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Hello.

I'm Jane McIntyre, a voiceover and writer, formerly an award-winning BBC radio newsreader and producer. My blog covers life, love and loss; travel, coffee and chocolate; with some heartfelt pieces in the mix about my late dad, who had dementia. Just a click away, I'm half of the team behind www.thetimeofourlives.net - two empty nesters who whizzed round the world in 57 days.

Wednesday, 21 June 2017

Mum's Gone to Glasto. (But was once enough..?)


Yes...it was three years ago. And yes, I loved it! Why...and then what?

The Mud: I'd heard about it. But went anyway. And while there was plenty of the squelchy stuff for a couple of days, the sun shone too, so the mud turned to clay. People wore wellies. And the bands played on.

The Music: Imagine the world's biggest pick 'n' mix candy counter. But instead of sweeties, you get the most varied range of music of every shade, every genre. Just pop them all in your Glastonbury bag and shake them up a bit. And make sure there are a few you've never sampled before.

The Other Bits: It's more than music. There's a whole array of street theatre acts, poetry and film. A massive polar bear in the Greenpeace area. A marching kazoo band. Two Del-boy types offering to take your car keys and 'mind your motor'. Tea ladies gossiping round their trolley. A girl juggling knives while dangling upside down. Women on stilts. Men in kilts.

The Food: What can't you get at Glasto? It's as varied as the music. From vintage cream teas to Beirut street food. Noodles. Pies. Thai. Dig in.

The Tents: Every shape and size. Up close and personal. Our 'base camp' boasted three, of the pop-up variety. Up in seconds. Leaked like sieves.

The Cost: It seems like a lot, when you`re shelling out over £200 for a ticket. But I saw 19 acts over three days--with more music at every turn. I've totted up how much that would have cost me at individual gigs. Way more. And you got 'accommodation' here, too. Kind of :)

The Vibe: Friendly, smiley, positive-whether you're standing in a field mid thunderstorm, wading through a quagmire or queuing for food. The staff, marshals, stallholders all seemed to have time for you. Asked how it was going; who you'd seen. If you had the wrist-band, you were part of a special community, looking out for each other, helping when you could. Fantastic.

The Toilets: I've seen better. And I've seen worse--at motorway service stations in France, for instance. Look. The longdrops ain't pretty. And you may have to queue for a flushing loo. But pack your Andrex and your antibacterial hand gel...and get on with it. Unless you have an *en suite* in your tent, of course. Rumour has it that *some* had dinky funnels and Fanta bottles close by. And bright torches, therefore, obviously. You wouldn't wanna...well, quite.

The Sex: (As in the song by The 1975...) was one of the most memorable ones of the whole festival for me. Expose yourself, musically, to something new. Fantastic young, energetic band.

The Drugs: More than a 'little weed'.And plenty of other stuff too, it seemed, along with a reported drug related death. If it's not your scene, (and it's not mine) steer clear, but don't be surprised to see it.

The Rock n' Roll: See above.From the incredible energy of the Kaiser Chiefs and Kasabian, John Newman and
Ed Sheeran, to the enduring coolness of Blondie and Bryan Ferry, to Plant and the Pyramid packing Parton. Glastonbury veterans reckoned they hadn't seen the Pyramid field that full in years. Everyone loved 'Jolene'. The ground shook when she sang '9-5'.

The Daughters: Two. One in late teens at the time; one mid twenties. Cautious at first when I told them I was off to Glasto with a woman I'd only 'met' on Twitter...but were then helpful with a backpack loan; harem-pant advice (!) and one even Tweeted about her tinge of envy while I was there.

The Friends: You could do Glasto solo. But it seems more fun with friends. You don`t have to stay joined at the hip, after all. The Glastonbury App helps you plan your own 'gig list'--and you can go your separate ways, meet up again, compare notes and scoff 99s together in the rain. You'd be hard pushed to find better festival friends than Michelle and Meg, though. Not only did they guide me through my first Glasto; they shared their home nearby with me--and pretty much everything in it-- when the weather turned. Top act (of kindness), M & M. Thankyou xxx

Oh yes...and that question right at the top. Would I go back? Well ...loads has happened since then. Including whizzing round the world in 57 days (using toilets in some places that were WAY worse...) So....I'll be watching coverage on telly this year. And I never say never.... :)







Tuesday, 6 June 2017

Die laughing....




When I go, I would like to die laughing
(No, not right at this moment in time….)
But when my number’s up
Can it be down the pub,
Cracking jokes, as I croak,
With white wine?

Could I find a sure way to die laughing
With my feet up, in front of the box?
Could my heart go all racy
With some Gavin and Stacey
And then, when credits roll,
Could it stop?

And so, when it's my day to die laughing,
Could it be when I’ve reached 99….
…but still dancing with friends
Till the un-bitter end,
With bare feet, and red lippie, round mine?

Oh, and can all those I love, just die laughing?
No disease, no disaster, no shocks,
When they’re mellow, and old,
With a warm hand to hold
Knowing it’s time, without checking the clock?

Thanks.

Jane McIntyre.
June 6, 2017.






Tuesday, 2 May 2017

So I've just been out to support my local High Street.



I live in Ludlow, where retailers are facing punishing rate rises. Many are asking customers to sign counter-top petitions against the increases, which I've already done. There are some excellent independent stores in this medieval market town and some incredible produce at the local market, and I'm happy to support as many of them as I can.

But traders are facing a tough time. The local branch of HSBC is one of scores around country due to close down soon. And if twenty minutes in town today is anything to go by, things could well get tougher as customers choose to shop and bank online.

I needed to make three stops in town--for an item of make-up which my daughter can't source in Paris, which I'm taking out to her when I visit at the weekend. For two small gifts for friends. And for some euros, for the French trip.

....here's what happened.

First: the make up. It was a Boot's own brand item. But this is a small branch of the chain, and their stock is limited. This one wasn't available. I waited to speak to an assistant. She went online, and ordered the product under their 'Click and Collect' scheme. It probably would have been quicker to do this online from home...but anyway, it's due in store tomorrow. So I'll go back in.

Next: gifts for friends I'm seeing tonight. I opted for little boxes of handmade chocolates from a local store with a great range of confectionery.

Flavours selected and packed, I offered my card. Cash only. There was a cashpoint at the One Stop (I wish...) supermarket, a few doors down. I belted along--but  the machine outside was out of order. There's a post office at the back of the store, but the queue was long. I grabbed some washing powder, paid for it, and got cashback at the till. Then belted back for my chocolates. (Which look great.)

Last job : Euros, for my trip to Paris this weekend. Last time I needed some, I visited Thomson's travel agent in Ludlow. The woman who served me that time, was professional, speedy and charming, so I popped back in.

The shop was empty, except for the five uniformed, smiling, welcoming members of staff. Not sure which one to pick, I told the assistant in the middle that I just needed to buy some euros.

"Ah--we haven't actually got any at the moment," she explained. "We'll have some in on Friday."

This was Tuesday. I fly on Friday. I thanked them-- all of them-- and whizzed across the road to a branch of Nat West. It went like this:

Me: 'Hi--I just need to buy some euros, please.'

Assistant : 'OK--do you bank with us?'

Me: 'No, but my bank doesn't have a branch here.'

Assistant : 'Ah, OK, but we can only sell euros to our own customers, because we don't have a way of debiting your card, as you're with another bank.'

Me: 'Hmm. OK. So...if I whizz back outside, and withdraw cash from your machine, and come back in with it, can I buy some euros from you, please?'

Assistant : 'Well.....how much did you want?'

Me :'Only £75 worth.'

Assistant : 'I can't really, because you see, it's using our stock of euros, which are really meant for our own customers.'

Me : 'Yes but...there isn't a branch of my bank here.'

Assistant : 'You could try the post office'.
.
Me: 'I've been in there for something else. There was a very long queue and I need to get home now.'

Assistant :'Sorry.'

 BANK CUSTOMER AT ADJOINING TILL POINT ENTERS CONVERSATION.

Second bank customer : 'Hang on,' (waves bunch of euros at me as bank staff behind glass look on.....)--do you just want to buy some euros?'

Me: 'Yes'.

Second bank customer : 'I've just come in here to change mine back into sterling. Do you want to buy some from me ?'

Me: 'Yes please. I'll pop out to the cashpoint and get out £80 and we'll sort it out over there by the chairs...ok?'

So I did. We calculated a mutually acceptable exchange rate--better for both of us than she would have got over the counter. The bank customer wished me a lovely holiday. She continued on her way, and I came home to record a voiceover job.

For an online shopping app.

End of story.








Monday, 13 March 2017

Two days, three women, one message.



I've been thinking hard about three women I've talked to in the past couple of days.

They are facing very different challenges in their lives. But one of their situations puts the others' in perspective, somehow.

The first woman lives in my town, and has done the same job, in the same workplace, for more than 20 years, with hardly any changes in working practices there in that time. For instance, there is minimal use of IT; and there have been few improvements or updates in workplace furniture and equipment. She has skills and experience to offer and commands a reasonable income: one which secures her a couple of decent holidays abroad each year. She has a partner and kids she speaks fondly about, her own home, a car, and some good days out. But competition in her field is fierce, and the company's client base is dwindling.

I'd met her in the street on her way to work. "Hi", I ventured. "How are things with you?"

"Oh you know," she said, gloomily. "Same old. Nothing changes, does it?"

I bit my lip for a moment, and changed tack...asking about her weekend plans. It turned out she'd been given tickets for a major sporting event. One that some might give their eye teeth for. "I'm not that keen, actually," she said. "To be honest, it bores me. But I suppose I'll have to go to it....."

And off she went; even more gloomily, mumbling that she needed a fag before "going in there".

As I meandered home, I wondered if she'd ever tried to initiate change at work; seek advice; acquire new skills, or change jobs completely. Maybe it would make her life happier. She could choose to do that. And also, choose when to say a polite but firm "no thankyou" when she's invited to events that she doesn't enjoy. But she'll probably carry on spending 40 hours a week grumbling about her job and her social life. That's a sad waste of time, isn't it?


The second woman is a much loved friend of mine. We keep in touch via social media, but hadn't seen each other for more than a year, so arranged to meet for coffee. My friend has worked in the public sector all her life: in the NHS and in local government, re-inventing herself, re-training along the way, and achieving senior roles. She's loved her work. She's always been a loving, caring person, and is proud that her work makes a real difference to people's lives.

But she's becoming increasingly frustrated about budget cuts, about seeing bright colleagues having to re-apply for their own posts, then failing, and being made redundant. Like most of us, she knows people who give 110% every working day--then get sick, or too 'old', or just too tired, to enjoy the retirement they've worked towards. And she doesn't want to become one of them.

She knows she'll worry about the people she'll no longer be able to help. But she also knows that's
she's earned a break. She's done some financial calculations, and, even though she's years away from retirement age; she's found a way to live on less. And she's going to walk away.

She says she might do a bit of part time work at first. But most days, she's going to turn off her alarm. Have days with her friends and family, and days alone. Days walking. Days baking. Days driving to the coast for a paddle and a 99 with a flake. And days doing bugger all. She's going to change her life, and do what she chooses.

And so to the third woman--a passing acquaintance I exchange a brief hello with from time to time. She's lived a reasonably comfortable life in a reasonably comfortable market town in middle England. She's elegant. Accomplished. Sociable. She has children who are now young adults, whose company she enjoys. She's in her fifties. And she has early-onset dementia.

At this moment, she has a diagnosis, but little clue whether her condition is going to move forward gently, or gallop ahead. She has no idea whether, if her children have children of their own, she will manage to remember their names. Or even live to see them at all.

She didn't expect dementia. And no one would ever choose it. There is nothing she can do to reverse her diagnosis, and no sure way of knowing what her future holds.

I'm not saying it's easy to walk away from a job...or snap your fingers and find another one. We all have financial responsibilities that shape the way we spend our time and our money.

But you have one life. And not a huge amount of control over its length. You might chortle your way through to a hundred. Or face one of life's nastier right-angles this time tomorrow. So..... quit grumbling. Redirect your energy instead into finding people, places, work and play that make you smile.





On Facebook, these comments:

Debbie Mitchell great blog post. Really rings true xx
LikeReply1 hr
LikeReply1 hr
Frances Food for thought Jane. I'm just at the stage now where I'm ready to throw in the towel at work. X
LikeReply35 mins
Helen  Towel thrown...1 week 2 days to go!!! ðŸ¤—
LikeReply126 mins
Frances Well done Helen
LikeReply24 mins
Jo Cunningham Wise words my friend. I intend to take your advice!

Lisa Silvester Tresise Time passes so quickly and it's quite confronting that we only have this one life to do something that inspires us. I've had many opinions on why I have gone back to Uni at 40 but if I'm getting older anyway I may as well be doing something I love and making an actual difference in people's lives. ðŸ˜˜ðŸ˜˜

Carol Holliday 27 April! Counting the days. Xx

Samantha Bentall Great blog post Jane. Thanks for reminding us to make the most of every day

Thanks for responding, ladies....and why am I not surprised that there are ping-ping-pings from my friends and family...who are all positive and upbeat about life ....and are bloody well making the most of it? I guess that's why I love you!!! x








Friday, 10 February 2017

Thirty years without a mum...but the love's still there.



How do you feel, when someone so pivotal in your life....disappears suddenly, cruelly from it?

You feel cheated. Cheated because, selfishly, they're no longer there to support and comfort you. And angry for them, too, that they've gone too soon. Gone before they achieved half of the things they wanted to do. Gone because, while they were trying their best to fight it, the cancer hurt them. Scared them. Scarred them. Then consumed them.

Today it's thirty years since mum died of breast cancer at 55. She was diagnosed seven years before that--just before she was due to marry Bertie. He'd lost his first wife to breast cancer, and she thought hard about whether she should go through with it; whether it would be fair to him if things didn't work out. She was like that, our Jeannie. Putting other people first; worrying about their feelings. We talked to her doctors, went to the appointments. But no matter how much we thought we knew, the call that brought news of her sudden death, that grey February day, was still a world-stopping shock.


We hadn't talked about death. Didn't want to consider it.

I think she was trying to start a conversation about it one day when she was feeling rotten and the chemo and the drugs and the surgery weren't fighting as hard as she was. 'I'm sorry that things are...you know...not looking so good,' she said--thinking of us. I can't remember what I said. Probably told her not to be silly, not to talk like that. I should have been brave enough to hear what she wanted to say. But I wasn't, so I put the kettle on and told her the snowdrops were coming up. Not suspecting that, this winter, they would see her out.

I could have stayed angry all of those thirty years, at our loss; the unfairness of it. I used to feel huge pangs of envy, soon after she died, spotting mothers and daughters out shopping; laughing in coffee shops, snatching a bite in their lunchbreaks like we used to do. We were all working in London, then. Jeannie,(the pet name Bertie used instead of Jean; one that we teasingly adopted too...) was (proudly) at the shiny, new Nat West Tower. She'd worked in the City most of her life. I was a young reporter on a doctor's paper in Soho, and would jump in a cab to and from EC2. My sister Ali worked in advertising--so we'd all meet there, laughing, often, that we'd turned up in the same colour. We barely had time to grab a snack within the confines of a London lunch hour, but it was worth every second. Nearly every time, she'd find someone at the bank to introduce us to--'showing us off', in our skirts and heels and lippie. When I joined the BBC and left London, she'd send me cards. Some had a fiver or tenner stuffed in the envelope...with an instruction to 'buy a cornet'. She was proud of her daughters, as I am of mine.

And, so, I could have stayed angry, that she never met her grandchildren. Not just Juliet and Alice, but my sister's son Chris. She would have loved them so much; been so proud of what they've all achieved. Angry that not just mum, but two of her sisters lost their lives to breast cancer, too. Angry that I couldn't ever call her for a chat, for advice, to share my great news and the stuff that made me sad. But anger; like cancer, can consume you, too. So it's OK in short, fiery flashes, I reckon...but not good for you if it drags on.

Instead, I've tried to do some important, more constructive things to take the place of anger at losing my mum too soon. Firstly; I try to stay close and true not just to my sister, whose memories are so similar to mine, but to my extended family. Jeannie was one of nine: six girls, three boys. Two remain. All of her siblings, and all of my cousins, and their children--are fabulous, funny, precious people. We're spread across the UK, Europe, Australia and the USA now, so social media keeps us connected between meet ups. Every day, those messages make me laugh. And while breast cancer took three of the six sisters, a fourth smashed it. Beat it twice. Told it who was boss. She's over ninety now. And looks amazing. Yep, breast cancer, take THAT.

Next: I try never to waste a second. Time, like people, is also precious.There's nothing like losing a mum too early, and then having a few hair-raising health scares yourself, to make you want to grab opportunities; to be only with people who warm your heart, and to travel. Not someday.This day. I'm glad Jeannie got the chance to do that, through Bertie's work. I still have her diary from a trip to New York--she went on Concorde and managed to phone me, so excitedly, before they took off. She went to San Francisco too--a place I had to add to the list when I did some travelling of my own a few months ago. She, like me, last September, would have hummed the Judy Garland song from a fast moving trolley as she held on tight, down those hills.

So, thirdly, if the person you've loved and lost is your mum: try to remember how strong that love felt. Her unconditional, motherly love didn't falter, even through the teenage years when I screamed stuff at her that I regretted in an instant. Lied to her, too, like when she spotted a packet of 10 'More Menthol' cigarettes poking out of my coat pocket and I swore blind that they belonged to Carol (actually, we'd gone halves)....even though my coat reeked of (slightly minty) smoke. She didn't even really mind that I'd changed the 13% to 43% on the physics exam result on my school report before I showed it to Dad. She just reminded me how good I was at English, instead.

So even though mum's been missing for most of my adult life...I'm here, and I can live by her values,(OK...forging a school report wasn't our greatest collaboration....) and be there, instead, for my own daughters. I love to tell them, and tell the world, that, every day, they make me proud. I send them cornet money sometimes too. Bank transfers, mainly. And no, I never found any fags in their pockets.

How about you? Ever been loved that much, by someone who's no longer around? If you remember that love... feel lucky. But above all: pass it on.



One fabulous family: Jim, Vic, Tony, Jeannie, Sheilah, Bette, Rita, Marjorie, Joan.
Alice, Juliet, me.






Jenefer Kell Lots of love to you both xxxx
Jane McIntyre Thanks Jen x
Annie Silvester Still bright and beautiful in my memories. Thinking of you xxx


Thinking of you Jane and sending you *hugs* Your mother was obviously a wonderful, caring and thoughtful person x

big hugs xxxx

A lovely blog - one that I can identify with.

A sad story full of love. Thank you for sharing

Lovely post. x


  1. Feb 10
     liked your Tweet
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Jenefer Kell Lots of love to you both xxxx
Jane McIntyre Thanks Jen x
Annie Silvester Still bright and beautiful in my memories. Thinking of you xxx
Jane McIntyre That's sweet Annie. Thankyou xxx
Debbie Mitchell I can see where you and your girls got their beauty from. She was lovely. My mum was also called Jean, and she died from cancer at the age of 55. I miss her every day too. Much love to you petal xx

Debbie Mitchell we're still here though, able to enjoy sunny days and chocolate and friends and family 
Maureen Silvester · 11 mutual friends
Thank you Jane that is a poignant piece. Passing the love on is the best way of remembering xx
Jane McIntyre Flying the flag Deb! Currently in Camden about to boogie with Mark Kermode's skiffle band. Yeee hah !! X
Amy Borg · Friends with Debbie Mitchell and 4 others
Beautifully written, sorry for your loss. Haven't seen you for a long time but won't forget your warmth at radio Shropshire in the mornings and how welcoming you were. You certainly exude motherly love and your kids are very lucky x
LikeReply21 hrs
Jacqueline Williams Thank you Amy for commenting on this post as it enabled me to read it to. It's quite simply beautifully honest & I hope one of my FB friends gets to read it. Thank you Jane McIntyre x
LikeReply15 hrs
Jane McIntyre Gosh thankyou ladies. Amy..you rocked and am sure you still do xx
LikeReply114 hrs
Jo Cunningham Spot on pal!


 and 8 others liked your Tweet
Feb 10:
There's no grave. I can't leave flowers today. So I did this. About love, loss, and pride.