I was really moved to see Judge Robert Rinder travelled to Poland to find the family of his Strictly partner Oksana Platero who had fled the Ukraine. What a special man. He’s a great example of the extreme good people do.
The true kindness of people really shines in a crisis. Lockdown two years ago was a shock for us all. But when I look back, I am indebted for all the friends and family who looked after me. I will always be thankful for their help, and grateful to still be here.
I think of my mum and miss her every day, and especially on Mother’s Day. Memories of her don’t just make me smile, but make me splutter out my tea when I think of the hilarity we shared.
The pair of us were always giggling. When we were out, we’d often be bent double laughing so hard that people who saw us started laughing too. They didn’t have a clue why we were laughing - and often, neither did we.
In our day, we didn’t see counsellors or therapists. Seeing the funny side of life with people we loved helped us deal with anything life threw at us.
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One day when I’d popped in to deliver mum’s shopping, she came out of the loo a terrible colour and said: “Phone the doctor, our Valerie - I’m weeing blue.”
I’d nipped to the hardware store, bought her a fancy new toilet cleaner and hooked it to the cistern to keep her loo looking nice, and it turned the water blue. But I hadn’t thought to explain it to her.
By the time my hysterics stopped and I’d spelled out to mum that the blue was a cleaning fluid not an exotic disease, mum and I had to race each other to the loo because we’d been laughing so much.
Mum loved talking to everyone she ever saw. The fish man used to stop his van outside her house and go in for a chat. One day he proudly told her he’d become a dad and asked her to guess what he’d called his daughter. He gave her a clue: the name was inspired by a stone.
“A stone?”, said Mum. “You named your baby Pebble?”
Her name was Jade.
My boys were used to seeing me sitting on the stairs on the phone to mum, unable to speak for laughing. The old BT ad used to say ‘It’s good to talk’. But me and mum always said it was good to laugh.
My eldest Jonathan says I’m more like my mum every day. I’m taking that as a comforting compliment.
Your letters always make me feel fantastic. The little notes sharing memories, jokes and family news. And the beautiful knitted card from Anne and Dee which took so much effort and skill.
Wouldn’t it great if we could all meet? We’d have a riot.
If my legs were better, I’d arrange for us all to meet in Llandudno where we could hire deckchairs on the beach and sit with blankets over our laps. We’d eat fish, chips and mushy peas and frighten away the swooping seagulls.
There’s a Punch and Judy show to make us laugh and I’d pretend I was the police officer and bop you all on the head with a toy truncheon. And we’d have a 60s sing song to remember the days when we could twist and jive.
We’d have a custard slice and four mugs of tea. And I’d wear four Tena Ladies to cope with the tea and all the laughs.
Good news: I bought the wheelchair. Bad news: I felt sick as a dog when I was taken out in it so I’ve only been out once.
I’ll try it again when I’m good and ready. But Gordon Bennett, if anyone knows how to cure wheelchair sickness please let me know because a green face is not a good look.
Kind reader Tracey Corbett searched high and low to buy a big bag of Opal Fruits for me, after I said I didn’t agree with Starburst. What a wonderful surprise.
I can confirm they are the juiciest sweets ever made. Because by the time I’d picked the fiddly paper off each sweet, I was drooling.
Friends have been gently telling me to try to pace myself when it comes to eating sweet things. Unwrapping time counts as pacing myself, doesn’t it?
Thong and danceabout new pants
My friend Sheila popped to Marks and Spencer to buy me some new knickers because I always like to have a new packet in my drawer.
I tried looking them up on the iPad so I could explain exactly what I’d like. And I got the shock of my life.
Not so long ago, knickers were knickers and that was the end of it. But when I looked online at the pants department, there was thong this and string that. There were Brazilians and bikinis, high leg and high rise. And what the hell is a VPL? Most importantly, which knickers can cope with my Tena Ladies?
Sheila managed to find full briefs in a very classy black and white mix - although these days, if they were purple with orange spots who’s going to know?
When I was 40-odd, me and my late husband Colin nearly got thrown out of Marksys for laughing. We were on a romantic weekend in Scotland, just the two of us, and the weather was unexpectedly sunny so I needed to pop in for some t-shirts.
Holdups - fancy stockings that stayed up on their own with lacy bits around the top - had just come in and we walked past a display just of mannequins wearing black nylon hold ups.
I nudged Col and said: “Hey, maybe I’ll buy a pair of them”.
Col said: “Why? Are you thinking of robbing a bank?”
We were both in stitches for what felt like half an hour. Every time we composed ourselves, we’d be off again with the thought of me wearing the holdups over my face.
I was always talkative, and Colin was always quieter with a very dry sense of humour. And my God I miss him.
If you’d like to contact Val, email features@mirror. co.uk or write to Val Savage, PO Box 7290, E14 5D. The Mirror makes a donation to the Alzheimer’s Society in lieu of payment.