Monthly Archives: February 2013


Remember the video I put on the last post? This one about Alex Wood and his brain injury:

Alex and Tamsyn’s Story

Well Grace watched it with me. Usually, I’m a bit of a wuss with exposing The Giblet to the more emotional aspects of life, but I felt very strongly that she should watch it. And watch it she did. Silently, cuddling, and attentively from start to finish (a rarity for the wee one – who is usually impossible to shut up).  When the video finished, she sat still and mulled things over for a minute, carefully watching me wipe my watery eyes. Knowing that what she had witnessed had affected her Mummy in some way, she had a lot of questions. Questions which finished up in a rather surprising attempt at a little Gibbly  solution.  Here’s how some of the conversation went:

“Mummy who was that man?”

“That’s Alex Grace.”

“Is he sick and poorly?”

“Yes he is. He’s hurt his head.”

“He hurt his head? Has he seen the doctor?”

“Yes he has, but he’s very sick and poorly. He needs lots of help from lots of doctors, and lots of other people too to try and get better.”

Long pause whilst this information is processed.

“Mummy can my help Alex? Can my paint him a picture? ”

“Er . . . well, yes! Yes of course you can, sweetheart. That’d be a really kind thing to do. ”

Urgently getting off the sofa. “Cummon Mummy! Painting for Alex!”

So a painting she did. And another. And another. And another. This was a Giblet on a mission, and although she loves painting, I’d never seen it hold her concentration for so long.

At first, I thought I’d post one of the pictures to Alex’s wife, the lovely Tamsyn (blogs as Anecdotes of a Manic Mum) for her to pass onto him. But seeing how determined my little girl was with this new project, I had a thought. If she wants to try and help, who on earth am I to stop her? She has asked to paint for Alex every day since seeing that post. She has named all her pictures. I have framed and put the titles on them. (These include: “Bubbles”, “Splashy Splashy”, “My Name – But in Colours”, “Pink Raining”, and many more.)

bubbles My Name Pink Raining Rainin SPLASH!Red Red Red

SO here’s the thing: if anyone would like to own their very own piece of Giblart (see what I did there) then get in touch! Follow the Facebook page to see what she’s up to. Message me, e-mail me, post on the wall. All I ask is that you make a donation to Making Waves for Alex in return, and keep spreading the word about this remarkable family, and Making Waves for Alex.


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Making Waves for Alex

“A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step”.

It’s 7am and I lie wide awake in the home of a lady I only met a few hours ago. She is – I am proud to say – a friend. Tamsyn and I struck up an on-line friendship a couple of years ago. She has 4 children with the love of her life: Alex.

Alex had a rugby accident, leaving him blind, and in a coma. Their world fell apart. Please, if you don’t know their story, read her blog here, or this post by the fabulous blogger, Northern Mum.

We have spent the night at a ball to raise funds for Alex’s rehabilitation. Tamsyn was told he would probably die: he didn’t. She was told he would not wake from his coma: he did. She was told he wouldn’t talk or walk again: I watched him dance in the arms of his wife just a few hours ago. I talked to him at his home, where he belongs full-time, and we understood each other just fine.

But he has so far to go . . .

How could we not try with all our hearts and souls and every spare penny to see what else he can do? To see how bravely this man can keep defying expectations? How could we not try to make some waves for Alex? To be part of watching a family blown apart, slowly and tenaciously build themselves back up and show the world what the real meaning of strength and love is?

It could happen to any of us.

Alex and Tamsyn

So here I lie, wide awake in the home of  friends I finally met just a few hours ago. We have talked for hours, and now there is only me awake. It was an amazing night – full of laughter, hope, tears, dancing and inspiration. (Alex and Tamsyn have smiled more tonight than some couples I know will probably smile in their entire marriage.)  Nearly 12 thousand pounds has been raised. Amazing. But as I tap away at this post on my phone – unsure of whether or not I’ll ever share it – I can hear Alex’s voice from his bed calling out, and his carer gently talking, and I silently cry.

Because it’s just so fucking unfair.

My husband lies next to me. Usually when I can’t sleep, it irritates me – albeit completely unreasonably – that he can sleep so soundly. Not tonight. Tonight I feel deeply grateful that I can lie by the man I love every night. That any time I want, I can reach out and touch him.

And I want the same for my friend.

Later today I will head back to Bolton, and back to my usual life. A life that doesn’t involve fights with the benefit system and bringing up four children without the help of my partner. A life without neuro re-education, wheelchair ramps and  the worry of where to live.
My path has not been an easy one, but I have never felt so very, very  thankful for my family and our health.

Please: Share Alex and Tamsyn’s story. Watch this short video to meet them properly – it was shown at the ball. I didn’t watch it then. I looked around the room instead and saw the love and tears in every single pair of eyes fixed on the glow of the screen. Mostly strangers to each other, but united in grief for what this family have gone through, and hope for what they can now go onto achieve.  

Thank you Tamsyn, for letting us be a part of it.

Donate here.


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This post seems poignant again right now. Thought I’d share again.


Dear Grace,
I would like to introduce you to a few people:

 Simone de Beauvoir –

1908 –  1986


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Odd Conversations with Grace Part 2

“Mummy, you want to play shops?”

“Yes ok.”

Grace pootles off to fetch her toy till and pretend food, placing it all very carefully on the coffee table. She sits down on her little stool and her fingers hover over the till keys, at the ready.

“Ok – Ready Mummy!”

“Right ho . . . Good Morning Shop Keeper!”

“Nooooo . . . you have to knock.”

“Oh, ok.” (knocks on pretend door) “Can I come in?”

“No. Shops closed.”

Shopkeeper sits at her till patiently. Mummy stands still, unsure of next move. Shopkeeper leans over and whispers, conspiratorially:

“Mummy . . . you have to knock knock again.”

**sigh** (Knocks AGAIN on pretend door.) “Can I come in?”

“YES! Shop’s open! What would you like Mummy?”

“Erm, I’d like a tomato please.”

“We haven’t got any.”

“There’s one there.” (Indicates toy tomato.) Shopkeeper makes a deliberate point of looking away.

“Well ok then, I’ll have a banana and some bread please.”

(Getting impatient) “We haven’t got any!”

“Cereal then.”

Shopkeeper shakes head.

“Some cat food?”

Head shaking continues.


“This is ridiculous Mummy.”

“Well yes, I agree actually, it is. What have you got Grace?”

“I’m NOT Grace I’m shop keeper.”

(Through gritted teeth) “What . . . have . . . you . . . got . . . .shopkeeper?”

“Hmmmmm. . . let me see.”

Shopkeeper taps a thoughtful index finger on her chin.

“I’ve got a dirty sausage.”

“Really? . . . a dirty sausage?”

“Uh-huh.” (Passes me an imaginary dirty sausage.) “AND we got this doofer here.” (passes me remote control) “AND we got dinosaur.” (Large rubber T Rex is unceremoniously dumped into my arms)AND a snowman, but you have to go up into the sky for that. . . . 2 pounds please.

I dutifully pay my imaginary 2 pounds, and it is carefully placed into the till draw by little hands.

“Right – Wass your name?”


Repeats slowly “M-u-m-m-y” whilst carefully typing random buttons on the till.
“Good . . . Mummy. How old are you?”

“This is a very intrusive shop . . . “

“How OLD are you Mummy??”


“34? A three and a four?”


A three and a four are carefully entered into the till.

“Bye Bye Mummy. . . Your turn to be shopkeeper now!”


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