Saturday, May 18, 2013


Clank, you have been a dear friend for the last 40 years. We met on the 262 bus coming home one night from Plaistow Grammar school, you sat behind me and said: Have you got a light? and I replied: Have you got a fag? That was the start of a fabulous friendship.

At 17 you became pregnant and was terrified of telling your parents so didn't. The day you gave birth to Paul was a terrible shock for your Mum and Dad, but your Mum held fast and told your Dad, you were going home with the baby. They ran around getting second hand baby things so you could go home, and so life with Paul began. At 6 months you discovered he would be what was then termed as 'handicapped' but it made you love him more. You got a job and through that job you met Svend, got married and went to live in Norway.

While you lived there we must have exchanged thousands of letters, putting messages on the back of the envelopes for the postmen. By that time I was divorced and had Christine and was working too. Christine and I came to Norway to visit you. I have wonderful memories of going out to Park Dancing, the fjords, the taxi queue at Drammen. As your marriage to Svend sadly crumbled and died, you discovered you were pregnant with Inge-Lise. You stayed in Norway, Paul was thriving, you had made yourself a good life there and loved the country and it's people. Those letters contained some of our brightest days and darkest nights.

By the time you returned to England, you had another beautiful daughter, Linn-Marie. You tried living in Eastbourne, returned to Norway, then came again to Manchester. You were in a relationship with a monster and finally got the strength to end it and moved into a house in Crewe. You showed me the delights of the area and I ended up buying a house close to you, going there at weekends.

Just before I moved up I got a call from your then partner, Richard. You had had some health problems and his words to me were: Sharon has lost most of her bowel, she is in the high dependancy unit and they are not sure she will make it through the night. Can you go and tell her Mum as she has no idea she was even ill. I went to your Mum, borrowed my dads car and drove to Crewe through all kinds of horrendous traffic. I felt sick to the pit of my stomach hoping hoping hoping we would get there in time. We arrived late and Richard took us straight to the hospital, what greeted us was a nightmare. You had tubes coming out of everywhere, a stoma bag attached to your stomach. As I leaned over to give you a kiss, the stoma bag gurgled and you smiled and said: Hear that? That's me farting and that got me laughing and crying all at the same time.

From that moment, you began to get better. Your spirit and desire to live overcame all the following disabilities you had to live with. Having to go onto TPN for the rest of your life didn't stop you doing anything. You did everything you wanted to do, even when people were telling you you shouldn't. Holidays, days out. You liked nothing better than being out in the sunshine. No matter how bad a day it was for you you battled through it and did exactly what you wanted.

You adored your kids, loved your animals, when Tilda came along, she was the apple of your eye. You were strong, funny. Your outrageous laugh that doubled you over made everyone around you laugh. You never judged, always had sound advice, talked for England. Loved people, loved life.

In the early hours of Thurday morning I went with your family to your bedside and sat while you fought your last battle. I sat and held your hand and told you how much I loved you and what a fantastic friend you have been. I left because I didn't want to stay to the very end. But I am oh so happy that I had the chance to say goodbye.

So now, this is one darkest night I cannot share with you and I will miss you so much. Life without you in it seems very dark indeed. But you have left me with some of the best memories I will ever have. You leave behind, your Mum Sheila, Paul, Lise, Linn-Marie, Tilda and a host of people who shared your life on-line and off line, some very close, some not. I love you my dear friend and I thank you from the bottom of my heart for everything we shared throughout our lives. Where ever you are, I wish you peace, I hope you are  bent over double laughing that laugh, talking non stop and dancing your socks off.

Sharon Jacobsen 1st Sept 1960-16th May 2013

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Dads Memories

Dad tells me so many stories about his childhood and younger years I have started to write them down here

Friday, May 10, 2013

All change?

Well it has been a horrible week. A big meeting at work last week gave us the news that they were 'looking into' outsourcing various departments, namely HR recruitment and payroll, procurement and ISS (Or IT to most people). My department, telecoms, comes under ISS. I have been there and done that. In the past I have worked for 2 companies, but was paid by  different ones. Apart from the university not having to pay salaries, pension and N.I I cannot see how outsourcing will be cheaper. Firstly there is the 20% VAT, then the company has to put their mark up on, which is usually in the region of 15% to 20%. The decision is going to the board on the 28th of September, because obviously, ISS needs to be kept sweet for the most important period, clearing.

I don't actually know how I feel. I so wanted to get to the minimum retirement age of 55 with the uni, the pension is good, not massive like most people believe, because I earn an average of £7000 less a year than the private sector, but good enough. On the other hand, I still have a mortgage and have been paying it down to clear it early so I at least have some security. I have a lot of equity in it, but I didn't particularly want to sell it so soon. The minimum retirement is 2 years away and would have given me a safety blanket.

Course, I have been hearing this since we merged in 2001, so the tendency is to be a bit dismissive of it. The trouble is, the head honcho does not listen to advice. He pretends to listen but then does his own thing anyway and quite honestly he doesn't have time for 'administrators' he seems to think a lecturer can carry on without them. The staff not affected say 'well at least you will have a job' and this is true, but having been on the outsourced side, it doesn't garner any loyalty to the company you work for. One company I worked for didn't really have a clue about the business needs it was servicing. It was an environment (merchant banking) that was very fast paced, where everything was wanted yesterday. Their idea of trouble shooting was to have  meetings over a period of weeks to 'identyfy' the problem when really the problem was, we didn't provide it yesterday!!

I will just have to see what happens and in the meantime keep my eye on the job market, I seem to be the wrong side of 50, but you never know do you? To be honest, the thought of not working unsettles me as I have always worked since I left school (apart from a  year off to have my daughter) But I have paid my required 35 years of NI (And the rest) so my OAP pension will pay me out (When I am 66). Exciting times perhaps? I will know soon enough.