That's half a person

That's half a person.

- And that one is as well.

(man) So you can't recall
names and places?

(Nick) Nor can I recall
the names of people or places.

I don't know what your name is.

I can just recall the name Will,

because I meet him regularly,
so that one is one that I now know.

And I can usually remember
the name of Victoria, for instance.

I can still remember the name of Nick.

But it's weird, the way when I see
people, I recognise them.

This is what I was suggesting
we might be able to do. Yeah.

Over the last eight years,
my brain has been steadily dissolving.

The effect was diagnosed
as progressive aphasia.

The major transformation
has been the loss of words.

Although I've got
all these thousands of things...

..I can't now read them.

I can't understand things.
I don't know the language.

In order to speak things, I have to
rediscover them and write it all down.

(man) You know what to communicate.

I carefully decided on these things.

I gradually changed the words
that I'd put until it sounded OK.

That is a nice picture of me
and Victoria and one of our children.

This was when I was performing
things that I'd created.

In the past, I'd actually been
working over the years

as an expert on English language.

So, in 1985, I was appointed
as the English adviser for Devon,

along with my gorgeous wife, Victoria.

Comes in here.

Together with our lovely children.

I look at this picture all the time.

Whenever I see my children,
it's just so pleasurable.

- (Victoria) Can you talk about them?
- (laughs)

I'd have to try and remember
what their names are.

In those days,
I was also producing a number of books

on behalf of Oxford University Press
and so on.

And I'd also been creating
and organising a variety of plays.

Sing Cuckoo.

Tales from Kites Hill.

However, I cannot now understand
the wording of books or plays,

including my own versions.

- (man) Pick up a book now, Nick.
- One of these?

I can't read it. I can't understand it.

Actually, the pictures that I most like
looking at are the pictures of art.

So, I can be looking at these things.

What I've always liked looking at
was ancient pictures.

I don't recall these things in the way
that I used to.

They sometimes come through to me.

But it's this other side of the brain
that is less damaged.

So, because I'm still capable
of perceiving things,

I get happily absorbed in jigsaws.

I don't know whether it's worth

including me doing
these sorts of things.

I thought I might provide it
for you to...

- Yes, I think you should.
- Do you want to take a few bits out?

(Nick) OK. Just put them
somewhere where I can see them.

Off I go, then.

It wouldn't be a big thing, but, just... image of sticking things in
would be quite...

- (man) We've done that.
- OK.

Another of the things I can still do
is drawing.

That was something I'd only done before
when I was a youngster.

What I've now been creating
is a collection of misericords.

Pick up a random version of that.

When I say "misericords",

a lot of people are not sure
what it means, initially.

(man) And it's a word I've only heard
from you.

That's right.

These fascinating misericord things
were an ancient form of wood carving,

situated around the choir stalls
of medieval churches.

(man) Is that roughly the same size?

(Nick) Exactly the same size
of how these things are.

They're down on the bottom,
underneath one of those things.

- (man) Are there any there?
- They're all along there, you see.

They're along that side as well.

(man) Unless you look under the seat,
you won't know they're there, will you?

This is one of the famous ones.

(man) He's saddled up like a horse.

There are things which are
a combination of people and creatures.

When I was saying "various selection",

pictures could just be
a series of these things

rather than a picture of me.

"Misericord" is one of the words
that I constantly remember

because I've been using it
for the last year and a half.

This is one of the ones
that I've got in my picture.

They don't come through very clearly.

Drawing them makes them
a lot more visible.

That's much more visible than that,
for instance.

I choose the ones that I find
really interesting.

I didn't think that these would be good
things to be using for your pictures.

(man) It's showing planning,
the way you thought about stuff,

where things should go on the page.

(Nick) This is not a good thing.

It's not going to be
visually very impressive.

That's how I finally did it.

It looks a lot better like that,
doesn't it?

(man) Yep. That's good.

The first English version of misericords
was constructed in Exeter Cathedral...

That's the Exeter one. the 13th century.

Then other versions were created
all around the country

over the next 300 years.

They're slightly different
from the originals.

That's one of these things.

Although there's one, two, three,
four, five, six, seven, eight...

..of these things beside that one,
I just put two there

because it makes it possible to do that.

These drawings very much link
the person that Nick is now

with the person he was before.

(Nick) Exhibition of work
by local artists.

That was one of the first things
that I was doing, something like this.

Then I had so many other things to do,

that I just didn't start
to do these again.

Anybody who knew Nick before would look
at some of these creatures and people

and say, "That's exactly what Nick would
have found humorous."

Or, "That's exactly what Nick would have
written about when he wrote his plays."

Do you think that's me hitting you?
Is that me attacking you?

(both laugh)

They're constantly trying to modify
the behaviour of their husband.

Because they can't let go
of the previous person.

- It's conflict all the time.
- Which is so sad. Yeah.

Which is so sad.

How she copes with me? Oh, it's...

She does everything.


Whereas, you see, I live with a man

who saw a Christmas tree
for the first time last year.

What's not to like about that?
He's in a state of sheer delight.

He says to me,
"What is this beautiful thing?"

He's never seen it before. It's magic.

(Nick) It's a nice collection
of things here, isn't it?

I'm just going to add
the last couple of bits.

At the start of last year, I began
to draw this series of misericords,

choosing in each case
the most fascinating selection.

This form of drawing hadn't been
done before by other artists.

The cathedral dean.

When I provide copies
to the chosen churches,

the organisers have been thrilled...

It's beautiful. the new picture
of their misericords.

They will be used by the education
department, I'm quite sure.

Thank you very much.
Really good to meet you.

It's been one of the final things
I've been still able to do.

I see so many people that know me.
People who worked with me in the past.

We worked together for many years.
We used to share offices at one time.


Daisi. Devon Art in Schools Initiative.

You and I set up Devon Arts in School

with councillors and governors.

It was your idea and my idea.
Probably more your idea.

We used to share a file

that was all the artists that were
available to work in schools.

That was 13 years ago, I think.

Now there's a big organisation

doing a thing that you and I used to do
on our desks in a quiet moment.

- Art is my area.
- I'm so sorry that I can't remember...

That's OK.
Nick, it is perfectly alright.

I'll see you in a moment, yeah?

- (man) He was talking about...
- Oh, Daisi.

I mean, Daisi was a thing I created,

That's right.

Did he say that he was working in Daisi?

Yeah. The two of you put
Daisi together.



Yes, that begins to come back
to me now.

Yeah. Yes, I...

Oh, yeah. That's right.