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Almost ready for Christmas…

Christmas treeHi Peeps,

Ho ho ho, it’s nearly time for Santa to be loading up that sleigh. Are you ready? Don’t worry if you’re not because we still have plenty of great Christmas shopping shows to come on the Nation’s Number One! Thank heavens for home shopping and the Internet, I say!

The tree is now up at Greenwood Towers. We have now gone faux, despite all the palaver we had last year. Team Coia, headed by Captain Paul, always erects the evergreen on the first weekend of December in order to get maximum enjoyment for the maximum length of time from the baubles, lights and general Christmassyness…

None of that malarkey you see in American films where they drag the tree through the snow late on Christmas Eve to enjoy for one day only! That’s not what I call value for money at all! We are waiting till The Undergraduate comes home before we put the Angel on the top.

Well, what a fortnight it has been! You may know that I am a policeman’s daughter and thus I was quite beside myself last week when I was stopped by two men claiming to be Officers of the Law on my way home from work at 3 o’clock in the morning! I know! They seemed unable to believe that I was coming home from work! (Policemen unfamiliar with the concept of shifts? Seriously?) What terrible crime had I committed to arouse their suspicions? Oh the shame of it!!! I don’t know how to tell you…I was driving at 30mph on the A3 in the inside lane!When they asked me to blow into the bag I resisted the temptation to enquire, “Why? Are your chips too hot?” and obeyed meekly after I realised it was a breathalyser! Do they have no criminals to chase? I know you’re going to say they were probably traffic cops, but, to be honest, I’d rather they were more suspicious of speeding, texting, reckless drivers rather than persecuting Miss Marple types like myself! I was tired, it was dark and I was driving carefully. Guilty of NOT breaking the speed limit!

I know I always try to keep my blogs as cheery as possible, but this week I also have some very sad news to share with you. My lovely friend, Ian Brindle, passed away. He had been seriously ill since the summer. I have the best memories of him. We met on the first day of our Languages Degree at Liverpool Poly when we were only 18.

He was wild-haired, good-natured bloke, rarely seen without his orange kagool. He was a proper Yorkshire lad too, with the BEST sense of humour in the days before political correctness had been invented. His favourite term of endearment was “Yer daft bugger”.

He was always known as Little Ian, not because he was all that short but because his best friend, Big Ian Cairns, was 6 ft 5″. They always lived in really dire student accommodation with unscrupulous landlords who didn’t see the need for glass in windows, even during the winter. My nana thought they were a gay couple on the grounds that they invited my friend Shelagh and me around for dinner.

To my grandparents’ generation, men cooking was tantamount to coming out of the closet. However, we were so impressed by the Ians’ meatloaf and sherry log  that we remained firm friends and Shelagh went on to marry Little Ian after he proposed to her at the Brandenburg Gate when the Berlin Wall came down.

Nev, Colette, Big Ian, Shelagh, Debbie and Little IanThis photo (left) was taken at Shelagh’s 50th in their house, which was a very happy occasion. You can see (left to right) Nev, Colette, Big Ian, Shelagh, me and Little Ian on the end.

Ian was very funny and very kind and I never met anyone who didn’t love him. He was always daft and although he had to get more serious, as we all do when we have families to look after, to me he was always essentially that amiable lad from Harrogate who would do anything for you as long as you let him copy your homework. We had so many adventures in Toulouse and in Hannover and East Berlin.

He was only 53 when he died last week, leaving behind my friend Shelagh and two fantastic teenagers, Ben and Natasha. I was due to see him when I was in Yorkshire in September but it was cancelled at the last minute and it is a huge regret that I didn’t see him just before he died. Life can be so unfair and so cruel. The world was a nicer place for him having spent time here with us. He lives on in his gorgeous teenage children and in the memories we all share of him.

Ben played this song for his dad at the funeral last week and it was beautiful. I’ve got a lump in my throat again.

I know what Little Ian would say to me; “You’re a daft bugger, Greenwood”


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