#25 Happy Birthday!

I’ve been quiet for a while, because I threw myself into a new project. For Age UK Bromley and Greenwich, I’ve been creating brand new series of written pieces to celebrate 50 years of the organisation.

I spent four weeks asking clients, staff and volunteers of all types to share memories, thoughts and impressions of the charity. I attended art groups, day centres, coffee mornings and advice-sessions. I travelled to corners of London I’d never visited before. Together, we all chose the stories we wanted to hold up to the light and then I wove them into six new pieces.

At Age UK Bromley & Greenwich’s AGM, in the presence of the Mayor of Bromley and many of the participants, I read a few of the pieces.

One, Alphabet of Elders, is based those I met – and also the names of the most interesting, inspiring, significant older people I asked them to share.

Another, pasted below, is one of the three poetry- portraits I produced with and for one of the residents of a care home.

Mary is mainly metal

Mary says that at ninety-five,                         she’s made mainly of metal.

There’s the hip replacement,                          the shoulder operation.

Metal screws in her spine.                                In both her legs, rods.

She sits in a metal wheelchair,                        she uses a metal walker.

Her mind is sharp,                                               nothing metal there at all.

She reads the papers,                                         she’s friendly to everyone.

There’s chess and cards                                     and bingo.

But as she’s made of metal,                             she’s not quite herself.

It’s like wearing someone else’s coat,          a coat like her coat

the same size, the same buttons,                   but it’s not hers.

She knows it’s different.                                   It simply looks the same.


Happy 50th Birthday Age UK Bromley & Greenwich!

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