Each has lovingly kept their collection of vinyl records which they bought back then and now, nearly forty years later, they are witnessing the re-emergence of vinyl popularity. Last year Jacqui received a turntable as a present, so her rare collector’s white vinyl edition of Procol Harum’s – A Whiter shade of Pale, is often frequently heard blasting out and disturbing the neighbours!
Julia and Jacqui both trained at the same time as nurses at Clatterbridge and Arrowe Park hospitals in the Wirral. Although they were in different intakes, when each was working on the elderly persons’ unit, they both made the same error of collecting all the patient’s false teeth in a bucket and then didn’t know which set of teeth belonged to which patient! Thankfully no long-term damage was done, as all the teeth were returned to their rightful owners, well at least they think they were!
After qualifying as nurses, their lives took separate paths as Jacqui went to pursue a career in midwifery in Berkshire and then as a health visitor, whilst Julia stayed in general nursing in the Wirral, later becoming a counsellor.
However, something has always brought them back together again, often in the most unexpected of places. For example, one morning when Jacqui was working on an antenatal clinic in Ascot, she called in the next patient to be examined and to her utter surprise, that next patient was Julia. A few months later when Julia’s daughter was born, Richard her husband forgot to bring in her shoes, so Julia went home in her fluffy pink slippers. Jacqui, who was with Julia when she was discharged, was more worried about how her hair looked, in case there were any camera’s waiting to take a snap of Julia and Richard as they left the hospital.
Many years later Jacqui was back on the Wirral visiting family when one of her sons was taken ill and admitted to Arrowe Park hospital. Whilst she was at the hospital, she received a telephone call from Julia informing her that Julia’s mother was seriously ill. Jacqui had not seen Julia for a couple of years. Julia, expecting Jacqui to be in the South of England where she lived said, “I wish you were here”. Jacqui asked Julia where she was and Julia replied “Arrowe Park hospital”. Jacqui and Julia were just three floors apart, just at the moment when one needed the other. Once again, chance had intervened in their lives.
Although over the years they drifted apart, as their different lives took them in a variety of directions, fate or sheer chance always brought them back together again on so many unexpected occasions. This often occurred when one of them was struggling with a particular issue in their lives. As Julia always says, “A true friend is there when you need them and none more so, than when you are dealing with the effects of being betrayed.”
Outside of their professional careers, they are also daughters, wives, mothers, carers and friends, so they understand how it feels to be emotionally torn when faced with difficult life experiences. They have both suffered health challenges and really understand how difficult it can be to stay positive when you are struggling with illness and in pain.
Both Jacqui and Julia love animals, although this is where they do differ; Jacqui loves cats and owns two, Julia loves dogs and has a pug and a dachshund.
Jacqui is a sun worshipper, whilst Julia loves the shade, so when they go away together Julia finds a tree to hide under, whilst Jacqui laps up the sun.
If she hadn’t gone into the caring professions, Julia would love to have been an actress in musicals and at one time considered being a stand-up comedian. Having sat in the audience watching Julia partake in amateur dramatics, Jacqui thinks Julia would have required a lot of coaching!
Julia is very musical and has even composed songs. None have never really seen the light of day, except just one, which had a one-off appearance on Billy Butler’s Radio City Liverpool play list back in the 80’s. However, Jacqui is tone deaf, so they won’t be doing any duets anytime soon.
Jacqui loves history, so in another life would have been a historian.
During the course of writing the MANScript book and establishing Keys2Life, they have at times been reduced to tears, however they have also laughed a lot too. Some of that laughter has been about the excuses they have heard from men for their adulterous behaviour, but at other times they have been filled with sadness after reading the painful stories that people have so openly shared with them.
Both Julia and Jacqui believe that a problem shared is a problem solved and without their friendship and support for each other, they know that neither of them would have been in a place to have undertaken the MANScript project or establish Keys2Life, let alone cope with other events in their lives. Now let them help you with their superb expertise.
Julia Keys and Jacqui Coles are the co-founders of www.keys2life.co.uk and co-authors of the MANScript. They first became friends at the age of 16, well Jacqui was 15, as Julia is slightly older than Jacqui, which Jacqui never lets her forget!
That life-long friendship actually began when they shared a Saturday job in the Bargain Box record shops based on the Wirral. Each has lovingly kept their collection of vinyl records which they bought back then and now, nearly forty years later, they are witnessing the re-emergence of vinyl popularity. Last year Jacqui received a turntable as a present, so her rare collector’s white vinyl edition of Procol Harum’s – A Whiter shade of Pale, is often frequently heard blasting out and disturbing the neighbours!
“ As Helen Keller said “Alone we can do so little: Together we can do so much.” Julia, Jacqui and the rest of our team are here to help support you through our book, our blog and our wider services. Please feel free to contact us for support.”