Fay Ballard – Wednesday 17th January 2018 – Auchi Dialysis Unit, Hammersmith Hospital

Artist Fay Ballard is leading a weekly creative workshop with dialysis patients at Hammersmith Hospital. She is writing a weekly blog in response to her experiences.

Michael and I decided to tackle the detailed beach huts in the foreground of his watercolour and this proved to be a difficult challenge, requiring a steady hand and cool head. There were so many fine horizontal and vertical lines.

We ploughed on, smoothing out the wobbles along the way, and stopped at intervals to discuss current affairs: the collapse of Carillion, Brexit, the Private Finance Initiative, and lack of social housing. A nurse announced: ‘Five minutes to go!’ and we looked up in disbelief – where had the morning gone!?

Tina was far too poorly to draw and lay curled up in bed. ‘I wanted to draw Disneyland for you!’ she cried, and we sat together quietly while she told me how she felt.

Olive was wearing a thick grey woolly hat and cosy red cardigan: ‘It was so cold when I left the house this morning at 7.’ Deborah was clothed in green and we admired her patterned fleecy trousers. She thought for a moment but wasn’t in a creative mood today. Instead, she talked about her niece, a teacher and part-time fashion blogger whom she hadn’t seen for a while. ‘Shall we look her up?’ I suggested, and went to find my iPad. What fun to share the iPad with Deborah, a novice. We searched and eventually found Vicky and her blog, bringing a broad smile across Deborah’s face. ‘Shall we send a message?’ and this we did using cockney slang, the familiar discourse between them.

I managed to catch Irving before he left who was on much better form and also Cheryl who had woken and had a ‘boring 40 minutes to go’. However, the time flew past as we chatted about our sons, their healthy diets and considerable cooking skills.

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