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  • Writer's pictureChristine Collister

Blogpost No2 February 2023

Ola sweet Blogpost reader. It is always a pleasure to share what’s occurring in my tiny Island life with you each month. There have been several momentous events these past few weeks but let me just start with the signs of spring that are now everywhere. Snowdrops, daffodils, crocus, catkins; trees ready to burst with buds I even saw blossom this morning! Signs that life is very much stirring from its winter sleep. Much like us.

I continue to dip in the Irish Sea, sometimes daily but at least 3 or 4 times a week. I really love it. The cold is a great way to start the day or boost an afternoon. I have delightful mermaid friends who also appreciate the fresh, cold, splash of the sea to wake themselves up, so that if any of us is feeling less than excited about the embrace of the waves … we have each other to take the edge off our uncertainty. No bullying though … sometimes not getting in is just the ticket. Lighter mornings have made our 7.30 dips idyllic … rosy pink and golden skies and a full moon to light our tingling skin. Each to their own? Works for me!

One of my big events was submitting an application to the IOM Arts Council for funding to create the book/artwork etc for Children Of The Sea. Your kind and positive thoughts will help the application enormously! Thanks :-) x Decisions are made around March 5th. Not too long to wait. I’m not the world’s most enthusiastic form filler so for me the whole process is traumatic. But I did all I could to persuade those lovely board members the value of such an artistic endeavour. Like I said … your kind thoughts are very welcome!

February is the month of love and I had grand plans to record a special song and share it here to celebrate, along with the fact that Bob and I tied the knot 13 years ago February 13th :-) x we’ll ignore Valentine’s Day, I mean … we got married at Gretna Green 2010 … the day before Valentines :-) x it’s become a tradition to share our infectiously giggle fuelled vows with the world, so here they are:

The reason for my not recording a special song for this month’s Blogpost, which was planned to be done this week, is that last Saturday whilst out with mum and Sweep … mum fell and broke a bone in her right shoulder … yes the not-so-funny humerus. We were by a busy road making our way to a gate entrance to one of our nearest glens, Bishopscourt. Mum didn’t want to be on the side of the on coming traffic so opted to squeeze past a parked car … I went round the other way and was hoping to meet her on her side of the car …

Apart from that one car, there was not a single soul around. I couldn’t get mum up off the ground and she was obviously in pain. I had to put Sweep back in our car as he was frantic, upset by mum’s distress and likely to run into the fast moving cars whizzing by. That was an awful 30 seconds. I called my brother Colin to ask him to drive over to help get mum back into our car. He was in Douglas 13 miles away! No point calling Bob at that moment as I had the car and he couldn’t do anything to help from home. I was about to call for an ambulance when 2 lovely young women pulled up to help, followed by a separate young man who saw what was going on and turned round to also offer help. Angels if ever I needed evidence!

With their kind and gentle support we got mum to her feet and back in the car. One of the women was a nurse and suggested going to Ramsey Cottage Hospital as they had X-ray facilities and knew it would be quieter than Nobles in Douglas. We arrived at the Minor Injuries Unit at Ramsey and there was no one else there! We were seen by a lovely man by the name of Malcolm who swiftly cleaned and dressed a nasty gash down mum’s right shin and after careful examination thought mum had dislocated her shoulder. However, while they do in fact have X-ray facilities there’s no Radiologist available in Ramsey at the weekends. We needed to go to Nobles A&E. He phoned ahead and requested an X-ray hoping that would speed up the process. Bless him! Didn’t seem to make any difference. We arrived at 1pm and left 7.37pm. In between that time we met and were assisted by a plethora of lovely nurses, doctors, radiologists (took 2 visits to the X-ray department to get a full picture of what was actually going on). Throughout that time mum was amazing! Never complained once. Even sang “My Old Man’s a Dustman” several times, which no doubt was annoying to those poor souls in the other Bays in various states of discomfort, confusion and pain.

In the end the expert advice was that mum has a clean fracture to the top part of her right humerus (stop with the jokes!) and that the best thing to do is let it mend with gravity’s help. There was so much more to this story which no doubt at some point will form part the in-between song patter at live shows (whenever that’s possible again!). But for now this much might already be tmi? Halfway through the process at Nobles and an hour after having received a small amount of intravenous morphine, mum looked at me and smiled saying: “It’s been a lovely day.”

After getting mum to bed last night (Saturday Feb 18th a week since "the incident") I speedily recorded this old chestnut for those of us who love love. It’s for Bob who rocks my world and keeps me smiling when nothing and no one else could.

I’m not entirely sure what to expect of the next 4 weeks … prayers and meditations firmly focussed on the Arts Council grant aside … more signs of spring expected for sure … slightly warmer dips? Soon it will be time for seeds to be sown and veg beds prepared. Yes!

Should I do a FB Live soon? Not sure it matters to people anymore. I shall contemplate some more. Feel free to answer me though ... all suggestions carefully considered ... within reason! I’m hoping to resume recording songs for another Collister&Fix album … maybe we’ll write a few? Mmm now I think about it … that would be great. Must chat to Michael soon …

Before I go I thought I'd share an old YT video I edited together 7 years ago when the world was different and Bob and I innocently travelled to far flung places to be with family and friends and experience the joys our beautiful planet has in abundance. Dolphins will forever be a place of joy!

Thanks as always for stopping by to catch up on our tiny island adventures. I really appreciate it! Till next time stay well and keep rising above the turbulence!

Much love

Christine xx

PS case you missed it last month ... there are copies of Daphne's Flight "Live" now available from the shop

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  • Writer's pictureChristine Collister

Updated: Jan 15

Blogpost No1 January 2023

Happy new year! I trust you had a delightful Christmas and New Year, spent with those you love and hold dear. Ours was very quiet though mine in particular, was punctuated occasionally with hollers of gasping delight at dipping in the cold Irish Sea. Crazy I may be but I’m also happy … for the most part.

Christmas, and my birthday seem so long ago already. Two weeks into a new year and I’m firmly pointing in a forward direction … well kind of. There are so many decisions ahead but so much to be done before those decisions can be reached with any confidence. As you know I have completed the writing, arranging, recording, mixing and mastering of 9 songs which strung together become an album/CD entitled “Children Of The Sea” - hurrah I hear you cheer! But now I have the complicated task of pulling together all the elements required to create a book chock full of beautiful artwork, stories, inspirations and song lyrics for said CD to be housed within. At this juncture I’m still fairly excited but also somewhat daunted by a this new adventure. There’s so much unknown … the visual delights of original artwork from … well I don’t quite know where yet. How will the stories fit with the artwork ? Have I mentioned there isn’t any yet?!! However … if I pause; take a deep breath; put a genuine smile on my face and exhale slowly … it all feels doable. Deep breath … and … smile.

Apart from these creative conundrums life, as we live it at this moment in time, goes on. With holidays come less social services which actually serve to deepen ones gratitude and appreciation for them. We only lost one day Christmas weekend again the following New Year week but it really makes a difference. We coped admirably! Mum was in turns filled with delight and disgust on Christmas Day morning. She was convinced I’d taken her away from her family and friends (Bob and I live with her in her home of 25 years) and was very unhappy in deed. “I can’t imagine what you were thinking! Why would you do such a thing?” There was no response to that, other than a blank rabbit-caught-in-the-headlights stare. Then my sister video-called so mum could open presents from her and all disgruntlement evaporated. The rest of the day was relatively glitch-free. We watched The Great Escape together … she managed to stay awake for most of it. Every time Steve McQueen was on screen she’d pipe up: “Oh that’s …” “Steve McQueen?” We’d offer … “Yes!” As I’m sure you realise he plays a major role in the film, so this was repeated many times. We saw it as extra entertainment! And so it was.

For anyone out there having to deal with Dementia at the moment there’s a wonderful website with amazing amounts of really helpful information that we’ve only recently looked at: I highly recommend it.

With all songs on Children Of The Sea now complete I thought I’d record a song specifically for each Blogpost this year. Mostly covers probably but there may be a few originals here and there. It’s an idea that may well fall flat on its face in February. At any rate I have one for this month if you’ll indulge me? This first one picked itself really … can you guess what it might be?

I have hardly been in the greenhouse these last few weeks so my poor bedraggled garlic and purple sprouting broccoli may well have given up altogether. I may venture out there before I post this and see how they are. If you don’t hear anything more about it … say a prayer for their valiant efforts?

Prayers are needed!

I have started knitting again! A simple crew necked sweater in black and white chunky knit. I just like typing … chunky knit! And I have 2 creative projects I have set myself which so far I’ve managed to fulfil … 1 is a 10 minute writing exercise which I’m doing for 40 days straight, along side a few friends so we can keep each other accountable. It works. The other is that I will draw or paint an image a day for the whole year. I’m not a visual artist at all so will not be sharing my attempts. I’m hoping to get over the fear of not being good enough. I’ve given myself permission to make the worst art ever! So far, though I'm living up to my very low expectations, I'm also having fun.

If you’ve ever wondered about starting a creative project there’s a wonderful writer: Natalie Goldberg, who wrote a fabulous book back in the 80s called “Writing Down The Bones” which is so inspirational. If you fancy writing more creatively get a hold of that book … it’s a real gem.

A delightful Podcast was shared on Manx Radio this week, conceived, recorded and edited by the ever-creative Christy DeHaven. It’s entitled “Stories from the sea”. Christy interviewed a veritable cornucopia of sea swimming enthusiasts here on the tiny isle, including yours truly, all waxing lyrical about the very addictive pastime of dipping in the sea … all year round! It’s a very listenable piece and really informative and gives a delightful taste of the joys of sea swimming. G’wan you know you want to! ;-)

Before I sign off I thought I'd share an old YT video of one of the songs from "Under Construction II". This was one of those songs inspired by artwork from artists from or living here on the Isle of Man ... and here I am many years later hoping my songs will inspire artists to create some visual delights. Now is that life imitating art or art imitating Life?

I have finally put a new CD into the online SHOP: Daphne's Flight Live from 2017. It is a wonderful reminder of our beautiful harmonious sound. I do miss our musical adventures but this is a lovely souvenir of those special times.

Thanks as always for taking the time to drop by and see what I've been up to. This year promises to be even speedier than the last ... in no time at all I'll be posting Blogpost No 2! Stay well, take care and keep rising above the turbulence!

Much love

Christine x

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  • Writer's pictureChristine Collister

Blogpost No12 December 2022

I started writing this last week but decided to wait for a few seasonally appropriate musical items to be ready to share with you and also to be a little closer to the end of this year to say - THANK YOU for your continued interest and support. I think this is the first time I’ve managed to make good my promise of a Blogpost every month! Well done me!

Here’s how this post started last weekend:

As I type (Dec 10th) , light is streaming in through the Sun Room windows and birds are chirruping happily outside. It’s also freezing cold. Literally. When I walked Sweep down Kirk Michael beach this morning … the seaweed had frost on it! The moon, which was gloriously full 4 days ago, was bouncing golden light off the cold grey waves. A beautiful way to start the day.

And today - Dec 16th - it is still freezing. So much so that after donning my extensive winter walking gear, in the dark, I could hardly stand when I stepped outside. It had hailed overnight and the hail then stuck together in sheets of slimy ice. I couldn’t get further than the first hedge past the house, which I needed to assist me in turning round and headed for the field where at least there was some grip and Sweep could have his morning constitutional!

Since last we met dear reader, not a lot has happened and yet … so much occurs on a daily basis. We are, of course, on the run up to Christmas once more with my own celebration of another trip round the sun between that and the new year. Another year? We must count ourselves lucky to still be here.

I’ve edited a few musical moments from the second half of CC&Friends at the Centenary Centre Peel IOM last month. I’ve used some footage from Christy DeHaven’s iPhone which she cleverly placed at the back of the stage … interesting angle and sound but it offered more selection and I think it works well with Bob’s handy iPhone work out front. During the solo section at the beginning of this set I could clearly hear my gorgeous nephew, Aaron, singing along wholeheartedly. You can see me beaming at him after finishing We Spoke Today. You may be able to hear his deep baritone voice just in the background? I was really moved by this beautiful and unexpected connection. For those who don’t know, Aaron has Cerebral Palsy and direct communication is a challenge. That he knows my songs well enough to sing them is a joy I can not adequately describe. Bless his great big beautiful soul. We all love him so much!

I have actually put up the tree and list making was this week’s task - which I chose to accept! I think I’ve been naughty and nice in almost equal measure … that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

As it is that time of year, I thought I’d share an accapella version of In The Bleak Mid Winter … something I recorded especially for Christy DeHaven’s Saturday Live Lounge show on Manx Radio … I think she’s going to air as many local artists as possible doing Christmassy songs for her Christmas Eve show … here it is for your seasonal delight:

And while I was thinking about Christmas songs I thought I’d also share a delightful Christmas song Michael Fix and Allan Caswell wrote last year. Michael invited me to record a new vocal for it this year, for a submission for a possible Christmas Movie! It’s got past the first level of acceptance but we don’t hold our breath … it’s lovely to be considered all the same. Anyway here it is “Till Everybody’s Here” … hope it gets you in the Christmas mood:

It’s been another wild ride this year. Writing, producing, mixing and mastering 9 songs for the Children Of The Sea has to be my highlight. An unexpected and creatively rich experience in-between the daily routine that is our life at the moment - looking after mum as best we can. The creative process continues of course with the necessity to produce a book chock full of the stories/Inspirations/Lyrics and (as-yet-to-be found/created!) Artwork that will house the CD of songs. I have high hopes for its manifestation late spring/early summer … wish me luck!

With only two live shows this year I feel somewhat challenged by life’s continued strangeness. Losing my connection with Daphne’s Flight has to be the lowest point but life is what it is and we all deal with it as best we can given the myriad twists and turns of a world we have little influence over. In the end we can only be true to ourselves.

The two shows here on the island were each magical, up-lifting events that I will treasure always. CC&Friends has become a beautiful musical force for good. Perhaps we’ll have chance to play together again in 2023?

In between these highs and lows lies a treasure of experience I never anticipated. Looking after mum, though hugely challenging, has its moments of hilarity and joy. Bob and I continue to be amazed at how much we’ve learned and continue to learn and how it’s an ever-changing landscape we will never be able to truly catch up to. Mum, bless her, is oblivious to it all seconds after it’s past. But we remember. We are her witnesses.

Talking of Bob … he is my ROCK! I give thanks every day for this bright, bouncy, beautiful, patient, hard-working, dedicated, hilarious, soul-searching Human! We are truly blessed.

On that positive note dear reader … I shall sign off by saying … may the coming year bring you eternal hope, joy, stillness and peace in equal measure. And may we meet again … on life’s strange meandering path … soon.

I truly appreciate you!

Endless blessings … and keep rising above the turbulence!

Christine x

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