There are Angels on Clapham Common, a Drive through Hysterectomy, and Discovering Solitude.

Yes there are angels about, we meet them all the time, but mostly we do not see them. There is one very particular one on Clapham Common, she knows who she is and so do I . But first the matter of the hysterectomy, my darling little spaniel Beatrice has given the world five lovely little dogs who are giving untold joy to all the families who have them including our own Sidney who has stayed with us , who is a brave little star and has confounded the opinion that he might not make a few months let alone weeks …… but there he is a bright ferocious little chap living life to the full. But as is the way with the world and a metaphor for humans as well really, Beatrice was a superb mother, brave and uncomplaining but it tired her out and we were advised to give her a hysterectomy. I tried to explain this to the cleaning assistant who came here while Saint Joanna was away. There was absolutely no English so I mimed the event graphically. I returned half an hour later having deposited poor Beatrice at the vet. The assistant gave me a very odd look and said it was” no good because too quick “ she thought it was me I realized. I gave up trying to put the record straight, she must be wondering what the NHs is coming to. So there we are then, it will soon be available on an “ap” I expect, so have the womb removed and you get a free chicken in a basket while you wait.

Back to the Angels for some reason I have been completely alone for most of Christmas except for the angel who shone a great light she is from somewhere very special. This has been a first for me I have never spent a night alone ever and it illustrated perfectly the reality of the fleeting moment of parenting, this is how it is and then the scary years of all the rest and then some ????? This has been a strange journey but a great reality check. I have had a chance to make friends with me. So job done ! And special treats for Beatrice, I delivered her babies with Saint Joanna and her husband. I won’t forget how much love and care she has earned. Oh yes and the next book is born. Thank you Angel!

The Perfect Christmas With The Lively Family In Their Farmhouse On Clapham Common in 1742. You Can be there. Buy Vanessa Hannam’s New Novel “Summers Grace” for Christmas.

Yes I did It, copies of my new novel are falling off the shelves. I love the book , particularly the description of Christmas, which was recently read on the radio. There is both joy and sorrow in it, I too have experienced the empty chair at the Christmas family table, in my case it was two and shortly three. I was only fourteen when my father died just before Christmas. I had saved up to buy him a box of dates which he loved . For a girl particularly ,this is the great loss which forms you for the future, after all he is your first great love.

The Lively family have all but lost their husband and father to a daredevil voyage across the world and they know he may never return. But other things have come to the well-ordered home. Wondrous things which will take Grace the daughter to the court of George 2nd and to the home of Handel the God of Music . But it is the grounded life in Clapham which lures her back eventually with her second great love ,whose paths have been “Gods way of planned coincidence”…… as her Grandfather reminds her, as he looks at the splendid family meal prepared from the fruits of a beneficent Summer and one of the family pigs, “ we celebrate the Birth of our dear Lord the greatest of all Gods gifts” he says simply . And then of course it snows, the room becomes cosily muffled in a sparkling white blanket. Rereading this passage reminds me how difficult this time can be, a family is an exotic fruit , touch it or lose one of it, and the bloom is gone. But in the Lively’s parlour mysterious things are happening .These things will bring hard won joy. For all of them, it is a time for reflection thoughts and fears for the sailors suffering terrible hardships so far from home some young lads stolen from their families and broken. But here on this night comes love. both new and old and they are not alone.

My own loss left me with a deep sadness which will never leave and makes Christmas hard. There are new chairs after so many years. But they are not always full.

I Want to Live in Peter Jones, Sidney is a Prince, and Teeth.

I think I died in Peter Jones yesterday but the good news is that I woke up in heaven. Imagine the scene, every now and then I know I am going to collapse, if it is after 6 PM people inevitably think you are drunk and walk over you until some kind person brings some sugar. This time I started to keel over in Peter Jones perfumery department, there was not a chair to be seen. The angels were watching and I ended up behind the counter on the floor. Eventually awareness returns and I opened my eyes and looked into the eyes of an angel wearing a badge labelled “ Jewell” a face of sublime beauty smiled back and holding a lump of sugar was another beauty called “Jacqueline” from shoes, who is a trained first aider, and “behold” two more angels appeared with a packet of “Quality Street”. They all sat down on the floor out of site in a waft of Ralph Lauren and Aramis and the spirit of the ancient wigwam from whence cometh all knowledge. I expect there was a dip in the sales figures. OMG I will never forget it they were so adorable .. the story did not end there a car came and soon I was home, this all provided by John Lewis. I will never be able to thank them enough but perhaps it was all a dream and it was just a glimpse of how much kindness and decency there is in the world . And yes Peter Jones is the place to go if you feel a bit down, we all know that. A small light in a ghastly world of horror, but never the less it is tiny lights that can become the guiding star we celebrate at this time of miracles.

Yes our little Puppy Sidney, who the vet says will not live very long is a prince, people are booking their therapy sessions with him in time for Christmas because he has phenomenal healing powers ; he has beautiful teeth and has learned to smile and will only eat from a silver spoon. My divine cleaning assistant is his foster mummy and is very firm about the silver spoon, so we each have a special set for him. Hey Hoe another festive season then!

Letter from Ali, Testament of Courage NHS Failure!

Dear All, really looking forward to seeing you all later.

It is rather an emotional day for me. It should be a gloriously happy day for any parent when their child reaches 18. They should be about to spread their wings, possibly sharing a beautiful close relationship with someone and so much lies ahead for them. But for Anna it is sadly not.

I can never forget the terrible birth I had with Anna. The utter incompetence of the hospital. Lying there with my waters broken for 3 days. Begging them to give me a Caesarean section and they would not. Not seeing a doctor for 3 days at all. I know that things would have been very different with better care. I still feel huge anger and sadness about it all. It would have been a little easier if the hospital had maybe just said sorry. But instead they lied and falsified the notes so we could not sue. Another bitter pill to swallow. This pain will probably never ever go. I look at Anna constantly and wonder “what if” and how beautiful she is but how sad life is for her. I have searched for a cure for her. It seems that the brain damage will always be there and we just have to accept. So difficult. I would sell my house and everything I own to make her better.

The difficult journey will continue with her all of her life and who will take care of her when I am gone? Who will make good decisions for her? This is a big ask for Rosie and Leo but I am sure they will do the best for her and love her.

It has been a completely exhausting journey so far and a sad one but of course had many happy times too.

Please dig deep for all the energy you have tonight for her. I am sure she will have her moments but it would be so lovely to have a good memory of her having a very very special evening. No pressure!

Love you

Ali xxxxx