“Just have a little patience” ~ Take That

Or, as defined by my dictionary

Patience” (n): the capacity for calmly enduring difficult situations; the ability to wait calmly for something without complaining or giving up


In many ways I am not a patient person. In material matters if I want something I want it now. When it comes to money I am a spender not a saver; or, as the indomitable Sue Perkins once said when asked in interview if she was a saver or a spender replied “An evaporator, really”. This outlook sits at odds with my job, where I can sit for hours at a time ostensibly doing nothing or how I can embrace a long period of travel without succumbing to the ‘Are we nearly there yet?’s. Perhaps because in those scenarios there is the knowledge that something is being achieved, albeit incrementally. But patience is a virtue I have had to learn to apply to my life outside the fields of work and travel.

At some point soon (soon being a relative concept) I will have my first anthology of ‘100 Word Stories’ published. These are short stories/prose/poems/fables/call them what you will all comprised of exactly 100 words. This means, barring story titles, the book will be 10,000 words in length. 10,000 words is not exactly many. But if I were selling them in a craft shop these would be artisinal words, hand-crafted from the moon and blood magic, written to the beat of a soulless city, and creating a sense of the Otherwhere. Or something like that. My point being that it took me a long time to write all those words, to create those stories. It took me a long time to admit that I wanted to be, was actually already, a writer. And even longer to get over the self consciousness of sitting down and writing, grinding out ideas and plots and magic spells at my keyboard. No book is created overnight. Mine won’t be. I have a lot of editing ahead when I desperately want to forge on to the next new shiny thing. And even when I do start that it will be a long time in the creation. And so I have had to learn to be ok with this, to give myself, my ideas and my words, time to be created and crafted and shared.

This mindset has helped enormously with my running. I want to get out there and run. I want to eat up the miles and sprint like I ran as a kid. I can’t. My body can’t take it; my poor operated-on foot can’t take the pressure, my lungs certainly can’t maintain sufficient airflow. And so I have learnt to rein myself in, to take slower strides, to walk when I don’t feel like I need it, to save those reserves of energy to keep me out longer and further. Sometimes when I catch my pace increasing and I slow myself down it feels like a band across my chest hauling me back, like Wile E. Coyote pinned by a giant ACME magnet when he has yet again been foiled in his attempts to catch the Road Runner. Humour helps when you are learning patience with your own body and stretching against your limitations.

And so now I am learning to apply this patience to my heart. Apparently it’s not the done thing to just grab a man you like and say “I’ll have this one”, no matter how strong the temptation on occasions. That being said the latest piece of advice I’ve been given for my lovelife is shout French at men then attack so who knows? Other notable pieces of advice have been “Find a school teacher” (a colleague) and “Go to church” (my mother). But I digress. Love, in all forms, can arrive swiftly but it will always and rightly need work. I have made lifelong friendships that started from a couple of tweets, I’ve fallen in love over gin & tonic, but all relationships, with friends, with lovers, will take time to develop. I have a greater sense now than ever of what my heart wants, in my friends, in a lover, in a partner; and whilst knowing does not make a thing so it does mean I can allow myself to be curious and open, to accept the vulnerabilities of my emotions as I can accept the shake in my thighs as I try to run another mile or the despair of my imagination when a story reaches 96 words and I am grasping for 4 more.

In essence, patience with ourselves as we would be patient with others gives us time to develop, to grow; to find new skills and forge new friendships. That, and maybe just a little bit of French.

Bonne chance, mes amis.





With A Little Help From My Friends

“I’ll get by with a little help from my friends” ~ The Beatles

Or, as defined by my dictionary

Friendship (n): the state of being a friend, a friendly relation or intimacy


Man. What a few weeks it has been. I don’t know if it’s been Mercury being retrograde, the apocalyptic weather, or the near on nuclear war (possibly due to Mercury being retrograde?) but since mid August life has been scary, intense, hard, and at times overwhelming.

There have been some difficult conversations. There have been more than a few tears. And not everyone has made it through to the other side.

But as I sit here, strangely in sounder mind and body than I have been in a long time, I know why I’ve made it through. The running helps, as do the weights; the time spent cooking a nice meal for myself; the sitting down at my laptop to bleed (thanks, Hemingway). But really I’m here because of my friends.

It’s such a strange thing, friendship;  how some people just move in to your heart and never leave. And, inexplicably, how you seem to do the same with them. We might never know how much space we may take up in someone else’s heart but what they say to us, how they treat us, that tells us all we need to know.

Sometimes it is the little things that remind you of the importance of you in the world. The pretty blonde with the excellent lipstick getting you a beer, the cool AF online friend being excited about the prospect of meeting for a drink, being high-fived at a dinner party for saying something so wrong but also so very right. All these friendly acts, gestures, that say ‘yes, there people in the world who actually like you’.

And then there’s the big stuff too. The friend who calls you whilst driving home from a late shift because life is too damn hard and you can’t stop crying. The one who hugs you and then knows not to let you go because you’re not ok and all you need in that moment is to be held. The ones who you hardly ever see but when it matters, when it really deeply matters, they always step up the plate.

We all need people. To laugh with, to cry with, to share thoughts and ideas and feelings. To hear the truths of our heart,  and to listen, to be open, to care, when we are trusted with the heart truths from another.

May you always have friends to celebrate with you in your triumphs and laugh with you in your disasters. And to my friends all I can say is thank you.



You Don’t Have To Say I Love You

“You don’t have to say you love me” ~ Dusty Springfield

Or, as defined by my dictionary

Love (vb): to have great affection for a person or thing


I’ve written a lot about love and friendship within this blog. This is because they are two of the most important things to me and go hand in hand.

It’s easy to take our friends, those we love for granted. Our love for them may be undisputed within our hearts but we forget to express it, to show how much we care and that we do appreciate how lucky we are to have them in our lives.

You don’t even have to say that you love them. There are so many ways to express love without ever even using the word (photo with kind permission of Vivienne Clore)




My best friend died last year so I can’t say any of these things to him anymore. I would give up scores of things, people, to have him back. It’s selfish but I want my best friend back. I want that gap that his absence creates filled by his presence. I don’t know if I told him I loved him often enough. Or how much he meant to me. But I do know I said many of those things so I hope he knew.

My point, such as there is, is tend your friendships. Like plants, they need watering & sunshine, space in which to grow and, occasionally, culling. Life is simply too short to waste time on those who don’t enrich your life

But never stop telling the ones that do how much you love and appreciate them, however you chose to express it. Because one day you won’t be able to and that will be the time you want to do it the most.




“When other friendships have been forgot, ours will still be hot” ~ Anything Goes

Or, as defined by my dictionary

Friendship (n): the state of being a friend; association as friends

In vino veritas. It means ‘in wine there is truth‘ and I’ve been pondering this recently after making a comment about a friendship after not really that much wine at all.

I’m not going to repeat what I said. For the purposes of this blog it isn’t relevant but the point that struck me is and it is this: what friendships matter, what do I put into them, what do I get out of them, and is it/are they worth it?

There are, of course, many different types of friendship, just as there are many different types of love. You can go through life with a whole host of casual acquaintances, the type of person you nod hello to in a shared office space or when out walking the dog. The exchanges may never become more than that but those friendly faces can help us through our days.

Some perhaps do progress beyond that. You walk your dogs together, you go for a drink after work. Somewhere there is a shift and this person becomes beyond an acquaintance. Not a friend you’d invite to your wedding, perhaps, but certainly someone who has become to matter. And, unless you are only friends with people you know from school and or/university, that is how a lot of friendships developed. It’s a natural and understandable progression, how else do you meet people? Oh yes, the internet. More specifically, social media. This piece in the Guardian sums up the nature of online friendships quite succinctly.

Here it is possible and generally likely to make a further whole host of casual acquaintances; the exchanges about 6Music and bacon become the online version of the nods exchanged whilst walking the dog. They are no less valid by the virtue of being online. In fact it could be argued that they are of more value, spending increasing amounts of time online means we need our friendly faces there too.

And it is also possible to make friends online, proper true friends; the kind that would hold your hand through tragedy and dance with you in your triumphs. And we all need friends like that. What price a whole host of casual acquaintances if there isn’t someone you wholeheartedly could rely on if your world falls apart at 3am?

Which takes me back to in vino veritas. I can think of several people who could call me at 3am and I would be there for them. But there are only two or three that I would call in return. (One of those died last year but that’s an entirely different blog about friendship). This isn’t an idictment on my friends, some of whom may absolutely know they would be there for me at 3am, irrespective of whether I may think I would call them or not. It’s about the curious quirks of thought within me as to what the differing natures of friendships are and and the ways in which they matter.

And they do all matter; I want my conversations about bacon and I want my hand holding. We all need both. But sometimes it’s important to not confuse the two

Interested in your thoughts, as always, so why not drop me a line on a comment box-shaped postcard.



“Friends will be friends, when you’re in need of love they give you care and attention. Friends will be friends, when you’re through with life and all hope is lost, hold out your hand cos friends will be friends right till the end” ~ Queen

Or, as defined by my dictionary

Friendship (n): the state of being a friend, association as friends, to value a person’s friendship

Eleven years ago, strangely enough at this time of year, I caught my boyfriend and my best friend together. Yes, it is a tragic tale but not without some humorous elements but that’s a story for another time. The only reason I mention is, a few days after the event, said best friend came out with a line regarding the situation that I’ve never forgotten. She said, and this is a direct quote, “There are three people hurting in this situation when there should only be one.” Her meaning was that, despite our close friendship that she had betrayed, despite the several years boyfriend and I had been together, I should gracefully back off and leave the two of them to be happy together.

Needless to say, both the relationship and the friendship ended.

I missed her so much. He I got over quickly in comparison. But I missed my friendship with her badly. Friends, good close friends, are so incredibly hard to find. Someone who thinks like you, laughs at what you laugh at, shares your ideas & your hopes, has got your back even when you didn’t even realise you were in trouble.

People roll out all the clichés when a relationship ends “Plenty more fish in the sea” they say, amongst others, but for the death of a friendship there’s nothing. You’re just supposed to dust yourself off and carry on.

@miss_alaynius wrote a great blog on the differing nature of friendships and has summed it up much better than I feel I could (especially as I have been trying to write this blog since Christmas!). Some people do only drift into our lives for a season, turn up for a specific reason, or stay for life. But every single one has an impact on and changes our lives.

Social media has now a massive impact on our lives and so, as an extension of that, out friendships. Close, intense, friendships can be formed between people who’ve never even met. Some people don’t understand this. ‘How can you be friends? You’ve never met them.’ Do you need to physically meet someone to call them a friend? Was there ever this much furore about pen friends?

Another blog that has highlighted how friendships made via social media can matter and mean so much is this by @andromedababe. Stuck at home, ill, now with a broken arm, the things she has received and is still receiving from people she’s never met are making her time at home so much more bearable. I’ve benefited from some glorious bits of post from ‘unknown’ friends too; chocolates to fatten me up, random gifts and cards to make me smile, and my own Pink Panther DVD boxset. The chocolates were swiftly and happily eaten, other things still litter my flat and my desk at work and make me smile

Going back to my ex best friend, it took years to stop missing her, to stop having that close female friendship void. But over the last 3 years I’ve made three close and I truly believe life-enduring friendships with three amazing women. I went to the wedding of one at the weekend. As I said at time and then to her later, she has never looked more beautiful nor have I felt prouder to be her friend than when she walked down the aisle. She has had such a tough time, to see her happy is all I could wish for. Another is the person who gave me the picture at the top of this post. In a short space of time, out friendship and we ourselves have survived so many blows, set-backs and hardships it fair takes our breath away. She has just undergone major surgery and will be in recovery for a long time. We share a toast to a far off time in the future when she will be healthy and my life will be boring. The third is @bear_faced_lady. We only met a year ago, via Twitter. The friendship and support she shows me, during a time of such personal adversity for her, can barely be described. We’re both still in the wars but she’s holding my hand in her tiny bear paws (as so eloquently written about in this story) and we’re getting there, one step at a time.

There are loads of other people I could mention who enrich my life but then this would stop looking like a blog post and turn more into an Oscar acceptance speech. Just be aware that, if I am your friend, in some way it means I think you’re amazing.

So, if you have a good friend, or even just a fleeting friend, go give them a hug or send them a text or give them a call, just let them know they’re appreciated and  that they matter to you.

And, just so you know, that ex best friend? If she ever contacted me I’d still be there for her. Just because she stopped being my friend doesn’t mean I stopped being hers.

Interested in your thoughts, as always.