Thursday, 10 September 2015

Hospice, pea wak

I'll be honest, I was nervous the first time I visited to a hospice, how misguided I was. Blythe House Hospice isn't just just for people with terminal conditions. Its there to help and support anyone who is suffering with cancer and other debilitating conditions who feels they need help in accepting and managing their illness. Today I visited their Living Well Service Day Care. Its held in a modern, bright and friendly room, with views out to their beautiful garden and filled with welcoming staff and volunteers. I was there to introduce the project 'Stitching the Wars', share the work completed so far and encourage people to take part in the second quilt.

Detail of the quilt 'Fresh Air and Poverty', for the project Stitching the Wars.

Lively conversations, cups of tea, biscuits and the occasional break for individuals to receive help from the nurses.

Much of my time was spent with Sheila (who was also on her first day) Madge and volunteer Audrey.   We discussed what the word 'poverty' means to them. For Madge it brought back memories of her mum: 'Struggle, everything was a struggle or thats how it appeared to be as kids. Your mum constantly worrying about how she was going to feed us. She'd make soups and things, used to queue up for 'Pea Wak' in my mums kitchen. I was born in 1940, aged 4 I'd go to the public baths once a week, my older brother would be in the stall next door. You'd pay your penny (if your mother had a penny) and you'd get a sliver of soap and the attendants would drawer you so much water. They looked scary, always big men, in their white outfits and spoke very authoritarian, when your time was up. There was a washing house running alongside that where women did their washing, but mum didn't like going there, did her washing at home.

detail of the quilt 'Fresh Air and Poverty', (work in progress)

Sheila reflected on the start of a life long fear of chickens. "The toilet was in the cellar of my grandma's house. In the late 30s she used to hang the poultry in the cellar in full feather. She'd pluck them herself. I'd put off going to the loo as long as I could, crossing my legs..."

"People coming into my Aunties groceries would sometimes buy things and pay when they could- on the tick. Aunty Maude and Uncle Willie, Jackson's Grocery at the entrance to the Cricket Club on Church Road, New Mills. They knew they'd get the money eventually."

Thanks to everyone for making me feel so welcome, wonderful to see new squares being made for the quilt, more same time next week. 

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