Brian currently attends our Day Hospice but back in 1976, he was a telephone engineer and actually helped to fit the first telephone system for the Birmingham St Mary’s building…

I can picture the white house, which is now just the front building, that’s all there was, with the driveway and the ramp. I remember Monica Pearce, the NHS matron setting up the facilities when she retired.

It’s a relevation how it’s changed since then, say no more. The facilities are really good and the care given by the staff is excellent.

I was reluctant to come as I’d seen the geriatic hospitals back in the old days, having worked in them and people would just be sitting there, staring into space. That was it, they were just left on their own, given their meals but that was about it; there was just no atmosphere. So I didn’t know what to expect coming here but obviously this is very different.

Now if anybody would ask me, I’d recommend coming to the Hospice; they’d definitely benefit from the services here, especially if you live on your own. Everyone’s welcome, the staff are sympathetic and take care of you; I think the staff are wonderful, I’ve got complete confidence in them, they’re all trained in their own fields with physios and nursing staff.

It was the social worker that suggested that I come here and I’m very glad that I’ve found it. I enjoy meeting people, being at home on my own, I’m isolated to a house.

Travelling The World

Brian’s quite the traveller, seeing many different sights and places over the years…

We had a motorised caravan with a 6 foot clearance so you could stand up in it and we travelled all over the place. One of the places I enjoyed the most was the visit to St Mark’s Square in Venice, the food was great there as the different restaurants were bartering with you, trying to convince you to come into their place, you’d be able to look at the menu and argue the price, which was quite interesting.

I’ve very much enjoyed travelling, I can remember the warm summer evenings at a vineyard in Burgundy with a superb aroma in the air. There was a place called Beaune, which was the central town of the region, where we saw a café and there was a queue at midday, so we just joined it. It turned out to be this family restaurant and the food was absolutely superb. It was so good that the next year when we went back to France, we went to Beaune to look for this restaurant but unfortunately, it was gone and had been turned into some other business.

I’ve not only done touring around Europe but have gone on cruises too. From everywhere like Fort Lauderdale to a trip down the Panama Canal, which connects the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific Ocean and that was a nice experience, taking 3 or 4 days. We had all the amenities on board, fine food and drink if you want it. Amongst the friendliest people I met on my travels were the crew on the cruise ships, they were mainly Filipino, knew how to have a laugh and were really hard-working.

We also went to Pearl Harbor, which has been turned into a sanctuary. The Missouri ship is still standing and you can walk around it, seeing the big guns on this battleship. From there, we went up to Honolulu, which is a fascinating place as well; beautiful sand and you can see pineapple growing in fields.

Food

On top of travelling, Brian is a big fan of his food…

I think the soup here at the Hospice is superb and I very much enjoy the sweets here like the apple crumble with custard and the gateaux. I remember my mum used to make a delicious treacle pudding with custard.

My favourite meal at home is a nice joint of roast beef, a little on the rare side, with yorkshire puddings and everything from roast potatoes to broccoli, cabbage and carrots. Not forgetting some first class gravy with the meat juices thrown in.

Thank you for taking the time to share some memories with us Brian and hearing all about your love of travelling and food! Here at the Hospice, we share your love.

If you’d like to learn more about the 12-week therapeutic programme that Brian is taking part in, please click here.