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.




Do you really want this job?

I was talking to a friend the other day about an upcoming interview they had been invited to attend. They were both excited at the prospect of a new job, bringing with it new challenges which they felt they needed, and terrified at prospect of being interviewed, as they hadn’t had one for some considerable time.

Throughout my career I have had many interviews. In fact between 2001-2009 I had to reapply and be interviewed for my job at regular 18 month intervals as we went through various management and organisational restructures!

And, as I moved up the managerial ladder I was heavily involved in interviewing prospective staff. In my last NHS post was responsible for the selection and recruitment for all temporary staff except doctors… So going through applications, assisting with short listing, and sitting in on interviews with various professional leads when it wasn’t nurses being interviewed. And I loved it. I love people watching at the best of times, but interviews are fascinating. They bring out either the best, or the worst in people.

I recall interviewing a lady for a theatre team leader’s post. We asked her something about working under pressure and she proceeded to tell us that the last place she had worked at was like working in a ‘mash tent’ the anaesthetist and I couldn’t look each other. AND she was wearing scuffed white stilettos. I couldn’t take my eyes off them.

I have met all kinds of people. The shy, timid ones who you had to coax one syllable replies out of, but actually were brilliant practitioners, to the brash, over-confident ones who had been everywhere and done everything, but when it came to scratching under the surface were not as competent,or confident, as they would have you believe.

So, anyway, from my experiences, I thought I would jot down and share a few useful (maybe) tips in case anyone had an impending interview on the horizon, and yes I have encountered all of the following…….

1. Do not be late. Yes, I know that sounds obvious!
2. Remove your sunglasses. And I don’t mean just put on your head
3. We know you’re nervous, but a limp, sweaty handshake is not good
4. Turn off your mobile phone!
5. Ditch the chewing gum!
6. Dress appropriately. Jeans and trainers may be fine in certain situations, but not all. And if you have to wear them, find a pair of jeans that aren’t frayed around the hem. And clean your trainers!
7. And ladies, if you’re going to wear a dress please make sure it’s not so short that when you sit down and cross your legs the interviewers will not be in fear that they are about to witness a ‘Sharon Stone’ scenario
8. Do not use foul language
9. Do not “bad mouth” your current/previous employers
10 Try and know a little bit about the job you’ve applied for
10 Do not ever address the interviewer as darling/love/sweetheart/babe. if you can’t remember their name a simple good morning/afternoon will suffice nicely thank you

And finally

14 As you leave the interview do not, on any occasion, attempt to air kiss your interviewer!!

So there you are. Follow these useful hints and you’ll have the job in the bag!

Don’t you just love people? I do

The Rocky Road To Motherhood


Those of you who know me, know I have 3 children whom I adore, and 2 wonderful grandsons
And many of you know that when I was young, and very career orientated, motherhood was the last thing I planned on.

But then there was that fateful flight home from holiday and the decision that changed and enriched my life.

Of course, when couples make the decision to start a family, they never consider that it will be anything but plain sailing. Sadly, for so many couples this is not the case, with some never having the joy of being parents.

And for us? Well, there was no reason to think it would be anything but simple. OH had already had a son from his previous marriage, and I was young… Relatively, and fit and healthy.

How wrong we were. Initially getting pregnant wasn’t a problem. Just maintaining one.

The first time I got pregnant was just before I was due to go into hospital to have my wisdom teeth extracted. (Considerably more painful and scary than childbirth!)

My GP had recently retired and I hadn’t yet met my new one…but thought I should go and see him. We met in the hospital car park as I was leaving after a night shift, and he was popping to do a round before morning surgery. I introduced myself and said why I needed to come to see him. He asked me if it was good news, and spent the next part of the conversation trying hard, and not very subtlety, to see if I was wearing a wedding ring! I made appointment, a pregnancy test was done and was positive, the dreaded wisdom teeth extraction was postponed, and once the ‘magic’ 12 week mark was reached we excitedly shared our happy news with family and friends. It was, what I thought, a perfect and straightforward pregnancy. No nausea or vomiting, no strange cravings, and not too much weight gain, and had felt those wonderful first ‘flutterings’
We were convinced it was a boy and had chosen a name. My little bump was DW ( Daniel William).
Then at 19 weeks the unthinkable happened. And although it’s over 30 years ago, the memory is still vivid today. I started to have terrible, crippling pains. A doctor came, not my own, he told me gently, that I was probably losing the baby, called an ambulance and I was ‘blue lighted’ into hospital 25 miles away. I was given some painkillers, had a big ‘nil by mouth’ post put over my bed, and told to “try and get some sleep”
I didn’t sleep.
The next morning I was told I was being sent for a scan. I tried to explain I hadn’t had anything to drink, but no one listened to me. So off I went. The sonographer sighed at me, said she couldn’t see anything because I hadn’t drunk enough. I tried explaining. Again. I wasn’t listened to. Again. I was sat in a corridor and given a jug of tepid water to drink. There I sat for about 40 minutes before being called in again. It was successful this time. But even though I asked what she could see, she just said “The doctor will be along to see you when you get back on the ward” which she did… And asked me what the sonographer had said. I replied “nothing” to which she sighed and said I suppose I’ll have to go and find out then. She came back and said that I was to remain on bedrest for rest of day and they’d rescan me the next day. I could eat and drink as I wanted.
I was on a general gynae ward and in a bed next to a girl who was in for a termination. I am not opposed to terminations, but did feel it was slightly thoughtless putting me next to her.
About an hour later, I still hadn’t been found anything to eat, and I started to have terrible pains again. I wanted to go to the toilet but wasn’t allowed to. However the ward had strict policy of no commodes or bedpans during visiting, so I tried to hang on until the pain was so bad I couldn’t any longer. The nurse reluctantly brought me a bedpan, and after I had cried to her that I was sure I was losing my baby said she supposed she should move me to a single ward. And that was where my first pregnancy ended. On my own. No one to hold my hand. No one to comfort me.
And ‘DW’, yes it was a boy, laid in the bedpan beside me for over an hour, because the nurse ‘forgot’ to come back to me. How ashamed I was of my profession at that moment.
I had surgery later that night and was discharged the next day. The nurse who discharged me said I should probably wait couple of months before trying again. I went home and packed away the baby stuff I’d already bought or been given, told family.
And wept. Convinced I had done something that had caused it.
People offered words of sympathy, when they weren’t crossing the road to avoid me. And I just ‘got on with it’ like you did.
About 5 months later I found myself pregnant again. It felt very different this time. I was constantly nauseous, couldn’t eat. My GP’s wife told me nausea and vomiting was the sign of a well implanted pregnancy. So I gladly put up with it. We waited 12 weeks again, and tentatively told a few people. At about 15 weeks I woke up and realised I didn’t feel sick. It was a lovely feeling… I ate breakfast and went to work. 2 hours later the pains started. And “DW” no 2 was no more. More surgery. More sympathy. More tears. More beating myself up.
Pregnancy number 3 only made it to 13 weeks, and number 4 to 11 weeks
So when I found I was pregnant again, I just sorted of waited for it all to go wrong. We didn’t tell anyone, buy anything, have any hope.
I was sick morning, noon, and night… But I had been before. I hardly put on any weight. I wasn’t allowed to work. Was confined to bed until 12 weeks passed. But they’d passed before too. I didn’t make any plans as where to have this baby, because I was convinced I never would. When my mum came round (I had to tell her, she’d guessed. Mums do these things, don’t they?) with nursery furniture and a whole drawerful of beautifully knitted goodies… (She was convinced it was a girl) I shouted at her.
We went on holiday to Spain, I didn’t tell the airline I was 26 weeks pregnant. No one knew. There was hardly anything to see. In Spain I fell in love with a shawl being knitted by an old Spanish lady. She persuaded my OH to buy it, and told me I was having a baby girl who would have black hair and blue eyes. I laughed… And morbidly thought I could always bury the baby in it. I was so convinced it would still go wrong.
And I was still being sick morning, noon and night.
When I came back I suddenly looked pregnant! People noticed, but still didn’t really know what to say to me. In case.
But, amazingly, at 41 weeks and 3 days our beautiful black-haired, blue-eyed baby girl arrived in the world as the whole obstetrics team sang ‘Come on Eileen’ at me!
I just held her, for hours. Waiting for someone to come and tell me it was a mistake, she wasn’t mine. But they didn’t. I was a mother. At last. It was unbelievably amazing.

So was that the end of it? After all we’d got this pregnancy thing sorted now, hadn’t we? So when we thought that we’d try for a another baby we stupidly thought nothing could go wrong again.
It did. Another 2 miscarriages later, both early ones this time, and 5 years later son1 was born. Son2 took another 5 years to make an appearance. Though, thankfully, no miscarriages this time.

I consider myself incredibly lucky to have had the privilege of being a mother. My children are my world.
But I shall never forget the little ones I lost.

Hi, How are you ?

Your phone rings, and at the other end is a friend you’re not heard from for a while

“Hi, how are you”? They ask. You reply “okay thanks” or some other fairly non-descriptive response “and, how about you”?

Then you realise why they’ve called you…. The cursory enquiry into your well-being was only ever meant as an opening into a full-blown, 20 minute account of how they are, what latest ailment they’re suffering from, how terrible their lives are, and how badly they’re being treated at home/at work/ by friends. You don’t need to say anything… Well, you can only get the odd “oh no/ poor you/really/surely not” in anyway , so engrossed are they in their tale of woe.

Now, please don’t get me wrong, I do I genuinely care about my friends and their welfare. And I have some who have horrendous things going on in their lives. But ask them how they are and the normal reply is “I’m hunky dory hun” when I know full well that’s not true, but I also know that when they’re ready to say something they will… And they know I’ll be there for them, in whatever way I can.

This is particularly true of one dear friend who, 9 times out of 10 manages to completely ignore/change the subject/use distraction whenever I ask how things are.. Or dare to suggest they should perhaps slow down/take some time out/see a doctor. So when they do, on the very rare occasions, actually reply by admitting they’re tired/sad/fed up/ unwell. Then I know things are bad. And I wish I was nearer so I could do something more practical to help.

No, I’m talking about the ones who seem unable to get through a week without some drama occurring, that they need to off load….on me. They need advice/help/to tell me a secret. Jeez, I’ve so many secrets tucked away I could be a millionaire if I ever resorted to blackmail!! And, NO, I’m not telling you any!!

Then, after 20 minutes they suddenly remember you’re still there, and finish the call with “ thanks for listening, gotta dash. But if you ever need to talk……”

Once, when there was something particularly grim going on in my life, I did actually dare to try “talking”. Oh my! That was a mistake! I’m not sure if they were shocked at what I was trying to say, and unable to cope… After all, as they said “but you’re the strong  one, you deal with everything”. Quickly followed by “look, I have to go now. But I’ll ring you back later. Now, I’m not sure how much later they meant, but it was just as well I didn’t wait in for them as it was over a month before they rang again. And guess what? Yep, they had a problem they wanted advice on! Obviously any memory of anything I’d started to tell them was long forgotten.

On another occasion someone rang, asked how I was.. I replied with my stock answer, but didn’t ask how they were…..oh my again!
They launched into me…. “Aren’t you going to ask (whatever it was going on at the time) is?” “ I can’t believe you can be so thoughtless” I bit my tongue, apologised and then before I could say anything else they proceeded to tell me anyway, in great detail.

I don’t want to sound as if I’m hard and unfeeling. I really am not. And have lots of lovely friends that I know would be here for me, at the drop of a hat, as I would be for them. And some of those are relatively new people that I’ve met on Twitter, and then in RL. We’ve shared stories and confidences, and it’s been good, and therapeutic to have been able to share some stuff, that I possibly may not have shared with friends closer to home.

I am a fairly private person, and choose carefully what I share and whom with. But , sometimes, it would be nice to think that the “how are you” from some people was actually meant. Or that if they did stop to listen, they’d, maybe, give some indication next time we spoke that they’d remembered any of it.

I really don’t mean to sound like a whingeing old bat… And I certainly don’t want my dear friends to think they can’t tell me anything again, I hope they know me well enough to know I’m there for them when they need me.

It’s just…..


And remember ‘listen’ and ‘silent’ have the same letters in them. And it’s a real skill to “really listen”’ So many people find silences awkward and have a need to fill them, for their own comfort.

In my role I facilitate sessions on communication and often engage groups in exercises on ‘active listening’ I really think everyone should try it. Sit with a friend. Ask them to talk to you for 2 minutes about something about them. You have to listen. No speaking. No asking questions. Just listen. Then at the end feedback what they’ve told you. It’s not easy. The brain is constantly thinking how the conversation relates to stuff in you life, and the temptation to ‘jump in’ is hard to resist. But try it, and you’ll be amazed how much more you’ll ‘hear’

And, please, remember sometimes that ‘strong’ person at the other end of the phone may be desperate for someone to listen to them.

Happy Easter

Another Easter weekend done and dusted. Back to ‘normal’ tomorrow… Except I’m not working. Or looking after boys this week. So actually have a whole week to myself. Almost. Practically unheard of.

Strange to be home on a Friday, it felt like Saturday.

I had fully intended on having a highly productive day doing all those domestic goddess type things that get put  to one side. However a phone call from my friend suggesting a long dog walk saw them swiftly fly out the window! Instead of our usual beach walk, we decided to go into Exeter and do the circular canal walk. It was a lovely late morning and C’s dog was having a whale of a time making acquaintances with half the canine population of Exeter. We walked around the Quay area where I spent many a happy hour in my student days drinking in the local hostelries and dancing the night away in one of the many night clubs there. The pubs are still there, though changed hugely, but sadly the night clubs did not survive. However one of them is now a rather nice pub/ restaurant. Which was dog friendly and enticed us in!


After a lovely lunch and a wee glass of wine we continued on our way, popping into the local Tesco for some last-minute Easter egg shopping. By then though, the ENTIRE population of Exeter had cottoned on to the fact that the shops were going to be closed for a whole day…. And panic buying had set in. We made a hasty exit, minus any Easter eggs.

Saturday dawned bright and sunny. My daughter and SIL had invited me to spend Sunday at theirs. She’d also asked son1 and his wife, and son2 who was coming down after work.

I asked if I could bring anything. “Oh yes please” could I bring a pudding. And some plates. And some cutlery….

So I started baking… With a vengeance!

I made a leek and blue cheese tart


A strawberry and poppy-seed cake


Baked a large gammon joint, and prepared the dough for hot cross buns, which I put in the airing cupboard for second proving…. And forgot… Because I stopped and went for a walk on the beach!!


I found the dough Sunday morning when I went to airing cupboard to look for some clothes! So my first job Sunday morning was to finish making the hot cross buns! Which I have to say we’re rather tasty!


Oh, then there was the fudge chocolate pudding requested by MasterChef!



Then all that was left to do was load the car up and hope and pray everything would survive the 26 mile to my daughter’s. As it was Sunday I took the normal approach to Sunday driving……




I’m happy to report everything made it in one piece. Including me, despite the best efforts of the “recently arrived in Devon” city dwelling holiday makers who know the roads and the best way to drive them, much better than we locals do…

Now I normally always have an Easter egg hunt at mine, so this year took the eggs with me, and secreted them around K’s garden for the little men to find.

We had a lovely day. And K had put on a fab spread. The boys were delighted and excited to see Uncle A and Auntie L. Uncle N didn’t arrive until 7, as he was very busy at work and didn’t finish til 6. Luckily SIL and son1 found something to amuse themselves with while we girls sorted the meal!


We were entertained by 8 and his amazing ability as a human satnav… He can give you the route to anywhere!! And 7’s long and intricate details of the different types of ‘dub step’ he knows about. He mixes his own on his tablet and has announced he wants to be a DJ when he grows up. He also wants to write to Skillrex, who apparently is an awesome DJ, because he wants to know how to do a ‘wobble bass’… Or something!!!

The cake was devoured, as was the Choc pudding.. And we rounded the day off playing a game of Tension… Which was great fun… Mainly because our team. The girls + 7 won


I think the boys took it reasonably well



And Monday? Well, the sun was shining . So what better way to spend the day at the beach. My friend came with her dog. We had breakfast in Lyme Regis and then walked across the beach to Charmouth



Then after a coffee, back into Lyme along a coastal path, a lot of it has been diverted due to the landslips there have been, making it very dangerous.  So we walked through the woods.


Then this evening I have finally sorted out all my recipes and put in a folder. I had about 3 years worth of foodie magazines which I have been meaning to sort for ages …. I now have a folder with about 100 recipes in it… Probably 3/4 of which I’ll never make!!! And I HAVE to stop buying more magazines!!

So, all in all, a lovely… And, eventually, productive weekend

I do love my family and friends

I hope you’ve all had a fab weekend too, and thank you for indulging me. Again

The School Gate Posse

As many of you know I was a full-time working mum.  So I rarely did the school run, and a lot of the other mothers didn’t realise I was my brood’s mum!  Then, the days I did make it were often excruciating, because I didn’t fit into any of the groups of mums, and I had to endure “the school gate posse”…. “Oh hello, have you got some form of ID on you?” and other such hilarious quips were thrown in my direction by perfectly coiffed mothers waiting to collect their perfect little darlings.

I breathed  a huge sigh of relief once child 3, Master Chef, was old enough to manage the short walk to primary school with his best friend, and I could wave him goodbye from the garden gate. On the rare mornings  I was home.

Never once did it cross my mind that years later I would once again be running the gauntlet of the aforementioned “School Gate Posse”

But, yes… For the past 4 years I’ve been responsible,2 or  3 days a week, for safely depositing my 2 gorgeous grandsons at pre school and school while my daughter does her bit for the NHS.

.Things haven’t changed very much! Though these days there are quite a few grandparents doing the school run, as working mums are more the norm now. I was considered a bit of an oddity.

Oh, and most of the teachers look as though they are work experience students from one of the local senior schools!

The boys go to the their local village school… A school with over 310 pupils and each year having 2 classes of between 26-30 pupils each.

E is in year 4, and lines up in the playground to go into class, but O, in year 2, still has to be escorted into class in the morning. In the afternoons they’re both met from O’s class.

At first many thought I was the boy’s mum… E and O took great delight in insisting on calling me mummy. Very loudly. And I would get “that” look from passing mothers.

Don’t get me wrong, there are some lovely mums there,Who are friends of K.  And I’ve become quite friendly with them.. We chat, go for coffee some mornings if we’re not busy. And ferry each other’s children in emergencies.  And there’s 2 who now always join K and I at what has become our annual trip to ladies evening at the local race course!

So who makes up the posse?

Firstly there’s the 4×4 brigade. Who, invariably, only live a 15 minute walk from the school, but couldn’t possibly walk. And they park anywhere they see a spot. With total disregard for the safety of their own, or anybody else’s children. On double yellow lines, the zig zag lines of the zebra crossing, blocking local resident’s drives. Every so often the police come and patrol, dish out  a few verbal warnings. Even give the odd parking ticket. Put up big banner say school gates warning people of the dangers. Then for a day or two things quietened down, but soon it’s back to the normal chaos. It is a disaster waiting to happen.


Next, we have the gym mums.  They arrive in full on Lycra and running shoes. iPods strapped to arms, water bottle firmly clutched in hands. But they seem to spend most of their time discussing their latest ‘PBs’ and “you’ll never believe who I saw at the gym yesterday” To actually running. I did consider purchasing some running gear but the boys said they wouldn’t walk to school with me if I did!


Coming up close behind the gym mums are the yummy mummies. Looking like they’ve just emerged from the local beauty salon. Beautifully dresses, high heels, perfect makeup, not a hair out of place… And their little charges in immaculate uniforms and shiny shoes. How do they manage it??

Then there’s the mums who are dropping their little ones off before going to work ( though I have to admit, some days I fall into this category). They stand, well, pace, outside the classroom. (If they haven’t shooed them out of the car and driven off in a haze of exhaust fumes) Constantly checking their watches/phones (parents are asked not to use mobile phones in the playgrounds), and bemoaning the fact that the teachers are getting later and later letting the children into class. Then pushing their way past everyone once the door is opened, because they’re going to be late for work.


Then, of course, there’s the “I just need to speak to you Miss about something” ones. It’s the same ones every time, or seems to be. Little Johnny/Matilda has too much/ not enough homework/Has made you a present/written you a story. My daughter or I rarely need to speak to O’s teacher, but on the odd occasion I have , I’ve given up as I haven’t been able to get within 15 feet of “Miss”

And, finally, there’s the formidable ones gathered by the school gate, who, having dropped off their precious little ones, have to group together and have a good old bitch about everyone and everything!! “did you see what she was wearing/did you know A’s dad is now living with B’s mum/how did C’s boy ever get to be a school councillor”

You can feel their eyes boring into you as you squeeze your way past, and you just know you’re the next topic of conversation.



And then there’s me…. Usually running late, harassed from doing battle with traffic on 40 minute  journey to daughter’s, and being stuck in traffic for 20 minutes. No make up. Jumper on inside out ( don’t ask!) And realising we’ve forgotten homework/dinner money/glasses.

Hey ho… There’s only another 4 years and they’ll both be at senior school and I’ll be relieved of my duties. But, of course, by then son1 and DIL will provably have produced and I’ll be taking theirs… On my Zimmer frame!





The Soundtrack Of My Life

I’ve  kind of lost my blogging mojo lately. It seemed to happen as I said I would try to blog every week!

I have  racked my brain to come up with something interesting to blog about,  to no avail. Or it’s been too personal to share. Even those helpful prompts left me totally uninspired.

Then, earlier this evening one of my Twitter friends posted a tune, one that was very special to me. And, suddenly all these tunes came rushing into my head. And the memories with them

So, please bear with me while I share some of them with you

1. Itchycoo Park . The Small Faces

This was the first single I ever bought for myself. I still have it somewhere, along with the iconic Ogden’s  Nut Gone Flake LP. The Small Faces were my first ‘group crush’  Sadly, all but one of the original group have all died now.

2. Without you. Harry Neilsson

This was ‘First Love’ and mine’s song. If any of you have read my blog about First Love you  will know he wrote to me declaring his love for me. He had included all the lyrics of the song in the letter… Which I didn’t get until about 3 weeks after he’d written it!

And do you remember the record shops where you could go in and sit in a booth to listen to the songs before you bought them?.. ..(yes, I am that old!) Or, if you were broke, you just sat there for ages listening to songs without buying a thing! Anyway, we used to go in and listen to Without You whenever we went into town … And he bought it for me. And yes. I still have it!

3. Here Comes The Sun. The Beatles

I was never really a Beatles fan, but my room-mate in my first Nurse’s Home was. And she had a record player. J was my first room-mate, and became a life long friend. We still laugh and giggle like teenagers when we get together. We played this song nearly every night, getting ready to go out, or while we were getting ready for bed. We both knew all the words.. And would quite often fall asleep with it still playing!

4. Hound Dog. Elvis Presley

At my first training hospital we had a ‘recreational hut’ in the grounds, where we could go for coffee or to socialise in the evenings. It also had big blackboards in there, and when we were revising for exams we would often go there and draw diagrams etc on the board. Anyway, there was a very old record player in the hut… And 2 records!! One of which was Hound Dog. It used to be played on repeat…. Until one day it mysteriously disappeared. Never to be seen or heard again

5. Maggie May. Rod Stewart

J and I went to Bournemouth to see Rod Stewart and The Faces just as  Maggie May went to number 1. Because we couldn’t afford to stay in B&B and the coach fare, we decided to ‘thumb’ to Bournemouth. I can hear you all sighing now, but it was a quite acceptable ( and safe) form of travelling in the 70’s, and all part of the adventure. The concert was brilliant, we got autographs, and the B&B was pretty good

However, on this occasion it ended in disaster as we were involved in a serious road accident on the way home the day after the concert. Caused, apparently, by a lorry driver changing a cd. J and I both went through the windscreen … There were no compulsory seat belts…  But luckily neither of us were seriously injured. I remember being very upset that the heel of my boots came off, and I’d only bought them a couple of weeks earlier on the Kings Road.

Unfortunately, the driver of one of the cars suffered serious spinal injuries, and never walked again. J and I were in the ambulance with him. It was very distressing. A very kind policeman drove us back to Plymouth when we’d been checked over and discharged… And we never told our parents!

But, for ages afterwards, whenever Maggie May came on the radio I would black out. I guess you would call it PTSD nowadays

6. I Can See Clearly Now. Jonny Nash

This song came out as I got my Orthopaedic finals results. It was a tense day. I was working at an outreach clinic at a hospital 25 miles away from my base,  and couldn’t get my results until I got back. No mobile phones or Internet to get them from in those days. I didn’t get back until 4 ..And you had to go and see your tutor to get the results. There was a buzz going around the hospital because someone had failed. The first for 16 years! I met a few of my set as I was making my way to the tutor’s office, and they had all passed. So I had convinced myself it was me who’d failed. I knocked on the door and was invited in by Mr H. “Ah, come in Eileen. Have a seat” he said. Yep. That was it. It was DEFINITELY  me who had failed. I was almost in tears.”Well” he said.. “How do you think you’ve done”? he asked “I’ve failed haven’t I” ? I shakily replied..  “No. You’ve passed. With distinction ”

Well, I could have hugged him.. But that wasn’t the dome thing

Off we all went to celebrate at our local hostelry. I Can See Clearly Now was playing on the juke box and we were all singing it. Very loudly. It was very apt. Though the edge was taken off our celebrations by our friend who had failed. We all felt really bad for her.

7. Pick up The Pieces. The Average White Band

This was a big dance tune in the clubs and discos when I frequented them. One night there was a dance competition in a one of the clubs, and my friend and I decided to take part. The prize was a year’s free admission to the club with your first drink free each time. Now, I’m not a great dancer but always enjoyed getting on the dance floor and having a good ‘boogie’

Well.. Surprise Surprise… I won.. Dancing to this song!

8. Nathan Jones. The Supremes

I heard this song one night but didn’t know what it was called.. Then didn’t hear it again for ages… Then J and I were in Bristol and we heard it and discovered what it was and who it was by. We then spent ages trying to find a record shop, and getting hopelessly lost in St.Paul’s, to buy it. I always said if I had a boy I would call him Nathan. I was overruled the first time, but put my foot down when our second son was born and had my own Nathan

9. Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow. Carol King

This was, and still is, one of my favourite Carol King songs. Back in the hazy days of student nursing, most Sunday nights we would go to a pub where there was live music. Mostly folk. One Sunday the singer had let them down, and after few drinks I  was persuaded to go up and sing. So I did, and sang this song. And was offered a regular Sunday night slot! I couldn’t do every Sunday as my hours wouldn’t allow it, but I did a couple a month for about 6 months. It was great fun.

10. Come On Eileen.  Dexy’s Midnight Runners

Now, I love to hate this song! It has been the bain of my life ever since it was released. People still shout “Come on Eileen” at me

But the one time I shall never forget it being sung to me was the morning my daughter was born. It had been a long ( well, 9 months obviously, but seemed longer) and difficult pregnancy. It was also very much longed for as I had lost 3 babies previously, and was beginning to think I’d never have a child. ( even though, for those who have read previous blogs, originally I never wanted to have children)

The labour was long and tiring and they called in my consultant who said he Thought I should consider a Caesarean section. I really didn’t want one, so asked if I could try a bit longer. So there I was with a whole obstetrics tea, including the consultant and an anaesthetist who’d appeared from nowhere! And they were all singing “Come On Eileen” to me!! The horror was enough to encourage my daughter into the world without the aid of a section!!

11. So. Ian Gillan

This is a little known song that was written by Ian. He lives quite near me, and was friends with a singer/songwriter/playwright I have done a  lot of stuff with. We had recently put on a rock musical, and during the early stages Ian was at rehearsals and I had pleasure of doing some improvisation work with him.. Along with a few others. After the show was over S decided to,put on a concert of music from the Rock musicals he had written, and some of his other work. But we weren’t allowed to sing the songs  we’d sung in the shows… That wouldn’t have challenged us! I was lucky enough that Ian said he had a song I could sing. It was  beautiful, haunting ballad. I felt very privileged … And on the night of the concert Ian was cohosting, and introduced me! A night I shall never forget

I love how music can instantly take you somewhere and bring back so many memories, both happy and sad. The ones that instantly came to mind, and I’ve shared have all been memories of happy times. There were some that brought back some sad and unhappy memories too… But I’m not ready to share those, and you may not want to hear anyway.

Thank  you for indulging me