A Grand DAY Out

Hey everyone, I hope this finds you all well and in good mental health.

I thought, today, I would talk to you about the day I had with the restoration trust, board of trustee and expert advisory board members, for our strategy meeting.

So, it all started with a very early start….very early for me, the taxi picked me up at 6.15am, see, really early!!!   We then went and picked up Phil and then Adrian, then proceeded to get to the minibus in Norwich.  We got there in plenty of time, so was able to get some drinks, and we met up with other who was coming with us.

Adrian and me were talking about the project we worked in, and tried to put the world to rights, which was great.  There was loads of chatter on the bus, and made the two and a half hour journey, not seem so long.  I was surprised at how good the traffic was in London too, not as busy as I thought It would be.

We finally got to the meeting place, and I noticed that there was lots of photo shoots going on, all around, I found this quite interesting, as you see it on tv but not usually in real life.  As I entered the building that some of the group were staying, I couldn’t help but laugh.  You see as I was walking in, I couldn’t help but notice how uneven the floors were.  I then entered the lounge, and I saw a cupboard which I knew my partner would love as much as I did, and I threatened to pinch it and take it home with me!!

We got chatting to the other members, who I had only seen through a monitor screen for the last two years, and it was so nice to see them face to face for the first time.  We then all went to the building, where our meeting was going to take place.

One of the first things we did, in the meeting, was pair up, and say what we liked about the restoration trust, and one thing we liked outside the trust.   I was paired up with a man call Darren, and I told him that the restoration trust has given me my connection back to nature and being part of a community, and how they have supported me through some rough episodes over the last couple of years, and I also told him how much I love music and especially sport!!

We were then put into three groups, to talk about the success and improvements we could bring to the restoration trust. The group I was in was the incubation and new ideas, five of us all together.  It was great, but my anxiety hit a high, because I knew one of them, but the other three, I had only met that day.  I didn’t want to look or sound stupid with my ideas, as one of my voices was telling me how rubbish I was, and all sorts.  But this was not going to stop me from participating,. So I threw in an idea or two, and tried to block out the negative voices, trying to ruin my day.  I used a technique of tapping my fingers together, which helped calm me down a bit, and stay focused on the task at hand.  We had lots of ideas coming fast and furious, between the five of us, and it was great to see the passion that I think we all share, within the group. 

At lunch break, and I think we all got to connect with each other quite well.  I was quite cheeky, and handed out some of my business cards, which was received very well I think.  After lunch we went back to our groups, to plan a presentation about the ideas we had come with.  We didn’t have long to prepare for this, as we were late back form lunch, but we came up with a few more ideas, then someone asked who was going to do the presentation.  Without any thought, I volunteered without a second thought!!!!!

Photograph Taken by Darren France

Then it was time to panic again……. I didn’t really know how I was going to do it.  The first group made their presentation, which went well, and this made me feel more at ease with standing up and talking.  As I started to talk about my groups ideas,  it felt more familiar, like when I did my talks I’ve done before, I felt good and just dove right into it, after the last group had their turn, the meeting had come to an end.

It was then our turn to have a photo shoots.  Photos were taken of the trustee and the advisory members, and by this time I thought I would ring my partner.  She mentioned we had run out of washing up liquid, so I thought I would take a look down brick lane.  I finally found a shop, and was shocked that It was going to cost me £1.29!!!!!  I was gobsmacked at the price and told the group when I got back, they found it quite amusing to my indignant response to the price.  We all had a laugh about this, I know it sounds daft, but it was funny.

Photograph taken by Darren France

I would love to take this moment to thank everyone who made this day a great day out.  A big thank you to Laura, who got me involved, I am truly thankful for that, and all the experiences I’m having.

The restoration trust has given me a lot, and I want to help the organisation grow, I feel I owe them.

Photograph Taken by Phil Wells

I also want to send thanks to the Matthew project, who without the loan of their minibus, this meeting would have been a lot smaller!!!

Thank you for reading, have a great day, and I wish you all better mental health.


  1. Great blog John, you should be proud as you mention the anxieties and I guarantee although we all deal with them in different ways we all have them. You should be proud of your self for volunteering to present to the group, I for one would be cowering and hoping someone would take that pressure away.

    Love the washing up liquid story! I also would have bought 2 lol

    Be proud of your self mate a great day and you made it happen which to me was not only brave but I’m sure you made it easier for others there that hid their anxieties better and made their day too!

    Proud of you mate!

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