Beautiful Handmade Statement Necklaces and other Fabulousness from Neena Shilvock - Inspirations and Designs From the Week Gone by
Hi all, how are you this fine weekend? In the UK we aren't used to this constant barrage of sunshine and are exhausted, hot, sweaty and tetchy. I've made nothing over the week.
I started a piece of embroidered jewellery but hated it - the tension of the piece was all wrong so I cut it up and retrieved the beads.
And all the while a very close friend of mine was very ill and needed care and attention as she has Stage 4 breast cancer - my mind wandered as jewellery making is a joyful occupation and there isn't much joy in my heart at the moment.
The reason why I'm mentioning her on a jewellery blog, is because she was sort of reponsible for me trying jewellery making for myself. Suzy went to a necklace making class in a local bead shop with a friend of hers and made a few pieces which she gave away as gifts. I received a couple of those and one of them impressed me so much I decided I should try it too - why not take a couple of classes myself? So, with the help of Google, I located a semi professional class in Leamington Spa College, where there were too many students and a silver ring to be made. A saw was shoved into my hands unceremoniously to get on with - a number of broken saw blades later, I decided that it wasn't for me! It was winter, the nights were closing in and I had to drive for about 45 minute after a long day at work to get to the class to have absolutely nothing to show for it. Not for me, so I found another class in Kegworth - and here we are today, 12 years down the line.
She gifted me a wire-work arm band, which could also be used as a choker and I was instantly smitten. I took a wire work class and haven't looked back since. I took the armband in to the class and asked the teacher how it was made and to my surprise she was a bit sneery about it - while I now understand why, as it was a simple technique and the lady was teaching an advanced wire work class, I thought that it was such an unprofessional response. One should never sneer at another person's efforts, in my book. I still have the piece and wear it on and off, to this day.
We've known each other since 1992 when Suzy was my house officer and we followed each other around the West Midlands junior doctors rotation. When there was a consultant post going at the George Eliot Hospital, I encouraged her to apply and she was interviewed for the post on 9/11 - when we came out of the interview the planes had crashed into the Twin Towers!
She set about managing our labour ward, writing guidelines and shaking the place into shape and we are indebted to her. She came back to work after her first surgery - she managed all her chemotherapy and radiotherapy on her own due to the Covid pandemic. Those of us who visited her did so from a safe distance, anxious that as hospital workers we might be the carrier of the dreaded virus. I occasionally took food in for her and left it under her car, to be picked up and eaten after a couple of hours when we were sure that there wasn't a live virus sitting on the box. She was prepared to come back into work full time when the crab struck again and she was diagnosed with Stage 4 disease.
Suzy went into neutropaenic sepsis and multi organ failure last week and is now on ITU, surrounded by her family. She decided against dialysis and was made comfortable so that her friends and family could say their goodbyes. I went early yesterday, before her family arrived, and had a chat with her - I'm looking after her beloved cat until other provision is made by her family, so we chatted away as if it was just another day until she began to talk about her funeral arrangements. She wants everyone in colour, in purple if possible. I don't really wear purple, but shall wear an amethyst necklace in tribute. She is now in a semi - coma and apparently is doing ward rounds in her sleep - well, she was so good at her job as a consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist that she could probably do it in her sleep. I will miss her dearly for all manner of reasons.
When I got home, she had organised a bunch of flowers to be delivered, from her bed on ITU, as a thank you for looking after her cat. She was a determined shopaholic and had a few pieces of Caprilicious as well, but this adds a completely new dimension to the phrase 'shop until you drop'. We are likely to lose her sometime this weekend, and my heart is filled with dread, the thought that I will never see her again fills me with pain.
She is a brave sister soul. I care deeply for her as she did for me.
Here are a few pictures of our years together. One of them is from a holiday in Iceland - we went whale watching and I remember how she lurched from side to side on the small boat, trying to obtain the best view of the whale to get pictures, and was in danger of capsizing the boat or going overboard that I feared for her life, and ours, at the time.
Have a good weekend, folks. It's going to rain next week and we will look back on this glorious sunshine wistfully - always longing for something we don't have without enjoying it when we actually have it. I'll catch up with you next week