Memory should never be forgotten.

I have worked in the care sector for the last seventeen years. In this time i have worked with just about every conceivable disability you could think of ranging from child to centurion; physical to mental to learning disability. For the last nine years i have concentrated on adults with learning disabilities although, sadly, this can also include Alzheimers and Dementia as these diseases tend to affect the learning disability cohort at a much earlier age than in the rest of the population.

What i have found most is that it is nigh on impossible to find resources to help with memory recognition and retention within this particular client group. Believe me, i tried! In my failure to find anything suitable i therefore starting writing memory poems and devising quizzes that were achievable for those with cognitive impairments and also fun for them to do.

The guys that i work with love them. They continually ask for them and they never tire of them. I have now decided to put them together into themed session plans for use in care homes, day care centres and memory cafes as well as for general home use. They can be dipped in and out of, they are suitable for both group and individual work and they even have photocopiable dot to dot pictures to enhance the learning environment.

An example of the memory poems are as follows:

I’m big to see and my boyfriend is scary,
He uses his horns when he sees red.
I eat hay and grass and go to the Dairy,
To give you the butter to spread on your bread.
A. Cow

  As you can see, achievable and simple. Worded simply to encourage the client to get the answer. Failure isn’t an option here. We want them to feel positive and happy. We want them to win.

On the farm cover

 

The book (and its successors as they become available) can be purchased direct from either my ETSY shop – Baby Dreams Stitchery

https://www.etsy.com/uk/listing/525938594/on-the-farm-memory-sessions-book-for?ref=shop_home_active_1

Or my Facebook page – Anita Hunt Writer

https://www.facebook.com/anitadhunt1/

Take a look, you won’t be disappointed.

And make today a happy day.

Anita x

 

 

Advertisements

The Importance of ‘Stuff’

We are all surrounded by ‘Stuff.’ Stuff we think is important and that we cannot possibly live without. We spend our lives pushing ourselves forward in our acquisition of stuff. Stuff that we discard shortly after as we lust after bigger and better stuff. A bigger house in a better area, a posher car…or two, expensive holidays in the sun.

What do we do to get our stuff? We work…around the clock. We go to our offices/shops/factories. Make polite conversation with people whom, sometimes, we would rather not and stress over issues that are quite often taking far more brain power than they deserve.

With the recent London, Sweden and Syria atrocities I feel this has been brought even more to the fore. In London, a dedicated policeman was doing his job, laughing with tourists and having a selfie taken with them. Minutes later, in the call of duty and astonishing bravery, he was callously stabbed to death. A woman on her way to collect her children was mown down by a speeding car while another was thrown over the side of the bridge into the cold, unforgiving water below. I think that in their last moments, their possessions were the last things on their mind.

I have worked in the care sector for the last seventeen years and within that time I have been tasked with clearing out the rooms of those that have departed. There is little to compare with the sadness of that clearing process. The throwing away of a person’s treasured possessions because they mean nothing to those who are left behind. Clearing out my parents house was even harder. In the top drawer of my mother’s dressing table I found a cross stitched card that I had made her for Mother’s Day many years before. Inside i had written ‘Cheer’s Ma, I don’t know what I would do without you.’ If that didn’t hit me hard enough there was then one solitary, unlit cigarette. Her emergency stash that she kept just incase she needed to have a fag one day. It is testament to her strength that in five years of cancer treatment, she never smoked that cigarette. Finding it broke me.

So what have I taken from all of this? That the acquisition of stuff shouldn’t be the driving force of our life. It is the memories that matter most, the people that we choose to share our lives with and the little things they do that make us feel secure, loved and wanted. The random hug, the handmade gift, the memories they leave that last long after they have gone.

Carlyon Bay-29

I know it is a cliche, but hold onto those people and tell them you love them because, like those brave people on Westminster Bridge, you don’t know when you get up if you are going to get back into your own bed again tonight.

Most of all, make today a Happy Day.

Love, Anita. x

Letting my characters tell their story

I do have a novel in progress. Actually, i have two. Now i know that sounds greedy but they are both nanowrimo starters and they all are trying to tell me their story. It would be churlish of me to deny them their outlets, but i do wish they would not all shout at once sometimes.

Today, i have mostly been procrastinating. Assignment dates are approaching fast and i really should be studying, but a blackberry and pear crumble for tea was begging to be made, and the dishes needed doing…and the washing…well, i’m guessing you know the blurb…

Blackberry and pear crumble

I did however, get a little bit of module work done. The activity was to take one of my characters and write their introduction in the first person. My next assignment i have planned to use Madeleine. She is going to be a secondary protagonist and is a major character in my main novel. I’m not going to give too much away, where would be the fun in that? But i am going to let Maddy tell you what she just told me…

Madeleine

I couldn’t believe it when I first found out. I mean, how could I have been so gullible? He hoodwinked me from the start and now I feel betrayed and broken.

I’m not too bad when I’m at work. The estate agency is run by a brother and sister, Darren and Claire and they keep me busy typing all the sales details and stuff for them. I can forget everything when I’m there and Darren’s corny sense of humour as he jibes at his sister makes me laugh. A bit anyway.

That’s until I come home to the empty flat. There’s no laughter there anymore. I used to come home and start cooking his favourite meals, starting from scratch, only the best for me and my Steve. I would lay the table and put candles out, soft music on in the background. I used to think he was worth it. Not any more. It’s a meal for one from the freezer. I’m not bothering with all that just for me. No, I sit in my armchair, the one that used to be his, and eat in front of the telly now, Emmerdale keeps me company.

I used to have hobbies too. Sewing. That was what I loved to do. I would feel the fabric running through my fingers and the time would just fly. Maybe that is where I went wrong? Maybe I shouldn’t have done so much sewing? I didn’t think so at the time, he built my sewing room after all. We’d nicknamed it ‘Maddy’s made in heaven room’. I thought he loved me being so creative. He used to tell me to go in there because he would have to work late anyway. I haven’t sewn anything since he went. I’ve not gone into the room. I don’t have the energy to lift a needle any more. It must be all my fault. If I hadn’t spent so much time in there, he wouldn’t have spent so much time with his floozy assistant. He wouldn’t be with her now, instead of me.

Bastard.

Making Dreams a Reality

They say that if you want to be a writer then you need a blog to showcase your writing skills. Well, i thought about starting up a new blog, just for that and then i thought, hey! Wait a minute! I already have one, quite a nice one actually with funky flowers and calming colours. Why not resurrect that one from the dying ethers in which it currently lies?

So here we are, a third of the way through my first year of a Masters of Arts in Creative Writing course with the Open University and i have never written so much in so short a time. I have also never received so much critique about my writing ability in so short a time either, but i am happy to report that it has largely been good and, strangely, people seem to like what i write and the way in which i write it. Maybe i am onto a winner here? Ha, only time can really tell on this one, but i’m willing to keep on trying.

I’m not saying that everything i have written is good, some of them are imminently forgettable as the exercises they are planned to be. Just an exercise in writing to a specific prompt or using a specific technique, some of which gel with the writer and some of which are, frankly, just not my cup of tea.

One that has stuck in my memory though is the following exercise where the brief was to write around 500 words using colloquialisms and language of your home town or Country. Now, i am Cornish, and very proud to be so. I absolutely loved coming up with this one, i hope you enjoy it too.

Bleddy Emmets!

‘Tis no good,’ Jess said as she slammed the pastry down onto the floured board, ‘I’m gettin’ sum teasy with these bleddy emmets down ‘ere all the time with their bleddy upcountry ways.’ She pointed towards the bowlful of peeled potatoes that were sat on the table, ‘Pass us them teddy’s over will ‘e maid?’

Amy did as she was bid, ‘here you go Gran. You really shouldn’t let them get to you, you know.’

‘Aye, I naw’s that, but they really get me goat and they ain’t gotta bleddy clue wasson ‘alf the time.’

Jess had finished rolling out the pastry and was deftly turning a large potato in one hand whilst chipping small bitesize chunks off with a knife in the other and placing them in a line in the middle of the pastry.

‘I don’t know how you do that without cutting yourself. ‘Amy said, trying to deflect her Grandmothers temper.

‘Tis easy tis, jus’ like drivin’ down the bleddy lane is. I thought she were gonna start squallin’ when she had to reverse up the ‘ill. Turmits next me ‘ansome.’

‘It’s swede Gran, turnips are white and these are yellow,’ Amy smiled.

‘I’ll give e swede! They’m all turmits to me. Beef and onion from that bowl there next.’

Amy watched as her gran flipped the outside of the pastry over the filling and quickly crimped the edges together in a fingers over thumb movement before placing it onto an opened butter wrapper and putting it into the oven.

‘You know, we do have greaseproof paper these days. You don’t have to save all your butter wrappers anymore,’ Amy chided.

‘I’ll give e bleddy greaseproof paper an all! When you’ve bin makin’ pasty’s longer’un me then you ken tell us about bleddy greaseproof paper! Aye, you’m a booty you are.’ She laughed, shaking her head at her grand daughter.

‘Fancy a cuppa tea Gran?’

‘Aye, me cups over there. Jus’ top’un up. When this pasty comes out, I’ll wrap’un up an e can take un to work for yer crib later.’

‘Thanks Gran, You’re the best. My mates are well jealous of my pasties on my break.’