Waking early, a common problem with Parkinson’s.

Ninety six per cent of people with Parkinson’s have difficulty one way or other with sleeping. I sleep reasonably well but wake very early. During the summer this has not been too much of a problem. I come downstairs, make a cup of tea then sit and watch the birds as they queue up for the bird feeders in the garden, particularly the ones with sunflowers hearts. This year I have enjoyed seeing goldfinches for the first time with their beautiful markings of red, white and black heads with gold wing-bars but suddenly as we have got to the end of September they have vanished.

Goldfinch.

Goldfinch.

It is still quite dark now when I get up so I will need something else to do. The amiable husband suggested listening to podcasts and I have started with Desert Island Discs. They are perfect, about 35 minutes of chat and music and there are hundreds of them. I particularly liked one with the actor Hugh Bonneville. His last choice of music was called “The Path Towards Tomorrow” by Damien Mantagu from the album “In a South Downs Way”and it reminded me of walking along the Downs on a a beautiful summer’s day.

This Saturday sees a return to English National Ballet classes for people with Parkinson’s, held at their headquarters near the Royal Albert Hall in London. We are exploring “Giselle” this term; a new production choreographed by Akram Khan is unveiled this week which will be exciting to find out about. “Giselle” is one of a community of migrant garment factory workers called the Outcasts, certainly very different!

The weather in September has been perfect for being out and about. On one of the hottest days I led a walk from Nuthurst in West Sussex which was fortunately mostly through shady woods and not too long. We walked along a ridge with far reaching views towards Chanctonbury Ring and the South Downs passing Sedgewick Park House. I would be fascinated to see the house and gardens featuring 20 interlocking lakes. A bit of research has found that the gardens are open during May under the National Gardens Scheme so I must put it in next year’s diary which already seems to be filling up!

Scotney Castle, Kent.

Scotney Castle, Kent.

The amiable husband had never been to Scotney Castle near Tunbridge Wells so on another fine day we spent time exploring the castle ruins surrounded by a moat and visiting the top house with some newly opened rooms. It must be a mass of colour when all the rhododendrons are out in spring.

Everyone with Parkinson’s is very different and not knowing how the disease will progress makes it important to make the most of each day; never mind the dusting!

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