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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.



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!

7 thoughts on “Waking early, a common problem with Parkinson’s.

  1. How interesting to hear about Sedgewick Park House. Must put it in my diary for next May. You certainly do keep busy but I think it is absolutely the right approach. Just wish I could keep up with you!!

  2. As always, it is so interesting to read your ‘blog’ and to hear what you have been up to Elspeth. The early morning bird watching sounds fascinating and we too have enjoyed visits from some less common birds to our garden this year, including two green finches. Sadly I found one that had died apparently from natural causes but it was a wonderful opportunity to take a close look at this beautiful creature. My niece recently told me that she and her husband had also been listening to back issues of Dessert Island Disca and found them to be addictive.

    We took some Australian friends to Scotney Castle earlier this year and we enjoyed looking round the house and wandering through the gardens. There was a wedding taking place on the island in the castle ruins so we were able to enjoy seeing the bride and groom celebrating their marriage in these beautiful surroundings.

    We are looking forward to seeing you both next Monday evening – enjoy your trip to London and the start of your new term exploring Giselle, Elspeth.

    Love Elizabeth and Ken X

  3. Scotney Castle is certainly delightful. I went there recently with Elle and 6 of her children that she child minds!
    They have started dance classes here for people with Parkinson’s. So it must be becoming regional. Enjoy Giselle, although the story is quite sad I seem to remember.

  4. Yes, you are amazing Elspeth! Keeping busy is the best thing. Take each day at a time and enjoy. I’m sure that walking is one of the best therapies, and enjoying the seasons and wildlife. Our garden birds like sunflower hearts best; goldfinches also love Niger seeds. Do you get flocks of long tailed tits? Will be sorry to miss you at Tonbridge. I’ll keep in touch xx

  5. I’ve never been known for being an early riser – quite the reverse!!! Although I do sympathise with you for having this problem, part of me is just a little envious!!! On the rare occasions when I am up at the crack of dawn, I do appreciate how lovely everything looks at that time. Seriously, I am glad to hear you are finding ways to enjoy this problem. Good luck with the dancing. It’s lovely to hear that you are still managing to be more active than most of us.

    Frances xx

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