Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Jo McGowran - Rest In peace

Dear bloggers

This is the post I didn't want to write and it is the post you did not want to be reading.

Jo fell asleep on Thursday 20th October and moved gracefully towards peace over Friday and Saturday before passing over at 5:30am on the 23rd October 2011.
To all her friends and colleagues thank you for the love you gave to jo over the years. Jo's mum, Jean, her son Peter and I have been comforted by all the warm and generous support offered to us over the last few days.

When the end came for Jo it cam very quickly. Following another stay in hospital at the start of October Jo was determined to have her 47th birthday at the Trafford Centre in Manchester indulging in her favourite past time, shopping. We spent all day there and Jo completed most of her Christmas shopping and had a great time. This was the 12th October and after the surgery of last year this was the birthday the medical professional told her she would not celebrate. The following day Jo was tired and on Friday became ill. Over the weekend Jo deteriorated and by Thursday 20th Jo fell asleep. Jo regained consciousness so that Pete and her could have one final conversation and on the Friday when one of her closest friends came to see her. After that Jo was at peace and pain free. At 5:30am on 23rd October Jo passed over.

We will be having a funeral service on Monday 31st October at 11:00 held at the Church that Jo loved so much, St. Mary's Church Windermere. There will be a private family burial after the service at the Glebe Cemetery in Bowness-on-Windermere followed by a funeral reception at the Burnside Hotel in Bowness. Jo will now be placed next to her beloved father, Peter Dyson, I've been able to secure the plot next to her Dad. Jo never got over the passing of her dad.

All the details of the service are posted on Jo's facebook page as an event. I also placed a notice on her facebook page on Sunday to inform the world of her passing and we have been overwhelmed by the number and heartfelt nature of the tributes that have been left.

It is my intention of collating all the wonderful tributes to Jo and publish them in a book to give to her mum and Pete and closets family and friends. I then plan to publish the tributes on this blog as a final posting that can be added to.

The blogosphere and her flock of followers were hugely important to Jo and I want to reward you all for all the love, happiness and support you offered to Jo over the years. Hence the final post will be a collection of tributes to Jo.

Jo felt her purpose in life was to be a light to others. The tributes received absolutely confirm that this purpose had been achieved. Jo's purpose now is to be the fuel that burns in lots of lights around the world. The blog community that you share is full of shining lights, now allow Jo's light to help your light burn brighter and carry on her work.

directions to the church can be found at the following website:
and entering the postcode LA23 1BA.

Directions to the Burnside Hotel can be found at the following website:

Can I ask that if you plan to attend please either RSVP on Jo's facebook page or email me at

Flowers only from family members please. Can I ask that instead of flowers you may consider making a donation to either St. John's Hospice (Lancaster) or to St. Mary's Church Windermere.

Please send any donations via the funeral directors, Edmondson Longmire Funeral Services, 3 Oak Street, Windermere, Cumbria LA23 1BH, 015394 43427.

True to form Jo had a special request about her funeral service. let's make it as joyous a celebration of her life as possible. We will be adopting a tone to match this. As part of Jo's request please feel free to add a splash of colour to your clothing, and of course being Jo, if possible make that colour YELLOW. All this means is to add a little bit of colour, i.e. a tie, a handkerchief, a scarf etc. No need to be fully decked out in yellow. Of course, if you prefer to retain a more traditional approach we will totally respect your wishes. Jo's major regret was that she would not be there and would be denied the opportunity to give a speech. I'm sure Jo will be talking to us all on the day!

Already we are hearing that where friends cannot attend they are determined to be wearing something yellow on Monday as a tribute to Jo.


Other Half

Sunday, 1 May 2011

An Ode to the English Plural

We'll begin with a box, and the plural is boxes,
But the plural of ox becomes oxen, not oxes.
One fowl is a goose, but two are called geese,
Yet the plural of moose should never be meese.
You may find a lone mouse or a nest full of mice,
Yet the plural of house is houses, not hice.

If the plural of man is always called men,
Why shouldn't the plural of pan be called pen?
If I speak of my foot and show you my feet,
And I give you a boot, would a pair be called beet?
If one is a tooth and a whole set are teeth,
Why shouldn't the plural of booth be called beeth?

Then one may be that, and there would be those,
Yet hat in the plural would never be hose,
And the plural of cat is cats, not cose.
We speak of a brother and also of brethren,
But though we say mother, we never say methren.
Then the masculine pronouns are he, his and him,
But imagine the feminine: she, shis and shim!

Let's face it - English is a crazy language. There is no egg in eggplant nor ham in hamburger; neither apple nor pine in pineapple.
English muffins weren't invented in England. We take English for granted, but if we explore its paradoxes, we find that quicksand can work slowly, boxing rings are square, and a guinea pig is neither from Guinea nor is it a pig.

And why is it that writers write, but fingers don't fing, grocers don't groce and hammers don't ham?
Doesn't it seem crazy that you can make amends but not one amend?
If you have a bunch of odds and ends and get rid of all but one of them, what do you call it?

If teachers taught, why didn't preachers praught?
If a vegetarian eats vegetables, what does a humanitarian eat?
Sometimes I think all the folks who grew up speaking English should be committed to an asylum for the verbally insane.

In what other language do people recite at a play and play at a recital?
We ship by truck but send cargo by ship...
We have noses that run and feet that smell.
We park in a driveway and drive in a parkway.
And how can a slim chance and a fat chance be the same,
while a wise man and a wise guy are opposites?

You have to marvel at the unique lunacy of a language in which your house can burn up as it burns down, in which you fill in a form by filling it out, and in which an alarm goes off by going on.

And in closing, if Father is Pop, how come Mother's not Mop?

My aunt sent me this an email and it is particularly apt since teenager is knee deep in revising for GCSE's. Folks- a lot of people are asking why I am not posting. All is well and I am will catch up very soon. We are busy and in a good way pretty much. I am having bother with nerve pain in my right leg which is causing havoc with my foot. As a result of this I am having a procedure to help with the pain mid May. More about this next time I write. So dealing with this takes some dealing with every day including a daily long sleep. That takes up some time of course. I am good spirits and enjoying the sunshine. Be in touch soon. JoXXX

Sunday, 20 March 2011

so what's going on?

I know I have been quiet on news. This means I have been a busy Lakeland Jo. My life is never boring- good or bad, but never boring!
I had a couple of weeks of saintliness where I looked at clothes and bought nothing. The halo got broken at some point and a few new bits and pieces have appeared in the wardrobe ready for the elusive spring and summer weather.
If I can explain myself a little. I have always been overweight. Sometimes a bit, sometimes a lot. I always tried to look nice. I bought good quality, well fitting clothes and interesting jewellery and I think I looked very nice a lot of the time. But I was big, and I took little interest in clothes really. More interested in what fitted me and where I could get it.
But now, many stone lighter I have suddenly become rather obsessed with fashion and clothes. I am still losing weight slowly but surely- my appetite is small but no longer non existent. I graze and make an effort to eat regularly. I eat good stuff most of the time but not a great deal. I used to be very greedy; now I spend time when I can looking obsessively at what other people are wearing and making inner judgements about smart or interesting they look.
I had plenty of chances this weekend. While teenager went on rugby tour in Scotland, other half
and I went to stay with our lovely friend Martin in Newcastle, and we went to the St Patrick day race meeting at Newcastle race course. The fashions were out and about. I managed to find somewhere to sit down so I could watch the show. I was glued. In between ( some very successful) betting there was plenty to watch. Some very ill advised dresses, gallons of fake tan, tons of spidery false eye lashes and enough make- up to sink a ship. I was mesmerised. There were a lot of 'off the shoulder' outfits, some very short skirts, some very tight fitting suits on men with bright ties. We are country folk these days, and our eyes were on stalks.
I didn't see a horse in the flesh until the end of the meeting. It was a packed event. Badly organised, with queues every-where for everything. We arrived early and were lucky to get a seat. It was too cold to go outside but too crowded to stand on the balcony. We had a tv next to our table. I could see my winners on there!
Other half and I went to London this week to the Royal Marsden. They want me monitored closer to home now. I will be looked after by a local team. They can't make anymore interventions now, and they are keen not to keep trailing us down to London for no reason. It was hard to accept though knew it had to come. I love and trust my lovely surgeon Mr Barton. His work is done and he needs to move onto other worthy souls. It is hard parting with him!
However, I won't miss the long trips and having other half take two days out of office. I won't miss waiting in line for the clinic ( this time running late a spectacular two and a half hours!). It is very tiring and it makes sense now to keep it local.
I will, however, still go and stay with my dear friend Louise who has been such kind and splendid hostess to me and my family while we have been involved with the Marsden. She is not getting rid of us- that's for sure. And neither is London and all its delights. We will be back soon.
Anyway, I need to go. I have an Elle magazine to read: wall to wall fashion. And a round of applause please: this was my first post typed on my new Apple Mac pro. Lovely :)

Monday, 14 March 2011

The Pastor's business card

A new pastor was visiting in the homes of his parishioners. At one
house it seemed obvious that someone was at home, but no answer came to
his repeated knocks at the door.

Therefore, he took out a business card and wrote 'Revelation 3:20' on
the back of it and stuck it in the door.

When the offering was processed the following Sunday, he found that his
card had been returned. Added to it was this cryptic message, 'Genesis

Reaching for his Bible to check out the citation, he broke up in gales
of laughter. Revelation 3:20 begins 'Behold, I stand at the door and
knock.' Genesis 3:10 reads, 'I heard your voice in the garden and I was
afraid for I was naked'

'A cheerful heart is good medicine' (Prov. 17:22)

Saturday, 12 March 2011

sweet sixteen

( bottom picture- Pete in South Africa with a new friend! He had an amazing time on his trip)
Regular readers will be know that I never get bored with a particular subject. My son ! He is my pride and joy and inspiration.
A year ago I was told I was going to die- probably within twelve months. I prayed that I would get to see my boy get to sixteen. It seemed unlikely at the time, but it was something I focussed on and wished for, and prayed for. I had an operation which at best has saved my life and at worst has bought me time. It's been a long journey later but I saw it through and.....teenager was sixteen this week. We ate cake, we ate chinese, we sat and celebrated as a family. It was wonderful. I hugged and hugged him and celebrated with such joy.I am so glad I got to see that day. Funnily enough it was a typical kind of day.... he had mock exams ( worst subjects of course) and exams the following day. It was a school week, the weather was awful, it was a week when we had to keep the celebrations low key. But all day I glowed. And now my next goal.
I want to see my mum's birthday ( June), and my own birthday ( 47 in October) . And dare I focus of teenager's seventeenth. It's already being prayed about. Please pray with me.

Saturday, 5 March 2011

here are a few of my favourite things...............



Jo Malone

Today I went out with other half to my favourite shop Marks and Spencer ( now usually known as M and S). I love going for a coffee there and buzzing round the clothes; ranges change regularly and are very reasonably priced. Now I fit Per Una (a woman's clothes range) I am usually found in there these days. I don't always buy but I am always tempted!
Our local M and S in Kendal is not a large branch by any means. It is great for me though as it is easy to park there and there is not much walking involved (sometimes I can't walk too far if my leg is sore). It has everything I need. A coffee shop, a great food department and clothes to lust after.
It got me thinking about other things that I really love and that cheer me up, and things that are very hard to resist. I mean material things of course ( I am not including human beings in this post!!)
The pictures above are the clue.

First discovered many moons ago in Florida USA. I went into a shopping mall and it was love at first sight. Holiday spending money- vanished. Since then every time I go to the US I buy Coach bags and wallets. I just love their designs. Imagine my horror to discover it wasn't in the UK anywhere. It came to Harvey Nichols ( in London) as a concession a few years ago... then it vanished. The products were great but the prices were ludicrous. Now they are back again in Westfield Shopping Centre in London. This is great news. But I dearly hope that the prices aren't ridiculous. My lovely friend Bobbie brought me a FABULOUS Coach bag back from Seattle recently. It is amazing. I am very happy about it especially since I won't be back to the USA for a long time ( this is agony for me I love it so much). I can't get holiday insurance to go and I can't afford to get 'caught out'. If I got sick there and was un-insured- we would have a really bad problem on our hands.

I have loved Pandora jewellery for so long I can't even remember where I first saw it! I think it may have been in our local jewellers. I liked it a long time before it became hugely popular. I got my mum a bracelet a few years ago and now we both collect the charms. My bracelet is now full. I need to start a new one! I also have several rings and ear-rings. I think the products are beautiful and I think it is really clever how they have diversified their ranges so quickly so they don't go out of fashion. It certainly hasn't with this customer.
Jo Malone
First smelt on my friend Helen, but introduced to me by my friend Karen ( again- she has wonderful taste), the first shop I went to was in Glasgow. I soon followed up with a visit to a branch in Bond Street ( or nearby) in London. I am not sure the first product I ever bought but since then I have become completely addicted. I love their candles, fragrances, soaps.... you name it. My favourite fragrances are :Lime Basil and Mandarin and Black Cafe Vetyver. I usually ask for Jo Malone for my birthday and Christmas. We don't have a local store so if I get the chance to visit one I usually stock up. Now also a firm favourite of my mum's!

The White Company
First introduced to me by my friend Karen in Scotland. I think it was the Edinburgh branch. I thought it was so fresh and clean. Fabulous bedding, towels and clothes. I was far too big for the clothes in those days. I used to just look. However, as time went buy and a few stone vanished off my frame, I started to dabble with a few clothes. Then I started replacing all our bedding ( teenager excepted- he has his own stuff he likes). Now I am a serial clothes shopper in the stores and my most recent purchase was a fabulous pale grey cashmere cardigan. It has dented my Christmas money, but it was worth any penny (yes- I actually have Christmas money left).

Other things I just love : Chanel make up, Mulberry bags, Jaguar cars, I phones and apple stuff, Monsoon ( now that if fits me- hurray).............. as you can see I love my luxury, but I think--- why not? Life is for living.
Tell me about your favourite things?

Wednesday, 2 March 2011

Happiness- two photos

Teenager dancing in South Africa- he had a fabulous time. More pics to come!

The very latest picture of me today at a friend's birthday lunch. I hate that damned hair! One day I WILL be blonde again. At least I look very happy - which I am.

Tuesday, 1 March 2011

Perception- women friends chatting in the office

Women Friends chatting in office.

Woman 1: I had a fine evening, how was yours?

Woman 2: it was a disaster. My husband came home, ate his dinner in three minutes and fell asleep in two minutes. How was yours?

Woman 1: Oh it was amazing! My husband came home and took me out to a romantic dinner. After dinner we walked for an hour. When we came home he lit the candles around the house and afterwards talked for an hour. It was like a fairy-tale!

At the same time, their husbands are talking at work.

Husband 1: How was your evening?

Husband 2: Great. I came home, dinner was on the table, I ate and fell asleep. It was great! What about you?

Husband 1: It was horrible. I came home, there's no dinner because they cut the electricity because I hadn't paid the bill; so I had to take my wife out to dinner which was so expensive that I didn't have money left for a cab. We had to walk home which took an hour; and when we got home remember there was no electricity so I had to light candles all over the house! After all, I was so aggravated that I couldn't fall asleep and my wife was jabbering away for another hour!

Sunday, 27 February 2011

A mother's cunning

Simple But Brilliant

Peter invited his mother for dinner and during the course of the meal she couldn't help but notice how lovely Peter's flat mate, Joanne, was.

She had long been suspicious of a relationship between the two, and this only made her more curious.

Over the course of the evening, while watching the two interact, she started to wonder if there was more between Peter and his flat mate than met the eye.

Reading his mum's thoughts, Peter volunteered, 'I know what you must be thinking, but I assure you, Joanne & I are just flat mates'.

About a week later, Joanne came to Peter saying, 'Ever since your mother came to dinner, I've been unable to find the frying pan, you don't suppose she took it do you?

'Well I doubt it, but I'll e-mail her just to be sure' said Peter.

So he sat down and wrote




Several days later, Peter received an email from his mother which read




Wednesday, 16 February 2011

a case of mistaken identity

On Tuesday my mum and I went to a local get together. Chin wag and a cup of tea type of event. I haven't been seen out and about much so most people there haven't seen me for months, and certainly not since my operation in September 2010.

A lady remarked quietly to my mum that my sister looks very like me. My mum, puzzled, pointed out that I don't have a sister.

Are you all confused yet?

She thought I was my sister. I look so different. Lost so much weight. Short hair. Dark hair. Instead of longish blonde hair in a bob, and very chunky monkey.

People walk past me in the street and blank me in the bank.
It is very odd.

I HATE HAVING DARK HAIR. I have no problem with other people and their lovely brown or black hair. doesn't work on me. I am blonde at identity level.

As soon as my hair is strong enough to get the foils out...........I will be blonde once again. But this time I will be a skinny minny. Let's here it for the new Cheryl Cole and Victoria Beckham shaped Jo ( well- perhaps not).

As Arnie once said: ' I'll be back'. I just can't wait.

Friday, 11 February 2011

The Vampire

I am not far becoming a real vampire. After a trip to the Royal Marsden last week for a check up (which went really well) it was discovered yet again that I was becoming seriously anaemic (again). The doctor waved his magic wand and on Wednesday I trudged off to our local (not- twenty five miles away ) hospital once again for a blood transfusion. I expected one unit, perhaps two. I was given three. It is a very long day. The process is not as simple as folk think- I used to think it was case of them identifying your type then whoosh... off we go. In fact, the blood sample you give is carefuly analysed. To check for fun stuff such as anti- bodies. This takes about two and a half hours, perhaps longer.
Anyway, the point is that I have been told not to stress about the need for tranfusions. I may need quite a few more this year. My body is not strong enough yet to keep my blood levels where they need to be. Resources are scare, and demands are many.
So, I have an idea. Rather than bother with hospitals,drips, waiting around.....I just thought I would start eyeing up a few juicy necks. If someone inadvertently tells me they have my blood type ( when I casually ask) I will duly sink my ever longer teeth into their neck for a quick top up.
If you are going to meet up with me I suggest you wear a scarf.

Wednesday, 2 February 2011

working away

I have been over to Red Neck Mommy's blog and she has written a great post about parents who work away from home to make a living. I love the fact that she mentions that parents who are away miss the 'quick and dirty' of family life. It's a great way of explaining it. A couple we know are divorcing and they have four kids of different ages. The husband explained that what he misses is exactly that: ' the quick and dirty'. The mundane, the magic unexpected moments, the not magic difficult moments. The kids stay with him but they don't live with him. It is just different.
I am no stranger to this situation which is why it resonates so much with me. My mum and dad were never really away for me. I can't remember them being away other than once when my mum looked after my cousin. I remember being calmed and excited that I had dad and he was promising treats and a change of routine to distract me, but I felt an emptiness and distractedness. I just wasn't used to it. Full stop.
However, things have been different for the teenager. When we first got married I was a training consultant used to working away in hotels in different venues most of the week. Once I had the baby boy ( pretty much nine months after we got married- honeymoon baby) I knew my routine had to stop. However, I was the main earner at that time ( other half worked and also helped me with back up in the business) and we had a lot of bills to pay. We had given up our jobs to start a new life in the Lake District. Now we had a baby. Self employed and not maternity leave. I worked until the day before he was born ( he was early by two weeks) and I went back four weeks after he was born. It was hell. But needs must. First time I had to go away I cried for two and a half hours en route.
But we made it work. I only stayed away two nights a week. I got sleep. Heh Heh. Other half did all the nappies and night feeds when I was away and developed a bond with the little fellow which is stronger than steel. Two peas in a pod. Teenager worships his dad. I am sure it has so much to do with those early years. My mum and dad who lived in the North East at the time had us to stay lots when I was working with my main North East customer. They developed a strong and loving bond with teenager, they loved looking after him, and it left other half free to work. Then they sold up and moved over, and my problems dissolved. We now had a brilliant childminder, and mum and dad as back up. They had him a lot and he loved it. And I was calm.

For quite a few years this arrangement stayed in place. I would still travel but kept to my two night rule except in very exceptional circumstances. I had good back up when I did go and I am forever grateful for that. I was confident in his carers and I could concentrate on my work. I found it tiring to drive so far, but sometimes I got a lovely rest and some time out on my own. Was I guilty. Oh yes- as hell. I am over it now. I see we did a good job. But at the time it was so hard and other people's opinions weren't always helpful. A woman travelling away to earn a living when she had a child? Shocking. But needs must and life goes on.

In January 2007 I was diagnosed with cancer and went off sick for ten months. It was really tough. Other half had to move into position and run the business including front of house work. By then he worked full time for our business which was really well established. He trained hard to get qualifications and experience. He just got out there and did it. He developed a team to support our work. When I came back things were different and my own life was less pressurised but I went back to being away. By now though my spirit and body were weak. I was finding the pace tough. In March 2010 I was diagnosed with a re-occurance of the cancer. I immediately went off sick and have been off ever since. I nearly lost my life- and now at the grand old age of forty six I have retired. No more work or travelling for me. Enough is enough. The career girl has hung up her driving gloves.

As a result I am here at home all the time except when I go for hospital checks. I see teenager every day. I am here to sort him out. He is as needy now as when he was a little boy but differently. It's now to do with food and getting kit ready and encouraging him with the much loathed English ( Northanger Abbey at the moment). It's about being here and listening. I love it and see how precious it is. It is a real luxury. It makes up for early years and I still can steal lots of hugs.

And now- other half travels away. Sometimes too much. In fact recently I have given him a red card and asked him to have a few weeks just in the office and near home. I want him around for me, and for teenager. Last year proved how important it is to stay connected. You do what you do and sometimes it is hard. The key is to notice and manage the impact. It is odd as the roles have reversed and I am happy to be just a mum who sometimes goes out to coffee with other mums to chew over the latest gossip.

Great post Red Neck Mom, and I amazed to see how many folk are in the same boat.

Tuesday, 1 February 2011


My next post was going to be about the trials and tribulations of getting to bed and how many jobs are associated with it. Just as I was going to start writing my mum told me that the lovely Busy Bee Suz had beaten me to it. So go and read up and see what you think- is your bedtime such hard work as ours.....I thought it was just me!!