Monthly Archives: March 2014

The Soundtrack to My Life vol. 1

A Facebook post by a friend caught my eye earlier and got me thinking (seldom a good thing).The post asked you to add a link to your own wall to the song that was at number one in the charts on the day that you were born. I’d seen a similar post a while ago and knew the answer but it got me thinking about songs that would make up the album “The Soundtrack to My Life vol. 1″– a compilation of the tracks that were number one in the UK charts at salient points of  my life. Now you’re all starting to think about songs from your past, aren’t you?

So, after a bit of research, here’s my track list for volume one: –

Aug 1975 (when I started primary school) – Typically Tropical “Barbados”

May 1988 (when I left high school) – Wet Wet Wet “With A Little Help From My Friends”

Sept 1988 (when I met The Big Green Gummi Bear) – Yazz & the Plastic Population ”The Only Way Is Up”

Mar 1993(when we bought our first home together) – Shaggy “O Carolina”

Apr 1994 (when we got engaged) – Take That “Everything Changes”

Sept 1995 (when we got married) – Blur “Country House”

Dec 1997(birth of Boy Child) – Various Artists “Perfect Day”

Feb 2000 (birth of Girl Child) – Gabrielle “Rise”

 

And the song that was number one when I was born? – Mungo Jerry “In The Summertime”

Now that I’ve got you thinking, go and compile your own soundtrack. You may find some surprises in there that you’d forgotten about.

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What makes you smile?

One of my favourite books as a child was “Pollyanna” by Eleanor H Porter. I read it and read it. Lord knows how many times I borrowed it from the local library. If you’ve never read it or been fortunate enough to see the film version starring Hayley Mills, I can thoroughly recommend it, if for nothing else other than to introduce you to “the Glad Game”.

This fast paced, demanding, technology filled world we all live in is, at times, overwhelming. There is enormous pressure on us to strive for happiness at any cost. It’s not always money and material things though that bring us moments of genuine happiness. Sometimes it is the small insignificant things that make us smile.

Yesterday, after a long and at times emotional week, I was reminded of “the Glad Game” when I found myself smiling at the fact it was a beautiful sunny spring morning.

The rules of “the Glad Game” are simple – “find something about everything to be glad about.”

Here’s how I got on as yesterday unfolded.

I was glad because:-

  1. It was a beautiful sunny day Its no secret to those who know me that I love the sun.
  2. I started the day with a perfectly chilled glass of orange juice. I need OJ to kick start every morning before coffee.
  3. I could enjoy a long hot leisurely shower using my favourite frangipani shower gel. I love the smell of that shower gel!
  4. I went for a walk in the sun, iPod blasting my favourite tracks into my ears and armed with my camera to capture some of the beauty of Spring. I got some great photos too.
  5. When I returned home I enjoyed a strong black coffee in my favourite mug (yes – the Myles Kennedy one) and a hot buttered toasted cinnamon and raisin bagel. Delicious- just have to ensure that Frankenstein, the cat, is out of butter licking reach!
  6. I could listen to some music on vinyl while tackling the weekly ironing mountain
  7. In a “naughty” moment, I treated myself to some new vinyl. Thank you Amazon and I’ll be equally glad when it arrives.
  8. The first MotoGP race of the season was fantastic and our snail speed broadband coped with streaming the race via BT Sport. Result!
  9. I got to enjoy an episode of “Sons of Anarchy” with boy child, girl child and a glass of wine. (Still not sure I should be watching that series with my children….)
  10. At the end of the day there were clean fresh bedcovers on the bed.

Nothing fancy. Nothing expensive (well perhaps the new vinyl was a bit). Everything made me smile.” Glad” for what I have and what I enjoyed throughout the day.

Try playing “the Glad Game” for yourself and see how easy it is to bring a smile to your day.

A spiritual Sunday evening’s entertainment

Do you believe in ghosts? How many times have we all been asked that question? How many times have we answered it truthfully? My answer always remains the same- Yes.

I’ve had enough unexplained ghostly and psychic experiences so far in life to convince me that there is definitely something to this. Ghost is the wrong terminology to use here – in short- yes I believe in life after death and I believe that there can be communication between the “here and now “ and the “other” or “higher” side. I am however very wary of visiting mediums/psychics. I have also been advised on more than one occasion that I was a witch in a past life – a forest dwelling healing witch.

On two occasions I have been convinced (I use the term loosely in connection to the second occasion) to have a private reading done in a friend’s home. Both experiences were very different; both were in different locations. One involved Tarot cards; the other a single Angel card.  Both were accurate to a degree, the second one more so but, in all honesty, the second occasion really rattled me to the core. I’ll save that tale for another day.

Until last weekend I had never been to a professional medium’s theatre show. A friend invited me to accompany  her to see a world famous medium at our local theatre, as she didn’t want to go alone. (No – I’m not naming the medium.)  I was curious to see how this would work; I was anxious in case some talkative deceased loved one decided it was time for a public chat! The format was quite simple. No frills. One medium, two cameramen filming the audience and a table with a jug of water and two glasses on it. The medium explained that his “spirit guide” was with him and would assist with the communication from the “higher” side. (My friend and I both had the same thought that the “spirit guide” was a Native American Indian but, if he was, the medium never confirmed our suspicions) He also said he would have to “tell it as it is” or the spirits would give him into trouble.

In all the show lasted about two hours and he spoke to roughly a dozen members of the audience. There was only once that he failed to identify the recipient of the message being given to him to deliver. The dancing Mrs McDonald never found her Lynne.  Comments ranged from a reminder to get a broken door repaired before the house got broken into to a dressing down for one elderly lady for not taking her prescribed medication properly. The cynic in me picked up on the references to a lottery win for one person and the promise of a new puppy for another. A lot of what was said though was too specific to be guesswork and I don’t think there were any “plants” in the audience.

I was taken aback somewhat towards the end of the evening when he said he had a “sister of mercy” come through with a little girl looking for her mummy. The medium explained that when an unborn child dies either through miscarriage or still birth that they “grow up” in spirit and are cared for by “sisters of mercy.” He enquired of the audience as to who had lost a baby girl and gave a couple of other more personal prompts. Much to my surprise, he quickly identified the mother who held onto her composure while he delivered a fairly powerful personal message to her. The intimacy of this message made me uncomfortable for the first and only time that evening. Perhaps it should have been saved for a more private setting.

All in all it was an entertaining evening. I was thankful that my deceased loved ones remained silent. Maybe they were at the back of his queue of spirits. Would I go back to another public evening like it? Probably not. Would I like a reunion of everyone who was there, in say, nine months time?  Yes. I want to know if there is a baby girl weighing 8lbs 7oz born on a Tuesday in December to the rather surprised looking mother of three in the audience.

Him and Her….do you want to know the connection?

A few weeks back I bit the bullet and introduced a character that I’ve been working on for a long time in the short story Him.

Now it’s time to let you meet Her.

I’ve been writing about these people, sorry characters, for almost a year and am not yet quite ready to share that larger project with the world yet but wanted to test the water with these two short pieces.

Do you want to know more about them? Do you want to hear the story that connects them?

Searching in vain for inspiration

While I was out for a stroll in my lunch hour today, enjoying the beautiful spring sunshine, my mind was rapidly straying away from all thoughts of work towards this week’s blog post. A few potential topics drifted by but nothing was inspiring me. I stopped to watch the seabirds sitting out on the rocks at the mouth of the James Watt Dock but no inspirational thoughts came. (I did mutter under my breath yet again about how disobliging the cormorants were being – I am desperate to get a decent photograph of one of them drying its wings but, after more than a year of waiting and watching, I’m still waiting and watching for that shot!) A border of colourful spring flowers gave me a lovely photo for my Facebook wall but no blog thoughts. My ears were filled with music from my iPod but no flashes of inspiration from the tunes I was enjoying…. at least not thoughts I’m sharing on here!

Several hours later I drove home into the setting sun- a stunning sight as the sun set beyond the Argyll hills lighting up the sky with hues of red and orange. My mind was still thinking blog….. and then I remembered a poem I had written a while back.

The inspiration for it was a rock. A big long low red sandstone rock on the beach at Kilchattan Bay on the Isle of Bute. A rock I had played on for hours as a little girl during summer holidays and long autumn weekend visits. A rock that my imagination  transformed into the setting for many make believe games. Something simple yet inspiring.

Perhaps today I was over thinking this post. Perhaps I was looking at the world with my eyes and ears shut, despite enjoying the sights and sounds around me. It’s made me think…..

 

Day In The Life Of A Rock

Soft rays of morning sun

Not quite reaching the shore

The rock sits in silence

Waiting for someone to come and explore.

 

Stomping and mumbling

A boy stamps along

Shells crushing under his angry feet.

The rock looms large

And his bleak mood shifts.

A submarine! All his!

The rock is transformed by his play til midday.

 

Hot afternoon sun beats down on the rock

Along comes a girl

In her pretty summer frock.

“My fairy castle!” she cries.

With a skip and a dance

She enters the fairy world

Totally entranced.

The rock is transformed by her play

Til her mother’s call breaks the spell.

 

The sun sets with a warm rosy glow.

I sit on the rock

Feeling it’s warmth rising inside me.

My space. My sanctuary.

My time to play

As the sun sinks down on another magical day

 

An Evening of Southern Hospitality Never To Be Forgotten

An evening of “Southern Hospitality”- it would’ve been rude to refuse.

“Rock Mum” was out to play this week at Glasgow’s legendary Barrowlands in the company of one other “responsible” adult ( I use the term loosely)and four rock music mad teenagers (one of whom is currently slightly broken after a recent skiing incident).

Our evening’s “Southern Hospitality” was provided by Kentucky based hard rock band, Black Stone Cherry. I’d seen them play a few years ago as the support act for Nickelback so, when I saw this short speciality tour advertised, it was too good an opportunity to pass up.

As we queued outside in the freezing cold and in full view of the band’s tour bus, the excitement began to build. Climbing the stairs up to the “ballroom” only heightened the anticipation. I have to say it is the first time I’ve watched a rock band play a venue with glitter balls on the ceiling, a reminder of the venue’s past history as one of Scotland’s leading dance halls of the 1950’s and 1960’s.

The set list had been chosen by the fans via the band’s Facebook page and was interspersed with several short Q&A sessions. Broad Glasgow accents versus Kentucky Southern drawl proved to be a challenge as the band confessed they weren’t quite tuned in to “Scottish” as they put it but the questions proved to be entertaining and the band demonstrated what a decent bunch of guys they are. One girl asked if they would autograph a t-shirt she had worn to their last Scottish show when she had been pregnant with her first child. The shirt was duly tossed on stage, autographed then personally delivered back to its owner by lead singer, Chris Robertson, who came off stage and into the crowd. A custom made bass drum skin was autographed and raffled off during the evening. The fans did learn one “personal” fact about guitarist, Ben Wells – the name of the shampoo he uses on his long blonde flowing locks. Street cred severely dented there, young man!

It almost goes without saying that the music was brilliant – all the fans’ favourites were played plus two new songs from their forthcoming album, Magic Mountain. From the “dance floor” it was obvious that the band were having a much fun as their adoring fans. Chris Robertson’s face as the whole crowd sang “Peace Is Free” to him was a vision of pride and emotion.

After a full two hour set Black Stone Cherry bade us all a warm goodnight and left the stage to a thunderous cheer. The house lights went up and the PA system began to play Garth Brooks “Friends In Low Places”. Apt.

The highlight of the evening was yet to come.

As we headed towards the exit, I spotted the band’s drummer, John Fred Young, standing at the side talking to someone. With that huge mop of curls you couldn’t mistake him! Distinctly out of character for a normally shy me, I went over to speak to him. I thanked him for a fantastic show and was rewarded with a very sweaty hug and a kiss. Happy Rock Mum!

The kids had followed me over somewhat shyly. I stood back and watched them chat politely with the tired musician, get their tickets autographed, when someone eventually tracked down a pen, and their photos taken.

Sharing in their excitement and enthusiasm for having met one of the band and listening to their “star struck” conversation, as we headed wearily home, made me a very proud “Rock Mum” to all four of them.

Definitely a night where we all enjoyed Black Stone Cherry’s personal Southern Hospitality. Thank you, gentlemen.

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