• Simon O'Donovan


“Travelling – it leaves you speechless, then turns you into a storyteller.” – Ibn Battuta “When preparing to travel, lay out all your clothes and all your money. Then take half the clothes and twice the money.” – Susan Heller INTRODUCTION This week's 'CST Friendship Group' was 'Travel Plans', as 'World Tourism Day' is to be held on 27th September 2019. The activities focused on UK tourist attractions, as apparently having a 'Staycation' is more popular than ever, due to Brexit and exchange rates. We did a round of introductions, stating what is the best place, either in the UK or overseas, that we have visited. Also what is members' favourite mode of transport, or the best journey they have ever undertaken.

NEWS ROUND UP 15th September marked 100 days to Christmas. Cards and presents have already been in some stores for a few weeks. We evidenced this by sharing a tin of Christmas biscuits, purchased from Tesco this week. We discussed who likes Christmas and how early planning should start. A woman from Colorado has become the first person to swim the English Channel four times non-stop. Sarah Thomas, 37, began the epic challenge in the early hours of Sunday, wearing a swimsuit, cap and goggles. It took her 54 hours to complete her challenge. We discussed who can swim and who has undertaken any kind of physical challenge similar to this. A floral Chinese vase valued at £400 sold for £1.6m this week. Brought in to an auctioneer shop under her arm by a woman for valuation in Itchen Stoke, experts spotted the mark of 18th century Chinese emperor Yongzheng. We discussed what things of value each of us has at home. Bing Dwen Dwen was announced as the official mascot of the Olympic Winter Games to be held in Beijing in 2022! With a suit of ice, a heart of gold and a love of all things winter sports, this panda is ready to share the true spirit of the Olympics with the whole world. We discussed who prefers the Summer versus the Winter Olympics and Paralympics. The Rugby World Cup started this week. Angry Wales fans accused Heineken of snubbing Wales after a World Cup advertising campaign saw the Grand Slam champions omitted and replaced by the French flag. We discussed who is going to watch which matches, if any, and later we started a sweepstake and will have a prize for the winner. Gareth (Alfie) Thomas, ex Wales rugby star, announced he was living with HIV and, in an effort to prove with treatment people can live healthy lives, went on to complete the 'Iron Man' challenge in Tenby. Remarkably, he had to learn to swim to complete the 2.3 mile swim, which was then immediately followed by a 115 mile bicycle race and then a 26.2 mile marathon. We discussed his bravery and how important it is to challenge stereotypes and for people to be well informed about conditions many of us live with. On this same theme, September is 'World Alzheimers Month', aimed at reducing stigma and tackling discrimination. We discussed the good work of the Society and the support that had been received from local organisations around the time of diagnosis. James Anderson, 52, who is a plumber that lives in Burnley, carried out work for an elderly woman who is terminally ill with leukaemia. The invoice he sent her stated, "Call out to boiler with high pressure and 2 leaks. Lady is 91 years of age - acute leukaemia end of life care. Amount £00.00. No charge for this lady under any circumstances. We will be available 24 hours to help her and keep her as comfortable as possible." Her daughter thanked Mr Anderson and the story of course went viral. We discussed random acts of kindness by strangers we had been in receipt of.

PICTURE QUIZ We looked at a map of the UK and printed pictures of the top thirty tourist attractions in the UK - click on the image above to be linked to the photos slide show we used. Before we looked through the pictures, we reminded ourselves of some key facts about the UK, as follows: - Longest river? - RIVER SEVERN (220 miles) - Tallest mountain? - BEN NEVIS (4412 feet) - Deepest lake? - LOCH NESS (745 feet) - Largest lake? - LOCH NEAGH (148 square miles) (Lake Windemere is the largest in England at 5.69 square miles) - Nowhere in the UK is more than how many miles from the sea? - 75 MILES - The UK recently named which food as its national dish? - CHICKEN TIKKA MASALA - The longest tunnel in the UK? - CHANNEL TUNNEL (21 MILES) - Shortest scheduled flight in the world? - 1.5 MILES, FROM WESTRAY TO PAPA WESTRAY IN THE ORKNEY ISLANDS - Tallest building in the UK? - THE SHARD (1,107 FEET, 95 FLOORS) - Most remote pub? - THE OLD FORGE ON INVERIE, SCOTLAND (107 MILES FROM INVERNESS AND HAS NO ROAD) - Most haunted city in the UK? - YORK, WITH 500 RECORDED CASES (ACCORDING TO THE GHOST RESEARCH FOUNDATION) - How many languages are spoken in London (more than anywhere in the world)? - 300 - Tallest observation wheel in the world? - LONDON EYE - Cardiff is home to the world's oldest shop for what? SPILLERS (VINYL) RECORD STORE - Anglessey in North Wales is home to the place in the UK with the longest name? - LLANFAIRPWLLGWYNGYLLGOGERYCHWYRNDROBWLLLANDYSILIOGGOGOGOCH (WHICH TRANSLATES AS "ST MARY'S CHURCH IN THE HOLLOW OF THE WHITE HAZEL NEAR A RAPID WHIRLPOOL AND THE CHURCH OF ST TYSILIO NEAR THE CAVE") - The oldest structure in the UK, Stonehenge, is approximately how old? 5,000 YEARS (OLDER THAN THE GREAT PYRAMIDS OF EGYPT) Looking through the photographs, we prompted discussion with the following questions (as well as 'Who has visited these places?') - ANGEL OF THE NORTH IN GATESHEAD - How tall and wide is the statue? - 66ft tall, 177ft wide - BLACKPOOL TOWER - What show moves to the Ballroom at the foot of the Tower towards the finals? STRICTLY COME DANCING - ST MICHAEL'S MOUNT IN MARAZION - Where will you find the twinned MONT SAINT MICHEL? NORMANDY, FRANCE - WESTMINSTER BRIDGE - Name the current UK Prime Minister and Leader Of The Opposition? - BORIS JOHNSON & JEREMY CORBYN (comments were given freely!) - STONEHENGE - What do people think about the bypass which is to be constructed nearby? How did they get the 'bluestones' there from the Preseli Hills in Pembrokeshire, some 160 miles away? (suggestions which cannot be proven) - ROMAN BATHS IN BATH - How hot is the water when it emerges from the spring? 46C or 114.8F (JUST A LITTLE WARMER THAN A COMFORTABLE BATH) - EDEN PROJECT, ST AUSTELL - What was Eden built in? - A DISUSED KAOLIN QUARRY (we asked if anyone had ever taken Kaolin and Morph for diarrhoea) - THE SHARD - Does anyone have a fear of heights? (We also looked at Chinese tourists crawling across the glass 430 meter bridge in Zhangjiajie Grand Canyon!) - HADRIANS WALL - What was the wall originally intended for? A 73 MILE COAST TO COAST NORTH WEST FRONTIER DEFENCE BUILT BY THE ROMANS 300 YEARS AGO - LOCH NESS - Does anyone believe in Nessie? (We also looked at some 'sightings'!) - EDINBURGH CASTLE - We discussed the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo and the costume of the Scots Guard, as well as missing items of clothing! - BUCKINGHAM PALACE - We asked if anyone had seen the 'Trooping Of The Colour', held in June each year to celebrate the Queen's birthday? (The 'Royal Standard' flies when HM Queen is at home.) - TOWER OF LONDON - We asked if anyone had seen the ceramic poppy display a couple of years ago, which was later recreated outside the Senydd in Cardiff? - THE LAKE DISTRICT - What is the biggest lake? LAKE WINDEMERE. Also, had anyone tried Kendall Mintcake? - THE COTSWOLDS - Covering 800 miles, The Cotswolds was bigger than most of us realised. What are the counties it includes? GLOUCESTERSHIRE, OXFORDSHIRE, WARWICKSHIRE, WILTSHIRE AND WORCESTERSHIRE (parts thereof) - LANDS END - How far is Lands End from John O'Groats? - 874 MILES - CLOVELLY - How did supplies get delivered to the village? - DONKEY AND SLED - GLASTONBURY TOR - What legendary King is the Tor associated with? - THE ANCIENT NAME OF GLASTONBURY WAS YNYS YR AFALON (MEANING "THE ISLE OF AVALON"), HENCE THE ASSOCIATION WITH KING ARTHUR. SOME BELIEVE IT IS THE SITE OF THE HOLY GRAIL - GIANTS CAUSEWAY - What caused this natural feature to develop in Northern Ireland? THE INTRUSION OF BASSALT COLUMNS DURING VOLCANIC ACTIVITY (Formed 50-60 million years ago!) - SNOWDON MOUNTAIN RAILWAY - Last winter a 19 year old man had to be rescued off the mountain and treated for hypothermia, after climbing the mountain in just underpants for a dare! - LONDON EYE - We asked had anyone been on the Barry High Ferris wheel on Barry Island and discussed the view over the Bristol Channel. - ST PAULS CATHEDRAL - We asked if anyone had climbed the dome of the Cathedral, or sat in the Whispering Gallery? - THE WALES MILLENNIUM CENTRE - We discussed what shows we had been to see in the theatre recently. And commented on how lucky we were to have such a beautiful 'Opera House' in Cardiff. - SIX BELLS MINING MEMORIAL, ABERTILLERY - We discussed family members who had been miners and the conditions they worked in. - NORFOLK BROADS - We discussed boating holidays people had had... - FALKIRK WHEEL - ... Including on canal barges. - YORK MINSTER - What is the cobbled area around the Cathedral known as? THE SHAMBLES - PORT MEIRION - What TV series was filmed in this 'mock' Italian village in North Wales? PRISONER - CLIFTON SUSPENSION BRIDGE - Which pioneering engineer designed and built this bridge? ISAMBARD KINGDOM BRUNEL

- KEW GARDENS - What was the hottest temperature in the UK this year, recorded at Kew Gardens on 25 July? - 37.7C We continued the discussion with places not mentioned that people had visited and would recommend.


As usual, we completed these phrases together ...

We are all of us in the same - BOAT

Let the train take the - STRAIN

Jump on the band - WAGON

Train of - THOUGHT

Put the brakes - ON

A bicycle built for - TWO

At a cross - ROADS

In the driver's - SEAT

Back seat - DRIVER

That ship has - SAILED

Travelling - LIGHT

Hit the road - JACK

Off the beaten - PATH

Get a move - ON

Whatever floats your - BOAT

All hands on - DECK

Put the cart before the - HORSE


Full steam - AHEAD

Like ships that pass in the - NIGHT

Middle of the -ROAD

My way or the - HIGHWAY

Fallen off the back of a - LORRY

Road - RAGE

These boots are make for - WALKING

King of the - ROAD

Planes, trains and - AUTOMOBILES

ROSH HASHANAH Then, remembering that our session fell near to the Jewish New Year festival of Rosh Hashanah (29 September - 1 October), we ate apple slices dipped in honey and tasted pomegranate seeds. The apples and honey suggests a 'Sweet New Year' and the pomegranates symbolise the 613 commandments which must be observed. The festival marks the first day of ten days of repentance and finishes with the holiest day, Yom Kippur (the day of atonement).

MUSIC QUIZ Link to Spotify Playlist 1. What A Wonderful World - Louis Armstrong. What musical instrument did Louis Armstrong play and what was his nickname? - TRUMPET, SACHMO 2. I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles) - The Proclaimers. What was special about the two brothers? - IDENTICAL TWINS (We discussed who has twins in their family.) 3. King Of The Road - Roger Miller. Which roads would you need to use to get to Birmingham from Cardiff? - M4, M50 & M5 (or add another variation) 4. Leaving, On A Jet Plane - John Denver. Can anyone name the Dutch carrier that flies from Cardiff Wales International Airport to Amsterdam? - KLM (Also we commented on the new Qatar Airways service coming to Cardiff in May) 5. The Deadwood Stage - Doris Day. What musical does this song come from? - CALAMITY JANE 6. Chatanooga Choo Choo - The Andrews Sisters. Can anyone think of novels or films about train journeys? - THE RAILWAY CHILDREN, MURDER ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS, THE LADY VANISHES & STRANGERS ON A TRAIN 7. Come Fly With Me - Frank Sinatra. We discussed our favourite overseas travel destinations and used a world map to pinpoint the places mentioned. 8. Driving In My Car - Madness. We discussed our favourite or first cars. (Take care, this may be a sore subject as some members may recently have had their licences revoked!) 9. Those Magnificent Men In Their Flying Machines - Film Soundtrack. Which RAF display team takes part in many airshows in the UK and internationally? - THE RED ARROWS 10. The Runaway Train - Vernon Dalhart. We discussed taking train journeys. Favourite routes. What it was like to catch a steam train. Heritage steam train rides that can still be taken. - BODMIN & WENFORD RAILWAY, DARTMOUTH STEAM RAILWAY, BLUEBELL RAILWAY, SNOWDON MOUNTAIN RAILWAY, NORTH YORKSHIRE MOORS RAILWAY 11. Three Wheels On My Wagon - The New Christy Minstrels. True or false. The biscuit WAGONWHEEL is smaller than when we were children? - FALSE, BURTONS SAY IT IS THE SAME SIZE, BUT OUR HANDS ARE BIGGER 12. Ferry Cross The Mersey - Gerry and The Pacemakers. What was Gerry's surname? - MARSDEN (We asked if anyone had taken a ferry recently, and where to?) 13. Drive My Car - The Beatles. We discussed what it is like to drive overseas, on the 'wrong' side of the road. The worst roundabout to drive around is, apparently, - THE ARCHE DE TRIOMPHE IN PARIS 14. Convoy - C.W. McCall. Name the 1977 trucking film starring Burt Reynolds? - SMOKEY AND THE BANDIT 15. No Particular Place To Go - Chuck Berry. What was Chuck Berry's only UK number one single? - MY DING ALING 16. This Wheel's On Fire - Julie Driscoll, Brian Auger & The Trinity. What comedy show used this for it's theme tune? - ABSOLUTELY FABULOUS 17. Hit The Road Jack - Ray Charles. Can anyone think of any famous fictional cars? - BAT MOBILE, PINK PANTHER CADILLAC, CHITTY CHITTY BANG BANG, KITT FROM KNIGHT RIDER, SCOOBY DOO MYSTERY MACHINE 18. The Wanderer - Dion & The Belmonts. We discussed hiking holidays, hill climbing, fell walking, coastal path walks and generally getting away from it all. 19. Wand'rin' Star - Lee Marvin. What film musical was this song from? - PAINT YOUR WAGON 20. Trains And Boats And Planes - Dionne Warwick. Name Dionne's cousin who sadly died recently. She was apparently the most awarded female act of all time? - WHITNEY HOUSTON 21. These Boots Are Made For Walkin' - Nancy Sinatra. Can anyone name different types of footwear? - FLIP FLOPS, CROCS, CLOGS, BALLET SHOES, DAPS, HIGH HEEL, SANDALS, DOC MARTENS

ACTIVITY Make a string of bunting, by printing off and colouring in flags of countries taking part in the 'Rugby World Cup'. Complete a Sweepstake, by writing participating countries names on tickets folded in a pot. Note which countries which members pick, so they can keep score of how their side is doing throughout the competition. Print off this chart for completion each week ...

About Me

Simon O’Donovan MBE has worked in NHS Wales for most of his adult life, supporting people with dementia, their carers and families and developing and improving services to benefit this client group. 

He recently retired from working as a Community Mental Health Nurse within a Young Onset Dementia Service and continues to contribute to weekly CST 'Friendship Group' sessions as a volunteer co-facilitator.


He has been keeping a weekly 'Young Dementia CST Blog' to share and archive tried and tested activities resources, with the ultimate aim of providing an 'off the shelf' resource library of weekly themed CST sessions which can be used on rotation throughout the year. 


The main aim of this website is to share experience and resources freely, in order that others can dip in and out and use some or all of the materials provided in their own CST work. Thus it is hoped, facilitating and supporting the provision of uplifting and enjoyable sessions that optimise people with dementia's quality of life.

This site is not owned by or affiliated to any organisation. It’s a personal commitment, a not for profit exchange of ideas and a resource library which aims to enable more widespread use of CST approaches for people with dementia. 

To this end, 'Guest Blogs' are VERY welcome, but bearing in mind that no images of clients are to be used without their express written informed consent.

Please note that some images are reproduced on this blog from the internet under the 'fair use copyright' principle, in that they will only be used for educational purposes with disability groups and in no way will be linked to profit making activities.


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