Elsie Rae

Well it had to had to happen, I suddenly got old, I was in an instant in the grandparent category with the arrival of my first grandchild, a young lady by the name of Elsie Rae.

She was unfashionably early (by a month) and with a wonderful name evoking not only the past but the future (she has a name that could, if she so decides, be the perfect choice for an artist, writer or musician).

Of course when this happens all the memories of my baby children come flooding back, the routine that develops quickly and seems to stretch for years and feels as though it has always been the routine.  And now my babies are 16, 20 and 23!

My wife and I worked in partnership and I can see echoes of me in the way my son and his partner are doing just that.

Of course it comes as a big shock to the system, becoming a new parent.  It changes lives and feels such a huge thing to be in charge of a new life.  The first few weeks are the hardest, even for those thinking they have prepared everything to the nth degree.  You can’t plan every aspect of life, especially one so new and they will quickly learn to be flexible, to go with the flow.

We are looking forward to being grandparents (I have had my flat cap ready and waiting for ages) and especially taking her for days out.  Of course the big difference is, most of the time we’ll hand her back and leave the parenting to the parents so there is a little less pressure on us.  We’ll be there to help out when we can along with our counterpart grandparents.

Our little Elsie was lucky to be born on a trip to Wales which means she is Welsh.  she does also have other claims to that nationality with her Great Grandad also being fully Welsh but being born there just adds that extra little bit of credibility.

I feel quite privileged that my wife, all my boys and now my granddaughter could all have the choice to play or represent Wales or England in which ever area of interest (usually sport I grant you) they wanted.  I have to stick to England or Great Britain of course which is fine but I always prefer a little choice.

And so a new stage in our lives starts.

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The Fun of Family Trips

It doesn’t seem very long ago that family trips were a nightmare to organise, at least on the morning of the event.

I’m thinking here of not only the full blown holiday – of which I’ll count anything from the 2-3 day mini-break to a luxurious two weeks, at least in terms of days booked to enjoy which ever paradise of location had been selected, be that a hotel near the sunny coast or a tent in a forest – but also day trips.

It’s not the actual holiday, though that of course would have it’s thumb screw nerve tangling highlights.  It’s the morning of the outward journey.  The acting upon the previous nights agreed agenda and departure time.

I’ve always been the type of person who can get up at any particular time in the morning and I don’t need a ‘winding up’ period.  I can set my mind to a time be that 5:00 am or later (anything after 6:00 seems like the middle of the day to me).

That’s not to say I’m a morning person as such as I’m equally happy going to bed at midnight.  I’m also not in that small percentage who can get by every day on the sniff of a snooze – there has to be some balance somewhere or catch-up though I have to admit I do seem to need less sleep the older I get.  Perhaps it won’t be long until I can drop my chin for a moment about 3:00am and then be fully refreshed.

I think my oldest boy is a little like me; though being about half my age his nights are a little longer than mine but he doesn’t need hours of bed time in the mornings to attempt getting a limb over the mattress edge.  My other boys are not quite as proficient as him and come somewhere near my wife who lives for sleeping, her day is geared once out of bed, for the moment she is back in and cosseted within the duvet.

So you can imagine the scenario of most trip  mornings with the boys in various states of readiness; usually half asleep and not aware that Dad has a schedule.  Mum keeping her cool (just) whilst Dad gets more and more frustrated by the blank looks he gets when he tries to give his sons (and wife) a timely reminder that in order to arrive by the deadline in the chosen location the car needs to leave the driveway by exactly this time…

This of course leads to said sons rebelling against the dictator and going even slower than before the edict which in turn raises Dad’s blood pressure a little more and gives Mum a slight eye twitch.

Somehow we always managed to set off on time, not always with all the luggage (it’s a tradition in all families I think to leave at least one thing behind – as long as it’s not a family member!).

Our youngest son was the hardest to organise as he liked to take his whole room with him including pillows to make the journey bearable,  a good supply of books, comics, games for his hand held games devise of choice, videos, teddies etc.  This always annoyed his siblings a little who were then squashed into their seats surrounded by his junk (their words not mine).

We did try to make things easier by getting bigger cars with our Chrysler Voyager people carrier the biggest and most luxurious.  The car was brilliant if a little elderly when we got her but driving ‘Bessie’ was like being in control of a small living room on wheels.  And if we put the boys at the back we could barely hear the screams and battle noises of car journey sibling rivalry.

Unfortunately she developed a terminal engine malady that meant our last trip in her helped me develop the skill of watching the road with one eye and water temperature gauge with the other and praying to every deity known to man (and a few I made up just to make sure).  As a staunch atheist this meant crossing a few belief boundaries but it was either that or just putting my faith in blind luck.

She was a very thirsty beast that last holiday and barely made the part exchange date once we were back.  I did love that car but my nerves were a lot better once we’d watched her being driven away and no longer under my ownership!

These days things are different.  We still have the same trips but the boys don’t always come with us – one has a life of his own with girl, car, home and a baby on its way and the other two prefer not to be forced  into days away or holidays where Mum and Dad ‘enjoy’ those shops that sell other peoples used stuff.

I have to say (and I accept this sounds very middle aged, which of course we are) we quite like trundling around charity shops, especially if they are in ‘posh’ towns where rich people give their ‘junk’ away for charity – that doesn’t explain why every shop, be they in Wilmslow or some ultra poor city centre, Daniel O’Donnell is king in the CD selection….

And I have learnt to relax and am more flexible with the departure time which in turn helps smooth the leaving ceremony with less anger and tears; I will at least now allow a one or two minutes variation, well most of the time.

 

 

 

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Music Man

With time on my hands I’ve delved into artistic projects I had to let rest whilst striving to earn a living.  Music is a big part of my life and although I gave up a dream of becoming the next big thing or at least getting some wider recognition for my music I’ve still kept dabbling.

Of course over 35 years technology changes and I’ve got songs, bits of songs, group stuff, solo stuff on everything from old cassette tapes to DAT (remember that the next big thing in about 1990).  I have transferred some of this into MP3 recently but not put it anywhere but now I’ve transferred a lot of it to Soundcloud.

A lot of it is demo stuff and much is me just seeing how far I can go with my limited resources and talent.  But just in case you are a masochist you can now find my stuff here:

Soundcloud

YouTube – Live solo videos

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCHat0Eru4phl26zaoA6iYdw

 

YouTube – Videos for songs

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCupNMVKBLDxP6hq9o4TEtnQ

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Resting

It’s now 5 weeks I’ve been ‘resting’.  I’m in that period of free fall that feels good in many respects, a little like being retired, a little like being unemployed.  So I get to choose when I get up; at least most of the time as I still have animals to feed and bodily needs to answer to when they call (and my inner clock still thinks 5-6 am is the right time to stir!).  But I do worry which is where the ‘freefall’ bit comes.

I imagine it’s a little like falling from a plane for fun (though being a complete coward I wouldn’t know for sure of course) at least from what I’ve seen on TV.  A feeling of complete freedom but with a little thought stood with it’s virtual arms crossed, foot tapping away, brow well and truly furrowed and a small bead of sweet forming within that furrow.  Because however good that feeling of freedom at some point the sky ends and is replaced by something a little more solid.

For me that solid thing is needing money to continue living – I’m not some mad rich guy unfortunately and if I was lucky enough to win a large pile of cash I would give up work .  The problem is it is so very easy to get used to being free from work.  And the longer you are free the harder it is then to get back into it.

I’m also getting used to ‘home’, a place I’ve only seen for a few days every week for the last 2 years and which I’m now experiencing 7 days a week.  My wife and children now know who I am and the dog has eventually stopped growling at me. I’m starting to plan my home stuff and things to do (now I’ve caught up with all the things I couldn’t do over the last 2 years).  I could do so much over a few more months…  But I would run out of money!

I’ve got 3 potential new contract roles that have come in over the last week after a very silent period.  All present different attractive possibilities and I don’t like choosing if they all choose me!  I’ve always been the same be it food, music or books: I could always be found in the shop with arms full of product and only enough cash to buy a small number of the items I had – so difficult.

I’ve been holding back on any more spending until I do get a new role (so I have the chance to spread my out goings if need be – I like to be careful and that’s only natural being from Yorkshire).  I plan a few day trips when I do get a new job but of course I’ll probably only get the thumbs up a few days before and my travelling bug will have to be restricted to the roads I’ll travel back and forth on to which ever wonderful location I end up working in (which at the moment could be Nottingham, Coventry or Bradford).  Lovely.

The good news is I have started playing my guitar again and I am blogging (as you can plainly see).  Now I just need to land one of those juicy roles and off I go again.  I’ll be sure to make sure the family have plenty of photos to remind them of me and I’ll Skype the dog so he doesn’t forget me too.  wish me luck.1420373319540

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Creative Space

In the real world I have to try and work to earn money to keep me and my family going.  It’s not ideal, there is so much I could be doing with my life; writing, composing, travelling, eating etc.  I find that when I am working my energy is taken up with working and at the end of each taxing day I struggle to create that time needed to do something entirely selfish and express my creating leanings.

I’m now in a ‘resting’ period.  It’s a time where I put the word out through various networks that my last contract is now done and, as I’m far too young to retire (and will probably never be able to do so anyway given the ever increasing age of retirement and a need to keep eating and paying the bills), I am readily available for more work as soon as possible please, if you don’t mind.

Of course it’s given me a chance to catch up on those things I never get to do when working but gardening (the ever long battle with weeds, the grass jungle and the monster hedge), completing home DIY, decorating and getting the house in some sort of reasonable state of tidiness take priority over dusting my guitar down or remembering the password to my blog site (and yes as you can see I did manage that eventually after leaving my head with only a few hairs and turning the air a delicate shade of blue).

Things are quiet and this is good in that I may well get that chance to breath some life into my artistic endeavours.  But of course the longer that gap stretches that self same spark is smothered a little; I know all too well that those endeavours don’t create me any income and that I need to increase my efforts to get some paid work before the weather gets colder and I have to put the house on the market (thought it’s now in very good shape, the new porch is looking lovely and the garden is serviceable).

Something will come along and off I’ll go.  Once more I’ll promise myself that when away I’ll put aside at least an hour every evening.  And this time… Well you never know your luck dear reader.  Can I ask you for a favour?  Please give me a nudge. Please give me a kick before I lapse once again into silence.  I really don’t want to wait until the next ‘resting period’ and I don’t want my ‘creative space’ needing yet more weeding.

 

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Monsters

Is it feeble to imagine something that could be real but may just be a figment of a vivid rainbow imagination? Is it the right thing to let life move on and not touch what could be? Is it still within the bounds of decency to ignore a bright shimmering light to hide back in the shade? Is it within the realm of self delusion to cover the pathway with dead leaves and follow the line of least resistance?  Which is better: to face the monster that destroys and wreaks havoc but pushes all the past away or run?

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Intoxication

By the very nature of life something will at some point out of the blue give you a rush.  Not a momentary high but a feeling of liquid sugar in your veins.  To that point you may have thought you’d had that feeling before and perhaps it was a good solid facimilie, an excellent imitation that felt delightful but until you felt the real thing….

At which point you knew it was as thin as tracing paper, as fragile as a butterfly’s wings.  The black and white to this new rainbow hued kaleidoscope of shimmering pulsating reverie.

You’d dreamt of it a few times only for it to melt away, a soft disappearing image leaving drifting clouds of the feeling, evaporated like rain on stone on a scorching July day.

And for all its intoxicating dizziness and your mind open and fresh, a flowers petals nourished by light… You dont know what to do.

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