“Caring Rob Rinder is an example to all of us of what people do extremely well” – Val Savage

The warm and wise words of Mrs Savage (this is Robbie’s mum) – this week Val reflects on the laughter she and her mum had, which meant they never felt sad, and how caring TV judge Rob Rinder reminded us all example is

Robert Rinder with dance partner Oksana's grandmother Zoya
Robert Rinder with dance partner Oksana’s grandmother Zoya

I was very moved when Judge Robert Rinder traveled to Poland to find the family of his strict partner Oksana Platero, who had fled Ukraine. What a special man. He is a great example of the extremely good things people do.

The true kindness of people really shines in a crisis. The lockdown two years ago came as a shock to all of us. But looking back, I owe a debt of gratitude to all the friends and family who took care of me. I will always be grateful for their help and thankful to still be here.

Laughter, me and mum said we never felt sad

I think of my mom and miss her every day, especially on Mother’s Day. Memories of her not only make me smile but make me squirt my tea at the thought of the hilarity we shared.

We both always giggled. When we were out, we often laughed so hard that people who saw us started laughing too. They had no idea why we laughed – and often neither do we.

In our time we have seen no counselors or therapists. Seeing the fun side of life with people we loved helped us deal with whatever life throws at us.

Do you agree? Share your opinion in the comment section

Robert and Oksana are mating on Strictly


BBC/Jay Brooks/Matt Burlem)

One day when I stopped by to bring Mom’s groceries, she came out of the loo with a terrible color and said, “Call the doctor, our Valerie – I’m blue.”

I’d rushed to the hardware store, bought her a fancy new toilet cleaner, hooked it up to the cistern to keep her toilet looking nice, and it turned the water blue. But I hadn’t thought to explain it to her.

When my hysteria stopped and I explained to Mum that the blue was a cleaning fluid and not an exotic disease, Mum and I had to race to the bathroom because we laughed so much.

Mum loved talking to everyone she ever saw. The fishman used to stop his van in front of her house and have a chat with her. One day he proudly told her that he had become a father and asked her to guess what he called his daughter. He gave her a hint: The name was inspired by a stone.

“A rock?” Mom said. “You named your baby Pebble?”

Her name was Jade.

My boys were used to seeing me sitting on the stairs talking to Mum, unable to speak for laughter. The old BT ad used to be called “It’s good to talk”. But me and my mother always said it was good to laugh.

My eldest Jonathan says I’m more like my mother every day. I take that as a comforting compliment.

A day that cannot be beaten

Your letters always make me feel fantastic. The little notes share memories, jokes and family news. And Anne and Dee’s beautiful knitted card that took so much effort and skill.

Wouldn’t it be great if we could all meet up? We would have a riot.

Val would like to share a fish dinner…


(Getty Images/iStockphoto)

If my legs were better I would arrange for us all to meet up in Llandudno where we could hire sun loungers on the beach and sit with blankets over our laps. We ate fish, chips and mushy peas and scared away the swooping seagulls.

There’s a Punch and Judy show to get us laughing and I’d pretend to be the cop and hit y’all over the head with a toy nightclub. And we’d have a ’60s singsong to remind us of the days when we could shoot and jive.

…and a puppet show with friendly readers


(Getty Images)

We’d have a piece of custard and four cups of tea. And I’d carry four Tena Ladies to deal with the tea and all the laughs.

On the road, but travel sick

Good news: I bought the wheelchair. Bad news: I felt sick as a dog walking this so I only went outside once.

I’ll try again when I’m good and ready. But Gordon Bennett if anyone knows how to cure wheelchair sickness please let me know because a green face doesn’t look good.

Opal fruits bring starburst contact

Kind reader Tracey Corbett searched everywhere for a big bag of opal fruit for me after I said I disagreed with Starburst. What a wonderful surprise.

I can attest that they are the juiciest candy ever made. Because when I removed the fiddly paper from each candy, I was drooling.

A juicy classic from the old days



Friends have gently told me to try to slow myself down when it comes to eating sweet things. Unboxing time counts as pace, right?

Thong and dance over new pants

My friend Sheila went to Marks and Spencer to get me some new panties because I always like to have a new box in my drawer.

I tried looking them up on the iPad so I could explain exactly what I want. And I got the shock of my life.

Not so long ago panties were panties and that was the end. But when I checked the pants section online, there were thongs and thongs. There were Brazilians and bikinis, high leg and high rise. And what the heck is a VPL? And above all, which panties are compatible with my Tena Ladies?

Sheila managed to find full panties in a very classic black and white mix – although these days they’re purple with orange dots, who’s to know?

M&S underwear department in 1966 when knickers were knickers


mirror image)

When I was about 40, me and my late husband Colin almost got kicked out of Marksys for laughing. We were in Scotland for a romantic weekend, just the two of us, and the weather was unexpectedly sunny, so I had to stop by to get some t-shirts.

Hold-up stockings—fancy hold-up stockings with lace trimmings at the top—had just walked in, and we passed an exhibit that consisted only of mannequins wearing black nylon hold-ups.

I nudged Col and said, “Hey, maybe I’ll buy a pair.”

Col said, “Why? Are you thinking of robbing a bank?”

We were both sewn for what felt like half an hour. Every time we calmed down, we would walk away thinking I was wearing the stockings over my face.

I was always chatty and Colin was always quiet with a very dry sense of humor. And my god I miss him.

  • If you would like to contact Val, email features@mirror. or write to Val Savage, PO Box 7290, E14 5D. Der Spiegel donates instead of a payment to the Alzheimer’s Society.

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