Tag Archives: friendship

www.nelliepompoms.co.uk

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It’s all change!  I have recently started a website www.nelliepompoms.co.uk and am   s l o w l y   but surely moving the blogs from here across to there.  Huge thanks to Gabriella Buckingham who designed my original logo and Sarah at Studio Spence who has put it all together for me, if you’re looking for a website then do get in touch with Sarah, she’s very clever (and patient!).

The website has been an idea of mine for ages.  Drawing on my many adventures and journeys, shopping experiences and personal recommendations I have brought everything together and popped it all in one place.  It’s where you will find food and drink suggestions, recent book reviews, the Instagram feed, Twitter timelineNellie Pom Poms Facebook status updates, blog and shopping inspiration from some very lovely people and businesses like Common Farm Flowers, Myddfai, Bowlovers, More-Hall, Bodlon, 2 Little Boys, Hunter Gatherer and more!

So, this blog post is short and sweet (much like myself!), but I do hope you will bookmark www.nelliepompoms.co.uk, sign up to the blog on the website and tell your friends.

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It’s been a while since I last wrote to you or had a letter from you in your distinctive writing and I miss you. I miss your letters, your adventures, your wit, your friendship, your laughter, our conversations, our gatherings.  

I miss you.  It’s been a year since you died and I think of you lots. From the moment we met at school to the day I saw you before you died you were always there, just there.  In another dorm, on another table, in a different classroom, in another country.  Now you’re somewhere else.  As you said about dying you were going somewhere and it’s not going to be a case of being able to write home and tell us all about it.  You’ve gone somewhere we will all follow at some time and when we get there you will greet us with a grin and show us around. 

My world is very different now.  In your last months you softened me!  I was so angry that you had a brain tumour, but you weren’t angry – you were positive and in turn your positivity changed me and how I see things.  You didn’t just accept that your life was nearing an end you positively grabbed what time you had left and gave your family and friends so many happy times.  You never made us sorry for you, you carried on being you but you with a brain tumour – in a wheelchair at times.

Even when you were tired out and felt crap due do the medication or discomfort you never once said you didn’t want to see us, you always chatted on the phone asking about our lives and our families.  When you heard from people we’d long forgotten about you joined in with the banter we knew so well.

When I saw you that last time I knew your bags were packed and you were ready for the off.  You lay in your bed, eyes closed and they twitched, your hand moved in my hand and at that point I knew.  I knew that wherever you are you will always be in our hearts and nothing or no one would ever take that away from me.

Dear Charch – it’s been a year and I’ll speak for the others when I say we miss you.

Xxx

Kind words

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We’ve been doing some raucous laughing here over the last couple of days as a box of photos made their way down from the loft (they didn’t find their way down on their own oh no …. Big Welsh brought them down I think because his giggling at the top of a ladder wasn’t the best place for a grown man to be whilst being reminded of our early 20s).

The girls admired the places where the photos had been taken (when we would go to Greece for 3 weeks in late September or skiing outside the school term), they marvelled at our old house and its decor and they gave us marks out of ten for our fashion. Big Welsh had a quiff and a large number of check shirts, I had stripey baseball boots and my hair was incredibly short.

One thing that struck me whilst looking at the photos was really how little we’ve actually changed. Our smiles are the same and we’re still the same height!  There might be more padding and less hair but underneath we’re no different and besides who judges anyway?  Who has the right to judge anyone on what they look like?  How do the judgey types feel when they’ve shot off about someone?

I’m all for a bit of harmless banter but the phrase “sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me” resonates in my ear when I hear someone say something bang out of order or when something that could be construed as an insult is on the tip of my tongue.

Some time ago someone I know asked me if I knew someone, to which I replied “yes she’s a great friend”.  I was therefore shocked when she said “well I hate her and her friends are just as awful”, it’s changed my opinion of that person and made me even more selective in who I actually call a friend.  Another time I recall a very generously proportioned lady congratulating a younger woman, the younger woman looked perplexed and asked what for.  The older and generously proportioned lady suggested she was pregnant and to her credit the younger woman said that she wasn’t pregnant and had probably just over eaten saying you know how it is (subtle!), rubbed her flat stomach and smiled whilst the older lady blushed.

A few weeks ago I met Karin Joyce at Blog on Cymru and she mentioned #EmbraceHappy where you post #3goodthings each day and I joined up, how hard could it be to find 3 good things to be grateful about, 3 good things that make your heart soar, 3 good things about a day that could otherwise be a vile day.  Try it.  It’s not hard to do if you give it some thought, because however small a good thing might be it’s still a good thing!  As I stared at the peelings that hadn’t been cleared away, at the dishwasher that hadn’t been emptied and coped with the drama of the homework not being handed in on time I still managed to find 3 good things.

So often I am told about some celebrity news by the children, or I read on Twitter that someone is getting a bashing for something or someone is berated for not being part of the ideal and I will admit it makes me cringe.  There’s celebrities I don’t go a bundle on or people I’m not overly fond of and the easiest thing is to walk away and not worry about them.  Instead of blurting out how someone is fat, has dodgy hair, gonky teeth, their style isn’t isn’t what you call your style (and again who are we to judge what counts as style, when to be honest a long as it’s not outraging public decency or likely to cause danger or distress it’s not an issue) there’s got to be 3 good things you could say about them.  How about “look at that happy person who is comfortable in what they are wearing who is actually getting out of the car and walking whilst enjoying their surroundings”.  That’s a start.  A positive start!

I guess what I am trying to say is think before you open your mouth and know your audience, the person you might be being negative about might be a friend of the person you are talking to and once you’ve said your bit you can’t take it back, however many times you apologise.

Survivor

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Dear friend of many years, mother of gorgeous children, domestic violence and coercive control survivor

Listening to a song on my playlist earlier I stopped and stared out of the window and felt a shiver, then as the song ended and moved onto the next one and I breathed a sigh of relief. The shiver was nothing, nothing at all, compared to what you had gone through all those years ago.

You told me you had met someone who was charming and good looking and ideal and the one. I met him. He was charming, he was good looking, he was arrogant, he was rude, he wasn’t ideal and he certainly wasn’t the one. Well he was the one, the one who belittled you, made you feel worthless and tried to keep you away from your friends. My first thought was he loved you so much he wanted to keep you to himself in the early days, but the early days turned into weeks and you stopped returning my calls immediately like you previously had done and your texts weren’t as daft and batty as they used to be

Maybe our friendship had come to an end, maybe our lives were so different that we’d run our course. But I wasn’t going to give up. I couldn’t. I felt you needed me. My gut instinct about him was strong. I didn’t trust him and I didn’t like him.

I didn’t know what to do all those years ago, I didn’t know who to tell and besides who would take any notice of someone who said I think my friend is a victim of domestic violence because she’s stopped contacting me, never returns my calls and seems unhappy?

Well I didn’t give up caring or worrying and my perseverance paid off. I found an old email and sent you a quick message on the off chance. When I got a reply I was overjoyed. You’d moved. Twice. You were living in the middle of nowhere. We arranged to meet up when you knew he was out. I had never been so scared for myself, but also for you. It was a tense meeting. I wanted to scoop you and the children up and bring you back home. But I didn’t.

You moved again and we arranged to meet up. This time you were different. Stronger. In control. You’d admitted he was no good. He moved out. He was ugly, angry and his behaviour showed how vindictive he was. But you were back. Not the old you, but the signs of the old you were visible.

Now after years away from that evil controlling man you aren’t an absent friend anymore. You’re a survivor and when you sent me a message saying “thank you for standing by and persevering, never giving up on me I will never forget you and what you did” I cried tears of relief.

If you’ve got this far and you’re thinking oh my that sounds familiar, do something, say something. I didn’t know what to do or say but I had to keep lines of communication open. It was only after completing a course on coercive control that I fully understood the enormity of those negative comments, the lack of respect, the alienation, the constant putting down, the nastiness.

My friend wasn’t alone. There are so many relationships where one partner lives in fear, where children are helpless, where families are torn apart. But there is help.

Phone the Police on 101 or 999 in an emergency

http://www.refuge.org.uk

http://www.nationaldomesticviolencehelpline.org.uk

http://www.womensaid.org.uk

What is love anyway?

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Have you ever stayed up waiting for a telephone call?

I’ve fallen in love, big proper love, three times. There’s a box full of cassettes in my mother’s attic with associated tunes that if I was to listen to without distraction I’d be transported back to those days in the 80s, to my first love and the days that the sun always shines (on TV). Music played an important part in falling in love and being a hopeless romantic Piscean dreamer I hear a song and I think of someone.

As well as being in love 3 times I’ve known what love is 3 times. I can’t describe baby love, it’s like heart thumping love with tiredness, but without the romantic music. The love I feel for my children is like no other love. When they were born I almost felt myself roaring and each time I bent down to smell them I was both leaving my scent and breathing in the heady aroma of new baby. Perfect skin, tiny little hands that either flailed around hopelessly, gently kneading me whilst feeding or being looked at in wonderment.

And in times of doubt have you ever tried to work it out?

I love my friends regardless of what they look like, what they wear, say or do. There’s times I don’t like things that they do or say but I don’t stop loving them. It takes a lot for me to fall out with people and when I do I grieve for them and a small part of my heart freezes.

The word love is a funny one. It can mean so many many things to so many people but to me true love goes hand in hand with happiness, acceptance, wonderment and awe. The people I love and whose love I bask in is unconditional, all encompassing and there, just there.

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There’s nothing like catching up with friends to make you smile, whether it’s a letter or postcard, a phone call or answer phone message, a text, a tweet, a comment on FB or a popping in.  I’m 45 and have accumulated a vast array of friends and contacts throughout my four and a half decades but I can’t possibly keep in touch with everyone all at the same time, but it doesn’t mean I am not thinking of them.  Far from it!

This week I am having supper with a friend who I’ve not seen for ages – I can’t remember the last time I saw her, I think it was July 2013 which is madness as she lives in Sunningdale and I live in Wokingham.  There’s not a vast amount of miles but she works full time, has a busy social life with lots of interests and I have a busy life, a husband who works wonky hours and three children whose diary needs military precision, not to mention my housework avoidance and a busy life.  It will be fun – we will catch up on all the news, chat about everything, eat and drink and then say we must do that again soon.  However soon that might be.

At the weekend I am having lunch with a college friend.  We met when we were 17 at secretarial college and lived in the same house for a term, she then moved out but we saw each other every day for our lessons.  We both left college we went our separate ways, we saw each other lots during the 21st year of parties and then lost touch until we got back in touch whilst working in the City.  Shortly after that she moved to Wales and despite all my Welsh journeys our worlds didn’t collide!  All those times I had gone to Wales and I never got to see her, we lost touch again but then hurrah she was on Twitter and Facebook and the lines of communication were open again.  It’s going to be so strange catching up with her after 20 years or so but it will be fun and as we enter a new chapter in our friendship we will have much to talk about!

This morning I spoke to a friend who said she would hope to pop in over half term but it’s going to be manic but it doesn’t mean we’re not thinking of each other.  I think of my friends on a daily basis.  When I look at Facebook or Twitter I see something and think I will comment on it when I get the chance, when I look at my diary and see a birthday is coming up I will write a card and pop it in the post, if I miss a birthday I will drop a note to say I am a rubbish friend but I was thinking of you.  Friends share their lives with people in so many different ways these days, I look at Instagram and Pinterest as postcards nowadays.  That’s acceptable because we all have busy lives and sometimes there isn’t the chance to drop everything and dash off on a whim.

I also spoke to someone who has had some negativity from someone else who because she hasn’t picked up the phone and made contact.  Oh friendship you fickle beast.  Who’s responsibility is it to make the first move?  Who is on the moral high ground because they are the ones to always pick up the phone.  Sometimes I feel that I am doing all the running but some friends appreciate this because they know that I will get in touch, some I don’t make the effort with as much as others.  It doesn’t make me a bad person though.  If I had all day to be sociable with everyone in my world I would have no time to do those things that I need to do.

Last year a friend got in touch and told us the devastating news that she had a brain tumour, what followed was months of catching up, making memories and ensuring that she would never be forgotten.  It didn’t matter to her that we had not seen here when she was visiting her family in the UK, it didn’t worry us that we would be catching up with people that we had lost contact with because we had the foundations of firm friendship and friends shouldn’t bear grudges that someone hasn’t picked up the phone.

I’m feeling sad today to hear that Lynda Bellingham has died.  Like my late father she had bowel cancer and like Charch she gave up treatment.  What she did do in her last few months was get people talking, people commented on blogs and posts, we told our children about the nation’s favourite mother who was there for us with her gravy adverts, the wife of the vet we all loved in All Creatures Great and Small, the hilarious woman who graced our screens and latterly the brave and courageous woman who chose to share her decision with the world.  She leaves behind family and friends.

What are you waiting for?  Don’t delay.  Why don’t you pick up the phone or put pen to paper with a friend you’ve been meaning to call if only to say hello.