‘True friends always see the best side of you, even when you’re stuck in a doorway’ – Val Savage


In this week’s column Val, the mum of Mirror columnist and football legend Robbie Savage, says she spent her birthday getting stuck in a door, and remembers celebrating the Queen’s Silver Jubilee by washing pots

Val Savage says you don’t need to hide your true self from your best friends

Riots erupt each time my friend Sue and I go out together.

Sue’s sister Sheila takes on the role of reluctant carer when she’s with us. She spends a lot of time walking behind Sue on her mobility scooter and me on my walker and saying to people in shops and restaurants: “Sorry – they don’t get out much.”

You’d think a quick visit to my house would be trouble-free. But no.

Sue and Sheila popped by on my birthday and we headed to sit outside. But me and Sue are both big girls and when we tried to walk out the back door at the same time we got stuck.

I didn’t want to move too much in case I made Sue fall, and she didn’t want to make me fall. So we stayed wedged together in the doorway until crying with laughter made our bodies even weaker.

We looked obscene. So Sheila did a lot of eye-rolling and told us to gently shuffle until we were free, which is harder than it sounds when two people have a fit of giggles and can hardly keep control of their bodies at the best of times.

And as soon as we were separated, all hopes of a sensitive chat had flown out the window because we were hysterical and delirious.

We have been best friends for over 40 years. We’ve laughed together, cried together, had millions of cups of tea and hilarious days and nights out together.







A young couple dancing in an empty room
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True friends see the best and worst of you. Neither need hide your true selves because there’s no sheen, no barrier.

Genuine friends don’t just say: “If you need anything, let me know” then disappear. Their friendship is obvious in their actions – they turn up at your house in gardening clothes to water the pots on your front porch (thank you Janet).

Real friends are ones you can ask to pick up some Tena Ladies for you the next time they’re out – and maybe even a new pair of knickers – without a flicker of a blush.

Sometimes Sue and I talk about the old pub nights out we had decades ago, and we always finish by laughing: “Look at us now!” Days of jiving, partying and freely going wherever we fancied before pain stole our mobility and blocked our way have long gone.

That’s why, hearing that Sue specifically wanted to go to the card shop on her mobility scooter to pick just the right gift for me, meant so much. She gave me a beautiful hanging ornament, a delicate ceramic moon crescent strung with a pale yellow star and the message: “I love you to the moon and back”. I cried when I unwrapped the tissue around it.

It had been an emotional day, full of visitors, gifts, the hilarity of being stuck in my own doorway and memories of my mum on the ninth anniversary of her loss.

So that evening, I took Sue’s moon upstairs so I could hang it up in my bedroom. In my bathroom I took my nail scissors to cut off the shop tag, but because my eyes are bad I accidentally cut off the little star and it fell on the tiled floor and smashed. I sat on the loo and had a good cry.

The next day I confessed to Sheila and she took the broken pieces to see if it could be glued. That evening she appeared at my door and handed me a brand new moon ornament because the other couldn’t be fixed.

The kind, thoughtful, generous gesture made me cry all over again.

Real friends don’t let you get sentimental for too long. As Sheila handed over the ornament she said: “And don’t go near it with your bloody scissors.”

Mother-in-law aggro’s a joke

Some new report says women bickering with their mother-in-law is a natural part of evolution. What nonsense.

I adored my late husband Colin’s mum and we got on famously. When I sang in an operatic choir, I would shout from the stage: “MrsSavage, are you here?”. Then I’d give her a big wave. I think she liked me because she did not care what anyone else thought.

Even when Col compared my cooking unfavorably to his mum’s – only once, I might add – I didn’t resent her. I just reminded him he didn’t marry me for my cooking.

The list of why I love our Robert’s wife Sarah and Jonathan’s wife Kim is very long. Both are great girls and extremely kind. But the main reason is: my boys love their very bones, therefore so do I.







The Queen celebrated her 96th birthday this week
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Hats off to Her Majesty

A letter plopped through my door letting me know there’ll be a big party on the field near our street to celebrate the Queen’s Jubilee.

I dearly love the Queen and can’t wait to celebrate her incredible service.

Back in 1977 the Silver Jubilee parties were fabulous. Everyone in the street contributed food. Mrs Jones made delicious pork chops.

Other neighbors made fancy cakes and special salads with radishes cut to look like roses and tomatoes in fancy shapes.

Well, I am not a good arranger but wanted to contribute. So I asked Col to sneak out to buy sausage rolls and cocktail sausages. And I spent the morning buttering bread for butties and the evening washing pots – It’s all I’m good for.







Queen Elizabeth II talking to well-wishers in Camberwell during her Silver Jubilee year celebrations
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If we were all the same the world would be boring. And my two boys couldn’t me more different.

When our Robert came to visit on my birthday, as soon as he arrived and gave me a big hug he said: “Mum, get the kettle on”.

Whenever our Jonathan visits, he says: “Mum, you stay where you are and I’ll put the kettle on.”

But would I change a single thing about either of them? Never.

If you’d like to contact Val, email [email protected] or write to Val Savage, PO Box 7290, E14 5DD. The Mirror makes a donation to the Alzheimer’s Society in lieu of payment.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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