Finally, we were packed and ready to go – I’d given Alan the medication from his Neurologist to calm him down on the flight, and he seemed very happy.  I’d arranged with his Sister that once we landed in UK we would pick her up, and then I would drive down to Mudeford, where we could all relax and she would spend a couple of days with us.

I’d done everything I could to make the flight as comfortable as possible for Alan, even traveling Business Class.  After an hour being on the flight, even though he was heavily medicated, he became extremely agitated and was trying to jump out of the aircraft.  I’m sure if I had attempted this in today’s climate with all the  problems of flying, the aircraft would have been turned around and he would have been forcibly removed.  As it was, I spent most of the flight, standing up, rubbing his shoulders kissing and cuddling trying to reassure him and calm him down – the British Airways flight crew were wonderful.  Neither of us slept at all during the 8-1/2 hour flight and the 5 hrs. time difference.

When we arrived at Gatwick the following morning, I collected our rental car and drove down to Berkshire just on the outskirts of Windsor to a beautiful old hotel, by the River Thames near where we’d once lived.  He slept well that night, and in the morning we had a lovely walk along by the river, and he was whistling “Colonel Bogey” and marching.   (It’s funny, because until I started writing this blog, I had completely forgotten that one of the things I did with him to try to get him to focus was whistle, and we often used to whistle tunes while we were walking, or just at home) .  Later we ran errands to the Bank etc. and he kept commenting on the houses built of brick and all the pretty gardens.  I’m not sure he was aware where he was, but he was happy.

Later in the day we picked up his Sister, and she kept calling him “Ally Pally” which he loved, then I drove down to Mudeford, and we checked into a beautiful hotel overlooking the water.  As soon as we got there, I knew that I had made the right decision – he was so happy, and we walked down to the Quay and looked  across the run to the sandbar and the huts – I would like to think it brought back some of his happy childhood memories.

That night we went for fish ‘n chips in the Pub on the Quay, which didn’t go  quite as planned; Alan was trying to entertain other people and his Sister suggested I “control him”.  Since he was only making the other customers laugh, I really didn’t see anything wrong.  She obviously felt uncomfortable by his repetitive questions and behavior.

She spent a couple of days with us; we did quite a bit of walking, and also took the ferry across to the sandbar and they were trying to remember where their hut had been, and she was reminiscing about their childhood, I’m not sure how much of it Alan took in.

Whilst driving her back home, I decided to take a detour, and drove them past their childhood home in Pinner, Middx. and then we went into Harrow.  I parked the car and we walked up Harrow Hill, where Alan had attended The John Lyon School.  With hindsight that probably wasn’t  a good decision, since his childhood memories of that period in his life weren’t happy –  at that time no one understood his dyslexia, they thought he was willful or stupid or both.