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Many moons ago I ventured forth and dipped a toe into social media. Never been near any of it up 'til late spring/early summer 2021. As an awoc and (up to that point) well known luddite, the social media hub bub hit me like an out of control chihuahua. Terrifying. Facebook was a total mystery to me (still is). Instagram reasonably straightforward. The juggernaut that is Twitter - absolutely terrifying. It is scary. When you first dip your elderly toe into its fast flowing waters you cringe with trepidation. Well my toe dipped - first of all into the 'nature/photography/arts' section. The twitterati of that particular group were delightful. Welcoming, warm. I got brave and posted a couple of my nature photos. Got a few likes and encouraging comments. I got braver. I wandered into the social care bit whereby AWOCuk itself lived in twitter land. Bit more scary. These people know their stuff, of course they do, they are in it. I spent an entire Sunday preparing my first, meaningful tweet for the fast moving social care crowd, No idea what I said. I emphasised AWOC. I used my hashtags. I got likes, a lot of likes. And retweets. I got followers. So, I got cocky. I got 'clever' (in my head). Anyway, the thing is - everything seemed to go well (apart from FB which still just sits there and does very little). Twitter goes like a fast train. It's great, whilst it's working for you.

Well, whilst I've been diving headfirst into the twits I have met some lovely, lovely folk. And one of the most absolutely gorgeous is a Ms Jane Brightman. She of the - Co-founder of the Outstanding Manager Network and a Director of social care. As if that is not impressive enough Jane Brightman is also the loveliest person you could hope to meet. And meet we did, via the zoom. We have virtual coffees as often as her busy work schedule allows. I love it and love Jane.

I have no idea why she decided she wanted to have a chat with this nobody. I still don't. Jane says it's because she liked 'what I wrote in my blog'. Well, I guess I'll take that. But I was flattered then and I remain flattered every time we speak.

From speaking to others, I gather that Ms Brightman (I say that - Jane does have a partner) gathers fans wherever she goes. Very well respected and liked in her field of work and personally.

So, after our last virtual coffee, when Jane sent me the following 'wot she wrote' I was overcome. She doesn't know this (she will now) but I shed a few tears. Nobody ever says such nice things to me. Of course I absolutely do see Jane as a friend. (My friend and, yes, I am getting possessive 😘). Well, some folk do make you feel like your are special to them, don't they? It's marvellous to feel like that.

Anyway, I asked her if she'd mind me publishing it on here and she didn't mind at all.

Also - as she is also so very pretty, I've put her photo up onboard (I did get her permission).

So, here is Jane's lovely, lovely piece of writing.

To me from you…

Magical conversation

Over the last few months I’ve been lucky enough to get to know another woman. I happened upon a blog post she had written and it sparked my curiosity. She was writing about a topic that will affect me, it made me wonder whether it is already affecting me (I’ve not worked that one out yet). I contacted her on a professional matter, would she speak about it at a conference. She said yes!

But in chatting via Zoom, I realised that we had so much more in common and I really enjoyed her company. She might not agree but I think our relationship is moving from professional to friends. I hope she does.

I’m lucky to have met her for several reasons, I don’t have a large number of people in my circle. I’ve met a lady who is older than me and significantly wiser. We have many things in common, possibly most notably being childless and not through choice. I’ve found someone who I can open up to about being childless. I have other people in my life who I could talk to about it but there’s something magical about a conversation with someone who completely gets it. She doesn’t sympathise with me or tell me how sorry she is and she certainly doesn’t judge me or think I’m moaning. We just have intuitive conversations and I don’t need to explain the feelings, or in fact, hide the feelings.

I’m also benefiting from her experience and wisdom. When I told her that I’m slap bang in the middle of the menopause, she didn’t bat an eyelid. We just talked about shared experiences and it left me feeling lighter somehow. It’s hard to explain but imagine having a mentor for your role of being a female who is getting older…you’ll be getting closer to understanding.

What really baffled me was the day she said that she couldn’t understand why I would want to spend time with her. My answer, maybe very selfish, just maybe I’m getting more from our budding friendship than she is (and by writing this, I want her to see that). I hope I can offer something in return too though.

We don’t live close by but I hope that one day soon we can walk our dogs, have a coffee in person, cook up plans and carry on giggling together.

Jane Brightman

Thank you Jane, love Trish xxx🥰 🥰 🥲 💕



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