Tag Archives: friendship

How many times……..



How many times have you gone to bed thinking “I should have messaged XXXX. I’ll do it tomorrow”? Or driven home from work thinking, “I’ll phone XXXX once I’ve had dinner, done the laundry and got the kids to bed.”?

How many times have you thought, “I haven’t heard from XXXX for a while. They must be busy.”

How many times have you scrolled through Facebook and thought “XXXX hasn’t posted in a while. They must be taking a social media break.”?

Sounding familiar?

I’ll hold my hands up here. I can be as guilty of this as the next person.

I am not standing in judgement here by any means. Maintaining friendships takes work on both sides of the relationship.

In this frantic 21st Century world we live in, there are countless ways to keep in touch with friends and family. Stop and think for a moment how many different ways you can contact someone if you choose to.

Maybe in days gone by we were actually better at being friends to one another. In the past, pre-mobile phones, pre-internet and pre-social media, we picked up the phone (dragged it into another room till the curly wire was straight) and spoke to our friends. We met up more often to socialise in person. We wrote letters and sent them in an envelope with a stamp on it via the mail.

How many friendships survive these days on social media posts and text messages alone?

Yeah, I’m as guilty of that as the next person too.

Social media posts and text messages can mask so many things though. It’s so easy to create a false impression in our digitised world.

How many times have you posted something cheerful to your social media when you’ve really been miserable inside?

How many times have you replied to a message saying all is well and added a smiling emoji to reinforce the lie?

Yeah, I’m guilty of that one too.

If we met those friends face to face or spoke to them and actually heard their voices, would we pick up on the subtle signs that something might be amiss? If we spotted the signs, would we reach out to help them through whatever was troubling them?

I’ll leave that thought with you….. there’s no need to answer it.

About six weeks ago, I sat down to undertake the annual task of writing my Christmas cards to friends and family. Over the years, my friends have become scattered all over the globe. As I wrote one particular card, the thought crossed my mind that I hadn’t heard from that friend in a while. Neatly written (who am I kidding? My handwriting is a scrawling mess!) I sealed the card and added it to the pile to be posted.

Now, six weeks down the line, I don’t know if that card ever reached the address on the front of the envelope. I don’t know if it was ever opened by the addressee. I don’t know if it arrived too late.

My heart tells me it was never opened. 

As the quote says “Good friends are like stars. You don’t always see them but you know they’re there.”

My post-script to that quote would be “Let the stars of your friendship shine bright and be filled with the love of light and the twinkling sound of laughter.”


The Last Emoji (flash fiction)


There had to be thousands of messages in the chain he was scrolling through….. and he missed receiving them.  Those silly emojis that she’d used. The crazy conversations of emojis alone that they’d both understood perfectly. Messages that would ping into his phone at all hours of the day and night. Random and bizarre. Short and sweet. Occasionally an annoyance. … an annoyance he now sorely missed.

For two long weeks the thread had been virtually silent. All the recent messages had been one way. All of them had been his.

With a sad smile, he looked at the last one he’d received from her

                Beach time 🙂 🙂 🙂

                Have fun 😎 Be careful 😀


She’d never reached the beach that day.

It was a news report shared on his timeline by a mutual friend that had delivered the news of the accident. The brief report had made his blood run cold.

Those first few days had been touch and go. From a distance, he’d waited for news, thankful that his sister-in-law was a nurse in the ICU. He’d made every excuse he could to visit her at work that week. Offering her lifts, coming into the hospital to let her know that he was there, hoping to seize the opportunity to visit Room 5.

The opportunity finally came three days after the accident. He’d arrived early to collect his sister-in-law from her last in a run of night shifts and, needing to confide in someone, he’d told her the gist of his friendship with the patient in Room 5. Luck had been on his side. There was no one sitting with her.

For less than ten minutes he was allowed to visit in secret. They had been the shortest ten minutes of his life. She had looked so peaceful, despite the tubes and IVs and the incessant bleeping of the machines keeping her alive. Nervously, he’d held her hand and talked to her. He’d kissed her on the forehead before he’d slipped unseen from the private room.

Now, ten days later, he couldn’t remember a word he’d said but he could’ve sworn that she had squeezed his hand ever so gently. Wishful thinking? A reflex reaction? He’d never know for sure but it made it easier to bear if he kept believing that she’d known he was there.

It was after that that he’d started to message her again. Short messages. His usual random messages as if nothing had changed.

                Morning 🙂

                What a shitty day! >:D

                Car broke down again. Hate buses 😥

                Night. Sleep well  😉

                Long day. Work’s fried my head 😕


And so they went on……

The day he heard that he’d lost her forever, he’d sent another message

                😥  xx

Even though he knew she was gone, he’d kept messaging her. He could see on his phone that they were all unread but sending them, holding onto the connection,  eased the searing pain of his unspoken grief.

After the funeral service, he’d messaged her again.

                You’d have hated that! SO not you! Not one song that you’d have picked ha ha  :’)


Now a week after he’d said his final goodbye alongside her family and friends, he sat on the wall looking out over the river in his lunch hour, scrolling back through their message conversation. Re-reading some of the old messages made him smile, triggering memories of happier times.  In the mix of short text and emojis, her personality was still alive.

In his heart and his head, he knew he couldn’t keep messaging a ghost. He had to stop ….  but he didn’t want to. Then he began to worry that her family might be able to read the message chain. A wave of panic washed over him. Silently, he prayed that she’d been as careful with their messages as he had.

What happened to folk’s social media after they died? Would her timeline just sit there growing old and out of date? Would it be deleted and be gone forever?

A swift Google search informed him that nothing would happen to it until the family reported her death to the host site. Knowing how thorough her family could be, he guessed that the death would be reported sooner rather than later  and the account “memorialised”. That at least would be something to hold onto in the darker moments of the days and weeks to come.

He had to let go. He had to say goodbye.

With a heavy heart, he typed one final message. 

                    Miss you  😥

He hit send then stuffed the phone back into his pocket. Time to get back to work.

As he walked across the car park, his phone vibrated twice.

Two notifications.

Pulling the phone back out, he glanced at the screen.

One notification. One message.

The notification was the change of status of her account to “memorialised” and her friends list had all been notified.

His heart sank.

The message almost made him drop his phone. It was from her! How? Why? His mind raced. Rationalising things swiftly, he deduced it must have been stuck as a draft and the suspension of her social media account had triggered it to send.

He opened it.

                   ❤ U x

He smiled.





“Yep, I like this one!”


Last night I enjoyed a complete nostalgia trip to the cinema with one of my oldest (as in I’ve known for the longest not her actual age!) and closest friends. We went to see The Peanuts movie. No kids. No excuses. Just us.(ok and half a dozen other folk who were in the theatre with us)

As a kid the Charlie Brown cartoons reminded me of school holidays. It was the only time I remember them being on TV. If they form part of your childhood memories then the movie is well worth seeing for the nostalgia value alone!

I had already started to think about this blog post earlier in the day so the film’s underlying theme was quite appropriate


Like Charlie Brown, I too remember that flurry of excitement when a new kid turned up in the street or in school. Maybe “this one” would be a forever friend…hmmm ghosts for another day and another blog.

I’d already been thinking about friendships of the past few days after seeing the above quote on Facebook. It struck a chord with me.

I’m going to be totally honest here, I don’t make friends very easily. Perhaps that relates back to the past and those seemingly endless years of being bullied in school. Perhaps its because, being an only child, I’m quite content in my own company. Perhaps it relates to being quite shy, quiet and nervous among strangers. Perhaps I’m just a weirdo! The truth is that it’s most likely a mix of all of the above factors and a  few more besides.

The more I thought about my various close friends, friends, acquaintances etc the more I began to over analyse things ( as is my usual want).

We refer to having a circle of friends. I have many circles, almost like a target with me as the bullseye.

I have a very tight circle of close friends. People I’d totally trust with my life. Friends I interact with on a more or less daily basis.

Then there’s a slightly larger circle of good friends that I see on a regular basis.

This is followed by a wider circle of friends that I engage with occasionally.

Finally there’s a fairly large circle of acquaintances.

Through time people jump from one circle to another, both in and out. It’s only natural as we all make our way through life. However that inner sanctum remains intact. There are friends that I’ve known almost all of my life in there plus one or two that I’ve known for only a few years.

What makes the difference?

There’s been endless articles written on why one person is attracted to another; endless theories about common physical appearance, common interests, day to day proximity. You get the picture.

When I look round and see who’s standing beside me in that inner sanctum of friendship, it throws most of these theories out of the window. It’s quite a diverse, small group of very special individuals.

Then there’s online friends as opposed to face to face friends. That adds a whole  new modern dimension to circles of friendship! It opens the question – are these real friends or virtual friends? I’ll leave that thought there…….

At the end of the day though…f0c768d11ce54a46a9d8e63828f36a5e


Friendship – finding time for it


I’m sitting on the train on the way to Glasgow as I write this. No, I’m not off to another concert (that’s Friday night!) I’m off to meet a friend for lunch and maybe a little retail therapy and caffeine.

Spookily enough, Facebook reminded me this morning that it is exactly one year to the very day that we met up for last year’s pre-Christmas catch up. Apt considering that’s how we met.

It got me thinking about friendship. How we make new friends. How we keep in touch with old ones.

This fellow crazy rock chick and I met online through the mutual admiration of a certain rock star. We became “friends” online, “chatted” online and discovered many similar interests (she’s got to take some of the credit for being the inspiration that led to this blog page being born), likes and dislikes and finally, a few months down the line, we arranged to meet up face to face. The rest, as they say, is history.

Around the same time, I also became “friends” online with another crazy rock chick from Europe. Again online friendship blossomed and, very long story cut short, we both now co-admin a fan page on Facebook for said rock star and “chat” every day. A couple of months ago, I had the pleasure of meeting her and her husband  face-to-face when they honeymooned in Scotland. Again, we hit it off immediately.

Social media has made the world a smaller place and has extended my circle of friends around the globe.

I guess it’s one of the many “modern” ways of meeting people and forging new friendships.

I’m fortunate enough to still have three close childhood friends. Three friends I’ve known for forty some years- EEK that sounds scary!!

A couple of them I see regularly face-to-face, as we live near to each other. The third I see less frequently as she lives a couple of hundred miles away. Every time we catch up, whether it’s been 24 hours or 24 weeks, we pick up where we left off. However, social media has its part to play here too.

If we want to arrange to meet up for coffee or to pass on some news, we message each other.  And we’re not alone here. Some 10 billion Facebook messages are sent every day! Gone are the days of spending hours on the phone. Life has moved on. The pace has quickened and social media is at times way too handy. I’ll be honest there are times  when I really miss those long phone calls. Times when I’d like to hear my friends’ voices and not just read their swiftly typed message.

Naturally we gather friends as we travel through life. Friends made through the munchkins and their activities or school. Friends made by meeting the wives and girlfriends of the Big Green Gummi Bear’s friends. Friends made through working in the salt mine. That one for me is a tricky one, as I don’t generally as a rule allow myself to become close friends with the people I work alongside. It can complicate the working relationship and shift the work-life balance. I keep my “work self” and my “real self” quite separate deliberately. That said, over the years, I’ve met a few very special people through work that have become friends I couldn’t live without. And again, we are also friends on social media.

A definite theme is emerging here!

I’m sure some of what I’ve just said is resonating with you.

What would happen to all of these friendships now if social media was banned or simply ceased to exist?

In this modern world, where so many social interactions are online, how would friendships survive?

Would we return to spending hours on the phone to one another? Would we make more of an effort to meet face-to-face for a coffee or lunch? Would we return to writing letters to overseas penfriends?

It’s a thought, isn’t it?

Reflecting on the various friendships that are precious to me, I’m fairly confident that most of them would survive but I’m not about to put that to the test!

Now this train’s almost reached its destination. I’m off to meet my online friends face-to-face!


A Green Triangle To Paradise City – dreams do come true!

I’ve sat down several times over the past few days to pen this blog. The end result has been the same every time. As soon as I start to write, a smile creeps across my lips and all coherent thoughts vanish in a cloud of twinkly stars.

For several months, Thursday 4 Dec has been marked on my calendar- Slash featuring Myles Kennedy and the Conspirators (aka SMK&C) at the Hydro Glasgow. When the tickets were purchased, this show was scheduled to make the dream of finally seeing Slash play live come true. That dream magically became a reality on Nov 7th as I’ve blogged previously. Last Thursday, however, turned into a completely magical “once-in-a lifetime” experience.

Through the wonders of rock music and social media interaction, I’ve become friends with a lady from Indiana, USA. Over the past few months, we’ve chatted online and the friendship has grown. To cut a very long story, that is her’s to tell, short- HINT HINT about that journal, young lady!- the final stop on her European Tour 2014 was also to be the Hydro on Dec 4th. Finally, I was going to get the opportunity to meet my FB friend face-to-face!

There had been whispers of promises of great things for the evening that I hadn’t dared to get my hopes up about. Mid-afternoon, she confirmed she had a treat in store for us.

Chaperoned by my usual teenage minders – Boy Child, Girl Child and FB Son (Boy Child’s friend) – plus one of my Rock Chick friends, this Rock Mum headed out to play.

One minor issue – how do you find someone that you’ve never met in a crowd of circa 10 000? Easily as it turns out!

As we queued to gain entry to the arena’s bowl, I spotted her coming through the main door, looking all round her. Waving and calling out her name, I caught her attention and she came rushing over to greet us. With the hugs and introductions complete, she opened an envelope and passed me five green triangular stickers – one for each of us. Clearly written across the sticker it said   “Slash Aftershow TDK”!

With arrangements made as to where to meet after the show, we all headed into the arena. It was the rock show to end all rock shows! Despite sound quality issues the first support act, Twenty Two Hundred, did a stellar job in front of quite a small crowd for such a big room. As the rock fans piled in, the second band of the evening took to the stage. This was Glenn Hughes’ new band California Breed. He may be over sixty now but boy can that guy sing! Fabulous set! With the crowd roused to the brink of ecstasy, California Breed left the stage.

Shortly before nine, the house lights dimmed and the creepy clown freak show music began to filter out signalling the imminent arrival of SMK&C. For two hours, SMK&C ruled the stage and commanded the Glasgow crowd. The set ran to some twenty one songs and was a fantastic mix of new and old SMK&C material, classic Guns N Roses and a sprinkling of Velvet Revolver. They played almost all of my personal favourites. Throughout the entire set, I drank in every note, watched every movement and, to be honest, was completely and utterly mesmerised.

The band had a treat in store for the Scottish fans. At the start of their encore, they welcomed Glenn Hughes and Andrew Watt out on stage and played a fantastic rendition of the Deep Purple classic “Burn.” An incredible sight to behold!

As the confetti rained down (guess who forgot to close over her handbag- oops!) during the show closer “Paradise City”, I could feel my nervous excitement mounting.

If watching these guys rule the stage wasn’t enough of a dream-come-true moment, part two was about to commence.

As the rest of the audience trooped happily towards the exits, with trembling hands, we applied our magical “green triangles” to our shirts. Along with a couple of dozen other lucky fans, we were ushered through a door beside the stage and along a maze of backstage corridors into a very basic room, littered with tables and chairs and instructed to wait. While we waited, we all began to chat, introducing ourselves and forming friendships. After about an hour, the door opened and The Conspirators came quietly into the room. Well, two of them did. One definitely failed to slip in unnoticed! It was bassist Todd Dammit Kerns’ birthday and his arrival was met with a loud chorus of “Happy Birthday” that he lapped up with a huge grin.

The next forty five minutes were magically surreal. Even now, five days later, I have to pinch myself and look at the photos (any excuse!) to remind myself it actually happened. The content of our conversations will remain private as these few moments are treasured memories. I became a very proud Rock Mum as Boy Child and Girl Child politely chatted with these rock stars, neither of them the least bit fazed. Much to my great surprise, it was Rock Chick friend who was a tad shy and star struck – meeting Todd Kerns left her completely tongue tied!

I surprised myself, if I’m being honest. I joked and chatted to Todd Kerns, then with Frank Sidoris, who was particularly sweet with the kids, then Brent Fitz, who laughed when I confessed to having zero sense of rhythm. In some respects, it felt like the most natural thing in the world to be doing late on a Thursday night/early Friday morning. In others, it was the most unbelievable few minutes.

The icing on the cake was still to come.

The door opened and a fourth rock star crept quietly into the room, all bundled up in hat, scarf and jacket in readiness for the cold December night air that awaited them all.

It was Myles Kennedy.

Yes, I met Myles! Yes, I spoke to Myles and even managed a brief but sensible conversation with him. Yes, I got my photo taken with him and got a hug into the bargain. Yes, it actually happened! Dream come true!

As the guys were ushered out to the waiting tour bus, I watched them depart, already thinking – did I just dream that?

There’s photos to prove that I didn’t!

I can’t find words to describe how grateful I am for the kindness and friendship shown to us by one wonderful lady from Indiana. If ever there was someone who truly lives the “pay-it-forward” ethos, it is this larger than life rock fan. She is an inspiration!

Thanks to her, many of us around the world have memories to treasure for a lifetime.

I’ve teased her relentlessly on FB over her dedication and devotion to SMK&C, particularly Todd Kerns, calling her their “Rock Mama”.

Last Thursday night, she was everyone’s Rock Mama and, I’m pretty sure I speak for all of us who were given the gift of a magical “green triangle”, when I say a HUGE thank you to the one and only, Janette Martin.

Rock Mama, you took us all to Paradise City!

SMK&C blog collage

Staycation 2014 Week Two- Coffee, Coffee, Coffee and more Coffee..with a little added culture

Well, I made it! I survived Staycation 2014 – just…..
Fourteen days at home with, on the whole, stunning weather for the west coast of Scotland, no blood spilled and no tempers lost( that was a pretty close thing a couple of times this week).My sanity may be under question but, hey, that’s nothing new! 😉
Here’s the week two highlights:
Saturday – after my usual food shopping and laundry duties were complete, I spent the afternoon out in the sun writing last week’s blog post and reading my kindle/book. Girl Child disappeared off to the cinema and Boy Child went out with some friends. Peace perfect peace! After dinner my rock chick friend (the one with the birthday last week) text to say she was bored. Everyone in her house was watching the World Cup. Our house is a football free zone  One taxi ride later and she arrived armed with some red wine. We sat outside for a couple of hours chatting and sipping while listening to some loud music (sorry neighbours) until the midgies drove us indoors. Cue more loud music and wine and a fun evening was had by all – even the Big Green Gummi Bear joined us and only turned down the music once!
Sunday – was a remarkably quiet day. I was relieved to waken with a clear head after the vino from the night before. It was another beautiful day so more Vitamin D intake was required. The Big Green Gummi Bear packed his bags and left to head south for work for the week. He headed off around lunchtime. Early afternoon some friends dropped by for coffee with their two adorable children. All in,it was a chilled lazy kind of Sunday.
Monday – Rain – in perfect time for Girl Child starting her week of delivering newspapers (she was covering for a friend who was away on holiday). Having dropped her off in an unfamiliar part of town armed with a pile of newspapers, a list of addresses and Google maps, I headed off to meet some friends and a new baby over some coffee. Girl Child survived day one of her paper run and met me at my friends’ house looking for a lift home. We returned home via the vets to collect a prescription for one of my cats. Cue major low point of the week – I accidentally reversed into a wall in the vets’ car park and “dinged” car. (Suffice to say the Big Green Gummi Bear is still fuming) C’est la vie!
Tuesday – after a morning out in the sun writing, reading, listening to music and drinking coffee the peace was shattered by Girl Child’s screams. She’d lost the piece of paper with the addresses for her paper round! (point in the week where my temper teetered on the brink) After half an hour of teenage hormonal panic, her friend sent her a photo message with a copy of the missing addresses. Hallelujah! As I was taking her into town to the beauticians anyway, I gave her a lift to the start of her route then drove to the end and picked her up. Mummy Brownie points earned! Drama over for the day and, after the beauty appointment, I retreated to my parents’ house for a medicinal cup of coffee. Daughter Brownie points earned.
Wednesday – another beautiful sunny day. Mid-morning I went to visit a friend’s brand new house and shared a coffee with her in what will be her dining room, once the furniture arrives. For now her deck chairs worked just fine and we blethered the morning away quite nicely. In the afternoon I went to the garden centre with another friend and we put the world to rights over another very welcome cup of coffee. The rest of the day was spent out in the sun with my kindle/book and my iPod while I topped up the Vitamin D levels. I was spared paper run dramas as Girl Child’s “Special Friend” came to supervise that activity. The poor boy finally left here around dinner time with his nails painted pink and purple – I didn’t dare to enquire any further for fear of the answer……
Thursday – sun still shining! I’d arranged to meet up with my rock chick friend to visit a George Wyllie exhibition at the local arts centre. She had known the late sculptor and was familiar with his works. While I was aware of him and some of his more famous pieces I’d never really taken note of his other work and loved the quirkiness of the items on display. (For info see – http://georgewyllie.com/biography/) Of course there was more caffeine involved in this trip too 😉
The early afternoon was spent driving ”Mum’s taxi” again as I dropped off my little darlings and subsequently collected them again. I really should get that meter fitted… In between times I topped up the Vitamin D levels.
After dinner the Big Green Gummi Bear arrived home hot tired and grumpy after a long drive north with no air conditioning.
Friday – the last official day of Staycation 2014 and the Big Green Gummi Bear had the day off. While he went for a run in the morning I sat outside with a leisurely breakfast, fending off two of my cats who were both determined to steal my hot toasted cinnamon bagel and butter. Miracle of miracles – we ventured out as a family later in the morning and had an impromptu but very enjoyable family lunch at a local bistro. With the weather forecast predicting that the good weather was due to break, I spent a long leisurely afternoon outside writing. It is ridiculously difficult to write a snowy winter scene in hot glorious summer sun!
As the clouds rolled in after dinner our Staycation came to an uneventful end.

The sun may be gone for now but I feel relaxed – well as close to relaxed as I get – and am almost ready to return to the salt mine….. Happy days!

The Feel Good Factor of Two Little Words- Happy Birthday

Last Friday was my birthday. Not a particularly special number but it was still my birthday. I’ve never been one to make a fuss about birthdays. I never felt the need to have fancy parties for 18th, 21st or 30th celebrations. I did concede when I turned 40 and had family and friends over for tea and cake……oh and some wine! 😉

I suspect this disinterest in celebrating harks back to my childhood. True, I had a few birthday parties as a child but, as my birthday falls around the date that the schools stop for the summer and people in this area traditionally head off on their summer holidays, my birthday had a tendency to get lost in transit. My 14th birthday was spent driving through England to catch an early morning ferry to St Malo, France. The highlight of that occasion was a plate of chips and beans in a trucker’s rest stop on the motorway about 11pm and catching the highlights from Wimbledon of a Jimmy Connor’s match on a tiny TV on the wall above the counter. A couple of years later, we had just arrived in the Algarve the day before, and it was lunchtime before my mum even remembered it was my birthday! I rest my case… or should that be suitcase!

However Facebook has added a new dimension to this annual event. By the time I woke on Friday morning (my usual 5:50am) and checked my newsfeed there were a dozen birthday wishes from all over the globe waiting there for me. A beautiful start to my day. As the day progressed I was welcomed into work with a card and a gift (yes, it was wine before any of you ask!) and a few hugs and kisses too. When I next checked Facebook around lunchtime, the number of birthday wishes had swelled to over fifty. Some of my Facebook friends know me so well and there were a couple of “hot” photos appearing along with the kind words.  😉

Birthday Tea was a low key affair. The Big Green Gummi Bear did forego his daily trip to the gym so we could eat as a family at a reasonable hour. The four of us sat down to a simple meal of lasagne and garlic flatbread (thank you Tesco Finest). I had bought a tiny birthday cake and Girl Child attempted a rendition of “Happy Birthday” with her usual tuneless aplomb. Thanks, honey. I was treated to lovely gifts- tickets to see Miss Saigon in London’s West End from the Big Green Gummi Bear, silver jewellery from Parents One and Two, silver rings from Boy Child and Girl Child. I received a beautiful journal from a friend who knows me so well. (Thank you again)

At the last minute I had arranged for another friend to pop over for a celebratory glass of vino or two. My fellow rock chick arrived armed with wine and a present wrapped in red tartan gift wrap. She too knows me so well –I’m now the proud owner of an autographed Slash print! (Thank you- I’m still negotiating about where to put it on display) Cue a wonderful evening of loud music, mainly on vinyl, wine and laughter. One of those evening’s that’s good for the soul.

By bedtime, when I checked Facebook one final time for the day, the birthday wishes had swelled to over a hundred and there was another topless male adorning my Facebook wall (Thank you Myles Kennedy and Charlie Hunnam for providing those bodies!!) It’s a good job that the Big Green Gummi Bear has long since unfriended me on Facebook!

I went to bed with a smile, feeling very humble that so many people from all around the world had taken a few seconds out of their day to type two small words that mean so much- Happy Birthday. Thank you one and all.