My mother had a Stroke in October 2002, a supposed tia following an angiogram which damaged her right side.  She eventually taught herself to speak, read and write again. She was 76, the same age as my husband now. She had an enormously wide circle of friends and family so I offered to write out her Christmas cards as she was finding it difficult. About 300!  It wasn’t a chore because I was able to chat with her about each recipient and learned things about people I wouldn’t generally have known about. On certain cards she would dictate her own messages. I continued every year until she on 7th Dec 2016. It was a beautiful, sharing time as her last five months meant she was in palliative care so we posted them on December 1st, today’s date. I included a note to everyone letting them know her state of health and their responses were so heartwarming both to her and us as a family. 

I wasn’t to know, that two months later, John would also have a Stroke. Last year it was difficult for me to settle down to writing out our own Christmas cards. What do you say to people? This year I’m finding it even more difficult. Some friends have lapsed. Do I remind them? Then, I thought about the personal messages we received about our mother after she passed on and what her Christmas message had meant to people. Get on with it, I’ve said to myself. You can only extend the hand of friendship. You have made the effort. What will be will be. 

Take care, all of you, and a happy and peaceful Christmas to all of you. John as made a good effort at assembling the Christmas tree, the lights are twinkling,,,,,I’m waiting to see how the baubles look when it’s finished. Will post a photo!

Veronica and John x


What a  truly inspirational and beautiful post. Thank you for sharing x

Thank you, Kay,

I was feeling a bit down and needed to remind myself of the positives. John has just assembled the Christmas tree and the lights are twinkling. We now need to put the baubles on,,,,ahem!! Anyway, here’s my Christmas calendar, day one. My headteacher made it for me in 1996 and I’ve used it every year, even since retiring. The schoolchildren would put a positive message in each pocket to be read out when it was their turn. Of course, they also got a sweet. Just imagine how fat John will be by December 24 if I can’t persuade my neighbours grandchildren to come and help out?? Doesn’t bear thinking about lol!  Our own live too far away. ?


What a great way of looking towards Christmas.  And sweets!! I suppose the healthy version is your way enjoy the positive affirmation and share the sweets. 

Hi Veronica, what a heartfelt post together with some great advice.

 I was wondering what to tell friends I’ve not seen for a long time and won’t know I’ve had a stroke so this afternoon I’ll start to write my letters.

We are putting the tree up next week and are off to the Baltic restaurant for a meal, which was a Xmas present from last year, which due to the turmoil of the stroke we have only just found. 

Hope you and John are well.


Hi Veronica - lovely post, it's so interesting to hear other stories.  This time last year I was wondering how to approach the whole C'mas thing, and decided I'd just have to be pragmatic about it, I did a few bits and pieces but tried not to give myself too much extra "stuff" to do.  So far I haven't done anything this year!!  School takes care of most of my Christmas energy, and hubby isn't well at the moment, so am concentrating on him.  

The most important things are health & love, (and, of course, Strictly!) - I've decided that nothing else really matters, most of our friends and family recognise that, and give support however they can.  The best C'mas gifts can't be bought, and I'd trade most of what I have to improve life for SSs who have been through so much.  

Dangerously close to Bah Humbug territory - I think I'd better go and get busy xxx

Nice post Veronica. 

I am not a great fan of the "Round Robin" letters enclosed with christmas cards, but maybe this is the year you could use one. Then you can spend the necessary time composing the right words, but quite quick to enclose to all those you send to.

I am still thinking about 300 cards ! Wow.

I missed your posting. This site can be utterly hopeless. I only found it through someone elses postings then tracking back. I wonder what other gems I have missed.

I also noticed that your posting was edited. Big brother is taking control.


Ours are going up soon 

merry Christmas all 

Aha! A Christmas tree decorated with all the things made for us or given to us by our grandchildren over the last 16 years. Aren’t we softies? 

Thank you all for your many messages of support and advice. Now to get on with those Christmas ♦️ ♥️ ? 


Ah the tree looks lovely. Hope you enjoy Madeira.


Thank you Colin, I’ve never done round robin letters and never read any sent to me. In the past I’d write a personal letter to one friend or relative, save it then adapt it with a short personal paragraph on each one after that. As I used to do them on my laptop or pc and save what I sent, it was easy to see what I’d said to them next time I wrote lol!

I got a bit lazy these last two years and only scribbled a short message on the cards. Think I might need to do the same this year. Nic’s advice! ha ha! Last night, when we went to bed, we left the tree with just lights. The vac was in the middle of the floor, bits of tree everywhere, Christmas cards spread out on the sofa. This morning I got up very, very late (didn’t sleep until 3 am). Chomping on my cornflakes, the boss man said ‘what shall we do today?’ I could hear Nic!! ,,,,,,,,,Yes, she has power!

What did we do? We had a lovely stroll along the Groyne at South Shields then popped along to Minchellas for an ice cream. The rivermouth and sea was like a millpond, beautiful skies, lovely sunset! The vac was still in the middle of the floor,,,,,,,, ha ha!  anyway, the tree is now finished! Veronica (and John munching chocolate now)

What a perfect day! 

I guess Round Robin letters abounded in my family because half of them emigrated to Australia.

Rose writes in all her cards and she never gets them finished in time to post for Christmas. I do mine with just a single line then off they go in to the post box.

You are going well with your christmas tree. Mine is still in the loft. Its me that does all the decorations.

Most of our christmas stuff is stuck in our house in Harrow. We would always spend the holiday up there. So we have bought a less expensive tree for here and a few decorations so not much to go up.

I thought about you guys walking along the sea front, I too am near the sea front of the north sea, but about three hundred miles south. It is a walk to our village beach but I cant make that, No vehicle access. So I drive to Brightlingsea or Clacton and I really must do that again. Havent been by the sea for several months. My energy is required for all those maintenance tasks and for our somewhat long garden.

A pleasing 12c here today. A bit of weeding is called for.


Ah, Colin, you are so good at responding to all our messages. I had to dig deep for this last one. What a bumbling site to navigate. I was wondering, now that winter is blinking at us, whether you can spend less time in the garden and manage to get to Clacton and elsewhere?. Looking at the waves, listening to them, enjoying the crispness is so therapeutic for John. If I lived nearer to you, I’d pop you in the car straight away. Instead, I’ll post a photo from yesterday, just for now. A statue of Collingwood graces the skyline beside Nort Shields pier. 


Dear Veronica

I am sure you are right.  However, trying to balance my "good" hours is not straight forward. I recall the first time I made it to Clacton. It was raining, grey and I thought it was wonderful. I wanted to tell everyon "this has taken me 20 months to make it here !" but evryone else was miserable !

My stroke group is in Holland-on-sea which is just a little further tham Clacton. I just about make it there, but have no energy left when I get there. Now our solicitor has moved to "head office" which is Clacton. My sister in law has taken two million pounds from her parents and I am trying to recover it to share it with the other two adult children. Yes two million. The tax on that is a staggering £560,000 and that is to be paid from my wife and my brotherinlaws share. Not much left. after all the expenses. So Clacton at the moment is not quite so attractive. I can easily make it to Wivenhoe, nice river front walks and to Brightlingsea which has a beach and proper sea front.

I am almost three years post stroke and finding my new life is hard.

Also I am the driver so I have to ensure my miserable amounts of energy are saved so that I can drive safely. 

I love the sound of the waves. We go (or at least old Colin went) to a flat in Sussex. which is right on the beach. The sound of the waves is just lovely. And a refreshing change. My bungalow is about 600 yards from the tidal river, so we can in theory see the sea. If we sit on the roof !

Snap of "our" flat view is attached.


Ah, thank you for that Colin! The photo is brilliant! Two million is a huge amount of money. What a sad situation for your family to be in and how distressing to have to deal with that on top of everything else. Our hearts go out to you and hope that things can be resolved sooner rather than later. It is so important for your continued recovery. Take care and thank you for sharing. V&J ?

Dear Colin, 

I couldn't imagine what kind of stress and difficulties that sort of situation causes within a family.  It must be an incredible strain on you to have to deal with it in perfect health let alone post a stroke.  It just shows what a remarkable person you are. Good luck! Hope it gets sorted soon. 


Yes huge. Until Dad in law died recently we had no idea how wealthy they were. Sister in law has paid herself mega money and then moved house not leaving an address with us nor most the rest of us. I could do without the stress. This will go on for years rather than months.

We dont need the money, I have been paid well, saved a lot to retire on and been lucky with my savings. But this sort of wealth should be going to my children and grandchildren. Also to my wife if I die first.


Probably will go on for years. I suppose I should just let it go, but I cant let this injustice go. I am OK and dont need the wealth, but my wife will be pressed when I die. And my brother in law is struggling financially.

Plus the thought that my sister in law can be so ultra devious. Can you imagine writing a cheque for £200,000 foir yourself. Its so huge I cant really grasp it. And she has donethat six times. And another huge hunk of mother in laws savings appears to have gone missing.

Where there is a Will there is a war.


Your family must be so proud of you and thankful to have you in their corner ?‍♂️?‍♂️