illness now.

Her actions are certainly not the actions of normal  caring Christians, and I do wonder how she can enter a church with a clear mind on Sundays

We now have a general election, and it's up to everyone to vote, to protect the sick and elderly who have done so much for this country

The choice is yours please make your vote  "count"  but please stop this tax on the terminally ill because it's disgusting and very wrong

Saturday, 27 May 2017

Manchester

My thoughts and prayers  went out to all caught up in the Manchester bombing the other night.

This sort of thing makes me feel very sick, and it's worse when children were the target, by a set of cowards.

We were away at the time without internet, but I found that the media were acting like a lot of wolves, who had found something and would not let go because it was endless.

I do think the media made things much worse because they kept showing photographs of the dead people, with total disregard to the families and those left  badly injured

I hope that this sort of thing gets sorted out properly,  and we get away from this sort of terror for ever

God bless our NHS staff in all departments including the Ambulance services, because without them we would all be lost

There were many hero's here on the night,  who just got on with things, and never thought about the fact that there  could have been more bombs.

Having said that these people will let not regard themselves as hero's,  they just did what came naturally, and that includes the two homeless men who were sleeping on the streets that night.

I hope that they too get some recognition

Let us hope that this is a lesson to the Government, because its something they must accept and take on board.

They have to think carefully in the future and put more money into services,  rather than cutting them

I also hope that the the members of parliament stop fighting each other, and stop blaming the Muslims for these horrors, when it's totally  against their religious beliefs to kill others

Since the Brexit vote, this country has become very racist and it's very worrying for all, because most of this was started by Politicians who lied and are continuing to do so now. 

Friday, 26 May 2017

Aging population

I think we all know, that most people are living much longer than they did years ago, but that's because medical treatment is much better these days, as well as the fact that we have much better living  conditions

But its terrible when we hear people like politicians complaining about the aging population and blaming them for adding to,  or causing the Health service problems, and this makes me feel  annoyed

Many of these elderly people have worked extremely hard in their lives,   and have  paid their taxes in full, unlike today where tax can be paid offshore, so that you can keep most of your money away from the government. 

The thought of doing that years ago would have been looked at as fraud, yet these days it's quite common.

But if everyone did this sort of thing there would be very little money to pay for things like the health services etc, and I think we are getting close to that point now, because so few people are paying their fair share of taxes in this country

These days funding is totally wrong,  because some of the wealthy councils in the UK are subsidised by the poorer councils. 

To  me council tax should be spent where it's been raised, and should not be sent off and used in other areas. We have also seen the savage cuts to county council budgets, which in turn hits things like social care

Over the years many councils run  care homes have been allowed to close down, so that they could be run by private companies, this in turn is just another way of hitting the sick and elderly

It's my view that care homes should be provided by the health service and should be open to all.

By doing this we could make sure, that hospitals are not clogged up by people, who should be at home, but don't have the support and backup.

It's my own personal view, that those who have worked and paid their taxes in full, should be looked after properly no matter what age they are.

Whether we like it or not the National Health Service was set up to provide health care for all, no matter what age they were or what illness they had.

If that means the NHS running care homes and social services, then so be it

But please stop blaming the health service problems on the elderly everytime we seem to be running out of money, because it's all down to very bad Governments.

If we look at it carefully the "NHS" is not just doctors surgeries and Hospitals as the Government keep implying, it also covers thousands of people working in big office blocks, with little to do with hospitals, yet these people get big pay rises every year, unlike nurses etc,

The NHS is full of these  quangos of little groups of people,   throwing money around as if it's their own. The problem is that no one has any idea how many Government Quangos are hiding within the NHS, but they are cost many £millions 

These groups were all removed under Maggie Thatcher because they were a waste of public money, yet the last Labour Government under chairman Blair and the Tory Party have brought them all back.

It's these other people within the NHS, who are using and wasting the money meant for hospitals etc.

Over the years it has been quite obvious that Governments in the UK are taking money from one pot and using it for something else, just like the car tax, which I gather is used to paid benefits.

For years the British Governments have lied about the state of the NHS, and have not ring fenced the money, and then allows it to be spent on something else

It we are to look after things like the NHS, then we need to stop wasting money on unless projects like HS2 / Cross Rail etc, and start using the money wisely
It is reported that these two projects are costing the UK nearly £100 Billion

We must remember that the elderly have  hard all of their lives, and as I said paid their taxes in full, and many others have served the country in the armed forces, therfore they should have priority over others who have not paid taxes in full.

However doctors are getting better at diagnosing and treating many illnesses these days, and while that's a good thing, with better treatments etc, come higher costs, especially in hospitals

These days we are seeing more and more cases of self inflicted problems which need hospital care and treatment,  including those who regularly go out and get totally drunk, and then end up needing extra hospital care.

To me these people should be charged, because many of them end up being abusive towards staff and other patients..

So we must look at the problem as a whole and stop blaming the elderly every time for the high costs.

Tuesday, 16 May 2017

Three Nations Dementia Working Group


Three Nations Dementia Working Group 


Just after Christmas I heard that a new Dementia Working Group was being set within the Alzheimer's Society.

Scotland has had its own Dementia Working group for quite a few years, so it was decided that the members of this group would be drawn from England,  Wales and Northern Ireland.

The thought of doing something positive, and trying to improve the lives of people living with dementia, while removing stumbling blocks like the stigma we see and hear of on a daily basis, spurred me into action.

This group allows us all to work together where our voices can be heard by all within Society 

We have one member from each of the Alzheimer's Societies 12 Regions  



Chris Roberts,  North Wales,    Linda Willis,  and South Wales.

Danny Brown &  Liz Cunningham, Northern Ireland.

Ken Clasper,  North East England.     Joy Watson, North West England.

Wendy Mitchell, Yorkshire and Humberside

Shelagh Robinson, West Midlands.     Alex Preston, East Midlands

Peter White,  East England.     Hilary Doxford, South West England

Keith Oliver, South East England.   Dianne Campbell, London


It must be remembered that this is a group of interesting people,  who want to help others, and they are all very friendly to be with 

If anyone in "County Durham or Northumberland" would like to get involved, I would love to hear from them, and I will gladly go to any groups in this area to talk about the Working group, and explain how they can get involved if they are interested

This is a wonderful opportunity and a chance to speak up for everyone with the illness, while  getting together and meeting new friends from around the UK.

As an Ambassador with the Lewy Body Society, I am proud to be working with the Three Nations Dementia Working Group

So why not contact me if you live in this area.

Ken2clasper@gmail.com

I look forward to hearing from people, from the Northumberland and Durham areas, who wish to be involved 


Monday, 15 May 2017

Do Doctors really understand

6 weeks ago I got my final diagnosis of Bilateral Bronchiectasis and Emphysema, and my medication was changed.

The only problem was that the clinic was running one and a half hours late, so there was little time to discuss medication changes.

As well as my normal ventolin and Symbicort 400, I was put on a Spiriva inhaler once a day and mucus capsules which break the stuff free of my lungs each day

When we went to see a family doctor, I felt as if I was wasting my time, as she really did not want to discuss my medication changes because, in her words, the hospital consultant should have done it.

She also got rattled that she was expected to do my prescription, because she said the hospital should have done it.

I asked what order I had to take the extra inhalers, but she did not say, and did not even look them up.

In passing she said that once the new spiriva inhaler and mucus  tablets started working, I would not need to use my ventolin inhaler as much, and in all possibility I should be able to cut it out.

In the end we had a long talk with our local chemist, who was disgusted,  and said that the ventolin was the most important inhaler, because it opened the lungs, and allowed the Spiriva and Symbicort inhaler medication to get right inside the lungs.

I always had two ventolin inhalers, one left at home, and one in my coat pocket where ever I went, but this has now been cut down to one.

Yesterday the weather was heavy and I felt terrible, as if my chest was being crushed by a large belt.

This left me wondering whether to use the ventolin at lunch time as I was originally told, or try to do without it. 

Originally I was told to use the ventolin 4 times a day, when I was struggling, so I guess I need to ask the specialist when I see him next.

I am really looking forward to discussing this with the chest consultant early next month, in the hope of getting somewhere.

Wednesday, 10 May 2017

Deerness Nature Country Park and Low Force

Last week my wife and I went for a drive up the Tees Valley through Middleton in Teesdale and on up to Deerness Country Park

We have done this on many occasions, but we felt it would be nice to go back again now that its been done up for the Summer

                Looking down on the Tees from a layby heading towards Middleton in Teesdale

Looking towards Middleton in Teesdale, a lovely little market town


                   Deerness Country Park bird feeders, which attract many different birds  





           Stone Sheep, with the inscription "ITS A WONDERFUL PLACE TO WALK" 

                                                     


Two very young calf's  with two cows




         A very curious young Ram


                                                Low Force from the suspension bridge



   Looking down under the suspension bridge



Looking across Low Force

We had a lovely morning out here, and I felt a lot better when we returned.
It had been a very bad day as far as thinking was concerned, but we did this before we packed up to head back home again for a few days  

I had gone through a week when I realised that things were not working as they used to do, and it had taken me a week to sort out a job which would have take a few moments not so long ago


Monday, 8 May 2017

Three Nations Dementia Working Group



Three Nations Dementia Working Group 


Just after Christmas I heard that a new Dementia Working Group was being set within the Alzheimer's Society.

Scotland has had its own Dementia Working group for quite a few years, so it was decided that the members would be drawn from England,  Wales and Northern Ireland.

The thought of doing something positive, and trying to improve the lives of people living with dementia, while removing stumbling blocks like the stigma we see and hear of on a daily basis, spurred me into action.

This group allows us all to work together where our voices can be heard by all within Society 

We have one member from each of the Alzheimer's Societies 12 Regions  

Chris Roberts,  North Wales,    Linda Willis,  and South Wales.

Danny Brown &  Liz Cunningham, Northern Ireland.

Ken Clasper,  North East England.     Joy Watson, North West England.

Wendy Mitchell, Yorkshire and Humberside

Shelagh Robinson, West Midlands.     Alex Preston, East Midlands

Peter White,  East England.     Hilary Doxford, South West England

Keith Oliver, South East England.   Dianne Campbell, London

It must be remembered that this is a group of interesting people,  who want to help others, and they are all very friendly to be with 

If anyone in the North East of England would like to get involved, I would love to hear from them, and I will gladly go to any groups in this area to talk about the Working group, and explain how they can get involved if they are interested

This is a wonderful opportunity and a chance to speak up for everyone with the illness, while  getting together and meeting new friends from around the UK.

So why not contact me if you live in this area.

Ken2clasper@gmail.com

I look forward to hearing from people, from the Northumberland and Durham areas, who wish to be involved 


























Monday, 1 May 2017

Big Issue?

The other day it was suggested by my wife,  that I read a book called "For the love of Bob", by James Bowen.

This then lead on to me reading a second book in the series called "Bob No Ordinary Cat" by the same author

This was a real life story of someone who fell on very hard times in his life,  and was adopted by a cat who he called Bob

While reading this story,  I really got to understand a little about the lives of some of the people  we see on the streets every day selling the Big Issue.

These people are largely ignored in many cases as drop outs, but they are real people with real stories to tell.

These days many of these people  seem  to be immigrants trying to find their way in society, however there are still lots of people, who may well have lost everything in their lives, and are fighting desperately to get some sort of regime and routine back.

Unless you have been in this position, I don't suppose you would ever give them a second thought

I confess that I was a little naive until I started to read this book, and then found it hard to put it down, because it was compulsive reading.

I knew very little about the "Big Issue",  although I have probably read about it in the past, and then its disappeared from my memory like many other things.

But the idea of giving people a role in their lives, providing they are willing to work at it,  is amazing, and I will never look at these sellers again in the same way.

We all deserve a second chance although many never get this.

But reading about how Bob the cat, adopted and supported James was truly amazing.

We had a cat and two dogs over the years, and I was always amazed at how they could detect when you are feeling ill or having a bad day. 

Animals have this amazing ability to understand human feelings, and I guess that is why they are used to support people who are ill, or have long term medical issues.

They always say that a cat picks it's owner, because it's a very independent animal, and I belive that.

I also understand that it's a very intelligent animal and resourceful, and won't allow you into their private space unless they trust and respect you.

They say Men should not cry, but I confess I failed when I read these books, because of the emotion that these books bring.

It's been a pleasure to learn about "The Big Issue" and how other people cope with their difficulties.

Its also amazing how something as small as a cat,, can change things around

It's not my type of book by any means, but it's light and has a lovely story behind it.

Thank you James and Bob

Trying to do the impossible

Even though I was an engineer for 28 years, and could turn my hands to doing most jobs in my early life, things are now vastly different

These days, I usually find that a job that would have taken a short while to plan and do,  can take hours or days to sort out I my brain

I know it's because my brain is failing, but it does not help

When I was at the nuerological department the last time, they said my planning skills are slower that they should be, and that's distressing after having a very active life as an engineer, and being able to sort oroblems out as I was going.

But it's to be expected,  and it explains why it takes so long to write a blog out these days. 

It does not help when I look at things at times, and don't always recognise them as I used to do.

When you look at something that would have been classed as a simple job years ago,  it's now  become a major headache and that has a knock on effect of causing extea stress.

Recently I tried to alter a cupboard, and it took nearly a week to get planned so that I could do it.
Then I realised that I was doing it all the wrong way, by then it had taken quite a while to do.

This sort of thing has an effect on everything I do these days, it's no longer a case of getting up and doing the job as it used to be.

If I cannot sort it out, we pay someone else to do the work rather than making a mess.

I never thought that I would ever get to this position, because I could take on most jobs without giving it a second thought

I guess that I am not alone with this, but it does not help.

Its not easy writing things out, and then not reallly understanding or seeing the obvious later when it matters.

It now takes days to understand and write out things, that I would have done in a few moments. Considering that I used to write reports this is now very hard to accept
But with the use of voice activated software it's made things a little easier, although I find talking to a computer to be very confusing

On social media I have repeated myself so many times that I think it's getting close to the time where I just have to give up, because I don't always see the repeats until it is too late.

That on its own is distressing

For some reason I feel as if my brain is totally doing its own thing at times.

I know that there are people in a worse position than I am so I have to be grateful

Tuesday, 25 April 2017

Good day at Northumbria University


I had another extremely good day at Northumbria University talking to Graduate nurses, although it got off to a sticky start, due to the fact that i was struggling to  see my notes at times. 
So this afternoon I reprinted them in larger lettering 

I spent my time here  talking about living well with Lewy Body Dementia

This is a University where they are aiming to become one of, if not the best Dementia Friendly Nurse Training establishments in the UK.

They have very high standards of dementia training, and it's this that makes me very proud of being involved with them.

 have been there to speak to Nurses on many occasions, and sometimes this has been done in the nurses own free time which to my proves a big point, and that is they really do want to learn more about the illness first hand.

By doing this I am hoping that all future Nurses, learn how to treat people with dementia, with the care, respect and dignity that they themselves would expect from others.

I know that it is tiring doing this at times, but if this works, then I feel I am doing something to be help those who with this illness in the future.


It also gives me a real buzz when the nurses come here to my blog, and leave comments, about how they enjoyed listening to the person with dementia speaking.


Yes I may get tired at times, but I feel a real sense of achievement and this gives me a good reason to carry on fighting this illness. I am also so very proud to help Northumbria University and the student Nurses while I am still able to do it 

As a person with early onset Lewy Body Dementia I have been very proud and privileged, to have worked with the Staff at the University, where over the last  few years  I have  given various talks to students who are taking a degree in Nursing.



It has been a privilege to explain the problems I struggle with on a daily basis, in the hope that the Nursing staff of the future are better equipped to help and support others who have dementia, when they need to go into hospital for treatment.  

The students have always been good enough to send us personal remarks, after each talk and that does make it feel as if it has all been that bit more worthwhile because, it also proves that they too get something out of the talks.

I can honestly say that the lecturers have been so supportive and kind, especially by giving me enough time to consider the subject for my talks well in advance, so that I can spend time writing it all out before the event.

This must be one of the first dementia friendly Universities in the country, and they should be very proud of themselves for what they achieved in the period.




Well done to all of the staff who do, so much to help train high quality nursing staff for the future






Walking with Comorbidities


With most illnesses these days we are encouraged to remain active, whether  that's by taking part  in sport or walking as and when we can.

Sometimes it's not easy, because with some illnesses you can't walk as far as you used to do.

These days I feel restricted due to various problems, but I still try to walk as far as I can.

When I was at school I used to walk to and from school everyday, unless the weather was really bad

I used to save my bus fare money  up, and use it for something else. This was because I enjoyed the walks there and back with school friends who lived nearby 

When I was in the Scouts I really enjoyed hiking around the country, or walking around mountains, because I loved the countryside, along with the peace at times 

While I was restricted by breathing problems at times, I kept pushing myself to keep up with others, and never give in or stopped, until I really had too. 

I suppose in those days,  it was not an option, because I did not want to feel like a week link, or hold others up 

As a teenager I always had chest problems, which were put down as asthma,  but I was still fairly active 

I was never one to sit and do nothing at all, and my parents always thought there was something wrong, because,  I never sat down for very long before I was bored out of my mind 

I was one if those who was always on the move or doing something to keep myself occupied.

I  always loved walking and have walked on many occasions, when I could and possibly should have got a bus.

Yes I have a free bus pass, but it's only used on journeys that are too far to walk.

 I get annoyed when people get on  a bus at one stop, then get off at the next bus stop, which up is usually 500 yards away. 

To me that's being lazy, unless you have serious medical problem, but I do think these free bus passes encourage many to be lazy these days. 

Ever since I was diagnosed as having early onset Lewy Body Dementia,  I have tried to remain active. 

However many professionals have said in the past that people Iike me should sit down and take it easy, most of those were social workers.

I have never done that unless my chest has been playing up. I would rather enjoy life in whatever way I can.

Even if I am wheezing when i breathe at times, I force myself to carry on.  This is because it's good to exercise the lungs.

These days I struggle to walk the long  distances, due to my torn knee, Osteoarthritis in the hip, coupled with Bilareral Bronchiectasis and Emphysema, but I still try to push myself as much as I can.

Sometimes I hit lucky and enjoy it, but then on other days I know I have done too much

However on those days I usually pay for it later, but which time it's too late.

Walking helps the breathing if you pace yourself properly, and that in turn keeps us fit.

These days I usually take my camera with me, so that it's easier to pace myself, however I have been known to get carried away when watching wildlife, and then I walk too far. 

However photography has allowed me to remain active, and keep my mind occupied

This side of things I do for my memory problems. 

However it's hit and miss, and I can go out sometimes, then just forget the camera settings which is stressful 

There is something quite relaxing and calming,  about going for a walk around the riverside park, and spending time sitting with the swans and ducks

Some people find swans to be intimidating, but I find them quite calming

Two weeks ago my wife bought a garmin vivofit and I have managed to pace myself each day, and this device keeps track on how far I have walked.

This is then downloaded on to the computer every night.

Yes there are days when I don't walk every day due to my medical conditions, but I do my best and that's the important thing.

It's too easy to sit back and do nothing when you can't be bothered, but I know that if I keep going, it's better for me all round 


These days I have to keep covered up, because I burn if I am in the sun too long. The doctor said that it's because of all of the antibiotics and other medication. 

I have never been one to use sun  caps, so I find these things hard to get on with, but after being badly sunburnt I realise that they are important 

Its also been pointed out that the long term use of these medicines also mean that the eyes can get burnt ?

I find this  very hard to understand, but I have been told that it's a fact, so I have to cover my eyes too, 

But it's all for the best and I have to accept these changes 

Sunday, 23 April 2017

Talking to Graduate Nurses again

As an Ambassador for the Lewy Body Dementia Society, I will be going back next week to Northumbria University to talk to Graduate Nurses. 

It's been a while since I did this due to recurring chest infections and problems with diagnosis, but now that things are sorted out again, it will be good to start again, however I am not sure how long it will last.

I realised that last time I was giving a talk, that I was struggling to breathe so it's going to be a case of waiting and see.

The reason for the talks, is to get these graduate nurses to understand that people with dementia are normal people, it's just our brains don't always work the way they used to do.

Yes we have our own individual problems, and sometimes get agitated when we are unsure of what is happening,  or when we are out of our comfort zone.

But if we are treated with respect,  we usually  get along well.

I always say that everyone should treat others with the same respect, that they would expect from others around them,  and nothing less.

Respect costs nothing,  and it's something many of us grew up with, and therefore we expect it from others.

Nurses like everyone else in the medical profession get very little training in dementia, so this is one way of explaining things to them over the one hour sessions.

Yes there are many negatives about this illness, as with other illnesses, but I don't always go there, because it gets distressing thinking of all of the things I have lost, like my job, and hobbies which have become too dangerous to do.

I prefer to talk about how we all want to live as well as possible, with this horrible illness.

Health professionals have very busy lives these days, so if they get an understanding of this and other illnesses, it may well help them in the future

One thing they must understand is, that not everyone with dementia is the same.

There are over 300 variations of dementia, and therefore no two people are the same.

We are all individuals with , individual problems and symptoms.

However this is a chance for me to explain about my Lewy Body Dementia Diagnosis.

Because Lewy Body Dementia  is totally different from other types of Dementia, due to the fact that people sometimes have hallucinations. 

We also have very graphic nightmares,  which can be acted out, making it difficult at times to separate the nightmares from reality.

Many of us have other problems too, and this has to be remembered. I have balance problems, along with Chronic  Lung problems, and this has a knock on effect on our lives.

Dementia is not easy to diagnose, but the same goes for other illnesses.

When I consider that I was ill with chest problems as a child, but it's taken up till last year,  to find out why I was having recurring chest infections.

Over the years it was simply put down as working in industry or asthma, then they find out its much worse.

I guess the same goes with dementia, because many doctors use different terms or names for an illness, and that in turn causes confusion and stress to us and our families

Many people assume that once you get a diagnosis of dementia, your days are numbered,

However,  it's a well known fact that there are many people around the world, who have been living with the illness for over 20 years after their diagnosis

It all,  depends on the type and treatment given, along with the support you are given by the consultants

So don't think that because you have seen one person with this illness, that we are all the same, because that is totally wrong

Monday, 17 April 2017

Looking back part 2

When we moved from the mining village it was a shock to the system, because we moved into a new council estate

Yes we had an inside toilet, a bath and hot water straight running from  the tap,  a big garden and we were near to the town centre, but the people seemed to be different.

I guess in a small mining village, every one knew everyone else, but in this new estate it was all so very different.

People started having things like cars, or motorbikes and side cars.

We had a playing field for playing games, but on a dark night it was more fun playing football and cricket in the back street, using a dustbin as stumps etc.

If the ball hit the dust bin, there was no denying that you were not out, because everyone heard the bang

However many of the locals used to object to the noise, and things would get out of hand if a ball  went into someone's garden, then we had to ask permission to go and get it back

You simply just did not walk in and pick it up without asking.

But one of the novelties we had, was the fact that the Great North East Railway ran past the front of our house. So it was here that I started train spotting because all of the big express trains etc,   ran up and down this line.

This was before trainspotting books came out, so we used a sheet of paper to note all of the trains.

If it was raining I was allowed to spot trains from my parents bedroom window, providing dad was not sleeping, but when it was fine, we used to sit on the trackside fence. This was pure joy.

I like my friends then bought areal train spotters book, with all of the train numbers and names in, and things got more serious after that
I guess in those days the book was paid for out of pocket money, and was bought by our parents.

Not far away there was another railway line which ran from Tyne dock up to the then Consett Iron Works. These trains were giants, due to the very steep gradient they had to climb with the ore trains. These were the class 11F locomotives which were true giants in many ways.

So if we were allowed to walk down to the next railway bridge, we got trains on two separate tracks, and that was pure joy.

After this I joined the Parish Church choir and the Cubs, and from then on things changed quite a lot

At this age I confess that I did not like school at all, because I was not really academic, and my brother was doing much better than I was. So it was always said by teachers, that I was not fit to stand in my brothers shoes. So I lost the will to fight on.

It was after leaving school and going to college that I found my own way and did well for myself

But in those early years I battled on and found my own way, even though the teachers thought I was a waste of space. I often look back and think, that I made myself into an Engineer, so to me that was one up on the teachers who did not like me.

I ended up feeling very proud of doing so well at work and at college, even though my school days were not very good
However  that was down to teachers who had other things in their minds and were not very good at their jobs as others people have said recently
But it proved that in the right environment you can flourish and do well

It's a pity that this illness came along and destroyed it all.



Looking back to early days Part 1

After being at Beamish Museum a lot of memories started to come back, and the grandchildren thought some of them were strange and others were odd, or funny.

I was born in a small coal mining village in county Durham, a village that was surrounded by moorlands or fells as we called them..

Within the village there was one large deep pit coal mine, and three drift mines, which were sunk into the hill sides.

The houses were basic, because they were owned by the mining company, but they consisted of two rooms down stairs, and two upstairs.

There was only one cold water tap, and all hot water was heated up on the large coal range in the main kitchen / living room area, downstairs. 

The front room was for Sundays,  or for guests otherwise, us children were kept out of it, apart from going through it to go upstairs to bed.

There was no bath inside, we just had a tin bath which was hung on the wall outside the house when not in use. 

When needed, it was brought in and the water was heated on the range.

The lighting was all gas provided by the mine.

The toilet was in the back yard, here again no running water as we have thee days.

The toilets did not have drains either, but were emptied out every so often, by a man working for the mine, who went down the streets with a horse and cart emptying each toilet out.
That must have been an awful job.

I often wondered what would have happened if the family were hit by a bug like diarrhoea and sickness, but these were few and far between because as children we were always playing in muddy fields etc, and there were few of the bugs around that we have these days.

My father grew up in the same village and he was one of six children.

So the downstairs rooms were a kitchen/ living room, and a front room which acted as his parents bedroom
Upstairs the three daughters slept in one room, and the three boys in the other.

Not a lot of space, but in those days you got on with life and accepted it.

I have an elderly aunt living in the house where my father grew up, and it's strange to think that 8 people lived in such a small house.

Next to the toilet was a coal shed, where all of the coal was shovelled in through an 18 inch hatch after it had been delivered.

My mother always talked about me as a three or four year old, walking up and down the street with my little toy wheel barrow,  loading it up with someone's coal from the street, and wheeling it back home, where it was emptied outside the back gate.

She later admitted that they were very worried at one stage, because for some reason they started to notice that their cutlery draw was looking oddly "sparse and nothing made and sense.

In those days we had oilcloth on the bare wooden floor boards in the kitchen, and as you walked through the kitchen from the back door, the oilcloth was wearing thin and had split in places, due to the floor boards splitting and breaking at the edges.

So my father started to replace the broken floor boards before replacing the oilcloth, and found all of he cutlery under the floor.

It was then that they realised that I was hiding their precious cutlery under the floor, by pushing through the spilt oilcloth and broken floor boards.

I honestly don't know what I was trying to achieve at that age, but our grandchildren thought that it was funny.

Mum embarrassed but I was too young to understand what I was doing, and I was so small at this time, that I could not reach the sink.

I guess we all did weird things as children, but I confess that I don't remember any of this happening

When I was old enough I went to the Infants school in the village, which again was built and owned by the mine owners.

It was here that I was taught the basics of writing and arithmetic,  with a slate board and slate pencil. The screeches can still give me the shivers.

When we first took the grandchildren up to Beamish Museum,   I told them about using those, and they looked at me in total disbelief, it was as if they thought I had been a caveman

It was amazing watching these children using these slate boards and pencils.

After this children went to the Senior school, which was around 1 1/2 miles walk across the fells, then the mining company put roads across the fells,  which made it easier.

Those were the days when few parents had transport, so you either got a bus or walked, and most people in those days chose to walk, unless the weather was rubbish

The old Church and Chapels were  built and owned by the mine owners too.

The organ in the church was pumped up by hand, in those days,  so playing the organ was a two person job.

One playing the organ while someone else pumped it up, using a large lever at the side of the organ

My grandfather used to play the organ on Sundays,  and my father's brother, uncle John used to pump the organ up as a boy. He then took over playing the organ when grandfather lost his eyesight in a mining accident

We grew all our own vegetables because the nearest town was two miles away, and the only large  shop was a local Co-op shop, so it was a case of doing what you could.

There was also a public house , a working mens club, a few small independent shops and a post office.

But it was a totaly different life style to what we see today.

There were no play grounds, you just played on the fells, and arrived back when someone decided it must be nearly time for your meals.

This was made easy sometimes, because the mine hooter used to sound at the end of every shift, so we knew it was time to get back in before father came home.

Considering wrist watches were not around in those days, we always managed to get home at meal time.
As my Aunt always says, we used to go out to play after breakfast, and would return when we were hungry which was around 12 noon. Then we went out again and returned around 4-30.

She always said that she was amazed at out time keeping. But I guess it was the same when they were children

The moors stretched for miles, so we could be anywhere,  but never got lost or into trouble

The first public telephone box arrived in the village not long after we left around 1952.

But these days children don't understand that we lived in houses without a telephone,  running hot water, Electricity,  Central heating or inside toilet

What is more there was no television or radio, because there was no radio signal up there then.

They look at the outside toilet at Beamish in total disbelief. As one grand daughter said at Beamish one Day?  How did you get to the toilet when it was dark. We used a candle.

Did you have spider's living in the Toilet?  I guess there was, but it was so cold out there in winter that you got back inside as soon as you could

I guess that this was the start of my chest problems, because it was then that I had Mumps measels and Whooping cough.

I suppose a mining village was full of pollution,  but I was far too young to understand that

Lovely Day at Beamish Museum

After a rubbish start today, I looked at my blog and accidentally deleted this post, and had to redo it all over again

Last week my Son Mark, his Wife Tracy and their children Jacob and Holly, met up with my wife and I, along with our daughter Claire and family from Farnborough who were here on holiday
It was lovely to see them all together, as its not often that Claire's Children meet up with Marks due to the distance
However Lucy, Emily and Matthew had a lovely time, because they love going up to Beamish 


I can remember many people having motorcycles and sidecars in my early days, because cars were not so popular, as in many cases they were very expensive




         These early cars look lovely, but I would imagine they are not so nice in foul weather

                  Here we watched a Welsh Saw Mill in action driven by a traction engine

                            
                              The Old Penny farthing bikes of days gone by
                                                      First World War Truck


                                                       First World war soldiers marching up the front street


                                                Rolls Royce Silver Ghost

                                                    Advertising outside the railway station

  
      I wonder how many people could remember seeing these signs at the track side I days gone by

The Old Rowley Railway station which was moved here stone by stone when the original station closed down




                                                     A Tarmac Steam Lorry

                                                    Steam train at the station 


                  As a child I remembered these old trolley buses in Newcastle and Sunderland                                                             

                               Another First World War Truck with a heavy winch on the back


                                          Jacob and Matthew playing in the sand just before Lunch
                                                            Lunch Time



                                            A very old Case Tractor

                                  Steam Threshing and baling, another wonderful sight from years gone by

When I was very young, I remembered the traders and milk men used to come round the streets with horse and carts like this delivering milk and groceries
















One of the many steam Lorry's on display.
This one was a McPhersons Distillery Lorry from Scotland



A heavy haulage lorry



An assortment of old cars with a steam excavator in the back ground  

A miniature steam train which was on display before heading off to its destination in the lake district
to run on the Esk Line





The old mining village which includes a Chapel, School, Mining cottages, Fish and chip shop engine sheds and shops including a bakery

There is also a walk in drift mine and a colliery along with engine sheds and workshops
     

Stepping back

Over the last year months I have had problems trying to plan things out, and concentrate on what I am doing. So I have decided after a lot ...