Amanda J Hayward

                            I am not a great one for New Year

                            I must admit it can infuse a tear

                            I think of all the pointless energy I have wasted

                            Then I recall the great times I have savoured and tasted

                            I think of all my friends near and far

                            Those I see regularly and those I can’t always reach

                            Those I love beyond all bounds

                            Because 2018 has taught me that true friendship is around

                            With love in our hearts and hope in our minds

                            Let’s go forward into 2019

                            Leaving behind the creaking gate

                            It’s a time for forgiving and starting afresh

                            Remember this, there may not be a text from me at midnight

                            There’ll be no empty wine bottles outside my bin

                            But sleep easy as the Near Year dawns

                            For whilst 2019 is born, I wish you love and all the best.

                                                                                               31 December 2018

Who Says People Don’t Care Anymore?

We live in an incredibly fast paced world today when everything is expected instantly.  Coffee on the go, paying bills at the press of a button and shopping twenty-four hours a day without leaving the house.  I was born in the Seventies and all these things were totally unimaginable growing up.

However, for some of us, this pace of life is impractical and not everyone can appreciate that.   My disability insists that things take me longer than others but I accept it, I don’t know any different.

My Dad is going through a frustrating stage of Parkinson’s Disease, it is debilitating, cruel and often to him, embarrassing.  He feels vulnerable and exposed when his brain and body refuse to work together.  He feels everyone is watching him, judging and speculating. They probably aren’t.

Could they be wondering if they can help? Are they innocently thinking ‘Is this Parkinson’s?’ Or ‘Have I seen that symptom in our…?’  Those with Parkinson’s Disease can often see the glass half empty when actually it is half full.

Sitting in a coffee shop recently, Dad was having difficulty in standing up from a chair. This can be a regular occurrence and especially prevalent at the moment.

A lady two tables along was watching his attempts to rise.  I could see and almost feel her frustration, not at watching and wondering but at wanting to help him.  Should she?  Could she?  Seeing my Mum struggle to help him as both tired, and that I couldn’t help from my wheelchair, she came over.  Summoning her husband to grab an arm, they got him up without embarrassment or question.

She had looked like she was immersed in her own world until then, oblivious to anyone except her immediate company, but how wrong can you be?  Human nature is so easily consumed into a selfish society however, I was reminded that in this crazily busy world, people we don’t know still care.

Thank you to a complete stranger for reminding me and for helping a man who desperately needs to see that people can help us with the most simple of tasks, without judgement.

We all need that.


10 August 2018


On the 70th Anniversary of the NHS, here’s my offering:

Ten, Nine, Eight

A J Hayward


I thought NHS stood for:

Never Have Sweets

but as a nine-year-old I was proved wrong

when my leg needed technical adjustment

I thought it would be fun

a few weeks off school

Wasn’t I a fool?


They took me to the theatre

Then the importance hit me

I wanted to run but I can’t even walk

Surrounded by men in green

I wanted to scream but no,

it was too late

I was counting backwards in my head

Ten, nine, eight

Just as I was told

A man came out on a trolley

He looked so old

and all I could think as I was injected into sleep

Was he just nine years old when he went in?





Approximately written in 1996


Published in The NHS Experience edited by Sally Goodall

Anchor Books, 1996


June, already?!

I had such plans for my writing this year and still have.  Writing this whilst on holiday in beautiful Suffolk, I feel more inspired than I have in a long time, even though I really struggle to believe where time has gone.  By now I had hoped to have added some twelve pieces to my blog but putting pressure on myself is counterproductive, so I  vow to stop. You heard it here first!

Holidays are meant to be relaxing and fun, this one has ticked every box and I have fallen for this beautiful leafy county with it’s rolling countryside and chocolate box houses adorning each village.

From pubs which don’t serve food in the afternoons despite a sign being outside to a gorgeous hotel for morning coffee in quaint Lavenham, we have encountered many establishments this week of varying standards.

The Early Blog Changes Direction

I logged into my Blog last night to find that I couldn’t add anymore until I paid some money.  Maybe I was naive but I am not in the habit of paying to be published.  I wasn’t sure whether to continue but decided this morning that if I could do my Blog by email, I would have more control who read it.  Not the idea if you want to be noticed but when it comes to my precious words, I am more timid than you’d all believe.  Each epistle is a new child to me and I am very protective.  Of course, there’s nothing to say that the Blog and Pencilpatch Times won’t find themselves in a book one day, a sort of ‘Life on Wheels’ little book.  Who knows?

It wasn’t the most exciting of weeks, although it started with a great comment from my Taxi Driver who on Monday morning said ‘I know when I’m wrong’ – a man who says that can’t go wrong in my book!  He really is great, I have trained him well, he listens to Radio 2 now and drives along periodically looking in the mirror saying ‘Alright Manda?’ rather enthusiastically.

On Monday I turned into Grumpy and I think most of my colleagues wondered who I really was.  My friend was here on Sunday and laughed hysterically when I said I had a temper – she should have seen me Monday, talk about watch and learn!!!

Tuesday and Wednesday were welcomed days off.  On Wednesday we went to Cambridge to see Victoria Wood’s acclaimed ‘Acorns Antiques’, which was brilliant.  I think Victoria Wood is amazingly talented and it was great to see some of her work on stage.  I love the depth and vibrancy of her characters, not only is she a great writer, she’s the University of People Watching.

The rest of the week slipped away in some sort of virus so I didn’t make it back into work on Thursday as planned which I berated myself for.  Those of you particularly close to me will know what a monster I become when I am ill.  If only I concentrated on becoming well rather than obsessing about what I haven’t done or what people may or may not think because I missed two days from work, life would be so much easier.


Here’s to an easier week!


Originally Published 4 February 2007

Remastered for Wheels & Wit @2018