Yes Matron

I posted this blog a few years ago, and again a couple of years ago with a postscript,  but as it’s the 70th birthday of NHS I thought I’d share again….with a post script to the original postscript

So apologies if you’ve read before…ignore, or skip straight to the post script!

I always wanted to be a Nurse or a Teacher, apart from a brief episode when I entertained the idea of going to Drama School and a life on the stage!!

My Headmistress, having poo pooed that idea, then proceeded to inform me that I would never make a Nurse as I wouldn’t be able to adhere to the rules!

So, with those encouraging words ringing in my head, I set off to investigate my newly chosen career.

To be honest with you, I didn’t really know anything about nursing apart from what I’d seen on Emergency Ward 10 as a child…but the thought of all those gorgeous doctors falling over themselves to get me in the linen cupboard was more than enough to spur me on!!

I opted to start with orthopaedics, not because I knew what it was about, but because I could start training at 17… and rumours had it the wards were full of football players and jockeys!

I didn’t tell anyone I had applied or had an interview. So on the big day I set off on my own, clutching my certificates and what little knowledge I had gathered about my chosen field…I now knew it was “something to do with bones”

The interview was TERRIFYING!! a panel of 6 serious looking people, headed by Matron, resplendent at head of the table… a small, intimidating lady with a steely stare. I stuttered and stammered incoherently throughout the procedure, and at the end was asked to wait outside the door while they “had a little chat”….I sat outside with a feeling of doom descending over me

Suddenly the door swung open and I was summoned back into the room. where upon I was informed that they would love to have me at their hospital, and that there was a school starting in September or, if I preferred, there was a place on the school which started on the Sunday…it was now Thursday afternoon! I instantly replied ” I’ll start Sunday please , or I might change my mind”!! Looking back, probably not the best response!

I then had to go home and tell my parents I was going nursing…and leaving in 3 days, during which time I had to purchase a list of items that were compulsory to have.

So started one of the happiest times of my life…A intense 18 month course, studying and working 40 hours a week on the wards, followed by 2 1/2 years undertaking a shortened Registered Nurse training course. I could write a whole blog on just these years….maybe I will one day

I met some incredible people, had some amazing experiences, and made some fantastic, life long friends, and after  qualifying took great pleasure in returning to my old school and plonking my certificates down on the desk in front of my old Headmistress! She grudgingly congratulated me and then said “but I still say you won’t stick at it”!!!

When I first qualified I  worked in an Intensive Cardiac Care Unit, a stint in a Surgical Unit, then a busy Casualty Department (A&E to anyone under 30 reading this) in a large District General Hospital.

Then I broke up with my boyfriend, and after a summer of doing nothing except  sitting on the beach I thought I had best look for a job as the money was running short!!

So I applied for a Staff Nurse’s post at the local “Cottage Hospital” , as it was called then. It was all very different in those days. No impersonal  online application forms to complete. No, I just popped into the Hospital one day and left a letter for the Matron. she duly replied and invited me in for interview the next week.

The interview panel consisted of Matron, A Ward Sister, and the Senior GP from the local Practice.. but it was probably more terrifying than that very first interview I attended!!

Matron wanted to know if  “I was going to be trying to introduce new fangled City ideas “

Sister wanted to know if “I was going to be bored”

And the GP wanted to know if “I was going to run off and start having babies as soon as I got the job”!!!

Despite all this they offered me the post and I started a few weeks later.

It was like stepping back in time. We all wore dresses with starched collars and cuffs, and aprons. This was as  most hospitals had abandoned their own uniforms in favour of a ‘national  uniform’ So this was a real treat, although the starching was a complete pain…

There was a  hierarchy I had never come across before! All the Trained Staff left the wards at 10.30 each morning to have coffee with Matron,…not a particularly relaxing event….leaving the Auxiliary Nurses to run the wards

Lunch could be taken either in the dining room or the Trained Staff’s sitting room. The Auxiliaries had their own sitting room and never the twain would meet!!

Afternoon tea was at 3.00 for Auxiliaries and 3.30 for Trained Staff, once again presided over by Matron! On Thursday afternoons one of the Doctors were invited to join the Matron for tea..and one of my funny memories is of one of them asking Matron if she would like a jam sandwich. Matron replied thank you very much, and the GP proceeded to slap a piece of bread with butter and jam, while holding it in his hand, folding it in half and passing it to her!! her face was a picture and we all were choking with laughter

But oh boy, did I get into trouble those first few weeks!!  I was forever being summoned to Matron’s office, which was a performance in its self.

Cuffs had to be removed, sleeves rolled down, clean apron put on and  then you sat outside Matron’s office and stewed until she deemed to let you in

First it was my shoes. They were lovely (well you know my love for shoes )…well as lovely as nurses shoes could be, but they had been purchased in Brighton and nobody had mentioned there was anything wrong with them before. So, they had a bit of a platform and were a bit clumpy, but they were very fashionable.

“Nurse”  she said, giving me that withering look only a Matron can ( I don’t think I ever mastered it while I was one!) “Those shoes may have been acceptable in your fancy, modern, city hospital, but they are NOT suitable for here. Please go and buy some  more suitable ones before the week is out”

“Yes Matron” I dutifully replied and left the office with my head hung low.

The following day I was in charge of the morning shift, and broke with all convention by sending a Staff Nurse and an Auxiliary to coffee together.. only to discover they had sat in separate rooms!  Then when I went to coffee with the other Auxiliary I sat in HER sitting room and had a ciggie with her (yes I know, disgusting habit..which also got me into trouble!!) The poor woman was beside herself that she would be in trouble for having coffee with a Trained Nurse!

I don’t know how Matron found out, but later that afternoon the phone call came through, and off I tootled to see Matron

“Nurse, WE don’t have coffee with the Auxiliaries. WE have to maintain certain standards”

“Yes Matron”

I couldn’t believe it, but there was no discussion to be had…the interview was over and I left the office suitably chastised!

Then there was the episode with the Doctor (no, nothing like that!!)

The call came through just before lunch ..and I had no idea what I could have possibly done this time

Into  the Lion’s den I went and sat opposite Matron, who had a particularly stern expression on

“Nurse” she said “you do know why you’re here don’t you”?

“Actually Matron, I don’t” I dared to reply

She stood and leaned across the desk

“You may have called the doctors by their christian names in your fancy city hospital, but we DO NOT do that here”!

“But Matron…he called me Eileen, surely that gives me permission to call him by his first name, and it was in the office, not in front of a patient”

Apparently that was not acceptable and I left the office with her word ringing in my ears “if you feel you can’t conform to our ways then perhaps you may be better going back to the city”

“Yes Matron”

Oh no, perhaps my Headmistress’s premonitions were coming true, maybe I wasn’t cut out for this after all…oh how she’d gloat if she ever found out

On the walk back to the ward I was contemplating my next move  when I met the Doctor I had dared to address by his christian name. “Hello Eileen” he cheerily called out as I passed “Hello Doctor C” I replied.

He stopped and turned around and said “my we’re very formal all of a sudden, have I offended you”?

I asked him to come into the office…for fear of us being seen talking to each other and being reported again! I then asked him if he objected to be called by his first name when we were out of patient areas. He said certainly not, AND that I had been the topic of conversation at the Practice meeting the previous day. Apparently the Doctors thought it was lovely to have a little less formality!  The outcome was that they invited Matron to their next meeting  and this was discussed….along with their concerns about the wards being left at coffee breaks without any trained staff !!!

So began the challenge of bringing the hospital, kicking and screaming, into the 20th century. Small steps at first,  and with great suspicion and trepidation on many of the staff’s behalf.

Matron very graciously listened to my ideas and most of them were accepted and put into practice…things that were common place anywhere else I had worked. A drug’s trolley, individual patient’s notes, one staff room for all staff, a 6 weekly duty rota so staff knew what they were working in advance

And through all this Matron remained dignified, professional, and totally supportive, even though I knew how hard it was for her. But, as she said to me one day, she could see it was better for the patients and staff morale.

She was a truly  remarkable woman who devoted her life to her career and loved her patients, and her staff as her own and I have the greatest respect and love for her.

Years later, when Mr. Blair reintroduced his “Modern Matrons” I became Matron for that hospital. My old Matron was the first person to ring me and congratulate me

“I know these new fangled Matrons are a different breed” she said “but I am happy that my hospital will be in good hands now”

With a feeling of incredible pressure and pride I replied

“Yes Matron. Thank you Matron. I’ll take great care of it”

Post Script

The hospital and community has been such a major part of my life for over 30 years. Without it I probably would never have stayed here, met my OH and had my 3 wonderful children, met so many fascinating people, or made so many amazing friends.

I’ve lived through numerous changes and reorganisation… resulting in reapplying for my own job on a fairly regular basis between 2001 and 2009

But today, it is with great sadness and a heavy heart that I survey what is happening.

Over the past year the inpatient beds numbers have been dwindling, staff turnover high, and morale low. And though I no  longer work there in capacity of Matron,or am even employed by the Trust who manage the Inpatient Service, I still think of it as ‘my hospital’ and ‘my staff’

There had been rumours abound for months of bed closures and service changes, then a few weeks ago  the responsible Trust released a press statement  outlining its future proposals which, of course, included the closure of those beds and those in a neighbouring unit. They announced the start of a 12 week public consultation with staff and local people, and that no decisions would be made without taking the results of these meetings into consideration.

Last week, on Tuesday, there was a local drop in meeting with Trust and CCG (Clinical Commissioning Group) representatives, who assured those present that no decision on bed closures would be made until after the New Year at the end of the consultation period.

The next evening the staff received letters of notice, and the devastating news that the beds were to close in January and be relocated to a hospital 7 miles away due to “unsafe staffing levels” ….. however not “unsafe” enough for them to close immediately.

The whole community is in uproar. Apparently there was a similar threat in the early 70’s, but was retracted due to public outcry.

There was a (already planned) public  meeting on Tuesday with the Trust and CCG. It started at 5 which meant many people were unable to attend due to work commitments. However, many were able to go. so many in fact that the meeting hall was packed to capacity and they set up a video link to the local church for those unable to get in.

Facts and figures were discussed by the Trust, many of them wrong and misinformed. Staff,past and present, and local residents spoke eloquently and passionately about ‘their hospital’ without it becoming over emotional.

Yet, despite all this, and the fact the existing healthcare facilities can barely cope with an ever-expanding town, (There are currently 5 building developments in progress with the provision of over 1000 new homes) I fear this time people power will not win the day

Post Postscript

Sadly, as I predicted when I wrote the last postscript, people power was overwhelmed by the big boys, and the Inpatient beds were closed, leaving just the Day Surgery beds open. Over the ensuing years the amount of surgery performed there has dwindled greatly, and I cannot see the unit surviving very much longer.

In that round of closures Inpatient beds were closed at another two hospitals, and inpatient beds “redistributed to three other community hospitals” which the group behind the closures said “the changes would improve the resilience of care”

Then last year we lost two of those hospital’s inpatient beds, plus another two inpatient units resulting in the loss of a further 72 beds.

It makes me both incredibly angry, and incredibly sad.

And, without a doubt my old Matron, who spent her last days as a patient in her own hospital, would be asking “Is this really happening”

And I would have to reply

“Sadly, yes Matron”


My First Job

I haven’t blogged for ages, for a number of reasons, mainly because I lost ‘my mojo’Nothing grabbed me, or made me feel compelled to put pen to paper… Or rather, finger to keyboard!. And I’ve always said I wouldn’t blog for the sake of I, just to publish posts.

Then I saw the Post40bloggers’ writing prompt… And I was suddenly taken back to when I was 14 and desperate to earn some money on my own.

I lived in a small town ,without many opportunities for weekend or holiday jobs. . There weren’t the residential homes like there are now, where you could get a job as supper girl or laundry assistant, as you could when my daughter was looking for weekend and school holiday work. And I wasn’t old enough to be a Saturday girl at Boots….. Though I did achieve that ambition when I attained the magical age of 16….. Haven’t many of us started our journey into the world of employment doing that?

So what did that leave me with? I wasn’t sure, and wasn’t sure how to go about finding one. I was very shy and pretty quiet ( now now, stop your laughing!). Then
, walking through town one day I noticed a local tea rooms were looking for a waitress. So I plucked up all my courage and went in. I had never stepped foot inside it before. Meeting friends in tearoom so didn’t really happen then.

It was a lovely building with a big bay window and lots of oak beams. But as a 14 year old I didn’t really appreciate that then.

Inside I was greeted by an abundance of the most amazing looking cakes, the likes of which I had never seen before.

The owners were a young couple who worked and lived there. Sadly I can’t remember their names now. Mr. Tearooms did the cooking, and Mrs. Tearooms was responsible for the amazing bakes.

After a short chat they offered me a shift the next Saturday to see how I got on, and if I would be any good. I was to wear a black skirt and white shirt or blouse, and flat black shoes. No money was discussed, but I was very excited! And mum and dad were pleased I had found something.

Saturday came round, and I was up bright and early, raring to go. When I arrived Mrs. Tearooms gave me a frilly white apron to wear and a little ‘frilly thing’ to wear on my head. Yes, I know, now you’re all seeing Julie Walters in her famous restaurant sketch!!

The food was simple, compared to what we accept as the norm today, Welsh Rarebit, poached eggs on toast , scones, and the like. Lots of sandwiches (made with sliced white bread) and, of course, those amazing cakes.
Tea and coffee was served in bone china cups and saucers.

My job was to take the customer’s orders, and make the tea and coffee. And do the washing up. No dishwasher. I had never even seen a coffee machine before! And, going on my friend’s comments about my tea making skills now, I’m amazed anyone ever drank the stuff I made for them then!

It was a busy day, and the time flew past very quickly.And boy, did my feet ache at the end of the day! I don’t remember making any mistakes. Or Mr and Mrs Tearooms were too kind to mention them. Anyway, they offered me a job. And paid me for the day I’d just done. Not only that, but I had tips as well… I remember vividly that they came to £12 and on top of my wages I thought I was rich!! I danced my way home.

As I became more confident I was allowed to make the sandwiches…. And whip the cream for the Victoria sponges! I never rose to the dizzy heights of being allowed to help bake them though. And I was always very nervous about slicing the portions for fear of not giving people equal sized ones!

I loved it there. We had lots of regular customers, (whom I thought were very sophisticated when they came for their cream teas), and I got to know many of them, to the extent I would know what they were going to order before they said anything!! Creatures of habits

At the end of the day, when all the customers had left and we’d washed, and cleaned, and tidied, we would sit down and have a drink and Mr. Tearooms would make me something to eat. If there was any cake left (there wasn’t very often) we would have a slice. If, after that, there was any left, I was allowed to take some home to mum and dad and my sister.

I worked there every Saturday and in the week during school holidays for over a year, until Mr and Mrs Tearooms announced they were having a baby, selling the business, and moving back to be nearer their families. I had hoped it would still be a tearoom and I could stay on with the new owners, but it was changed into an antique shop. And with that ended my foray into the world of hospitality.

Over the years it has been many things, including an Italian restaurant, and is now an exclusive restaurant that only opens 2 nights a week, and you have to make reservations way in advance. I haven’t eaten there yet, but it’s on the list. And I shall be intrigued to see what they’ve done with the interior.

But it will always hold a special place in my heart as what I considered to be a sophisticated tearoom, and as the place that gave me my first taste of employment and having my own money. Something I have never forgotten.

Count Your Blessings

We all get so wrapped up in our lives, that until something happens to stop us in our tracks, we just carry on in our little bubble

There’s so much suffering, poverty, hardship happening  in  the world today that some days it just seems ‘the norm’ in newspapers and on TV, and perhaps we occasionally become a little blasé. So it’s not until things actually affect us do we stop.

Recently a few things have happened,  within the family and to friends, which have made realise how much I have to be thankful for.

A couple of weeks ago Son 2 (Master Chef) was driving home from work around midnight. He works about 26 miles away from home, and is usually returning late at night after long days in the kitchen.  And because he knows he’s tired he’s conscious of keeping his speed down in case his reactions aren’t as quick as others may be. And thank god he was this night. He  was driving around a bend, only about 3 miles from home, only to be met by a car coming at him at about 60 mph….. On the his side of the road.  MC swerved to try and avoid him, but not enough and he was hit head on.The driver of the other car abandoned  his vehicle and “legged it” The car is a complete write off. Luckily, and goodness know how, he escaped with relatively minor injuries. Back, fractured ribs, sprained knee. And thumb. Though they are likely to keep him off work for a month at least. The emergency crews were fantastic. (Right down to the fireman who took charge of his chef’s knives and ensured they were returned to me the following morning.)  As were the staff in A&E the next day… Including the doctors, who despite what Jeremy Hunt would like us to believe, were there in abundance, and working hard.

Shock affects people in different ways. I’m not sure whether MC has been hit by it properly yet. Me? Tears flowed in the privacy of the bathroom. Tears of shock and fear that I could have lost him, tears of relief that I didn’t.  MC had a photo of his car, but wouldn’t let me see as he didn’t want me having nightmares. However they came on the Monday night after I’d taken him to collect the rest of his belongings. There was no front left on his car at all, and how he ever got out in one piece I do not know.  His guardian angel was definitely working overtime that night, and he’s lost another of his 9 lives. He’s got 7 left!  A car can be replaced…even though it was his pride and joy.

More importantly he is (along with his sister and brother) my pride and joy. And alive.

There are 2 other things which have had an effect  on me.

The first concerns a lovely girl I know, have known since she was in her teens. The daughter of a very good friend of mine. A beautiful, talented, funny young lady, heading towards her 30th year, with the world at her feet. We’ve done stuff on stage together, and partied together. I’m always amazed when the  ‘youngsters ‘ want to spend their Saturday nights with us ‘oldies’!!

She’s had some niggles health-wise over the years, which frustrated her, but didn’t stop her. Then last year a number of strange symptoms and ‘happenings’ meant several visits to her GP. He referred her on to a consultant… And after a number of tests, including lumbar punctures and MRI scans she was diagnosed with MS, with a number of active lesions showing in her brain. MS is one of those ‘invisible illnesses’ Sufferers can be well for long periods, then have an acute phase where their mobility is severely affected, and the extreme fatigue means they can struggle to even get out of bed. But since her diagnosis she has been determined not to be ‘defined’ by the MS.  She has to inject herself daily, but hopes she may fit criteria for a newer drug which doesn’t have to be daily. When she is well she carries on and lives and enjoys life to the full. When she is poorly she quietly gets on with it. She carried on with  her college course, completed her assignments and theses, and qualified as a counsellor.  And does fantastic work with young people with mental health issues. But there are so many issues and hurdles she faces… And i’m sure she will do this with grace and dignity, as she does now. Loved and supported by her family, her friends, and her wonderful boyfriend.

And finally, there’s T. A former colleague, and a friend. I first met her when she came to interview for a post in one of the teams I managed. A vivacious redhead, who knocked the socks off all the other candidates with her knowledge and passion.  We appointed her, and all looked forward to her starting with the team. One her first day in post I didn’t recognise her! Her brilliant red hair was now blonde… And she told me that she had dyed her hair red for the interview as it made her feel more confident.. She didn’t want anyone to think she was a dizzy blonde, but whispered “I am really”and I whispered back “so am I”That kind of sealed our relationship.  We didn’t always see eye to eye professionally but were always able to sit and discuss things, and usually come to an amicable agreement. And our friendship was never affected. She was a breath of fresh air in the team, well liked and respected. We were professional but also had great fun. If you could see some of the memos that went between us you wouldn’t believe we were senior members of the service. I still have some of them, and I still cry with laughter when I read them.

Her  mum had early dementia and died young. It was always her  fear she would develop dementia as well. And used to laugh and joke when we were both sat there struggling to find the words we wanted, that we were both destined to be sufferers.

As happens so often, when you leave a post, you do lose touch with people.. No matter how determined you are not to. We kept in touch, but not as much as either would have liked. Then we worked together again for a while, but due to reorganisation of services she left to take up a post in another unit, and lost touch with most of her old team.

We heard she had been unwell and away from work, but no one really knew what was going on. Then last year we heard that her worst fears had come true.

In her late 40’s she had been diagnosed with early onset dementia. A particularly cruel type associated with a condition called Pick’s disease.

And now she is unable to work, doesn’t really know who anyone is, and has to have someone to care for her 24/7. she has no family so a friend has taken on this mantle, even though she more often than not doesn’t  recognise her.

And I feel awful that, for a number of reasons on both our parts,  I haven’t seen her for nearly 2 years now. If I do go to see her she won’t know me, and although I am able to cope with that professionally, and deliver training on dementia awareness, I’m not sure I will cope personally. (I’ve not had to yet, have been lucky enough not to have to. No one in the family has been afflicted with dementia) The thought breaks my heart. Does that make me an awful person?

And part of me just wants to remember the dizzy blonde laughing down the phone  to me “you know you can’t tell me anything important after 4 pm cos my brain turns off”

So I sit here and think about my life… It isn’t  all a bed of roses….But.  I thank my blessings

The Sisterhood of the World Bloggers Award……..




About a hundred years ago the lovely Lara at nominated me for this award. I’m never very sure why anyone reads my blogs, let alone nominates me for these awards.Especially when it’s a blogger whom I admire very much.  But I’m very appreciative.

And it’s a fab way of highlighting and sharing some of the wonderful blogs that are out there.

So now all I have to do is answer 10 questions Lara set me, nominate 7 bloggers and think up 10 probing questions for them

So here we go

What’s your favourite way to relax ?

Well, that’s easy! Rain or shine there’s nothing I find more relaxing than a long walk on the beach. I’m lucky enough to live 10 minutes a way from some fabulous beaches. I particularly love being there when it’s stormy. I am constantly in awe of the power of Mother Nature. Our coastline has taken quite a battering of late, and changes every time I go there. I go there when I’m happy, sad, need some peace, have things I need to think over, and to learn lines!


My Superpower would be

Hmmm. This  may sound a little clichéd, but having worked in the healthcare sector all my life, I think the power of healing. I’ve seen so much pain and suffering. At times it does make you question your faith. Perhaps I could add super intelligence to that so I could help and educate others to develop new treatments and options to aid healing/reduce pain

Who was your teen crush ?

Rod Stewart ! Most people think of Maggie May, but my favourite songs are Mandolin Wind and Handbags and Glad rags. Go have a listen on You Tube.  I’ve seen him live quite a few times and he still puts on a really good show


Which actress would play you in the film of your life ?

Can I have 2 please? one for my younger years and one for now?? Ideally, if she were still alive, I would choose Audrey Hepburn. She’s beautiful ……(No! I’m not saying I think I am) and a wonderful actress. There was a certain air of naivety about her, with just a hint of underlying strength. But if I can’t have her it would have to be Emma Thompson. An actress I have always admired, and we share the same birthday….well day anyway


What would be your last supper ?

Fish and chips on my favourite beach, surrounded by my favourite people

What is your  ultimate holiday destination ?

I have always wanted to go to China and walk the Great Wall

What seemingly little thing annoys you beyond reason ?

People sniffing! Particularly if I’m stuck on public transport with them. I have been known to offer a tissue on occasions

Paris or Vegas ?

No competition. Paris. every time.

Who is your hero ?

My first Ward Sister, Sister Latimer. I was 17 and working on a children’s Orthopaedic ward. An amazing woman. So knowledgeable and skilled. Caring. Funny. She loved her patients. She loved her nurses. she taught me so much, and not just about physical nursing, but about human nature, humility,and how important it was to look after your staff.

If you could be anybody besides myself, I would be…..

Emma Thompson. See question 4.  I always wanted to be an actress and, to me, she epitomises everything great about British actresses. She’s funny, elegant, sophisticated, not afraid to laugh at herself…….and she got to act opposite Alan Rickman

Thanks Lara, they made me think

I now nominate the following fellow bloggers if they would like to join in

Tracey at

Claire at

Kathy at

Tracy at

Jacqui at

Ali at

Clare at

So, here come the rules

  1. Thank the blogger who nominated you and link back to their blog
  2. Answer their 10 questions
  3. Nominate 7 other bloggers for the award
  4. Write 10 questions for them to answer
  5. Display the award on your post or blog

Here are my 10 questions

  • What would your perfect day look like?
  • what are your three favourite albums?
  • Something too serious to joke about
  • Tattoo or piercing?
  • When was the last time you cried?
  • What is the best book you’ve read this year?
  • If your house was burning down and you could only save one thing. What would it be and why?
  • What skill that you don’t have would you like to learn?
  • How would your friends describe you?
  • If you had to be in a reality  TV show, which one and why?

I look forward to hearing from you!










Five Go On An Adventure….

It all started with a throw away conversation with my ‘bestie’C, one evening over a cup of coffee (well, okay, it may have been a glass or two of rosé)

We were talking about our ‘to do before’ lists. C has recently completed a sky dive which was on her list. I mentioned that I wanted to climb to the top of the Eiffel Tower. I’ve been to Paris a few times but, being terrified of heights,  and usually having a small (ish) child with me to whom I could apportion the blame, I have never plucked up the courage to do it.

Now, C’s current mission in life is to take me out of my comfort zone under the pretence of helping me overcome my fears.

So far she’s ‘made me’ do the London Eye ( yes, I know it’s not at all scary really. Though I do think the champagne at dusk flight  helped calm the nerves)



A ‘flight’ on the Emirates cable cars


And speed down the zip wire at the Eden Project


So we decided that we should have a girly weekend in Paris, and tick another thing off my list. We thought we’d go for a couple of nights.

Fast forward to an evening with the rest of the ladies in our little circle, a couple of bottles of prosecco, and hey presto ! The other 3 thought it would be a great idea to join us. And, while we’re at it… Why not go for 5 days?

So diaries were checked, child and grandchildren care discussed and we agreed on the beginning of April. What better than  Springtime in Paris?

Then due to a little glitch, I. E. We’d all forgotten that Easter  was so early this year and aforementioned children and grandchildren would still be on holiday,  We had to meet again to rearrange another date.  So child and grandchildren care sorted we were all sorted for the week later. And. Oh! It just happens that it will be my birthday while we’re away. So even better Springtime AND my birthday in Paris!

Off we all went to research travel and accommodation, agreeing to meet up again in a couple of weeks.

Now, one of our group, M, is a highly efficient and organised person, and before we knew it she had called a planning meeting. So we all head to T’s house armed with prosecco and rosé ( it’s compulsory. No wine, no entry!)

when we get settled we discover not only has M looks into a few things she has researched

  • Flights
  • Accommodation
  • Paris Passes

And has put together a ‘suggested itinerary’ We are buying her a large red, white, and blue umbrella!

2 weeks later at the next get together we discover M has booked:-

Flights and accommodation.

Lunch at The Eiffel Tower and dinner on a Seine River Cruise booked on my birthday. This day is now lovingly alluded to as ‘Fat Friday’

Paris Passes to include a wine tasting trip on the Saturday, followed by visit to The Louvre on Sunday.

Passports have been handed over to her to be checked and double checked. The only one who needs a new one is……..M!

Lifts to and from the  airport have been secured.

On Saturday evening, over dinner, I mentioned I had looked into going to The Moulin Rouge, but wasn’t sure how people felt about it as it can be quite pricey. The general consensus was that you couldn’t go to Paris without seeing a show there. So we all went off to see what deals we could come up with. By yesterday afternoon M had booked us all in with tickets for the 9 pm show on Saturday complete with half bottle of champagne each. Saturday is now known as ‘Smashed Saturday’!!

So now all we have to do is decide what to take to wear. Somehow I don’t think one piece of hand luggage each is going to cut it!

So, look out Paris…… Here we come!


The Dragon’s Loyalty Award


I am honoured, and  a little surprised to have been nominated for this award. I’m always surprised. In fact amazed that anyone reads my inane ramblings.

I was nominated by the very lovely Mummy Shambles  , who apparently knows lots about dragons. I , on the other hand, know very little about them. Apart from that song Puff The Magic Dragon, which I had to be reminded off. And come to think of it, I’m pretty sure it’s lyrics aren’t as innocent as I thought they were as a young girl!

So what is this award all about anyway?

Well, it was created to acknowledge those lovely fellow bloggers who loyally follow, read, and make kind comments about our literary masterpieces  mad ramblings.

Are there any rules I hear you ask 

Of course there are!

  1. You accept the ward, (graciously and humbly) The sending of cake has been mentioned by previous recipients, but gin is equally acceptable
  2. Reveal 5 facts about yourself ….. Preferably true ones!
  3. Nominate 5 people for the award

So now, just for the facts…. And I apologise in advance if they are boring!

Fact One

I almost gave up nursing, 6 weeks before my finals, to become a prison officer. My tutor wouldn’t accept my resignation….. Luckily

Fact Two

Ian Gillan, lead singer of Deep Purple,  let me sing one of his songs at a concert I was involved in. And introduced me on stage

Fact Three

There are 3 poor children wandering around somewhere who are named after me. All of them decided to make their appearances into the world unexpectedly and in the wrong places, which happened to be where I was working at the time. I’m not a midwife and they were emergency deliveries! They were all amazing experiences, but not enough to make me want to be a midwife

Fact Four

I was involved in a serious road accident on the way home from a Rod Stewart gig ( yes, I am old!!) luckily I wasn’t badly hurt, but for months afterwards if Rod Stewart came on the radio I would faint

Fact Five

Two years ago I directed and took part in a production of Calendar Girls, and posed nude…..with a couple of badminton racquets (in cases) and a bunch of strategically placed sunflowers!…. For a charity calendar which  we sold at the performances

And now for more nominations……

*cue flashing lights, dramatic music, and over long pauses between each one*

Everyone Else Is Normal

Life and Love In London

Rubbish Wife

Irritatingly Optimistic

Tantrum and Glitter

Ninja Killer Cat

So, there we are. Over to you ladies x

It’s A Matter Of Opinion…. Or when you really think you know someone

The other day I was unfollowed on a number of social media platforms by someone I had been friends with for quite a long time.. ( in fairness, I said for them to feel free to do so if they felt they wanted to. But suppose , in my heart of hearts, sort of hoped they would just cut the RL contact and stay with the safer cyber one) Someone I had met often and got on pretty well with, but who has decided our friendship wasn’t working because we had differing opinions on a number of things, felt my opinions were a direct and personal slating, and saw disagreeing or discussing as being confrontational as opposed to being able to have an honest conversation with ‘a friend’

I had noticed a few times that if I said something they didn’t agree with they would disappear. I would then be left wondering what I had said or done wrong, usually being the one to make the first move at addressing things, taking a bunch of flowers as a peace-offering… When, in fact, I hadn’t really done anything wrong apart from express a personal opinion.

And I am inordinately and ridiculously upset by this. And I don’t know why, other than I have quite a lot going on in my life at the moment so am possibly ultra sensitive, and less able to be logical and sensible about it.
Confrontation is the last thing I like. I will do anything to avoid, often to my own personal detriment.

Believe it or not I am a sensitive soul, who hates the idea of deliberately upsetting anyone, and over the years this has had an impact on both my personal and professional life. Perhaps if I had confronted some personal issues head on I may not have found myself lying awake at night agonising over things.

Perhaps if I’d stopped that member of staff in their tracks all that time ago, when they were hell-bent on a mission with their own agenda, I wouldn’t have been driven to the brink of a total meltdown… Rendering me unable to walk through the main gates of the building without becoming a shivering, gibberish wreck.

However, having said I’m not one for confrontation, I do tend to say things as I find them. I don’t believe in lying in order to preserve someone’s fragile ego. But I do try to be gentle and am always open to discussion, and the first to apologise if I’m in the wrong…. Which I often am. I can’t be someone or something I’m not. And, anyway, if you are you will invariably be found out at some stage.

I’m lucky in that I have a small circle of very good friends, who also feel the same way as me, and we can be completely open and honest with each other. Express opinions, disagree without it causing upsets or rifts. After all isn’t that what real friendship is all about?
Perhaps in this day of cyber friendships we find ourselves being drawn to people we most likely wouldn’t be in the real world.

Having said that I have met some really wonderful people through social media.. Some of whom I am very fond of, and we have a fab time every time we meet up. There are a few I haven’t been able to meet yet, but plan to.. And I’m pretty sure we will get on famously.
And there are some very special ones I’ve got to know, and we will be friends for life now.

What you see is what you get with me… And if others don’t like that then I have to learn that it’s not my problem, and I shouldn’t have to change to appease them. And perhaps they aren’t meant to be part of my life… However hard I find that.

I am who I am and I can’t, and actually don’t want to, change.