The way she said hello informs this goodbye
IOFTEN mention my Birmingham roots and I joked in a previous column about my longing to have the freedom of the city where I was born, brought up and educated, as my friend is soon to be given the honour by the City of London.
But I have lived in the borough of Hillingdon for more than 40 years and I honestly wouldn’t want to be anywhere else. I came here as a young woman when I married my southern belle (Mr is F from Greenford), and it is definitely home.
When we are out of the country I really look forward to getting back to our house, family, friends and neighbours – though admittedly not the M25, Brexit, and deadlines.
As a reporter for 20 years I made many valued contacts who do so much to keep our borough going, and this column has provided me with even more community links.
Many stop me in Uxbridge to tell me their own stories, and some joke that they now feel part of my (and Mr F’s) life.
Best of all they say it cheers them up (mostly when I write about things that have gone wrong in my life I suspect!)
One of my contacts for many years was Gwen Pinder – who regularly rang me at the Gazette when we had a Neighbourhood News page, to ask me to publicise her outings, and meetings based at Harefield Communtity Centre. Long before we all became ‘experts’ in marketing and social media, she knew that promoting her groups would reap results in terms of their popularity and survival, and it did.
Only this year she booked me to speak at two of her groups – CAMEO and the Wine Club at Harefield Community Centre – both missions, I’m glad to say, I accomplished before she died this month (October).
Ill health did not stop her planning ahead for the groups she loved, but it did prevent her from getting to either of my talks. A mixed blessing maybe, I suggested when I spoke to her on the phone afterwards.
I told her I missed her and hoped we would meet again soon. Sadly now we won’t.
Gwen was such a warm person that when she picked up the phone to answer with a ‘Hello dear,’ it was like being wrapped in a blanket.
Bye Gwen. Thanks from Hillingdon – and Harefield in particular.