Catching up with old friends


Ali and Colin performingIt seems very odd to think that it's over three weeks since we returned from Morocco, although when I re-read my blog, it was as if I was back there :)

Lovely to hear all your news and holiday stories, and thank you for all your good wishes re my consultant's appointment. Unfortunately his evening clinic was cancelled and so I've got to wait until the beginning of May now! Never mind eh, as I used to tell the children when there was disappointing news, I don't think the delay will make a difference to the eventual outcome :)

In between working and sleeping, I've had several visits from my boys Sam and Jack, and also my friend Ros. She's a dab hand in the garden, and very kindly offered to pop over and help me re-pot a number of my garden plants that I'd brought with me from the cottage. Some of them are pretty old as they belonged to Colin's mum Lily, and I've been looking after them since she passsed away several years ago.

We were all set with our compost and trowels, but only had a chance to repot the azalea before it began to snow! We spent the rest of our time together in the kitchen drinking tea and putting the world and weather to rights :) Of course since then we have had a fair bit of mild weather and so I've sorted out my containers and was rather chuffed to be able to show them off to Ros when she and her husband Chris were back with us this weekend.

Joining them were an old school pal of ours Mitchell, and his girlfriend Ali. With our birthdays within one month of each other, we decided to have a joint celebration and after such a fabulously sunny day, we began with Pimms in the garden – bliss! :) It was my turn to cook dinner and so I'd chosen a caramelised onion and rocket salad to start with, followed by lamb steaks in an apricot/banana and leek sauce, and then finishing off with an Italian Trifle – always a firm favourite :)

Ros had made a gorgeous lemon drizzle cake, and Mitch and Ali brought an amazing collection of cheeses, so we were well and truly stuffed at the end of the night! I feel very fortunate to have kept in touch with these lovely people over the last 42 years, and am wondering if you also still know your old school pals? Drop me a line and we can compare the number of years! :)

Girlie weekendOf course I've made plenty of new friends over the years – Ali's Army adding to the numbers – and I spent a really enjoyable couple of days last weekend with my village girlfriends. We've not seen eachother since before Christmas and so had a great deal to catch up on. Here's a picture of us after we'd enjoyed a particularly lovely lunch in a local pub :)

The weekend before had seen Colin and I enjoying another birthday celebration – another Ali too – in another local pub which this time was set up as a kind of open mic night. As most of the partygoers were musicians, they took it in turns to get up and sing and play, and after several hours and several glasses of red I had sufficient dutch courage to take to the stage with Colin and his trusty guitar, to begin my rendition of 'You're Just Too Good to be True' – the old Andy Williams favourite!

It started quietly and as you can see I'm not exactly a natural performer, but just before we hit the chorus everyone in the pub counted me in with the Duh Da Duh Da Duh Da Dadada… (You hum it, I'll play it)! Great fun! :)

Having watched the London Marathon – not just because I find it totally inspiring, but also because I wanted to look our for my Editor Bryony, who ran that staggeringly long distance for the first time ever and raised money for Breast Cancer Care… she is my hero :) I've been trying to keep up with the running myself, and set off this morning to do a quick circuit before sitting down to write to you…

Those of you who maybe walk or run regularly will know that in the morning any form of exercise can bring on a kind of Mount Vesuvius rumbling in the tummy… I think I know you well enough by now to share with you that running by myself, half a mile or so from home with just the occasional passing car for company, I decided to let my wind go free… rather loudly! Within a split second I was overtaken by a cyclist… wobbling rather dramatically, but maintaining his composure rather better than me!!! Thank heavens he didn't look back to see what or whom had emitted such a sound, so my secret – and social standing within the village – is still safe…! :)

I do hope you will be able to join me for Gem Day tomorrow – I have the most fabulous collection of jewellery to share with you, and will look forward – asI always do – to hearing from you.

With my love, Ali xxx


  1. patricia bird April 24, 2013 at 12:54 pm -  Reply

    so lovely to hear all yournews as always , i have followed your blog all through your sad and happy times you are an inspiration . regarding friends i have a good friend called kathy , we started school togeather fifty nine years ago and have always keeped in contact we meet up every few months for food and a good chat a true friend. stay well pat b x

  2. Pauline Johnson April 24, 2013 at 4:24 pm -  Reply

    Hi Ali shame about delay with consultant,but no news is good news,I have known my best friend since we were 8 yrs old went through school together and worked on L&S shoe shop together we now live about 20 mins drive from each other and keep in touch by phone most days she also had breast cancer but is now on the mend thank god as I cannot envisage my life without her .
    Lol Pauline.
    PS we are now both 70 yrs old.

  3. Chris Page April 24, 2013 at 5:20 pm -  Reply

    Dear Ali
    Nothing wrong with a little wind assistance. ;)
    I’ve been known to break out “Mustang Sally” occasionally – also assisted by a liberal dose of “barley water”.
    Been a bit in the wars health-wise recently. I somehow managed to contract Cellulitis in my left leg. I’ve been on antibiotics for the last two and bit weeks, and I’m having my leg dressed every day by the Community Nurse. Mostly, it’s been an ex-squaddie called Darren. My leg looks as though I’ve had severe blistering sunburn, like those daft English people you see on “Benidorm ER”. I’m on the mend, but I think it’ll be another couple of weeks before I’m anywhere near back to normal. And the antibiotics have given me the same problem you’ve had while running!
    You’ve gotta laugh, eh?
    All the best,
    Chris xx

  4. Mrs Janet Jones April 24, 2013 at 5:39 pm -  Reply

    Dear Ali, sorry to hear the clinic was cancelled, as if you’re anything like me you probably got quite stressed before the appointment, but not too long to wait now, hopefully with a solution to make you feel more comfortable. We did go to Amsterdam for 4 days,weather brisk but dry, plenty of museums, cafes, and a canal trip, we thoroughly enjoyed it but I was so tired when I got home as we did so much walking! We didn’t go to the bulb fields as they are a few weeks behind. I am hoping we can go another time as it is something I would really love to see and experience.
    Alfie had his 2 hour exploratory operation last Friday,and he will have to wear glasses within the next couple of weeks in the daytime as his eyesight is quite poor,he had his imms this week, so the poor mite is going through it at the moment. We were up there at the weekend and he got lots of kisses and cuddles from his Gran(that’s me lol ). He has a few more tests this week and next week so we are keeping everything crossed that they will be okay.Do we ever stop worrying about our children and grandchildren?
    You did make me laugh about the wind ! It reminded me of Rosemary Shrager in I’m a celebrity, and a rather loud breaking of wind came from her and the rats in the room seemed shocked and quickly scurried away, so funny!
    I see you are adding a new string to your bow, singer, are there no end to your talents!
    Hopefully next time you blog you will have had your appointment
    Take care Ali speak soon love Janet xx

  5. Mrs Janet Jones April 24, 2013 at 5:52 pm -  Reply

    Dear Jilly and Liz. Jilly I hope your daughter isn’t too tired after the radiotherapy, I know I felt exhausted after my 3 weeks of radiotherapy. As you say she just wants to get her life back to some sort of normality and she will, it’s just a different sort of normality. Yes I thoroughly enjoyed seeing Alfie this weekend I’d move in if I could (lol), I wish they lived a bit nearer.
    Liz I hope you continue to improve on these new drugs and the sickness has stopped, and hopefully you can visit Magda in Spain very soon.
    Take care love Janet xx

  6. susan April 24, 2013 at 6:23 pm -  Reply

    Ali what an absolute hoot! Pardon the pun!! Hope he doesn’t read your blog!! What a lovely few weeks you have had since you came home from hols. You are so blessed to have such fab friends. How is ros? I remember the lovely photos from her wedding. Is she still working? Hope you had a nice time with the boys as well? Have a lovely weekend.
    Susan x

  7. Sue Radford April 24, 2013 at 6:52 pm -  Reply

    Hi Ali,
    Sorry you’ve had to wait until May for your appointment, but it’s nice that it’s been made for you again on your day off, and you can relax afterwards and not have to rush about.
    Isn’t it nice to have had a couple of days of sunshine? I spent time in the garden too, tidying up etc. So nice to get out in the fresh air and tend to the garden after such a looooong winter!
    Glad you’ve been enjoying yourself with your friends – your dinner sounded delicious! I have some lovely friends, but two are extra special long term friends. One being my friend Sue – we’ve been friends for over 50 years, see each other every other week and enjoy a meal or shopping trip. My other friend is a pen-friend I’ve been writing to since I was 8 years old. We were given the opportunity to write to a pen-friend in the USA while at junior school, and we’ve been corresponding ever since – it’s been 51 years now. We have never met, but plan to one day. However, I’m a little reluctant as I think it will take the magic out of our special friendship. My friend Sue started writing the same time to her pen-friend, but only received two letters back from hers. We often have a giggle as she often says it’s since she sent her a photograph of herself – she thinks she frightened her off LOL! I’ve never written to anyone else other than my pen-friend (Michele) and you, and now you’ve become a special friend too Ali.
    Can’t wait until next week as we’re off to Menorca (Santa Galdana). We stayed there a few years ago and loved it. Such lovely scenery and beautiful coves to explore – bliss! Even though we love Costa Adeje very much, we wanted a short flight this time, so Menorca is perfect! I’ll be celebrating my 59th birthday there. I expect you and Colin are very excited about your Nashville holiday!!
    Lovely to see you looking so radiant and well!
    Love from Sue Radford xx

  8. Jilly April 24, 2013 at 11:23 pm -  Reply

    Well Ali I have been in stitches with your windy running story – what a hoot that was and how great to share it with us – thanks. We will all laugh because we will all know just what you mean!!
    I have to say you looked particularly stunning tonight with your lovely tan and that wonderful dress you were wearing. But the picture of you and colin also looks lovely and fun and relaxing.
    What a busy time you have been having but what fun for you to meet your friends again and have a chit chat. So much to catch up on with them all.
    News from our house – daughter and husband are back from all the zapping and it has gone better than we could have thought. Her chest area is a little red but that is to be expected – I felt the first week was very slow going (they didn’t as they were having such fun away) but the rest of the time has just flown by and it is all done and dusted – as it were. Annie is ready to move on from all this and get back to some sort of normality – you will quite understand just how she feels I am sure. Her hair is growing back and she is using the Revitalash on her eyes for her eye lashes so they should be coming back within a few weeks. she didn’t lose them all but…. Hopefully your next appointment will not be cancelled and in May you will know what you are going to be having done and perhaps when. Annie will have this to sort out but not until later in the year. For now we just need a breather I think and some time to chill out a little – Love Jilly xx

  9. mary April 25, 2013 at 6:22 am -  Reply

    Ha ha Ali, your wind story was hilarious. Let’s face it though it’s a natural bodily function and I am sure everyone has their own discrete story….I wonder what thw queen dies? My sisters dog Phoebe has more than a little gas trouble and quietly releases her tension then sits with her ears back waiting for those of us sitting near her time react..normally we have to move away which is fine but when the dog comes to cricket and we are all wedged in the car there is nowhere to hide.(She has a sun shade tent that looks like a puppy dog with flappy ears as she likes to sit in the sun but has to wear sun block!) True to form, outdoor cricket started and where the Kent girls play is more than a little exposed although it’s a lovely typical village cricket club with a quaint but well equipped clubhouse which is surrounded by fields and boy does the wind blow..its near Hastings. Chloe had a match Sunday and the sun was out. So optimistically I put on my birkis for the first time this year, jeans and a navy T-shirt to match my blue brace on my left hand. I had a contingency plan and took emu boots, fleece and leopard print slanket. Let’s just say I lasted half hour in summer attire!
    How wonderful for you to have kept in touch with friends for so long..good friends are a blessing and my three best friends have been so for almost 30 years since I started work..they worked at the bank where I started and were so kind to me on my first day and continued to be so. Ironically after redundancy from the bank two of us ended up working in the same school.
    How brave of you to have a sing song in the pub I am sure you did that fab tune justice…I would have probably needed more than a few glasses of dutch courage and would have emptied the building!
    I too have been pottering in the garden but thankfully mine is full of evergreen shrubs mainly so not too high maintenance. Grass needs cutting but husband has put his foot down due to hand I jury but its getting long and I am getting a bit twitchy. I will plant my tubs and easy fill hanging baskets up during half term. I was hoping the weekend would be nice as its my mum in laws 80th birthday on Monday and we are throwing her an English tea party on Sunday for friend and family…lots of lovely sandwiches, cold chicken, sausage rolls..can’t have a party without them and a homemade cake and biscuit selection ( scones, lemon and raspberry cupcakes, shortbread and rocky roads) plus birthday cake..a Mary Morphy special chocolate cake with chocolate, chocolate and more choclate. So lots of baking to do and a house to decorate for Sunday. Hope the weather forecast for Sunday is wrong and instead of cold chilly winds and cloud we are basking in sunshine playing badmington in the garden drinking Pimms! Have a lovely week. Lots a love Mary. Xx

  10. Sue Jennings April 26, 2013 at 8:55 pm -  Reply

    Hi Ali…..What an hilarious blog I can’t stop chuckling to myself…..I wonder if it buckled his front wheel hahaha….so nice to hear your story about staying friends for many years…..I still keep in touch with 2 of my old high school friends Elaine and Gill we were thrust together age 11 so that’s 46 years this year… We were always getting into scrapes and laugh lots when e reminisce …. My daughter has settled into her new house it’s all coming along nicely, our house seems quieter but relaxing in some way as it used to be like Piccadilly Station in here …I wish you well for your appointment in May and look forward to speaking again soon …Take care Ali… sending much love
    Sue Jennings xx

  11. Joanna Downey April 26, 2013 at 8:58 pm -  Reply

    Oh Miss K you did make me laugh… I read your blog late last night after a busy day at school surrounded by “difficult” teenagers and it was just what I needed – thank you. However, I was too tired to reply and decided to wait until today, my wonderful free Friday, to get back to you which was a bit daft because I then realised that I had another trip to the dentist. That was at 10.15 and ten hours later I now feel able to put words together. I think you look every inch the performer in your photo with Colin, I can’t hear any song by Andy Williams without being transported back to the Summer Sundays of my childhood when my father would be doing those “traditional” things – washing the car and cutting the lawns and Mummy would be cooking lunch with “Family Favourites” on the radio. I’m not surprised that you have remained friends with so many people because that sums up your quality as an individual and how important you must be to all of them, my mother was exactly the same and had wonderful relationships with so many from all stages of her life back to Infants school. I am a tad naughty and do have a tendency to let friendships drift away, Bex calls this “doing a Diana” because the late Princess was reputed to cut people out of her life and it is something I should try to correct. We are off to see “Phantom” tomorrow and I can’t wait, a few at work have said that it’s not as good as the production at Her Majestys but I love it anyway. Two weeks ago Colin and I went to see Ludovico Einaudi at Symphony Hall, he is the composer of the music used by the BBC when promoting arts and music programmes, he was truly AMAZING. I’m sorry that you have had to wait to see your consultant but pleased that it will be in early May which starts next week! I think it is one of the loveliest months, when the weather is as it should be, I always said that I only wanted babies born between May and September and somehow I managed to do that with Bex’s birthday on 24th when I shall be at THE flower show. You looked lovely on Gem Day and everything you wore suited you. Here’s hoping the weather starts warming up with love from Jo x

  12. Jilly April 27, 2013 at 1:48 pm -  Reply

    Hello Janet
    How kind to write here – thank you so much- to answer your question – no we never stop worrying about children or grandchildren – when they have a good day so do you and when they are poorly – does not matter if they just have a cold or something more then we have that worry until we hear that they are improving. Ali’s mum will have felt the same when she was going through all the chemo etc and when she knew Ali was on a good day she would feel brilliant. Oh the worry for little Alfie but so much can be done these days and hopefully all the results of the tests etc will be much better news that you all could ever hope for. I also can see where you are coming from with moving in with the family if you could. I felt so much better when my daughter and family were staying here after her sessions of chemo than when they went home when she was feeling more up to it.It is just being able to see them for yourself and know that they look much better than you could have thought possible – or that they don’t look so good and you would know a cuddle would help. We just have to be there and that is what is important. I am called GG to my little grandson (as in Glamorous Gran and not a horse!)as my mum is grandma – and I know as Alfie will do and my little Harry that when his gran or GG is there giving all the love that we have they will feel so safe. Love Jilly xx

  13. Susan April 27, 2013 at 5:50 pm -  Reply

    Hi Ali,
    Don’t know if you see Jilly from Ninja out of work but saw you with her on Sat and I just thought she looked great! So ‘soft’ if you know what I mean? Blonde and flicked out hair looks fab on her! You can pass on!!
    Love Susan x

  14. alison keenan April 27, 2013 at 8:35 pm -  Reply

    Wow Pauline that’s a long time to keep in touch and to remain as best friends! It must have been a very worrying time for you when she was poorly, but I am so glad to hear that she is on the mend… I don’t know what I’d do without my friends either :) Love to you both, Ali x

  15. alison keenan April 27, 2013 at 8:42 pm -  Reply

    Dear Chris, I am sorry to hear that you’ve been unwell… the cellulitis sounds nasty but I’m admiring your spirit, if not your wind!! :) I do hope that the antibiotics will work and it takes less time than you anticipate – just try and take it easy in the meantime. Keep in touch, love Ali xx

  16. alison keenan April 27, 2013 at 8:46 pm -  Reply

    Hello there Janet, and thank you for keeping me in touch with not just your trip to Amsterdam but also little Alfie’s surgery. Bless him having to wear glasses at his age! I am sure he loved having his Gran there for plenty of cuddles, especially as he’s had to have his jabs too! I am keeping everything crossed that all his tests come back normal and you, his mum and dad and the entire family can relax a little and enjoy these very special days….On a different note I too remember the Rosemary Shrager episode – wouldn’t have wanted to be a rat!! I am off to Switzerland on Monday for the jewellery fair in Basal, but have appt on Wednesday so will write afterwards. Take care, and thanks as always for keeping in touch, love Ali xxx

  17. alison keenan April 27, 2013 at 8:48 pm -  Reply

    Oh crikey Susan I hadn’t thought of that! I’ll have to keep my ears open in the local pub just incase :) You’re right I am indeed blessed to have such lovely friends, and Ros is doing really well. She has swapped her regular pattern of work at the hospice to working when they need her (Bank System) and this is less stressful for her. It was good to see the boys thank you, and Sam is coming to stay again next week which will be nice. I do hope all good with you and yours, love Ali xx

  18. alison keenan April 27, 2013 at 8:53 pm -  Reply

    Hello there Sue, and Happy Birthday to you for later on this week! How wonderful to be celebrating it in the sunshine – I hope you have a truly relaxing time. Thanks for writing about your friend – also called Sue – but I have to be honest and say I am completely intruiged by your pen pal, whom you’ve never met but have been writing to for 51 years!!! I agree though, it would completely change things if you met up after all this time, and possibly take away a little of the magic :) Have you ever exchanged photographs? I am delighted to be the only other person you’ve ever corresponded with, as that definitely makes us special friends too :) I hope you have a wonderful holiday/birthday and will look forward to hearing all about it on your return. Take care, love Ali xx

  19. alison keenan April 27, 2013 at 8:59 pm -  Reply

    Well Jilly, what wonderful news to read, that Annie and her dad are back safe and sound, and the final chapter of her treatment is over. I am glad that she is only a little red… keep up with the aqueous cream – mine continued to redden over the following week. Great that she is using Revitalash! I am sure that she, like myself and thousands of others, will get great and quick results. I completely agree that she needs at least six months to get over her treatment before considering reconstruction… It’s a strange time emotionally as well as physically.. I felt a little as though I was flying without a safety net initially, but that passes. Yes, my appointment is on Wednesday and I hope things will be a little clearer then. I hope you enjoy having your husband and daughter home, and can finally breathe a sigh of relief that you have ALL got through this. Sending you my love for continued peace and relief. Ali xx

  20. alison keenan April 27, 2013 at 9:04 pm -  Reply

    Mary I think the only thing worse than dog wind is cat wind!!! But the thought of being trapped in a car with a windy dog is nightmarish – it’s bad enough with another human :) Still, wind will always make me laugh…childish I know… but great fun, and free!! Your tea party sounds wonderful, and although I will be at QVC for Beauty Day, I shall send you my best for a wonderful family get together. I hope your husband will have mowed the lawn for you by then.. I know I get twitchy about things like that too! I am sure your chocolate cake will be a triumph and the day a great success. Sending you my love, and thanks for keeping in touch as always, Ali xx

  21. martin forbes April 28, 2013 at 1:37 pm -  Reply

    hi Alison hope you are well I am well.

  22. Elaine sallis April 28, 2013 at 6:06 pm -  Reply

    Hi Ali
    You do make me laugh. Poppy calls them trumps. At the doctors the other day she announced very loudly she had trumped and then proceeded to tell everyone how much it smelt! We have had a lovely afternoon as Jodie invited close family to a welcome to the world party for Molly, Have a good week.

  23. Alison Keenan April 29, 2013 at 10:28 am -  Reply

    Elaine I’m laughing out loud now too! Aren’t children wonderful?! No hang ups they just tell it how it is :) I love the idea of a welcome to the world party – more fun than a welcome to MY world at the moment! Stuck on a plane while they mend the hydraulic system! Heading out to Basal which is a real treat for the jewellery show but rather warm in here and on my third hot flush :/ hope to be taking off soon and will take plenty of pics while I’m out there. Love to you and yours, me xx

  24. Mrs Janet Jones April 29, 2013 at 10:35 am -  Reply

    Dear Ali, enjoy your trip to Switzerland for the jewellery fair and hope all goes well for your appointment on Wednesday, speak soon love Janet xx

  25. Sue Radford April 29, 2013 at 6:11 pm -  Reply

    Hi Ali,
    In answer to your question re: my penfriend. Yes, we have exchanged photographs right throughout our lives. We have never met, but came close to doing so on two occasions. She had planned a trip to London with an aunt of hers many years ago when disaster struck. A bomb threat on a flight she was booked on stopped her from flying and she’s never flown since – quite understandable! When my children were young we went holiday to Florida. We planned to meet up when she became ill and couldn’t make it. We’ve spoken on the telephone a couple of times. I consider it a very special friendship as we’ve shared happy, sad and tragic times throughout our lives. We are very similar and like the same things. It’s great to have special friends, as life would be very dull without them wouldn’t it Ali?
    Take care Ali,
    Love from Sue Radford xx

  26. Jilly April 29, 2013 at 11:19 pm -  Reply

    Hi Ali – thank you for your kind words – hubby and I were just saying this evening that last Monday we were all up at 5am in order for them to get the plane to Liverpool. How quickly a week goes over. Interesting that you continued to go red for the following week – I had suggested to Annie that she continues with the cream but will let her know that you have also. You see it is so great having you at the other end to give these tips along the way. I recall reading someone had put you should write a book and I would certainly agree – your words and blogs from way back and now have been the most comforting thing for me and then for Annie as I have passed all the info on to her and I feel sure we are not the only ones you have helped. With regards to the Revitalash – I LOVE IT!!! – I ordered the double on Saturday evening – I know it lasts but I do not want to run out and both of us use it. I was speaking to a client (I work in a law firm and was talking about the house she was selling) at work and all of a sudden the lady asked if my eyelashes were real!!! I had to laugh as I thought she was looking at me to hear what I was saying about the house sale but she was checking my eyelashes out -she made a note of where to get the Revitalash from and was more delighted with that information that anything to do with her sale. I shall send an update from our household shortly but looking forward to your next one. Isn’t it funny that although we see you but have never met you it is as if we have known you for ages and it is so good reading about what you and everyone else has been doing. Love Jilly xx

  27. alison keenan May 2, 2013 at 11:16 am -  Reply

    My dear Patricia, for some reason I seem to have missed replying to you, but thanks so much for your comment, and I am very happy that you enjoy reading my blogs – it’s a lovely way to keep in touch. I’m glad too that your dear friend Kathy is someone you’re still in touch with and have been throughout the last 59 years! I am certain you will have a wealth of shared and happy memories. My love to you both, Ali xx

  28. alison keenan May 2, 2013 at 11:19 am -  Reply

    Hi Susan,I agree with you completely, and did tell Jilly how lovely I thought her hair looked :) I will of course pass on your compliment when I next see her. Hope all good with you and you are enjoying this glorious weather! Love Ali xx

  29. alison keenan May 2, 2013 at 11:20 am -  Reply

    ooops Pauline, clearly I’m not as demented as I thought! Just found my original reply to you :) xx

  30. alison keenan May 2, 2013 at 11:21 am -  Reply

    Hi there Martin, I am glad to hear that you are well, as I am feeling pretty good too – I think the sunshine always helps :) xx

  31. alison keenan May 2, 2013 at 11:24 am -  Reply

    Hello there Janet, good to hear from you again, and yes thank you Switzerland was really interesting, and I was in my element surrounded by row upon row of some of the most fabulous gemstones and jewellery! Appointment the first of what seems will be many… complicated situation which needs careful planning to get any form of improvement. Trying to avoid too much major surgery, and basically making the best of a bad lot! Have a fair bit of thinking to do, but I’m sure it’ll ‘turn out right’ in the end :) Hope all is good with Alfie? Love Ali xx

  32. alison keenan May 2, 2013 at 11:27 am -  Reply

    Sue thanks so much for writing about your penfriend. What an incredible set of circumstances that have stopped you from ever meeting… I don’t think it was meant to be, and clearly the fact you have never actually been in each other’s company, your phone calls, letters, photographs and no doubt e mails, have bonded both of you for life. I think it’s lovely, and knowing you as I think I do, she is lucky to have you as a friend, as I am :) Take care and enjoy this beautiful May week. Love from Ali xx

  33. alison keenan May 2, 2013 at 11:34 am -  Reply

    Dear Jilly, great as always to catch up, and I do hope that Annie was able to carrying on with the aqueous cream but that the rash didn’t get any worse. I meant to say that Liz Earle’s after sun gel which has Aloe Vera in it, was very comforting too… just incase she runs out of the cream! :) Revitalash is great isn’t it! I had so many people ask me the same question, and I asked it of Pipa and Julia at work too!! :) You must be kept very busy with your job, and I’m sure it’s stressful. Hopefully your underlying fear and worry for Annie has now lessened and life feels more ‘normal’ with her and your husband home again. I thank you again for your kind words re these blogs, and am hoping very much that this year will give me the chance to start writing about the last two years. You’re right about keeping in touch this way – as Sue wrote about her pen pal. We may none of us ever meet, but my life certainly is better for having you all in it :) Have a wonderful week, love Ali xx

  34. Jilly May 2, 2013 at 12:49 pm -  Reply

    Hi Ali – here is hoping that your appointment went well yesterday and all is now sorted for you to move forward. Love Jilly x

  35. Rhona Fenton May 3, 2013 at 10:37 am -  Reply

    Hi Alison what a lovely blog as always, sounds like you have had a fantastic time off it with colin and all your dear friends:) we have been to a few off these open mic nights if our Alison’s keith is playing and is always a good night:) but no way would I get up and sing it would be a case off who cleared the room if I did :( you talk about old school pal’s, will give you a laugh, I keep in with my great girl friend Gillian from school, we have known each other since we were 13, still see each other lot’s but the laugh is and this is what our girls find funny, we hated each other at school, the things we said to each other, until the time where we both had to take part in a school fashion week day and night, we started to talk to find out we really ended up liking each other the rest is history, we do think back at those times and laugh, and she ended up being at our Alison’s wedding two years ago, if you had said to us all those years ago when we were 13 what good friends we would be it would have been a case off yeah right!! but I love her dearly and she really is a true dear friend:)so theres a wee story for you! glad you have been able to spend time in the garden like our self but it is still cold, hope it will get warmer soon, we are off to a wedding this month in Ireland so hope it will be nice for that! enjoy your holiday weekend, luv to colin and the family, love as always Rhona xx

  36. Jilly May 3, 2013 at 10:05 pm -  Reply

    Dear Ali
    I noticed your arm was bandaged yesterday with an arm bandage that looked as if it went with that lovely dress you were wearing. I feel it is more some new treatment for the arm so hopefully within a short time you will see an improvement. Just read your blog and gutted for you that the appointment is the first of many!!!! You are right in wanting to try and avoid too much surgery but I am sure after a lot of thinking and talking it over with your family you will come to the right decision for you and then you will go for it. It is a blow after so much but we are all thinking of you and sending rather large hugs and an awful lot of love. Funny you should mention Liz Earle after sun as Annie took that away with her and alternated it with the cream.(Although kept that bit quiet!!) The zapping area now looks as if it is rather brown and you would think that great except the rest of her skin is not the same colour!!! But she just keeps slapping the creams on each time she goes upstairs. Yes, it is so good to have my lot home again as just checking on what Annie looks like is a new hobby of mine!! Your mum, you with your son and I am sure Janet with Alfie will understand where I am coming from with that. We went for a lovely walk the other evening – just over a mile but it was so nice to do something so simple when a few months ago we would not have considered going out for a little walk. We have a long weekend now and I am not sure if you are working or not but hope that it is a good one for you and everyone. Catch up soon – Love Jilly xx

  37. susan May 3, 2013 at 11:23 pm -  Reply

    Hi Ali, great minds..jilly did look great. Hope you are enjoying the sun…alas we have not seen it! It’s so frustrating!! Have a great weekend and chat soon x

  38. Mary May 6, 2013 at 4:16 pm -  Reply

    Hi Alison
    Hope you are well. Do you mind me asking whereyou get the lovely top you had on during the Gardening Show with Richard today?

  39. alison keenan May 9, 2013 at 3:59 pm -  Reply

    Hello there Mary, sorry not to have been in touch. Have written new blog but trying to get last of photos through! :) The top I was wearing is actually French Connection. Thought it was appropriate with the floral print! A x

  40. alison keenan May 9, 2013 at 4:01 pm -  Reply

    Oh Susan that’s miserable for you! I always try to be wary when I witter on about the weather, as I know how frustrating it can be when most of the British Isles is bathed in sunlight and you’re covered by cloud! I was actually indoors at QVC on Thursday Friday Monday and Tuesday, so missed most of the sunshine myself, that said, I have been applying my Decleor Self Tanning milk and that’s done the job :) Have a great weekend, love Ali x

  41. alison keenan May 9, 2013 at 4:06 pm -  Reply

    Hi there Jilly – sorry I missed this! Wonderful to hear that life is so much more relaxed now and that you can allow yourself the pleasure of looking forwards that bit further… great for Annie too :) I remember how gratifying it was when I could increase my walking and not feel so exhausted! Not new treatment for my arm, just more of the same. I am trying to keep the sleeve on for longer in the hope that it will help ease the swelling.. gardening today was not such a good idea though! :) I had my photos taken at The Marsden on Tuesday so am hoping that possibly next week we’ll be closer to a meeting with the other surgeons… then it will be decision making time… Thank you for your supportive comments :)

  42. alison keenan May 9, 2013 at 4:09 pm -  Reply

    Dear Rhona, it was lovely to read about your friend Gillian – all those years and such a contrast to when you first knew each other! I remember how good it was to have Ros and Jo with me for Lucy’s wedding… they are like family to me in truth. Hope you have a few more open mic nights lined up with Keith and Alison – I think they’re a great way to relax! Colin has his first ‘real’ gig this Sunday in Camden so is rehearsing madly! We’re hoping to get quite a few through the door, and he’ll be on BBC Radio London tomorrow promoting it! Exciting times :) Hopefully new blog up tomorrow, but had problem with photos. Love to you and yours, Ali xx

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