A Sophisticated Sign Off

MK4_4914aWell dear readers the Spinster has decided to call it a day; Cruella has simply exhausted me emotionally and physically. The prospect of further rapid deterioration was both terrifying and not one I wanted to entertain. The Spinster decided to end her life in a manner and at a time of my choosing; I am very clear that, whilst the law might say otherwise, I AM NOT COMMITTING SUICIDE.

It has been just over 8 years since the Spinster was given the unwelcome gift of a chronic incurable degenerative disease; one that would destroy my life slowly at first and then in leaps and bounds. In just over 10 years this Spinster went from being a higher rate tax payer responsible for running a public body – (as an aside I believe I was the youngest woman to do this at the age of 30) – to a position last year where I didn’t earn enough to pay tax. The loss of my independence both financially and physically has been extremely difficult for me. Without the financial support of my immediate family I would have had to seek the support of the State; whilst of course I was entitled to resort to this I found the prospect humiliating.  Pride is a terrible thing; a real burden at times of need.

The Spinster fortunately peaked early on life and so I don’t leave with rafts of regrets or things I wish I’d done. Happy with my lot is perhaps an exaggeration but had the Spinster persisted my ability to do things would have been daily reduced; my potential it seems has been fulfilled. The values by which the Spinster has conducted her life are: clarity, integrity and wisdom with curiosity and creativity added in for Victorious Endeavours. These principles have served the Spinster well as I leaving this mortal coil with a clear conscience albeit with a limited bank balance! Integrity is not a road paved with gold!!

So live life as though it could be snatched away from you in a heartbeat; take managed risks avoiding recklessness; and treat your fellow travellers with tenderness and care. Hold your tongue at times when you risk blurting out judgemental potentially hurtful comments; we seldom know the full back story.

Good bye and good luck ladies (and fellow male travellers too).

The Spinster signs off with sophistication.

Post script:

The Contemporary Spinster Frances Medley was found dead at her home on 18 September 2013. Loved by many, may she rest in peace. Funeral arrangements will be posted on this site when they are known.




Filed under Musings of a Contemporary Spinster

60 responses to “A Sophisticated Sign Off

  1. Stunned – Oh Fran so so sad xxx

  2. I am sat in a bar in San Francisco and celebrating the life of the ‘Sophisticated Spinster’. About an hour ago this came through (8 hours behind GMT) whilst I was drinking a toast to her and reading through some of Fran’s past Victorious Endeavours – somehow I almost expected it. After all how could she not sign off?
    For me Fran was mentor, champion, confidante and friend and she had the ability to make me blush with her flirtatious comments and cheeky looks.
    I was devasted to hear the news this afternoon. Shocked but not surprised. She chose her own journey and I celebrate her sophistication and dignity. I feel blessed for having known her. Nos da Cariad xx

  3. Frances, you are one of the most hardworking individuals that I know of. Your energy, passion and drive made a huge impact on the Arts in wales. The candle that burns twice as bright…

    You will be remembered and missed.

  4. Jo Woodford

    So sad and sooo courageous.
    Dear friend, you will be so missed.

  5. Rest in well-earned peace.

    With all love and admiration. xxx

  6. The most wonderful brilliant clever woman. Sadly missed. Claire

  7. Anne Plenderleith

    To a brave, witty and insightful woman. One of a kind, who will be missed.

  8. Aleksandra

    Thank you for wonderful moments of being and working together, my friend. Will miss you a lot. I will celebrate our friendship and destiny to meet you in this life. Thank you for all your love. Aleksandra

  9. Ruth Till

    What an amazing and brave lady. I won’t forget her.

  10. Olwen Moseley

    sad news indeed. Farewell sweet Fran. There are many whose lives have been enriched by knowing you.

  11. Peter Jones

    Frannie. So very honoured to have known you. When we lived together in Gwaelod we had such a laugh and those times I treasure. Your brilliant sense of wit and humour just amazing. Your loyalty to those nearest and dearest to you so special and your integrity and wisdom shining through your sign off posting. Will raise a glass or three to you to tonight. Farewell beautiful xxx

  12. Someone who just wishes her a peaceful passing

    I admire this lady very much for her bravery. She is clearly much needed elsewhere. God Bless x

  13. Lydia

    Do not go gentle into that good night. Rage, rage against the dying of the light. – love Lydia

  14. Siri Wigdel

    Goodbye dear Fran, I salute your achievements, and toast to your strength and courage in the decisions you have made. I will remember your wise words and take them with me on my own journey, to CLARITY, INTEGRITY AND WISDOM. Siri

  15. chris

    i salute you Fran x Happy memories of tasty shared morsels and indeed there are many whose lives have been enriched by knowing you. Love and peace, Chris

  16. Eirwen Hopkins

    An exceptional woman. Her dignity and courage inspired me. Her energy and kindness helped many. She will always be remembered in my house.

  17. I remember our times together on the Board with Diversions, such fun. Fran, praying for you. Rest peacefully.

  18. Joanne Donohoe

    Fran your courage is admirable and I wish I had known you sooner. I will always remember as you become part of my journey in life. Peace be in your soul xxx

  19. Brave courageous Fran – one remarkable woman. Those of us who were privileged to know you well, fully realise we will not meet another like you along the way. Thank you for your friendship, love and support.
    Judi Richards

  20. Sarah Argent

    Dear Fran! I will miss our coffees and our gossip and our giggles and, most importantly, I will miss your support, encouragement, wisdom, insight, plain-speaking, humour and warmth. You helped me through one of the worst periods of my life and I will be eternally grateful to you. An inspiration in death as you were in life. Your legacy lives on in those of us who had the privilege of knowing you. RIP … and chuck those lollipops and crutches away! xx

  21. Goodbye Fran,

    It’s hard to think of a world without you in it. I could say you were brave, or that you faced down the prospect of leaving this world in a way that you couldn’t accept. I could talk about your professional skills or your humour or the way you could make sense of the insensible… but others will do that more eloquently.

    I’ll say this. It was a privilege to know you, an honour to work with you and real pleasure to be in your company. I will miss you, probably cry at your funeral but be proud to be able that I shared some of my time with you.

    Cysga’n dawel, gariad fwyn


  22. RIP dearest Fran. what a warrior. You’ve been so brave and shown so much courage! Wales has been enriched in so many ways by your immense contribution to the arts. Thank you for helping so many of us and inspiring so many more. What a woman. What a loss.

    Wales Arts International

  23. David Newland

    It was a pleasure to work alongside you ten years ago – so much energy and that winning smile. You’ll be missed. David

  24. James Doyle-Roberts

    There are some people one meets briefly, but they leave you with a feeling that you want to be more like them.
    Fran was very much one of those people

  25. I am so glad to have met you through WID many years ago. You supported me through a really tough time in my career, even though you hardly knew me, you were there at the end of the phone…every time we crossed paths since, you were convinced I was a burlesque dancer!? ( I can honestly say I have never got my tassels out in public, although the work I do make now is very much inspired by these vintage pin-ups…maybe you knew what I was destined for before I did!)..incredibly talented, strong minded woman, an inspiration to other freelance women in the arts. So sad to read this blog but also feeling empowered to keep creating and tackling new experiences…thank you Fran, a pleasure to have known you, you will be sadly missed but never forgotten…Kylie Ann Smith

  26. Suzanne Griffiths-Rees

    So saddened to hear about Fran’s passing. She was my first boss at the Arts Council of Wales and was always supportive and kind. I looked after her house and three cats when she went away and she let me drive her car too.
    She was intelligent, creative and could be irreverent, but always smiling. That is how I shall remember her. Sleep tight, Fran xxxx

  27. Wendy

    A one off. We miss you, but will remember you always. X

  28. Our relationship started in the arts but most recently has been mostly comparing the efficacy of pain relief: I haven’t graduated to morphine lollipops which amused her. Seeing her when out and about and obviously enjoying life with all its horrible encumbrances I had no idea her illness had progressed so far. Great performance Fran.
    And great courage in her passing.
    Like many I will miss that flash of sunshine – and gentle roguishness.

  29. Dear Fran – I miss you already. You were such a support to me but what I will always remember is the fun we took in being posh girls with posh accents….’darling is that Toast’…’but of course it is sweetie’.

    I’m so glad I knew you and will remember you always. I hope you have some idea of how many people loved you.

  30. Jill Piercy

    I lit a candle for you in the church of your namesake, St. Francis, in Venice.
    The memory of your life will live on.
    Jill P

  31. I will miss our chats and laughs Fran, oh beautiful woman. With love xxx
    Sue xx

  32. Julia Davies

    Julia Davies

    I have always admired you Fran and consider myself privileged to have known you. A lovely lady of integrity, inspiration and courage. I will always remember your kindness and dignity and the sneaky cigarettes and chats we shared!
    Here’s to Victorious Endeavours and a brave sophisticated lady. You will be sorely missed. Thank you for your friendship and support.
    Will miss you.

  33. John Carey Williams

    Dear Fran

    Sometimes the smallest of kindnesses is the most memorable. I hope you’ve found some peace.

  34. I never knew you Fran, but I truly admire the way you took control of your own life by taking control of your own death. I hope wherever you are you are having loads of fun, having escaped the confines of the body. G’nite.

    I am so sorry you felt that this was to be the time for your exit : nevertheless a sophisticated , and bravado departure for a lady of literary style.
    May you be at peace now.

  36. Timothy Walker

    Thank you for encouraging me to write about Malawi. You have gone so these words will not reach you. Brave in life and even more so in death. Very brave. Rest in peace in Malawi, the land of your birth.
    Tim Walker

  37. Lucy Shorrocks

    I felt like I’d met a kindred spirit – a northern, feisty, direct (occasionally too much so) chick who liked doing things her own way. I wish we’d worked together longer, but had a ball when we did. Will raise a glass and get a bit shouty in your honour/ on your behalf tonight in Sydney. Thinking of all your family and friends – thank you for everything. Lx

  38. Angela Gidden

    Fran, you made a whole load of difference to so much. You connected so many people throughout your professional and personal journey……. in your own very unique victorious way of course! You’ll be missed but always remembered brave Fran

  39. Jane D

    Thanks for your help at Chapter strategy days.

    Even more thanks for the sophisticated ladies gatherings.

    I hope you are on a chaise lounge in the clouds somewhere.


  40. I will always remember the importance of good accessories, thanks to you, Fran. And how *black* crutches are so much more difficult to find, but oh so crucial.

    • Sandra Jones

      For an exceptional woman, where ever the wonderful world of the arts happens, your spirit will be there encouraging, supporting, laughing and telling it like it is. It was a pleasure and a privilege to have been able to work and spend time with you Fran, be safe in the light

  41. I had the pleasure of knowing Fran through the Magdalena Project when she was its Chair (2005-2011). I always carried a sense of Fran as someone with terrific judgement but not one of these capable and dependable people that used their competence in the world as a stick to batter you with! Fran was unfailingly genial and charming even in irritation and latterly pain. The manner of her signing off is inspirational. I feel enriched to have known her and will remain that way in remembrance of her many qualities. Nos da cariad. xx

  42. Clare Pearl

    I knew Fran for just a year or so before she died and met her through Emma, with whom I share a house. During one of our intense conversations I mentioned a plan I had of setting up a counselling service for the homeless women resident at the Blenheim Project, a hostel in Bradford. The inspiration for this came from my own experience of benefitting from the liberating ideas of Carl Rogers whilst training to be a counsellor. The simple premise of person-centred counselling is that the person knows what is best for them, and has all the wisdom and resources within themselves to fulfil their potential. Sometimes though, circumstances get in the way, and a counselling relationship can offer a climate where personal growth and change can be experienced – perhaps for the first time in a person’s life.
    I had worked out that for about £5000.00, a counsellor could be employed for one year to offer 3 sessions a week to the residents at the project. This seed fund would give us the chance to establish and evaluate the service, hopefully justifying applications for further funding and donations to ensure it continues.
    I am deeply touched that Fran has made this the charitable cause for her funeral donations, and feel excited at the prospect of setting up a service that has the possibility of making a significant and lasting difference to women at a very vulnerable time in their lives.

  43. Elan Closs Stephens

    In memory of dearest Fran whom I knew over twelve years and more.
    Courageous, clear-sighted, unflinching, stylish in her death as in life.
    Gyda chariad, victorious lady,

  44. Pingback: Frances Medley

  45. I wondered with regard to those organising the Funeral Service whether are to be Readings.
    If so, I wanted to make a suggestion of the speech from Shakespeare’s – The Tempest, “…our revels now are ended.”
    I know how much Frances loved the literary sphere: she will be missed.

  46. Eddie Ladd

    Yn cofio’n dyner amdanat. Fe welwn ni dy ishe di yn fowr iawn. Cysga’n dawel. x

  47. Pingback: Creative Futures Arts Council of Wales annual conference 2013, Wales Millennium Centre, 3 October notes | Steffan Jones-Hughes

  48. Barbara Hetherington

    This is very, very sad and my heart goes out to everyone close to Fran. As someone once said, it’s not the years in your life but the life in your years that matter and Fran packed a lot in; no doubt much of her work will endure for years to come….she certainly touched and influenced many lives and the support she gave was invaluable. Fran – you will always be remembered.

  49. Sue Kirkland

    Rest in Peace, Fran and Rise in Glory. Will never forget our 24 hour bum-numbing coach journey from Chesterfield to Taize, sharing that tent and escaping to Macon for the day. We were so young, you just a teenager. Hope to share a tent in Heaven one day. X

  50. jonny walker

    Pitwane Bweno achimemewe x

  51. Lisa Morris

    Remembering you with affection and respect, Fran. You are a star. x

  52. Antonia

    a very brave woman, who left her own unique mark – which is all that any of us can hope to do.

  53. Polly

    I have so much respect for your decision Fran. A perfect way for you to bow out – brave, witty, concise. Of course. I have such fond memories of you , your professionalism, insight, and your kindness to me. But I am so very, very sad that this is where you got to. Thanks for sharing your decision so eloquently and publicly. Can we also thank those who supported you at such a very difficult time. Incredibly courageous – I have nothing but respect. You are truly remarkable all of you. Fran, with all my heart, I miss you.

  54. samantha webber

    Auntie fran. I will never forget you. You was one amazing lady. . I will tell Ellis about his Brilliant godmother when hes older. XXx

  55. Pingback: “I am not committing suicide”: Leading academic’s final blog entry before ending her life | Will Humphries

  56. Jo

    Dearest Fran, it is hard to believe a year has gone by since that dreadful day, that day I lost my dearest friend and the world lost someone truly gifted and special. You remain forever etched in my heart, the truest, most honest and courageous woman I shall ever know.
    Miss you dear friend, may you be in peace.

  57. Peter Jones

    Frannie. Still can’t believe a year has passed since we lost you. You’re often in my thoughts darling and will be forever in my heart x

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