Many people are dreaming of a overseas vacation, however John Walker, 63, could be proud of a automotive trip.
John lives in a care house available in the market village of Ramsbottom, in Bury.
“This place, right here, you have bought freedom,” he tells me, “however you are still within the house.”
John has dementia and, after a fall, broke his hip.
He hasn’t left the grounds of his care house for the reason that pandemic started, not as a result of he hasn’t needed to, however as a result of authorities tips meant if he did, he’d need to self-isolate in his room for 14 days upon return.
“A lot could have modified exterior, I simply need to see it,” he says.
Tuesday was the primary day John might go away the house’s grounds, for a visit exterior, with out having to quarantine.
However the climate had different concepts.
It was a moist and windy day in northwest England and a stroll, or a visit to the park, was off the playing cards.
“I solely stay a mile away from this house and issues have utterly modified,” he advised me. “I stay up for even sitting in a automotive, entering into a automotive and driving by way of Ramsbottom could be a privilege.”
The care house workers, like us, could not assist be moved by such a easy plea and supervisor, Stacey Atkins, sprang into motion.
“We could go for a trip, John? Simply across the centre of Rammy? To see the way it’s modified?”
John was in his slippers however that wasn’t going to cease him.
He climbed into Stacey’s automotive and gave a delighted wave as they drove off.
It was only a 10-minute trip across the village and we chat once more after they get again.
I ask John how he feels.
“Good,” he says. “Excited. My coronary heart goes! A lot has modified!”
“It’s going to be the backyard centre subsequent!” Stacey provides, “when the climate’s higher!”
“Yeah, they have a espresso bar,” John says.
It was solely after we might left the house, and John was again inside within the heat, that the digital camera crew and I scroll by way of the footage from a small digital camera that we might managed to pop into Stacey’s automotive, simply earlier than John bought in.
And you might see how valuable a visit this was.
John’s there, within the passenger seat, stating what’s modified.
“That block of flats wasn’t there!” he says at one level, “and that was once a storage!”
For John, whose world has shrunk so dramatically, this glimpse of the world by way of a automotive window felt like freedom.
Nevertheless it’s what this journey reminded him of that feels most poignant.
Stacey and John drive previous the pub the place John met his spouse, Julie.
“We would swapped coats, and he or she was sporting mine and I used to be sporting hers,” he tells Stacey, “and we simply sat there ingesting, and that is the place I met Julie.”
Watching that footage, we realised what individuals like John have misplaced this previous yr.
It isn’t solely new experiences, however simply one thing as easy and as comforting as cherished reminiscences.