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  • 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

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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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