An unusual snack of the month choice this month, as it's a chocolate bar from a memorial service for my friend Margot.
I met Margot when I started working as the manager of the Children and Young People's Wales Diabetes Network. Margot was the manager of the network in the north west of England. She had been in post for a few years when I started and she quickly become one of the people I asked for advice on how to do things.
In the seven years I did that job Margot never stopped being that person. She had an encyclopaedic memory for details of decisions made in meetings, and plans and strategies and all kinds of arcane pieces of medical guidance. Frequently I would receive a cryptic email reminder for something that all the network managers had been asked to do several months previously, and I would have to email Margot and ask what it was about. She always knew.
Margot was one of the best networkers I ever met. She was the person to ask who was the best person to ask about things - and could give a quick history on virtually every key player in NHS diabetes care. She knew all the stories and gossip - which big names were squabbling, and who had been slighted by not being invited to speak at a conference and so on. Who to ask about stuff, and importantly, who not to ask.
A couple of stories... Once a year we had one of the national network meetings in Leeds and those of us who had to travel a distance would go up the night before. Margot asked if those staying over would like to get together for a meal at her favourite restaurant - Bibi's. The chairs and managers of several networks said yes. It was only when we all arrived that Margot told us it was a special ABBA night with a live tribute band...
Another story - back in 2018, I organised a 'cinema tour' showing the documentary of Bike Beyond in three cinemas in Wales, including the Scala cinema in Prestatyn. Margot was a Prestatyn girl and decided she had to attend and represent her home town. If I remember correctly she was the first person to book a ticket for her and her colleague. Afterwards they joined me, Sara and Sid - who was one of the riders with type 1 diabetes who cycled across the USA - for a curry where a mix up with full sugar coke caused havoc with everyone's blood sugar levels!
It's a slightly silly memory, but I will always appreciate Margot's enthusiastic kindness in coming to the film showing. It meant a lot to me at the time, and still does. She is standing just behind me in this photo that Sid took:
I had a phone call to tell me that Margot had passed away just before I switched jobs back into the world of diabetes in the summer. It still felt a bit unreal when I was sat with a row of my former colleagues in the memorial service which was held at the hospital chapel in Leeds, almost opposite the children's diabetes centre where Margot worked.
At the start of the service Dancing Queen by ABBA was played. I'll not be able to hear that song without thinking of Margot now.
And the chocolate bar? Well, Jonathan who worked with Margot told me they had sourced the Margot chocolate bars from an importer of European chocolate bars. Someone who opened one after the service said it had a very strong rum flavour - we all thought Margot would have approved!
Having sampled my bar at home, I can confirm it did have a very strong taste of rum, so much so the coconut in the filling was barely noticeable. If you hanker after rum flavoured chocolate bars I think this might be the one for you!