Memoirs – Beauty of Youth

Dear Michelle

I first met you in 1997, I was 24 and you were 20 and our friendship just took flight, I’d never met anyone like you before. It’s true you had a zest for life that people either loved or hated, and you knew it. I believe others just wanted to be like you, you had the ability to trust yourself completely. Lessons I got from you were to think for myself, not of what others think. Have no regrets. I hear others thinking how selfish! Is this so untrue? Do we all not wish we weren’t dancing to someone else’s fancy.

Michelle, you got me to be more frivolous than I ever had the nerve to be and in my twenties this was a liberating feeling. And my god did we treat ourselves and think we deserved it! I was overly sensible and for this period of time with you, I discovered so much about myself, this small, shy person got some confidence. Without you Michelle I would not have known the twenties to be my roaring twenties. You showed me I could have it all if I wanted. We bought expensive lavish items I had previously only stared at. I owned a little of the celebrity thanks to you. I experimented, my hair went from auburn brown to blonde and you said “go blonder”. Make up, now this is where you pulled me away from the Boots range I had been wearing since I was a teenager. You dragged me over to the high-end counters and we spent a fortune. My pale lipstick went to red, my eyes got a sweep of liquid liner and you cut my hair! As for perfume, we discovered the updated ranges and within a few weeks I had my own shelf packed with XS Pour Elle, ditched the old Opium for the Chanel Allure, as for the White Musk, swapped for a light CK One. Each time I catch a whiff of these scents now I am reminded of the great fun we had.

You may think all this is a little materialistic but to me it’s called growing up, developing into a woman and experimenting, what you like, how you feel, having fun, just for fun and doing it while you can. It is all in the name of building those beautiful memories of your twenties and looking back with a chuckle and a cheeky smile. I honestly believe that these flights of experience are mouldings for our existence. To ponder an alternative, you may not appreciate the fit, but a little of it you may steal away for your own virtues.

I am so grateful for the time we had and our fun days, fun nights and the best bits of getting ready in between. We went out most weekends, sometimes we didn’t drink but just wanted to go out, have fun, stay sober and be a little tired the next day, but so what. We worked hard too, worked six day weeks and long shifts. We had an amazing time, and laughed so much and looked out for each other.

I just want to say, Michelle, you showed me that dreaming was necessary, confidence can be made. To aim for the stars is the only way and not to settle for anything less. So, thank you for the great memories, here’s to our twenties.

From Janice x

(For the Daily Post: absolute beauty)

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Women’s War Memoirs

A single cornet player led the start of today’s World War 1 remembrance readings in my local library. Over 60 women turn out to listen to the readings from diaries, poems and memoirs of the Women’s Voices. The script was compiled by Maggie Norton a local Poet Laureate researched from publications of a generation of women who volunteered to serve their country.

The readings were written by women who served at home and abroad. Many of them were nurses, either VADs (Volunteer Aid Detachment), trained nurses or rising military Captains, Flying Ambulance Corp Nurses, Frontline Nurses on first aid posts and Suffragettes in Women’s Emergency Corps.

At the event I had the pleasure of meeting a nurse who had started nursing only months before the start of World War 2. She was born in Northumbria, went to train as a nurse at the Hammersmith Hospital and treated the wounded throughout the London Blitz. She even did combat training  to land at Normandy treating up to two hundred soldiers a day.

These days she is a champion for the nursing profession and a Veteran. She is active in the remembrance services throughout Britain and in France where she is a VIP in towns and at state events. She regularly visits schools and talks about the Blitz and has visited French schools to pass on a generation’s experience of war. As the anniversary of the war starts today, remember our nurses, so brave, “lest we forget”.




Weekly Photo Challenge: Relic


This boat is called the Vita Nova, a former Belgian trawler that is anchored off the Cumbria coastline of Roa Island in the Irish Sea. The rusting old trawler has been in its homely position for many years, as long as I can remember, and recently it has had a fresh coat of paint, in bright yellow.

At times this boat has appeared abandoned and yet a staple piece of the seascape. It has always been at the edge of the causeway and if it were removed, I believe the locals would be disappointed that the structure no longer resides in view of the coastline.

I believe that such relics, constant structures, do breed security with the familiar. The word familiar or famil derives from the Latin meaning, close relationships. As some of our anchored viewpoints remain the same, they remind us of our connections. If relics of our towns, of our past were to disappear it would be like saying goodbye to a dear friend.