Dear Janice,

Our daughter died 25 years ago, and I miss her more than ever. I sit in her bedroom now and then and wonder what if?

The time has come to downsize from our family home to a manageable flat for my husband and myself as our other children have left home, but I can’t bear the thought of throwing out her belongings.

Her room is just as she left it, and we still have toys and her bike in the garage.

They are all part of her so where and how do I start to clear out her things?


Dear Marie,

This move is happening, and you cannot discard your daughter’s precious belongings by yourself, so ask your friend to take charge.

Being a step back should make it easier for her to dispose of the things you cannot.

Firstly, create a treasure chest full of the smaller items which are precious to you. You will know the things you absolutely cannot let go of.

As for everything else, ask your friend to take pictures of her bike, her toys, her uniform, her favourite teddy etc, then print them off and make up an album of cherished memories.

Go away for the weekend when she is packing up, and remember your daughters’ beloved treasure chest and album will always be there whenever you feel the need to have quiet time with her and her ‘things’.

Dear Janice,

My first online date picked me up and took me for a beautiful meal.

Despite interrupting me and talking about himself constantly, I put this down to nerves and quite enjoyed myself.

Afterward, he took me for a drive which I thought would be a nice end to our date.

But no.

He drove me around the village where him and his ex-wife lived when they got married.

He showed me their first home, the bakers where she worked, her parent’s home, and even the pub they drank in!

It really p****d me off that a man in his 50s could have such little respect for his date.

I declined his offer of another date, and he couldn’t understand why.

I’m so upset and totally dejected with the experience that I’m not sure if it’s worth trying again.


Dear Jill,

Online dating is a Lucky Dip. You could try a dozen times and draw the booby prize, or your first time could be the winning ticket! 

I understand why you feel totally dejected but trust me, this was not personal, and you must not take it as such.

This was a guy dating whilst stuck in the past, and his behaviour will reflect that in his dating outcome.

Remember, you only need one winning ticket, so move on and trust that there are decent guys out there. 

Will there be future disappointments? More than likely, because that winning ticket doesn’t often get drawn first time.

Jill, it is how you react to each date that matters, and I’m not sure you are resilient enough to face future drawbacks, but try again and see it as just a date, and not a lifetime commitment. That way, if he is not for you, then you might not feel as dismayed as you did.  Good luck.