“Try a little tenderness” ~ Otis Redding

Or, as defined by my dictionary

Tenderness (n): gentleness and kindness; kindliness


I came home from a couple of nights away to find a box of Bloom & Wild flowers waiting in my hall. If you don’t know Bloom & Wild then let me explain that they send their blooms in a box in nets, it’s a manner designed to keep them fresh. They had been sent to me by, let’s call them a society, who knew about the time I had been having and wanted to send me a hug.

I didn’t even wait to take my coat off before I carefully unwrapped each bloom, trimmed their stems, and arranged them in water so they could perk up after their time in my hallway. Such a beautiful and caring gesture, they are brightening my mood every time I look at them.

Like the flowers needing to be freed from their nets and put in the water, we all need the right environment in order to thrive. And that is why I took myself away to Budapest. If my trip had not have been booked and paid for I would’ve travelled back to Derbyshire to spend time with Mum in hospital. But I was assured by my siblings that things were in hand and to go and take the break while I could.

So I walked and I drank and I took plenty of photos. I switched off from checking social media and I allowed myself to have time that wasn’t posting hospital updates, that wasn’t about the negatives. I gave myself that time to remember that even in hard times it is still ok to laugh, it is allowed and indeed necessary to enjoy the good things in life. And as I eventually ended up in an outdoor rooftop spa in almost freezing temperatures, I felt something in me unfurl, just like the flowers I was later sent, I, too, had needed a change in my environment.

As I have been writing this, I have been told that my family are breaking Mum out  the hospital again. She is being signed out, we aren’t indulging in Mother-rustling, but it is just so much easier for us to take her home than to rely on the hospital transport system.

Mum has been in a hospital a lot this year. There have been strong medical changes in how her MS is being managed and they have been hard on her and all of us. But her time there recently has also been eased by some of her regular carers coming in; showering her, sitting with her, spending time doing the crossword and the newspaper quizzes. The little elements of care that make it easier on Mum and by extension the family, the care that nurses understandably cannot provide, but that make her time there so much more bearable.

Hopefully these latest adjustments, this latest change to her environment, will mean she can be home for longer, that she spends Christmas with her family, that she has time to enjoy, in as much as can be, life as the new normal.

It’s her birthday soon. Presents will be focused on things with a pleasing scent, something soft to touch, audiobooks she will enjoy hearing. It’s the smallest of care but it’s what we can do. That, and time. Time spent with Mum, enjoying every moment there is.

And so I turn to you, dear reader, to return to theme of this blog; tenderness. Life in so many ways, for so many people, is hard right now. Maybe you are one of those people. And so I urge you to treat yourself with the tenderness you would show to a dear friend, to an adored lover. What ever gestures of kindness you can show yourself please do it. You are too important to neglect.

And if perhaps you are doing ok, perhaps you could call a friend, send a message, write a letter. We all need our friends, our loves, our support networks; sometimes to lean on and sometimes be leant on.

Either way, the world needs more tenderness right now. I believe Nayirah Waheed says it best with these lines:


With love,




Sometimes You Can’t Make It On Your Own

“Sometimes you can’t make it on your own” ~ U2

Or, as defined as by my dictionary

Support (vb): to carry the weight of; to give practical or emotional help; to give approval to;                         to take an active interest in


No-one gets through life without support; from the hand that holds you as you take your first steps, the friends that metaphorically & sometimes literally pick you up off the floor as you recover from heartbreak, the lover that strokes your hair and tells you that it will be alright. We all need it and have had it or we wouldn’t be here.

Support takes many forms, of course, and is not always the personal kind as implied in that paragraph. Manchester United are one of the biggest football clubs in the world due to their supporters (other football teams are available). A Man Utd shirt may not be welcome everywhere but it will certainly be recognised in many, many places. The same principle works for bands, films, etc; approval is shown by attending gigs, screenings and so forth then active interest is shown in talking about them, buying into the merchandise, spreading the word.

And there are many things that need support and that word spreading right now. Our libraries, our fire stations, our coastguards, our police, our NHS; the list of public services being decimated is ever increasing. Twitter is awash with accounts for all these; all suffering cuts, all needing our support, our active interest, in order to keep them going. As a society we need private business but we need public service too. One will never be able to function without the other.

Some of those accounts started just because one person had an idea. And told someone about it. And that person listened. And told someone else about it. And so, like Chinese Whispers but more effective, the word spreads. We’ve seen all too recently the damage that is caused by incorrect words being spread online so let’s redress that balance and take a bit of time to support those causes that do need pushing, to back those who are brave enough to have a good idea and tell someone else about it.

I’m not going to add a list of those that matter to me here. I write about them, I tweet about them, I promote them here & in my conversations. Who or what you choose to support is up to you; I just would like people to think about giving their support to the things in life that matter.

And, on that final note, nothing will matter more than your loved ones. Tell them you love them, support them, whether you think they need it or not, because none of us can make it on our own and we do all need each other. Do it today as one day there won’t be a tomorrow.





Our Police

“Call the cops” ~ Happy Mondays

Or, as defined by my dictionary

Cops (n) slang: police


This blog is true to the best of my knowledge and belief and I publish it knowing that, if tendered evidence, I shall be liable to prosecution if I have wilfully stated anything in it which I know to be false, or do not believe to be true.

Ok, it’s about time I confessed. For the majority of my life, I never liked the police. I thought they were sneaky, underhand, duplicitous gits. And that, coming from a law-abiding girl, from a law-abiding, well to-do, nice middleclass family, without any brushes with the law, is, I believe, unusual. So I’ll explain…

About 25 years ago, I was about 11 or 12, I ran away from home. I didn’t slope off to the local park for a few hours; I got a bus then a train and travelled about 100 miles. There were reasons for going and for my destination that I won’t go into, suffice to say that I was not an abused child by any means.

Anyway, the police were called. A very nice policeman found me. To this day I remember what he looked like and what he said to me. Then, a day or so later, another policeman visited us at home. Eagle-eyed readers will notice I have dropped the word ‘nice’. This officer was there to find out why I had done it and if I was genuinely ok. To this end, at some point my mother left the room and he asked if everything was ok at home. To my confused and unhappy young brain, this seemed sneaky and underhand and I detested the police from that moment on.

Fast forward to my early thirties and, in a moment of random thinking, I realised that poor guy was just doing his job. My mother leaving the room was prearranged. He wasn’t being sneaky at all, he was trying to establish if a crime had been committed, if this messed up child was actually ok. And I felt a great deal of sympathy for him cos I imagine he left completely baffled and thinking I was a spoilt brat. And that realisation turned my entire thinking on police round completely.

I stress, this was about 25 years ago. I’m sure practises are different now. But this was the past and they do things differently there.

However the fact remains that the police aren’t popular. As someone once put in a blog on policing, “the day most people meet a police officer is the worst day of their life”. This is in the sense that you’re either being nicked, reporting a crime, or they are on your doorstep about to tell you some news you are not going to want to hear about a loved one. How grim is that? How hard is that? Could you? Cos I don’t think I could.

However, they matter to me hugely. I like to see our police on our streets. I like knowing that dialling 999, however awful the reasons are, gets you in touch with the police. And, as we need them, they answer our call.

Aside from the running away malarkey, I’ve had dealings with the police as a result of interactions in my job and as a victim of crime. I want to tell you, briefly, about one of these incidents. Last year, two days before my birthday as it happens, I was burgled. I discovered this when I returned from work about 6pm on a Wednesday evening. It took the police 7 hours to attend. That’s 7 hours to attend a break-in with a lone female in an unsecured ground floor flat. I don’t for one minute think they were sitting around, drinking tea & chatting about the football. They were too busy to attend. They didn’t have enough officers. And that was March 2011.

So that brings me to the point of this blog. The British police service is facing massive cuts and privatisation. In addition to a raft of cuts and changes being introduced under two reviews by Tom Winsor. Some of you may recognise the name as part of the hashtag on Twitter #AntiWinsorNetwork. The origins of this group are much better explained in this blog by @cynicalbobby. Now, as much as anything, it is a useful link for police and police supporters to communicate with each other. Having conducted some research of my own, I’m aware it means very little to others so I hope this blog goes some way to explaining.

Our police service is:

  • facing cuts to pay and conditions
  • seeing vital services, that serve us, the public, diminished
  • G4S, a private company, are being brought in to do jobs previously always done by officers

The buck does not stop there, by any means. there are many other things afoot with British policing. But I’m aware there’s only so much anyone can take in at any one time. So please, I ask you this, would you like to keep an independent police service sworn to be independent and impartial? Or are you more interested in the legalisation of currently illegal drugs? Because one online petition to Parliament has more signatures than others. And I find that a shaming statement on our society today.

Please look at this petition. I’m not asking you to sign, you’re a grown up, you can make your own decisions. You decide if our police service is worth supporting. Ditto, please, consider this pledge of support.

One final thing, we are to get things called Police and Crime Commissioners. People will get to vote on this. You may think this doesn’t affect you, that your vote doesn’t count. To anyone who says a vote doesn’t count I say ‘look at X-Factor’. Don’t you dare look at me with a straight face and say that show, with voting, has not changed the lives of many who have been on it, many who have watched, and not least, lined the pockets of Simon Cowell.

Further, admirable, reading on what our police do for us can be found here:

Worth Every Penny ~ ResponseBobby

The Real CID ~ PoliceManMusing

Let’s Talk About Sex, Baby ~ Bruce2990

A Service For The Public ~ SteelyRiverBoy

I have not asked permission of any of the officers quoted for permission to refer their work. I include it as I feel it shows what our police do for us. And I hold them, and their colleagues, in the highest of esteem.

I have written this blog to bridge a gap that I am aware of in social media terms between those that understand what our police are about to undergo, those that care but do not understand, and those that don’t care but I hope will after reading. I am not a police officer. I have no affiliation to the police in my personal or professional life. If you want to know more on anything this blog touches on then contact me and I will do my best to put you in touch with people more knowledgeable than I.

Thank you for reading.




“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.