top of page
  • Writer's pictureChristine Collister

Blogpost No 5 May 2023 Draft

Ola gorgeous Blogpost reader. I’m feeling light hearted and upbeat, as the sun has been shining and the garden is looking absolutely gorgeous right now. I have been attending to my greenhouse babies and equally, duelling with slimy slugs in the veg patches dotted around and about. Dipping has been adventurous as ever. The sea temperature has hardly shifted so even with slightly warmer air temperatures the water is still a challenge … which is why we do it!

For those not in the know, I attempted a FaceBook Live on Saturday May 13th. I say “attempted” as I had a few technical difficulties. I spent a considerable amount of time, the evening before, setting up in the greenhouse. It looked lush and I was excited to share the glory of my first ripening strawberries with the waiting ethereal audience. And in deed there were 5 glorious uninterrupted minutes of birdsong and strawberries for those gathering to watch the performance. I popped round in front of the camera at the allotted time and said … “Hello! Because we’re in the greenhouse there may be some drop out but …” and sure enough we lost contact with the wiFi! Bob, bless him, who was watching on his computer in the lounge, came running round to to say: “You’ll have to set up in the lounge this isn’t working!” So that’s what we did. Very hastily.

With the rush to get going as soon as possible, the extra camera to record the performance to share on YouTube later, was unfortunately at a very dodgy angle and so I haven’t had the courage to upload it. I’ll look again and see if it’s not quite as bad as I thought at the time. Unlikely though.The original video is available on FB (HERE) but the quality is seriously down graded (by FB!) When trying to share on any other platform, so I won’t be able to simply share to YT. C’est la vie! These things are sent to try us.

However the 7 songs I chose to sing went by so quickly … and even though I think I messed up every song in some way shape or form … I smiled my way through the whole lot, as I was in deed so happy to be singing again. I miss performing. Especially the privilege of interacting with real actual people, so that even an ethereal experience like a FB Live is a pure and simple joy. I truly hope that in the not-too-distant-future I will be able to tour and see you all in person. It may still be a while but I hold tight to this lovely dream. I only hope you still want to come to a show :-) x

One of the songs I learned especially for the brunch time show, was in honour of the passing of Canadian great Gordon Lightfoot. A sweet and wonderful story teller/songsmith whose songs linger long in the heart. I chose “If You Could Read My Mind” … as a result of which I’ve recorded a very simple version for this month’s specially recorded song. Hope you enjoy:

Of course we also lost Tina Turner just a few short days ago. Another unforgettable and inspirational performer. I remember having the audacity to sing River Deep Mountain High in my early twenties, with The Rocking Dansettes here on the Island. And almost 40 years later, in 2019, I recorded a wonderful acoustic version with Michael Fix on our CD North&South. I still love singing it. So in honour of a gorgeous goddess of a woman who no longer graces our beautiful planet, here as tribute and in honour to her sad passing, is mine and Michael’s version:

There have been some interesting twists and turns in our continued journey and adventures with mum. There was a memory test this week. The first since July last year when mum scored 15 out of 30 points. She’s had these tests twice yearly for at least 7 years and I’ve accompanied her to 90% of them, so I feel I know the routine fairly well. I’ve also often thought they were a pretty useless exercise. This year however has seen significant decline in many areas for mum, not least after the fall in February and her subsequent stay in hospital. She has slowly, slowly, regained a little confidence, appetite and general energy but nothing like she was last year. I sat with mum in the little room and waited for everything to unfold. As expected, the day, date and year were a mystery to her but her date of birth rolled off the tongue without hesitation. All as expected. There are other phases to the test which went by all a little less assured than previously. But when it came to: “Now draw a clock face with the hands at ten minutes past five … “ everything went somewhat pear-shaped. All this to say she scored 4 points. 4! I mean I knew she had lost some capacity but the extent of it came crashing down at that moment for me. Mum was blissfully unaware that anything was wrong as she was praised for her efforts ... and rightly so. Bless her! Life can’t make any sense to her at all at this point. It hardly makes sense to me anymore. We continue with kindness and as much daftness as we can muster. When in the land of confusion it’s generally best to laugh as much as possible. In between the laughter are bouts of deepening sadness. Life’s rich tapestry …

Yesterday I planted many tomato seedlings into grow bags. They all looked happy and healthy and ready for their new, grander, richer homes. I have 5 varieties on the go: Tiger, baby bell, cherry, plum and organic beef toms. I’ve also potted on Aubergines and red peppers. The green house is looking fabulous I have to say. I’m equally thrilled by the many flowering plants we now have in the front garden this year (see photos above:). The intricacies of the colour and form of petals, leaves and stems is awe inspiring. I could stare at their beauty for hours. Truly, nature is amazing.

I can just hear the whine of the first TT practice as I type. Looks like we’ll have fine weather for the coming fortnight of racing madness. We live “inside” the course so we have more inconvenience than those “outside” it but at least we have space and access to numerous walks along the old railway lines into Glen Wyllin and along the beach to occupy Sweep. Hopefully we’ll be able to get mum out into the garden for a snooze from time to time.

Children Of The Sea continues its long and meandering journey but it is moving. There are various artworks to consider and decisions on production grow closer day by day. I am so grateful to be partnered with Fledg'ling Records along this part of the track. David Suff (Mr Fled'gling himself) is a font of wisdom and source of great support through these new waters for me. Couldn’t do this without him.

One last sad note before I say goodbye this month and that is to acknowledge and celebrate the life of a wonderful, wise, generous, funny and most beautiful woman: Vanya Anderson. Vanya and her gorgeous husband Graham, have been the most delightful and generous souls hosting house concerts for many years in their beautiful homes. Mine and Michael Fix’s last UK concert in 2019 was with them and we were, as ever, shown such deep love and respect.and had the most wonderful evening. In fact that’s the last time we saw one another. Bless you Vanya. We love and miss you. The memory of your bright beaming smile and twinkling mischievous eyes will always make us smile. Rest now. See you at that great house concert in the sky.

Till next month sweet reader … stay well and keep rising above the turbulence!

Much love

Christine x

74 views0 comments
  • Writer's pictureChristine Collister

Blogpost No4 April 2023

Another month another Blogpost … thanks for dropping by. April has been a breath of fresh air. So much of nature is coming back to life. Trees are bursting with buds that bloom into beautiful blossom. It’s a veritable cornucopia of beauty. I love it.

I’ve been putting off entering the Green House but when April turned up I decided it was the perfect time to reacquaint myself with growing things. Bob, bless him, had surreptitiously cleaned up the winter detritus and so my re-entry was made so much easier. On April 1st , a whole day earlier than last year, I sowed the seeds for peas; French beans; Dwarf French beans, carrots, tomatoes and chanced potting a number of fruit pips and stones in small pots, just to see what might occur. So far, nothing is stirring in the fruit tree department but there’s time yet. However French beans are breaking the surface and I have a tray full of pea shoots that make my heart soar.

A few days later I also planted several beds of potatoes, a variety of wild flowers in the greenhouse, spring onions, different varieties of tomatoes and I dared to sow Aubergines. Who knows what will thrive? In a way it doesn’t matter, as I’m just thrilled by the surprise of it all. I’ve added a few strawberry plants to my already flowering crop, originally planted in 2021, and they’re looking fab. I also had fun planting up 3 wellies worth of Strawberries which make me smile. I gave the pair of wellies/strawberries to my nephew Aaron who last year had great fun tending his very own small but bountiful fruit and veg patch.

I continue to draw every day. I still think I’m no better than when I started out Jan 1st but perhaps there might be a modicum of improvement … alas I’m no budding genius. But the satisfaction is very real and worth the effort. I did faces for March and continue along that theme, though I think I’ve reached the end of my interest for the time being. I might try my hand at details of the face to see if I could maybe get a little more skilled at the whole face later on in a few months? Why not?

Mum is slowly, slowly, recuperating from her fall in February but things in general are not great. The slips into alternate worlds is almost constant now and can take us by surprise moment by moment. The challenge of going with someone else’s, skewed, view of reality is that … second guessing isn’t really a skill you can improve. No matter which way you look at it it’s always a guess. There are no structures with which to hold on to or navigate by. No sign-posts or clear maps to show the way. There are many and varied conversational cul-du-sacs that leave us feeling baffled. Yet mum must feel like that 99.99% of the time, so we pick up our best second-guessing shovels and dig ourselves deeper till we find a way to the other side; only to pick up that bloody shovel again minutes, sometimes seconds, later. It is what it is. There are moments of levity and shrieks of laughter at some of our/her antics and misheard, misunderstood-ness. Mostly there’s bemusement and anticipation, senses highly tuned listening, watching for the next U-turn, space/time dis-continuum. Beam me up Scotty!

The garden is looking magnificent. The cherry tree is in full flouncy pink blossomy bloom and tulips, pansies, violets and flowering plants I have no names for, are vying for attention with their fabulous, flashy, full blown colours. There’s such promise everywhere I look. Even the beach is starting to look more welcoming and less wild than even a few days ago. Today in particular is so still. The reflections of billowy whiter-than-white clouds on the glossy calm sea and wet mirror-like sand this morning, were breath taking. These small moments of joy and wonder fill me up and fuel the rest of my day. They are a necessary ballast. They allow me to feel incredibly blessed. Life is a miracle nest pas?

I am starting to make a list of possible songs for my FB Live on Saturday May 13th 10am (BST). It might be the only Live performance I get to do this year. I don’t want to think about that too much. I’m getting ready to practice. This is not my favourite pastime … when working with other performers you get to rehearse and it’s super fun. On ones own … it turns to practice and it’s not the daft, light-hearted experience a rehearsal can be. But I’m excited to tread the sunroom carpet or perhaps I’ll sing in the greenhouse surrounded by my burgeoning crops? Wherever I am I hope you’ll join me. I’ll only do a short 6 or 7 song set as I know it’s difficult keeping people’s attention online. I’ll be there anyway …

I was very excited to view the efforts of the Artful Dodgers on Thursday this week. They are a small group of oil painting artists under the fabulous tutelage of Anna Clucas. My very dear friend Claire Ormerod, whom I’ve been close friends with since we were 11, is an Artful Dodger herself and she suggested the group might be interested in using The Children Of The Sea to create some imagery I could use in the book. We spoke to Anna and she agreed. So I visited them all one Thursday in January at the IOM College where their Thursday morning class takes place. I gave everyone access to digital copies of the songs and they set to putting brush and oil paint to paper.

Fast forward a few months et voila there are now some amazing pieces of art all inspired by my wee songs! It’s all very exciting and I’m absolutely certain that many of the images will find their way into the book. The only reason everything won’t be used is that several songs have inspired several pieces each and there won’t be enough space in the book to place each of the images. Choosing which work best within the design of the book is a wonderful problem to have. With their permission I’ll share all the artwork on the website once we’re ready to publish. I think you’ll be as impressed as I am by everything they’ve created. Thank you Artful Dodgers!

Instead of a special recording for the Blogpost this month I’ve decided to share a demo of a song I co-wrote with the amazing L.A. musician/producer/songer/songwriter Rob Laufer back in 2015. We wrote a handful of songs around the time but never found a place for them. Maybe one day they’ll find their time to shine? You never know. Hope you enjoy this quirky wee ditty:

Ok gorgeous Blogpost reader of mine ❤️ thanks as always for stopping by to see what's been going on on the tiny isle and in my small but lovely existence. I trust you are well and keeping yourself as upbeat as possible. You matter to me.

Till next month mon amie 🥰 stay well and keep rising above the turbulence!

With immense love x Christine x 🙏❤️🙏 x

101 views0 comments
  • Writer's pictureChristine Collister

Updated: Apr 2

Blogpost No3 March 2023

Ola sweet Blogpost reader. It is always a delight to meet here in the ethers and chew the cud so-to-speak. Obviously I’m doing all the chewing. My apologies for a late Blogpost but as you read through my March meanderings you’ll wonder how I even got this far.

I thought February was full of drama but turns out that was just the opening act. I like to start with at least a modicum of positivity and so I shall share the very exciting news that, I did in deed, receive a further grant from the lovely people at the IOM Arts Council. Of course I’m thrilled and delighted and hope to move forward with the art work and book design which this new grant will allow me to do. I can also announce that the wonderful Manx artist Nicola Dixon has been commissioned to create artwork for 3 of the songs. We’re still talking through the possibilities of which ones but we’re both super excited. Positivity abounds.

Just to balance the swings and roundabouts life is so fond of … mum’s saga grew and grew. We left you at the point of her having a broken humerus in her right shoulder and the trauma of A&E etc and we join her ten days later needing to visit A&E again. This time in an ambulance, which resulted in a two and a half week stay at Nobles. You can’t make this stuff up.

In fairness, the unexpected respite of two and a half weeks at home without mum was an absolute blessing - for us. Mum has no idea that she was ever at Nobles, let alone having been there for an extended stay. I visited every weekday and my sister took over at the weekends with my brother able to go some evenings in-between. So she was not forgotten. Far from it.

Anyway one day I’m sat in the little lounge on her ward which doesn’t seem to get much use. Mum’s got a cup of tea and we have “Location, location” on in the background. She squeezes her right arm saying, in all seriousness: “It’s a bit sore today. You know I think I might need to see a Doctor.” I say: “Mum, you’re in hospital …” she frowns and says:”No I’m not!” And remembering not to counteract her reality I ask: “Sorry darlin I’m a bit confused, where are we?” Incredulous and with great certainty she says: “At home!” And we carry on as if we were, in fact, at home.

Bob and I decorated her room. And while we were at it, painted dad’s old room too. A lick of paint is a magical thing. It’s also bloody tiring. One of the reasons we called the ambulance on that day was that mum had turned over onto her broken shoulder and had slept on that side for some time. She was in a delirious state when I tried to wake her. I had to get my brother, Colin, over to help us manoeuvre her into a more comfortable position. The double bed made for a challenging situation. Ever since then I’d been wishing for a single electric-adjustable bed for when she returned. The weekend before she was due to come home Bob and I stumbled upon a pair of electric twin beds, unused, at our local Hospice Warehouse, for a fraction of what they would have been! Miracles do happen.

When mum finally came home and we’d shown her the room and the beds and she’d been suitably impressed, she beckoned me back half an hour later, to show me that her two teddybear hot-water bottles, were snuggled up together in the new snazzy bed. Then she made to get into the double bed now in dad’s old room. When I suggested she was to sleep in one of the new beds she refused point blank. Then in an amazing turn of contrariness she insisted that of course she was going to sleep in the single bed, what on earth was I on about!? I tells ya - it’s a mine field of twists and turns on a minute by minute basis. Welcome home Maggie!

There is a slight complication to mum's physical woes which only came to our attention when it reared itself about a week ago. Mum was all set to return to DayCare but was in a lot of pain which seemed more heightened than usual. We decided DayCare was off the menu but try as I might to get to see someone at mum's Dr's surgery, there were no emergency appointments available. It was suggested to take her to A&E at Nobles ... I very quickly put the kibosh on that! So we once again drove over to the lovely people at the Minor Injuries unit at Ramsey Cottage Hospital . Malcolm was our saviour once more. After checking all the stats possible he turned to the recent scans mum had had and reported that she has a "stable" fracture in her T3 vertebrae which will be very painful. It accounts for her breathlessness and painful twinges that seem to come from her ribs. Now we know! There's a new regime of pain management in place but it's not always possible to get mum involved shall we say. We do our best and endeavour to be kind.

I had a lovely and thankfully positive response to my question last month of wether to do another FB Live. So drum roll please ... I shall be performing once more through the lens of my phone on a Saturday brunch time: May 13th at 10.00am. That way hopefully I don’t interfere with actual in-person shows you might be interested in going to and my gorgeous twin granddaughters can watch from Sydney with a Sunday morning lie-in the following day. So many situations to ponder before plunging into a commitment these days. Please let me know if you’ll be able to make the date. Come as you are, slippered or in stilettos, coffee pot or tea pot, croissants or cornflakes, settle down under the duvet or curl up on the couch and join me for a half hour of musical fun. Hope to see you then. As with most things these days I’m giving myself more time to prepare and also to accommodate all these pesky unexpected detours that keep on coming.

Changing the subject entirely and introducing this month’s special recording (I’m cheating and time travelling all at once) I’d like to share a track this month from a rehearsal way back in 1992! This was the year Gregson and Collister did their farewell tour and I left the environs of Manchester where I’d lived for eight and a half years, to live in London.

It was a big year for me, with seismic endings and many, new and exciting beginnings. Some of which flourished and others flared then fluttered and did no more. I’d become fast friends with the ever wonderful Barb Jungr and we were playing around with ideas looking to find ways to work together. Before “Hell Bent Heaven Bound” was born, Barb and I got together with one of Barb’s delightful and talented friends, Heather Joyce and we became “Jailbirds”! It was the stupidest band name but we couldn't come up with anything else. I believe the reason we got together in the first place and the influence on our chosen name, was because either Barb or Heather had been asked to put something musical together for a one day festival in the grounds of Broadmoor Prison … for the inmates! I swear I’m not making this up!

(Heather unexpectedly found the above clip from an Exeter paper, in an unopened box, reporting on one of the street festivals we performed at, who saw fit to cut me off 😝 - great pic of Barb and Heather tho:)

Heather was living in Brighton at the time and Barb and I would drive down together and hang out in Heather’s tiny little bedsit and play through songs, drink beer and walk along the beach. Not necessarily in that order. We may have also dabbled in ceremonial Moon worship of one sort or another but my memory around those times is blank at worst and tenuous at best! We also managed to procure 2 gigs performing on the streets of Exeter and Bath. They were basically our warm up shows before the big Broadmoor appearance. I can’t remember any other gigs … I think that was it. But it was a wonderful and fairly crazy time and you can hear that in this fabulously hissy cassette recording. I just LOVE the wild abandon of Heather’s banjo and Barb’s mandolin and when their voices join me at the end … wow! It’s totally bonkers. I love it! Hope you do too. Enjoy.

I do like to offer up some photos and videos each month but have lagged behind in those departments pretty much in March however there are some images from the 2 day snowfall we experienced (above:) a few weeks ago that I can’t help but share. I know that many people live in snowy landscapes for long periods each year but for those of us who rarely experience its' majestic beauty, it truly is a wonderful thing. In fact my long time fabulous friend, Angela Hyrniuk, originally from Winnipeg Canada, who has now relocated after many years in Australia, to the far sunnier climes of Costa Rica, made a quick birthday visit home to celebrate her sixtieth. From 30C to -21C in just a few hours ... is a bit extreme but what an awe inspiring experience of our phenomenal Planet. The tiny isle's teeny-weeny-fluttering snowflakes are nothing in comparison to Winnipeg but if I can just share my excitement … wowee! Walking on that virgin, crisp, crunchy whiteness is an altogether fabulous sensation. Not sure Sweep would say the same thing but he was definitely perky running through the snowy byways of our winter landscape that weekend. By Sunday it was all gone.

I will leave you with a Sarah Maclachlan song I recorded in 2002 on An Equal Love. Full of Grace is a beautiful, heart-wrenching, soaring ballad. The snow scenes are bright and beautiful and filled with light but hopefully you'll see/hear/feel the connection:

Thanks as always for your time and attention ... it really matters. I will endeavour to get Blogpost No4 up and running before the end of the month but you just don't know what's round the corner n'est pas?! We can but hope. Till then dear reader stay well and keep rising above the turbulence!

Much love

Christine x

118 views0 comments
bottom of page