Marian @ Krysan


Planting Golden Seeds in Northumberland, Tyne & Wear, and Durham




'You Mean the World to Me'




'I compare you to a kiss from a rose on the gray' 


a North East Grandmother 


  • A KRYSAN Wellbeing Newsletter (New)
  • 17 March 2015 
  • Dear Friends

It's been one of those weeks.  

On the one hand, there was the sad news of the death of the second best-selling author in this country (after J. K. Rowling), Sir Terry Pratchett.  Sir Terry died of early-onset Alzheimer's disease at just sixty-six years of age, but still embracing the world in his customary full-on way.

On the other hand, I was gifted a little book of poetry entitled, Daisy Poems by Wendy McNay.  And, yes, the two events are related as Wendy McNay also lived out her days with Alzheimer's disease. Though not as visible as the beloved Sir Terry Pratchett, the equally beloved Mrs McNay quietly embraced the world with joy to the end.   

Both were blessed with caring families ...  the secret ingredient ... amazing grace ... 

  • Exploring the Power of Reminiscence Poetry
  • to Assist those with Cognitive Decline 
  • Foreword by a Granddaughter (RVA)
  • in a little book called, 'Daisy Poems'

Recent research shows that poetry provides a medium for those with dementia to speak out about their experiences of living with the disease.  Those like my grandmother with medium-state dementia who can no longer write poetry can be assisted to do so.  After hearing a talk by John Killick, a poet, who has made 'poems out of the world of people with dementia for the past fifteen years', I decided that I would try to co-facilitate poetry with Granny.

She was keen to write poems with me. 

The wider context of our being together and having a cup of tea was crucial to creating and sharing the poems.  Therefore I made a point of starting the poetry session each time with this.  I then suggested to Granny a theme such as 'going to the seaside when a child' and we explored this memory together.  After that, we started the poem.

If Granny had difficulty thinking of a first line, I asked leading questions: Why did you like going to the seaside?  Did you take a bucket to the seaside?  What colour was it?  Ususually after a short time, Granny got into a flow, and she did not need me to ask leading questions as often. 

These poems all record Granny's own words.  I just wrote down what she said.  I read the poem aloud back to her as it grew, so that she would be reminded of what she had said.  Afterwards I gave Granny a printed copy of the poem. 

The poems offered helpful benefits by enabling Granny to convey the subjective reality of dementia and by restoring personhood and dignity.  (RVA)

   Poem (1)

  • My Room is My Castle
  • by Wendy McNay

My room is my castle.
It has three solid walls,
and a fourth, with a big window.
It is very warm and comforting
and sometimes I'm alone in it
and sometimes I have friends with me.
It's a very good way of living
when you're old and getting tired,
because always the situation can fit
your present needs.  It has moveable walls
and a very high ceiling
and if you wish you can reach for the stars.
With the stars come many, many memories
of a life that was young
and not so young and very old.

   Poem (2)

  • My Childhood held Lovely Memories
  • by Wendy McNay

A day at the seaside had lovely memories.
A bright new metal spade,
a large red-blue bucket that held enough water
to fill the moat built around the sandcastle.
Searching for somethng to make a flag on top
and then building a moat
with a drawbridge at the opening of the castle.
Hastening to fetch enough pails of water
to fill the moat before the sea actually
reached the castle.
And then watching the waves become nearer and nearer
eventually to consume the scene.
Then a clean palate
and we could build again. 

   Poem (3)

  • Time
  • by Wendy McNay

Time is always here whether we want it or not.
And it's up to us to make it work.  It could work for good
or it can work for evil.  And it's up to us every one of us,
every one of us to make it work for good
because good is infectious, and if you spread a little good
and it gets warmed by the sun.  And sprinkled in the rain
then you have a very good prescription for a happy life.
So water your thoughts and shine them with sun
and then you will find that life is good, good, good.


Here's a little more about cognitive decline.  Marian

These are five things you should know about dementia, five things that I for one believe are worth committing to memory;

  1. it's not a natural part of ageing
  2. it's caused by diseases if the brain, the most common being Alzheimer's
  3. it's not just about losing your memory - it can affect thinking, communicating and doing everyday tasks
  4. it's possible to live well with dementia
  5. there's more to a person than just the dementia

With support, people with dementia can and do take an active role in life.  Start a conversation - set the ball rolling. Discard outworn beliefs built on the conventional wisdom.

Become a Dementia Friend.  See BORN A LADY on side menu for more.


And, finally, this is a good space to broadcast the latest news from the new (virtual) College of Wellbeing - a great early bird offer.  Visit Chris Johnson's beautiful website for more about an extraordinarily innovative course at the link below or go direct to UDEMY.com, the host.  See you there on SATURDAY.  Value for money ... I rather think so ...

Marian x


Personal Res Title THumbnail


This video-based online course introduces seven practical strategies to strengthen your resilience, with step-by-step practices that help you deal with and/or recover from setbacks, adversities and challenges. It offers an hour of video content presented over 18 episodes, with supporting pdf handouts for each strategy. The course is based on research proven methods and the trainer’s three decades of experience teaching resilience skills.

Develop your ability to deal with the dips, knocks and bumps in life.

The course

  • shows how inspiring examples in stories and the news can help you identify key elements of resilience
  • draws on a range of sources, including the Penn Resilience Program shown by research to protect against anxiety and depression
  • introduces emotional first-aid practices to steady your nerves when you’re feeling on edge.
  • teaches you to use a storyboarding process to design resilient responses in situations you find difficult

Resilience strategies help you cope with stress, make the best of things and rise to the occasion.

Until March 31st, you can save £15 and buy the course for £10 from Udemy.com at this link

Go to the website below for more information:

Chris Johnstone
Author/trainer for resilience, sustainable happiness and active hope


  • Reflection 248
  • Welcome

Embracing The World

You see, when I identify with the guy in the mirror, he turns his back on the world. He says, “I’ve got enough troubles of my own. Keep out.” The One you really are never can turn her back on the world. She embraces the world. She is the world. This is not because you are special; you always were this way. (Douglas Harding. Face to No-Face.)


  • Warm regards,
  • Richard Lang

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


See also AN INNER LIGHT on side menu.






Durham Cathedral

A new book celebrating l,000 years of the cathedral is witness to the extraordinary artistry and passion dedicated to making the building a treasure house.  This is a story told by 30 contributors, all witness to the pride of place cathedrals retain in the community. 

 Durham Cathedral: History, Fabric and Culture

by David Brown,

Yale, £75




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