Val shed tears as the country fell silent at 11am on Armistice Day and Remembrance Sunday
Sometimes I wonder if I have done more crying than anything else in my life. This week I tried to write a note for blind war veterans as I sent off my charity donation, but every time I sat down to do it my eyes filled and I couldn’t write a word.
The thought of them losing their sight as they fought for us makes me feel overwhelmed.
Tears dripped off my chin as I stood at my front door to silently remember our fallen on Remembrance Sunday. And again on Armistice Day on Wednesday.
The young window cleaner was at my house at 11am, and when he saw me standing in front of my telly watching the Westminster Abbey service he stopped working to pay his respects.
Seeing someone so young be so thoughtful, and realising what a lovely country we are, set me off again.
Val paid her respects on Armistice Day and Remembrance Sunday as the country stood silent at 11am
I’m quick to tears but not always because I’m sad, usually because I’m really happy. I sobbed when Sir Tom Hunter donated £1 million charities chosen by Paul Harvey, the amazing pianist with dementia.
And I was a soggy mess when I saw a video of Marta Gonzalez, an old lady who has Alzheimer’s, instantly transported to her prima ballerina prime in the 1960s when she listened to Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake. Even the music made me tingle.
I think a good cry does me good. That’s why I love watching films with my daughter-in-law Sarah because she likes a cry too.
We watched Paddington 2 together before lockdown and, when Aunt Lucy appeared, I was in floods and so was Sarah – even though we know Paddington isn’t real.
After that we watched Pretty Woman and as Richard Gere was on the way to see Julia Roberts towards the end, I was shouting: “Go! You have to find her!”. And when they were reunited I was a bubbling wreck.
Sometimes, when you feel like a cheer up, what you really need is a good cry.
Remembering loved ones at Christmas
As the festive season approaches Val will soon be writing her Christmas cards to her nearest and dearest
Every year I look at my list of 80 people on my Christmas card list and think I should cut it down. But every year I can’t bring myself to do it.
I understand people going off cards, because postage is expensive and writing takes a while and makes your arm ache.
Many prefer to give the money to charity. And I understand it seems silly to send cards to my neighbours, when I can open my front door and wish them a Happy Christmas.
But the old-fashioned side of me likes to sit down and write a little note to people who mean a lot – especially after such a difficult year. While you’re writing that card and fishing for the address, you’re thinking about them and remembering the times you shared.
So I don’t mind if you’d prefer just to send a text. But I’ll still be writing my cards.
Christmas won't be the same without my Colin
Christmas trees are popping up early all over the place. But I won’t be doing the same.
My late husband Colin was in hospital in the December before we lost him in March 2012, and whenever he saw me he’d say “tree”.
I knew he was asking if I’d put up the Christmas tree, but every time he asked I said: “I’ll only put up the tree when you come home.”
I have never, and can never, put up the tree again. Seeing it would make me sob.
But Christmas trees bring so much happiness to other people, if they fancy putting it up this early I say, why not? We need all the colour and sparkle we can get.
Anticipation is mounting for I'm a Celeb
Val is looking forward to what I’m a Celebrity in Wales brings this series
Before Sunday night’s first episode of I’m a Celebrity in Wales I’m going to pull the house phone socket out the wall and bury my mobile. Anyone who dares to call at my door, tough! Because I’m more excited than I have been about any programme, ever.
How will they deal with the cold – and what will they have to eat? I cannot wait. But if I were Sir Mo Farah, I’d remember I was being paid £300,000 and I’d put up with it. No one gets paid that much for fun and games.
I bet there are some screamers like royal butler Paul Burrell in there. Where’s the sense in screaming and crying as the public will vote for you to do every task?
Bridget Jones style knickers soar in sales
Sales for big knickers have soared during lockdown
News that sales of big knickers have soared during lockdown made my spirits soar too. At last people are realising comfort and warmth is better than those silly little strips of lace and string.
Although maybe if I weighed eight stone and lost a few decades I’d have a different outlook.
The highs and lows in life
This week we saw golfer Jon Rahm create something incredible. In one shot during his practice round at the Masters in Augusta, his ball danced over water before hitting the green and plopping down the hole.
So many jaw-dropping moments come from sport. For me, nothing will beat the moment our Robert first played for Wales. It was against Scotland and he started on the bench. When he came on to play, tears rolled down my face and his dad Colin’s.
That day, I met a lovely lady who gave us two spaces on the bus to the ground, which was really handy because I knew Colin would be looking for a pint afterwards.
She turned out to be Dean Saunders’ mum, and she said: “As your son’s international career is just starting, my son’s is coming to an end.
There’ll be highs and lows. So enjoy those highs.”
It was good advice not just for footballers’ families, but for everyone – especially now, when lockdown has stripped out many of life’s fun things.
Take time to really think about life’s highs rather than dwelling on the lows – sometimes it’s all you need to turn a down day into a happy day. And you never know – something incredible could happen at any moment.
Travelling with Antiques Roadshow
Val enjoys travelling with the Antiques Roadshow from the comfort of her own sofa
Watching Antiques Roadshow is like travelling to all the interesting places in the UK from the comfort of my sofa.
This week they visited Edinburgh Zoo and I was thrilled to bits to see the march of the penguins – my favourite animal. I realised I’d fully lost the plot when I started walking their little Charlie Chaplin walk around my house.
If you'd like to contact Jason, please email [email protected]