"What an instrument, what a player!"
Updated: Jan 11
With the confirmation of our negative Covid test, we were able go into BSL in teams of two, visit the residents and staff, and lift some spirits. On Wednesday Jane had chatted to a few members of staff. Millie mentioned our visit the week before: “I wasn’t here on Friday but A.K told me how happy he was that Thom & Kate visited him. He was really thrilled.” Ben Hazleton brought his Double Bass and we began our visit on the 3rd floor with J. He was immediately animated seeing Ben: “Here he is! Yes, please hand me my guitar...what are we playing today?” As we played he locked eyes with me, sang along and encouraged me to do an extra verse while he strummed his guitar. A couple of staff members stopped to watch from the door. One carer clapped and hummed along: “Oh thank you! If I wasn’t working I would join in!”
On the 2nd floor J and M were sitting by the lift. Ben played a few Beatles songs and J started singing along, looking keenly at us, smiling and clapping. M wanted to hug me and said: “Please can you come back tomorrow and sing for me? I enjoyed listening to you so much.” We also sang and played some classical songs with G (who sang along enthusiastically.) She was excited to show me her Harmonica - but was trying to tell me that she couldn't play it because of her right arm (which she lost the use of due to a stroke.) Over the summer her mobility improved amazingly, and we thought working with the Harmonica might be a great tool to help her.
The 1st floor was buzzing. The staff seemed to be in great form and danced and sang with us as we played. Hearing the musical from their rooms, several residents came into the foyer - drew up chairs and clapped, danced, sang along. Ben then played some blues and jazz with N.J accompanying as drummer on his knees! N.J then said to me: "That was absolutely marvellous. What an instrument, what a player!” We then played outside for the ground floor residents. Ben played some classical for E.J and we did Danny Boy through the window. She stood up and came right up to her window. She was singing along and had a little cry.
At Thom and Jane’s visit the next day our activities project with the carers was developed further. We are setting up piano lessons with Leyla, who is thrilled at the idea. Something to look forward to is like gold dust for carers at the moment.