If the weather is lovely, what better way to spend the day than out on an adventure? I love exploring, I always remember as a kid that we would ask my mother, who was driving the car, if we could “go the long way” because I loved the scenery, seeing new places. And I remember my father taking us on adventures, taking different routes to the same destination, exploring uncharted territory (well, by me anyway).
Today is no exception, anxious to get out of Leeds and explore parts of West Yorkshire I still haven’t visited, we headed to Hebden Bridge, renowned for it’s arty population and pretty canal walks.
We met a lovely lady called Pat, out walking on her own, taking photographs on her disposable camera. We got chatting to her, finding out she was 85 years old, a retired teacher, having taught all around the world, including Nairobi for 5 years, where she taught P.E., Games and Music. It was lovely to walk and talk with this lady, with rich memories and a thrill to be outside taking in the beautiful scenery. She invited us for a cup of tea, and went to a quaint tea room. Sadly the tea room had just closed for the day, but Pat, not to be deterred, used her charm and got us in for one last cup.
It was really lovely to bump into someone like her. A real credit to a friendly Yorkshire.
It got us thinking about old age and where we will be when we hit 85. Hopefully I am like Pat, off out and about on walks and still having adventures. But it also highlights how lonely old age can get, one of her closest friends had died, and she recounted how much she still misses her. Spending time chatting to the elderly like this can really make their day (as well as mine, I should add), I think she enjoyed our company and it made our adventure to Hebden Bridge so much richer.
Not all elderly people are as able as Pat was, there are many who cannot get out the house, out and about. A couple of hours a week visiting them, can make so much difference. Sadly my mother doesn’t live close to me, so I try and call her at least 2 times a week, often spending well over an hour chatting about nothing, listening to her stories of her childhood, putting the world to rights, but as much as I love talking to my mother, I know she also looks forward to those conversations with me.
Here are a few links for befriending services in the Leeds area, but if you want to volunteer in another area, just search at www.do-it.org.uk
Doing Good Leeds voluntary roles befriending the elderly