Positivity and Gratitude – Now Is The Time

Sunshine Healing Logo


What a strange time we are currently experiencing.  And so, what better time than now to turn our faces to the sun and do some inner work and self-healing.  Many of us are in the position to sit and ponder, to read and meditate, to experience nature in a rare and mindful way, to really examine our mind, body and soul.

We are seeing two sides of human nature at the moment: the ones who are in fear (and this is understandable as we are dealing with the unknown – and I have also had a few wobbles), and the ones who are calm, taking things in their stride; still mindful of what is going on around them and practising caution, but nevertheless shining their light and positivity.

The human race is reaching out in ways we did not before, checking on each other and calling out to strangers on the other side of the street: “take care … be well … enjoy your walk … isn’t it beautiful today?”  Just the other night communities everywhere joined in the Clap for NHS workers and Carers, which was so uplifting and joyous beyond words.

Now is the time to remain as positive as we possibly can and to practice gratitude – believe me, two very powerful tools that we have at our disposal at all times.

Now is the time to calm our minds: take a minute each day to sit in stillness, notice how your body feels, what you are thinking.  Breathe in deeply through your nose and breathe out fully through your mouth.  Breathe in happiness, contentment, love, positivity, gratitude … really feel these emotions as they flow in with your inward breath.  Feel them move into your heart space and fill it with LOVE.  Breathe out negativity, sadness, worry, fear … feel it leave your body.  Shake your body, your arms, your legs a little bit, visualise all this unwanted energy going into the ground, into Mother Earth.  I like to imagine it being washed away in underground streams, through crystal caverns, being transformed into something magical and beautiful.

Do this exercise and you should really feel cleansed.  A minute of doing this will feel so beneficial and chances are you will want to increase it to two minutes, three minutes or more.  Your emotions will feel much QUIETER afterwards.

Think positive thoughts: tell yourself: I HAVE THE POWER TO QUIETEN MY MIND.  You can change your thoughts:  When your mind chatter decides to say something negative or unhelpful, you can change that negative voice within you.  Speak strongly to that voice and tell it to go away, then replace it with a confident voice (if it helps, think in the voice of someone you know who has a self-assured tone) and say loving and wonderful affirmations to yourself: I AM STRONG, I AM BRAVE, I AM HAPPY, I AM HEALTHY, I AM BEAUTIFUL.  Say these with a smile on your face.

Albert Einstein said: “Stay away from negative people. They have a problem for every solution.”  This is good advice, if we surround ourselves with positive people, we will automatically feel uplifted, especially if we can laugh with them.  Of course, in this current climate, we may have to do this over the internet or the phone, but we are lucky in this modern day and age, that we are able to reach out this easily.

Now is the time for Gratitude – a simple yet effective tool.  When you wake in the morning, straight away say ‘thank you’ for something you are grateful for, however small that thing might be.  It could be gratitude for your bed, for the roof over your head, that you woke up healthy, for the cup of tea a loved-one brought you.  Even when we wake feeling sombre, we can change our mood by thinking of something positive and by physically smiling.  The act of smiling releases endorphins, which bring out feelings of happiness and activates receptors in the brain to reduce discomfort.

Keeping a gratitude journal is wonderfully uplifting and helps us to realise how many things in life we are grateful for.  When you write it down ‘I am thankful for ….’, ‘I am grateful for ….’, it literally lifts your heart and you are generating love out into the universe and adhering to the law of attraction.  What you think about, you become.  I promise you that when you begin to write down your gratitude, you will soon find yourself with a VERY long list. 

It is lovely to keep these thoughts of gratitude in a journal that really appeals to you, that you find aesthetically pleasing to look at, that makes you want to pick it up and write in it daily.  In fact, to do this on a daily basis will literally re-wire your brain into a more positive way of thinking.  I have both a notebook for gratitude with plain-lined pages, and also one with little prompts to make you think: name five ordinary things you are thankful for today; what are some of your favourite red things; what small comforts are you grateful for today?  I love this as there are things to feel thankfulness for that you may not otherwise consider.

Gratitude can dissolve negativity – Einstein proved that everything in the Universe is energy and energy vibrates at different frequencies.  Therefore, our thoughts and feelings will determine the vibration of our energy.  By feeling gratitude on a daily basis, we will powerfully attract good things into our lives.

Rhonda Byrne, author of “The Secret Gratitude Book” says: “The sun continually shines, sending out its life energy to us in a never-ending stream.  You experience the effect of the sun when you are facing it, but if you turn away you will no longer receive its life-giving effects”.  I really love this as the words make me feel happy and uplifted and I can feel warmth emanating from them.

Gratitude and positivity can transform your life.  As a Spiritual Healer, I encourage my clients to practice meditation, positivity and gratitude to boost their general wellbeing.

Now is the time to ‘be’.

  • Breathe deeply, in with positivity and light, out with negativity and darkness and all that does not serve you.
  • Stay positive, think happy thoughts.
  • Be grateful, be thankful.

Take care everyone.

💜The power of love and gratitude will dissolve all negativity in our lives, no matter what form it has taken💜…The Secret

I Am A Butterfly 🦋 Seasons of Change

I have a beautiful Gratitude Journal, covered in sunflowers, called “A Life Of Gratitude” by Lori Roberts.  I love it because the pages are beautiful, and they prompt me to think about life in a different way.

One of the pages talked about there being a season for everything and suggested taking a moment to reflect on what change means to you; that each time in our lives has a purpose and to think about who you are now, compared to who you were in the past.

Back in the Summer of 2011, when my youngest daughter was about to embark on secondary school, my life felt like it was changing drastically and of course it was.  I suppose it now seems silly, but my third child moving on to senior school was bringing out many different emotions in me.  I remember dropping her there for her first induction day (she did not know anyone at all) and then literally sobbing all the way home.  I could not wait to get back and collect her.  I’m sure many parents can empathise with these changes.  I had only worked part-time while the children were in Primary school, so now felt that I needed to find more work to help out at home.  I’ve never been good with change and so stress started to show in my physical body.  This started with my eyes; they slowly became itchy, red, and watery, which then flared up my eczema until my eyes and my face were a complete swollen and weepy mess.  This continued to get worse for a few weeks – I had of course sought medical advice and I was given a few different diagnoses and treatments which only served to make things worse.  It took me at least five minutes in the bath in the mornings, with a hot face cloth, to soak and unstick my eyes.  I would get up and go to the bathroom blind.  My vision was constantly blurred.  No-one was considering the underlying cause, not even me at this point.


This leads me to the fact that everything has a season, and with this condition, I felt ugly, I felt sad. The way I looked made me more stressed, and the stress led to the condition getting worse.  This was my Winter, both in season and in my soul – I wanted to hibernate, hide myself away.  Everywhere I went I wore sunglasses.  Finally, a friend suggested I go to see a Healer.  Though I had heard of Healing, I had never experienced it, but I was open to anything. I first visited Roger, a Spiritual Healer, in November of 2011 and it was the first time I felt – in fact knew for certain – that I would get better.  I would Heal.  As soon as I met him, I felt some of the worry drain away.  That first Healing was like nothing I had ever experienced before – the warmth, the energies, all served to calm me.  You cannot feel stressed when in a space of Healing, especially when using your breath to breathe deeply and consciously.  The music that was playing that evening, “Eternal” by Miriam Stockley, was so beautiful and added to the whole experience.  I still play this during Healing sessions today and even now, I am transported back to my first time sitting on that Healing stool.

It took quite a few sessions of Healing to clear up my eyes and skin, but each time, I started to look more and more like myself again.  I cried a LOT during some of these appointments, but this all served to release my anxieties.  Roger, never faltered in his belief that Healing would help me, he was kind and patient throughout.




Finally, when my eyes were wide open again and my skin was clear, I stopped going for Healing.  Spring was on the Horizon, and for me it definitely felt like the end of one thing and that something new was beginning. I honestly felt like I was emerging from a cocoon, not quite a butterfly, not that beautiful … yet – but definitely somewhere inbetween.  I found it hard to walk away from the Healing as I had embraced it so much and had so much to be grateful for.  How could I suddenly not be around this life-changing energy?  I felt renewed in a way I cannot explain, but at the same time, I felt bereft.  Healing was in my soul now, but I didn’t know what to do about it.

I had kept in touch with Roger and he said to me one day that he had a feeling I could do this – give Healing to others.  I was surprised as I hadn’t really considered becoming a Healer myself, but I went and had lunch with him and his wife, Jennie, and we chatted about all things Spiritual and Magical.

After a couple of visits, Roger said ‘OK, today you can do some Healing on me’ – I was so nervous, ridiculously so, but I did it.  A little awkwardly to be sure, but it felt good.  I worked with him for a while, building up my confidence and he introduced me to a couple of his clients, to whom we gave joint Healing.  He really did nurture me through the Healing process and I am thankful and grateful beyond words to have had this personal encouragement.

I wanted to continue with my Healing and to help others and so registered with a tutor, a beautiful and wonderful soul, Ann Coleman, with whom I gained my Accreditation to become a Healer Practitioner in Spiritual Healing.  From there I set up my little business, Sunshine Healing, and have never looked back.

Just over two years ago, I made a short promotional video and I was so nervous, I literally sweated buckets that day.  I was pleased with the result and the feedback I received was positive, but even in these last two years I can see how much self-confidence I have gained and, looking back, I feel like it was a different me that made that video.


I feel I am now in my Summer phase – I have finally emerged as a new, improved, far more confident version of me.  In the last few months, I have started to do live videos on Facebook. I NEVER thought I would be capable of this, yet I have found that I love it.  Thanks for this go to a wonderful Facebook group that I am in, and namely Marion Morley, for suggesting we all practice our Live videos within a safe space. The first time I did it, I put it off until almost midnight, then jumped nervously on and did a quick ‘hello’.

What does the future hold?  We have certainly had time to reflect in this period of ‘lock-down’ and uncertainty and I know that I want to be able to offer more Healing, to reach more people both in person and on-line.  I would like to work more with crystals and incorporate this into a Healing session.  I also have given guided meditation sessions online, both in groups and one-to-one.  I write these myself and this brings me joy. I am also in the process of recording these meditations, so will be able to offer them for sale later this year.

I love working online, I can reach out to the whole world!  I have worked with an amazing mindset coach, Brooke Bownes, who has encouraged me to move forward.  I am embracing life and I am so grateful to her for all her amazing support.  Furthermore, having experienced for myself and through my clients the power of talking before and after Healing sessions, I would like to take a course to complement this – talking therapy of some kind.  I am a great listener and get so much satisfaction and upliftment from seeing other people feel better through the power of Healing and talking.  It would be lovely to offer something different to clients.

I still work with Roger once a week (although we had a huge gap during Lockdown) and he tells me I have become a wonderful Healer – to me this is the highest compliment I can receive as it was from him that I learned not only about giving Healing, but to be absolutely passionate about it.  He has been through some health issues in the past couple of years, and I am truly thankful to have been able to help him cope like he once helped me.  As indeed, he still does help me.  Roger, who is also a talented musician, wrote and played the beautiful and perfect music that accompanies my promotional video. It makes me smile so much to realise how lucky I am.

I find I am stepping out of my comfort zone more and more and this is scary sometimes, but so exciting.  The more I do this, the more I step into my own personal power and I love that I can shine my light brightly and help other people.  I have also written some song words, which I’m hoping to incorporate into a recording with my light language or use it within the meditations (or maybe both) I’m not sure yet.


As for the season of Autumn, I feel that we all experience the shedding of layers from time to time, a period of letting go, appreciating the moments of beauty, colour, change; as we rest, allowing rejuvenation to take place, so that we may step into our true selves more and more over time, with renewed energy and life.

We are ever changing, finding new ways to grow and learn, whilst keeping our roots firmly anchored into the Earth as we do so.  Allow and observe these changes and welcome them in with open arms.

I have been on a wonderful, spiritual, Healing journey, and feel that I have finally stepped into the sunshine and spread my beautiful wings.  They are bright and vibrant, and I feel that over the coming seasons of my life, they will fly me higher and further towards my vision.  I am grateful, I am thankful, I am lucky.


Originally written – 10/4/2020 (Lockdown)

In Which There’s Perfume, Cocktails and Sunsets

Starring Roles:


Sheila and Patrick – our Irish landlords from whom we rented our basement

The Woolstones – the family we stayed with when we first arrived in Vancouver

Gail – the lady I worked with at CKVU TV




Dear Mum and Dad,

Hello there – hope you’re both okay – still missing you very much!


Friday 23rd March 1990

Went to work for the last day at Montreal Shipping.  It was becoming quite interesting in the end although I couldn’t have stuck that telexing job forever!  Also, I was getting to know a lot of the people there.  They told me before I left that I had done really well and that a couple of people there had sent memos saying they wanted to hire me permanently.  So, I came home feeling quite pleased with myself, as I had been very nervous about first working in Canada.

Went for dinner at a restaurant called Cockney King – it’s a fish and chip restaurant and is run by an Englishman.  Vince drove us there in his van.  The cod and chips was quite nice, but still not quite the same as English fish and chips.

Saturday 24th March 1990

Went to aerobics.  Carolynn didn’t go as she is coming to the end of term at University and she has a lot of studying to do.  Vince picked me up and we went to Denny’s for brunch, which brought back memories as it’s the place where we used to go for breakfast every morning when we came here on holiday.  Vince of course had the pancakes, egg and sausage!!

Nuns on the Run

As it was a lovely day, we drove out in the car with the roof down, to Coquitlam to look at some open houses.  They were very nice, but it just seems so far away from Vancouver and the North Shore.  I think we’re both starting to think more along the lines of buying an older, smaller property on the North Shore and slowly doing it up.  It should still be a bigger property by our standards though.  It’s just so nice in North Vancouver, convenient for the city, for the mountains, for Stanley Park etc. etc.  Still, we’ll have to wait and see.  Followed a sign that said Pitt Lake – it took us all along these quiet farm roads that were getting nearer and nearer to the base of the mountains.  It was also getting colder!  Found it after quite a drive and it was quite lovely.  A great big lake right at the foot of the mountains and it looks as though you could walk for miles, but it was now quite late in the day, so we didn’t go too far.  I drove the TR6 back along the quiet roads.  God, it’s going to take me a while to get used to it.  I was really uncoordinated!  Because I was on the other side of the road and the other side of the car, my feet wanted to do different things.  I kept pressing the brake pedal to change gear!!  I don’t know how Vince takes to it so easily.  I guess being nervous doesn’t help.  This evening went to see a funny film “Nun’s On The Run” – it’s Eric Idle and Robbie Coltrane.  I didn’t think I’d enjoy it much, but I did.

Got your letter today.  Again, it was so great reading it – I get so disappointed when I get to the last page though, so I read it all over again (several times).  I’m sure the letter smells of your perfume Mum.  You know I told you, you always smell nice, well this letter definitely smells of your perfume.  Did you spray it?  Anyway, I keep smelling it because it’s comforting.

Glad to hear you’re reading up on everything Canadian and wow that Vancouver featured on Holiday ’90.  Sadly, we have not seen any of the ice-skating because we didn’t have a tele – but we do now!  It made me laugh that you’ve been cheering on the Canadians!  Glad to hear you’ve put your first super on the beehive – don’t forget I want some of your first honey when you come visit.  You sounded so disheartened in your letter at not selling the house yet.  You mustn’t give up though – it will turn out alright in the end.  And if you do happen to lose Briar Dene, it just means you’ll find something even better.  You could always move to Vancouver??!!  I’ve been told you can do very well with bed and breakfast on Vancouver Island, as it’s very English over there and property is extremely cheap.

Sunday, 25th March 1990

Vancouver Skytrain

Took the Skytrain to New Westminster Quay.  It took about half an hour.  It’s by the water, like Lonsdale Quay, but it’s not half as nice.  Had a wander round and got some lunch, then went on a coastal patrol boat that was docked there for people to have a look around.  Went to the Woolstones for dinner but left earlier because of getting up for work in the morning.


Monday 26th March 1990

My first day at CKVU.  Gail, the lady I work with is a really sweet and nice person.  She showed me around the building and introduced me to everyone, although it will be ages before I know who everybody is!  They have two studios there, one that they use every day for the news and a couple of talk programs and a larger one that’s used on occasion for game shows etc.  Did quite boring work today, but I didn’t mind, it was nice to not have so much responsibility for a change. The day went very quickly, and it seemed really strange to finish at 3 pm.  But it was a nice sunny warm day, so I felt really free!  I went into town and then to Lonsdale Quay and really enjoyed myself.  Vince picked me up as I was walking home from the bus-stop.  He had a pretty good day too.  Sheila and Patrick came down to us for a change after dinner for a cup of tea and a chat.  Patrick has got new teeth – he’s had a gap at the front for a while now, so he looks much better.  He’s a messy eater though and talks with his mouth full, so I can’t look at him!  He’s a funny little man (although very nice) – he looks like a Leprechaun.  Vince does a pretty good impression of him!

Tuesday 27th  March 1990

Had a nice day at work again.  A couple of people came by my desk and said that if I ever need any help to give them a call.  People are just so friendly.  Went into the library to write down some more refrigeration companies from the yellow pages in case Vince needs them.

Got home to find Vinny Ninny with a bad cold.  Went shopping to Save-On and had a great time, bought lots of bits and pieces like a few loose herbs, some tubs of jam and marmalade and some fill-it-yourself fizzy drink.  We got strawberry and pina colada, but there are about 20 flavours to choose from.  Spent about an hour shopping!  “Oh, what did you do this evening, Jo?” “We went to Save-On and had fun shopping!” – mad, aren’t we?

Wednesday 28th March 1990

Was a lovely day again and after work went to Lonsdale Quay to shop for your Easter presents!  When I got home, Sheila and Patrick were sitting on their garden hammock having a drink.  I went out to say hello and they talked me into having a glass of wine, so we all ended up sitting round the garden table, then Vince came home, and they gave him a beer.  It was a lovely mild evening, so a drink and chat was quite nice.  Well, they chat, and we listen – ha ha.

Went to register for a computer course and managed to get a two-day one, which is better than a few weeks and means I can go onto the next level quicker.  I’m using a word-processor at work, so it will be useful.  Vince had a good day at work, and they are talking about giving him a bit more money and hopefully doubling his salary by the end of the year.

Thursday 29th  March 1990

Had to fill in lots of forms for work today.  It’s good though, I get medical and dental benefits for myself and Vince.  Also, if you pay $3.00 a month out of your salary, it means that everyone gets a birthday cake on their birthday or they send flowers on occasions.  Also, you can join a group and they organise outings, such as picnics etc. so that’s nice.  Found out today I will be working 9.30 till 3pm now, so I’ve gained half hours pay a day already.  Stayed in this evening with a lovely fire – Vince is getting quite good at building them now.

Friday 30th  March 1990

Quite busy today at work.  I could have easily worked full-time.  One of the men who works there, Oliver, showed me the TV Studio (inside) where they shoot the news and chat programs.  It was quite interesting.

Got home to find Vince watching tele – his boss has lent it to us which is nice of him.  Went out to dinner at Café Nairobi – it’s East Indian food with a difference and it was really good.  Heather had given us a voucher from the paper, so we got $10 off.  I watched Dallas when we got home.  Hooray!!  I was a bit confused as I’ve missed a few weeks now.

Saturday 31st March 1990

Us at The Woolstone’s surprise Anniversary party – on dear – my perm!!

Carolynn wasn’t going to aerobics, and I had every intention of going, until I got up.  Then, I decided to go back to sleep.  Naughty me!  Cheryl came round, she and Carolynn are holding a surprise party for Heather and George tonight as it’s their 30th wedding anniversary.  Vince and I have the job of putting up decorations and balloons, while they are all out for dinner!  We also had to keep the cake and take it round with us.  Anyway, there we both were letting in all these guests we’d never met!  Mind you, everybody knew about us.  People kept saying to me “Oh, so how’s it going at CKVU?” and I wanted to say, “How the hell do you know?” except it’s very obvious Heather talks about us to everyone which is quite flattering really.  I wore my new outfit that you sent me, and I think almost everyone there said how lovely it was, so of course I told them very proudly that my Mum and Dad had sent it for my birthday.  Heather said, “Wow, your Mum sure knows your size and what suits you!”  Anyway, Heather and George were really surprised when we all jumped out.  It turned out to be a good party.  Wish you could have been there.  Some of the elderly couples there were so funny – they sound and look like the typical kind of couples on American TV series.  I was probably really staring at them: “Oh my dear, your outfit is just goooorgeous!” (You have to read that bit in a Canadian accent).  One of their neighbours is an estate agent, so is going to keep his eye out for us for good bargains, when we are ready to buy.  When I went to the kitchen to do something, I found Smokey Cat cosily nestled on the kitchen window-sill.  Cheeky little bugger!  He really does take liberties these days!!

Sunday 1st  April 1990

The Beautiful North Shore at Night

Was lovely to speak to you when you called, and Nan too.  You sounded very happy, so I was happy!  We had just eaten some waffles for breakfast with strawberry and apple jam (Save-On), but Vince had maple syrup.  Went to Granville Island to have a look around.  It was very busy as the weather was nice.  Vince showed me a very nice boat that he had worked on in the week – it’s lovely.  We wouldn’t mind a nice boat (when we’re rich).  Vince is quite pleased because he hasn’t done refrigeration on boats before, so it’s something new for him, plus nice scenery.  Went to look at some older houses on the North Shore.  One wasn’t too bad, and we could have done a lot with it.  It had plenty of garden, so you could extend, but at least the houses were affordable, so there’s hope to stay over in this direction yet.

I drove the car out on the highway (slowly) and I quite enjoyed it.  Vince is quite good, he keeps telling me to relax and not to worry about it, but I think my knuckles were white!!  I felt much better driving it today though.  This evening watched a film “Moses” – I’ve never seen it before; it was very good.

Monday 2nd April 1990

Quite busy at work today and it’s getting quite interesting too.  When I got home, Patrick asked me if I wanted a glass of wine in the garden.  I said ‘no thanks’ because I was tired and would probably fall asleep.  Sheila offered me a soft drink which I accepted, then she said she’d put a little wine in it anyway!  Blimey, you can’t win!  Anyway, she came out and had put in it, mango juice, wine, vodka and some angostura bitters.  It was actually delicious, but I mean REALLY!

I drove the car to Deep Cove and then we stopped at White Spot for a burger dinner.  Forgot to get anything out the freezer you see and with no microwave, what can you do but go out?!

Tuesday 3rd April 1990

Was talking to one of the audio men at work today and he said that any time I want to go into the studio to watch a program I can, so I might take him up on that.

Prospect Point in Stanley Park

After dinner, we dove to Prospect Point in Stanley Park and watched the sunset, it was just beautiful.  We never have the camera at the right times though.  Drove round a bit to Lost Lagoon then walked right round it, there are so many ducks on the water.  It’s so pretty and as we walked round one side, the sun was setting through the trees and was reflected on the water and then when you reach the other side, the City lights are reflected – it’s lovely and very romantic.  Afterwards, we drove around the park and you can see the lights of the City and the Lion’s Gate Bridge – I don’t think I’ll ever grow tired of how pretty it looks.  Everything I see, I just keep saying.  “I wish Mum and Dad could see all this”.

Got your next letter today.  I must be getting a bit behind with this one.  I’ve just got back into routine after starting work.  I will post this off tomorrow.    Oh, Mum and Dad, I’m so sorry to hear you’ve lost Briar Dene.  I know how much you both wanted that cottage.  I wish I could give you both a big hug and tell you not to worry, please don’t lose heart.  To answer your question: I had 19 birthday cards, not too bad for long-distance!  The picture on the card you sent me was beautiful.  I am sorry, but I did have a really good laugh about the kid in the supermarket being sick and it splashing on your leg.  I’m sure it wasn’t really funny at all, but the way you wrote it was hilarious!!

I will finish now as I think I should get this letter off to you.  Don’t be disheartened too much, everything will turn out okay one way or another, so keep smiling.


Sign-off from Jo

In Which Mum takes a Honey Bee for a Ride

Starring roles:

Pat and Mick (Pat is Mum’s work friend and her husband, Mick)

Angie (also a work colleague and a chatterbox)

Old Face Ache (Mum’s boss at the Dentist)

Sheila and Pete (Dad’s cousin Sheila and he husband Pete aka P.J. from P.J. and Rose)

Nanny Maisie (My Dad’s Mum, who sadly died when I was 3 years old)

Great Nan (Alice) – Maisie’s Mum.  A beautiful twinkly-eyed lady who passed away when I was about 15)




Our Dear Joanne & Vince,

Sunday 18th March 1990

It’s  so hard to start a letter.  It’s the most difficult part of letter writing!  Anyway, here we go again.  Went shopping on my own on Saturday because deep down I know Dad doesn’t like coming.  It was a beautiful day and Tommy Tortoise really enjoyed having a good feed up.  I could hardly wait for Saturday night, I get so excited when it’s time to ring you and very emotional.  God, what would we do without the telephone?  We are very pleased about your car.  I can just imagine you driving about in that – Dad and James said you are both Canadian Yuppies, but I think Dad is a bit jealous!!  What colour is it?  It sounds red to me.

Went and picked Nanny up before dinner today and took her to the Chatham Crematorium to put a plant by Grandad’s plaque.  She kept saying no-one had taken her to see it yet.  We told her that we had taken her down before Christmas and said ‘don’t you remember that Joanne came with us?’ but she insisted that she had not seen it.  Poor Nan.  Anyway, I gave Grandad your love and told him you and Vince are doing very well and that you are both happy.  It was so warm, I was walking around in short sleeves.  We will probably have snow at Easter, because this weather is too good to last!!!

Monday 19th March 1990

A very Happy Belated Birthday to you.  Wish we could have been there to give you hugs and kisses, but am sure Vince did that anyway.  Hope you liked your pressies, it’s hard trying to pick something when you are not with us.  Hope you had lots and lots of cards, sorry we missed you when we rang, but was nice to hear Vince’s voice.  Hope you did well with the interview, you had to leave very early.  I was going to ring about 3 o’clock our time, but thought you would still be in bed!  Are you going to go somewhere nice for dinner?  Hope you do, we will be thinking of you.  Now that you have a car, can you drive it yet or have you got to pass your new test first?  Hope it’s nice and easy.  What I want to know is: how are you going to get us all in a two-seater car when you pick us up from the airport? Ha ha.

Tuesday 20th March 1990

Just got out of bed when the phone rang and James said ‘it’s Jo’.  What a wonderful start to the day.  Really pleased you had a lovely birthday and liked your presents.  Tried to find the restaurant you went to for your birthday, but can’t see it in the booklet.  You will have to tell me what you had to eat and what other presents you had and how many cards.  We were hoping we never had to say this, but we have had bad news.  We have lost Briar Dene, the house in Yorkshire.  Mrs. Hilary rang and said how sorry she was.  Well you can imagine how we felt, apparently this couple came to see it, liked it and bought it, just like that.  I have very mixed feelings: I feel so sad and I feel angry that there is nothing to look forward to.  I loved that cottage so much and I felt it was ours.  I think there is definitely somebody up above who does not want us to move.  Maybe it’s Grandad and he wants us to stay because of Nanny. I prayed every night for Briar Dene – now that you and Vince have gone, I don’t want to stay here.  I think if it was not for leaving Dean and Nanny here, we would be with you tomorrow.  You definitely both did the right thing by going to Canada.  Poor old Dad, it’s 10.30 pm and he has been out in the garage mending his bike since he came home.  He’s got it in bits, think he will be out there till midnight.  Think I better take him a coffee out.

Wednesday 21st March 1990

Not a very nice day today, raining on and off.  Went to pub with Pat and Mick today. You know I told you Mick’s Dad died?  Well Pat and Mick have been round to his Dad’s house sorting it all out – we had such a laugh talking about all the old photos of Mick when he was a boy.  Vince would have had a good laugh too.  Angie had a bit of a bang in her car and has now got a collar round her neck because she jarred it badly.  Hoping it might keep her quiet for a while HAHA. Not much happened on Dallas tonight, well not enough to tell you about.  Dad’s been out working on his bike again tonight, but just came in and thinks he’s mended it.  He won’t know until the morning when he uses it for work.  Hope it will be OK, otherwise I will have to get up at 5 am to take him.

Thursday 22nd March 1990

This afternoon, went up to see Nanny – it was quite hard going to make conversation with her today.  She said she’s sent you a second letter, but I don’t know whether she has or not, you’ll have to let me know.  On the way home, took the car through the car wash, it was so dirty.  It rained the other day and brought down this fine dust with it and the car looked disgusting.  Think I’ll tell Dad I cleaned it and he will think how good I am (nasty me HAHA). I have just watched Neighbours, it was so good – they have just celebrated Christmas, it was lovely and made me a bit tearful because I was thinking how wonderful this coming Christmas is going to be and it’s getting closer all the time.

Friday 23rd March 1990

Today is the end of two lovely weeks of working without Old Face Ache – wish he would retire and let us run the practice, it runs better without him and it’s a happy place to be.  When he’s there, it’s so ‘proper-like’ because he is such a pompous and boring old bugger. Went to Sainsbury’s shopping straight from work.  Some stupid kid, sitting in the trolley at the cash register and stuffing his face, was sick all over the floor and as it hit the floor, it splashed all up my legs.  Oh God, I felt sick myself!  Had to shower when I got home.  James was late home from school today, he had detention!  He would not say why (of course it was not his fault?!!).  I have just come back from posting off your Easter pressies – hope you like them.  I know Vince will. Do they have Easter eggs in the shops there?

Saturday 24th March 1990

Raining today.  Postman just delivered a nice little letter from Smokey Cat.  Did you know he sent it?  He’s got so clever since he has been living in Canada.  He has even put his paw mark on it, bless his heart.  Please give him a kiss from us.  Went shopping on my own again today.  Dad’s working till 5pm.  When I had finished shopping and went back to the car, there was one of my bees sitting on the back shelf.  She must have flown in yesterday when I was unloading my big shop.  Anyway, when I got home, I took her out and put her back near the hive.  She seemed OK – hope she doesn’t tell them all about the trip, I may have a car full next time!  Had a nice relaxing afternoon with my knitting – watched an old black and white film (Anne of Green Gables) I do love the old films.  Oh I forgot to say Nanny rang this morning, she was crying on the phone because she was so happy she’d just had a letter from you.  She said she was going to take it to Bingo with her to show everyone the photos.  I think it makes her feel proud to have letters from Canada and keeps her happy as well.  Went to Sheila and Pete’s tonight for dinner and two more friends of theirs, who used to live in Joydens Wood, but now live in Hextable, were there too.  It was a really good evening, we enjoyed ourselves very much.  Got home late and the clocks had to go on one hour, so not much sleep tonight.

Sunday 25th March 1990

Heartfelt words – it was so hard to be away from Mum on this day x

First Mother’s Day card I sent from Canada – I remember tears sliding down my face in the shop when I bought it x

Quite tired this morning after a short night and poor Dad must be very tired as he had to get up and to go work.  Opened your Mother’s Day card whilst eating my breakfast, such a beautiful card, thank you both with all my heart, the words were so lovely.  Yours was the only one I got, did not expect one from Dean and did not get one from James, he would rather spend his money on food!  I took Nanny a nice plant up in a pretty pot, she seemed pleased.  From there I went to Streatham Crematorium to take a plant for Nanny Maisie and a plant for Great Nan.  Gave them both your love, I also took some photos as thought you might like to keep one.  Will send them with next letter.  On the way home, I drove along the bit of road where you suddenly said to me “Mum, Vince and I are thinking of emigrating to Canada”.  Remember?  I’ll always remember it so well, but I never thought it would happen!  Well there was such a lot of blimin traffic.  Took me ages to get there and ages to get home – I expect everyone on the road was travelling to see their Mums and Nans.  So nice to hear your voice when you rang and am so pleased you are both set up now.  Your job should be interesting, might even see you on Canadian TV – it will be nice to tell people when they ask “What is Joanne doing now?” and I can say “Oh she’s working for a TV station in Canada”.  I bet Vince is pleased with himself now that he is working, you have both done extremely well and we are very proud of you.


We have just watched Karate Kid 3 – was not as good as the other two, he has put on quite a lot of weight, but I still like Mr. Myogi, he’s very cute.  There was one film on the trailers called “The Bear” it looked very good, but it might be a bit sad.  Don’t think we, or you, had better watch it.

Monday 26th March 1990

Old Face Ache was back today, he’s not very suntanned (“we did an awful lot of sight-seeing you know, Mrs. Figg”).  I said in answer – “Oh really Mr. Torry, how nice!”.  We were all trying to keep out of his way, he even had to make his own coffee, he probably wishes he was still on holiday.

Well, Dad’s just off to work now (nights) so I will close.  More news to follow soon.

Mum and Dad’s sign-off 26.3.90


In which we get jobs and buy a TR6!

Starring roles:

Nanna – Heather Woolstone’s Mum, but everyone called her Nanna.  A really lovely, elegant lady.

Gail – CKVU – Assistant to the President General

Sheila and Pete – we called them Auntie and Uncle, but Sheila was my Dad’s cousin.  Pete, a musician, playing the electric accordion, now performs in a jazz duo with my daughter, Emma Rose (PJ and Rose)

Sheila and Patrick – the couple whose basement we are renting currently (not to be confused with Sheila and Pete!)



To my Dearest Mum & Dad,

Hello – still missing you both enormously.  I guess that won’t change, but hopefully, it will get easier to bear.  I just wish that sometimes I could reach out and touch you, or call you just when I feel like it, for a long chat.  Oh, I’m sorry, I’ve probably depressed you both now!  I’m having a bad day today.  I do love getting your letters though and I love writing them back.  I think I must ramble on a bit – I just don’t want to miss anything out!!

Saturday 10th March 1990

Miniature Scenic Railway in Stanley Park, such a lovely little ride

Got up and went to aerobics.  I have to be there for 9 am, so it’s quite an achievement for me on a Saturday morning!  Met Vince afterwards and he, Carolynn and I went for breakfast at Cafe Boulevard in Edgemont Village.  It’s a really nice little village – it’s up near the Capilano Suspension Bridge.  Got back to find out that Heather’s Mum had a slight stroke, so they were all quite worried, but she’s almost okay again now.  We got invited upstairs to Sheila and Patrick’s for some home-made blackberry pie and ice cream, it was quite yummy.  She picked the blackberries down near one of the beaches.  She does quite a lot of baking.  Went to Stanley Park and saw the big bear – I feel quite sorry for her being there, but she seems quite happy.  She has a cub who was so cute and the mother was laying flat on her back and wriggling around, it was so funny.  I’d love to cuddle her and by the way, she has enormous paws.  Went on the miniature railway and saw Bison, Wolves (all in cages of course) and lots of bunnies hopping around.  The rabbits are not the normal brown kind, like in England, they are all colours and patterns, like pet rabbits. It was a lovely little ride, apart from all the noisy Canadian kids when we went through a tunnel.  And to think we’ll be having Canadian kids one day too!  Went out for a Chinese Meal in the evening and to see “War of the Roses” at the cinema.  It started off well, but turned out rubbish.

Aerial view of Stanley Park – the most amazing place to visit and right on our doorstep.


Sunday 11th March 1990

Got the bus into Port Coquitlam to see what the area is like.  It’s probably half an hour drive in good traffic.  Well, when we got there, it seemed like the end of the earth.  It was like a ghost town!  So we got another bus and got off at Coquitlam Centre which is a great big shopping centre.  Had some lunch and a look around.  We planned to look at some open houses today, but without a car it was impossible.  Waited nearly a hour for a bus home (Sunday service doesn’t change across the world).  I HATE waiting for busses!!!  I haven’t cooked a Sunday roast yet in our new place, mind you I can’t say I’ve missed cooking it, but I don’t mind eating it!

Monday 12th March 1990

Vince went to work with a man from Cool King Refrigeration.  He finished just after lunch because there was no work in.  He thinks this guy is stringing him along a bit.  He wanted Vince to work a couple of months with him before he would tell him what his wages would be, which really isn’t on.  If only the Union would pull their weight and find him something.  The temp agency called me to say they have work for Thursday through to the following Friday, so that’s good.  Sat in the garden in the afternoon to do some letter writing, it was really warm and sunny, and from where I was sitting I could see a mountain peak covered in snow!

Tuesday 13th March 1990

Both got up early and went into town.  Vince got booked in to take a TQ refresher course at night school, ready for his next exam. I tried to to find out about a word processing course, but couldn’t find one that was suitable.  In the evening, Vince wrapped up my birthday present so that it could sit it with yours!  After reading your letter, we realised we had forgotten pancake day, so Vince went over to the corner shop to buy some flour and lemon, and I made some.  They were yummy!

Wednesday 14th March 1990

Pacific Centre Mall, Downtown Vancouver

Had a look around town today and looked at some TR6’s which were very nice but a bit tatty inside.  Went to the Pacific Centre Mall which is a really lovely and all done up inside like brick houses.  There are some really good shops and one in particular which sells all sorts of cottagey bits and pieces – you would love it.  Met Heather on the seabus on the way home, she was pleased to see us, she says she really misses us being there.  She had been for an interview at the Sinclair Centre in the Refugee Department.  Met George at the other end and he told me CKVU, the local TV station, had left a message on their answerphone to say they wanted to interview me.  Well, I was pleased, but Heather was ecstatic!  She sure does get excited about things.  By the way, she can’t wait to meet both of you.  Anyway, rang the TV company from Lonsdale Quay and I have an interview on Monday.  Bought a pizza, one of the ones they make up there, and then had that for dinner when we got home.  Sheila invited us up for dessert, I didn’t really feel like going up, but it was worth it – she made chocolate mousse with grand marnier in it, with raspberry and loganberry sauce and ice cream.  It’s her own recipe.  You do have to say you’re leaving about 1/2 hour before you want to though because it takes that long to get away.  They’re really sweet, but they can’t half talk and sometimes it’s irritating!  I think they forget that we’re married adults – they say “are you sure you’re warm enough” and “do you know what bus you’re getting?”.  Vince says it’s the Irish in them haha.

Thursday 15th March 1990

First day at work.  I’m working at a shipping company, Montreal Shipping, and I’m just sending telexes and also answering the reception phone at lunch time.  It’s on the 28th floor of Harbour Centre and the view is just magnificent.  It looks out over the North Shore across the water, so you can see the mountains, Lion’s Gate Bridge and Stanley Park.  Unfortunately, I don’t get to look at the view whilst I’m working, but it’s probably just as well as it would be a huge distraction!  Today, I spent learning how to use the switchboard.  The receptionist is a really nice girl called Jennifer, who is about my age.  It’s quite complicated, but should be quiet in the lunch hour.  Worked 8.30 – 4.30 today, which is quite nice hours except for the getting up at 6.30!  But I enjoy getting the seabus to work because of the beautiful scenery on the way.

Friday 16th March 1990

Spent today on the telex with the girl I’m taking over from next week.  It’s really boring, so thank goodness it’s only temporary.  The telexes are easy to send, but there are four copies of everything that I have to distribute and that part is tricky.  All I can say is if the wrong person gets something, they’ll have to give it to the right person!  Vince met me from work and we went to see “The Hunt for Red October” at the cinema – a really good film.  Went to White Spot for dinner afterwards – they do great burgers and have a special sauce called Triple O Sauce!!

Saturday 17th March 1990

Did my aerobics class but the fireman was not there, so this little Chinese girl took the class and she was a real killer!  I think she was hyperactive, she just didn’t stop and she smiled the whole way through.  I tried to smile, but think it was a grimace!  Met Vince afterwards and we went to look at a TR6 that was advertised in the paper.  It has been kept really well and has hardly a spot of rust on it.  It’s a red 1969 convertible and it’s cheap.  We decided to buy it – Yippee! But firstly, we have to sort out the insurance and registration document, so we will go back in the morning.  Got home and on the dot of 4 pm, you called!  It’s nice that you can call us on our own phone at last.  As always, it was lovely to hear your voice, I just want to keep chatting though!  This evening, Carolynn picked us up and we went to see a film “Driving Miss Daisy” which starred Jessica Tandy and is just a sweet and lovely film.

Sunday 18th March 1990

Went to pick up our new car!!! It was so great to eventually drive this car away, after relying on public transport for so long.  We put the roof down, because it was sunny, and drove down to Deep Cove.  Cor, it was brilliant and it runs so smoothly for its age.  I’m not brave enough to try it yet, I want to take it somewhere quiet first, plus I need to buy a cushion as I can’t see over the steering wheel!  Drove to the Woolstones who all ran out to oooh and aaah and wow at the car.  They thought it was brilliant.  They gave me flowers and cards and a birthday tea and even a cake with candles.  The cake was just fresh cream with chocolate inside – a good few calories in there I should imagine.  Got home late-ish and tried to go in quietly, but Sheila came rushing out to look at the car, so ended up having a cup of tea upstairs.

Monday 19th March 1990

Beautiful birthday gift from Vince which I still have

MY BIRTHDAY – HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME!  Had to get up early because of my interview.  Vince made my breakfast and I opened my cards.  Had a little cry when I opened yours and James’s.  They were lovely.  Was going to ring you, but I would have been rushed and I was feeling tearful, so thought it would make me worse and my makeup would run!  Well the interview at CKVU was short and sweet.  The position is only part-time, 10-3, and it’s a bit more junior than I would like, but it’s a start and it should be interesting.  There’s also the possibility of it becoming full-time and getting more responsibility.  I have to go back tomorrow to meet another lady.  Vince met me from work and we went out for a meal at 1066 Hastings Restaurant.  You would have loved it.  You sit in big high-backed armchairs and our table was in front of the fire.  Came home and opened my presents – cried again!  The clothes are so pretty and fit perfectly, they are just what I would have picked myself.  Thank you so much.  The clown from James was so sweet too.  Vince bought me a crystal perfume bottle with a pewter lid and from Dean and Donna I got some eye shadow, some makeup brushes and a Harrods key-ring!  When I rang you, I was so glad to speak to you on my birthday and to James too, but a shame Dad wasn’t there.  I wish I could see you all so badly.


Tuesday 20th March 1990

Went back to CKVU for second interview and they offered it to me there and then and so I decided to take it.  I’ll be working in the Administration office for the President General and his Assistant, Gail, who is a really nice person. At first I’ll just be doing boring tasks, but hopefully that won’t last long.  Had a pretty busy day at Montreal Shipping, I’m so glad it’s only temporary though.

Wednesday 21st March 1990

Mandy phoned in the morning to wish me belated Happy Birthday.  Had a bit of a natter, she was obviously calling from work, as wasn’t in a hurry to hang up.  Vince went off to see a refrigeration company in Deep Cove, called Domcom.  He has got a position as a helper, which is not really what he wanted, but at least it’s his trade and he can gain some Canadian experience till something better comes along.  So we’re both working now anyway.

Thursday 22nd March 1990

Forgot to tell you that Vince has been given an enormous van for work, so we are now a two-car family again!  Had a not-so-busy day at the shipping company.  The people there are really nice and they all keep asking about England.  Two of them were born there!  They all keep commenting on my clothes or my shoes, they really seem to like what I wear for some reason and was told I’m always coordinated!  Vince got home around 8 pm and had a good day, he got some overtime today anyway.  It seemed funny to see him come in with a grubby face and hands – he’s been clean for so long! Ha ha.  Spent the evening in front of the fire finishing this letter.

Jo signing off x




Our Darling Joanne and Dearest Vince,

Wednesday 7th March 1990

Hope you are both settling in well, you have been in your new home for a week – does go so quickly.  Glad Smokey cat has taken to it well.  On Tuesday night we watched Holiday ’90 – they took a train from Calgary right through the Canadian Rockies to Vancouver.  We can only say one thing about it, it was breathtaking and you are both very lucky to be a part of it.  Dad is on holiday again this week so he came to the pub with Pat, Mick and me today and I bought him lunch!

Thursday 8th March 1990

It’s such a beautiful day today, the bees are bringing back such a lot of pollen.  Their little legs are wearing their yellow wellies.  We have to do the first disease test today and send a sample off to a bee specialist, will let you know the outcome. You have to sedate the bees using tobacco smoke, 1/2 oz of St. Bruno!!  Has your snow gone yet and what is the weather like now?  I should imagine that Stanley Park is very pretty in the Spring, I have been reading about all the parks over there and can’t wait to see them.  We have been watching the Canadian ice skating from Nova Scotia and I said to Dad, maybe we’ll see Jo and Vince (he called me a silly cow – rude, haha) – but we have been willing the Canadians to win!

Friday 9th March 1990

Heaven!  Mr. Tory, old fish-face, face-ache, has his last day of work today for two weeks – I will actually look forward to going to work on Monday morning!  I bet you’re enjoying not doing the long commute to London anymore, you must be feeling quite relaxed and glowing with health by now?!!  When Dad and I were shopping this afternoon, Dad found a £5 note in the carpark, good job James wasn’t with us, he would have seen it first haha.  Dad bought me a very pretty bone-china mug with bees on the outside and inside.  Dad has just come back from the Doctors and had his ears blown out as he calls it!  He feels a bit better now.  Kirk Browning from Canada has just won the gold medal for skating – that’s the first time I’ve ever heard the Canadian National Anthem, it’s a nice piece of music, not boring like “God Save The Queen”!

Saturday 10th March 1990

Shopping day again – Dad came with me today, but he trots around so fast, we don’t have time to stop for tea or coffee.  He says we don’t have to pay them (tight bugger) when we can have a drink at home!  Rang Bee Dave and he said not to do the disease test because of the young bees, it might harm them.  We’ve put on the first hive extension today, so it gives the bees plenty of room now.  Went to visit Sheila and Pete tonight, had a nice chatty evening.  Sheila loved the wedding video and they send you and Vince their love.

Mum liked to send me amusing cuttings from the English newspapers!

Sunday 11th March 1990

Not done much today, I have been very lazy.  Watched a film this afternoon (Reach For the Sky) then you rang.  Wonderful to hear your voice once a week, makes me feel so happy.  When we rang and missed you last night, I had a chat to Sheila, she sounds so nice and she said it’s lovely having you both there. She also invited us to dinner when we come to see you.  God, I wish it was soon.  I am so pleased you got your parcel in time for your birthday – it got there so quickly, we were surprised.

Monday 12th March 1990

Beautiful day again, Tommy Tortoise came out again and ate some cucumber – I gave him a nice wash.  This evening we went to The King’s Head in Bexley with the Bee Club, there were 46 of us.  It was a very good night and needless to say our table was the noisiest!  James had some friends round while we were out – they watched a film and drank all our coke and orangeaid!!  But there was no mess, only empty glasses, thank goodness.

Tuesday 13th March 1990

Very cold and damp today.  Went to have my hair cut and saw Bill and he sends his regards to you both.  He said if there was one place in the world where he would like to live, it would be Vancouver.  He wants to know if you’re coming back for your hair cuts?!  I told him with all his money, he could open a salon in Vancouver!!  Went for a talk at Bee Club on how to identify the pollen loads the bees bring back.  Dad wasn’t with me because he’s on nights, so went on my own and got lost as it was in Beckenham!  But I got there in the end and the talk was very interesting.

Wednesday 14th March 1990

Pay day and Pub Day again!  Dad went to the doctors again about his ear and he’s been given some more antibiotics, so hope that clears it up, it has been giving him a lot of pain.  We had a phone call from a man who wanted to come and view the house, so I rushed around and made it look neat and tidy and yes you’ve guessed it, he didn’t turn up.  I’m getting really fed up about the whole thing.  I’ve got this deep feeling that we are going to lose Briar Dene in Yorkshire.  If we do, I think we’ll give up and stay here.

Thursday 15th March 1990

Another gorgeous day.  When I came home from work, Dad and I went to Hall Place and walked around the gardens.  There were so many flowers and so much colour, it was so pretty.  We were literally walking among the daffodils.  Went up to see Dean tonight and took Nan with us.  DJ looked nice and cuddly, he had just had a bath and smelled baby clean.  Dean kept asking about you and Vince.  They now have a nice glass cabinet and have put all the glasses you gave them into it – at least we can have a drink out of a glass and not a mug now.  Haha.

Friday 16th March 1990

Your letters and photos came today.  James was over the moon with his.  Won’t let anyone touch it.  I love your letters, they are so long and interesting and gives us such a good insight to things that you do and see.  The photos are absolutely beautiful, just can’t believe all that snow and your new home looks and sounds really gorgeous.  The kitchen looks so big and we are very jealous of the open fire, the lounge looks very cosy.  Love the pictures of Smokey Cat, bless his heart.  Our bee meeting tonight was at Hurst Place, Sidcup in Room 14 – do you remember that room where you used to have dance lessons?  It brought back a lot of lovely memories and I found myself staring at the floor, thinking my little Joanne’s feet had danced all over it, I could even picture Miss Mabbott sitting by the window.

Another parcel is on its way to you both – Easter prezzies!  Well my Darling, we hope you have a wonderful birthday, wish we could be with you.  Will close now until next letter.

Sign off from Mum & Dad xx