Following in the Footsteps of Joseph Hardman: Day FIVE

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Bonus day FIVE! The BBC were interested in featuring the project in a programme about dementia and their filming schedule effectively gave us an extra day. And so Day Five saw us revisiting our explorations of our beautiful local landscape and sharing the whole experience again, this time with Fiona Phillips who seemed delighted to share it with us. We were also joined by Delia, who really enjoyed seeing the group again and loved the journey we had all experienced. Poetry and song had been continuously present, and a line of poetry often featured – ‘what is this life, if full of care, we have no time to stand and stare….’Annette read out the poem by W.H. Davies with such expression and feeling – it was a wonderful moment.

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Practical activity continued with the film crew present. Joyce used her shorthand skills to turn words that described her experiences of lovely days into lovely calligraphic shapes amongst her photographs and songs. A rendition of Some Enchanted Evening filled the room at one point. And the regular mix of laughter, engagement, enjoyment.

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We were all really affected by the project and felt that we had been involved in something very special. Jack reflected on the insights he had developed about people with dementia and their carers being involved in something so positive together, and how pleasurable that is. There will be another session to complete the lovely inked wallets and to give some time to gather feedback for evaluation. The group felt a little bereft as we said goodbye, and we will definitely make a real effort to meet to watch the programme together when it is broadcast on 13 October.

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nside Out BBC1 on 13 October….watch this space!

 

 

 

 

Following in the Footsteps of Joseph Hardman: Day FOUR

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Day Four and a bringing together day beginning with a PowerPoint of the three days of photographs which was a wonderfully vivid returning to as well as celebrating of the experience. Lots of laughter, shared recollections, shared enjoyment. Reliving anecdotes. Returning to songs and poems and moments. I introduced James who showed the group Hardman’s beautiful old camera, regaling the group with stories of some of Hardman’s adventures including being chased by bulls where Mrs Hardman lost the contents of her handbag and another occasion where he lost his camera to the water at Skelwith Bridge. James explained about seeing the image through the viewfinder upside down and we all felt much better about our ipad technique! He also shared one of the glass plate ‘negatives’. And then I showed the group Ruth and Vic’s map of memories and explained how it has been made, showed them the inked surfaces and we reflected on how map-like they are, how the ink suggests mountains and lakes, and an atmospheric sense of being in the landscape.

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Words of poetry and songs were also available for them to collage with – and recipes to rekindle memories of afternoon tea! Vic and Ruth had brought their recipes for Tea Bread and Apricot Butter Cake, and they had selected songs by Elvis Presley, and so the words to Love Me Tender and Can’t Help Falling in Love With You, as well as That’s Amore that we sung on Day One, were collaged onto their map. The task for each member of the group was to select their inked ‘map’ and then transform it into a map of their moments, using a combination of photographs taken during the project and those taken by Joseph Hardman, along with selected songs, poems and recipes.

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This was done with relish! And to add to the special atmosphere of the afternoon, the songs inspired singing – with impromptu renditions throughout the afternoon. We used the inks to make lovely stained papers that they would use to make a wallet to keep their map together.

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Afternoon tea came in the form of a huge home-made carrot cake to celebrate mine and Annette’s birthdays!

 

Following in the Footsteps of Joseph Hardman: Day THREE

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Day Three began with the map, looking at images of everyone’s faces collaged alongside that of Joseph Hardman mapping the last weeks’ route, immediately connecting with previous experiences, a recognition of involvement, engagement. As the taxi arrives, we are looking at the map and the image of Mr Hardman’s portrait dotted across the route from Kendal to Bowness, the images of Mrs Hardman feeding the birds at Bowness and Delia at Esthwaite and know that we are ultimately heading to Hawkshead, one of Mr Hardman’s favourite places to have afternoon tea.

Every moment stimulates conversation. The taxi driver, anxious about time, headed along the A591 and Joyce was very quick to notice – ‘this isn’t the Crook road!’ she called from the back! Recollections from Annette as we inched our way through busy traffic in Windermere. “I had a yen to live in Windermere, but I’m glad I didn’t. Too busy, far too busy!” The contours of the fells connected with her. A feeling that she knew them, she’d walked them. ‘I knew every inch of these hills.’ And observing the trees returning her to an enduring friendship with German friends who ‘loved our English trees!’

Across the ferry, Joyce was out of the taxi taking photographs. And then up the winding road into Beatrix Potter country! And then a sharp left turn and downhill along a narrow single track road which felt like a real adventure. Discovering the lake at Esthwaite was a delight. After the busy traffic at Windermere it was a haven of tranquillity, with the group really enjoying the atmosphere, the light on the lake, the hills beyond. We had a quick recap on how to use the ipads after much hilarity over Jack’s skill at taking lovely details of his thumbs! The group gathered together to watch Annette feeding ducks, birds and swans, and some beautiful photographs were taken of the ducks on the water. We posed with the parasol and then a final photograph of the whole group before heading to Hawkshead.

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We arrived in the town square, immediately making a note of the old building, now locked and boarded, with a railing up to what would have been one of Joseph Hardman’s favourite haunts to eat in. We had arranged a table at Poppi Red Café where, in celebration of Mr Hardman’s love of tea and cake, we discussed our favourite recipes. Leaving Annette and Julie in the café, the rest of the group went up to the church to enjoy the spectacular views of the surrounding hills. Back in the taxi, we drove along the other side of Esthwaite, looking across to where we taken our photographs, and then took the Crook road back to Kendal.

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Arriving back at Abbot Hall we made a circle of our feet returning to the place we started our adventure three weeks ago.

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