long lost love letter


I’ve accidently become someone I didn’t want to be, No, not Claire from Steps but a time waster. I told myself that I would be the type who would fill every day with something creative. I wouldn’t own a TV and while away hours with reality programmes.  I wouldn’t spend days on the internet or mindlessly trawl through my iphone liking and retweeting on Instagram or Twitter.

I would make clothes, cook and entertain, write a book and most importantly I would stay in contact with my friends around the world via letter. A paper letter that has been written with a pen, needs to be put in an envelope, have a stamp fixed to the top of it and taken to a post box, kissed and sent off with love to Australia, America, Manchester, Berlin….

The two paragraphs within a private message on Facebook started to become my letters.  A hurried couple of stories via email accompanied with ‘I’ll write more later’ became acceptable.  Then a house move before Christmas made even that go flying out the window. I told myself I would get back on my feet, make a list of people to write Christmas cards to ~ once I’d managed to locate my address book ~ reconnect with my people and once again regain my title of ‘Queen of Letters’. That’s how I used to be known. I was proud of my moniker. ‘No one writes letters like Re’ people would say and I would smile to myself, safe in the knowledge that they were right. No one did write letters like me. No one writes letters any more full stop. The act of sitting down and taking an hour or so to tell someone what was happening in your life, how you felt or asking about what they were up to has been lost and abandoned like Matt Cardle and his career as a serious pop artist.

What happened? Why did this joyful, selfless pastime that can give so much pleasure to others fall apart and become a chore like drying dishes or cleaning the bathroom? Why does finding a piece of paper and a good pen ~ Muji, black, 0.38 ~ now seem like a hassle?

Receiving a letter is one of life’s simple pleasures. It’s like sticking your toes in warm rock pool water or getting given good flowers {garage flowers need not apply}. To see a hand written address with my name on it makes my heart skip a beat. It makes me smile and know that someone in the world somewhere loves me.

I lived abroad from my parents from the age of 16 ~ 28 and my mother wrote to me and my siblings every single week for those 12 years. My father managed the first 2 years but that’s fine because he is a man of few words and it simply became a waste of a stamp. I have kept all those letters and found them, along with many others, when I set about sorting out my house move. I decided one evening that I would sort my letters by who sent them.  In the daydreaming waste of space that is my head I fantasised about getting one of those old wooden post office sideboards that had small individual drawers in it. Each drawer would have a loved one’s name on it and inside you would find their letters to me.

As I sifted through 13 years of letters I found so many great memories.  There were thank you letters from people I didn’t see any more, tales of summer adventures and new loves from friends in faraway place. There were essays from my childhood friend Catherine who moved to Africa and wrote about how the whole experience was changing her as a person and what she wants from life. There was a card from my Auntie apologising on behalf of John who felt

‘…a bit concerned that he had been too shouty with you at the Private view. I think he had lowered his guard and relaxed a little too much due to the inimitable potency of the grape drink! He said sorry but he recognised someone who could hold their own and engage on a resilient intellectual level. So, take it as a compliment!’

 I found the one letter I have never opened, ripped it in half and threw it in the bin. It was from my best friend who had let me down personally and professionally and had written to tell me ~ I guess ~ why she had done it. At the time I was too angry to open it and read what she had to say but for some reason had decided to keep it.  Years have passed and although it took a long time we made up and it has never been mentioned since.  Finding out what she had to say back in 2002 didn’t seem to appeal.

Then I found the love letters. Oh to return to a time where letters of love were written! I will never part with these pieces of gold because they are so, so precious. Like Prince William and his hair I am clinging onto those for dear life. They are from special, kind and loving men and I hold on to them with pride, fondness and love. There are poems and stories, photos and newspaper cuts outs. There are also harsh words, real words, gut-wrenchingly sad words that even 10 years later bring me to tears and there are extremely rude ones that still make me blush! The One Who Wasn’t The One went on a two week holiday to Florida and wrote me a letter nearly every single day. There was no distraction of the pointless 140 characters of someone famous who he didn’t know and would never meet.  He didn’t need to mindlessly scour a strangers photos to ‘like’ sunsets, scenery or styling. He used his time to sit down and tell me how he felt and for that I will be forever grateful.

If the youth of today live online and have no inclination to put pen to paper where will they store their love letters? Their apologies, their thank you notes? Does Mark Zuckerberg own them? Do people print out their emails, save them and put them somewhere safe? Or do they not need to? Maybe everyone is moving forward and leaving the past behind them where, technically speaking, it should stay. They’re all putting letters in bins and documenting day by day in different ways…..ways that I don’t think appeal to me.

Before Christmas I saw a tweet from @lettersofnote and clicked on it to find a letter that Bob Monkhouse had written to his wife, Jackie, in 1994:


There’s nothing I’d rather see in this world than your face. I wake up every morning feeling glad and grateful because of you. I’d forgive you for every rotten thing that you’ve done but I can’t, because you’ve never done a rotten thing.  You’re the nicest woman I’ve ever met, which makes you the nicest person I’ve ever met, and I’m very proud that you’re my best friend. When two people love and need each other as we do, there can be no happy ending. But until then, every day I have with you is a present.

I love you Jac


The ever increasing advances in technology brought this beautiful and open love to my attention but I would trade that a million times over to have the hard copy of a letter like that in my hands.

I found my address book. It was in a trunk along with old bank statements, pens and for some reason a bra. There are no more excuses now; I’m off to write a letter….once I’ve checked my Instagram.

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