I was sent to a boarding school two months after my 8th birthday and for the next 9 years hated every single minute of that experience. When I see new residents arrive I can sometimes see on their face many of the emotions that I felt on my first days at school.
In my loneliness I did not cry because I had learnt that ‘boys should not cry’, but I felt desperately miserable inside. I see my function as ‘companion’ as being that of the friend that I needed in those first few days and weeks.
When I was a resident in a care home, because I was used to getting up early in the morning I would often get up at about 5 am and wander into the lounge where I would find one of the night staff who would make me a mug of coffee and talk to me. This conversation I would find very helpful and it quickly dispelled my feeling of being alone in a strange environment.
During the last month of my two years in care following my second brain surgery I began to feel the need to help other people and did so by talking to them when they arrived. My daughter had complained that I wasn’t getting enough exercise and so I had started going for walks with the ‘activities lady’ which was nerve racking for her as I was still using a stick and not entirely steady on my feet! But our walks and our conversation did me a lot of good.
Whilst the weather this last autumn was lovely, this winter we have had a lot of rain and walking has not been a good idea, but now in mid-February the days are getting longer and the temperature warmer we can start looking forward to some beautiful walks. The photograph below I took in October is the view from close to Wordsworth and we can soon start enjoying this beautiful landscape on our frequent walks. We are never more than a quarter of a mile from the house and I always have my telephone with me so that in the event of a resident feeling unwell I can telephone the office and ask for a carer to bring a wheelchair. I never walk with more than one resident so my companion has my undivided attention.