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Nellie Knows : The Wokingham Paper : 29 November 2018

Do not adjust your sets and worry that I’ve brought the first Thursday of the month forward, it’s still November (just). It is with huge sadness that I share with you the sad news that Alan Bluhm who some of you may well remember from Rococo Jewellery in Wokingham and Marlow died suddenly and unexpectedly at the weekend.

Alan opened Rococo Jewellery in Bush Walk in October 1988 when Benetton was next door. All of a sudden you could get your jewellery and jumpers in Bush Walk. With the arrival of Rococo brought the kindest and funniest shopkeeper in Wokingham. I was something of a rebel without a clue and my loop in my 46 minute lunch break would take in a brief foray into the Flower Corner when it was in its old old shop, a pizza from The American Pizza Parlour, a shuffle of jumpers in Benetton and a browse in Rococo. All of this I did from time to time barefoot, I have no idea, no idea at all but Alan would tease me about being barefoot and clueless, something he reminded me of every time I saw him.

When his daughter Juliette took over the shop I made a friend, a friend for life and so with Juliette’s blessing I am writing this column today.

I know how Juliette, Debbie her twin sister and Natalie their younger sister are feeling and it brought back some of my own memories. I was recently asked about my father’s death when I was 9, I said nobody talked about it and I just muddled on, carrying the emotional baggage of grief and putting on a brave face. Now nearly 40 years later I am so glad that grief is being talked about and people are supportive.

I told her to talk all she wants to, it will help. I guess what I’m trying to say is by saying nothing to a grieving person you’re not helping them.

There is no greater love than a daughter for her father. The bond is so strong and although I only had my father in my life for nearly 10 years we were close. I didn’t realise that when I was told to say bye bye it really was the last goodbye. Nothing prepares you for the loss of a parent.

After years of not being able to talk about what was really saddening me I talked to Cruse who were fabulous and helped me masses. Next year I’ll be 50 and Daddy will have been gone for 40 years. Emotions were stirred when I heard about Alan, but I batted them off better equipped.

Alan’s funeral is expected to be next week and I am sure that there will be plenty who will raise a glass to an incredible and fascinating man, who was as much a part of Wokingham as he was on the golf course.


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