Tag Archives: Parkinson’s Disease

Make A Change

It’s been a hectic couple of months, here in Brighton.  Emlyn has been launching his new crime fiction list, Exhibit A,  whilst I have been finishing my latest novel, ‘The Key To It All’, which will be out next March with the lovely Pan Macmillan.  I had such fun writing it, until the last month, when the plot had became so huge, it was like reeling a hot air balloon into a backpack, trying to finish the damn thing.

Thirteen novels in, and each time I completely forget how hard finishing a novel actually is.  As usual, there were many tears, and I had to haul the girls out of bed to type ‘The End’ as is the tradition, making them take a close look at my haggard face and solemnly promise me that they will never, ever, do anything as reckless as become a novelist for a living. They yawn-talked an affirmative, before going back to bed, muttering about the madness of their mother.

So the slow process of emerging from my novel-writing hibernation has begun, with a to-do list which has stretched into several pages.  As well as the awful tasks, such as sorting out ‘the pile’ of nasty paperwork and getting around to tackling the kids spare clothes cupboard (which has been a perma-list item for three years), there’s nice things on the list too, like booking up summer festivals and selling tickets for the wine tasting evening at the little one’s school.

My task for today is raising sponsorship for the walk we’re all doing on Sunday for Parkinson’s UK in Hylands House in Chelmsford.  I hate going begging for sponsorship, but this is a cause which is very dear to my heart.

My lovely mum has been suffering with Parkinson’s Disease for over twenty years.  She’s fought it bravely, despite the punishing drug regime and the hideous days when the drugs don’t work at all and she’s frozen and completely able to move.   Mum has always been an inspiration to me, but her steely determination when faced with the colossal challenges of living with this dreadful affliction, makes finishing a novel seem easy by comparison.

Mum was the one who encouraged me to write and to follow my own dream of being a novelist.  She taught me that with a bit of confidence, you can make your own luck. Sadly, the one thing I can’t change is her dreadful suffering.

She reminds me all the time that there’s no point in moaning, because you never know what is just around the corner and that life is for living joyfully, right now.  Today.

If you know anyone who has been affected by Parkinson’s Disease, you’ll know how awful it is.  If you’d like to help find a cure, then please help me support Parkinson’s UK.

My just giving page is:  http://www.justgiving.com/familyRees

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Celebrate Your Mother. Or Else.



So here we go again.  It’s ‘Mothering Sunday’ this weekend. Is it just me, or does anyone find it all a bit patronising? Whether you’re a daughter or a mother – and especially if you’re both.


I’m a daughter to my lovely Mum, who is cruelly debilitated by Parkinson’s disease. A box of chocolates, some Interflora flowers or a saccharine message in a Hallmark card isn’t going to convey to her how much I love her or how blown away I am by how incredibly brave she is.  Being forced to focus on the task for one day makes me feel inadequate and self-conscious.  It’s like there’s a big finger pointing down at me from the consumer sky.  Celebrate Your Mother.  Or. Else.


My eight-year-old asked me why we needed Mother’s Day anyway.  Good question.  To sell more supermarket chocolates and machine embroidered teddies, I answered.   Then I told her that the Mother’s Day had been invented by the Americans and embraced over here when I was about her age. ‘I thought Mother’s Day has been around since Elizabethan times?’ she said, clearly feeling a bit hood-winked (she harbours a deep distrust of Barbie, McDonalds and Disneyland).  ‘There should be a Daughters Day,’ she said.  ‘Where you get to bunk of school and go roller-skating.’ I assured her that there probably will be a Daughter’s Day by the time she’s my age.  I could do with a Daughter’s Day myself.


Anyway, ‘Mothering Sunday’ has always seemed a little bit of an oxymoron.  On account of the fact that it’s a day when I fully intend to do as little ‘mothering’ as possible. I am hoping that, as in previous years, my absence of mothering will highlight just what a fabulous mother I am the rest of the time.  What I want is get a lie in and a cup of tea brought to me in bed.  And some home-made cards from my girls.  The more rubbish and badly spelt the better.  This is all I want.  And perhaps a big, fat Sunday lunch where I get to eat most of the roast potatoes.  Oh, and for somebody else to remember to wash the school uniforms and hang them up to dry, preferably before Monday morning.


What I don’t want is any of the stuff that my in-box is full of today.  Someone, somewhere has sold my email address to ‘interested parties’ and I’m choc full of Mother’s Day offers. I got one just now luring me into a special mother’s day exfoliation and waxing package.  Getting waxed?  On mother’s day?  Who decided that would be a treat?

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