Joanne Hickman 40/365

Jo is a good friend who rarely looks at Facebook but unfortunately that has become our only method of communication. How is that good?

I don’t warn her that I am going to call and she answers in her breezy tone and then purrs like the Queen.

She pops into my head often but for the blog, I would like to thank Bruce Mitchell 39/365 for making me realise she HAD to be number 40.

He reminded me of a hilarious evening that Jo and he spent together when she and I were sharing a flat in Ashby-de-la-Zouch in our twenties. Jo had been round at the Mitchells, and Bruce and Julie were getting ready to go out to a dinner party. Julie was tired and didn’t feel like going out so he asked Jo to go instead and together they left the house. On the way up Kilwardby Hill he suggested that they pretend that Julie had left Bruce and Jo was his new girlfriend. Jo calls the night ‘Priceless’.

Please picture my former English teacher and my dramatically talented friend flirting coyly over the dinner table, laughing in all the right places, flush with the joys of having declared their love for the first time. Oh the shocked faces around the table, the candle lit confusion, the pudding the last thing on everyone’s minds.

The following morning Bruce let everyone know that it had all been a joke and to this day, he says, some of his friends haven’t forgiven him. Jo says it was probably the best night of her entire life.

I was very lucky because, at a particularly testing time in my life, my grandpa had invited me to a Labour Party coffee morning at Bruce and Julie’s and Jo was passing round the cake. We hadn’t seen each other since middle school and we picked up exactly where we left off, wisely deciding to forget those years of maturation and revert back to 14. It was so easy.

Jo had rented a flat on Market Street above a travel agents and next to the main pub. It had a spare room, I declared it to be mine. Thank you Jo for letting me in. By day we made up dances, launching ourselves from sofa to coffee table to sofa, Olympic floor work here, swinging from the doorframe there and by night we went out and acted as if we were normal, just about getting away with it. (The travel agents were a bit shocked when they discovered that we weren’t trainee aerobics instructors.)

This song was on repeat for about four weeks.


Jo has been there since I was eleven, we were the Virgin Mary and the Angel Gabriel in the school play long after I should have worn a blue square of material on my head or she, a tinsel halo. She had the complex mum and happy dad, I had the happy mum and complex dad.

We laugh and scream uproariously about things I can’t mention and things I can. I tell her that I find it so comforting and amusing how my offspring give me self-help tips and she says hers does the same but she answers with ‘haven’t you worked out yet that I am beyond help?’

Her son is well on his way to being a professional snowboarder, he was meeting snowboarders from the States yesterday and she says she smiles and taunts him mischievously, saying that she is looking forward to asking them if they say ‘tomay-toe or tomato, potato or potar-toe, falafel or fel-a-fel.’ Imagine the worry on her son’s face, she might do it!

We have had lots of laughs and loads of cries over the years but our friendship has stood the test of time. Jo and her husband are both chefs and for three months in 2010 they came to work with us in Australia. With design help from my clever Godson in England, Jo and I put a cook book together. (See the link below.) It is still not finished, will it ever be? It’s looking perhaps a bit dated but the sparkle is there, as ever- like us.





  1. Funny …..I was just thinking early this morning, ‘how sad that we didn’t mention the book in our conversation’! One day, before another 25 years goes by….
    Favourite photos of all time, rhubarb fencing and trampolining, dancing with the idea of notoriety. xx

    1. It still has legs and hasn’t finished running! i shall put it all over twitter!
      I spoke to Bruce 39/365 yesterday and he said that no matter how well I understand the greatness of your faux date, it was actually ten times better than that!

  2. You will never guess what! I have just bumped into Number 39! Still as funny as ever. How spooky with all this blog stuff. I was not meant to be in the Deli dropping off my cakes, I usually deliver on a Friday, and Bruce just happened to be there today having a coffee and considering what in the Deli he could use as a toilet brush, as he doesn’t have one in the house. I suggested breadsticks…. am a bit concerned for his dinner guests tonight. I mean, I know the breadsticks are in a packet, but all the same! Message to diners at Bruce’s house…make sure you use gloves when picking up the breadsticks! xx

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