Follow me on Twitter: @janemcintyre12



I'm Jane McIntyre, a voiceover and writer, formerly an award-winning BBC radio newsreader and producer. My blog covers life, love and loss; travel, coffee and chocolate; with some heartfelt pieces in the mix about my late dad, who had dementia. Just a click away, I'm half of the team behind - two empty nesters who whizzed round the world in 57 days.

Wednesday 20 August 2014

Tears, teas and family trees

It started in Montana. The parents: a young British couple, making the endless trek way back in the late 1800s to midwest America, in search of prosperity from the mines.

One of the children born there, in 1892 was our grandma, Carrie. But her mum Annie and her siblings returned to the UK some time later, alone.

Fast forward to wartime London. Air raid sirens. Hiding in the shelter. The Blitz. Some of Carrie`s nine children being packed off to the country as evacuees, with their gas masks and ration books.

And to now. Just two of the nine remain. And at each funeral, like the special woodland burial for Joan yesterday, we gather and regroup, to say goodbye and to celebrate a life, taking comfort from each other. A ready made crowd: spouses and partners of those we`ve lost, and my generation, the cousins: more than twenty of us, some greying now; some resolutely not ; several reaching for reading glasses when it`s time for the next hymn; others singing from memory; defiantly spec-free. We`re there with our own children now; some, parents themselves: a new layer learning about the importance of family; keeping in touch, and being there for each other.

So,we hug, and weep a bit, and remember the family times we had together at Grandma`s house in Willesden Green; the practical jokes we played on each other; our fascination at being allowed to peep inside the mahogany, paper lined glove drawers at `Mildred Trimms`, the haberdashery shop Grandma used to work at, round the corner.

We`re scattered across three continents now. But the bond between us is strong. As we strolled back from the burial for tea yesterday, we mused glumly, for a moment, about what a sad year it had been for funerals--how hard it was to even try to recover from one, before we were back in black again.

Inevitably, we reasoned, the bigger the family, the more frequent the farewells will be. That`s the price you pay. But the bigger the family,the more plentiful the hugs will be too; and the stronger the support when it`s needed. There`s a ready made network of people you know you can, in a heartbeat, call on. Way more precious than anything you could mine in mid-west Montana, way back when. And much, much closer to home.

PS: When you lose someone, it`s not only sad, it`s a lost link to the past. And you realise that if you`re tracing your family history, the clock`s ticking a little faster.     Our family FB group`s been
buzzing since yesterday,many of us determined to find out more about our Montana connections before it`s too late.Who do we think we are? Not sure but tales are emerging of a Sheriff`s badge somewhere and the odd bar room brawl! Ever traced your family history? How did you get on? And is it time for `Who Do You Think You Are` to focus more on the `ordinary people`? Let me know what you think! 

Saturday 16 August 2014

Shrewsbury: wandering, and wondering. Can you help?

Spotted these sights during a wonderful five mile stroll from Frankwell, through the Shrewsbury Quarry Park and along the riverside walk towards Underdale yesterday. They say every picture tells a story. I wonder if you can shed any light on some of the questions I had in my mind as I took these photographs? (see below!). Thanks for stopping by!

Top row, left: I`d heard about these beautiful mosaics by pupils at the now closed Wakeman School. They`re now part of the Wakeman Trail. Made me wonder what the young artists who produced these are doing now. Let me know if you`re one of them!

Top row: I was nearly back at my car in Frankwell when I spotted a marrow and a painting on the pavement, as you do, outside the eclectic shop window of  Shrewsbury Words. I didn`t buy it as I still had a half mile or so to notch up. But, Sir...had you parted with your marrow by the morrow?

Top row: terraced houses by the Severn in the Quarry. What an enviable view you have. Do you get a free mooring when you move in here? Fabulous spot.

Top row, far right: a lovely plaque on a bench in the Dingle. It says: `The Dingle was her heaven`. I love that. There are many more plaques and plants of remembrance in and around the Quarry. One to PC Richard Gray, shot on duty in Shrewsbury in 2007. It stopped me in my tracks, recalling the horror of that day, and what a major story it was in our newsroom.

Third row: Shoemakers`Arbour plaque in the Dingle. So who knows about Shrewsbury`s connections with the Shoemakers` Guild? Please tell me more!

Also, that bench on the bottom row, along the riverside walk. Who was Ian? What a lovely gesture to remember him this way. Also on the bottom row--the graffiti `Don`t Give Up` along the same riverside path. Who wrote this--and what provoked it? I`m not a fan of graffiti, but this was a great message to choose!

Know anything? Like the pics? Drop me a quick email? I`d love to hear from you !:
Or Tweet me a message, or RT the link, on Twitter-- I`m  @janemcintyre12

Hope you like the other pics, too. The jogger was way ahead of me under the bridge with all the scaffolding under it; and she was going well. And the girl with the megaphone was belting out instructions to rowers alongside. Thanks to the two police officers who let me take their picture on the path too (That`s one great beat you have there, officers. How many miles do you reckon you clock up each day, by the way?) And thanks to Stop Coffee Shop for the lovely cappuccino I had before I headed home.

Sunday 10 August 2014

Turkey, Colombia, Italy, Ukraine....

....come IN please!

If the stats you`re given on your blog are to be believed, people have dropped by from these countries, and many more.

Were you one of them?  Are you in Poland, Taiwan, the USA or Germany? If so, thanks for calling and I hope you enjoyed whatever you read. But could you do me a quick favour? Wherever you are in the world, just to check that my stats research is working, could you say hello, and tell me a bit about yourself? Maybe if you have a blog, or you`re on Twitter, I could look at that, too?

You can leave a comment directly on the blog, or drop me an email:

Anyway. Hope your day is great, and thanks for visiting

Friday 8 August 2014

Postcard to the seaside

Dear Aberdovey,

I`m sending you this from Shrewsbury.

Much as I love you, I did, during my drizzly drive to see you yesterday, consider turning back. Or hopping out at the market in Machynlleth and not bothering with the beach.

But I persevered, knowing that I had waterproofs, walking boots and wellies in the car. Braced for `bracing`; I`d take you as I found you.

Just a few minutes and one meander more, I got that first, breathtaking glimpse of the estuary....and the sun was glinting on the water. A few more miles and I was driving slowly through your main street; crowds to the left of me; ice creams to the right. I was late on parade.

As someone used to enjoying your empty expanse of sand in icy midwinter; in gales, and best of all, in term time, I wondered whether I`d be walking, or weaving through windbreaks. The first stretch was filling up with families setting up base camp, clambering out of clothes, grabbing sneaky sausage rolls meant `for later`.

I kicked off my shoes and headed towards the water, gazing out at distant dinghies with Dairylea sails and cocktail stick masts. Past `Oi! Emma!`, and `Come on, Caspaahh!` and `Awww CHLO-WEeeeee....!` screaming at the sea as it touched their toes. On and on, to where the sand was smooth--just little sticky gulls`marks , a few tiny toddler prints, and deep, paw-shaped dents; dogs desperate to dash after sticks in the water ; shaking salty droplets over owners on the shore.

I looked back at the now tiny terrace of houses along the sea front; a higgledy cake-stand of sweet, fondant fancies,vying for selection. Way behind them, over the hills, huge, still uncertain clouds in Mr Whippy shaped swirls kept watch. I turned my back on them and walked towards the blue, the August sun hot and steady now, but cooled by a breeze brisk enough to keep kites aloft and the tiny sails proudly puffed.

Wiggling myself into a soft, sandy dip by the dunes I could watch families from a distance; playing, squabbling; screams and laughter muted by the whooshing whitenoise of sea and wind; each family a neat frame of film through my shades, all stars in a state of the art silent movie. I lay back; drifting, dozing.........until the rumble, then roar of a fighter jet pierced through my slumber and forced me to open my sun-blind eyes...metal scything through the blue-silk sky like a haberdasher`s blade.....its deafening dominance tempered by its tilt--incongruously coy.

It vanished; replaced by the soft whoosh of waves and wind again,willing me to be lulled back into my seaside snooze.

But that was my 4.30 alarm call. I`m wide awake enough to know that my ticket`s expired. I scramble to my feet and stumble back up the beach, fumbling in my pockets for what I wish were the keys to a seafront home of my own, not a baking hot car. Driving, I muse over how much fun it must be for locals to reclaim their sand, their sea and their silence .....once Caspahhh and Chlo-WEEee have headed home for their tea.

So that`s it. The end of my postcard from landlocked Shrewsbury to Aberdovey. Just to say thanks for a great day out. Loads of love; wish I was there, etc. And if it`s ok with you, I probably will be again, quite soon. Save me a fondant fancy, eh?