Friendship Paths


Imagine a walk through a wooded area just after a rainstorm.

The paths differ, some are easy to navigate without any mud or puddles. Paths wide enough to pass easily maybe with the chance to catch the warmth of your sun of your face. These paths  are the paths that we find the majority of our lives. We can use these paths and have company quite easily as we make our journey. Many types of friends and acquaintances can join us on these paths with ease.

Friendships that endure are with the friends that we walk down muddy narrow paths with.  These paths are difficult and we choose friends who are not only prepared to walk these paths with us, but are also prepared to offer their hand to guide and steady us.

How about if we have a choice of paths. Perhaps we are at a junction and we can either take an easy path or a difficult one. Beware of a faux friend who will enjoy convincing us to take the narrow path with puddles of unknown depths..

We therefore have our fair-weather friends, our true friends and faux friends.


A poem …..Happiness is fleeting.

I want you to be able to think like me.
I would like you to see what I see.
The years, the mistakes and the times I got it right
Has revealed a calm and clarity of sight.

Happiness is fleeting and its appearances are unplanned
We feel its power and for it to stay is our demand.
A feeling of joy is so because of its lift.
To have constant life’s highs is an unachievable gift.

So put down your tech, don’t look at your phone
Write a list to fulfil your dreams, let your mind roam
If you had more time and money what is it that your heart desires
I don’t require a shopping list just a list to make you smile

Once you are skilled to nuture yourself
You will discover that you are the source of good health
As you grow in stature with illuminating content
you will attract the moments that may feel heaven sent.

We all have the same amount of hours in a day
Set yourself free, leave others to do what they may
Your life is precious and yours alone, don’t let others convince you to achieve half measures.
Be brave my darlings seek and and you will find your life pleasures.






Birthday approaching and time to make a plan.

I must admit approaching my 49th birthday is a little daunting. I feel very over weight, this morning I put my knickers on back to front and found out that they fit me better this way round, My belly is therefore bigger than my bottom, great.

After my birthday and Dad,s funeral which is to take place the day after my 49th birthday I vow to myself that I will strive for a better life. The greatest love, is to love yourself and all that.

I will join a slimming club….I know that without the fear of some stranger checking my weight once a week, is enough to say no to a cake. I will spend more time on myself, I will find a way to burst into my 50th birthday happier and in as good a state that I can manage in one year.

My mental health is a priority too. May I underline mental health is a totally different aspect to the mind than a mental illness. I think we should all work on and protect our mental health. Every single one of us has a mental health concern.

I have been concerned for a while over the impact on mental health and our use of social media. I know that at the moment I will not allow any photograph of me to reach my or close families news feeds. Instead I manage to check in ant fabulous places and show my hand holding a glass.

My dad is so poorly, my husband is having 3 monthly check ups to check for a reoccurance for   skin cancer ( all clear, thankfully ) and I insist on telling the world through Facebook that I’m fine….look. I’m at a friends birthday party or at the theatre.

Right, here goes… life on social media will no longer exist. My account has been disabled. Its a good start, no more comparisons to deal with. No more little voice in my head saying…..I want what they have.

Great Start

Why do you have to die to get out of a successful marriage? Why do we label a marriage as failed when both people survive?

Mum and dad almost made it to their 60th Wedding anniversary. That is some achievement. Hubby and I have been married 28 years and I can’t imagine how it feels to be in a marriage thats twice as long. I don’t like leaving mum to lock up the house and go to bed on her own.

During dads illness I carried a little notebook with me every where. Each appointment had a neat heading and a brief summary of all that happens during the appointment. The book contains details of the ever changing medicines and the dose of each. I also have lists of contact details from doctors to pharmacies and cancer research help line. The book is my most precious possession.

I look at this book that has been on my kitchen table since I arrived home two days ago.

The book needs to go… I take it down the garden with a box of matches in my other hand. Since dad passed away I seem to be doing things that are almost ritualistic. Bird feathers, talking to rainbows that seem to disappear into my home….now burning a manuscript of an illness.

I decide to carry on with whatever I feel needs to be done to get through this grief. I know dad would want me to be positive , wear bright colours and smile when I can.

During the small fire, a number of pages escape and dance around the garden. I watch the paper mingle with falling leaves. I stand up and focus on a beautiful copper beech leaf falling, twisting and changing its path. I begin a merry shuffle and manage to catch it mid air. I look up at the house and my son is watching me.

I smile and shout “caught it” with the leaf held aloft of my head. A reassurance to my darling son that its ok to carry on and live like his grandad would want us to.

Why worry about the future, a poem for a friend who can’t imagine what it feels like to lose a parent.

Build a time machine and travel to our tomorrows
Just have a peek, what can you see?.
Can you see sunlight or shadows.
How are we all? Are we all there in the year 2023?.

In 2023 have the spring bulbs shown their flowers?
Are the birds building their nests?
Does the sun rise in the east?
And set in the west?

What? You don’t know how to build a time machine?
Well thats a poor show.
I don’t want you to be anxious about the time to come.
To stop the worry, you really need to know.

After the time travel, you could put together a plan.
If you have seen anything concerning
You could set about changing life’s events
You could devise a cure or increase your earnings.

I rather we time travelled all together.
One day at a time, enjoying hour by hour
Time moving at its normal pace
Relax and to be present is a mighty fine power.

My dear sweet caring friend
It isn’t a story you should know, lets leave it to unfold,
Please stop worrying about things that may never happen.
Enjoy life for today and all that it may hold.



First day without Dad

Waking the first day without a dad and I don’t know how I should feel. The weather is bright and the birds are still singing. We are all exhausted after looking after him. Each day was filled with new obstacles, from trying to adapt to an ever changing array of medicines to challenges with trying to care for him.

I adored my dad and we never had a cross word with each other. He could read my mood the second I entered a room. I could never hide anything from him, he was my best buddy right up until my son was born.

However, after seeing him suffer I can’t help but feel a release, a calm acceptance that his passing was right. I also feel guilt at feeling like this.

After a few phone calls to relatives, I wander down my garden. The woodpecker has shed a feather by our pool. I beautiful green feather and as many people who have lost someone dear, see the feather as a message or gift.

I feel light, for the first time in two years I have walked to the bottom of our garden without my mobile telephone. I was constantly on high alert to go to my dad. In my mind every ambulance I heard or saw was heading to my dad. I could now stop this train of thought.

Everything that was important yesterday had overnight become the least of my worries.

List of people that may appear in my diary:-

1 Dad Wonderful 80 year old parent. Reliable,calm and funny. A great baby sitter and Trumpet player.
2 Mum, married to Dad for 59years. Loves cleaning, gardening and knitting
3 Husband of 27 years. My co-pilot or I’m his, not sure. Survivor of skin cancer.
4 Son, Mr cool. Developing a body like an adonis. 22 years and an old spirit, I’m sure he has been on this earth before.
5 Daughter, 13 full of hormones and angst. She is nobodies fool and a lady who is not for turning.
6 Friend number 1. My surrogate older sister. Survivor of breast cancer and the most honest caring person I know.
7.Friend number 2-Foster mum, divorcee, hater of all men. Source of all gossip and lover of tans and leopard print.
8. Friend number 3-Lovely beautiful and witty divorcee, in a brand new relationship. A lady who is both mega intelligent and ditsy at the same time. Her humour is sharp and we turn into a double act when we meet.
9. Friend number 4- Only 4 days older than I am. Kind generous and a calm nature. We are old next door neighbours. Her husband became rather successful and they moved to a large house in the country with all the trappings of extra income. To me she is the same person I met 20 odd years ago.
10. Friend number 5-Bloke, one half of a couple we used to go on holiday with. A man child. Very needy, in endless love traumas whereby he is in his opinion treated badly by the ladies. In my opinion, he wants to grow up. However, I do feel protective of him and his company often brings much laughter.

Diary of a 49 year old woman who wants to reach her 50th birthday in a much better physical and mental state.

Well lets summarise…….Im 49, overweight, although I haven’t weighed myself recently. I’m in denial of the magnitude of my weight issue but I would guess that I’m over 15 stone.

My hair is highlighted blonde and I’ve recently had denim blue sections to show the word that I’m in full control of my quirky middle aged edge….yeah right!.

I’m second in the queue of a well known high street British baker, I’m scanning the delights contained within the counter and I’m mentally reciting my order.

The 10 or 12 fellow pastry fans in the line behind me start raising their voices to alert the serving ladies that a thief had stolen a sandwich. Apparently a man had blatantly grabbed a sandwich from the refrigerated display and taken off at speed up the precinct. I hoped that this wasn’t going to delay me. Please lovely bakery goods purveyors, please don’t take off in pursuit of the thief. I’m nearly at the front of the queue.

Phew, neither of the two ladies move from their post.
None of the customers had left their precious positions in the line that was now out through the door. Did the thief just decide he hadn’t got time to queue or was he really short of the £2.50 for his lunch.
I’ll never know. I can’t wait to tell Dad, he will love this story.
Right, I’m at the front,ordering can commense. Various savoury bakes and a number of sticky sweet pastries, two carrier bags are needed. I hope one of these items will appeal to Dad and he will at least have a taste. Daily doses of oral steroids give him a false drug encouraged appetite.

Dad has fought an almighty battle with the big C over the last two years. He occasionally tell us that he had had a rough day the day before. Such courage, he would only complain in a retrospective way.

To date, he has had 14 blood transfusions and two courses of chemotherapy a year apart. The cancer started in his prostrate gland, it is now in his bones, stomach and he has tumours on his spine. He went to bed with the help of a lady from our local hospice six weeks ago.

I’m on the way to my parents house to sit with dad for the afternoon,to give Mum a few hours to catch up with chores. My car is loaded up with freshly laundered single bed linen for the hospital bed that arrived this week and my bakery goods.
My husband and I had left him in the early hours this morning, we had been helping mum to settle Dad as he was having night time delirium. Also known as terminal delirium, most common at night.

I had played music, carefully selected tunes that Dad liked. His foot had moved to the rhythm as we had watched him calm and finally fallen into a fitful sleep.
A phone call to Mum a couple of hours ago had included encouraging news that Dad had asked for porridge for breakfast.

My phone was alerting me to a FaceTime message from my brother. I recognised the background surrounding him as my Parents home. My brother’s message was short and clear “You better get over here quickly, he is going”.

Calm enveloped me and I drove on the speed limit. This is the day I thought we could push into the distant future. Positive thinking, laughter and love will stop this happening.

I turned the steering wheel around the last corner and I saw my brother outside by the front door of the house that I had lived in from the age of nine months until I married at the age of twenty two. He didnt move, but I noted the barely there shake of his head.
Quick hug with my brother and I asked “Has he gone?” A nod and I push past him. Mum is sitting in Dads favourite armchair and she is crying. Another hug for mum and I race up the stairs to a closed bedroom door. I knock and question the district nurse “Can I come in?”
Another quick hug with the district nurse and I thanked her for being there. I had only spoken to her on the telephone telling her that I would see her later, two hours previous.
I was left with Dad alone. He was still warm. I kissed his forehead and caressed his hands. Someone had told me that after a passing you should always open the window to let the soul out. The window was open by about a thumbs width. I opened it wide and I described the day to Dad.
I asked him “What am I going to do without you”. I called him a “Silly old buggar”and I stayed with him until I heard the farewell sounds of the nurse leaving.
After the nurse had left I made a cup of tea for Mum, my brother, Dad and myself. What a numptie, Dads mug “Head Gardener” with tea, just the way liked it. I drank my tea and then I drank dads tea. I couldn’t bare to pour it away.