As promised I went to visit my friend Jan who is in her early forties and has a horrific type of MS. Jan lives in a nursing home as she requires 24/7 care.


Jan and I met in the late 1990’s and we hit it off immediately. I liked Jan because she didn’t treat me any differently just because I was a Manager. As a manager I found some staff just brown nosed you all the time and tried to manipulate you to get what they wanted, whilst others just wouldn’t speak to you either because they didn’t like managers or they were just intimidated. It was a real shame as I worked hard to be fair and consistent with all members of staff. Jan was different she didn’t care that I was a manager we spoke as equals and had a laugh about life, work and anything else that we could take the mickey out of.

We didn’t see each other outside of work until much later in our friendship. Jan had been ill health retired from work, her MS suddenly deteriorated overnight and she could no longer walk. She had persevered at work despite being in horrendous pain and her sight deteriorating. At this point no one really knew what was wrong with her. Some Dr’s suggested it was stress or just all in her head. It took until she could no longer walk for the Dr’s to diagnose that she had MS and it wasn’t the kind where she would have any remissions it would only get worse.

When I became too ill to work in 2008 I was clearing out some handbags and came across Jan’s telephone number. I rang her and we chatted for over an hour. We started chatting a couple of times a week and then it became everyday. I would try and get to see Jan at least once a month. Then all of a sudden I couldn’t get hold of Jan and she had been taken into hospital and she never went home after that.

In 2009 we ended up in hospital at the same time, on the same ward in beds next to her. Jan was pretty poorly but she was still a feisty bird. It was the most enjoyable hospital stay either of us has ever had. It was a pretty rough time for both of us. Jan was waiting to be admitted to a rehabilitation unit and I was in for tests. We ran rings around the nurses and generally caused as much trouble as we could just to amuse ourselves.

She tried the various MS drugs but nothing helped. The MS was waging war against her body and she had no way to fight it. However Jan wasn’t going to give up easily and fought it tooth and nail. She liked her independence and that is what she has found so hard to give up as she can no longer care for herself. She spent nearly a year in hospital before she was well enough to move into a nursing home and that’s where I went to visit her today.

I explained to Jan about my blog and said I could take her picture and put it on my blog. She asked if she would be famous and I said indeed she would now be famous! So to honor her wishes Jan is now on the Internet on my blog.

I spent three hours with Jan chatting about the dogs, people we both know and our old place of work. Jan doesn’t get many visitors and I got very upset today when she told me I was the best friend she ever had. I feel I let her down badly by not being able to visit her, due to my own poor health. I do write to her at least once a month but she is so isolated. Her family visits but there are only two people that visit her from work and she was friends with a lot of people. Her situation is a lot like mine but at least I have the Internet, Jan’s sight is so poor that she couldn’t see the computer screen. Her hands have contracted like claws and she wouldn’t be able to type, her speech has also been affected so voice recognition technology isn’t an option either.

The staff seem very nice at the home although a little busy. Its a nursing home so its patients suffer from a variety of ailments mainly dementia so its a little noisy too. Jan’s room is full of photographs and her beloved snoopy collection. It has a lovely view over the garden. Its a nice place, bright and cheerful and much better than the village hospital that she was in. The room she had there was more like a prison cell.

Jan has deteriorated in more ways than I had  anticipated. Jan was always really mentally alert and funny. Today she was a shadow of what she once was. Initially she seemed like the same old Jan, for about 20 minutes it was all as it would always have been, both of us in fits of laughter. Then she asked me how I was getting on in my flat. I realised then that she was having memory problems. I moved from my flat over 7 years ago, Jan knew that. She couldn’t remember if hubs and I were still together, she did remember I had dogs though. We spent 3 hours chatting sometimes it was about things we had talked about earlier, I didn’t care it was just good to see her. She enjoyed the visit, I think it was the longest visit she had ever had. Time flew by and I knew Jan was starting to tire so I called hubs and he came and got me.

It was bitter sweet today. I loved seeing her but it also made me very sad that a woman in her forties life has been destroyed by MS. Jan was a hard worker and very comical. It was just so sad to see, but she still has her sense of humour and winning smile as you can see from the photo.

So Jan, you are famous as promised you appear on my blog.

With Love
Rach xx

The Garden …..

Europas Pectinatus


Celosia Venezuela


I thought I would take the plunge today and see if I could upload pictures to my blog. It’s something I have never done before!

So here are pictures of two plants that we have potted up this week! Exciting stuff! I will add  a selection of pictures when the garden has more flowers at the moment this is the only real splash of vivid colour.

It’s not as warm today as there is bit of a sea breeze blowing. This is probably going to be the last day I will be able to sit outside for a while as tomorrow the forecast is for rain and thunder storms! Typical British summer really but then it is only April.

We have been sat in the garden today chatting to the neighbours. P&P chucked some hot cross buns over the fence for us to scoff! That was followed by two fab ice lollies a few hours later! They have been invited to next Fridays BBQ. We have brilliant neighbours, P&P are the people that helped us the day of Jays crash. I know day or night if I need help they would come to my aide. It’s nice knowing that with my family normally over an hour away.

 I haven’t eaten an ice lolly in over twenty years as I have a thing about the wooden sticks. I ate the fab lolly out of politeness knowing if I had a taste of the stick I could feign dropping it on the ground and letting the dogs eat it! I actually really enjoyed it and it appears that I have got over my stick thing! I’d like to try a magnum next as I have never had one of those!

Ma and Pa popped in again today. Dad said mum was too tight to buy a cup of tea at Budleigh Beach. I know that isn’t true they just like any excuse to pop in and I love them for it. Is it wrong to say you adore your parents and love their company? I hope not as this is how I feel about mine! Mum has no Internet access at the moment so she wont get to read this for a few days. Then she will get all emotional bless her. I can’t help it if I love my mum and dad! xx

We are hoping its nice next Friday for the Royal Wedding as we are having some people around to watch the wedding and then have a barbecue lunch after. We a going to make our own beef burgers and Thai Chicken burgers. I won’t be partaking in the burger fest as I am vegetarian, well actually I eat fish so not strictly vegetarian. So I am going to make some fish cakes for myself if I am up to it. If not it will be a frozen Mexican bean burger. Hubs is day off before so we can do a lot of the prep together after my Dr’s appointment – the one where I will have to beg to get a private referral!

Pain wise it’s bearable today, TMJ is playing up so its painful for me to open my mouth and speak – some husbands get all the luck. The pain, well some of it is my own fault, I don’t like taking tablets as I actually rattle when I walk, so I try to limit them, plus the more you take the less effective they become. The problem with this is you end up in so much pain that it gets difficult to get on top of it. So its a difficult dilemma.

 On a happier note the dogs were bathed today……….. and hubs! Willow was an angel


                                                            (her best angel face!)
She had her bath and no complaints! Mollie wasn’t too keen but allowed Hubs to get on with it.


                             (Mollie is the only dog out of all three who loves to sunbathe!)

 Frankie or Frankenstein as he is also known was a little demon and had to be chased around the garden with the hosepipe!


(Frankie with dumbbell and toilet roll tube in his mouth so the girls can’t have them, looking like butter wouldn’t melt!)

So what’s the bet that as soon as they get up on the common tonight they roll in something revolting now that they all smell of evening primrose!