Thank you to everyone over the past few months who have made the group such a fantastic place for me to be. I love teaching art, I love helping people find their artistic character and helping people flow into what they feel is the right way of doing things, for them!
Thank you very much to The James Joyce Irish Pub for hosting our last class of the year and providing an awesome space for us to party afterwards.
Thank you to Kushuro for the space we have been holding our classes in since October.
In THREE MONTHS we have gone from 0 to:
over 370 members across the groups
12 events (classes and parties)
made 3 new models in Madrid
helped 2 new artists exhibit their work for the first time
sold artwork, never exhibited before
featured over 50 artists in Madrid on the website
Next year I have some plans for us to grow, to change and to evolve our group into something even more special, but I can’t do it on my own! I need your help to do this!
Here’s what you can do if you want to help The Amazing Art Society grow:
Share your artwork on social media using the hashtag #AmazingArtSociety
MOST IMPORTANTLY: Can you think of someone that would benefit from having their artwork featured on this website or might enjoy coming to an art class, please tell them about us!
The Amazing Art Society has worked purely on word of mouth, help us grow and make a difference to peoples lives. Thank you so much for your time and see you in 2020.
AND NOW FOR THE PARTY!
To round up the year, The Amazing Art Society had their last class of 2019 and our first ever Christmas Party on the 15th of December!
Special guests for the class were the students themselves! A portraiture class, complete with home made ruff (fluffy collar) completely exhausted our drawing skills for two hours and then we got to wind down and get into the festive spirit with a glass of wine, nachos and a few special guest artists!
The Class Photos!
Happy Christmas and wishing you a colourful and creative 2020!!
Went to draw at Circulo Bellas Artes yesterday as was having one of those days. Didn’t want the pressure of a life art class so sat in the room with the still life objects. Chose a pot and a jug to draw and paint.
The comments I got from the artists sat in the same room were that I work really quickly and that I have an interesting interpretation of what I saw on the table.
I do work quickly, sometimes I want to sit for a couple of hours and finish a piece in that time. Often I start a piece and then I struggle to get back to the way I felt if I come back to it a day later or more. Some pieces are still unfinished because the moment has passed.
Artists that can spend months on a painting have, in my opinion, a strong work ethic rather than something they want to express without words.
November 5th 2019
I’m an artist. I always loved drawing. I remember when I was abut 5 or 6, I drew a life size man on pieces of paper stuck to my wall. I would draw animals all the time. I have a few of my childhood drawings still, of which you can see below, I’ll add more as I find them!
The first time art really helped me with real life was when I was about 15 years old. I was lucky enough to have art therapy classes when I was hospitalised for depression. Encouraged to be able to channel my feelings into a piece of art I created my mermaid.
Taking an image I found on the internet and then painting her in oils over a period of about two weeks, I still have her with me, even after 17 years of moving house and country.
Abstract art also helps to focus the mind and use your hands for a good use. Sometimes trying to draw a real thing is frustrating. Abstract art with colours and shapes is a healthy way to play with what is going on inside us, without having to assign it meaning, words or labels. Doodling, sketching random shapes and layering colours is something that can help pass bad times in a productive way.
Lucky for me my hospitalisation ended soon after I completed my GSCEs. I came off the antidepressants when I left home at 17 and thankfully I started work which kept me busy!
The next time I needed my paintbrushes was when I getting divorced. Another huge amount of stress and desperate not to be on drugs (prescribed or otherwise!) to cope with real life – I was able to channel my feelings into my watercolour animals. You can see them below. I’ve given most of them away to friends.
I have a few images and videos on my instagram, here is my bronze zebra and here is a pour painting a bit more abstract.
I like illustrating so I take a real life subject, either an animal (usually a photo from the internet) or a composition of items (taking a photo helps to put it into a 2D format). Then I draw the outlines and fill in with watercolour. The photo below is of my door stop bull gift from a friend and my salt and pepper mills.
Since moving to Madrid in May 2019, I have a few pieces I have brought with me for sentimental reasons. Some of them I am happy to sell, others I keep to remind me of what has happened and how I feel I can survive anything.
Listen to yourself – Canvas
This canvas took a few months to create. Most days I would choose a pink or a blue sharpie. Pink for a bad day, Blue for a good day. Then I would write a message to myself , trying to look after for my future self. There are a couple guest appearances from friends that I trust and I gave permission to write on my Daily Practise. I have this is in my office/studio now and every so often I glance at it to remind myself that every day is different, bad ones follow good ones and good ones follow bad ones. Sometime all I need is a rest, or a break. Change is good. The best things take time to create. Decisions can happen in an instance. Nothing is a waste of time. A beautiful thing is never perfect.
Now I teach art. I want to be able to help people us their unwanted energy states by channeling that energy into something that can hold that pain and upset in a way that allows that person to live on. You can find out about my classes here.
The sales of my pieces fund my lifestyle where I can focus on helping others, if you would like to see any pieces in person, please send me a message so we can set up an appointment. email@example.com , call 695272159 or whatsapp 00447826520059.
I am so excited to tell you I have a great collaboration happening with the AWESOME and INCREDIBLE Carmen La Greiga!
Carmen has kindly offered me her studio space to run my Laughter Yoga workshop in. A visual artist, Carmen creates art and finds time to teach art to adults and children, in Spanish and English.
You can find her studio in Madrid’s website here, her art on these websites here and here and on Instagram here.
I’m so grateful to be working with her, linking Art and Movement of the body for health and wellbeing purposes!
WHAT IS HAPPENING?
Laughter is the best medicine! We’ve all heard the phrase but do we make time for this natural, magical elixir or do we take our health too seriously!
I’ve made a FREE 2 hour workshop, combining traditional hatha, ashtanga and yin yoga practises with the energising and health boosting laughter yoga! Sign up on MeetUp here!
WHAT IS LAUGHTER YOGA?
Laughter yoga, was the invention of medical doctor Dr Madan Kataria and supported by his wife Madhuri Kataria they started the laughter movement in a Mumbai Park in 1995. Now there are thousands of laughter clubs in more than 100 countries. – I want to make a new club here in Madrid!
Simple, pure and natural laughter has been scientifically proven to reduce levels of stress hormones such as cortisol and epinephrine in the blood. Just 15 minutes of continuous laughter has many health benefits!
Anyone can come to this workshop. No previous yoga experience required, no sense of humour is needed. If you find it difficult to laugh then this is a workshop you really need to come to. It’s for your own good!
How to enjoy the workshop best:
Comfortable clothes – no tight jeans or formal shirts, something like pyjamas acceptable!
A smile – we will give you one of ours to borrow if you forget yours.
Something to lay down on (towel, blanket or yoga mat).
Childlike attitude – we can provide one for you on the day.
WHERE IS IT?
The workshop will be held in The Greek workshop (Taller La Griega), Calle de Fúcar, 4, 28014, Madrid, SPAIN.
Closest metro is Esatación de Arte or Sol.
Bus Routes 6 (Desamparados), 27 and 34 (Prado-Atocha), 32 (Neptuno).
WHEN IS IT?
Sunday 1st December 2019, workshop starts at 11am.
Please arrive 10-20 minutes before the class so we can arrange the space to fit us all. Remember, we are here to have fun, allow yourself the most fun by coming early to settle in and start comfortably!
You can’t enjoy life if you are sick.
Laughter Yoga strengthens the immune system which not only prevents you from falling ill, but also helps to heal a variety of conditions like hypertension, heart disease, diabetes, depression, arthritis, allergies, asthma, bronchitis, backache, insomnia, fibromyalgia, migraine headaches, menstrual disorders, cancer and many others.
Here is some HARD SCIENCE that backs up these health claims:
In a 2014 study on the effect of laughter Yoga on general health among nursing students:
Conclusions: The findings showed that laughter Yoga had a positive effect on students’ general health and improved the signs of physical and sleep disorders, lowered anxiety and depression, and promoted their social function. Therefore, laughter Yoga can be used as one of the effective strategies on students’ general health.
In a 2017 study on the effect of laughter yoga exercises on anxiety and sleep quality in patients suffering from Parkinson’s disease:
Conclusion: The results of the present study demonstrate that laughter yoga exercises can reduce anxiety and improve sleep quality in patients suffering from Parkinson’s disease. As a result, laughter yoga exercises may be beneficial as a complementary therapy with standard treatment methods to reduce anxiety and improve sleep quality in patients with Parkinson’s.
BUSINESS LEADERS: In 2016 on QUARTZ – a website for global news and insights for a new generation of business leaders – an article:
Clinical findings support claims that mirth, genuine or otherwise, has positive physical, physiological, and psychological effects. Laughter is associated with improved heart rate and immune system function, lowered blood pressure, reduced stress hormone production, increased salivary flow, and elevated pain tolerance. Whether or not people are really feeling gleeful, the body responds positively to the act of laughing, which can then induce actual relaxation and feeling of wellbeing.
A 2019 article on the website Help Guide – a non profit mental health and wellness website, this article explains the benefits of laughter. Written by Lawrence Robinson, Melinda Smith, M.A., and Jeanne Segal, Ph.D.
Find your inner child. Pay attention to children and try to emulate them—after all, they are the experts on playing, taking life lightly, and laughing at ordinary things.
One of my favourite reads is this study as is has an example of a laughter prescription:
We propose that laughter prescriptions might contain detailed information as to the frequency, intensity, time, and type of laughter (forming the useful mnemonic “FITT”), much like pharmacological prescriptions and exercise prescriptions. This format aims to give patients clear and easy-to-remember guidelines. It is also a way to present laughter in a serious manner. When prescribing laughter, it would be of utmost importance to individualize the recommendations, taking into consideration the patient’s own sense of humor and willingness to engage in new activities, such as laughter yoga.
If you are still unconvinced a more extensive list of studies is available here.
I WELCOME YOU:
I really hope you can come along and start something fun and healthy with me. I teach yoga, art, emotional freedom (EFT and TFT) and now I hope to teach you how to have a good laugh at yourself, your problems and just how ridiculous some things that we worry about are.
I’m not a medical doctor. If you have any health concerns, speak to your doctor, however I have full insurance for teaching yoga and I promise to look after you.
I’m not your guru or a magical being that can solve all your problems – YOU ARE.
Take back control of your life – laugh and the world laughs with you.
You may recall the invitation to attend the unveiling of three artists work at the Peruvian GastroBar Kushuro at the start of October, below are the photos from the night and of the free art class that took place, the first of many more to come for the Amazing Art Society.
Thank you to everyone who came to support the artists, the bar and the Amazing Art Society!
All the hard work it took to put the event together paid off with some amazing results:
Over 30 pieces of art installed in a few hours.
New art never seen in public before finally on display.
Private Gallery created in a new bar.
First Art Class for the Amazing Art Society.
If you are suffering from massive FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) right now, don’t worry! You can visit the bar and still see the artwork as they will be on display until the 9th of November 2019. You can find out more details of the exhibition here.
The Amazing Art Society Class
The Art Class was a great success! I asked Sabrina to model for us with short poses at the beginning, 2 and 5 minutes poses to loosen the artists hands and build confidence at putting pencil to paper. We had four of the same pose, from different angles in order to study the form of a woman from different perspectives.
Longer, seated poses followed the break when everyone could refill their glasses. Drawing is thirsty work! At the end of the class Sabrina signed a few of the drawings and we all went back upstairs to start the party!
If you would like to attend an Amazing Art Society class in the future, join me on MeetUp here and sign up to our next event!
The Party Starts!
After the art class, the music started and the party began! We had a meet and greet with the artists. Cosy groups of visitors sat and chatted together on the terrace and there were many trips up and down the stairs to view the artwork in the private space. Many smiles and many laughs!
All in all, it was great evening, lots of hard work and lots achieved with a small and dynamic team!
If you are interested in displaying your artwork, attending an art class or just have a question, please feel free to send me a message to start a conversation: Hola@AmazingAliya.com / 695 272 159
First Published 30th September 2019 –
There is great news and great progress for AmazingAliya.com! I am hosting my first Art Class in Madrid!
I’ve made a Meetup Group, Amazing Art Society. Please join to receive updates on new classes coming throughout the year. Also have a browse of the other MeetUp groups I have created.
For the FREE art class on the 9th of October, you can join the Meetup event here.
We are also having a party to celebrate the opening of Kushuro on the same day. If you want to come along to the party only, without reserving a space in the art class, please join the event on Facebook here.
Kushuro is minutes away from the famous Reina Sofía Museum of Art and the grand Atocha Station. It’s been open for only a few months and I am so happy to be helping create the launch party now!
A quick run down of the schedule: Come to the bar from 6pm for dinner, 7pm to 9pm enjoy the FREE Art Class, then stay as long as you like. Keep in mind that there will be a party atmosphere with a DJ!
Please share the news, events and groups with your friends. Feel free to join us to celebrate with us whilst trying something different!
This is a group for English speaking people to sip and sketch, improve your drawing skills, try new techniques and meet like minded people.
The venue is to be decided based on numbers, I will update the group the week before (will be Centro Madrid). I will be changing the venue as and when the group grows. Each venue will be one that is featured on this website, or is looking to display art! I aim to get a model for us to draw, otherwise I will create an interesting class with an unusual theme.
Keep up to date with details in the Meetup group. – JOIN HERE
Please bring your own materials – I recommend an A4 sketch book, pencils, ball point pens and colour pencils or crayons. Some materials will be available to buy on the day, cash only please. Feel free to bring friends – add them to your RSVP or send/share the link for them to join on Meetup.
The class will start at 19.00, you can arrive before to settle in and prepare your seat, your drink and your materials. We will have a short meet and greet as well as an overview of the class for 10 minutes, draw for 50 mins, have a 15 minute break and then draw for 30 mins. The final 15 minutes is to share and discuss the pieces we have created.
I feel it’s important to discuss and show our work to each other so that we can learn from each other and appreciate each others styles, techniques and challenges. More often than not, we share the same insecurities and we can help each other!
After class we can stay in the venue for more time as we wish, come meet arty people and try something new!
Hola, I have two venues looking to display art. Once you have pieces on display I will make a post for your artwork and add it to this website.
Kushuro Gastrobar: Paseo de Santa María de la Cabeza, 32, local 4, 28045 Madrid Facebook/Website here.
The vibe is beach and fresh. Peruvian origin looking to display artwork. Prime location walking distance from Reina Sofia. Send me a message if you want to be introduced to the owner. Aliya@AmazingAliya.com
Café del Teatro: Calle Moratines, 13, 28005 Madrid Website/Facebook here.
Theatrical vibe with dark walls and romantic lights. Close to many theatres, closest metro Embajadores. Send me a message if you want to be introduced to the owner. Aliya@AmazingAliya.com
It would be super helpful to everyone involved in this project, if you visit please can you say that you found the place on this website: Amazing Aliya, so that we can see that this project DOES help connect people together.
Sería muy útil para todas las personas involucradas en este proyecto, si al visitar un local recomendado por nosotros, menciones que lo encontraste en nuestro sitio web: AmazingAliya.com, para que podamos ver cómo este proyecto está ayudando a conectar a la gente.
Necesito ayuda con un proyecto y me gustaría que contribuyas si puedes y quieres
Si has leído mi articulo anterior “The Journey Begins” te darás cuenta de que este proyecto comenzó en mi cabeza hace unos 2 meses. Cuando a mediados de Junio del 2019, hice una oferta para comprar una vieja cochera que se había convertido en almacén de comida, con la idea de transformarla en una galería que apoyase a los artistas con un espacio para exhibir su obra, para brindarles guía para hacer ventas (o coaching de ventas) y crecer su negocio, que además fuese un espacio para enseñar yoga. Quería crear un espacio en donde gente de toda clase pudiese venir a compartir sus ideas y su tiempo, haciendo cosas que amamos: relajándonos con asanas o pintando cuadros, cosas que hacen bien al alma.
Finalmente mi oferta ni siquiera llegó al dueño de la cochera/garaje porque se consideró demasiado baja para presentársela, aunque al hacerla se tomó en cuenta que el espacio necesita un techo nuevo y tiene moho negro. Quería crear un espacio seguro y limpio para que incluso los niños pequeños pudieran tomar clases de yoga y arte….pues el espacio aún sigue en venta: https://www.idealista.com/en/inmueble/86172715/, el moho negro está empeorando, y aunque pasa el tiempo sigue enlistado en propiedades a la venta, sin ser considerado.
Sin embargo, me siento bien al respecto, porque mi idea de ayudar a la gente ha evolucionado a algo diferente: Este sitio de internet. Después de dar un paseo en el parque con una amiga y su perro, y conversar francamente sobre lo que hizo que su negocio se viniera abajo -el costo de mantenimiento de sus instalaciones a pesar de que tenía buenos de ingresos- me di cuenta de que los negocios con más éxito como Amazon, Uber, Ebay, etc… no son propietarios de nada, sino que más bien se enfocan en reunir a compradores y vendedores en un solo lugar. Así que decidí cambiar mi enfoque hacia crear un sitio de internet útil, que mostrase una red completa de espacios y locales que ya estuvieran exhibiendo y vendiendo obras de arte, en vez de construir mi propio espacio. Pensé que así podía ayudar a más gente y no solo mirar por mi misma. Me encantaría vender mi arte a miles de personas otra vez, pero prefiero ayudar a otros a vender el suyo para que podamos ayudarnos mutuamente y aprender unos de otros.
Eventualmente quisiera crear una aplicación a la que todo el mundo tuviese acceso, que tenga un mapa y que muestre todos los restaurantes, bares y cafés que tengan arte a la venta y estén cerca de donde estés, para que puedas dar un paseo, tomar una bebida o algo de picar y mirar las obras de arte únicas que tienen en exhibición. Si te gusta, puedes adquirirlo ahí mismo y llevártelo a casa.
Aquí es donde necesito tu ayuda. El tipo de espacio que quiero presentar en este sitio y con el tiempo en la aplicación, son muy difíciles de encontrar por internet. Puede que tengan su propia página en internet, o estén en Tripadvisor, pero no se especifica si actualmente exhiben o tienen arte a la venta.
Si conoces algún espacio que esté exhibiendo o vendiendo arte y piensas que les gustaría aparecer aquí en Amazing Aliya, por favor ayúdanos a ponernos en contacto. Yo he comenzado la búsqueda en Madrid, ya que puedo hacerlo personalmente, pero la meta es que este sitio sea verdaderamente Internacional. Así que, si quieres ayudar por favor manda un correo a Aliya@AmazingAliya.como también puedes mandarme la ubicación del espacio e iré a investigar si me fuera posible.
En este momento estoy trabajando en un formulario para que los espacios y artistas lo rellenen, y puedan tener su propia página que muestre en donde se ubican, y lo que tienen a la venta. Mi meta es llegar a tener 100 espacios y locales en Madrid para Marzo del 2019. Hasta ahora tenemos 11, así que si quieres aportar algo importante al mundo del arte, por favor contribuye.
Con mucho amor, Aliya
I need help with this project and I want to ask YOU to contribute if you can and would like to.
If you read my previous post The Journey Begins you’ll be aware that this project started in my mind about 2 months ago. In mid June 2019, it started with me putting an offer on an old garage turned food storage space, with the idea that I would turn it into a gallery, supporting artists with an exhibition space, providing sales coaching and mentoring and also a space to teach yoga. I wanted to make a space where people of all walks of life could come and share their ideas and time, doing things that we loved – chilling out with paints or asanas, things that are good for the soul.
The offer wasn’t put forward to the owner of the space as it was considered too low to even consider however it took into account that the space needed a new roof and has black mould. I wanted to make a clean safe space for even little children to come to yoga and art classes… the space is still for sale now https://www.idealista.com/en/inmueble/86172715/ and the black mould is getting worse… And as time passes, it sits on the property shelf.
I feel ok about it though, the idea of helping people evolved into something a bit different: this website. After a walk in the park with a friend, her dog and a frank discussion about what contributed to her business going under: monthly costs for premises – regardless of money coming in. That conversation helped me realise that if the top businesses that are doing well; Amazon, Uber, Ebay, don’t actually own anything and focus mainly on bringing the buyers and sellers together in one space, I decided to change track and focus in on building a useable website that shows a network of venues already exhibiting and selling artwork rather than making my own space. I felt this would help more people rather than focusing in on my own personal gain. As much as I’d love to sell my artwork for thousands again, I’d rather help others sell theirs so we can all help and learn from each other.
Eventually I want an app that anybody can open, shows a map of where you are and where the restaurants, bars and cafes around you are that are selling art so that you can go for a walk, order something to eat or drink and browse the unique artwork on display. If you like it, then you can take it home with you right there and then.
This is where I need your help. These places I want to feature on the website and then in time the app, are really difficult to find online. They may have websites for the restaurant part or are on trip advisor, however it’s not shown online who is showing and selling art.
If you know of a space that is showing or selling art and you think they might like to be featured here on Amazing Aliya, please put us in contact. I’ve started in Madrid as I can walk and search around here in person, however I want this site to be truly international. So, to help, please email me directly on Aliya@AmazingAliya.com or comment the location and I will go and investigate if I can.
Right now I’m making a submissions form for venues and artists to fill in and return so I can make a page for them that shows where they are and what is for sale.
My goal is to have 100 venues in Madrid by March 2019. So far I have about 11 so if you want to be part of something that is really important for the art world, please do get involved.
Why did I start this website? Because I found that when I wanted to find art for sale in Madrid and I did what most people do and searched in Google, I found what happened next almost upsetting whilst confirming something which has been swirling in my mind for a few years now – The art world and all it’s quirkiness is not logged on the internet.
This is what I found:
In the all search results, ‘Art For Sale In Madrid’ came back with a bunch of online places to buy art, some sponsored adverts as well as some organic results for artists all over the world, tagged with ‘Madrid’. Either from Madrid based artists or themed with Madrid. Nothing really came up that allowed me to browse where I could visit in Madrid.
This link to Trip Advisor shows just three comments. It wasn’t clear to me when the question had been asked however with a comment being edited in 2012 and the thread being closed due to inactivity, it wasn’t very current or helpful.
In the maps section of search results these 10 results included Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia and the Museo Nacional del Prado, not only totally our of my budget but also not what I had been hoping for.
Maybe the results would be better if I searched in Spanish, and yes they were a bit better with a few more galleries popping up. The Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum added to the ‘out of my budget’ category. Eleven results in total including the museums.
So, I couldn’t find much that showed what I believe to be the true nature of the subject.
Where were the cafes, bars and restaurants that were showing art made by local people and at reasonable prices? I had walked past them on my walks around the city and I loved ducking into a coffee shop to have a look at these unique pieces whilst feeling that I could have a seat in somewhere that was not a chain, part of a community and with a totally different vibe from the stuffy Galleries of traditional art sales.
I believe and am now in the process of proving that art for sale in Madrid needs to be logged in a different way, a way that exists online and in a way that makes it easy for buyers to find it and buy it.
A friend of a friend of a friend, wrote this piece and I felt the need to publish it here on Amazing Aliya. A little window into a world you might not ever get to see. Artists, literary or otherwise are everywhere…
24 HOURS IN THE LIFE OF SMALL STREAMS by Abu Qanat
“BITCH, C*NT!” Rose addresses Lisa, her loving care worker with two of her favourite terms of endearment and bites her hard on the arm. “Rose, you’re in a lively mood this morning,” with warmth shining through her attempts at a look of disapproval. “Hello Doctor!” replies Rose, looking over Lisa’s shoulder.
Rose is a hard-swearing senior lady, living in a care home in Buckinghamshire, and next week the staff of Small Streams bungalow will celebrate her eightieth birthday. One of Rose’s favourite activities is to sing, and she knows the words to ‘Living Doll,’ ‘The Lambeth Walk,’ ‘Danny Boy’ and many other songs. Very often she is ferociously happy and upbeat but sometimes she will also turn on her care worker.
Born in London, Rose has suffered from an extreme learning difficulty all her life, and she has the smallest room because she has no personal budget to pay for her care home. She has never had the love of children or a partner, but Rose’s life is by no measure empty of warmth or love, and her outgoing mischief makes her the favourite amongst the care staff.
“My pad. My knickers!” The care worker obeys the hard-swearing star of the nursing home who will turn eighty this week, removes her underwear and incontinence pad, and sits her on the toilet.
Rose has a typical and infectious smile as any eighty year old rogue you can imagine. Lisa turns to her young, male apprentice and asks him to take the dirty clothes to the washer. Rose shouts to the frightened trainee: “Can I sit on your lap?” and it releases the tension. Everyone dies laughing.
Small Streams is a bungalow in the outskirts of a small town in the home counties, adapted for use by those with severe learning disability. All the doors are held open magnetically until the toast is browned. One whiff of brown toast and the current to the magnets is cut, all the doors slam shut, the budgerigar starts flapping uncontrollably, and the alarm screams in time to the movements of the budgie. If you happen to be looking at the budgie when the Fire Alarm goes off, he does really seem to be making the high pitched whistles himself. But the Budgie’s whistles really do not compare with those of Rose.
Small Streams is also home to Niamh, who can propel herself in a wheelchair; Peter who walks but mostly slides along the floor, and Queenie who walks the corridors all night without much on and on any day of the week, the wheels on Niamh’s wheelchair are liable to be coated in chocolate.
The Chocolate Wheelchair In the afternoon the new young care-worker, in an act of sympathy from Lisa finds himself cleaning the chocolate from Niamh’s chair. Niamh has no sophisticated Motability chair – she gets around in an old NHS wheelchair with 24 inch wheels. Amazingly for a lady who cannot speak and be understood by anyone other than her close care workers, Niamh is nimble and agile in her wheelchair, but the chairs are not impermeable to grime, and the wheels on Niamh’s chair develop a crust of chocolate. “They bought her Cadbury’s flakes again,” seethes Lisa. “ I wish they would stop buying Neevie Cadbury’s Flakes every week. They all coat themselves around the wheels – where she pushes herself along.”
But in addition to cleaning the house, support workers also have to wash the residents themselves.
Rose’s lead care worker is Decebal, a muscular, no nonsense slavic man with a top-knot, built of military stock on the River Danube and descended from Dacia’s ancient king who fought the Emperor Trajan to the death (his own) in 106AD. Decebal runs the care home like a military machine, and accepts no nonsense:
“You wash her again, and to apply the eczema cream that we checked on the medication sheet under the fold of her belly please.” He barks later as Rose giggles, clearly enjoying the attention. “And the special soap under the boobies, and the groin. If we have bacterium remaining there, then we have trouble, isn’t it?” Rose is duly washed again, as she is twice a day – Rose is the easiest resident to keep hygienic since she is sociable and cooperative (if not to say agreeable, exactly) and she clamours for attention.
Suddenly there is a shriek from the bathroom, and Niamh, who was drinking a cup of “Old Moat” cider at the dinner table jumps out of her skin, sending the last of the cider on the floor. Lisa emerges with a look of extraordinary tiredness in her face. “Don’t worry, it’s just Queenie,” she reassures everyone. “She never really wants to go to the bathroom before bed.”
Decebal barely lets his affection for his clients show, but he is fiercely protective of them and minutely aware of their medicinal needs. He encourages old staff and new to sing with Rose – it is one of her favourite activities, and she knows a lot of words to London songs, wartime songs, and even hits from the sixties.
Later the new young support worker notices a photo in Rose’s bedroom where she is warmly holding two young children and smiling broadly and he wonders whether this sort of affection from children is exactly what Rose needs. The more experienced care workers correct him: the problem is, what will she say, Lisa explains to the newbie. Once she leant out of the window and shouted to a group of under-tens crossing the road to “hurry the fuck up”. Their mothers were not pleased.
“Can I sit on your lap, Doctor?” Rose repeats naughtily. The newbie blushes. Now we’ll have no more of that, Lisa smiles at her favourite customer, and receives a sloppy bite on her forearm for her trouble.