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Nellie Knows : 5 October 2016

This was previously published in The Wokingham Paper

Last week was one of those weeks that didn’t start well but ended well and truly on a high. Something tickled me and I wanted to share it with my best friend. My best friend who died last November from cancer, the evil disease that started in her breasts, spread to her hip and lung and metastasised to her brain. As I was driving over to Pedlars Place in Warfield to take some stuff retrieved from my loft clear out a song came on the radio and before I could blink the tears started rolling down my cheeks. Big fat tears of sorrow, loss, sadness, anger, pity. It wasn't even a song I would associate with her, but today for some reason the words "somewhere only we know" struck a chord. Once upon a time we lived in each other's pockets, talked long into the night, had snatched chats, rambled on about nonsense in between the days of our lives and her dying.

She's gone. She's no longer here. Not in my kitchen, her kitchen, on the phone or email any longer. Oh the memories are here and the reminders of the funny things we said and did, but not her. It's been 10 months and with each turn of the calendar page the distance between those happy times gets further away. The cavernous enormity of loss is painful and slowly I am, as her family are, rebuilding my life without her voice screeching "you're dreadful Muriel”. A life that is so much sadder without her in it but so much richer for her having been in it. It's at times like this with tears pouring down my face that I treasure our happy times and thank my lucky stars that she was a huge part of my life for so long. Things will get easier, they will, and I'll be able to remember her in a silent and thoughtful way, but that day wasn't that day.

But the week did get so much better with the news that the HeadSmart brain tumour symptom cards are at last finding their way into ALL the schools in borough.

Following a meeting with Public Health, Wokingham Borough Council, HeadSmart, The Brain Tumour Charity and lead champion Sacha Langton-Gilks it was agreed that these cards would be distributed, which is happening now. The boxes of cards were counted out for all the children on the school roll, envelopes and bundled into boxes and taken to The Brambles where Elaine Munro did her magic and now they're in book bags all over the borough. It felt like all my Christmasses came at once! If you would like to display or distribute the symptom cards then drop me an email to and I'll do the rest.

Already I've been asked what I want for Christmas and I have to confess I have given it some thought! Having done a massive decluttering I don't want "stuff", what I do want is useful things so I have ordered a tweed dog bed that my mother in law will give me. I found it at The Spinning Jenny over at Ferneygrove Farm in Hawthorne Hill where there's also a great butchers, cafe and florist. Gail is a traditional upholsterer specialising in rebuilding antique furniture. She also offers a range of antique quilts, French bed linen and fabrics.

If you've been thinking of stocking up on gifts then head to BROWN BEAR BAKERY at HOLME GRANGE CRAFT VILLAGE (RG40 3AW) on Thursday 13 October between 11am and 7pm for a PRE SEASON SALE to get some inspiration from HUNTER GATHERER's very popular personalised horn and wooden spoons, jelly moulds and scented cinnamon cones, OUCH PAPER CUTS with a selection of paper cuts and quirky gifts, WHICH GLASSES ARE WHICH that are ideal for those trying times when you can't work out which glasses are which, treat your body and soul to balms and candles from NIKI'S BALMS, be wowed by BLACK MOUNTAIN ROAST coffee who have teamed up with CHASE VODKA AND NONMOM CHOCOLATE to create the world's first Espresso Martini Chocolate, plus The Brain Tumour Charity Christmas Cards will be available to buy and there will be a raffle.

You might also find some new stalls for your school events.

May see you there.


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