70 Stories: How Drift Wood Art Helps Me Live Well with Parkinson’s Disease

A collection of drift wood ships by Dave Logan
Dave Logan

A story by Dave Logan, Chair of Parkinson’s UK – Swindon & District Branch, who has lived with Parkinson’s for sixteen years.

I have had Parkinson’s for over 15 years and celebrated my 70th birthday this July.  I have been lucky in that the progressive nature of my Parkinson’s has been slow.  

For this I am most grateful for the care I have received from the NHS, in particular Swindon Parkinson’s Services at Great Western Hospitals. 

I believe the advice given by my consultant of the importance of staying socially, mentally and physically active to be a main contributory factor towards how I am now. 

Often going on holiday can mean your normal daily routine is neglected.  Most of wife Daphne and my holidays are at or close to a beach.  Even when visiting family in Detroit, we often visit the sandy beaches of Lake Michigan with their marvellous dunes. 

One thing that is common to all is the drift wood found on all beaches, both large and small in size. 

So what brought me to take up a new hobby or dare I say, a new art form? 

On one visit to Grand Haven at Lake Michigan we went into a souviner shop and there my attention was drawn to drift wood art being sold as souviners. It took many forms and of various sizes.  In particular I was drawn to boats and my passion for drift wood art awakened. 

So now my multi-tooled Swiss army knife is an essential item for packing into my suitcase. 

I now spend time walking the beach searching for pieces of drift wood to create a sailing boat.  I have no pre-conseved plan of what I will create but do know what bits of drift wood to look for.  

Rather than spending most of the time lying down reading my Kindle when not in the water having a swim I am being more active and exercising and also mentally active in my search for suitable pieces and then creating my next sailing boat. 

The social side is taken care of in the bar, taverns and restaurants in the evenings or chatting when out of curiosity, people enquire as to what I am doing when that see me with my multi-tool and a piece of wood in my hands.  This also exercises my hands which are affected by my Parkinson’s, particularly my right hand which is the side of my body most affected. 

I consider my creations art, others may not.  The important thing is the mental stimulation.