As it was an Open Day at the residential home yesterday, I was able to walk around the lower floor unaccompanied, but there were ‘tours’ available showing typical apartment or bungalow accommodation. Residents are allowed to keep their pets too.
Unlike some homes where you only get a private room with en suite facilities and have to come to dinner or the residents’ lounge to watch TV, this one encourages independent living with 24/7 assistance if needed.
There are a variety of activities, and the timetable was displayed in the corridor, together with the choice of menu for the week. It was pretty impressive stuff with a daily choice of food to suit everyone.
Once a week a hairstylist came on site, and every fortnight a beauty therapist dropped in.
There were scrabble evenings, bingo, quiz nights, card games, art classes, yoga, keep fit and line dancing too.
One of the ‘turns’ yesterday afternoon was a dance demonstration inviting visitors to take part. I stood and watched for a little while, then worked my way back through the main reception room, admiring some lovely water colours on display which had been painted by several of the residents.
As I sat in the foyer, I was joined by three ladies who live in properties surrounding the marina, all of whom were at the BBQ the other week.
I was invited to join them for a cup of tea, and the four of us made our way to the kitchens.
Tea or coffee and a piece of cake was £1, and duly armed with our refreshments, we went out into the garden and found a free table under the conservatory awning.
The grounds are beautifully kept, with well tended lawns and flower beds, and the table tennis was still going strong but more ‘aggressively’ with two young individuals now.
A gentleman joined us who knew 2 of the ladies I was with, and I asked him if he’d enjoyed himself with the dancing.
He said it had been a long time since he’d danced, adding that he and his wife had won Bronze, Silver and Gold ballroom dancing medals over the years until she became ill several years ago. Sadly she died earlier this year.
The five of us were reminiscing of days long gone, the Big Bands and Band Leaders of yesteryear, the favourite ballroom dances like the two step, waltz, quick step and fox trot etc and what young people in the old days used to do in their spare time after the war.
I was born in 1956, so my companions were adults by then, attending tea dances where the girls sat on one side of the room and the boys on the other. If it was known you couldn’t dance and were male, you were ‘excused’ by the female attendees, but if you were a female with two left feet, well, you weren’t often asked in the first place!
I can waltz, having learned by standing on my dad’s feet, and I was pretty good at the polka at school. The thing was I was one of the tallest in my class and so was always ‘The Man’ if ever we had a dance lesson (which was not often, even for an all girls school).
I always wanted to learn how to jive though, and years ago had an opportunity as the Uncle of a friend was totally brilliant and was showing me some steps at a family party.
I had the right rhythm going and was twisting and turning in all the right places in all the right directions thoroughly enjoying myself when Boyfriend of the Time passed some derogatory comment as he drunkenly staggered onto the dance floor. I tripped, he burst out laughing, and I didn’t dance at all anywhere for about four years.
We talked about young people today and how so much is different. I feel they are missing out on so much by being stuck in front of the TV/Computer. These days it’s a novelty if one can play a musical instrument without having to plug it in, or paint, sketch or draw without computerised help, or build a go-kart out of an orange box, three planks of wood and a set of pram wheels, steering it with a bit of string.
Technology is making us lazy, both in mind and body.
It’s quite sad when you think about it.