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13th June 2017


Hi! I’ve been absent from here for a long time but today, the 13th June marks a significant milestone in my family’s life and I felt I should mark it somehow. It’s been one hell of a twelve months. I can never forget this past year but I happily leave it behind with absolutely no desire to repeat it.

 

Twelve months ago my lovely dad suffered a major brain haemorrhage resulting in him having a massive stroke whilst he was driving … on holiday … in France.

 

Strokes are very commonplace; according to the Stroke Association, every 2 seconds someone in the world will have one. In the UK, it is the fourth leading cause of death, a leading cause of disability and there are over 1.2 million stroke survivors. Not wanting to be too commonplace, my dad had a haemorrhagic stroke, which accounts for only 15% of all strokes.

 

As it turned out, my dad managed to choose a good location to have a medical catastrophe necessitating emergency brain surgery. He was taken ill in Annecy, a picture-postcard city often called Venice of the Alps. He had medical intervention within 10 minutes and Annecy just happens to have a shiny modern hospital with an Accident & Emergency (A&E) department (an ER for those of you across the pond) and a Neurosurgery department – Centre Hospitalier Annecy Genevois. I cannot speak highly enough of this hospital and its staff who went out of their way to help us, support us and who took the most amazing care of my dad.

 

Lac d’Annecy, France. My photo.

Annecy, France. My photo.

 

Medical staff all over the world exceed our expectations every day but somehow we never really expect it. I certainly didn’t expect ICU staff to find and book a hotel for us in the middle of the night, or, a few days later to express kind concern for my mother’s health and offer advice. I never once saw anyone get exasperated with my bad French or my typing questions into Google translate or our constant badgering for information about when my dad would be deemed ‘fit to fly’ home.

 

As an amusing aside, when we finally got his ‘fit to fly’ certificate it stated in English that he was ‘feet to fly’. I never did ask what they proposed to do with the rest of him! I assume something got lost in pronunciation. I was just glad the insurance company accepted it.

 

The Swiss neurosurgeon who operated on my dad 12 months ago today and saved his life will forever be revered by us. Every medical professional who saw the scar on my dad’s head when he returned home expressed great surprise at the quality of her repair. In fact, she did such an amazing job of putting him back together again it’s hard to find much evidence of it now.

 

To think that had all this happened when he was happily ensconced at home there would be much less chance of him having survived, just makes us realise how fortuitous it was that circumstances placed him in Annecy. In Leicester, we have three hospitals but no neurosurgery department. A trip to A&E in Leicester, scans and then a transfer to a hospital in Nottingham or Birmingham would all have added too much time and it is unlikely I’d be able to tell you now about my dad’s remarkable recovery. This is not meant as a criticism of the NHS whose care of my dad over the last 12 months has been fantastic, but just an observation. Call it fate, call it luck, call it what you like … I’m just grateful for Annecy.

 

I flew out there on the 13th June last year with my brother and his wife, none of us knowing what we would find when we arrived. I was in France for 10 days, dealing with the insurance company, trying to organise repatriation and learning French words for things like blood, catheter and pressure and speaking spectacularly bad French like “Mon père voudrais dans la lit” when my dad had had enough of sitting up in a chair. For the first time in my life I found I didn’t care if people thought I was stupid although I don’t think they ever did. Without exception, not just in the hospital, everyone we met was kind, so don’t ever believe that the French hate the British.

 

So, where are we now? My dad finally returned to his own home on 10th August. Once back in the UK he spent roughly a week on a stroke ward in Leicester Royal Infirmary before being transferred to a Stroke Rehabilitation Unit not far from where I live. When he went home he had to live downstairs as he was unable to climb the stairs. He had carers in 3 times a day to help him wash and dress and he had a walking frame. The support he has had from NHS carers, physios, occupational therapists and speech therapists has been second to none. But all of that aside, it has been his own determination and personal strength supported by my brilliant mum that has enabled him to become physically fit and well again.

 

Shortly after returning home, with broken glasses. My photo.

 

First glass of wine. My photo.

 

When he was still in ICU in France, a doctor told us in broken English that my dad would make a good recovery but that he would be left with some permanent disability. I’m not sure what we imagined when we were told that but I think the reality is probably somewhat removed from whatever we conjured up in our minds. My parents’ house sits on a plot of land that is probably nearly half an acre in size. Yesterday my dad cut the grass with a petrol driven push mower – all of it! He makes a cup of tea for my mum every morning and takes it to her in bed, upstairs. He does washing up and drying up and he does a lot of gardening. He will tell you that he “can’t always say the right words” and that he can “be silly” (for silly, read emotional). What he can’t explain is that he has aphasia and possibly dyspraxia as a result of his stroke. He has lost some of his sight – on his right – and his fine motor skills are impaired meaning it’s unlikely he will return to model engineering. He has had to relearn a lot of things like how to dress himself and even though he knows, he can’t tell me my name or his. He can, however, give me word-perfect directions to pretty much anywhere whilst sitting next to me in the car! The brain is a complicated yet mysterious organ is it not? Most of all, he is happy and enjoying life. What more could we ask for?

 

We know what we are, but know not what we may be.”

William Shakespeare, Hamlet, Act 4, Scene 5

 

It’s been a difficult twelve months but family are everything. My wonderful brother and sister-in-law were absolute rocks last summer – I couldn’t have coped without them – but since then have had a truly dreadful year. They lost a loved one just before Christmas and then started the new year with even more bad news but they are strong, and with a lot of love and some of that determination that we seem to possess in our family they will get through it.

 

My mother has been a trooper too. Stronger and more able than she will ever believe, she has been there for my dad every single day and while he may scare her on a daily basis with the things he says he can do, she has never given up. I am so very proud of her and what she has achieved.

 

Most of all I am just grateful. Grateful that I could go and see my dad tonight, tease him about the tan he has obtained in the garden really being dirt and talk to him about politics. There’s a lot of guess-work involved in understanding which despotic world leader he might be talking about from which country, but we get there in the end. His use of language still improves a little bit every day and while his use of the wrong words can be frustrating, it has also provided much laughter. We now have a private family joke about badgers which I couldn’t possibly explain here. So here’s to the next twelve months; may they be immeasurably better than the last twelve have been!

 

My dad, proving that, at 75, he still has a sense of humour. My photos.

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Mural artist Richard Wilson working on his giant mural to celebrate Leicester City winning the 2015/16 Premier League title.
 
© Copyright Mat Fascione and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

 

 

Yesterday my dream died.”

Last Thursday brought the news that many people were expecting but probably just as many hoped would never come. Leicester City Football Club sacked Claudio Ranieri, the manager that helped them win the Premier League title last season and took them to the Champion’s League.

 

I don’t think there is anyone that expected Leicester to repeat their success this season, but it’s fair to say they’ve not been doing very well. In football, when teams fail to produce good results with alarming regularity it’s only a matter of time until the manager gets sacked. I’m not going to discuss whether this is right or wrong – everyone has an opinion.

 

All I want to say is that Leicester will be a poorer place without Claudio. He was a true gent who loved us just us much as we loved him; a man who would shake the hand of every person present, from journalist to cameraman, at press conferences, and the manager who rewarded his players with pizza for a clean sheet.

 

I told them, if you keep a clean sheet, I’ll buy pizza for everybody. I think they’re waiting for me to offer a hot dog too.”

He bought the players bells for Christmas as a reminder not to slip up in training.

 

From the beginning when something was wrong I’ve been saying: ‘Dilly-ding, dilly-dong, wake up, wake up!’ So on Christmas Day I bought for all the players and all the staff a little bell. It was just a joke.”

His interesting use of English was an endless joy. He described Jamie Vardy thus:

 

This is not a footballer. This is a fantastic horse.”

He was the Italian who introduced the Leicester supporters to opera by bringing Andrea Bocelli to the King Power Stadium to sing Nessun Dorma in celebration of the Premiership win. The fans, always extremely vocal, were still chanting, so Claudio held his hand up in the universal sign for “keep it down a bit, guys” and they did.

 

And so we say a very sad goodbye to a man who captured the imagination of a whole city. He made our dreams come true and in return we took him into our hearts and loved him for it. If his gentlemanliness was ever in doubt this is the statement he released after being sacked:

 

Yesterday my dream died.

After the euphoria of last season and being crowned Premier League champions, all I dreamt of was staying with Leicester City, the club I love, for always.

Sadly this was not to be. I wish to thank my wife Rosanna and all my family for their never-ending support during my time at Leicester.

My thanks go to Paolo and Andrea, who accompanied me on this wonderful journey. To Steve Kutner [Ranieri’s agent] and Franco Granello [his Italian agent] for bringing me the opportunity to become a champion.

Mostly I have to thank Leicester City Football Club. The adventure was amazing and will live with me forever.

Thank you to all the journalists and the media who came with us and enjoyed reporting on the greatest story in football.

My heartfelt thanks to everybody at the club, all the players, the staff, everybody who was there and was part of what we achieved. But mostly to the supporters. You took me into your hearts from day one and loved me. I love you too.

No-one can ever take away what we together have achieved, and I hope you think about it and smile every day the way I always will.

It was a time of wonderfulness and happiness that I will never forget. It’s been a pleasure and an honour to be a champion with all of you.

Claudio Ranieri

 

I still hope …


I’ve been absent from this blog for rather a long time. I last wrote back in May when Leicester was celebrating an unprecedented sporting success and everyone round here was bubbling over with joy and excitement. Since then a lot has changed.

 

I should have written about my trips to the theatre over the summer and believe me, there was a part of me that so wanted to tell you all about the stunning A Midsummer Night’s Dream at The Globe, a side-splittingly hilarious production of The Rover at the RSC (which I’m seeing again in January) and a brilliant version of The Importance of Being Earnest at Leicester’s Curve, but somehow I couldn’t bring myself to write anything so trivial in an enthused manner.

 

In June, I tried to write a blog post about why I was, despite everything, still proud to be British. And while I am very proud and always will be, the events of the summer have left my pride a little dented.

 

I went to see Doctor Strange at the cinema a few weeks ago and thought about writing a post asking “Where are our Super Heroes?” But, that didn’t seem quite serious enough.

 

Christmas is almost upon us once again, hurtling towards me like a freight train with promises of an appearance in the school panto, a children’s Christmas party and a trip to see Cinderella where I expect to be deafened by hundreds of screaming kids. And that’s just work!

 

The onset of the festive season reminds me that on 23rd December last year I wrote a small blog about hope. I still have hope. Because there has to be hope, even in the face of things I never believed would happen. I don’t particularly want to be political here but to quote the song I quoted back in December “How can things be better left unsaid?”

 

My Twitter bio states, amongst other things, that I am a “believer in multiculturalism, feminism and sharing our beautiful world.” I don’t know anyone close to me that doesn’t also believe in those things. And yet here we are living in a country that has become increasingly isolationist, where racial hatred incidences are on the increase, and where people would rather see child refugees die than reach out and help them. And that is bad enough, but then you look further afield and see the marching feet of fascism slowly creeping across the western world and I have to ask, “Have we learnt nothing?”

 

Fascism – extreme right-wing, authoritarian, or intolerant views or practices.
Synonyms: authoritarianism, totalitarianism, dictatorship, despotism, autocracy, absolute rule, nazism, rightism, militarism, nationalism, xenophobia, racism, anti-Semitism, chauvinism, jingoism, isolationism, neo-fascism, neo-Nazism, corporativism, corporatism, hitlerism, francoism, falangism.”

Oxford English Dictionary

My great-grandfather was a Labour Party pioneer. He was a member of the party from 1898 (the Labour Party as we recognise it today was founded in 1900) until his death in 1960. He was a Regional Labour Party Organiser, Election Agent and founder and editor of The Labour Organiser – “The only Labour Journal devoted to Organisation, Electioneering and Business Matters”. He is widely quoted in books about the party, most recently in The Collins Review into Labour Party Reform in 2014. He was asked by fellow Labour Party member Oswald Mosley (who had formerly been a member of the Conservative Party) to join the British Union of Fascists (BUF), which Mosley founded and whose supporters were known as “blackshirts”. My great-grandfather refused. I can’t help wondering what he’d make of politics today and the rise, once again, of political opinions we should all find abhorrent.

 

There’s been a lot of talk about accepting that people have voted against what I believe in and that we should all just “suck it and see”. I cannot do that. I cannot agree to accept the rise of hatred and intolerance. I cannot agree to accept that we should not care for our fellow man whatever their colour, religion, nationality or sexuality.

 

This world in which we live is a precious thing. All life on earth is precious. And so I still hope … and I hope I’m not the only one.


 

Two weeks ago we had a blizzard in Leicester, hail storms and lots of rain. Yesterday the city was sizzling in the long-awaited heat of a late spring and early summer. But it wasn’t just the May sunshine that was raising temperatures in the heart of the East Midlands, our local football team, the Blues, the Foxes, Leicester City, was going to be presented with the Premier League trophy after the evening’s match against Everton at their home ground, the King Power stadium.

 

In some cities the presenting of a big football trophy is not that remarkable. Some football clubs in this country have won trophies more times than I can be bothered to research. For many, it is an almost inevitable conclusion to the football season.

 

I don’t claim to be a football fan; however, I am a huge supporter of my home town and will always root for its sporting teams whenever the opportunity arises. Leicester City supporters are used to disappointment – I’ve only ever been to see them play three times and they lost each time – so it will have been no surprise that at the beginning of this season there seemed little hope of glory.

 

Despite a late resurgence in form at the end of last season and somewhat surprisingly avoiding relegation, Leicester City started this season as rank outsiders. The bookmakers were offering odds of 5000-1 that they would go on to win the league such was the lack of expectation. You could get the same or better odds if you wanted to bet on Elvis being found alive this year!

 

There are many theories about how a team made up of rejects, has-beens and complete unknowns led by a manager, Claudio Ranieri, who had never won a major title, came to win the most coveted trophy in English football for the first time in their 132-year history. The more sensible of these theories talk about incredible teamwork, camaraderie and work ethic coupled with time to relax and the promise of pizza for a clean sheet. Some suggest that Buddhist monks have had some influence through prayer – the club is owned by the Thai businessman, Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha, founder and CEO of King Power Duty Free. The more romantic like to think that Leicester’s success may have something to do with the reinterment of Richard III. As outlandish as it may seem it is true that the team’s fortune took a turn for the better after the city excelled itself and reburied the much maligned King with dignity and honour.

 

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With the events surrounding the discovery of Richard III and his subsequent reinterment, Leicester showed the world what its inhabitants have known for much longer: we are warm and welcoming; we are tolerant, truly multi-cultural and cosmopolitan; and most of all we are fiercely proud. In a world that is increasingly intolerant and bigoted, Leicester stands out as an example of how to do it right. With this global recognition came a new-found self-confidence and we all know what a boost self-confidence can be.

 

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Leicester City’s meteoric rise to the top of the Premier League is not the only sporting success we have to boast about this year. Mark Selby, the Jester from Leicester, won his second  World Snooker Championship; Leicester Riders became British Basketball League Champions, BBL trophy winners and play today in the hope of winning the BBL play-off final and claiming the treble; Leicester City Women won Women’s Premier League Midlands Division One title – football again – with a 100% record; and Leicester Tigers are in the Premiership Rugby Union play-offs hoping for an 11th English title, having finished in the top four for a 12th successive season! Our cricket team has had less success but even they won their first County Championship game in almost three years just a couple of months after the reinterment of Richard III.

 

As I wandered around the city yesterday afternoon there was the beginnings of a carnival atmosphere. There were blue shirts everywhere, people were blowing horns and carrying Leicester City flags, and random groups of people wearing football shirts kept suddenly bursting into football chants. There are banners hanging from the streetlights on the high street depicting all the Leicester City players, in the depths of Marks and Spencer hangs a Leicester City flag, and they are selling blue sausages in the market. As I made my way back to the car, supporters were starting to fill out the city’s pubs, spilling out onto the streets and raising their voices in song. I turned a corner, away from the drinking establishments and wandered down towards the restaurants. A big blue light installation has taken pride of place in St Peter’s Square and surrounding it are all the usual restaurant chains associated with a cosmopolitan city, many with tables outside continental-style. They all looked pretty full and while the atmosphere was a little more sedate than elsewhere there were still blue shirts everywhere.

 
This little gem is a hip hop track written by local musicians. If you can make out the lyrics they are full of little Leicester-isms, local references and just so much stuff that makes me smile from ear to ear. “We ‘soar’ like the river that flows through the city” is just one such example.

 

 

I love my city. I love its optimism, I love its pride and most of all I love its people. They come from all cultures, all ethnicities, all backgrounds but together we are all Leicesterians, all “chisits“. I could not be more proud of Leicester City Football Club. I could not be more proud of Leicester. We have shown the world that with grit and determination, a fearless attitude, more than a little hope and maybe the support of the last Plantagenet King it is possible to achieve your dreams.

 

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Dear reader …


Dear reader

 

It seems most appropriate to write this as a letter as I want to tell you about a wonderful evening I recently spent in London at Letters Live.

 

If you don’t already know, Letters Live is an event where some of the best known names from the world of stage, screen, music and elsewhere come together to read letters written by people from all walks of life. Some funny, some sad, some quite ridiculous and some deeply serious.

 

I should point out to you, dear reader, that until each reader and letter was announced I had no idea who I would hear or who they would read. Imagine my delight when Benedict Cumberbatch walked onto the stage. How completely marvellous that he should read Mark Twain whilst doing an impression of another actor’s impression of Twain. Twain’s voice was never recorded for posterity but the impression by a contemporary and neighbour was. This actor, coincidentally, was also the first to ever play Sherlock Holmes! It’s a small world these consulting detectives inhabit isn’t it?

 

I wish you could have been there but as you did not have that pleasure let me tell you a little of what you missed:

 

Louise Brealey and Benedict Cumberbatch reading love letters from the Dear Bessie series. Brealey fluffing a line and exchanging amused glances with her co-star who, when it was his turn, started reading the wrong letter. They laughed with the audience and it didn’t matter one bit.

 

 

The ridiculously attractive Oscar Isaac reading a letter from a wholly unimpressed Alec Guinness complaining about Star Wars and his part as Obi Wan Kenobi. A more fitting reader of such a letter would be hard to contemplate.

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Geoffrey Palmer reading a letter written by Evelyn Waugh to his wife on the occasion of a tree being blown up. We cried with laughter.

 

 

Listening to the lovely Sophie Hunter read a letter written by Helen Keller describing her utter joy at being able to “hear” an orchestral symphony. The letter can be read in full here: My heart almost stood still.

 

And simply surreal moments like listening to Cumberbatch read Marcel Proust’s letter about his terrible masturbation habit and inability to screw; all the more surreal for the fact that Cumberbatch was being watched by his wife. The letter can be read here: My dear little grandfather.

 

Dear reader, I’m sure you know that events such as these are made all the more special by the knowledge that the performers are having as good a time as the audience. We were sat directly opposite the stage entrance. Watching the performers watching and supporting each other, peeping through the curtain, hugging each other, sitting happily on the floor together – shoulder to shoulder (Mr and Mrs C), enjoying every moment just as much as we were made this special night even more so.

 

I don’t like just to list things (I was once told off for writing a thank you letter that simply listed all the things I’d had for Christmas when I was a child); however, I feel it would be doing the other performers a disservice not to give them some credit. They were all equally wonderful.

 

Performing were the following (in order of appearance): Nitin Sawhney, Benedict Cumberbatch, Louise Brealey, Sophie Hunter, Simon McBurney, Hanif Kureishi, Sarah Snook, Geoffrey Palmer, David Nicholls, Jeremy Paxman, Oscar Isaac and Emiliana Torrini.

 

There was truly beautiful music from Nitin Sawhney and Emiliana Torrini which complemented the letter reading perfectly. I wish I could list all the letters that were read too, but I suspect one list in this letter is quite enough. You could peruse the Letters Live Twitter account if you were truly interested.

 

The last letter read was an unfinished one. It was written by Robert Falcon Scott and read by Benedict Cumberbatch. There was barely a dry eye in the house when it ended without the traditional letter ending and everyone realised why. You can read it and see the actual letter here: To: My Widow.

 

In the audience with us were Steven Moffat and Sue Vertue, who we saw stopping to sign autographs and take selfies on the way out. We didn’t join the small queue; they weren’t working and we had trains to catch.

 

To top it all off the event took place at the Freemason’s Hall; a simply stunning Art Deco building that has to be seen to be believed.

 

Stained glass in Freemason’s Hall. My photo.

A stunning ceiling in Freemason’s Hall. My photo.

Stained glass in Freemason’s Hall. My photo.

 

A night of surprises, inspiration and emotion. I wish I could have been at every Letters Live night as one just simply wasn’t enough. And as I mentioned before, I just wish you could have been there.
 
Most sincerely yours,

 

Kathryn


When to the sessions of sweet silent thought
I summon up remembrance of things past.”

William Shakespeare, Sonnet 30.

When I moved house a year ago one box mysteriously went missing. The removal company packed absolutely everything; I packed none of it. Nothing was left behind in the flat I vacated – I know because I cleaned it afterwards. There was nothing left in the removal company’s lorry either according to the person I spoke to on the phone. Nevertheless several months after moving I discovered a few things were missing. Initially I thought perhaps I’d mislaid them somewhere, then as I missed more things I began to realise exactly what I’d lost. I still don’t know everything that’s gone. Every so often I remember something else I’ve not seen.

 

The main thing I’ve lost is a box labelled “memorabilia” containing theatre programmes, tickets, flyers, souvenirs and various other bits and pieces I’ve collected over the years. I also lost a stack of theatre programmes that weren’t in the box.

 

I was devastated when I realised quite what I’d lost as those programmes missing include the only two signed ones I had: Much Ado About Nothing, signed by David Tennant and Catherine Tate, and The Crucible, signed by Richard Armitage.

 

Now I have wonderful friends and one of those lovely friends was kind enough to gift me the programme she had signed by Mr A when she was standing with me in the queue outside the stage door at The Old Vic. She had another signed programme she won in a competition so was happy to let me have the other one. Everything else is lost forever.

 

Of course none of the things I’ve lost are worth anything but every little scrap of paper was a memory, something to be cherished.

 

As this year ends I’ve decided to do something positive about all those distant and not so distant memories. I’ve been blessed by the places I’ve been and the things I’ve seen so I’ve started to put together a record.

 

It seems that even without my box of memories I have quite a talent for recalling things from as far back as when I was just 8 years old. The internet is a wonderful thing and it has enabled me to realise exactly how lucky I have been.

 

Aged just 8 years old I saw Alfred Molina (Chocolat, Raiders of the Lost Ark and Spider-man 2) on stage in a production of Oklahoma. When I was 12 I saw the definitive production of Me and My Girl before it transferred to the West End. It starred Robert Lindsay (Citizen Smith and My Family) and a largely unknown Emma Thompson. Two years later my parents took me to see High Society starring Trevor Eve (known for Waking the Dead, also Alice Eve’s father), Stephen Rea (The Crying Game and The Honourable Woman) and none other than Natasha Richardson of the Redgrave acting dynasty, sadly no longer with us.

 

Alfred Molina at the première for An Education, October 2009. Photographer: Justin Hoch. Source.

 

In my first year at university I had the privilege of attending the events to mark the 50th anniversary of the Coventry Blitz which included a performance by the wonderful Vera Lynn.

 

Thanks to the internet I found a wonderful review of the Blur concert I went to at Morecambe Dome in 1995. The best friend of my then boyfriend got us tickets through the record company and we got to see them at the height of the Britpop era in a tiny venue where we were close enough for me to see the crystalline blue of Damon Albarn’s eyes. I fell completely and utterly in love with him at that concert and to be honest, that’s never really changed.

 

Damon Albarn – Gorillaz – Roskilde Festival 2010. Source.

 

As part of my research I found set lists from all the Robbie Williams concerts I’ve been to – all three of them. I’ve been able to confirm that I did indeed see Jonathan Ollivier (who tragically died earlier this year) dance as part of Matthew Bourne’s company on two separate occasions, a fact I’d been unsure of without a programme to consult. And, I’ve established that everyone loved the U2 concert I went to at the City of Manchester stadium except me – we had really bad seats and couldn’t hear anything!

 

Jonathan Ollivier as The Swan in Matthew Bourne’s Swan Lake.

 

Not everything is on the internet or easy to find. I did manage to work out the name of a play I saw in Coventry thanks to trawling through photos of actresses who appeared in Brookside to get a name and knowing that the play included full frontal male nudity. It was called Dead Funny – I don’t recall that it was.

 

I’ve typed everything into a chronological list including set lists, cast lists and anything else that seems important and so far it runs to 11 pages. I want to handwrite it all into a nice notebook and keep it updated but until I’m sure I’ve included everything I don’t want to start. I think this may take some time.

 
The important thing I’ve realised is that my memories are not as lost as I had first thought. There are things that I’ve lost that I can never replace no matter how much I might wish I could; however, all this research has brought to light things I might never have remembered or never actually knew in the first place. I’ve been incredibly lucky over the years and have seen some wonderful things. I had thought it was just in recent years I’d started seeing “Hollywood” actors on stage when in reality I saw some of them before they had even dreamt of reaching such heady heights and in many ways, that’s even better!

 

Here’s to the New Year and all the new memories it’s going to create.

 

Happy New Year to you all.

Hope


It’s that time of year again when everyone eats too much, drinks too much, exchanges presents, gathers around the television to watch mindless rubbish and, if they’re really lucky, spends time with loved ones. I will, of course, be doing at least some of these things and I genuinely hope you are too.

 

But, in a world where so many wish to spread hatred and fear, where someone can say “an armed society is a polite society” and have other people agree, where people fleeing for their lives and for the lives of their children are referred to as cockroaches and treated without humanity, what I hope for most is that there actually is some hope for all of us.

 

And I just hope I’m not the only one.

 

 

I hope that the world stops raining
Stops turning its back on the young
See nobody here is blameless
I hope that we can fix all that we’ve done
I really hope Martin can’t see this
I hope that we still have a dream
I’m hoping that change isn’t hopeless
I’m hoping to start it with me
I just hope I’m not the only one
Yeah I just hope I’m not the only one

I hope we start seeing forever
Instead of what we can gain in a day
I hope we start seeing each other
Cause don’t we all bleed the same?
I really hope someone can hear me
That a child doesn’t bear the weight of a gun
Hope I find the voice within me to scream at the top of my lungs
I just hope I’m not the only one
Yeah I just hope I’m not the only one

Louder, I cannot hear you
How can things be better left unsaid?
Call me, call me a dreamer
But it seems that dreams are all that we’ve got left

I hope that we still have a heartbeat
I hope we don’t turn to stone
At night when you turn the lights off
I hope you don’t cry alone
I hope we stop taking for granted
All of the land and all of the sea
I’m taking a chance on loving
I hope that you take it with me

I just hope I’m not the only one
I just hope I’m not the only one
I just hope I’m not the only one

Hope – Emeli Sandé

 

Every Christmas I make a charitable donation. This year I’m supporting Save the Children, in particular their Syria Crisis Appeal. If you wish to make a donation too, you can do so here:

Save the Children – Syria Crisis Appeal

 

Sending you all lots of love and wishing you a very Merry Christmas and a happy, healthy, hopeful and peaceful New Year.

 

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